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Yuko Mizutani photo
Yuko Mizutani

Veteran voice actress Yuko Mizutani passes away

Gone too soon
May 20
// Josh Tolentino
Deaths may be a fact of life, but it's always sad when someone is taken too soon. That's the case for Japanese voice actress Yuko Mizutani, a veteran of Japan's voice acting scene who was best known for playing Sakiko Sakura,...
Veecaloid Pop photo
Veecaloid Pop

Voice actress Christina Vee has her own game

And it's out now
Jun 11
// Anthony Redgrave
Youtube singer, voice actress, and fan favourite Cristina Vee is now star in her own game; Veecaloid Pop. Cristina Vee's work can be seen in a multitude of media but most prominently in anime; K-On (Mio Akiyama), Sailor Moon ...
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...
Voice Actors photo
Voice Actors

Shinji's voice actor set to marry Ms. Norway

Spike Spencer finds happiness
Apr 13
// Brad Rice
No, Megumi Ogata isn't coming out of the closet by announcing her marriage to the reigning Ms. Norway. Spike Spencer, the voice actor best known for playing Shinji in Neon Genesis Evangelion and Rolo in Code Geass is set to m...

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...
Nerd arrested photo
Nerd arrested

Man arrested for throwing a radio at Yukari Tamura

Yukarin toughed it out in Osaka
Mar 04
// Jeff Chuang
It's not the first and probably not the last time something like this happens, but a Fukui man attending Yukari Tamura's live concert this past Sunday in Osaka was arrested for disrupting the concert. During a MC segment earl...
Seiyuu Awards photo
Seiyuu Awards

8th Seiyuu Awards crowns Yuuki Kaji, Rina Satou

Veterans and newbies getting their dues
Feb 28
// Jeff Chuang
The 8th Seiyuu Awards results are out. The annual organizational rewards program recognizes outstanding individuals and groups from the Japanese voice acting industry, and this year it crowds Yuuki Kaiji and Rina Satou as the...
Yukarin 17 photo
Yukarin 17

Yukari Tamura turns 17 again, more pink than ever

Fans celebrate the world's cutest 17yo
Feb 27
// Jeff Chuang
Yukari Tamura's fans have a special monikor that others identify them with: Oukokumin. It means that they are citizen of Yukari Oukoku, or Yukari Kingdom. It's part of the whole idol shtick Tamura has going on as this never-a...
Kana Hanazawa photo
Kana Hanazawa

Kana Hanazawa says 'no boys allowed' for meet & greet

Tokyo event to feature live shows and interviews
Feb 06
// Brad Rice
Sorry guys, you're going to have to sit this one out in the cold. Kana Hanazawa's next meet and greet event is going to be a girls-only affair. The event, dubbed Kana Matsuri, will feature a meet and greet, live performance, ...
Music photo

The Dose: Petit Milady

An anime fan's dream pairing
Feb 05
// Hiroko Yamamura
It's official! Hump day is here! I know, it feels like Friday and looks like Antarctica outside, but I have just the thing to move your week along. How about some high energy pop music from adorable, talented young ladies? I...
Ichiro Nagai photo
Ichiro Nagai

RIP: veteran voice actor Ichiro Nagai passes away

Voice actor passes away at age of 82.
Jan 28
// Ben Huber
Sad news: veteran voice actor, famous for his roles in a myriad of anime, Ichiro Nagai, has passed away at the age of 82. He was found collapsed in his hotel room on Monday and taken quickly to a hospital. Nagai's agency says...
Asumi Kana photo
Asumi Kana

Popular seiyuu Kana Asumi weds, twitter cries out

Congratulations Asumin!
Jan 14
// Jeff Chuang
The news that popular Japanese voice actress Kana Asumi is married broke my Japanese twitter this morning. Fan reaction has been intense but overall very positive. What's remarkable is that Asumi has been one of the...
Santa Company photo
Santa Company

Santa Company Kickstarter gets funded, cast

Staff member Amber explodes with excitement
Dec 24
// Karen Mead
It appears that 'The War on Christmas' has suffered yet another crushing defeat: Santa Company, the Christmas-themed anime that Amber has been going nuts about for a month already, has met its funding goal of $50,000 on Kicks...
Russia photo

Sumire Uesaka's new animated PV is Magical Soviet Russia

What the hell did I just watch
Dec 19
// Jeff Chuang
The latest music video from upcoming seiyuu idol Sumire Uesaka is now posted on Youtube. It's pretty notable because it's animated--we don't get a whole lot of animated music videos even this day and age. What's actually rem...

