Cosplay photo

Beat Down Boogie shows off PAX East '15's cosplays and games

It's about to get groovy in here
Mar 13
// Salvador GRodiles
For a good while, I've been interested in attending one of the PAX conventions. Unfortunately, there were a few life-related events that prevented me from traveling to these events. Once again, Beat Down Boogie does another ...
Anime Matsuri photo
Anime Matsuri

Anna Tsuchiya to perform at Anime Matsuri 2015

And many more guests at Houston's best anime convention
Mar 01
// Red Veron
Anime Matsuri is a favorite anime convention here at Japanator and we're going to be there for this year's upcoming festivities in the heart of Houston. This year's main music act for Anime Matsuri is the very talented Anna T...
Cosplay photo

Feast your eyes on Beat Down Boogie's amazing Katsucon '15 cosplay videos

Prepare to be amazed!
Feb 27
// Salvador GRodiles
Aw man, it's a good while since I attended a con. Let's just say that my schedule hasn't been open to partake in these events. Luckily, the gang at Beat Down Boogie have done not one but two videos that showcase Katsucon 201...
Sakura-Con photo

Aw snap, Sakura-Con '15 gets a series of BlazBlue events

BlazBlue fans might be in for a good time
Feb 25
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be a little late to the party, but I felt that this announcement was worth sharing around here. Anyway, the gang at Arc System Works and Strangely Compelling Media (BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend's localization, Phant...
Hayamin QA photo
Hayamin QA

Otakon '14: Saori Hayami interview

Quick Q&A with a prolific seiyuu
Aug 24
// Jeff Chuang
At Otakon 2014 Japanator was fortunate enough to grab a few minutes with one of the most prolific voice actresses in otaku anime and games of the past several years. Saori Hayami appeared at the con on behalf of Aniplex and h...

Otakon '14: Cosplay

Aug 13 // Jeff Chuang
[embed]32952:4100:0[/embed] [Special thanks to Dr. N]
Otakon '14 Cosplay photo
Loving it live
Otakon 2014 flew by last weekend, in usual form, cramming way more content than what one can expect within a simple weekend. The cosplayers are out and baffling the crowd. The local baseball program even talked about it, and ...

Otakon '14 photo
Otakon '14

Otakon 2014 charms Baltimore this weekend

Yoshiki, ALTIMA, Katabuchi, CIA, Hayami, Sailor Mooooooon
Aug 07
// Jeff Chuang
The biggest East Coast anime con, Otakon, happens this weekend. It'll be, for once, not deathly hot and humid in the Baltimore Inner Harbor, perhaps, but the weather wasn't ever going to stop anyone. As per usual a lot of gue...
Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Aw snap, Viz is hosting a Sailor Moon event at Otakon

In the name of the moon, Sailor Moon Day returns
Aug 05
// Salvador GRodiles
Yikes! I almost forgot that Otakon's happening this weekend. Anyway, if you're planning to attend the con, Viz is having another Sailor Moon Day event, which happens to be almost similar to the one from Anime Expo '14. This t...
Power Morphicon '14 photo
Power Morphicon '14

Huzzah! Three Zyuranger actors are attending Power Morphicon '14

Super Sentai's invading Power Morphicon!
Jul 21
// Salvador GRodiles
Alright, people; it's time to pull out your Morph... er, I mean Dino Bucklers, because Yuuta Mochizuki's (Geki/Tyranno Ranger from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger) attending Power Morphicon 2014! Aside from the original T-Rex-th...
Japan Expo USA photo
Japan Expo USA

Rejoice! Urobuchi to attend Japan Expo USA

Urobutcher returns to the U.S.
Jul 11
// Salvador GRodiles
Are you sad that you didn't get to meet Urobuchi at Anime Expo 2014? Well, now you're in luck, because Gen the Butcher's attending Japan Expo USA. Not only that, you'll also get the opportunity to get the guy's autograph whil...

AX '14: Cosplays

Jul 09 // Jeff Chuang
AX Cosplays photo
Including some esteemed guests!
It's really amazing how Anime Expo continues to be one of the most diverse cons when it comes to cosplaying things from anime and manga. For those of us canvassing the whole thing, note that while the count of Homestucks have...

