Tag Archives: press

Exposition: Anime Expo 2012, Day 2

“Bronze Tier” should have been a tip off that something was amiss…

Day 2 was going to be Ground Zero for me: the day that I had anticipated the most as a fan. The day of the Yuki Kajiura/FictionJunction concert.

I did what I did last year for the press Kalafina tickets: I got up earlier than all of my blogger roommates, headed to the convention center, and waited outside the closed press lounge for our two allotted tickets for the Kajiura concert. To my surprise, the staff opened the room early, and I was able to charge my equipment while waiting.

When 9 AM, the appointed time for ticket distribution, came—there were no tickets. They would be ready by noon, I was assured. Ticket printing problems had come up. I hung around the press room for another hour or so before deciding to head on out for the Vocaloid panel with Rome, Benu, and other press folks.

Now, I know little about Vocaloid and Hatsune Miku beyond the basics. I’m not familiar with the most well-known Vocaloid composers—Benu and Rome told me that the ones who appeared at the panel, like Kagome P, Deadball P, and Dixie Flatline, were actually some of the biggest on the scene. Despite my lack of background, the panel was thoroughly enjoyable. The songs were either hilarious or, in one case, a bit poignant. The composers were frequently funny and/or outspoke, with Kagome P giving a hearty “fuck you” to the Japanese government’s laws closing dance clubs early, and Deadball P being his best otaku self by declaring Miku his “waifu” and that he has had a baby with her. His song, “Japanese Ninja #1,” is perhaps the funniest thing I’ve heard or seen at this convention. Dixie Flatline told of how a Youtube video of last year’s Mikunopoils concert (I’m still smarting over having our videos taken down by Sega—but we still have them here!) inspired him to start his musical career over again.

I tried to buy Deadball P’s record after the panel, but it sold out quickly, and no wonder.

Smile for the fangirls.

Next up was the voice actor Nobuhiko Okamoto‘s panel (Seiji in Sakamichi no Apollon, Io in Acchi Kochi among others). Jeremy had suggested we try to cover the panel and then seek a private interview with him, since though he was grouped with the Fate/Zero team during the press conference the previous day, he wasn’t part of our private interview. Fortunately, press was allowed to take unlimited photography, so we sat in the front row taking pictures as he made his fangirls (and one crazy Index fanboy) swoon by doing voices and impressions. Okamoto is a very pretty man indeed, inspiring one shy fan to give him a gift and others to declare their love in Japanese. My attempts to live blog/tweet, however, were thwarted by the total inability of ATT’s 3G network to function on my phone. I got out a few tweets using Jeremy’s T-Mobile powered phone, though, in which the most interesting factoid to come out is that Okamoto would probably have been a shogi player if he didn’t become a voice actor.

Unfortunately, he left straight back to Japan right after the panel, so we couldn’t get our private interview. The Aniplex rep, however, was friendly and told us we can try to get in touch later, but we might have to be prepared to pay. Seiyuus, he said, typically require to be paid for interviews. I wonder whether this is one of the reasons why there was no junket this year—perhaps the indebted AX couldn’t afford to pay enough.

At this point, our staff writer ElectricV01 (Dan) came by. In the absence of a planned interview with infamous, PAX-expelled cosplayer Jessica Nigri, he suggested we interview another pro cosplayer, Yaya Han, instead. Having not heard of her until that point, I was surprised later by how famous she really was. We took a mere 15 minutes to come up with good questions and you can see the results over here:

This ended up being one of the few times I actually visited the Dealer Room this year. Having already broke my con buying budget by buying NIS America’s Kimi ni Todoke box sets at AM2 earlier, I couldn’t afford anything anyway. We did briefly note one big change, the return of Viz Media with a booth. For the past few years, they’ve eschewed AX in favor of San Diego Comic Con for their big booth. When I tried to get one of their famous canvas bags, it turned out there were a lot of hoops to jump through to get one. I’ll just wait until SDCC to get one.