Japanator's 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide: Music and Misc.

Dec 02 // Jeff Chuang
For all the Miku haters in your life... [embed]30581:3143:0[/embed] Mitchie M - The Greatest Idol (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) A lot of people think little of Miku because, in the end, she's just a highly mixed, computer-generated set of sounds. Maybe it's more a statement on the heavily edited and tuned pop music of today than anything else, but to my ears, Mitchie M's Miku sounds no different than half of Perfume's library--or most high-energy pop female vocalists out there. While there is still a gap for those with a keen ear for the human voice, I wonder how well songs like "Weekender Girl" can do in a blind A/B test? This is all just to say Mitchie M is one of the best at using Miku as not just another instrument in the mix, but crafting a sound that makes the vocaloid capture some of the warmth of a human vocalist. If you spring the extra 900 yen (~$10) for the deluxe version of this album, it comes in a LP form factor, featuring a bigger version of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's illustration of said greatest idol. Of course, The Greatest Idol is not just good for fooling people about Miku, but it features the best of Mitchie M over the years, including his popular tracks from the Project Diva games. You can check out an abridged sample mix in the video up top, with Miku introducing the tracks herself. For your karaoke friends who like hot blooded, full-metal, screaming encores... [embed]30581:3144:0[/embed] JAM Project - Thumb Rise Again (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) JAM Project does a lot of theme songs, but in recent years they haven't done a normal, solo album. The anime music power group has taken a lot of the time over the years touring, and while that's a great way to forge a new audience all over the world, they've been doing largely the same playlist. Now, with a new album this autumn, I'm glad they'll have an opportunity to sing some brand new stuff. Thumb Rise Again takes all of what JAM Project stands for, mixes it up and distill it back to its true arena rock essence. I think for anyone who had a great time at a JAM Project concert, this is a no-brainer buy. Just listening to the first track sends chills down my spine, it's so good. JAM Project played a set on Youtube back in October and demoed the PV for the titular track, Thumb Rise Again. Check out the video above to get a taste. For the alternative, fun-loving idol fan... [embed]30581:3145:0[/embed] Momoiro Clover Z - 5th Dimension (album)MSRP: 2667 yen (~$28 USD) Momoiro Clover Z is a relatively new idol act--but in this day and age, it sometimes takes no time for a quality idol group to go from zero to sixty in popularity. I think the group's sophomore album demonstrates the kind of chops that propelled them so far and so quickly; having a couple solid anime music tie-ins also helps, like the ending to Joshiraku and Bodacious Space Pirates. The best thing about Momoiro Clover Z is that they are a group focused on unabashed, full-throttle fun. There's the usual pandering-to-the-lowest-common-denominator going on, but they do it with such panache you're more likely to laugh it off than to find it offensive or awkward. Or maybe it's because the whole thing sounds just a little bit on the ludicrous side of "Oh Japan" that you won't mind too much. This is one idol group that has mass appeal without all of the baggage, and these five ladies sing their hearts out. For those who likes rock music and Psycho-Pass... [embed]30581:3146:0[/embed] Ling Tosite Sigure - i’mperfect (album)MSRP: 2913 yen (~$30 USD) Supercell - Zigaexperientia (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) Okay, to be honest, for many people who love music, Ling Tosite Sigure may be hit or miss. I think they're definitely a quality alt-rock band who've taken the hard road from indie to major. They have an interesting, if unique, sound, and this album is one way to get a taste of that. What sweetens the deal is all their Psycho-Pass tie-ins. For those who are interested in the always-developing J-rock cycle, i'mperfect is a good start. For those who prefer to stay on the more pop/anime side of things, the new Supercell album is probably what you want. Or both! They both are really good rock music! Supercell's third full album probably doesn't need much of an introduction, but I think the two new vocalists really knocked it out of the park. Just also note that besides the rocking opening number embedded above, Zigaexperientia also features the theme songs to Magi, BRS TV, Nerawareta Gakuen, and Psycho-Pass. For that one disgusting