AX 2014 photo
AX 2014

Anime Expo 2014 is going on now

Kill la Kill tour continues, other major premieres
Jul 03
// Jeff Chuang
Anime Expo is upon us again this July 4th weekend. We'll try to bring the latest announcements there to you, and other important coverages from downtown Los Angeles. The list of guests at Anime Expo is long and impressing as ...
JoJo photo

Surprise: JoJo: Stardust Crusaders' English Dub to stream on Crunchyroll

In which Crunchyroll catches us off guard
Jun 24
// Salvador GRodiles
I don't know if this announcement is a figment of my imagination or not, but Crunchyroll's planning to stream three episodes of Stardust Crusaders' English dub on July 5th. If you're going to Anime Expo 2014, there's going to...
Viz Media photo
Viz Media

Rejoice: Viz reveals their plans for Anime Expo '14

Sailor Moon fans are in for some good news
Jun 18
// Salvador GRodiles
It was a glorious day when Viz Media announced that they licensed Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal. Now Viz’s planning an event for Anime Expo 2014 that’ll please Sailor Moon, Gargantia's fans. During the ...

Anime Next '14: Studio Trigger

Jun 16 // Jeff Chuang
1. During the [Kill la Kill] panel, you showed many different designs for Ryuuko from different designers. What was the process that took you to the final designs? Hiromi Wakabayshi (Wakabayashi): Before Ryuuko's design was 100% finalized, we had to begin the animation production for the first episode because we didn't have enough time. It was a scheduling issue. As the animators were drawing the first episode they were also refining the design as they went. The reason why it took forever it was because the character designer Sushio was a hardcore animator, we wanted the design to look comfortable in the style that he animates. 2. Why was Little Witch Academia crowdfunded through Kickstarter? What was the reaction from people in the studio? [Trigger PR and interpreter] Tatsuru Tatemoto: Kickstarter was my side of things. We uploaded Little Witch Academia episode 1 on Youtube and had about 800,000 views. About 60-70% of the viewers were Japanese but most comments on the video were in English. Many of the comments were about being unable to give us money or asking us to try Kickstarter or crowdfunding. I looked it up and asked my boss if we can try Kickstarter. He is an easy-going guy and agreed to try it out. That was why we started doing it. Wakabayashi: We were surprised at the amount of support and funds we received on Kickstarter. We were expecting to reach the goal in 30 days but we reached it in 4-5 hours. We were shocked. 3. Can you tell us about Ninja Slayer's staff? Wakabayashi: We can't announce the creative staff yet, but it will be from our studio. 4. Trigger's animation is a blend of 3D animation and 2D animation. Which do you prefer? Wakabayashi: We don't have a preference. If you watch our previous works like Panty & Stocking, we don't use 3D like a CG cut. We use 3D like an individual animator. There are scenes where 3D works better, such as scenes when camera angles switch vigorously. It's hard to do those scenes in analog animation. Since we treat the 3D portion like an animator I guess we prefer 2D animation. 5. What's different between Gainax and Trigger? Wakabayashi: We were all part of Gainax previously. It's just the Gurren Lagann and Panty & Stocking team went independent. As a result we still have the Gainax ideals within our studio as well. 6. The way Kill la Kill ended, was that something the team decided on towards the end after working on the show? Wakabayashi: We have our ending from the beginning. We didn't have an alternate ending in mind. We were pretty solid with the happy kind of a feeling, a high school girl graduating out of her uniform was the idea we had from since the beginning. 7. Why did you guys go independent from Gainax? Shigeto Koyama (Koyama): I'm technically not part of Trigger. I believe Trigger wanted to do everything by themselves. When we were doing Gurren Lagann at Gainax we were still considered as young animators. The Imaishi team felt like they should take responsibility for their own works so they went independent. 