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Tsukino-Con 2014 Videos!

March 27, 2014 in Conventions by DJ YUKKURi

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Just over a month has passed since Tsukino-Con 2014, and I have finally uploaded all the videos I shot during my time staffing there! Mind you, that was my first time ever filming with that camcorder, so the results are not exactly ideal quality. Still lots of learning to do for me!

Click the YouTube icon on the right-hand side of the page to check out our channel, and our recent videos from Tsukino-Con 2014!

by Narmi

Initial Thoughts SAO Extra Edition (non-spoiler)

December 31, 2013 in Anime by Narmi

After watching the Sword Art Online (SAO) Extra Edition, on Daisuki.net. Here are my thoughts on the Extra Edition (episode) and the teaser we were given.

Read the rest of this entry →

With the Extra Edition being over an 1 hour and half long. I had a good time watching SAO Extra Edition. Even though a good chunk, of the Extra Edition, was recap of the animated Aincrad and Fairy Dance Arcs. The pacing was executed in a timely fashion. We were introduced to new characters who will be in Sword Art Online II. Along with this, we did get a little more back story between a few characters with a new side story.

Overall, as a fan of Kawahara Reki’s Sword Art Online, I am quite pleased with Sword Art Online Extra Edition. The excitement I had for the Extra Edition was met and I feel quite satisfied. With that, the small teaser we were given at the end of Sword Art Online Extra Edition was marvelous. It was short simple and sweet. The teaser had me with my hands in the air in excitement. With this teaser announcement. I am even more excited for what is to come.

With this, a new year has dawned upon us and 2014 will begin. Many things have happened in the year 2013. Along with the undesirable moments that are inevitable, I can not wait to experience opportunities and good times I will need to find.

あけましておめでとうございます (Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu) / Happy New Years.

by Narmi

Anime Revolution 2013

September 13, 2013 in Conventions by Narmi

For this year, I had the opportunity to see ORIGA live and interview Yamaguchi Kappei, Furuya Tohru. If those names didn’t get your attention. Yamaguchi Kappei is the voice of Ussop in One Piece. Along with that, Yamaguchi has voiced Ranma and Inuyasha. For Furuya Tohru, think of Gundam, and now think of Amuro Ray. Yes, THE Amuro Ray from the Gundam Universe. If that didn’t interest you, what about Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask or Pegasus Seiya from Saint Seiya? Either way, it was great being able to meet Yamaguchi and Tohru. To ask a few questions and have the opportunity to have a photo with them. Along with that, just like any other convention I attend, there will be cosplay photography.
Read the rest of this entry →

 
Day 1

Opening ceremonies

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ORIGA at the opening ceremonies, performing a song from GITS:SAC.

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After the opening ceremonies I decided to check out Jessica Nigiri’s panel and the Q&A panel for ORIGA.

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After the panels, I had some time to see a few of the cosplay contest entries.

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With many thanks to Ms. Nigiri, we managed to get some time for a shoot. There is one thing I can say about the shoot, it was fast and I was furiously aiming for the shots. If you want to see more head over to my Facebook page D.I.S/C Photography.

After the shoot, I decided to focus on cosplay photography and was invited to a shoot for the Official PAX Prime 2013 RWBY team.

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With the shoot over, the swimsuit contest underway, I decided to check it out and end the day.

Day 2

For the majority of Day 2, I spent the day doing more press coverage. Checking out the Aniplex Industry panel, Yamaguchi Kappei’s autograph session, and ORIGA’s concert.

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Cosplayer: http://pompay.deviantart.com/

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Even though the amount of information about the series is limited. I am excited for Kill la Kill. After the panel, raffle ticket door prizes were given out, and we were told of a promotion for checking out the viewing of the Sword Art Online (SAO) episode 1 and 2 dub. Even though I saw the world premier of SAO episode 1 and 2 dub with Kawahara Reki, Luna Haruna and Eir Aoi. I wanted to see the episodes again but I had press materials to attend too.

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Oh my goodness, Sakuyamon.

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After ORIGA’s live concert in the evening. Called it a day and prepared for Day 3.

Day 3

For the final day of Anime Revolution 2013. In cooperation with SUTORAIKUanime, we interviewed Furuya Tohru & Yamaguchi Kappei in the morning hours. After the interviews, I decided to enjoy the rest of Anime Revolution 2013 by browsing the Dealers/Artist Alley, and cosplay photography before the closing ceremonies.

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Isho Cosplay

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A change from Anime Revolution 2012, even though the location was at Canada Place. I was pleased they decided to have the panel areas in separate rooms. Overall, I had fun at Anime Revolution 2013.

If you are interested in reading the interview transcripts with Yamaguchi Kappei and Furuya Tohru. Head over to SUTORAIKUAnime.

Cosplay Victoria Presents: Hardcore Thru The Pipeline!

September 3, 2013 in Site News by DJ YUKKURi

Here at Cosplay Victoria, we understand how valuable a good education can be, but we also understand that not everybody may be looking forward to going back to school. Therefore, we’ve decided to give you all something else to look forward to as well! In less than a week, we will be running Hardcore Thru The Pipeline, an online radio event featuring mixes from some of the best Hardcore DJs from around the world! This will also be the final radio event held on CosVic Radio before we retire the channel. CosVic Radio has had a good run, but we will be moving onto other projects in the near future, and will be focusing our resources accordingly.

In the meantime, Hardcore Thru The Pipeline will take place on Saturday, September 7th from 12:00PM to 8:00PM PST (GMT-8), and Sunday, September 8th from 12:00PM to 9:00PM PST (GMT-8).