Dan and I then decided to try to get into LiSA’s fan panel. We saw hordes of fans crowding around the hallways, with an entire room dedicated to line overflow. Press and industry were grouped together with Premier Fan ticket holders. The line filled up quickly, and we heard staff announce that the line was full and they weren’t able to seat anyone else. Fortunately, press was allowed to go in first, even before the Premier Fan holders, and we got a good seat near the front. Dan took pictures with the DSLR, and I borrowed his Verizon phone to tweet, as ATT was once again out. (I fully intend to switch providers now, especially since I’m off contract.)

LiSA was as winsome as ever, making cute faces constantly as we saw examples of her work. The questions the moderator asked tended to be super basic, like “do you like anime?” (to which the obvious answer, of course, is “yes!” and she repeated her bit about Nyaruko-san). If the Okamoto panel was filled with fangirls, this one was filled with fanboys. None of the questions were terribly engaging, as is the norm in fan panels, but the energy in the room was palpable.

After the panel, there was only one more event left to cover: the FictionJunction/Yuki Kajiura concert. We headed back to the press room, having already gotten our tickets around 2:45 PM earlier. We had been assured by the press staff that these weren’t, in KylaranAeldin of Nihon Review’s words, “bitch seats,” but the double row letters and the “Bronze Tier” designation was not encouraging. On leaving, the press staff told us no video, but we could take non-flash photography, which was a typical stipulation for most concerts we’ve attended as press. I could live with that.

The first sign that something was wrong was the seat locations themselves. They were all the way on the left edge of the hall, and near the back to boot. It was a poor location to shoot photographs, though I felt fine that my zoom lens could handle it. Then we were told, by fellow press members already seated: the rule was no photography of any kind, even for press. “Oh, they must still be negotiating,” I reasoned, and replied that the staff had told us otherwise. No, I heard; it’s an absolute blanket prohibition. This was later confirmed by a slide put up on the Jumbotrons.

Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign

I admit: I was angry enough to issue several complaining tweets, which is not the norm for me. (Believe me, I’d much rather talk about Sato or someone else, but this needed airing, because others shared my frustrations, something which will be documented in a forthcoming report about press problems this year.) Apparently we were supposed to get better seats, but ticket printing issues prevented it, and we were supposed to be able to shoot pictures, but artist management overrode it at the last minute. This kind of treatment of press is poor, and hindered our ability to cover the concert, which for many like myself was supposed to be the highlight of the entire convention. The more paranoid Japanese management organizations, like that of Miyuki Sawashiro from last year, need to understand that the game has changed and that total control of artist image is less and less relevant in the Internet age.

Reluctantly, I put my press hat aside, and my phone. I decided to enjoy the show, and…you know, I really did. The vocal and instrumental performances, all of them live, were superb. The majesty and deeply emotional wells of Kajiura’s music came through, especially on the Madoka and Mai-Hime pieces. The numerous pieces from .hack did not move me as much, and there were points in the first half of the show that the songs seem to run together—adding some weight to the frequent charge that Kajiura’s music tends to sound the same. The camera director behind the Jumbotron, which was the only way to really see the artists from where we sat, was also a bit slow on the uptake; there were frequent pans to the curtains and non-playing musicians. But overall, as our reviewer as already said, the concert was an impressive musical performance. Despite my feelings about the management, the Kajiura and her singers and musicians did a fine job. I’m not going to let that ruin my admiration for the music.

Corn chowder at the Farm.

That was it for me. Instead of returning to my hotel room right away, I decided to eat a late dinner at a restaurant across the street to decompress a bit (the Farm of Beverly Hills), and then collapsed into bed shortly after. I missed 2DTeleidoscope and his Tanto Cuore playing anti-FictionJunction con apparently. :) Oh well…

Next: Day 3, my last day

Exposition: Anime Expo 2012, Day 1

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The problem when you are both press and fan—as I wrote about last year—is that you’re caught between two sets of commitments. As press, it’s your job to take advantage of all the unique opportunities you’re given, such as attending press conferences and conducting private interviews. As a fan, you want to be on the convention floor, hanging out with your other fan friends, shopping for goods in the Dealer Hall, and going to fan panels where guests often yuk it up and let loose.

Anime Expo forced us to choose one or the other this year, because most of the press conferences were held on Day 1. In the end, Rome and I chose to be at the Westin Bonaventure hotel, with the press conferences, away from the fans 8 blocks away at the LA Convention Center.