8. Who are some of the other animators that influenced you or mentored you? Koyama: I started out in Gainax so those animators. Particularly there's strong influence from Kazuya Tusurmaki, who is now working on the new Eva movies. And also Yoshiyuki Sadamoto in terms of design. Wakabayashi: I'm not a designer by default but for being able to tell good design, I was influenced by Koyama, Atsushi Nishigori and Hiroyuki Imaishi. 9. What was your thought process about creating powerful female characters? Studio Trigger has a lot of these. Wakabayashi: All the creative staff are masochists. We like to be dominated. (Everyone laughs.) Koyama: Director Imaishi loves strong women. Yeah, we are attracted to strong females and we think they are cool. 10. What are some new productions you are looking forward to? Wakabayashi: I can't say what it is, but I'm looking forward to Imaishi's next big project we're working on. And another big project from another director I can't name. Sorry I can't say what they are. Our next TV series is from a light novel and it's the first time for us doing an adaptation. It's called Inou-Battle. I personally also look forward to that. 11. You mentioned previously that many of the characters in Kill la Kill are designed inspired by toys. Are Ryuuko and Satsuki designed based on toys? And which ones? Wakabayashi: I don't think either of them are based on a toy, but the Elite Four and DTR are influenced by toys... Koyama: Mikisugi? Not really. But Gamagori and Tsumugu are definitely inspired by muscle-bound-type toys. We took ideas from Marvel toys, with bulky back and arms, like the Marvel Legends series of toys. 12. For Ninja Slayers, do you plan to keep the mythology of the authors in the adaptation? Wakabayashi: I personally think we should put them in the front lines. Maybe they are shy, I don't know! 13. How did you come up with the assembly sequence in Captain Earth starting with the rocket launch? Koyama: It was screenwriter Yoji Enokido's idea. In Japan, there are many different genres of robot anime. Recently there hasn't been a lot of "gattai" robots shows, so we decided to make something like that. Enokido explained that realistically with today's technology, it's hard to shuttle out a heavy object to outer space, so why not have the big parts already in space and combine them in space? That was the idea. We have a split between Earth's surface and things in space. We try to make things realistic on earth, but once we go into space we make it more fantastic. 14. How do you come up with the ideas for your anime? Wakabayashi: I believe everyone comes up with the ideas, we gather them and put it together. It's also case by case and it's up to the project. The director usually is in charge, and people like us would add to the ideas director came up with. We can try to make it more marketable and professional, refined. Also we need to see if the idea can be completed through the end of the production. Koyama: I work with a lot of different studios. Trigger is distinct from other studios and people like us would stir up ideas and dick around in the meeting to get people to come up with different ideas. 15. Can you talk about the symbolism in works like Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill? Is there an Amateresu reference in Kill la Kill? How about the fascism? Wakabayashi: In Kill la Kill, we didn't intend an Amateresu reference. But yes there is some fascism themes, reference to Germany, etc. For Gurren Lagann, it's more about Imaishi and Nakashima who grew up with the stuff, the old robot and shounen stories. For Nakashima, he is not just a script writer, but he worked as a shounen manga editor in the 70s, 80s and 90s. He's been working on shounen manga all his life and there are a lot of shounen manga references in his works. [And that's a wrap! Special thanks to interpreter Tatsuru Tatemoto and Anime Next. Also thanks to Ani-Gamers, Anime Next and Kingdom Heart World Podcast for the questions!]
Studio Trigger photo
With Hiromi Wakabayashi & Koyama Shigeto
At Anime Next 2014, the "Creative Officer" and "Creative Director" of Kill la Kill, Shigeto Koyama and Hiromi Wakabayashi, respectively, did some show-and-tell for the crowd. Their Saturday panel on Kill la Kill was not ...