Click the Read More for more info, including the event timetable in 24-Hour format.
Read the rest of this entry →

Many great names have taken the time to contribute exclusive mixes to our event, and you can listen to them at the times listed below:

Saturday, September 7th:
12:00 – 13:00: Bokusatsu Shoujo Koubou
13:00 – 14:00: Flapjack
14:00 – 15:00: Daniel Seven
15:00 – 16:00: NAKURA*
16:00 – 17:00: IanK
17:00 – 18:00: Kitsch
18:00 – 19:00: Virus
19:00 – 20:00: Powermitten

Sunday, September 8th:
12:00 – 13:00: BUSKERDROID Vs. MICROMAN
13:00 – 14:00: Shadow Interaction
14:00 – 15:00: Neodash Zerox
15:00 – 16:00: PrEyX
16:00 – 17:00: KidKaBOOM
17:00 – 18:00: Ranzor
18:00 – 19:00: Maromi
19:00 – 20:00: Kurono
20:00 – 21:00: Xavi BCN

You can listen in and chat along with other listeners at our CosVic Radio page, http://cosplayvictoria.com/radio/.

by Narmi

Cos & Effect 2013

August 25, 2013 in Conventions by Narmi

Cos & Effect (C&E) 2013, as expected, was a cosplay photography filled time with a twist.  At Cos & Effect 2013, this is the first time we have done a video recording of a one on one with a guest. The guest, which I had the opportunity to do a one on one with, was Crystal Graziano of Precious Cosplay. It was my first time doing such a thing with a guest however it was a lot of fun. After the one on one, I spent my time going to the Lolita fashion show, the Costume Contest and a few other panels. For the remaining days  Overall C&E was relaxing, for me. Read the rest of this entry →

Created with flickr slideshow.
Day 1

To start the day off. I decided to sit in the panel Cosplay 101, by Crystal Graziano of Precious Cosplay.

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After the panel, I had the opportunity to do a one one one with Precious Cosplay.

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Once we finished recording the one on one. Decided to check out the Lolita Fashion Show.

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Day 2

To summarize day 2 in a nut shell; cosplay, Costume Contest and Marvel Universe Charity Fundraiser.

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Precious Cosplay as Ms. Marvel

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The Costume Contest provided quite a variety of costumes and talent.

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Forever Dreaming Cosplay’s Demon Hunter

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Runner-ups, Winners, Judges and MC of the Costume Contest

Day 3

For the final day of C&E 2013, I decided to sit in on the Costuming guests Q&A and Advanced Cosplay Materials panel.

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(Left to Right) Brian Milne, Valerie Halverson, God Save the Queen Fashions, Precious Cosplay. Costuming guests Q&A

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From there I spent my time walking around the event until the closing ceremonies.

C&E13_Day3-2296Undiscovered Photography & the Dealers area

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My overall thoughts on Cos & Effect 2013?  I plan on going to Cos & Effect again next year and my reason why? Cos & Effect was made as an event to focus on cosplaying and costume making of all levels.  The guest line up kept to the purpose of Cos & Effect. The dealer’s area had some variety and the artist alley, even though small, was not bad.

The event didn’t feel overwhelming to me as an attendee and as a result. I had fun being there. Many thanks to the various cosplayers and attendees who allowed me to take their photos.

To see more photos from Cos & Effect, head over to my FlickR set (http://www.flickr.com/photos/50585290@N02/sets/72157635220830590/). In the future, I will upload a Cos & Effect album to my new facebook page; D.I.S/C Photography (https://www.facebook.com/D.I.S.C.Photography).

Thank you for reading this entry on Cos & Effect 2013. Next up for a press article, Anime Revolution 2013.

- Narmi

CosVic is Back! And With a Slim New Look!

August 3, 2013 in Site News by DJ YUKKURi

Guess who’s back! Back again!

That’s right, Cosplay Victoria is back up and running with a sleek and simplified new layout, just in time for Anime Revolution 2013!

There is not too much that has to be mentioned about this update though, mainly because most of the site’s functionality has been retained. All site navigation is still as it was back under the old template, but news posts are now much easier to navigate, with the newest stories being featured in a scrolling slideshow at the top of the main page! One thing you will immediately notice, however, is that all on-site social functionality has been removed, including the forum. This was primarily due to lack of use, not to mention the fact that it cluttered up our MySQL database. Removing them puts less of a burden on our servers and reduces our website’s digital footprint, reducing site load times and making it easier for everyone. Our Facebook and Twitter pages are still well open for business, so posts and tweets are always welcome!

Now, as for our activities for the remainder of 2013, I, myself, unfortunately will not be able to do much as I am on hiatus until the 2014 convention season. However, site contributor and Media Team member, Narmi, will be at Anime Revolution 2013 in a couple weeks time as a member of the Press, and he will be providing in-depth coverage of his experience, including interviews with some of this year’s biggest guests! As well, stay tuned for an announcement within the coming weeks regarding the future of CosVic Radio!

by Narmi

Overview impressions of Sakura-Con 2013

April 16, 2013 in Conventions by Narmi

With Sakura-Con 2013 being my third Sakura-Con and the weather being favorable. This year was another enjoyable year. The variety and skill of the cosplays at Sakura-Con 2013 was, again, impressive., thus satisfying one of the main reasons I love attending Sakura-Con. Even though the guest list wasn’t as many as many stated, the guests present at Sakura-Con 2013 were great. Regarding guests for Sakura-Con 2013, Haruna Luna, Aoi Eir, Kawahara Reki (the creator of Sword Art Online & Accel World) and Toshihiro Kawamoto caught my attention and it was quite an experience to be able to interview all four guests. Due to the lack of resources, I had to limit the events covered, guests interviewed, and cosplay photography. However, while going from one event to another or outside of the main events & interviews, I managed take photos of a few cosplays that caught my attention.

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Day 0

After half a day of traveling, I arrived in Seattle and decided to walk around to get a feel for the event and pick up my badge while checking out the registration area at around 1:00PM. I noticed ANCEA introduced a Registration line for non-registered attendees. As a result, the pre-registration & registration lines looked reasonably efficient. Based on what I noticed, I hope ANCEA will continue or improve the use of the current registration system. With me being satisfied, I went back to my hotel and to do a few impromtu photo shoots.

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Day 1

With Sakura-Con 2013 beginning, I decided to head over to the Exhibitor’s area and get a sneak peak of what is in for attendees. Here’s a small look into what I found while strolling.

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From there, I decided to head over to the Opening Ceremonies and leave the opening of the Exhibitor’s area, since both occurred at 10:00AM. During the Opening Ceremonies, the President of ANCEA made his introduction and welcome statement followed by an MMD movie, live performances and introductions of guests.

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With the end of the Opening Ceremonies, I decided to use Day 1 to focus on cosplay photography and enjoying Sakura-Con. As I went about enjoying the atmosphere and taking photos of cosplayers, I decided to check out the Sword Art Online cosplay contest, hosted by Crunchyroll. It was great knowing the contest also rewarded cosplayers who are into the series. You’ll see what I mean when you look through the photos.

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After the contest, I again went wandering around the convention and doing small impromtu shoots of cosplayers.