I arrived early, thinking that the first two press conferences—LiSA and Yuki Kajiura—would be packed. But Rome and I discovered that the press room was, in fact, locked. It remained locked for most of the morning, in fact, because the previous tenant of the room had forgotten to turn in the only key that could open the door. Our press liaison was forced to arrange for semi-private, junket-style interviews with LiSA instead—which turned out to be a boon for us. We got some nearly exclusive time with this lovely rock singer who was cheerful and gracious despite the circumstances.

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Perhaps the most surprising thing we learned about her was that she’s new to anime; she only started watching after she got the singing part for Yui in Angel Beats. However she’s already gotten advanced enough to be a fan of Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, even doing the “Uhn! Nyaa!” bit from the OP right on camera. For that, all is forgiven. :) She also mentioned more than once having been inspired by Avril Lavigne, and while that may erase some cool points in some people’s eyes (people sniggered during the fan panel, rather disrespectfully), the influence was actually quite clear in the concert—but without Lavigne’s fake dramatics.

We rushed from LiSA back to the now-open press conference room to cover the Kajiura/FictionJunction folks. I expected the room to be packed by this time, but much to my surprise, the room was only 1/3 full at best. It was still more than the nearly empty conferences from Day 0, but it could hardly be considered crowded. They’ve made a huge mistake in not doing junkets was the thought that kept running in my mind. If even Kajiura couldn’t draw more press, then something was amiss.

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With all of FictionJunction along with Yuki Kajiura in the center, there were many people who had to answer questions. Most of our prepared questions were asked, either in advance or on the microphone. Kajiura, in response to my question about the Gothic affinities of a lot of her soundtracks and shows, didn’t see a Gothic connection in her music at all—partly because, I think, the translator left out my key example of such a show, Kara no Kyoukai. She noted though that it seemed that no one had ever asked her to write really happy music, which drew a laugh from the crowd. I also tried to get the FictionJunction girls to laugh when I asked them which piece of Kajiura music had made them cry, but somehow the question got turned into what piece of music in general moved them the most. That question might have been, as they say, a bit dodgy.

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The best pictures we have of Kajiura and FictionJunction were in a photo shoot that followed the end of the conference. We thought we’d get more during the concert, but alas, that was not to be. (More on that later.) Our attempt to secure a private interview with them also ended in failure.

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After a few hours, it was time for the afternoon conferences, with director Tatsuo Sato (Moretsu Pirates, Rinne no Lagrange, Nadesico). Tatsuo Sato was, on balance, my favorite person to talk to this whole convention. It helps that I’ve seen most of his output, and I made the translator’s life especially hard as I asked super anime nerd questions about his views of the industry post-Evangelion, whether Lagrange ahd Evangelion were deliberately similar, and whether he thinks meta-humor has been overdone since he did it in Nadesico. He was patient and he responded to them all in great detail, and given that it was basically just Anime Diet, the Nihon Review, and Anime Genesis at his conference, our questions became more like a back and forth conversation between press and guest—which continued in our private interview with him afterwards.

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In the process we discovered many previously unknown tidbits about Sato’s deep involvement in Lagrange: Madoka’s jersey and hairstyle was his idea. Her personality was being deliberately contrasted with Evangelion’s Shinji. Rasmus Faber won a competition for the OP—and asked for Megumi Nakajima by name first to sing it. I also probed his thoughts behind Moretsu Space Pirates; he simply wanted to distill just one part of the novel about how a person decides to become a leader. These are my favorite kind of interviews, where directors speak in depth about their intentions and worldviews. It reminds me of the deep discussion we had with Kenji Kamiyama two years ago about Eden of the East.

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The Fate/Zero conference and private interview afterwards was equally detailed, though given my relatively lack of expertise with all things Nasu and Fate/Zero it wasn’t as in-depth. Director Ei and the head honcho of ufotable did most of the talking, with voice actors Rikiya Koyama and bishie Nobuhiro Okamoto doing less. We found out that Kara no Kyoukai was the harder story to adapt, and that ufotable’s cafe was now 90% female in its customer base—thought they only gave vague answers as to why Fate/Zero would change the demographic so much. (I suspect it might be Okamoto’s involvement—he definitely got the fangirls wild in his panel.) As befitting an emotionally intense show like Fate/Zero it was a more or less serious, dignified affair. The only levity came when me, Rome, and the entire production team were all stuck in an elevator for several minutes. “This is how I’m going to die, with the Fate/Zero production team,” I joked. Fortunately, the door opened after a while, and the ufotable head later compared that elevator to the Holy Grail. Good times.

