HomeMusicLIVE REVIEW | Budokan Gets Schooled at Fiery Atarashii Gakko! Spectacle

LIVE REVIEW | Budokan Gets Schooled at Fiery Atarashii Gakko! Spectacle

LIVE REVIEW | Budokan Gets Schooled at Fiery Atarashii Gakko! Spectacle

Budokan is a hollowed ground for sports and concerts. Succeed there, and you’re considered not just one of the best in the country, but also the world. On January 9th, Atarashii Gakko! (or Atarashii Gakko no Leaders, as they’re called in Japan) took this opportunity to show their fans how much they’ve grown since they began in 2015, with a performance that demonstrated their skills at singing, dancing, rapping, and — on one occasion — even the DJ booth. The result: a show that cemented Kanon, Mizyu, Rin, and Suzuka as true legends worthy of that Budokan stage.

The sounds of Beastie Boys, N.W.A., and House of Pain blared as the sold-out crowd filled the venue. Budokan’s rafters held a smorgasbord of people, ranging from kids as young as three dressed as their favorite member to even senior citizens. (This reporter sat next to two women in their sixties, who held paper fans of Mizyu and Suzuka.) When the lights went out, the crowd went wild, as warning messages, sirens, and flames filled the air.

Atarashii Gakko! emerged to the screams of their fans, as they sported their Kohaku Uta Gassen garb and “Tokyo Calling” hitting the speakers. With that one song alone, the quartet already completed the most daunting task of all: conquering every inch of the Budokan stage. Via the club-hopping “GIRI GIRI”, the new matsuri-worthy song “Toryanse”, and the wild “Pineapple Kryptonite” remix (with extra motorcycle revving from Mizyu’s pigtails), the four women showcased the raw energy that has made them one of the most unique acts currently in Japan.

Suzuka grabbed a megaphone for “Shiken Zenya” and circled the stage with Roger Waters-like intimidation, as the others danced behind the screen. Switching to their trademark uniforms, Atarashii Gakko! got playful with “Toumei Boy” and “Koi Geba” as their unique choreography brought out the spirit of school life positivity. A much-needed breather for the women came in the form of “Shiritai”, one of the more humorous songs of the night. Rin soon got her moment to shine, as she showed off her top-tier DJ skills whilst the others got the crowd chanting.

Their power was on full throttle during a medley of “Freaks”, “Nai Nai Nai”, and “Fantastico”. They soon returned to the original “Pineapple Kryptonite”, with both Kanon and Mizyu showing how haunting their vocals can be. Brooklyn vibes took over with a rendition of Beastie Boys’s “Intergalactic”, as Suzuka rapped both in Japanese and English with perfection. The main set came to end with “Janaidayo”, the PlayStation-exclusive “BORN TO BE FREE!!!!”, and “Seishun wo Kirisaku Hado”. As usual, Suzuka flung her uwabaki shoe high into the air during the latter, this time managing to hit the ceiling of Budokan. I’m not sure how many other artists have managed to touch the literal top of the legendary venue, but Atarashii Gakko! might be in a small company that have achieved such a thing!

“Otona Blue” blared at the start of the encore, with the entire audience mimicking the simple-yet-cool dance that goes with the song. “Que Sera Sera” had Atarashii Gakko! at their own mic stands, as they revolved to get a good look at their audience. Before concluding, Suzuka announced a new official fan club and a short May tour for those who sign up. She also spoke passionately about how much this night meant to her and the others, with her, Rin, Mizyu, and Kanon embracing lovingly. The night ended with “Mayoeaba Toutoshi”, a song that had the right amount of energy and spirit to close out a wild and heartfelt show.

Where last October’s Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium show demonstrated more of the spectacle side of the band, this show was all about what Atarashii Gakko! can do when it’s just the four of them. Powerful vocals, impeccable choreography, and a never-ending supply of energy are what made their Budokan debut a smashing success. 2023 may have been the breakthrough year for Atarashii Gakko!, but their first gig in 2024 showed that they’re just getting started. Perhaps in a year’s time, Tokyo Dome will be calling for some Seishun power…


Tokyo Calling
Toryanse (NEW SONG)
Pineapple Kryptonite (Yohji Igarashi Remix)
Shiken Zenya
Sekigae Gattsuo
Tomei Boy
Koi Geba
Nai Nai Nai
Pineapple Kryptonite
Intergalactic (Beastie Boys cover)
Saishu Jinrui
Seishun wo Kirisaku Hado


Otona Blue
Que Sera Sera
Mayoeaba Toutoshi

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)