Macross photo

MacrossWorld Con returns this Fall

I gotta make my way to out this!
Jun 11
// Hiroko Yamamura
The longtime Macross fansite, MacrossWorld continues its convention tradition this Fall, on October 4th from 12:00 - 6:00 at the Torrance Cultural Center in California. The obviously Macross focused convention is set to featu...

Anime Next '14: Cosplay

Jun 09 // Jeff Chuang
Cosplay photo
The Pool is open for business
Anime Next 2014 in Somerset, New Jersey, spotted some terrific weather. It was almost nicer outdoors than indoors because the air conditioning was having problems on Saturday at the Doubletree Hotel, where many of the panels ...

Anime Next photo
Anime Next

Anime Next brings Rookies and Luna to East Coast burbs

This weekend, catch the soul of Studio Trigger
Jun 05
// Jeff Chuang
Anime Next 2014 is this weekend, out in central New Jersey. This mid-size anime convention is pretty neat in that recently it has consistently pulled in some star power with solid musical acts, idols, and some really hip anim...
ANorth: Cosplay photo
ANorth: Cosplay

Anime North '14: Cosplay

Every con is going to have a bancho Mako this year huh
May 29
// Jeff Chuang
Anime North 2014 is one huge con this year, and the convention's parking lot proved to be a nice gathering place for all kinds of cosplayers. The sun beat down hard during Saturday's prime hours, but many persevered nonethele...

ACEN '14: Wake Up, Girls!

