ANN/THE STAR – Japanese conductor Naohisa Furusawa was very busy last weekend as conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO). DFO has two resident conductors, Naohisa and Gerard Salonga, and the former was at the forefront of the recently concluded Symphonic Anime series of shows.
What started as a one-night show last Saturday grew into four, with the addition of performances. All shows are sold out. More than 3,600 people attended the four shows at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) in Kuala Lumpur.
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For DFO, this isn’t the first time that orchestral performances featuring popular Japanese anime soundtracks and theme songs have sold out.
Although it may surprise some to learn this, Toyko-born Naohisa had no doubts about the reception of the show. “It was no surprise to me because all of our past anime concerts have sold out before, and I want to thank all of our anime music fans for their support over the years,” he said. declared.
Naohisa had experienced this before when he officially became MPO’s Resident Conductor in 2016 with A Musical Journey In Anime which sold out for four nights and most recently in March this year with Totoro Goes To The Carnival. Both shows featured the music of renowned Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi and his music for Studio Ghibli film productions.
And there is, no doubt, still a thirst for the music from the Studio Ghibli films that take up most of the performance in the latest Symphonic Anime show.
There was music from many popular anime titles including Princess Mononoke, Gake No Ue No Ponyo, Spirited Away, Laputa, and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
It has also featured music from Grave Of The Fireflies, One Piece, Naruto Shipudden, Attack On Titan: Guren no Yumiya, and rather surprisingly, Ultraseven. If you’re familiar with Japanese pop culture, you’ll know Ultraman which doesn’t fall under the anime category since it’s a live-action series – Ultraseven is part of an early incarnation of the Japanese television series which has made its debut in 1967.
“When I was growing up in Japan, I read a lot of manga and watched anime. I’m a big anime fan and especially enjoyed the work of Fujiko F Fujio, who created Doraemon.
Apart from that, there are also many other wonderful works that I love.
“Although the Ultraman series is not an anime, I watched a lot of it growing up and for this reason, I decided to perform songs from Ultraseven for the Symphonic Anime concert,” Naohisa explained. As for how the music was selected for the concert, the conductor revealed, “It was a decision made by myself and suggestions from the DFO management team.
“As a result, we’ve been combining our ideas and making tough decisions about which jobs to play and which to keep for maybe next year.”