seiyuu otaku in your life... [embed]30581:3147:0[/embed] Kana Hanazawa - claire (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) Confession: I check out a lot of seiyuu music. Over the years, one constant I found out is that most of it just isn't very good. It's not even because the seiyuu can't sing; quite the contrary (and more and more in recent years), many of them can hold a tune. Rather, more often than not they're just not well-produced. It's not unusual to find a song that doesn't fit the vocal range of the singer, or with poor delivery, or a song that would've sounded much better if it wasn't sung in character. So when I ran into Kana Hanazawa's solo debut, I was definitely surprised by how effective all of those elements came together in order to produce a very listenable product. Granted, this is still all about Kana Hanazawa. Do you like her voice? I think most of us do, given how many popular character she has voiced--although some may be getting a little tired of her, to be honest. But from the addictive vocals of Renai Circulation, there are few better ways sweet nothings can be whispered into one's ears (and not just because it takes a special kind of kimoi otaku to play this with a boombox, in public). If someone forces you with fire and/or poison to pick out a seiyuu album, choose this one. For your friend who never gets tired of "One Winged Angel"... Theatrhythm Compilation AlbumMSRP: 3800 yen (~$40 USD) Some people just cannot get tired of Final Fantasy music. Square-Enix knows this, which is why they came out with Theatrhythm and packaged it with DLC, making a shiny dime on rearranged music from ages ago. Of course, for people who love the music, this means a soundtrack for said Theatrhythm game is now a thing. I've long lost count the number of Final Fantasy compilation-type releases out there (including at least a couple this year), but the Theatrhythm Compilation Album is pretty neat in that it's both a compilation and it has music from a totally new game, as Theatrhythm has its own original compositions. This 5-disc set is also a good value at just a little more than the price of a normal CD album. That's good, because you might be gifting some things a Final Fantasy music nut may already have...not that any of them will mind, from my experience. For those who love bombastic music and Attack on Titan... Attack on Titan SoundtrackMSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) We already know that Linked Horizon is going to perform on Kohaku, so this is a sure way to get a piece of that hot Jaeger popularity and familiar yourself with that catchy line in German before the Dec. 31st TV show. To me, the Attack on Titan soundtrack celebrates not just a popular anime this year, but the body of work of Hiroyuki Sawano. This young composer (only 33 years old!) burst onto the scene and created some really great scores for shows like Blue Exorcist, Psycho Pass, Guilty Crown, Gundam Unicorn, Sengoku Basara, and probably his latest hit, Kill la Kill. I think that alone justifies this gift for anyone who appreciates soundtrack music, even if they don't care too much about that anime with tall walls and giant man-eating monsters. Attack on Titan might be the "biggest" sound that Sawano has produced for an anime, so it's at least sure to amuse. Hopefully it'll be a gateway for people to explore Sawano's other scores, so they'll discover the diversity of his work. Keep in mind, if you know your giftee doesn't love Attack on Titan, the Kill La Kill soundtrack-- also out just in time for Christmas-- makes a great alternative. For the master-grade figure collector... Max Factory 15th Anniversary - Belldandy with Holy Bell (fixed-pose PVC figure)MSRP: 19800 yen (~$200 USD) To celebrate its 25th year, Max Factory decided to release one of their resin kits as a prepainted PVC figure. What you get in the box is a towering 1/10 scale of Belldandy of Ah My Goddess, with Holy Bell coming out of her back. Yeah, Ah My Goddess is not as popular in 2013-2014 as it was back in the day, but for those who appreciate fine craftsmanship, you can't go wrong with Bell. This is simply one of the most amazing fixed-pose PVC figure that you can buy off the shelf, without touch-up, painting and assembly (well, very minor assembly is still required). As of this writing you can actually buy this thing from the usual importers like HLJ, Hobby Search, Amiami, and the like. Each figure of this limited edition release is individually numbered, so when it's gone it is most definitely gone. Sure, it probably won't fit in a Detolf, because it deserves better than that. This is a figure that can anchor or be the centerpiece of a collection, the kind that comes by once every