May 21 // Jeff Chuang
[The press panel was well attended, but it started late. Arriving first were Takeuchi and Yamamoto, who fielded some questions while we waited on the WUG.] Q. [To Hiroaki Takeuchi and Yutaka Yamamoto] What kind of things you watched as kids inspired you as creators now? Yamamoto: Hayao Miyazaki's works. And even before that, I read Fujiko Fujio's manga and wanted to become a manga artist at first. And there are a lot of other things that influenced me, obviously, but there's too many to name. Takeuchi: I used to work for Shueisha to produce Shounen Jump. I watched Tezuka's Astro Boy, and it was shocking, this was when I was young. I also watched Miyazaki's works, and it was shocking, again. In the '80s I watched Otomo's Akira, that that was my second shocking work that I watched. I was also very shocked by watching Oshii's Ghost in the Shell. Q: Can you tell us about the history of Studio Ordet and your future plans for the studio? Yamamoto: I established the company so I can keep a consistent staff. That's the main reason, but I don't have any specific future plans for the company. Takeuchi: Studio Ordet was created four years ago. I've produced anime for 20 years and have my own CG and animation studios. I helped create 5-6 studios in Japan. About five or six years ago I met director Yamamoto and I think he is talented. He can control many aspects of a production, from writing anime to directing live action, he can do choreography and produce music and much more. I wanted to work with him and produce his new anime. We want to produce anime and change the style of anime all over the world. This is why we created WUG. Takeuchi: WUG is special because we produced the animation and idols at the same time. The actual voice actresses appear as idols on stage. At the time there wasn't anything like this in Japan, so together we wanted to produce and develop these kinds of new style of anime, where we can work on not just the anime but also the music and live aspects. Our studio will work on these new styles of animation. Q: When creating the Wake Up Girls, did you get inspiration from AKB48 or Idolm@ster? Yamamoto: Of course I did study and watch these idol anime and real idols. I use them as a reference point so I can establish my own vision of the idols that I want to create. Q: [To Takeuchi] When you begin your careers, were you surprised to find the American market the way it was? Do Japanese creators target the American market in general? Takeuchi: About 20 years ago, I came to Hollywood and met with a lot of Americans directors and writers, and they would think that Japanese comics and animations are very cool. For example when I worked on Animatrix I talked to the Wachowski directors and they would say that their work was inspired by anime. There is a lot of positive feedback from US directors and creators. At the time it feels like there's an opportunity to produce something with American creators. These kind of things are big now, but back 20 years ago it was hard to see how things would turn out. Fans of anime/manga are all over the world, so I hope more fans will gather and make good anime and comic. Q. [To the Wake Up Girls] How do you feel about your receptions from American fans? Miyu Takagi [Miyu]: At the live yesterday, everyone is so excited! I feel the energy and everyone's excitement. I liked how no matter what I said or whta happened on stage, everyone had a happy face and laughed at what I said. Nanami Yamashita [Nanami]: When we walk pass people by the hotel or on the street, everyone is so friendly! I also hear Chicago pizza is delicious. (Takeuchi: We'll go have pizza tonight!) Minami Tanaka [Minami]: It's my first time in Chicago. I'm worried about my English, but everyone was very friendly and that made me very happy. Mayu Tanaka [Mayu]: My English is not great but my fans who were listening to me can still understand me and we still can communicate and have a good time. Airi Eino [Airi]: It's my first time oversea and I'm shy so I'm worried about being able to talk to everyone. Still  everyone accepted us warmly and even though I don't speak English much, people tried to listen to me and I am grateful. Kaya Okuno [Kaya]: It's my first time overseas, At the autograph session yesterday people called me Kayatan even tho they aren't from Japan! Even though they're not from Japan they still know my nickname, and I'm happy about that. Yoshino Aoyama [Yoppi]: What surprised me is that everyone here likes anime and a lot of people can speak some Japanese. People saying "arigato" or "konnichiwa" to me made me happy. I wanted to use my English so I would speak in English, and some would speak back in Japanese. Q. Are you similar to the characters in the anime? Yoppi: The characters are made with the same birthday, blood type and given name of each of us. So yeah there are a lot of similarities. Kaya: I play the character Kaya Kikuma, she is tall but I am short. The Kaya character is mature and I think I am like her in that aspect, so there's some similarity. Airi: The hair is different but we both have a mole right there, so they made that similar. Mayu: We have almost the same height and three sizes, and even the same looks. We are both stubborn and argue with the members in real life. In fact the arguing part got put into the anime. So for me there are a lot of similarities. Minami: People say we look the same and have similar personality, and I think so now as well. Nanami: We're both left-handed. There's a scene where she sits down and eat chips. I do the same thing. Miyu: I think we both cry easily, so that's similar. Miyu works at a maid cafe but I have never, although I would like to try some day. Q. Which do you have more fun? Live action or anime? Miyu: I think both are fun. Although for the movie, it used the same dance we did and that was put into the anime. Nanami: I like doing the live. When I record for the anime I don't see the audience as I record. I enjoy having fans in front of me cheering and the atmosphere. I like both but I like the live better. Minami: When I first started out I wanted to be a voice actor, so having to do live shows and dance worried me because I'm not sure if I could. Now I enjoy doing it and it seems I am discovering this side of me as well. Mayu: It's a hard choice. I think I like doing the lives more. It's my dream to become a voice actress so I definitely enjoy that, but having the audience in front for feedback is great. And the live show aspect is unique for WUG. Airi: It's agood question. I do like the anime a lot. The live is in front of the audience and in some way each time we do a live it's a new creation. I also like to dance and it's more me to dance in front of the audience. Kaya: I like the anime. I want to be a seiyuu and doing the recording. I work hard to do the recordings, and if the director or sound director give me feedback, I work on it. When I get to see the result of my work as I  get better. When we do the live we showcase how we can become the characters in the anime, as actresses. In that sense overall I like the anime more. Yoppi: I like the anime. In the anime it's not just us working hard, but also the other voice actors and the animation staff. People I don't even know worked hard on the anime. There are so many people who work hard to make it. There's only this one piece of work created from the effort of everyone. So I like it slightly more. Q. Pick between natto or okomonoyaki Takeuchi: I eat natto everyday when I can, so natto. Yamamoto: I'm from Osaka so I like okonomiyaki, but I ate it too often so I eat natto every day now, too. Miyu: I like these types of food like okonomiyaki, takoyaki, etc. Nanami: Okonomiyaki, because natto is sticky so it's hard to share (Yamakan: sure can share natto...) Minami: Okonomiyaki: Because you can put lots of different vegetables in it and it is nutritious.  Mayu: I'm also from Osaka so I like okonomiyaki and taokoyaki. In fact I have a hot plate so I was thinking of inviting the members for a party where we eat these things. Airi: I like natto, it's a very Japanese (wa) and I can't live without natto for breakfast. I eat it with umeboshi, and it's really good. Kaya: I like okonomiyaki because I like bonito flakes! Yoppi: I like natto. "Rice on the natto is great." It's delicious. [And that is a wrap! Special thanks to ACEN and Crunchyroll for making it possible, and Nana Lee for interpreting.]
WUG! photo
Let's hear it for Hiro, Yamakan and the Wake Up Girls!
Anime Central and Crunchyroll teamed up over the weekend and brought to the USA the anime-idol group Wake Up, Girls! I am more than excited to be able to cover them over the weekend and attend some of their events. Below...