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As the Day 1 progressed into the evening hours, I decided to cover the Dance at the Main Stage area. Overall the music was not bad and the atmosphere was quite enjoyable. Here is a sample of the dance.

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As the day continued into the later hours, I decided to head back and get ready for Day 2.

Day 2

After an enjoyable first day of Sakura-Con, I had my first interview with Toshihiro Kawamoto, well known for his animation work in Cowboy Bebop including the Gundam Universe (Mobile Suit Gundam to Mobile Fighter G Gundam) and Macross Plus. If you are interested in the press interview with Toshihiro Kawamoto, please read the interview Toshihiro Kawamoto @ Sakura-Con 2013. I lined up for the signing event with Kawamoto and managed to get my copy of Macross Plus signed.

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I decided to head to the Exhibitors’ area to check out what was going on with a few industry booths and the goods for sale. After my stroll through the Exhibitors’ area, I attended Kawahara’s Q&A panel and because of the conflict events, I unfortunately had to miss out on the Sword Art Online event at the Aniplex booth, so I don’t have photos from that event. However, I have photos from the Q&A panel and signing. Luckily, I managed to get a seat in the Sword Art Online Dub Premier with Kawahara Reki, Eir Aoi and Luna Haruna. During the introductions for the Dubbing Premiere, we were introduced to the English voice actor for Kirito.

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After the Sword Art Online Dub Premiere, I decided to get ready for Aoi Eir’s and Haruna Luna’s concert and couldn’t help take a few more photos.

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During the concert, I had a great time,. Even though I spent most of my time behind my camera taking photos, I couldn’t get over how enjoyable the concert was. The opening song, a cover of Connect by ClarisS with the ending song as a cover of Crossing Fields by LiSA with Haruna and Aoi. It was amazing and I finally knew what it is like to be at a real live performance.

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With the end of the concert, I went to Haruna Luna’s and Aoi Eir’s signing session, which went on for 3 hours! I was amazed and grateful of Luna’s and Eir’s determination and enthusiasm to sign every single person’s item, despite their fatigue from their live performance, not too long ago, and possible jet lag, with every last person in the line-up leaving with their items signed. During my wait, I saw Vic Mignogna was being interviewed by The-O Network Online and couldn’t help but snap a shot. I stayed behind and thanked both Luna and Eir for their commitment, even though I would interview them the next day.

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With the signing event over at the time at about 1:00AM. I decided to call it a night, and prepare for the interviews with Kawahara Reki, followed by Haruna Luna with Aoi Eir.

Day 3

In the morning, I had the interview with Kawahara Reki, followed by Haruna Luna and Aoi Eir. Both interviews went smoothly and as press. We learned a bit of interesting facts and asked the guests questions relating to their works. During Kawahara’s interview, we were asked not to take photos and as a result. I do not have photos from Kawahara’s interview. However, I do have photos of Eir’s and Luna’s interview. If you are interested in reading Kawahara’s and/or Eir’s and Luna’s press interview, please read the following articles; Press Interview with Kawahara Reki @ Sakura-Con 2013 & Aoi Eir & Haruna Luna Post Live Interview @ Sakura-Con 2013

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As the interviews ended one after another, I walked away with a better appreciation of Kawahara Reki, Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna, as I was able to know a bit more of who they are and finding out certain things about them. It was quite an interesting feeling. With all of my interviews completed, I wanted to enjoy what was left of Sakura-Con by taking more cosplay photos and checking out the Exhibitors’ area.

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Oh my goodness Sheryl and Basara crossover! Macross Frontier and Macross 7 in one.

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Lady Une, wow~

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As the convention wound down to final hours. I headed off to the Closing Ceremonies to end the event.

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Just like last year, overall, I had an enjoyable time. Even though I was working as press and covering as much as I can, there was a lot to cover for one person and I feel I missed quite a bit. However, it is one of the feelings that makes me want to go back to Sakura-Con and attend Anime Conventions in general. I hope to attend as a member of Press again, to bring you more coverage.

Overview impressions of Sakura-Con 2013 by Narmi – http://NarmiBlog.wordpress.com/

Photography: Narmi

by Narmi

Press Interview with Kawahara Reki @ Sakura-Con 2013

April 13, 2013 in Conventions by Narmi

With Kawahara Reki’s first time in North America and attending Sakura-Con 2013. I took the opportunity to be a part of the press interview with Kawahara, the creator and light novel author of the Sword Art Online and Accel World.

Before the interview began, we were asked not to take photos of Kawahara Reki during the interview. As a result, there will be no photos from the interview. However, while you are reading the interview transcript, I have provided a few photos from Kawahara’s public Question and Answer panel as your visual aids.

Enjoy.

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Question: If Sword Art Online was to turned into a real MMO, would you play it?

Kawahara: As long as it’s not “perma-death”, I might.

Question: This is your first convention in the states, is there food or anything you want to try while in Seattle?

Kawahara: I had, for the first time in my life, a real oatmeal this morning and it was very delicious. Though, I want to try a real American sized T-Bone Steak.

Question: In a recent interview. You said coming up with a simple idea of players trapped in an MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) was the easy part, but finding the mechanism was the difficult part. You also admitted to the Nervegear having its faults, thus creating plot holes. My question, if you had more time or were able to go back, to add more to the story or fix the faults, what would you have done?

Kawahara: One of the things that I heard about: Would it be possible to instantaneously destroy the Nervegear the players were using? To make it inactive in time before it would kill the player. That was one of the things that was brought up to me. In order to combat such measures, one of the ideas was to have Kayaba announce that, should anyone attempt this or even succeed, another player at random will pay for that action.

Question: Asuna is a bit of a tricky character. She starts off as an incredibly strong fighter, an important political system of SAO. In the Alhiem arc, she was caged, sexually assaulted, and virtually replaced with women of half her ability and depth. What would you say to the critics who found her role problematic, especially given the often misogynistic climate of anime and gaming?

Kawahara: So as I said previously, the character of Asuna, I might have created too perfectly for SAO and when teamed up with Kirito. There was hardly any problem that the two, as a pair, could not overcome. So in order to increase the sense of urgency of the Fairy Dance (ALfheim Online) arc. I needed to make her unable help Kirito and caging her, I do have some regrets about putting her into a situation, in order to build up the sense of danger for Kirito’s adventure in the second story arc. As recompense internally, I made a story as a follow up called Mother’s Rosario, where Asuna is the main character. Should there be more animation, I would really like to see that story depicted.

