It was with great energy and wonderful camaraderie that the Philippine-Japan Friendship Month was celebrated last July 19 with the 2014 J-Pop Anime Sing and Dance Contest. Held at the SM Mall of Asia Centerstage, the event saw 10 finalists sing their hearts out for Japanese culture. This year also marked a new category for the contest, the dance category, which featured five groups of young, talented performers.
Winning first place for the Singing Category was the trio Hi-Ka-Ri* with their acoustic cover of “Ren Ai Shashin.” Second place went to Mitch Arceo with her heartfelt rendering of “Aitakute Ima,” while Tigerlily, who sang “Ai no Kakera,” was third place. Special awards were also given to other participants, like Bandai’s Best Award to the all-girls vocal group Seiza, Hero’s Choice Award to Vinar Takumi, and Toei’s Choice Award to Shaira Maine Gonzales and Tigerlily.
For the dance category, first place went to the highly energetic Junior New System, who danced to an all-time Filipino favorite, “Voltes V no Uta.” Second place went to Team Mars who turned and jumped to a mix of Japanese Hip-Hop music. Hero TV also gave their Hero’s Choice Award to Team KMB Reverse for their creative performance.
The program also included a performance by the Japanese embassy’s very own No Plan Band, who sang three anime songs amid
cheers and claps from the audience. There was also a special performance and photo opportunity with Doraemon and his friends on stage. His Excellency Toshinao Urabe, ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, graced the event and gave the closing remarks.