What is Thunder Snake?
Thunder snake (サンダースネーク) is the core chikagei move for anikura events: when the chorus hits, unless there is a song-specific, alternative routine, the crowd will typically perform thunder snake as opposed to traditional calls or chants that you would find at a concert.
Other moves such as Muramasa (ムラマサ) or Ameterasu (アマテラス) are typically performed at the second and third chrous, respectively, but since DJs transition songs after the first chorus, you will find that thunder snake dominates the anikura scene by a considerable margin.
A very clear frontal shot of a crowd performing thunder snake is shown at 0:42 in the clip below. At 0:54, the move known as thunder snake ends and the crowd transitions into a follow up move called romance (ロマンス).
Learning Thunder Snake (and Romance)
The moves that make up thunder snake are not particularly difficult to learn and pull off, especially so at anikura events where form is not as important and freedom reigns. The easiest way to learn is via watching a video – there are many variations of thunder snake, but the most common variant performed at anikura events is shown below.
fly away t.p.s by Sayaka Sasaki
The hardest and most important part of thunder snake is the timing. Around 0:15 in the clip above, thunder snake transitions into romance: the most important timing beat to hit is to match this transition point with the beginning of the second half of the chorus. Essentially, the entirety of thunder snake should be timed such that it ends exactly at the halfway point of the chorus.
There are other timing beats to match throughout thunder snake to pull it off in the most “correct” fashion, but for those just starting out, this is the most critical timing to hit: the rest will come with practice.
To illustrate this, the romanized lyrics of the first chrous of fly away t.p.s are listed below. Note the clean break between the two halves of the chorus.
*amagake te hashiru sengoku no (begin thunder snake)
jikuu no hate ni aku wa kizami
yobisamasu kokonotsu mina kioku
hito wa yasashi sugi te* (end thunder snake)
*hana no inochi wa mijikaku tomo (begin romance)
utsukushiku kagayaki chiritai
jigen no kabe o koete sakebu
kono koe ga todoku made
BREAKING TO THE SKY
There are obviously plenty of songs that do not follow this pattern, in which case, as mentioned, there may be an alternative move or string of moves for the chorus. The only way to truly get a feel for thunder snake is to practice again and again to different songs with varying tempos and try to match the crowd.
For an extreme, illustrative example, the following is thunder snake performed to SHINY DAYS the opening of Yuru Camp, and is slowed down according to the comparatively slow tempo of the song.
SHINY DAYS by Asaka, Yuru Camp
You may have noticed that not everyone is in sync, thus illustrating the difficulty of timing thunder snake properly. Keep in mind that, in the end, anikura is still just a crowd enjoying themselves at a club, so the level of scrutiny is low.
The version of thunder snake seen at anikura events differs from what is probably the more well-known version performed with glowsticks. The following video is an example of what is known as a waza (技) wotagei (ヲタ芸) routine: thunder snake and romance are performed at 3:29.
No Brand Girls by μ’s, Love Live!
Comparing the two categories, there are several key differences:
- Four 360° arm turns (waza) instead of two at the beginning of thunder snake
- The romance swings alternate in a 2/2→3/2→3/2… pattern (waza), instead of 2/2→3/2→1/2→1/2…