A Preview of Anisong’s Next Gen Artists: Lantis & Purple One Star New Generation LIVE 2020

Bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, our very own Tori and Sarah gave thanks for their love of anime and the music connected to it by watching a livestream of Lantis & Purple One Star’s New Generation LIVE 2020, an event showcasing both record labels’ debuting artists! From the solo debut of some familiar voices to totally fresh acts, it was a live concert to welcome a “new generation” of anisong artists.

This year’s live was streamed through Lantis’s MixBox site, with live and archived live tickets purchasable via A-on Store. We were offered free tickets for coverage, so while we can’t speak for the purchasing process as overseas fans, we can certainly vouch for the ease of use of the streaming service! The menus were easy to navigate with minimal Japanese literacy and the stream quality itself was crisp, with little to no buffering, stuttering, or quality drops throughout the entire 2 hour live event.

Now, to most anime fans Lantis might be a familiar name as a label synonymous with many beloved anisong artists and franchises (Love Live! and it’s related groups, for instance), while Purple One Star might not ring as many bells. That’s because Purple One Star started up this year, as a joint effort between Lantis and bluesofa, another music production company. Purple One Star’s first signed artist was also the opening performer for New Generation LIVE: Ai Furihata!

The performer best known for her work as Ruby Kurosawa in Love Live! Sunshine!! opened the event with a full band behind her. Furihata’s first song, “Poolside Cocktail” was full of vocals with familiar warm and sweet tones, with a more mature sound and a city pop vibe. After a brief and lively self-intro, she proceeded into “CITY”, a more upbeat song that comes on strong, ending with a fist bump and a cheeky grin over a resounding guitar riff.

Both songs performed were from Ai Furihata’s solo debut mini-album Moonrise, with heavy 80’s influence in composition and presentation–even her costume had a cool, nostalgic feeling to it. Her next mini-album, Make-Up is set to release December 23, 2020.

Marina Horiuchi began her performance fully alone on stage, no band or backup dancers here. This was a stark and celebratory reminder that she is a solo artist now, her days in idol groups like Sakura Gakuin have long since passed and she’s moving forward with her own work.

Horiuchi started with a song that had a light, flowy sound with some heavy emotions behind it. The ballad “Nano・Hana” had a sprinkle of fairy tale trumpets, ending on a hopeful note. Her second song, “Welcome to Nanoland”, presented a very different tone, making way for a lively theme park atmosphere complete with eccentric introductions, sweeping gestures that filled the stage, and an overwhelming amount of playful energy! These two songs certainly show a breadth to Marina’s work, with lyrics written by Marina herself. Her solo debut album will be released in March 2021.

ARCANA PROJECT is a six-member vocal unit with a tarot concept who recently made their major debut through Lantis. Their first song, “Campanella Hibiku Sora de”, is the titular song of their major debut single and served as the OP for Monster Girl Doctor, an anime that aired this past summer. The girls’ performance cemented a huge strength the group has: a balance of cute and powerful vocals that resonate together very well! Next came “Hitorigatari”, which had a more funky, cool vibe that the members easily transitioned to. With both songs, the choreography was simple and clean, which makes sense coming from a group more focused on vocals.

In both their self-intros between songs and the MC segment after their performance, each girl’s personality really came through in a short amount of time. Some members were more open and talkative than others, but everyone left me intrigued and wanting to see more!

Former Fo’xTails vocalist Takao Sakuma can be summed up in one word — cool. I felt bad at first summing up someone in such a simple way, but felt extremely justified when the MC, Seitarou Mukai, himself praised Sakuma on being “awesome and cool!”

He brought anisong energy with his debut single, “Chase The Core” the opening song for upcoming figure skating anime, “Skate-Leading Stars”. The song is upbeat and catchy, with fast paced lyrics, perfect for a sports anime opening. For his second song he performed, “LIP”, another high energy song, reminiscent of a night-club setting. Takao’s fluid and smooth dancing really hyped up the performance.

Anisong cover artists are still extremely popular online it seems. Hailing from Thailand, Mindaryn is exactly that!

