MIKU EXPO Shanghai: Echoes of Thunder

Event organizers for MIKU EXPO revealed last month that the Shanghai leg of the concert and exhibition series will be held on June 27 and 28 at the Fengyun E-Sports Arena, with a daytime (13:00—15:00) and nighttime (19:00—21:00) concert per day as well as access to an exhibition area for ticket holders. All tickets available through official channels sold out at lightning speed. Organizers also held a press conference on June 11 revealing new merchandise, such as a PlayStation 4 panel engraved with MIKU EXPO artwork. Apparently the final concert will also be streamed for free through video website iQIYI.

The Reveal

The latest rumors spread out on the evening of May 18 about the next stop of MIKU EXPO being held at Shanghai, with a page on SCLA (China Shanghai Character License Administrative Company, Ltd.)’s website. This company is also responsible for the licensing of a few other Japanese properties, such as Chibi Maruko-chan, Inu Yasha and Detective Conan. Rumors were confirmed the following day by the addition of a Shanghai page to the MIKU EXPO website. There was also a previous rumor from the end of March which essentially also pinpointed the venue (albeit the post stated it was tentative), day of week and format.

Official details came on May 30 in the form of an official post on Weibo. The concert and exhibition would be held on June 27 and 28 at the Fengyun E-Sports Arena, a facility used for e-gaming tournaments and located next door to where the World Expo was held in 2010. The schedule is the same for both days. A morning session starts with exhibition entry at 9:30, concert entry at noon, the concert from 13:00–15:00 and closing at 15:30. The evening session starts with exhibition entry 16:30, concert entry at 18:00, the concert from 19:00-21:00 and closing at 22:30. A ticket is required to attend any of the sessions, with different ticket tiers based on seating area—SS (1380 CNY) for the best seats, S (880 CNY) for further back and A (580 CNY) for the sides. SS ticket holders will also receive a free T-shirt upon entry.

The main sponsor for the event is PlayStation, and other sponsors include Suzuki China, Good Smile Company and D2C. Main organizers include Shanghai International Culture Association and of course SCLA. Licensing was done through Crypton and SCLA.

The Tickets

On June 2, a post on the official Weibo indicated that tickets would be sold in two batches, with one batch at 19:00 on June 4 and a second batch at 9:00 on June 5. A later post revealed that the first batch would consist of SS tickets being sold through SCLA’s official Taobao shop, whereas the second batch would be S/A tickets sold through both Taobao and online ticket retailer Damai.

On June 4, SS tickets went on sale, with a couple hundred tickets per concert for domestic buyers and five tickets per concert on the international buyers. Both sides sold out within minutes, although due to either nonpayment or buyers not actually residing outside of China, there were only twelve SS tickets sold successfully to international buyers.

The next morning, the S and A tickets went on sale through both Taobao (domestic/international) and Damai (domestic/international), with tickets again gone within minutes.

Later that day, the official Weibo account announced a “miaosha” (literally killing within seconds) sale for tickets that were deemed to be invalid due to either nonpayment or people mistakenly buying the international tickets. Weibo users also suspected some of these tickets were invalidated because they were sold to scalpers. Starting at 19:00 on June 10, 325 tickets (of which 130 were for SS tickets for the Saturday evening session) went on sale, and they were gone instantly as well. This process was aimed at domestic buyers, since in order to complete the miaosha process, buyers had to predesignate a shipping address in China as well as answer a Chinese captcha.

A sample of the captcha used during the miaosha sale.  The buyer is asked to write in Chinese four of the characters in the sentence.
A sample of the captcha used during the miaosha sale. The buyer is asked to type in four of the Chinese characters.

All told, roughly 3000 tickets were sold through Taobao, and a good number of tickets were sold through Damai as well (Taobao publicizes all transactions on the item’s webpage whereas Damai doesn’t).

The Press

The event organizers also held a press conference on June 11 at the Villa Eight Ballroom in the Radisson Blu Plaza Xingguo Hotel Shanghai. In addition to the organizers, attendees also included members of the Consulate-General of Japan at Shanghai, Japan-China Economic Association, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Shanghai’s audio-visual industry association and Beijing Qiyi World Technology Limited (company responsible for iQIYI). At the conference, Crypton CEO Itoh Hiroyuki mentioned it’s been eight years [sic] since Hatsune Miku’s debut, and up to now there’s been approximately more than 100,000 original songs and a million illustrations, something that a real-life idol would have difficulty attaining. He also said that just like Miku’s fans, he’s very much looking forward to the upcoming concert.

Furthermore, the post about the press conference revealed details about PlayStation’s collaboration with MIKU EXPO. Starting June 21 (with preorders starting June 12), customers who purchase a white PS4 at Sony’s Huaihai Road store for 2899 CNY will receive a specially engraved MIKU EXPO-themed PS4 panel along with an A tier concert ticket, limited to the first 100. There will also be a limited stock of 100 MIKU EXPO T-shirts for people who purchase 1299 CNY white Vitas. Finally, the Sony representative mentioned the May release of MitchieM’s Greatest Idol album in China.

Lastly, video website iQIYI announced that it will be live streaming the final concert over the net for free.

The Lead-up

Starting around June 15, tickets started getting mailed out to people who requested delivery. However, due to rain storms in the area as well as the unexpected large volume of tickets to be processed, it wasn’t until the 24th of June before tickets finished shipping out, leading to a lot of complaining from ticket buyers on tight schedules. Of course, tickets from the batch given to Damai were easily picked up at their retail outlets, although people have claimed in comments that Damai did not receive any tickets for the front several rows in section S1, whereas fans were earlier promised better seating given to people who completed their purchase faster.

In addition to general ticket sales, organizers also allotted tickets for special collaboration events, such as the PS4. On the first day, the store received so many phone calls for preorders that they forced people to personally visit the store and pay in cash the preorder amount in order to secure one of the special Miku PS4 sets. A certain Japanese fan flew in to Shanghai the following day, but unfortunately arrived too late to snag a preorder, as they ran out earlier in the day.

PlayStation China also held a coloring contest where the winner would receive a pair of SS tickets to the concert. They received many entries, with the winner finally chosen a few days ago. Meanwhile, streaming service iQIYI also had a bunch of tickets to give away as well.

Not to be outdone in the festivities, Crypton announced a talk by CEO Hiroyuki Itoh, to be held at the Marriott located near the concert/exhibition venue. Attendance was limited to 100 people, drawn from people who filled out a questionnaire. The lottery results were announced recently.

As the tickets were sent out, the official Weibo started posting sneak peeks at the merchandise available at the venue, starting with Hatsune Miku-branded light sticks, towels, and clear files. More recently, the official website has been updated with a map and overview of the exhibition area as well as a list of official concert goods. In addition to these goods, goods will also be available from PlayStation, Good Smile Company and Animate.

Lastly, the official Weibo detailed how ticketing and entry would work. Basically, there are a total of four sessions—each session requires its own ticket and has its own exhibition and concert. Once you enter the exhibition area, you cannot leave and re-enter. Furthermore, you cannot enter the concert area once the concert has started. A bag check will be done upon entering the exhibition area and large bags are not recommended.

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