few years, and even among those, few are as classic as this. You can find more pictures and more places to order from via Tomopop. To those well-versed in Tankery... Girls und Panzer StuG III (Team Hippo colors)MSRP: 4775 yen (~$50 USD) You can buy Girls und Panzer on DVD and Blu-ray this Christmas. Great. Now get a tank to go with it. Our own Josh Tolentino recommended it, probably because Team Hippo is great, and frankly a tank with this look is simply the best. By best I mean it will bring your friends and family a lot of laughs, strange stares, and general hysteria (in a good way, surely). That said, this well-modeled StuG III has optional parts you can swap in for a more, shall we say, conventional look. There is even a third option to change the paint job to mirror its later evolution within the anime, once the tankery practitioners realized that tall flags and wild bright colors do poorly in combat. So, yes, the option is there to disguise this very eye-catching conversation piece. On a separate note, if the gift can wait until after Christmas, I would also recommend the ending version of the Team Anglerfish Panzer IV which ships in January. To those who have mastered the digital... Japanese Playstation Network cards, Japanese iTunes cardsMSRP: Varies To some people gifting gift cards may be cold and impersonal, but to some otaku it's a great favor, assuming you give the right cards. Some things are only available as a digital purchase, and some of us prefer to do things the futuristic way-- because the future is, like, now. Last year I recommended the Playstation Store point cards. Confession: I probably spent more than 30,000 yen on [email protected] digital purchases, just on the Playstation Store. And that is just [email protected] This year we're adding Japanese iTunes gift cards to the list, because regardless of what's happening in the industry, iTunes Japan is simply the best one-stop shop for your Japanese music needs. In fact, probably all of the music recommendations on this list will end up on iTunes, if they are not already there. As usual, the issue of setting up a Japanese account is going to be a barrier to entry, either for the Playstation Store or the iTunes store, but there are a lot of guides online to help you with it. Helping someone set up an account can also be a great gift you can give to your friends or family, on top of obtaining these cards for them. Speaking of which, J-List and Play-Asia are just two of many sites that offer these for the holidays. With that new-found purchasing power, you can buy, say, most of Square-Enix's music library. Most major label (and many smaller label) music publishers also go to iTunes as Japan's biggest digital music shop. You can access the growing number of games on the iOS app store as well, if language is not an issue. On both iTunes and Playstation Store, a ton of raw anime (available to rent or purchase), plus the Playstation Store's game library, is just a few button presses away.  For the stationary otaku with the best handwriting... [embed]30581:3148:0[/embed] Hobonichi Planner 2014MSRP: Starting at 2500 yen (~$26 USD) The concept is simple--combine a planner with a journal, and here you have it. The Hobonichi Planner is a planner that opens up with a page a day, with monthly views and a day-by-day view. You're encouraged to doodle or otherwise be creative with the planner and use it every day. Draw in it, use it as a scrapbook, use it as a diary, whatever you want. The first English-language version of the Hobonichi Planner is now available for 2014, so it makes a natural present. Kristina has reviewed the Hobonichi Planner for us. What's kind of neat are the special covers you can buy and customize your planner with--including two very sweet North Face covers. For those interested, you can order the planner (also called a techo) directly from Hobonichi. More importantly, there's a community of stationary-oriented people around the Hobonichi Techo, which may be helpful to get you (or the giftee) up to speed in terms of what you can do with it. Well, there you have it-- that's all of our holiday shopping guides for this year here at Japanator. We hope you have something special picked out for every otaku on your list, and maybe even some non-otaku. If you're currently scratching your head over what to get the remainder of the folks on your list (should any remain), when in doubt, go with chocolate. 
Shopping: Music photo
Jam some bombastic tunes in your stocking
You've already seen our holiday recommendations for anime, manga, and video games; what could possibly be left? Quite a lot, actually. Not only do we have recommendations for music lovers (and we hope that group includes pret...