Question: How much of Kirito’s personality and character is based off of your personality and character? Including characters you play as in other MMOs.

Kawahara: I don’t tend to place myself into my characters, but if I had to say, there was some point of Kirito and myself. There is the fact that both of us are not very good at forming parties. We tend to play solo, in these games, a lot.

Question: Between 2002 when you first submitted your submission for Dengeki Light Novel Award, between your actual publication at 2008 and before that. What did you do?

Kawahara: During that period, I was serializing SAO on my homepage and eventually that was picked up for publication, reworked, edited and released in 2008. I have to say I haven’t done the entirety of what I wrote on those pages in the novel series.

A) Narmi’s tidbit: Read Sword Art Online: Volume 1 Author Notes for a detailed answer to this question.
Question: Can you explain the process of how your work was turned into a multimedia phenomenon? From the start to its popularity.

Kawahara: First of all, if I had thought that it would become a multimedia phenomenon. I might have made the main character of Accel World, Haruyuki, a little bit more cooler. In the beginning, I was more worried about if I would succeed as a writer let alone thinking ahead of that to an animated version of my novels. When my editor came to me and said, “Hey, they want to animate this.” I was shocked for one, but very pleased to hear someone wanted to see it animated.

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Question: My question, the Sword Art Online novels aren’t readily available in English, there are a series of fan translators who took it upon themselves to translate the light novels from Japanese to English and publish translations to a website. I am curious what your thoughts about this are?

Kawahara: First of all, I am happy to hear that there are fans overseas who want to read the novels, to the point of having translations made. I brought this up to my editors and asked; “Why isn’t there?” and he said, “As soon as a publisher in the United States makes us an offer, I am definitely willing to consider it.”

Question: Obviously, Sword Art Online dwells heavily into MMOs. What are your experiences in MMOs and what are your favourites or games in general?

Kawahara: The one I play most is World of Warcraft, but more recently I am quite enjoying Diablo III. I am a really big fan of Blizzard’s games, but I am kind of sad that Japanese versions of these Blizzard games don’t exist.

Question: We heard you said you feel fortunate meeting with your editor, Miki Kazuma-san. Is there anything where you two couldn’t agree on at certain times? Any suggestions or comments you have?

Kawahara: Mr. Miki is a fantastic editor. He would never raise his voice or get angry about any sort of disagreements. But, he is also the type of person that won’t back down from an idea, so when we don’t see eye to eye, it becomes a very long conversation.

Question: How are you able to craft such a believable virtual game within your stories? In other shows, such efforts are more unrealistic and corny, you can say.

Kawahara: I was able to make the virtual world Sword Art Online by studying various American Sci-Fi novelists, all the movies in the US that feature virtual reality and learning from those things, I was able to incorporate a lot of what I learned and experienced into my world.

(Follow up)

Translator’s question to Kawahara: Any particular titles?

Kawahara: The founding roots came from James P. Hogan’s novel about a character being trapped in a virtual reality world. The Japanese title is; Kasou Kukan Keikaku.

*Narmi’s tidbit: Realtime Interrupt is the novel Kawahara is referring to.*
Question: Right now you are busy with all of your success. What do you like to do when you are not busy and actually have sometime off? Do you have any hobbies?

Kawahara: In my answer, if I take online games out of that equation, I really like to ride road bikes. I even bought a trek bicycle. When I heard about what happened to Lance Armstrong, I felt, very, saddened.

*Narmi’s Tidbit: Kawahara quickly notes about him road biking in Sword Art Online: Volume 10 Author Notes*
Question: In your recent interview, you stated you tend to use strategy guides for RPGs (Role Playing Games). If you were to create one for SAO, what would you include? What kind of advice would you give? Other than “Don’t die”.

Kawahara: Ok, if I can’t put in “Don’t die” or other than “Don’t die”. It would be “Don’t leave the town”. (Panel laughs)

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Question: When was it that you decided to become a novelist, and decided this was the career you would like to follow? Did it start in your childhood days, or was it simply your love of writing, or reading stories that lead to your current career?

Kawahara: I always liked creating stories since I was little. The initial profession I wanted to strive to become was a game scenario or story writer but that dream never came to be. So, at some point I had become a writer.

(Follow up)

Question: At which point did you switch from wanting to be a game-writer to a novelist?

Kawahara: When I was a student at school, I definitely wanted to become a game-writer but there was a big hurdle to become a game-writer. You had to work for a gaming company and getting hired at a gaming company was an extremely high wall that I was unable to climb over. So I found myself becoming a writer after becoming a student, in my 20′s.

Question: Looking at the sales figures of the Anime adaptations of Accel World and Sword Art Online. If by any indication, Accel World sold about 8,000 to 10,000 units per DVD/BD combined sales in comparison to Sword Art Online selling at about 35,000 to 40,000 units per volume and still going. I believe about 131,000 volumes of the PSP game were sold in the first week, if I am not missing a zero here. The numbers here show that Sword Art Online is a lot more popular than Accel World. What do you think of these discrepancies of the sales? I heard one possible explanation that Sword Art Online is more girl-friendly. A lot of girls really like Kirito, so the girls went out and bought the DVD/BD and games. What do you think of that?

Kawahara: It is true that the fan base for Sword Art Online in various age groups is very high, including female fans. But for me, I wrote Accel World directed to a younger audience. Seeing the discrepancy in the numbers, personally disappoints me, that the figures aren’t like that for Accel World. But for me, worrying about numbers is the worry of our publishing company and the animation company, Aniplex. So I myself try not to think about sales figures.

Question: What did you expect coming to Sakura-Con and being at the end of it. What are your good, bad, or weird experiences you had?

Kawahara: I have to say, at Sakura-Con. I was very happy to see so many Kiritos here. Seeing the panel room filled with so many fans, and so many fans reacting so positively and openly in such a forum was a big surprise and a very happy experience for me. I can’t imagine such an event happening in Japan in the middle of such a large city, in such a large venue and the fans having the types of reactions that they expressed here in Japan.

Aniplex representative: We are out of time. Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming to Reki Kawahara’s Press conference.

(Applause and thank you going around.)

