Season two may have ended, but activities for LOVE LIVE! SUNSHINE are still going strong! Despite the anime’s end, the voice actresses of the nine-membered girl group Aqours (pronounced ‘aqua’) maintain full schedules entertaining fans and promoting their work.

The LOVE LIVE franchise is famous for its crossover between anime and real life. Onscreen, a group of nine girls work together to become school idols. Onstage, their voice actresses perform the same numbers from the show in front of live audiences. It’s a creative media blend that allows fans to follow and appreciate not just the characters, but their voices actors as well. Sadly, a recent incident seemed to involve some far-from-appreciative actions towards the real-life Aqours.

The real-life Aqours | Image: Anisong World Matsuri Official Twitter

Fans get plenty of chances to witness the live performances, thanks to the voice actresses’ hard work. Not only does Aqours sing and dance for a variety of broadcasts and smaller-scale shows, but they’ve also held two multi-day concerts and several fan meetings all in the past couple years—and not just in Japan!

To date, the girls of Aqours have visited Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, and even the United States. Their international activities have garnered worldwide attention, and they have yet to slow down. The group’s most recent fan meeting took place in Shanghai on January 20th.  This event, held as an activity for the official Aqours fan club Aqours CLUB, involved a special live concert and a chance for fans to interact with the girls and bring them gifts. Unfortunately, according to numerous fan reports posted online, it didn’t go nearly as smoothly as hoped.

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An Event Gone Wrong

First and foremost are the news of disruptions during the concert. Online posts report that during several songs, audience members would suddenly yell out rude and loud chants that both startled the performers and ruined the experience for the rest of the viewers.

Another famous incident during the event was the lightstick sabotage. During live performances, fans can bring in lightsticks that correspond to each member’s official color. Fans wave these in whatever color they desire to cheer on their favorite members. However, during certain solos in certain songs, it’s common concert etiquette to switch to the soloist’s color in support. Check out an example from a Seoul performance below, using the bridges from Aqours’ second and third singles respectively.

When Aqours performed the same songs in Shanghai, a group of viewers suddenly cracked open orange UOs during those exact parts. UOs are extremely bright lightsticks that only shine for a short amount of time, but very powerfully. Usually, they are saved for iconic songs in a concert. In Shanghai, however, these viewers apparently coordinated this for a specific sabotage. You can read one fan’s summary of all this here. While there is video evidence of this occurring, it was taken illegally and so it will not be linked.

Some fans who were closer to the stage say that they could see the voice actresses were visibly shocked at the sight. Although there are no official rules for lightsticks during concerts, such behavior is still clearly disrespectful to both the performers and the fans.

Additional reports claim that some of the public gift boxes, in which fans can place personal presents for the girls, contained suspicious or inappropriate items. These reports, however, are harder to confirm due to lack of photo evidence. Still, it’s undeniably nasty-spirited, and heartbreaking to even think about.

Stay Alert, Fans

It’s important to always have a wary mind while reading online reports. There are some extremely exaggerated rumors regarding this event floating around, so take what you see with a grain of salt. Ultimately, without visual evidence or firsthand witness accounts, much of it can end up as gossip or blown wildly out of proportion.

Also, remember that a handful of sour-minded people should not reflect on a country’s fanbase as a whole. The sad truth is, almost every crowd will have a few bad apples. In cases such as concerts and meet-ups, they are especially hard to filter out. That said, however, the harassment of voice actresses and idols is unfortunately not uncommon. Nearly every month there’s news of inappropriate behavior or even death threats towards these workers. This shouldn’t be the norm, though, as hard as it may be to manage such people.

Aqours did not make any official announcement regarding the disruptions during the concert. Some of the voice actresses did post on Twitter after the fact, but they only commented on their excitement and gratitude for the fan meeting.

Aqours’ next fan meeting will take place in Taiwan on February 10th. All we can hope for is that there won’t be any similar reports then.

Featured image from the Love Live Wikia.

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