A Heartwarming Concert by Pair of Anison Legends

Ichiro Mizuki, left, and Mitsuko Horie are socially distanced on stage as they sing during the “Futari no Anison” concert on Jan. 30.

At the end of January, anison (anime song) singers Ichiro Mizuki and Mitsuko Horie held a joint concert at the Yomiuri Otemachi Hall in Tokyo. The concert, “Futari no Anison” (Anison by the two of us), used to be held in Tokyo and Osaka every year starting in 2003, but had to be canceled last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. It was also the first time since Horie’s concert in last February that they both stood side by side on the same stage at the Yomiuri Otemachi Hall.

Early on during the January concert, I noticed Horie’s eyes welling up as she finished singing the theme song of the TV anime “Candy Candy.” This made me realize that, although the concert had started as usual, it was in fact not to be taken for granted that we were able to listen to two anison legends perform in the same auditorium. While this may have been nothing out of the ordinary prior to the pandemic, the fact that this event was able to be held is nothing short of a miracle, both for the performers and the audience.

All the songs they sang at the concert were wonderful. Particularly refreshing were the children’s songs sung by the two. Mizuki’s rendition of “Minna Tomodachi” (Everyone is a friend) was intensely clear, like a crayon sketch on a drawing pad. Horie sang “Gin-chan no Love Letter” (Gin’s love letter) in a bossa nova arrangement, which was presented with the exquisite alacrity of a watercolor painting. Both songs are about the casual daily events of children and sung with unpretentious words, but they rang true in my heart. Is it because we are in the midst of a pandemic? It was like the serene beauty of ordinary days coming home to me, as if pristine water from a familiar watering pot was being delicately poured into my heart.

Addressing the audience, Horie kindly said: “Even if you are distressed or physically sick, it will be alright. You’ll get better,” which I found incredibly inspiring. If Mizuki’s birthday concert, which I reported on last month, gave us the spirit and the power to confront difficulties, this time I felt as if a blanket of kindness was softly being wrapped around all of our exhausted hearts, giving us a moment away from the towering demands of self-restraint.

Concerts are essential vitamins for our minds and hearts.