Here’s a translated Famitsu column from a couple months ago, where Sakurai talks about a recent Persona live event and the impact fans can have. Enjoy it!
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The Constructive Power of Fans
Originally published in Famitsu Vol. 537, 1 September 2017
On August 2nd, the day before my birthday, I went to see PERSONA SUPER LIVE P-SOUND BOMB!!!! 2017. The kind people at Atlus extended an invitation to me, and I definitely didn’t want to miss it! Feeling thankful, I headed to the venue.
There at Yokohama Arena, the crowd numbered over ten thousand! This show wasn’t part of any tour, just a one time mega-concert. Put lightly, it was amazing! I’ve been to game music concerts many times, including ones overseas, and I’ve even helped organize them myself, but this one stood out even among all of those as something truly magnificent. That impression is due to the people who were there that night. It’s a feeling beyond description. There’s no way I can convey it with words in a column, but for the purpose of examining “the necessary ingredients to create that feeling” I’ll try to write about the event and how they did things.
To start with, FreFlow penlights were distributed to everyone in the audience. These light sticks can be wirelessly controlled to light up in a variety of colors. I think these are commonly used at many concerts nowadays. But what made this show special was how the colors changed depending on the songs.
・Persona 3’s color is blue.
・Persona 4’s color is yellow.
・Persona 5’s color is red.
Even non-fans probably know this. The penlights changed color to indicate which game the current song was from. There were even medleys that would go from Persona 3 to Persona 4 to Persona 5 to Persona 3, like a relay, and all of the audience’s penlights changed accordingly. Some of the seats were sold as Persona 3 and 4 seating, and Persona 5 seating. Which title’s team would you join? Things like that added to the excitement.
The concert moved at a good pace through songs from the series. There were songs in English I remembered from long ago, dancers dressed as characters from the series, and occasionally characters’ voice actors would narrate things. For example, the opening announcements were made by Nanako, from Persona 4, and the penlights all changed color to yellow.
My seat was in a raised area where I had a full view of the arena. Since it was a one-time-only event, they held nothing back and packed it full of musical performances and dances. Familiar songs heard countless times in-game, theme colors painted onto a sparkling canvas of lights, moving to the rhythm of thousands of fans… Overcome with emotion, I found myself on the verge of tears multiple times.
Well, maybe this was just a world I’m unfamiliar with? At Hatsune Miku concerts, there might be a similar level of excitement. However, this concept, this balance of 3 games and their color schemes was wonderful! I think 3 is the best number for this, not 2 or 4. Furthermore, I also have personal attachments to each of the games.
That night, the arena was filled with people who love the Persona series. Just by hearing an intro, they instantly knew what song it was. Passion runs deep, doesn’t it? Those kinds of people come together as one, and they’re able to build their own world, in this way.
Also, the characters were the stars of the show. Just hearing their voice or seeing their likeness was enough to send the arena into an uproar. The three games in the series overlapped, and I felt the sensation of memories from different eras mixing together.
The people who like a certain work are extremely important. I feel that when the number of fans and their level of passion grows, it can bring forth a world never seen before. That’s why I want everyone to puff out their chest without hesitation and say, “I like what I like!”
A panoramic shot of the arena. I was so far away that I needed binoculars, but I had a good view of the crowd’s movements. It was amazing.
Caroline and Justine from Persona 5 sing the Junes theme song from Persona 4! They had a dazzling ability to sing and combine songs from different titles.