Kalafina at AX 2011: Before the Show

The moment Kalafina was announced as a Guest of Honor at Anime Expo, I knew I had to be there.

Kalafina, to me, represented the best sort of anime soundtrack music since I first heard their work in the Kara no Kyoukai ending themes and afterwards bought their first album, Seventh Heaven. Yuki Kajiura, the producer and composer behind them, has often had a problem of her lush, melancholic music being set to shows that seemed unworthy or unfitting for them. The Gothic atmosphere she evokes so expertly couldn’t have found a better home than the Kara no Kyoukai series, and the vocal songs she wrote for them, with Kalafina’s soaring harmonies, emotionally capped off each film.

Hikaru, Keiko, and Wakana.

The members of Kalafina themselves—Hikaru, Keiko, and Wakana—proved themselves to be lively, engaging people in their fan panel. (Sadly, we were not chosen to interview them privately in the junket. But see our live blog of the panel.) Keiko, the natural instigator and most outgoing member of the band, made the most playful and sly comments throughout the panel as well as the show itself, while the more reserved and shy Hikaru played along.

Wakana fell somewhere in between; even during the concert, she seemed to be off on her own side of the stage much of the time, kind of like the middle child in a family. Hikaru is the band’s newest member, having not worked with Kajiura in past vocal groups like the other two, and her shyness came out in her stage presence as well as her mild shock when the audience wished her a happy birthday at the panel.

We wish Hikaru a happy birthday!

The concert itself, of course, was the main reason they appeared. They were competing with the much higher profile Hatsune Miku concert later in the same evening, and while their tickets were sold out, it was obvious from the length of the press-only ticket line this morning just who was more popular: it was a mere quarter the length of the Miku one.

Remember, this is just press, early in the morning, for Miku.

They were also set to appear in the smaller Club Nokia venue, rather than the larger Nokia Theater where Miku is, as I write, virtually appearing.

To be continued…when I have real pictures of the concert ready.

Author: gendomike

Michael lives in the Los Angeles area, and has been into anime since he saw Neon Genesis Evangelion in 1999. Some of his favorite shows include Full Metal Alchemist, Honey and Clover, and Welcome to the NHK!. Since 2003 he has gone to at least one anime convention every year. A public radio junkie, which naturally led to podcasting, he now holds a seminary degree and is looking to become Dr. Rev. Otaku Bible Man any day now. Michael can be reached at mike.huang@animediet.net. You can also find his Twitter account at @gendomike.

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