Press Interview with Kawahara Reki @ Sakura-Con 2013 by Narmi

Transcriber & Photographer: Narmi – http://NarmiBlog.wordpress.com/

*Many thanks to SutoraikuAnime. For confirming the novel Kawahara referred too as, Realtime Interrupt*

*SIDE NOTE – Narmi: For the interview article, I wanted to keep it as close to the actual dialogue in the interview. Even though the grammar of the questions and answers aren’t correct. My belief is, by being as close to “word for word” from the interview. This style of writing will help you experience the interview for what it is. I hope you will understand my desire, to keeping it as close to the actual experience I had.*

*Side note [May 14th 2013] – UNCUT version of the interview is on on my blog site.*

by Narmi

Toshihiro Kawamoto @ Sakura-Con 2013

April 13, 2013 in Conventions by Narmi

This year at Sakura-Con 2013, Cosplay Victoria was given the opportunity, to be a part of the group press interview with Toshihiro Kawamoto. We took the opportunity and this article is a transcript of that group press interview. Enjoy.

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“Hello everyone, I am Toshihiro Kawamoto. This is my second Sakura-Con. I am really looking forward to having a good time and relaxing. I will do a brief introduction and profile. I work for BONES, which is a creation company. As an animator, I was involved with Cowboy Bebop and Wolf’s Rain as the Character designer. I was the Character Animation Director in Space Battleship Yamato 2199 last year and for the later half of last year, I worked on Eureka Seven Ao. I can not announce any titles right now, but there are two things that we are working on, that are unannounced by BONES. I really want to announce these two upcoming titles but unfortunately, we need to put off the announcements a little bit more. So, I won’t be able to answer questions about those and I am really sorry but, if you would like to ask anything about my experience as an animator or about BONES. I will be happy to talk about that.

Thank you very much.”

–Toshihiro Kawamoto, Sakura-Con 2013 Group Press Interview

Toshihiro Kawamoto (left)Question: With your contribution to the Gundam universe and seeing the transition of character designs. For example Mobile Suit Gundam, the original, to Mobile Fighter G Gundam. What are your thoughts about the transition of character design? Is there anything you want back or to improve on?

Kawamoto: Personally I worked on many of those Gundam titles and I think that each character design, kind of, meets the need of that particular era. So, I don’t have any particular regrets or anything, I think that could have been done better for any particular work, if that is what you are asking?

(Questionnaire nodded in agreement)

Each one was suited for that time. For example Star Dust Memories 0083, which was created in the year 1990. Was created in the line or the style of the original Gundam series and it was very well received but six years later. In 1996, with Mobile Suit Gundam: The 8th MS Team OVA. I participated in the audition but we took a more casual style that was easier for animators to draw, in terms of lines. So we had no particular roles in terms of character design. We tried to meet the needs of that time and what our fans wanted to see.

Kawamoto: Is there any particular favourite Gundam series?

Questionnaire’s reply: Mobile Fighter G Gundam: The East is Burning Red.

Kawamoto: I joined as an animator for the opening and the very last episode. I also did participate in the audition for the character design but that ended up being with someone named Osaka Hiroshi who did the character design.

Question: What were some of the factors that lead you to create Studio BONES?

Kawamoto: So I worked on Cowboy Bebop in 1998 and after that the producer at Sunrise, Masahito Minami, said he wanted to go independent and so he invited me along. That was the trigger for the creation of BONES. I think Minami-san wanted to work on creating something new, rather than previous existing works. That is why he left Sunrise and wanted to go independent.

Question: As my website deals with more inspiring artists to reach their goals and you are an established artist, most of my questions will be art production related. I would like to ask when it comes to character designs, in your opinion. What are some of the most important key factors in creating successful character?

Kawamoto: That is a difficult question. (After clarification of the question.)

Kawamoto: It is difficult to give advice on that point. It would be nice if people are designing characters and thinking about their fans in mind that, is a character going to be really popular but, sometimes it’s not really possible to have that in mind when you’re creating a character. My only advice is to sort of raise your antennas and be open to information through out the world. Be open to new experiences. Point your antennas in various directions. Take things in from the world around you and process those into your own style. I am always trying to be open to information in terms of genre as particularly regard to the future. As technology and other things evolve so, I kind of go a mile wide and an inch deep and try to get a lot of new information. About what and how things are changing.

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Question: When you established BONES 12 years ago, where you confident that it would be successful or..?

Kawamoto: I joined BONES and my friend Minami because I had the same thoughts as Minami. As far as what I wanted to create and becoming an independent animator. I wasn’t really thinking of it would be successful or not. I was just thinking about what I wanted to create and the kind of things I wanted to make. I was very happy that many of people who worked on Cowboy Bebop, who were freelance animators, were able to move over and join BONES. At BONES, we were able to create RahXephon and so the actual feeling of where we were working didn’t change very much. From when we were working on Cowboy Bebop because, we had a lot of the same people who were working on it.

Question: My question is about the reception of Cowboy Bebop and the west. By many western anime fans, Cowboy Bebop is one the most well regarded animes. Were surprised to the reception of Cowboy Bebop?

Kawamoto: I was surprised. When we made Cowboy Bebop number 1, it was hard to get broadcast slots. We didn’t even know if it was going to become a hit or not. Faced with all of these difficulties, we shortened what was originally planned, for a 26 episode series to a 13 episode series but now even 10 years later, it is still so popular even outside of Japan. It is a strange yet almost surreal feeling.

Kawamoto: With regards to a sequel, you saw the last scene?

Questionnaire: Yeah.

Kawamoto: There are no plans at this time and I am not part of the staff but, I have heard that there may be still a possibility of a live action version. So, we may see a Hollywood version of Cowboy Bebop, in some time in the future.

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(FOLLOW UP)

Question: Are you able to elaborate on the broadcast spot and why there were difficulties with that?

Kawamoto: When we were trying to find broadcast slots in Japan. We were faced with challenges because of some of the violence, for example the bloody eye episode, which had a lot of drug references and as well the violence. Made it hard to find a broadcast slot. Also at the same time, there was a real life incident known as the Poke-mon shock. Where a youth was wielding a knife. We had to digitally remove a knife from a particular scene, because of the social impact at that time. The bloody eye episode was actually episode number 1, so we actually started broadcasting with episode number 2, due to these kind of issues. But episodes number 1 and 5 were released in their original format, so I was glad I was able to take care of those.

Question: I was wondering who your inspirations were as a child. That made you want to become an artist?