Please Teacher photo
Please Teacher

New Please Teacher/Twins Blu-ray for its 10th Anniversery

Grandmother of otaku tourism gets special release
Oct 21
// Jeff Chuang
Over the weekend, Japanese voice actress Ai Shimizu tweeted a series of photographs involving her cosplaying her character from Please Twin, Karen Onodera, going around the sights of Lake Kizaki. This was a part of ...
Yoshinoya PR photo
Yoshinoya PR

Ayana Taketatsu and Yoshinoya make a meaty match

Rice to Meat You, too!
Oct 21
// Jeff Chuang
Announced over the weekend, popular Japanese voice actress Ayana Taketatsu has an endorsement deal with gyudon chain Yoshinoya to cross promote their wares. While Yoshinoya gets people to do ads for them all the time, this on...
RIP photo

Rest in peace: Tomoyuki Dan passes away

The man behind the Weather Dopant is now gone
Oct 12
// Salvador G Rodiles
Another great person departs from the world of the living, and it happens to be someone from Kamen Rider W. Unfortunately, it was too soon for him to leave our side. On October 10th at 11:49 pm, Tomoyuki Dan passed away at th...
Noragami photo

Noragami anime cast drops cast listing like it's hot

Hiroshi Kamiya, Maaya Uchida, Yuki Kaji headlining the show
Oct 02
// Brad Rice
The life of a minor god is troublesome: You want an easy way to get a ton of followers and have them all worship you, but without a shrine dedicated to your glory and greatness, what can be done? That's the struggle Yato the ...
Kiefer Sutherland x MGS photo
Kiefer Sutherland x MGS

Woah: Konami announce Kiefer Sutherland as Snake's voice

'Kiefer? Kiefer?! Kiefeeeerrrr!'
Jun 08
// Josh Tolentino
Well, this is a surprise. After months of practically-confirmed rumors surrounding Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Konami has gone and confirmed that indeed, David Hatyer will not be the playing the voice of Snake....
anime web radio photo
anime web radio

Oreimo web radio is now taking your fan mail

Taketatsu and Kanazawa will read your letters
May 16
// Jeff Chuang
Oreimo season 2's web radio show, hosted by Kana Hanazawa and Ayana Taketatsu, is soliciting oversea fans to write to them. One of the corners on the radio program showcases foreign fan letters, and they're asking for mo...
UK Conventions photo
UK Conventions

Guests galore in upcoming UK conventions

Mr Director at his computer
Apr 17
// Chris Walden
It's not often we get notable Japanese guests at our Japan-related get-togethers (as much as you'd think we would), so it's pretty exciting to hear that we've successfully lured some famous folk onto our collection of dinky i...
RIP Goro Naya photo
RIP Goro Naya

RIP: Veteran voice actor Goro Naya passes away

The voice of Inspector Zenigata leaves us
Mar 11
// Josh Tolentino
It's time to say farewell to a true veteran of the old school: Goro Naya. The venerable voice actor passed away from chronic respiratory failure last week, at the ripe old age of 83. Though he debuted as an actor nearly fifty...

Devil Survivor 2 anime summons and fuses a cast roll

A Demon Compendium of big names
Feb 09
// Josh Tolentino
Spring can't come soon enough, because that season contains the anime adaptation of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2. Salvador thought the game was pretty great, and I do to, so I've got high hopes for the show. Seems lik...

Girls und Panzer episode 8 censored?

Give us our Russian schoolgirl duet back!
Dec 06
// Jeff Chuang
No--it's not that kind of censor in which you'll find in To-love-ru. This is about the GLROIO top image you can see on this week's Annotated Anime. The Crunchyroll stream for this week's Girls und Panzer appeared on Wednesda...