Anime North photo
Anime North

Anime North 2014 is this weekend!

Canada's biggest anime con
May 20
// Jeff Chuang
With Memorial Day weekend upon us, we have three great cons in North America again this coming weekend. Anime North, the biggest anime con in Canada, is offering its usually diverse programming from J-rock acts to live action...
ACEN '14 photo
ACEN '14

ACEN '14: Scenes from opening ceremony

Voice actors, DJs parade
May 20
// Jeff Chuang
Anime Central 2014 opened with a great list of guests. What's actually really unusual is that most of the guests on the roll call showed up at the opening ceremony, which seems like a good omen for a convention weekend given ...

ACEN '14: The Cosplays

May 19 // Jeff Chuang
Cosplays photo
Is that a ship daughter?
Over the weekend, midwest's cosplayers marched out en force at Anime Central 2014. Let's take a look after the jump. The trend with Titan doesn't seem to slow down, and there are a bunch of decent survey corps members roaming...

ACEN '14 photo
ACEN '14

Anime Central 2014 brings Angela, WUG, host of great guests

Waking up to the third largest anime con in North America
May 15
// Jeff Chuang
Anime Central, the third largest anime convention in the US and Canada, serves as the big bump to get things started for this year's anime convention circuit. It kicks off Friday and runs through the weekend. And big conventi...
Sakura-Con photo

Sakura-Con '14: post-con impressions

Lots to do, little to talk about
Apr 26
// Tim Sheehy
Whenever an event proves to be uneventful, less-than-impressive, or just generally underwhelming, I prefer to take a few days to really gather some perspective before unloading on it. That's not to say Sakura-Con was less-tha...
Viz Media photo
Viz Media

Sakura-Con '14: Viz Media announce World Trigger headed to print

Also, Canadian dates for Tiger & Bunny: The Rising finally revealed
Apr 18
// Tim Sheehy
This afternoon Viz Media held their own Sakura-Con industry panel and although it could likely be described as brief, they did manage to excite us with an announcement or two. Most notably, that Daisuke Aishihara's action-pac...
ACEN photo

Wake Up, Girls! to shake up Anime Central

And with Yamakan too!
Apr 14
// Jeff Chuang
Anime Central announced last Friday that seiyuu-idol group Wake Up, Girls! will be attending as guests, along with their producers--anime director Yutaka Yamamoto and producer Hiroaki Takeuchi. Naturally the WUGs will be pres...
Sakuracon 2014 photo
Sakuracon 2014

Sakura-Con 2014 to host Titan, SAO, Magi guests and more

ELISA rounds out the music
Apr 12
// Jeff Chuang
Sakura-Con, the big spring-time anime con based out of Seattle, runs next weekend from April 18th to April 20th. We at Japanator will try our best to bring you coverage from the event covering the usual cosplay, news and gues...
Animazement photo

Animazement adds several seiyuu from original Mobile Suit Gundam

You've got Char, Amuro, Kai and Lalah
Apr 07
// Pedro Cortes
I was already going to Animazement. Their announcement of KOTOKO as the main musical guest was enough for me to plop down the cash for a weekend pass, plane tickets and a shared hotel. With their latest guest announcements, I...

