Posted June 28, 2015 by Ica Hontiveros-Cheng in Anime/Manga

Breaking Boundaries Through the Power of Music


I was probably around the 3rd grade when I started listening to Japanese music, brought about my love for Anime. I would buy the Casette tapes from a then small Comic Alley (at that time they just had one branch in Greenhills) at P150.00-P300.00 per tape. I would happily listen and sing to my J-Pop and Anime tapes, much to my mother’s chagrin. I remember her complaining to my Dad about my weird choice in music. My Dad, whom I get my geekiness from only said: “Let her be.” 

Flash forward to 20 years later, I’m sitting in a full Samsung Hall at SM Aura where J-Pop and Anisong Star LiSA (an acronym for Love Is Same All) is having her first show in Manila. The event was made by possible through Japan Music Festival whose advocacy is to celebrate Japanese music by engaging fans in South East Asia and beyond, with the best and latest in Japanese Music.


Fans of the 28 year old singer/songwriter, were already in line as early as 7 AM on June 27, 2015. Her official merchandise was sold out even before the show began. LiSA gained popularity, singing songs in Anime such as Fate/Zero and Sword Art Online.

This is the ver first concerns event for Japan Music Festival and would serve as a catalys for future events. Three weeks ago I was at Japanese Math Rock Tricot’s second Manila show at 19 East. Their show followed a conventional band performance of going up onstage to sing a set of songs but for LiSA’s show it was really differen as it leaned toward a more traditional Japanese Pop Live experience.

Audiences brought with them glow sticks of different shades and colors which they swayed in the air in synchronization to the songs played by LiSA. Transforming the dark hall into a sea of rainbow lights, something I would only see in videos but never thought I would one day be a part of. The audience was even taught this cheeky dance routine, reminiscent of those novelty dance songs but hey we were doing it!

There was also a Q& A portion with the cute LiSA who answered questions from fans, dressed in a Floral top with Manila printed on it. She wore a black tutu like skirt that sparkled as she twirled and danced across the stage, her outfit a nod to Avril Lavinge whom she says is one of her inspirations.

When asked about performing outside of Japan, LiSA answered “I believe in the power of music. There is no boarder between Japan and other foreign countries. The audiences are completely the same in the sense (that they) try to understand what the musicians are trying to tell.”  And indeed, it was the power of music that brought LiSA’s fans and supporters in Manila together to cheer her on stage.

LiSA confessed that she was initially worried about coming to Manila, she wasn’t sure if people knew her here but if the size of the crowd and their enthusiasm was any indication then there was no cause for the singer’s worry. Not only were there fans in Manila who knew her but they loved her too.


We were impressed by LiSA’s vocal range and ability to sustain a note and mind you her songs were not easy ones to sing and yet she gave a flawless live performance. LiSA performed with minus one recordings for her upbeat so gs and acoustic numbers for her more mellow ones. This was a Pop Singer who can sing. She promised that on her return to Manila she would bring her full band with her (definitely something to look forward too ^_^).

After her performance, LiSA was gifted with a bouquet of flowers as well as a coveted set of Minion figurines. She seems to love those guys and bananas as well.

As I sat there, enjoying the show I couldn’t help but think of that kid all those years ago who listened and loved Japanese music, she was given funny looks by her peers growing up but in the end  she had the last laugh. As I sat in that audience, I witnessed the power of music. I saw how there was no boundary in language but it was through the love and power of music that people of different races were able to enjoy one magical night. I have a feeling that this will not be the last that JPop and Anisong Star LiSA will be performing here – there might be more acts to come – who knows?


Ica Hontiveros-Cheng

Half of PCheng Photography. I write about music, events, movies, books and TV shows all on my spare time. My day job in the BPO industry pays the bills, while writing keeps the mind sharp.