Kawamoto: There are many. It wasn’t so much people but, so much as their creations and the anime I was watching. When I was in high school, that inspired me. For example the gundam designs from Yasuhiko Yoshikazu and Tomino Yoshiyuki and as well as Hayao Miyazaki’s films. Kawamori Shouji of Macross fame, Urusei Yatsura Mamoru Oshi. It was through their work and watching their creations that I decided to join this industry.

Question: Speaking of Gundam 0083 stardust memory, which features many different characters from various ethnicities. How important was that for you, in terms of being a director and character development?

Kawamoto: Personally I think it’s just natural. There are also times where we need to create characters, that will appeal to the Japanese audience. When we were creating something in Japan. Stardust Memory has a sort of Hollywood feel to it and there was a request from the developer to include people of many different races. Does this answer your question?

Questioneer: “Yes. It was an actual request that was interesting. I thought it was a director decision to include different ethnicities.”

Kawamoto: I think we became more aware of that over time. 0083 was kind of made in the style of the first original gundam and I think we became more aware of that over time. I am sorry, I am not too familiar with the most recent Gundam so, I am not sure what direction they are taking. But my memory of Gundam 0083 was that, we thought about of the kinds of actors that characters were representing and we based the character design on that. Cowboy bebop was like that, we kind of thought about the characters first.

Question: Studio BONES has done a lot of really wonderful animations. There has been some that were original creations from BONES and there has been a lot like Full Metal Alchemist that were based on previous existing works. How does he approach these types of products differently, working on pre-existing works as opposed to something they created themselves?

Kawamoto: For example of Full Metal Alchemist, it was a creator at BONES named Yoshiyuki Ito who thought it would be great to create an anime out of Full Metal Alchemist. He talked to the producer at BONES and then we talked to Square Enix who owns the IP (Intellectual Property). That is how we created the anime for Full Metal Alchemist, my apologies. That was how it was decide Yoshiyuki Itoe would be the character designer and main Animator for Full Metal Alchemist. (31:43) Of course there were times where the sponsors or original creator of the work will sponsor the creation of the anime. A recent work I worked on, Towa no Quon. Was also based on a original work had the creator who made it, working on the anime.

(FOLLOW UP)

Question: How do they choose that the next project is a pre-exisiting work or something they made.

Kawamoto: It’s all up to the president, what he says goes. However with that said, we do have input into the direction the company is going. We have a feeling of wanting to create our own works and it is still a possibility. Although it can be difficult to do that, there is a possibility of original works from BONES.

Question: Given you have worked with some prolific anime series; Gundam, City Hunter, and Venus Wars. Were there any fears or worries of working with established series?

Kawamoto: No particular concerns. But there is a strong way of thought in the industry, in terms of a business stand point. It is easier to be successful with known properties. There is a tendency to prefer sequels over original works, if they are already known.

(FOLLOW UP)

Question: “Given that, are there any series you haven’t worked with yet that you always wanted to?”

Kawamoto: Sequels? Hmm, that is a difficult question. I think from a sales or business success stand point. It would make sense to make a sequel to Cowboy Bebop but, that would violate the director policy to create that. That is a bit difficult. Instead of existing works, creating some kind of new or original work that had long term popularity or long term series. Would be great for our company to have. There was a tendency in the past to create series in 26 episodes called two packs though, the tendency now is toward 13 episode series called one pack series. There is a severe, difficult, situation that has been continuing. Where we will create 13 episodes of a series and then make the decision whether to create an additional 13 episodes. It is getting a bit more difficult.

Question: You have been a part of the growing industry of constantly changing styles, as each new generation of anime emerges. What do you think of the character designs & animations of today. Compared to those from your beginnings, particularly against popular series; Madoka Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica), Sword Art Online, and Guilty Crown?

Kawamoto: I think those series you mentioned reflect currently popular face styles and character designs. In my opinion, the face balance currently reflect the state of industry. There will be tendency where there will a be hit of a particular series. That has a particular art style and so when that is popular. A lot of other, similar, series will be influenced by that art style, and will spread because of its use. But even with in those trends, there will be an increasing amount of original creations and new directions. I think that it is really up to our choice. To choose the designs that we like and up to the fans as well to choose the designs they like. Our job is to create designs that are requested of us by the directors and producers.

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(FOLLOW UP)

Question: How does all that change in difference from older series a such Cowboy Bebop and the original Gundam?

Kawamoto: If you look at the side by side, you can tell but it’s really had to put into words.

(FOLLOW UP)

Question: What about the production process?

Kawamoto: The biggest would be the change from creating individual cells to the digital creation process. That would be the biggest change. One of the effects digitization, is that previously when people where doing hand drawing animation in cells. The width of the lines could vary but now with digital. All of the lines have to be the same width. There is a trend with that, so that is one thing I think had an effect. So while the screen is clearer, you can get a very clearer image. You loose a little bit, in terms of the creators’ hand drawn works with the new digital process. I think that one appeal of the hand drawn process has been lost, to some extent.

(FOLLOW UP)

Question: Do you prefer the appeal of the old style, as oppose to the appeal of current mainstream style?

Kawamoto: Of course I am from the cell era so, I think it is something we really need to challenge. To see how we can take that same feeling that we created from cells and convey it to the fans of the digital process. Other companies as well are working on this issue and I think there are various technologies and things they are experimenting with in order to reproduce this feeling of the original cells. But it takes extra effort to bring back what was originally there, naturally. I think another big change is that now is possible for indicial animators to perform their own animation check digitally. Just a single animator can put something together and then check how it flows, very easily.

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Question: How much difference from your other works was it when you were working on Golden Boy. Golden Boy is a very silly series and as such and compared to other series…

Kawamoto: Of course it differs depending on director. The director has a lot of influence but I think in term of expression. It is probably more difficult to do a comedy series, than to do a more serious series, from an expressive stand point. Tatsuya Eigawa was the original creator of manga and Hiroyuki Kitakubo was the director and so, meeting their vision was really something that I worked hard on for Golden Boy.

Question: My personal favourite from BONES was the Eureka Seven. It’s one of my favourite series. I was wondering, do you have a favourite series you have worked on?

Kawamoto: Yah, I get that question a lot and it’s really hard to say or choose what’s number one.

(FOLLOW UP)

Question: Or a couple that is memorable?

