Chikagei 101 Part 1: Intro to Chikagei

Welcome to the first entry in a series called Chikagei 101: where we break down the most common song-specific audience interaction moves you are likely to encounter at anikura events.

What is Chikagei?

Chikagei (地下芸) is a colloquial portmanteau of the words chika (地下) meaning ‘underground’ and wotagei* (ヲタ芸), referring to the synchronized chants, cheers, and movements of fans of idol culture.   Thus, chikagei refers to underground or alternative variations of coordinated audience cheers and movements that would be seen at a typical idol concert, and form the foundation of crowd interaction at anikura events.  Often times, these moves require much more space than you would be given at a concert and are generally far more energetic and rowdy, making them much more appropriate for a club setting.

Obviously, depending on the size of the venue, some chikagei moves may not be appropriate.  That being said, larger venues are secured occasionally for the explicit purpose of enabling and encouraging wild and crazy chikagei moves that take up a ton of space.  A good rule of thumb is to read and follow the crowd: after all, a lot of these moves only work when the majority of the room is willing and ready to participate!

As an example, one of the most popular and well-known chikagei moves is shown below: the move is called Namaste Snake (ナマステスネーク) and is performed prinicpally at the chrous of the song Rising Hope by LiSA: the first OP of The Irregular at Magic High School.

As a disclaimer, chikagei moves are extremely ephemeral and evolve over time quickly.  Thus, we will try to provide updates to existing moves as necessary.

The following is a short list of songs and their respective chikagei maneuvers to kick off Chikagei 101!

Song: DAYS of DASH

Artist: Konomi Suzuki (鈴木このみ)

Anime: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou (さくら荘のペットな彼女)

Chikagei: Running

One of the oldest, simplest, and most intuitive examples of a staple chikagei move that nonetheless never fails to be hype: all you really need to do is start running at the top of the chorus with the lyric “Days of DASH” drops and don’t let up until the end of the chorus.

The most common variation is to have people line up as if competing in a relay – others will occasionally set up a piece of string or similar material to act as a finish line ribbon to dash towards.  In venues where there is limited space, people may dash the length of the room, then turn around and dash back and repeat until the end of the chorus.  In rare cases when there is even more limited space, people may simply jog in place.

Song: Maware! Setsugetsuka (回レ!雪月)

Artist: Hitomi Harada (原田 ひとみ), Ai Kayano (茅野 愛衣), and Yui Ogura (小倉 唯 )

Anime: Unbreakable Machine-Doll (機巧少女〈マシンドール〉は傷つかない)

Chikagei: Maware (Form a giant circle with linked arms and spin the circle)

Another classic, intuitive staple, at least once you know that maware (回れ)  can translate to “go around”.  Simply put, link arms with everyone, forming a gigantic circle with the crowd in the lead up to the chorus and and soon as the chorus hits, start spinning the circle by sidestepping along with the crowd.  Some people also like to sprint around the inner rim of the circle, while others prefer rolling along the ground like a log.

Song: Rage on

Artist: OLDCODEX

Anime: Free!

Chikagei: Swimming

Another fairly intuitive entry: simply lay on the floor during the lead up to the chorus and start dragging your body across the floor once the chorus hits.  Requires plenty of room and may be painful if done incorrectly (e.g. on carpeted floors), though mimicking a backstroke instead of a front crawl may help mitigate the pain.

Song: HAPPY PARTY TRAIN

Artist: Aqours

Anime: Love Live! Sunshine!!

Chikagei: Human train

During the chorus, simply line up in a human train formation and start running: once again, simple and intuitive.  One occasionally seen variation is to perform the human train in the lead up to the chorus, then stop and simply thunder snake during the chorus.

Song: Aozora no Rhapsody (青空のラプソディ)

Artist: Fhána

Anime: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (小林さんちのメイドラゴン)

Chikagei: MV dance

More complicated than the previous examples, but no less intuitive, conceptually: simply perform Towana’s iconic dance moves seen during the chorus of the song’s official music video below.    The dance itself is not terribly difficult to learn and is a lot of fun.

Note that the dance during the final chorus is slightly modified, but it’s rare to hear more than the first chorus of any given song during an anikura event.

Song: Tottoko no Uta (ハム太郎とっとこうた) 

Artist: Hamuchanzu

Anime: Tottoko Hamtarou  (とっとこハム太郎)

Chikagei: Hamtaro Circle Pit

Similar to the maware chikagei above, since the dominant motif in the Hamtaro opening is going round-and-round in a hamster wheel, the crowd will form up into a circular train formation and simply run around for the duration of the song.  The calls that accompany the circle pit may be found  in a call guide below and are derived from calls traditionally used at idol lives*.

Tottoko no Uta (ハム太郎とっとこうた)

Call guide (romanized lyrics, calls in parentheses)

Tottoko hashiru yo hamutaro
sumikko hashiru yo hamutaro
daisuki na no wa (HAI SE NO)
himawari no tane (ORE MO)
yappari hashiru yo hamutaro (TAIGA FAIYA SAIBA FAIBA DAIBA BAIBA JYA JYA)
Tottoko mawaru yo hamutaro
kassha wo mawaru yo hamutaro
daisuki na no wa (HAI SE NO)
himawari no tane (ORE MO)
mawaru to ureshii hamutaro  (TORA HI JINZO SENI AMA SHINDO KA-SEN)
Tottoko nemuru yo hamutaro
dokodemo nemuru yo hamutaro
daisuki na no wa (HAI SE NO)
himawari no tane (ORE MO)
yappari nemuru yo hamutaro (CHAPE APE KARA KINA RARA TUSUKE MYOHONTUSUKE)

*For more information on wotagei and idol calls, see:

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2 thoughts on “Chikagei 101 Part 1: Intro to Chikagei

  1. Pingback: Anikura 101

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