Headed to NYCC? Don't miss Yuu Asakawa

Confirmed: Yuu Asakawa to attend New York Comic Con
Sep 14
// Kristina Pino
Crunchyroll reports that voice actress extraordinaire Yuu Asakawa has confirmed she'll appear at this year's New York Comic Con! The event is being held at NYC Midtown's Javits Center from Oct. 11 - 14. Here's a link to where...

Atlus: Casting for Persona 4 Arena might not be permanent

May 03
// Josh Tolentino
Quite a few folks are excited about Persona 4: Golden. However, for some, that excitement is tempered by worry over voice-acting. Perceptive fans noticed changes to the cast, in English trailers for Persona 4 Arena, the PS3/3...

Anime Boston '12: Halko Momoi Press Panel

May 02 // Jeff Chuang
Momoi: Hello, I am Halko Momoi. Nice to meet you. I am a singer/songwriter from Japan. Last year, I was invited to perform live at a bunch of different countries. I am happy to be invited to play here at Anime Boston, and I would like to be able to continue to perform everywhere. Q: How did you start your music career? Momoi: My mother has an old piano that she got from her mother, and ever since I was young I was playing it. From childhood, I always loved anime. Most people who are into anime from childhood got into drawing, but because I liked music I ended up working with anime songs when I was growing up. Q: Can you tell us about your album from last year, called Showa? Momoi: Showa is a way to count years. Now is the Heisei period, but when I was in elementary school it was the Showa period. It's with the memories from that time that I made the songs on the album. Many Japanese people think of the mid-90s when they think of Showa, but I think about the '80s. In Japan now, there's a lot going on, there's a big push to look to the future. But I think it's also a good thing to look at our past. I think that's why I wrote these songs. Q: Do you have any plans for new albums or singles? Momoi: Right now, the single for Akibaranger will be available and I'm doing the opening song. Akibaranger is like Power Rangers, but based in Akihabara and they protect Akihabara. The staff created the series as "unofficial" super sentai rangers. I'm so happy that they asked me to do the theme song because it's about people protecting Akihabara. Q: What type of characters do you like to play? Momoi: I like characters like Feris from Steins;Gate, characters that have an interesting and funny way to speak. Also, like Yurume in the anime Yurumates, where the character is grounded in common sense. I enjoy these types of characters. Q: What kind of characters do you like to try to play? Momoi: Feris is related to Akihabara. I like characters that are related to Akihabara. Q: Feris says "nyan" a lot. Were you able to do it without laughing? Momoi: What kind of question is this? Isn't it rude? (laugh) I mean I play my characters seriously, I'm a pro! I wouldn't laugh! It's very fun. Nyan nyan. (laugh) I say "nyan" even when I regularly speak so it's nothing unusual. Q: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects? Momoi: Akibaranger—it is being broadcasted. Yurumates 3Dei is also coming out. I'm also working on a new song for Afilia Saga East. Q: Who is your favorite singer? Momoi: I don't know. Momoi Halko (laugh). I like a lot of them. Who do you guys like? Press: ... Momoi! Your concert from last night was awesome! (laugh) Q: Live or studio recording? Momoi: I like live shows. I also like studio recording, but when I make a song in the studio I always think about how it sounds during a live show. Of course it's a lot of fun to perform like last night. Q: What's your favorite sports arena? Momoi: Hmm, Fenway Park? I went to Fenway before the con. I walked to it, it was about 15 minutes from the con. It's an older, brick building, so it was lovely. I think by all means if I get to come to Anime Boston again, I'd like to see some baseball there. Q: How would you describe your music to others? Momoi: Otaku songs. From otaku to otaku. Q: Why do you cover '80s American songs? You seem to do a lot of '80s covers. Why is this? Momoi: When I was little I listened to a lot of them, so I decided to cover them. I didn't really understand the meaning of those songs when I was little, but I sang them and enjoyed them anyway. Now I do understand and I have a different appreciation for them. Q: When you listen to your cover albums you seem to like games a lot. What are your favorite games? Momoi: I like older games. Atari Lynx II games. I like American games, more than Japanese games. Rampart. Pacman, even if it's Japanese. California games. Q: Of all the different characters you played, which do you find it most interesting? Momoi: I think any voice actor being asked this question will have a hard time. When I act out a