AB 2014: JAM Project press panel

Mar 29 // Jeff Chuang
Q1. You've been to many countries and played in a lot of countries. Which country has the most passionate fans? Hironobu Kageyama (Kageyama): It's hard to pick and choose a single country because people express their passion differently.  For example in Taiwan people sang along in Japanese from start and finish. In South America, even during ballads, they would cheer as if it's a soccer game. In Mexico, during a performance, women's underwear came flying through the crowd.Hironobu Kitadani (Kitadani): In Brazil, headbands and t-shirt came on the stage, among other things. In different countries all kinds of stuff come through the crowd.Yoshiki Fukuyama (Fukuyama): Of course last night we had a pineapple show up. Q2. Are there any countries you still want to play in? Kageyama: Lots, tons. Last year I went to Egypt for a small event, solo. It was the first time I went to Africa. Even though the event was small, the crowd was passionate and they wanted me to bring the whole group. I was excited about it but there was some political unrest in Egypt at the time and the opportunity came and went. I hope the situation will stabilize and we can make it happen in the future. Q3. Does the number of times coming to America affect where you go next? Kageyama: America is a big place. There are probably a lot of events all the time all over the country. I would still like to come to different conventions in America! Q4. How different is your song creation process for JAM Project versus working on your solo works? Kageyama: For anison, when we create a piece for an anime, we meet with the producer and director to set the color or tone for the song. It doesn't matter if it is for a solo or a group song because the focus is to for the best outcome for that title. Q5. When someone listens to JAM Project for the first time, which song would best express your sound? (JAM Project deliberate...)Fukuyama: Probably Super Robot Wars songs like "SKILL."Kageyama: It's hard to narrow it down from 14 years worth of songs. On the other hand it's about combining the voices, and having something that's unique to JAM Project in that we have a lot of call-and-response type of songs. That interaction between us and the audience is what makes us unique and enjoyable compared to other rock music. In that sense songs like "SKILL" and other Super Robot Wars songs are representative. Q6. You've all done so much individually and for so many years, so why are you teaming up for JAM Project? Kageyama: We formed in 2000. Back then there were a lot of Jpop/rock tie-ins for anime and it was becoming a popular thing. For those of us who were already doing anime songs for a career, we want to do just anisons and we don't want that opportunity shrink. We joined forces to form a group to continue to promote anison and make anison so the genre will continue to flourish. Q7. In 2010 there was a full-member reunion tour including the past JAM Project members. Will you plan to do it again? Kageyama: We're in the 14th year. Nothing is set yet but it would be nice to do that for a major anniversary with Eizo Sakamoto, Rica Matsumoto or Ichirou Mizuki. That would be great and we'd like to try. Q8. Can you explain how the Animelo Summer Live came about? Kageyama: Ok, Okui-chan please take this one.Masami Okui (Okui): Eh? Ok! In 2005, there weren't any events or phenomena where anison artists gather together and share their work with fans. So we wanted to do it because the opportunity didn't exist. We also wanted to make it into an industry-kind of event where record labels can get together and make something fans can enjoy. As said earlier anison are enjoyed by fans worldwide. We felt this could also be an event that connect fans from Japan to fans to other parts of the world, like a bridge that links everyone in the world. That was the theme we went with. Granted it was very difficult to put it together especially in the beginning. Fortunately we were able to gather a number of individuals who all had the same vision and pull in the resources to make it happen. Q9. Are there anything you guys found interesting in Boston? Okui: We haven't been able to go anywhere! Just the supermarket.Kageyama: We haven't had the time to see the city, but we're surprised to see the turnout at Anime Boston. This convention center is huge and the sheer number of cosplays when we're on our way in and out of the venue is impressive and amazing. Everyone just cosplay what they love regardless how new or old the character is. My friend in Spain said Shingeki no Kyoujin is super popular over there, for example, but at Boston we also see such a diversity of shows represented.[Earlier in the fan panel Fukuyama mentioned he went to 3 guitar shops but didn't buy anything.]  Q10. There are now some anime that are made to promote idol groups and such. How would you feel about a JAM Project anime? And hypothetically if so, who would do your voices and can we assume you will sing the OP/ED? Kageyama: Just to be clear, there are no such plans for a JAM Project anime, that I know!Fukuyama: If I'm not doing it then maybe... Hirokawa Taichiro? Just kidding.Kageyama: No way! He passed away.Kitadani: I would try to do it myself. But if I can't then I would like to have Tomokazu Sugita or Mamoru Miyano to do my voice.Makkun: There's no way this could be, but Mizuki Nana can do my voice.(Everyone laughs.)Kageyama: Me?Fukuyama/Kitadani: Hey you're a seiyuu!Kageyama: I guess I should do it myself.Masaaki Endo (Endo): Well, I would like a famous voice actor to do my voice. So Kageyama Hironobu.(Everyone laughs.)Fukuyama/Kitadani: So he can do two voices!Endo: But for the opening theme, it still should be Mizuki Nana.(Everyone laughs very hard.)Fukuyama/Kitadani: Well that's also two roles. Q11. For Fukuyama: How do you capture the spirit of Kamen no Maid Guy in the ending song "Work Guy"? How was it working with lyricist Mieno Hitomi? Fukuyama: Knowing the type of anime it was, and the spirit of the thing, we wanted to jam in as many cuss word as we could. For the music itself, I came up with a few rendition but I wasn't happy about them. I asked my band members during a concert rehearsal and collaborated with them for song in a jam session. I did the A line, the bassist did the chorus and the keyboardist did the bridge, and so forth. So the end result was not like a typical anime song. Q12. For Endo: You worked with visual-kei rock band Nightmare's Sakito for V-ANIME collaboration -homme-. Why did you pick Gao Gai Gar OP as the song and how did you end up working with him? Endo: It was not a conscious choice or something I went out of my way to do. VK gets a lot of attention worldwide and in turn also attention in Japan. I actually