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After that, it was time to relax, since I had no intention of covering anything else. I went to the Animetal USA concert for a few minutes just to check it out; it was professionally played metal renditions of old school anime songs I didn’t recognized. I left after half an hour, and decided to ditch the AMV contest; instead, I bummed around until Omo and cowboybibimbop invited me to join them at the Bushiroad panel, which was about Cardfight! Vanguard.

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Expecting to see the Cardfight anime seiyuu they invited as guests, they didn’t show up, but we met up with a lot of other bloggers there. Afterwards, a bunch of us went to K-Town for some Korean BBQ, and talked shop and otherwise until nearly midnight.

I returned to a hotel room full of anibloggers playing Tanto Cuore on the bed I was going to sleep on. I patiently waited for them to clear out after 2 AM and went to bed. Sorry guys. I’m getting old, you see. :)

Next: Day 2, or, The Drama That Is Press

Deb Aoki Interview – San Diego Comic Con 2010

We talked to Deb Aoki, the influential Guide of manga.about.com, after her panel about “The Best and Worst Manga of 2010” at this year’s Comic Con. It’s a short interview, where we ask just a few basic questions. Pardon the noise in the video–it was shot with an iPhone and and things were just a bit hectic after the panel!

Thanks to Deb for letting us interview her! And happy belated birthday–consider this a late present of sorts. :)

Nabeshin Interview – AX 2010 Press Junket

Nabeshin Interview – AX 2010 Press Junket from Anime Diet on Vimeo.

The hilarious anime director Nabeshin (aka Shinichi Watanabe)–who made such titles as Excel Saga, Puni Puni Poemi, and The Wallflower–talks to Anime Diet for the second time since PMX 2009! (See here and here.) We talk about his afro, his plans for the future, and get him to say some pretty outrageous things!

May’n Interview – AX 2010 Press Junket (Subtitled)

May’n Interview – AX 2010 Press Junket from Anime Diet on Vimeo.

Here’s one of our biggest interviews–with May’n, the singing voice of Sheryl Nome in “Macross Frontier”! We ask her about her influences, and also what it was like with the legendary composer Yoko Kanno. Don’t miss our upcoming article about her concert at Anime Expo as well!

Horie Yui/Kitamura Eri Press Conference Transcript

We at Anime Diet were fortunate enough to be part of a wide-ranging press conference with seiyuus Horie Yui and Kitamura Eri! Our staff got to ask many questions along with others about Toradora! as well as their roles in shows like Kanon, Angel Beats,Blood+, and, yes, even Kodomo no Jikan. This transcript + photos is one of our biggest reports and we’re proud to present it to you!

This transcript was edited for conciseness, clarity, and grammatical correctness. Corrections welcome from those who were there–sometimes the audio I used to transcribe this wasn’t so clear. (The audio can’t be released publicly, by the way–sorry.) Thanks. You’ll also notice that some questions were a little lost in translation with the answers, but we decided to present most of them anyway.

Our questions are preceded by our names in bold.

During the autograph session, there was a big crowd, and you stayed 15 minutes past your scheduled time. That was very generous of you. What prompted you to do that?

KITAMURA: Well as far as that went, we just wanted to sign as many autographs as possible. We heard there was a long line–a lot bigger than expected. We just wanted to have as many happy fans as possible. As far as the number 15 that was the staff’s decision.

HORIE: I really wish I could have talked to each fan, but unfortunately time didn’t permit that. I hope I could do it next time.

Ray: For Kitamura: your first role was as Saya Otonashi in Blood+. Tell us about your first recording experiences and how you overcome the challenges.

KITAMURA: Well first of all, it was actually my third role–though it was my first major published role. I definitely learned a lot. There’s all this different terminology, so I had the experience of learning all that, how it works, the system. I had a lot of great sempais who taught me how to do things, like (Katsuyuki) Konishi.