Opening up with “Blue Rose Knows” the ending theme for upcoming anime By The Grace of The Gods, it’s exactly what you would expect from an anime ending song. Catchy lyrics and music make the song fun to dance along to. Mindaryn’s second song “START” was probably my favorite of the two. With indie girl band vibes, the song is vibrant and strong making it easy to sing along with.

Her comment during the interview about not realizing she had received a record deal due to her poor understanding of Japanese really cracked me up.

These wacky kids and their wacky V-Tubers! I kid, I kid.

Kaede Higuchi is known for being a virtual YouTuber as part of the Nijisanji group comprised of several different virtual personalities. Over on her channel you’ll find her playing things like Super Mario Bros. and Minecraft with a charming personality.

She opens up with “Marble”, a full-powered rock song with gorgeous vocals. Marble is invigorating and boppy, making me bob my head along with the beat. It reminds me of something along the lines of what you’d expect from a Vocaloid song, but the backing band and Higuchi’s vocals truly make it something special. Her second song “Answer Song” is another upbeat pop-rock song with catchy lyrics and beats.

This girl has pipes! It brings her to life in a way that I rarely see from virtual performers, she has definitely got a new fan!

Koutaro Nishiyama has played a range of characters in anime and other media, from Haikyuu! to Ensemble Stars!. For this event Nishiyama appeared in pre-recorded VTR segments, expressing a desire to perform live in the near future. He showcased two songs from his debut mini-album CITY, which came out last month.

Nishiyama’s first song, “Mahirudoki no Stella”, was cheerful and cute with colorful, soft visuals, matching his bright voice in a way that instantly lifted my spirits. His second song was “Tobikiri no Yoru wa koko ni aru”, a smoother, suave composition with some disco inspiration that culminated in a visual and thematic feeling of a nighttime party with friends. Even in a VTR, the amount of fun Koutaro Nishiyama was having during his performance was contagious!

This was the performance I was most excited for!
You might know Kanako Takatsuki best as Hanamaru Kunikida from Love Live! Sunshine!!
Not too long ago I was able to see a filmed Love Live! concert and was just instantly blown away by Takatsuki’s stage presence and her lovely smile.

Her first song “Anti World” is a boisterous rock anthem separating Takatsuki from her days as a sweet Love Live! idol. Gorgeous vocals accompanied by a strong backing band makes this song a real treat. The second song “Aishiteru wa♡Gram?” is a jazzy pop song pulling her back into sweet idolish vocals. I found myself bobbing my head along with this one the entire time. I find the duality of her performances during the live really incredible. Takatsuki knows how to use her voice to pull off different genres flawlessly.

Overall, the New Generation live event was a thrilling showcase of up-and-coming talent, punctuated with smooth transitions from artist to artist thanks to MC segments led by comedian Seitarou Mukai. If what you’ve seen has sparked your interest, look up these artists’ works and support their debuts! We were left with lots to look forward to, and now we’ll leave you with a setlist:

Lantis & Purple One Star
New Generation LIVE 2020 Setlist

01.プールサイドカクテル (Poolside Cocktail)/Ai Furihata
02.CITY/Ai Furihata

03.ナノ・ハナ (Nano・Hana)/Marina Horiuchi
04.Welcome to Nanoland/Marina Horiuchi

05.カンパネラ響く空で (Campanella Hibiku Sora de)/ARCANA PROJECT
06.ヒトリガタリ (Hitorigatari)/ARCANA PROJECT

07.Chase the core/Takao Sakuma
08.LIP/Takao Sakuma

09.BLUE ROSE knows/MindaRyn

11.MARBLE/Kaede Higuchi
12.アンサーソング (Answer Song)/Kaede Higuchi

13.真昼どきのステラ (Mahirudoki no Stella)/Koutaro Nishiyama
14.とびきりの夜はここにある (Tobikiri no Yoru wa koko ni aru)/Koutaro Nishiyama

15.Anti world/Kanako Takatsuki
16.アイシテルは♡グラム?(Aishiteru wa♡Gram?)/Kanako Takatsuki

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