character, that character is my favorite. My first role was Komugi, so that one is a special role to me. Q: How did you learn to play the Keytar? Momoi: When I was in 3rd grade, my parents, or Santa rather, gave me a little red keytar for Christmas. I asked my parents for it, but anyway, ever since I have been playing the keytar. Q: How do you prepare for a live? Momoi: I try to get in a good mood, and get excited. So many people came to the show last night, and their encouragement helped me. I also read people's messages on blogs and twitter, and it really helps me. Q: What is your goal? Momoi: Hmm, I want to continue to do what I am doing now. Making songs, being a voice actor, doing concerts. Going to Anime Boston. It's so much fun doing these things that I hope I can keep doing it. Q: What anime do you like? Momoi: It's a very difficult question. Maybe for genres, I rather like things made for boys over things made for girls? How about you guys? (One press member was a diehard ROD fan) Momoi: It's just a hard question. Q: Where do you want to go in America? Momoi: Inside Fenway Park. I was only able to see the outside, but I really want to see the inside. I also want to see a NBA game. I've never seen a basketball game live so it would be great if I could. I also want to see a lot of anime conventions. If anyone reads your articles and wants to invite me, please contact me! Q: How do you feel about the future of doujinshi in Japan? A: While you can download things online, books are not going to go away. If you have a book it will be kept around for a long time. I don't think doujinshi will be replaced by digital downloads. Someone in Japan is creating a doujinshi library, a huge collection. I wonder how people will feel when they come to look at it—will they think we are all perverted? But maybe in the future it will be looked as a type of art like ukyio-e or other traditional Japanese art. Q: What kind of anime/manga/light novel do you think will be popular in Japan? Momoi: The new anime I'm in, Yurumates, is 5 minutes per episode. These short anime, because people are more busy these days, will be more popular. Q: Do you have any story of being nervous before a live? Momoi: It's a secret! I am not going to tell you about it! Q: What inspires you creatively? Momoi: When I go see a movie or an anime as a customer it's fun, but that is it. When I read the blogs or twitter of a normal person—like an OL or a high school girl--or when people write to advice columns about their relationships, for example. Or about a tough situation in their romance life in a journal or on 2ch's love life help section, these things inspire me to write a song. Q: In the past 30 years Akiba has change a lot, and some things have gone away. What is the saddest thing for you that it has lost? Momoi: There is the Akihabara Department Store. It's a small store despite the name. It was right next to the train station, it got to be too old and it was replaced by a different department store. That was sad. Ishimaru Electronics had an event hall. The meeting space was like an event hall or concert hall and sometimes they have CD releases there. I'm sad about that. The people who used to work there were able to find jobs elsewhere in Akihabara. When I was in high school I would go to to Ishimaru to buy CDs. When I debuted as a singer I was able to have a release there, and that was great to see myself there. But of course it's no longer there. Q: How has the Tohoku disaster changed Akihabara and yourself? Momoi: Earthquakes happen often in Japan, and it's still happening today. It's gotten a bit scary. When the word traveled around, I was moved that people are so concerned about Japan and myself, and I was able to make some friends. Having that connection was at least a good thing. Thank you very much for your support. Q: What are the commonalities between otaku all over the world? Momoi: I somehow just know. For example, when I'm in the elevator in the hotel and a normal person walks in, I know that person is normal. But when I see someone who is an otaku I just know, "ah that person is an otaku." I guess most otaku at least like anime? In Japan, even if you can't speak English, if you go to an otaku event, you feel at ease with everyone around because know just know they're "one of us". Q: How did you become an otaku? Momoi: I came out of the womb as an otaku. It's just how I was born. When everyone was little, everybody watched anime. As people grew up, in middle school, the girls begin to talk about their boyfriends or TV dramas, and people gradually stopped watching anime. But I realized I was still watching anime. That's when I realized that I am an otaku. Q: When did you realize anime became a popular thing world wide? Momoi: I