Our musician reporter Seiji attends the one-year anniversary concert of idol group Gilty x Gilty, who sang a song that he penned.

For our struggling musician and Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa, performing at Zepp Diver City in Tokyo’s popular entertainment district of Odaiba would be a dream come true and veritable proof that he’s finally made it as a musician. It’s one of those venues that, while relatively small compared to the biggest musical arenas in Tokyo, is a signal that you’re finally getting some mainstream attention. His turn to perform there still hasn’t come yet after 20 years of trying, but he intends to keep working hard at his goal nevertheless.

That’s why, on June 26, he was a bit overcome by emotion when he was heading to Zepp Diver City not to perform himself, but to watch a group perform for whom he has contributed song lyrics. Gilty x Gilty, nicknamed GiruGiru, is in his own words an underground idol unit with a “grittier” musical style than typical idol music.

▼ The five members of Gilty x Gilty

Seiji’s first time seeing them perform was at their debut concert late last June at Shibuya’s Spotify O-East concert hall. Fast forward to one year later and they were holding a concert titled “Judgment X” to celebrate their one-year anniversary. The Zepp Diver City venue had the capacity for about twice as many people as their debut venue. Thinking about their gradual progress over the past year, he was once again overcome by bittersweet feelings regarding the stagnation of his own musical career.

▼ Seiji’s pensive “overcome by conflicting emotions” three-quarter-view face angle

He also thought how anxious he was feeling for the members. Today would be a day that would likely decide a lot about their futures. If it were him performing, he probably wouldn’t be able to sleep for about a month beforehand. Thankfully, when he arrived at Zepp Diver City, he immediately spotted a long line of people waiting to get in.

It was unmistakably longer than last year’s line. Simply continuing musical activities for a long time doesn’t guarantee an increase in fans, as Seiji knew painfully well, so Gilty x Gilty was definitely doing something right. He thought that they had finally crossed the threshold from underground idols to, well, full-fledged idols.

When he could finally enter the venue as a concert affiliate/contributing lyricist, he was greeted by large portraits of all of the members’ faces.

It finally fully hit him that they were actually going to be performing here live today.

However, he wouldn’t know how everything would go until the show actually started.

He digresses, but this was also his first time entering Zepp Diver City as a concert affiliate. It’s usually a place that has no relationship to long-suffering musicians like him “who can’t sell” (his words). The unfamiliarity of being in this position also made him a little nervous as he took his seat in the reserved second-floor area and waited the final 10 minutes for the show to start.

Finally, it was time! Judgment X had officially kicked off. Seiji hoped that he could personally avoid judgment from the idols.

The crowd was pretty hyped, too.

Since he couldn’t record anything then and there, check out this official summary video posted after the concert.

Seiji describes Gilty x Gilty’s typical sound as having lots of low bass and warped guitar sound. The lyrics that overlay that vibe usually fall into one of two contrasting categories: extreme cuteness or extreme emotions. The lyrics that Seiji had written for their song “Stigma” fall into the latter category. The song was placed in the second-to-last spot in their main set. Within the song itself, there’s a line at the top of the second A melody like this: “I want to connect deeply as if you’re piercing my heart.” During the dance choreography at this particular lyric, member Koai Haku appears to be stabbed by Himeno Shirayuki. It’s a theatrical move defined not by the rhythm of the music but by the lyrics.

Since he thinks choreography is largely determined by beat, perhaps this was a sign that his lyrics were really that impactful. This thought hadn’t occurred to him at the debut concert last year, and he was touched that it was a unique moment found only within this song. He was also overcome by a new feeling of satisfaction from following the group over an extended time.

Seiji was ultimately moved the most by the MC segment at the end. All of the members had bounced around from idol group to idol group until finally arriving together in this unit. There was a certain gravity to hearing how member Riri Konoka had participated in idol activities for 8-9 years with one of her goals always being to one day perform at Zepp Diver City.

Being shuffled from group to group is often the reality for underground idols. All of them were crying at now having made it this far with a successful performance at this venue.

It’s impossible for Seiji not to pray for Gilty x Gilty’s continued success moving forward. Hopefully he would also reach the Zepp Diver City level of success someday–and perhaps his alter ego, the spirit of Yngwie Malsteem, could also help out occasionally.

Reference: Gilty x Gilty official website
All images © SoraNews24
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