Yoko Ishida Live In Concert (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Mike Dungan
Review Date: Friday, September 14, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, May 02, 2006



What They Say
Where there's hot anime music, there's energetic dance grooves and with both, you'll find Anime-Pop Star Yoko Ishida ready to blow the roof off with another commanding and awe-inspiring vocal performance! Get a front row seat for an up-close look at an extraordinary anime event: Yoko Ishida Live in Concert! Filmed at the height of Yoko's first major overseas tour, which swept through the east and wet coast cities, Yoko is at her peak here in this rare outdoor concert performance. Set in the heart of Hollywood, Yoko truly shines as a rising star, as she her Para Para Max dancers electrify viewers with awesome songs and audience interaction in an anime concert unlike any other!


The Review!
If you missed Yoko Ishida's 2005/06 tour of the US, or were there and want a keepsake, this concert footage of her Hollywood appearance will be just what you're looking for.

Audio:
All of the music with the exception of Yoko's lead vocal is piped in. Fortunately, it's mixed directly into the soundboard, rather than recorded ambiently, so it sounds quite good. The mix is either 2.0 or 5.1 DTS, so anyone should be able to get the sound they want out of it.

Video:
It's all recorded on videotape, but the transfer doesn't suffer for it. There were no noticeable defects such as macroblocking, dropouts or other artifacts.

Packaging:
You would think a concert DVD of Yoko Ishida would feature her on the front cover. Instead, she's relegated to a small picture, with one of the cartoon characters from the concert backdrops taking up most of the flaming pink cover. It's an odd choice, and not necessarily a good one. The back cover has a picture of her and her dancers performing over the cover copy and the set list. Inside is a fold out insert with an expanded set list. Inside it is a collage poster of Yoko, her dancers and her fans.

Menus:
The menus are simple and easy to use. The selections are listed down the right side with one of the cartoon characters from the concert taking up the majority of the screen. There are no animations or music, making transitions from one screen to the next quick and painless.

Extras:
Back Stage Access is a couple of short interviews with the dancers, and Yoko before and after the concert. The Complete Tour Highlight Reel is made up of concert footage from every stop on the tour. Q & A With Yoko is in English, with her struggling a bit to read prepared answers from cue cards just off to the side of the camera.. Geneon CD previews are for Veiwtiful Joe, Ultra Maniac and Para Para Max US Mix 2.

Content: (Please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Yoko opens with "White Destiny" the opening theme to Pretear. Next up is "Sugar Baby Love" a classic early 1960s girl group song used as the opening to A Little Snow Fairy Sugar. "Eternal Flower" is the lovely opening to Ai Yori Aoshi. "Open Your Mind" is a favorite of mine, the Celtic-inspired song the opens the first season of "Ah My Goddess TV". It's written by one of my favorite anime composers, Kouhei Tanaka. Yoko then dives into
"Passionate Goddess" a song I'm not familiar with. The set list only says "Anime TV Ending Theme."
At this point, Yoko and the dancers leave the stage, and an attractive bespectacled woman gets on stage to give Para Para dance lessons, accompanied by the dancers who just went through a quick costume change. The song is a Para Para version of "Fly Me To The Moon," the classic pop tune from the 1950s used as the ending theme to Neon Genesis Evangelion. It just proves that a great song can withstand just about anything done to it.

Once the lessons are over, Yoko comes out for the second half of the concert, which is the big Para Para set. She opens with the Eva opening "A Cruel Angel's Thesis." Next are "Let Me Be With You" from Chobits and "Brilliant Road to Tomorrow from Stellvia. She then goes into a big medley of "Do You Remember Love?" from the Macross movie of the same name, "Just Communication" from Gundam Wing, "You Get To Burning" from Martian Successor Nadesico, and "Jump (Dakishimete)" from Hand Maid May. Finally, she ends the show with "Fly Me To The Moon."

In Summary:
Having gone to the Seattle stop of this concert tour with friends, I was looking forward to reliving the memories, and this DVD does just that. There are several different cameras, so the filming never becomes static or repetitive. Shots of the crowd enjoying the show are interspersed throughout. The audience obviously ranges from people who've never heard of Yoko Ishida but were attracted by the dancing, to hardcore Para Para and Yoko Ishida fans faithfully reproducing all the moves. The song selection was well thought out, although 30 minutes of non-stop shrill Para Para synthesizers is a bit tiring. While this won't be for everyone, if you're a fan of Yoko Ishida, Para Para dancing, or simply want to hear some great anime theme songs sung in person, this is worth purchasing.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
NEC CT-2510A TV, Pioneer 440 codefree DVD player



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: All
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 34.95
Running time: 55
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: