Super Sentai series songfest filled with passion

Singers give an impassioned performance during the Super Sentai Spirits 2021 concert in November.

Last month, I went to Super Sentai Spirits 2021, the annual concert featuring songs from the Super Sentai series. It’s been a while since I watched it live, because last year I opted to view it online due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

I went to the second day of the two-day event. To eyes that have grown accustomed to livestreaming, it was a refreshing surprise to see how close the singers are during a live performance. Even though the stage should appear farther away than during close-ups in videos, it was strange just how close they seemed.

And despite the proximity, the singers looked almost godlike as they sang amid the colorful rays of crossing lights. They wove a different world on stage with each song. Of course, streaming has its merits, which I noticed last year, but the attraction is different from that of live concerts.

The concert opened with veteran anison (anime song) singers Isao Sasaki and Mitsuko Horie belting out the classic Super Sentai song “Susume! Gorenger.” The song is designed to make the audience want to shout out at many points. But with restrictions on raised voices in these pandemic times, the crowd opted for exuberant dance moves as a way to release their emotions as the pair enthusiastically sang. With this being a milestone year — the 45th edition of the series of tokusatsu sci-fi action TV shows — it suddenly hit home to me that it all started with this song.

The artists gave dynamic performances incorporating captivating ideas, such as a quick costume change to a character in the series and having the audience join in group claps in place of shouted responses. The crowd loved it. NoB, whose set list included the theme song from “Tenso Sentai Goseiger,” yelled to the audience, “I could hear everyone’s shouts!” But I’m sure it was their inner voices that reverberated throughout the venue.

Takeshi Tsuruno, who sings the theme song of the currently airing “Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger,” made his Super Sentai Spirits debut. Well-known for portraying Shin Asuka, who transforms into Ultraman Dyna, Tsuruno thrilled the crowd with the greeting, “I come from the land of light,” when he came on stage or assumed a laser beam-shooting pose. After Tsuruno’s performance, Daiki Ise, Hideaki Takatori and Sasaki and Horie turned up the heat in the venue with songs heard during episodes of “Zenkaiger.” It was a rare chance to hear such songs that this year were performed even less frequently than theme songs.

The highlight of the day was a Gorenger medley at the end, starting with Horie singing “Hana no Momoranger.” Her voice hasn’t changed from the days when I listened to her on CDs or cassette tapes ages ago. It brought back fond memories and made me feel nostalgic and happy. What’s more, she joined in the chorus of “Miyo! Gorenger” sung by Sasaki, adding depth to the lively performance of the song.

Before I knew it, 3½ hours — including a break to ventilate the venue — had passed. Although my rear hurt from sitting so long, it was really a joyous concert in which time flew by. Of course, behavioral changes were necessary as a pandemic measure. But just the same, it is important to nourish the mind and to remain forward-looking with spirits up. In that sense, the concert was just the right medicine to revitalize an exhausted heart.

I can only hope that the world next year will be a place in which we can raise our voices and join in the chorus at a concert.