Kawamoto: Of course Cowboy bebop and I think the Cockpit, which was an original video animation I did with Director Hiroyuki Kitakubo, was an important one too because that lead to Ghost in the Shell and then Cowboy Bebop. So I think that one had a big impact as well.

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Question: I have been wondering for a long time now. I know Ed from Cowboy Bebop is one of the most interesting characters of that anime era and that you based her design on Yoko Kanno, as your inspiration. I am wondering why her and what sort of challengers did you face in matching her to the character personality in the story.

Kawamoto: I’ll talk about how the character Ed was created. So the original plan was to, in addition to those characters; Spike, Jet, Faye. There would be a little boy who is a hacker and there would also be a girl who is always lying around sleeping. There was going to be 5 characters and as planning progressed. It was decided to combine the hacker boy character with the girl who sleeping around on the sofa into a single character and that became Ed. The idea was that, the character would be kind of like a cat and just lounging around all the time. Then the director said; “you know, kind of like Yoko Kanno.” (Panel laughs) I hadn’t met her at the time and so I had to imagine in my mind but, I was told that, this was the kind of person that would just fall asleep in a meeting and was just very honest and natural person so. Although I hadn’t met her, I was able to imagine her character. I remember the amazing work she had did done in Escaflowne and Macross Plus. It was hard for me to fill in that gap between those amazing works and this character that I was being described. So why did that become ED? That is interesting. After the design was done, I actually met Yoko Kanno. Visually she is just a regular cute, attractive girl, but when I actually saw her fall asleep on a sofa. I was surprised and thought; “oh yah that’s her.”

Translator: We are out of time, but before we end it, is there any final words?

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Toshihiro KawamotoRandom question from a member of press: “Do you drink wine?”

Kawamoto: I can’t drink actually, so I don’t drink much wine but there are many people in my staff that do.

Member of press who asked “Do you drink wine?”: I would have offered him a bottle then.

Kawamoto: “Oh our president would be so happy.” (panel laughs)

Kawamoto: Thank you all for coming today, I really appreciate it. Thank you for your support and interest in the anime industry. I look forward to your continuing interest in our future works. Thank you very much.

Press Interview with Toshihiro Kawamoto @ Sakura-Con 2013 by Narmi

Transcriber & Photographer: Narmi – http://NarmiBlog.wordpress.com/

by Narmi

Aoi Eir & Haruna Luna Post Live Interview @ Sakura-Con 2013

April 9, 2013 in Conventions by Narmi

After the live performance from Day 2 of Sakura-Con 2013. In the morning of the following day. Various members of press sat down in a group interview, with Haruna Luna and Aoi Eir. Throughout the interview, various questions about their success, and their thoughts were asked, especially their hobbies. For this interview, Cosplay Victoria collaborated with JPopJRock to bring you this press coverage of Luna Haruna’s and Aoi Eir’s interview.

For this interview coverage, both Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna’s answers will be in one article. I hope you will enjoy the questions and answers from the interview.

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Read the rest of this entry →

Q: Last night at your concert, a lot of people seemed to enjoy the “Madoka Magica” opening song, your collaboration. What made you pick the songs you sang last night and would you consider doing more collaborations in the future?

Aoi: I come from the same place in Japan as ClariS, and I have a lot of respect for them as artists. I hope we can do more collaborations like that in the future.

Haruna: I really like collaborations. There’s a big difference between when you sing by yourself and when you sing with different artists. It’s very stimulating. I learned a lot by being able to sing with other people, so it really energizes me and inspires [me].

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Q: Each vocalist has a specific routine that they follow during recording. What sort of things do you do to feel inspired before you record?

Aoi: First I pump some iron – I always work out a lot. The abs are really important to singing, so I work out, I rest a lot, get plenty of sleep the night before, and drink a lot of water. I try to imagine what world the song is trying to depict, then I work out, and then I go to the recording.

Haruna: I think that song is a good medium of expression, so I read the lyrics carefully, try to imagine what kind of world the lyrics are trying to create, and I preserve that image. I really love anime, so I think I have a good imagination. I try to dial into that when I have to go in and record a song. I look at the lyrics, and cherish that.

Q: How did you feel when you found out you were performing in America?

Aoi: I think I was a little nervous before my first [American] live, but the people here in Seattle are really, really passionate fans. It allowed us to have a lot of fun, so I think that the fun outweighed the nervousness, which was really great.

Haruna: I was really nervous, too; it was my first overseas concert. I wasn’t sure what to expect. At the same time I was excited to see how the different fans would welcome us here, and it was very very warm when I was doing a concert. It almost didn’t feel like my first overseas concert, so I’m really happy that I was able to come here.

Q: How have you evolved over time?

Aoi: Before my initial debut, I always thought about pitch and how I have to hit those notes, but after I sang more and did more live performances I realized singing is a method of expression so I think it comes down to communication. I want to communicate something: there’s a message that has to be delivered, so I try and entertain the audience, and I try to get closer to them and communicate.

Haruna: I’ve loved anime songs since I was really small and the music would always leave a really happy feeling inside of me, so whenever I sing and I can see that I’m putting smiles in other people’s hearts it makes me want to become better. Just witnessing communication with the fans make me want to become better; I want to improve. It also helps me realize once more how wonderful the mediums of song and music are, and how they give people dreams, and inspire people.

Q: Eir, how does it feel to have two top-ten singles so early in your career?

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Aoi: Quite honestly, I did not expect that to happen. It was completely beyond [what I expected] and I was very surprised. It was an unreal, surreal feeling that my singles were up there on the top ten charts. But now I realize that the only reason that could happen is because there are a lot of fans who support me. I would like to give something back to them, and give something back to everyone that’s supported me.

Q: Luna, what was it like working with the legendary Yuki Kajiura for your debut single?

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Haruna: I am big fan of the TV anime series “Gundam SEED,” and Yuki Kajiura worked on a lot of the tracks in the series. I really like the worlds she creates through her music, so when I was able to work with her it was a very unreal feeling, because she’s someone I have so much respect for. After listening to the track that she had created I almost felt like I was being immersed in her world, because the music she creates has a very good sense of world. To be a part of the immersion into that world was very, very exciting.

Q: What do you like to do to relax when you’re not singing? Any hobbies?

Aoi: Games (panel laughs). I play on 360, PS3, PSP, DS… I love all the consoles, but if I had to say there was one sort of genre that I really get into, it’s online games.

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FOLLOW UP

Q: What type of online games?