have never met Sakito before this collaboration but we are both from Miyagi prefecture, so maybe that is why we can rock together. Of course my style may be on the opposite end of the spectrum from visual kei, but it's a great experience because a lot of VK rockers also love anison and it's rare for me to work with people in that genre. It's also a good way to let fans know that just because you like a particular genre doesn't mean you can't like anison. Q13. What was the most interesting thing that happened to you during the years when you toured? Kageyama: During an encore in a show in Japan, Fukuyama ran on stage and with so much energy, he ran across and off the stage, and ran into a table and broke a bone.Fukuyama: We were about to do the final song, "SKILL." But because it was the last show of a tour, Kageyama's final speech was super long. I told the staff off stage to get an ambulance but they were laughing it off as if I was joking. Over time the adrenaline wore off it hurts more and more. I did go to the hospital after the concert in an ambulance. That footage of "SKILL" ended up in the karaoke systems so you can check it out, as my expression during that performance was super serious. "I can't fly." Q14. You have so many fans in South America, would you do a tour there? Kageyama: This year we were almost able to perform in South America. We got an invite from a Brazil event, but because our record label Lantis is having its 15th anniversary events on the same dates we can't work it out. I'm pretty sure we'll be back in Latin America in the future though. Q15. How do you balance your solo work and JAM Project work? Kageyama: I don't get a lot of solo offers and JAM work at the same time so I can space it out.Okui: I do! Well because I'm the only girls in JAM Project now, the sound I create is somewhat different than the other guys. Even the songs I write for JAM Project tend to be slower or ballads. A lot of the time when I create music for my solo work, I would switch to JAM Project work if I hit a mental block, and vice versa if I get stuck on JAM Project work. So it works well. Q16. JAM Project music is typically upbeat and positive. So when you created "Garo," how is it so dark and serious? Kageyama: "Garo" is dark and unique, because the original creator and director is quite a character and a dark person. When we composed we started with instrumentals and purposely kept it in mind and strove to make a dark song. Q17. What are your thoughts about Japanese idol groups and trends? Kitadani: I like that stuff!Endo: We do anison events with idols. There are a lot of similarities between us that our music are loved across the world. I came to realize we share things in common deep inside, despite acoustic or visual appearance. Q18. If you ever wind up getting stuck on a deserted island, which 3 albums would you like to have with you? (Everyone has a hard time thinking.)Kageyama: Fuku-chan, you go first.Fukuyama: Just three? I guess Beatles - Rubber Soul, Queen - Queen II, and the third...Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Waters. Wait, Beach Boys - Pet Sounds.Okui: How about you Hiroshi?Kitadani: Skip me for now.Okui: I listen to my own music a lot, JAM Project or solo. I am pessimistic and and I am hard on myself so I write for my own sake to cheer myself up. I would listen to my own music to get myself back in right frame of mind and get over things. I would like my own album, a classical music album, probably one of these other guy's solo albums.Endo: Who?Okui: Real? [Real is Hiroshi Kitadani's second solo album.]Kitadani: Real!Kageyama: Skip!Endo: I would bring my bandmates's music but you said three albums and there are four of them so one will get left out. So I'll go with something else. Like "the best of" Aerosmith.Fukuyama: What? Best of!Endo: Also Nickelback and the Eagles. Both best of.Kageyama: I was thinking about what inspired me from way back. So Bad Company's first album. Also Rod Stweart - Atlantic Crossing, as I almost wore the LP out back then because I play it so much... I have been also listening to Adele's music at home to relax, so I'll pick her album.Kitadani: First, the best of KISS, and because it's a deserted island and it would be neat to go to one, so an AKB48 best of album. Third,  because everyone else don't want it, my solo album Real. Finally, a message to all of you! Endo: I'm happy to learn how many of you enjoy anison. As an artist and with my band members, we will keep making more songs to inspire you, so please keep supporting us! Thank you!Kageyama: Having come to Anime Boston, we had a blast and I had a blast. I'm impressed that the fans and staff are upbeat and kind to us. It made me reflect the fact that through anime culture, Japan and America can come together as two people and countries and that's wonderful. We as JAM Project will continue to bridge people and culture to create one happy world.Okui: This is the first time we are here at Anime Boston. I also had a great time. We would love to visit other towns and cities, in America and outside America. As fans please let us know and invite us! But also not just JAM Project, but please learn about the other anison artists and creators, and these talented folks would also love to come to perform in America and other places. Please come and learn more about us and our colleagues and bring us to the States!Kitadani: My band members and I love anime. I watch lots of anime. We watch lots of anime. I'm proud to see how anime and anison has evolved in terms of quantity and talent. When it comes to performing and composing music, I'm glad to see the direction of things are going in the industry. And I'm hoping to see you all again in the future and how the industry takes that shift and grow.Fukuyama: When we first started doing oversea lives 10 years ago, at the time I had no idea that there are people on the other side of the globe that knows our songs and sing our songs. Now I know, 10-plus years later, that border is just a word and it doesn't physically exist. I hope we can continue to perform worldwide and break down borders, to continue that cultural exchange. I hope to continue to be a part of it. [This Q&A is brought to you by Anime Boston, Lantis & JAM Project. Interpreted by Mari Morimoto. Anime Herald, My Jhouse Rocks Promotion, Boston Bastard Brigade, Anime Diet, and Crunchyroll also contributed to the questions.]
JAM Project photo
Old school anison rockers kick back for some laughs
At Anime Boston 2014, epic anime theme song (anison) rock team JAM Project performed and threw a couple great shows. Japanator was able to join in on their press panel and take some Q&A time. Here are the juicy details ab...

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