never thought it would be this popular. I never looked at it as "this is going to be it, the next big thing." (laugh) I find the whole thing mysterious. I'm very happy about it but it's mysterious. Q: What is your message for all the “otakusan” (wordplay for okyakusan, or the portmanteau of "otaku customers")? Momoi: To find something in life that you're very in to and dedicated, that's great. For example last night at the show everyone was super and I'm glad we got together and be super. I hope we all can continue to do that. Q: Is your job now something you always dreamed of doing? Did you dream of doing something else? Momoi: The work I'm doing now, in America and do concerts to promote Akihabara all around the world, this is more than I have I ever imagined. I grew up in Akihabara, a 30-min walk home from the train station when I was a child, and seeing all these anime producers working and living just right there. If I could bring these feelings from my childhood to everyone in the form of concerts, then that is something that makes me really happy. There are so many anime and manga creators in Japan who don't even know how popular it is overseas. When I go home from America, I tell them how many people overseas love their work. I give them that message so they are encouraged and keep going. So I want to continue to do this job of going overseas and bringing back that message to the creators. Q: You seem to do fewer jobs for eroge than your U17 days... Momoi: I still do some—I wrote the character songs for Da Capo 3. There is also an yet-to-be announced work I'm doing for another galge. Please look forward to that. I also made some songs for Super Sonico, and it sold well, so I probably will keep doing that. These are just some examples. Q: What is your dream for Akihabaralove Records and Afilia Saga East? Momoi: It would be really nice if we can do another cover album. A lot of people are asking for it. If I could, I would love to do it overseas and collaborate with lots of people. But to start, a cover album. I also want to make lots of new songs this year. As for Afilia Saga East, there is an idol boom currently. Right now, Shikura Chiyomaru and myself are working on it. Ultimately there are different groups—manga, anime and idol. They're part of the same otaku world but they are separated as subgenres. We wanted to create something that is between 2D, like characters, and 3D, like idols. With ASE, we want to create something that people who like 2D and people who like 3D will like—2.5D. Q: What is your least favorite interview question? Momoi: What kind of question is this? Probably a question like this? Q: How about the question you'd like to be asked? Momoi: I mentioned it earlier but questions like “Do you want to come back to Anime Boston?” There's a direct flight between Boston and Tokyo now, so it would be great if I can come again next year! If you're in the capacity to invite me to a con, please by all means go to my website and contact me by email. Q: How do you feel when you see people cosplay the characters you voice? Momoi: Super happy! It's hard to talk to people who are just coming and going in the halls, but if you're dressed as one of my characters you should come to my panel or Q&A or autograph session and I'll be really happy to see you! Q: Have you cosplayed as an American comic or game character? Would you like to? Momoi: Sure, there are a lot that I would like. Yes. Like Leia from Star Wars. Kick Ass's Hit Girl. Transformer! *laugh* Maybe made out of cardboard! Who do you want me to cosplay as? Press: Rogue from the comic! Baby Doll from Sucker Punch! Jubliee from X-Men! Momoi: Not exactly related, but I like Smurfs too. I have a little figure of a Smurf on the computer—Geek Smurf. Q: Which country do you like best playing in, besides US and Japan? Momoi: Even in the US each place is different. I thought the shows I did in Vegas and AX were good, and as well this one. I liked Mexico—people were good natured and the people were very loud during the concert when they were cheering. Q: Where did you study music? Momoi: Honestly I never studied music formally, but when I was in third grade I had a piano tutor. The tutor ended up going abroad to Austria and it left me with a bad feeling and I never got back into it. Maybe it would be better if I studied more. I really want to study jazz piano. [Thanks to 98.1 the Fan, Anime Diet, and Anime Dream for the questions, and Anime Boston for making it possible!]

Over at Anime Boston, singer-songwriter, seiyuu and self-proclaimed Queen of Akihabara Halko Momoi was kind enough to sit with a bunch of us press-types and go over what makes her tick and what drives her to travel around the...


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