Aoi: Mainly FPSs (panel gasps). “Left 4 Dead,” “Gears of War” (although “Gears of War” is technically not an FPS), and “Call of Duty” are some titles I spend a lot of time playing.

Haruna: As you know I’m an otaku, so I like to watch anime in my free time and I might take a walk around Akihabara. Whenever there’s an event I will always take the first train out to get there really early to be the first one there, so I’m really a stereotypical otaku. But anime is everything to me; it’s kind of what created me. I just love anime.

Q: Now that you’ve worked in anime, is it something you’re eager to continue with? Is there any particular anime you’d like to work on in the future? What is your passion for music?

Aoi: Ever since kindergarten I’ve really been supported and inspired by anime, so I’m really happy to be here now working on these anime songs, and I think I’d like to continue in the pursuit of working together with anime. And I also want to work really hard to have as many people overseas hear my music.

Haruna: I think I would like to continue the pursuit of working together with anime. I really feel that it’s a representation of Japanese culture, and anime synchronizes people. Also, the fun and intrigue all connect, so I’m really happy to be able to do this.

Q: Are there any artists, either Japanese or American, who you would like to collaborate with?

Aoi: In Japan, it’s really humbling, but I’d like to collaborate with Mizuki Nana, Nakagawa Shoko, or Hirano Aya. I really love rock so, if I had to choose a Western band to do a collaboration with it would be Linkin Park.

Haruna: I would love to be able to do a collaboration with ALI PROJECT. Another kind of collaboration I’d like to do is with the Gothic Lolita Bible. We did more of a fashion-centered collaboration in the past,but I hoped to be able to do more of a musical collaboration in the future because I just love the expression of Goth-Loli. I hope we can express our feelings through this medium together in the future.

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Q: When creating a song, do you try to read as much source material as possible so that [the song] will fit with the worldview [of the anime], or do you go towards a more general feeling?

Aoi: So, like you said, a lot of [songwriting happens] in a pre-anime phase. The anime doesn’t quite exist yet, so I try to read as much of the original work as possible. I try to imagine what the characters’ expressions would look like in this world, and I try to imagine what the world would look like. And because I also write lyrics, I want to capture the feelings these characters have while they’re going through these stories. So I read it, I imagine it, and I try and use it to inform my performance.

Haruna: The music that I’ve done has generally been for the second season, so there’s a pre-existing anime, so I will definitely watch those. If there are any prequels or other materials I try to look into those as well. I have a very otaku nature, so once I try and dive into something I just go for it and immerse myself into those worlds. And I just love the characters. I try to imagine what this character is trying to tell people, so when I sing I try and capture the feelings of each one of these characters.

Q: What has it been like starting out as an anime fan and then doing work that contributes to anime?

Aoi: When I was a fan I really didn’t think about this kind of stuff because I was just the consuming side, but as I began to work more on the creation side of the spectrum I really thought about what I wanted to express, and what feedback I wanted to inject into the medium. I have to carefully choose every word in the lyrics because maybe sometimes this word will carry a different meaning and will help me express a certain emotion better than other words, so it’s a really difficult process. And again, even with the [music], maybe this section should be a lot softer because that’s a better way of expressing a certain scene or emotion. A lot of times I talk to the director and give him my suggestions as well and say, “Hey, maybe we should try it this way.” It’s been really fun, and honestly I think anime has again taught me a very important lesson.

Haruna: Until now I was, again, more of a consumer. I would watch anime. Moving into a position where I’m a part of the creative process I think of each anime as a single world. When people look into this world and try to peer into it, I can sense it gives them a very happy feeling. And when I see my music and this anime footage linked together for the first time on top of each other, I feel like the gap between reality and anime worlds are being bridged. So I really feel like dreams come true and people’s thoughts are conveyed and expressed.

Q: Have you ever been recognized on the street anywhere? If so, how do you react?

Haruna: Whenever I walk around in Akihabara, I try to choose a much more plain wardrobe so that I blend in a little more (panel laughs). But, you know, if someone ever spotted me and approached me, I think we would actually have a good time talking [to them] about anime and stuff. So I’d almost welcome it.

Aoi: There was one time in the past where I had to go to Akihabara to purchase this brand new game that came out. My album had come out on January 30th, so there was actually a really big sign that had an advertisement with my image on it. So I thought it would be really interesting if I just kind of hung around it (panel laughs). But no one noticed me, so I began to eat a crepe in front of it but still no one found me, so I think I really need to work harder in the future (panel laughs).

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Q: With both of your successes with “Fate/Zero” and “Sword Art Online,” what other series are both of you aiming to contribute your voice to?

Aoi: I personally love fighting; anything that has fighting in it, whether it be games or anime. So “Dragonball Z,” “Sailor Moon” – they all have an element of intensity and fight, so I really hope that I’ll be able to work on projects in the future that have more fighting in them.

FOLLOW UP

Q: If you’d had the chance to work on “Accel World,” would you?

Aoi: I would love to, yes. I’m a big fan of ALTIMA’s music as well, so whenever I listen to the music from “Accel World”. It really excites and energizes me.

Haruna: As long as it’s anime I’m all for it. Being able to sing and contribute my voice to any anime project is a dream come true. So as long as it’s anime I’m good.

Q: Are there any American or Western artists that have influenced your work?

Aoi: Slipknot, Evanescence, and Marion Raven (she might be a little minor). This is my father’s influence, but I sang a lot of Whitney Houston at karaoke when I was younger, so I think there’s a bit of influence there. And while I was coming over here I watched an Eminem music video. I think that kind of sums it up.

Haruna: I generally listen to a lot of anime songs, so I can’t say I really expose myself to music of the West. If I had to mention a couple [who I’d listen to if I wanted to] hear some kind of different sense of a world, I’d listen to U2. And a long time ago I’d listen to some Britney Spears as well.

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Haruna Luna & Aoi Eir by Narmi_I, on FlickrWith this as the last question, this sums up the interview with Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna. Many gracious thanks to JPopJRock for the interview transcript and asking Cosplay Victoria to provide photos for their article. Look forward to the interviews with Toshihiro Kawamoto and Kawahara Reki. Along with the interviews, cosplay photos from Sakura-Con 2013. Even though I didn’t get much cosplay photography done due to press coverage. It was all worth it in the end.

Transcribe: JPopJRock

Photography: Narmi – http://NarmiBlog.wordpress.com/