One of the difficulties I did have was trying to face this character, because Blood is kind of a surreal vampire fiction, kind of sci-fi, so I was trying to bring out that emotion–I never had any experience fighting anything.

You’ve heard that anime is big in America, but experiencing it firsthand must have been a big shock. Are there any major goals you have–do more concerts, play a certain role, etc.?

KITAMURA: The amount of energy here overseas is amazing. I was blown away. It gives you the feeling that no matter what you do, no matter how tough it is, you can still win. Obviously, I want to have as many roles as possible, but coming here today made me understand that there are so many fans who can understand things like singing character songs from Toradora. Makes me want to do more of them.

HORIE: First of all, I’m still kind of surprised and overjoyed that anime is so well-recieved here in America. The reaction from fans is amazing, overwhelming even. I was kind of worried that when anime came to America that the voices would get changed somehow, but surprisingly this wasn’t the case. So it reaffirmed my decision that I want to be in many projects as possible so that fans here in America can hear my voice.

Do your experiences today make you want to have a concert here in America or come back at all?

KITAMURA: As you understand, there’s a lot of politics that go with the higher-ups, so there aren’t any solid plans as of yet. But if the chance arises, I’d definitely love to do that. One of the interesting things for me is that when people react to certain things, it’s not the same timing I’m used to in Japan–like when people cheer for you, and so if it’ll still be well-received here, I’d love to do it.

Toradora depicts average high school life in Japan. Most of Kitamura and Horie’s roles portray teenagers in high school as well. Many attendees at AX are in high school too, and they wonder if high school is like what they see in anime: funny things, first love, etc. How was your high school life?

KITAMURA: For me, there were times when all the girls would get together and be lively, but for the most part, I was operating alone, doodling mangas in my notebook sometimes. But as far as the way anime depicts high school life, I think, a lot of our experiences affect the way we act, and we draw from our experiences when we act our roles. In that sense, it’s not too mis-depicted, I guess.

HORIE: I’m sure one scene you’re familiar with is when you see a boy and a girl walk home from school together. For me personally, that didn’t really happen that much. Sometimes I try to relive that through anime and through my characters, experience it through them. That’d be really nice.

Mike: I really enjoyed your roles in Toradora. Those two roles stand out because there’s some emotional depth and nuance in the characters. I was wondering, was there something in the roles you played that really connected to you personally that enabled you to portray them convincingly?

KITAMURA: I wouldn’t say that every time we act a certain role, we’ve experienced that particular kind of emotion. A lot of times, in fact, we have to act scenes for things we haven’t experienced firsthand. I’m always observing people to try to learn how they experience different emotions. Even though I do a lot of work in 2d, I watch a lot of live action movies. And I’m always learning and reflect what I learn from them, as well as things from my personal experience.

HORIE: The first thing I usually try to do is try to put myself in a character’s situation. I ask myself: if I were in that situation, how would I act? What would I do? WIth anime, it’s helpful, because the animation is set in place, and we record the voices afterwards, so I try to absorb as much information as I can from the anime, and then juxtapose it with my own experiences as well as how I think a scene should be acted. Then I usually come up with something in the middle.

Ray: As a followup, how do you mentally prepare yourself to fit into the characters?

KITAMURA AND HORIE: Well, a lot of minor changes occur right on the spot, so we receive direction from the director. Usually when we look at the script we try not to imagine how a scene is supposed to play out until we see it, because we don’t want to predetermine ourselves and then change it later on. It takes a lot of practice, experience, and trying to be able to flexible when a director tells you to do something.

Thank you for the panel this morning. While making Toradora, were there any particularly hard scenes, and if there were, did you have to talk to the original author of the story, Takemiya Yuyuko, for direction?

KITAMURA: It’s actually really rare that we talk in person with the original author. There’s a lot of steps in between: there’s the director, sound director, lots of positions. So it’s a long bridge between the original author and us. But for the auditions, the author was generally present. There were times we had meetings beforehand, and of course it depends on her schedule, but she did try to attend and put her two cents in at some point. Generally, the results of the meeting goes down to the sound directors, and then is passed down to us and that determines how we act.

(To Horie) One thing that new anime fans have a problem with is the tendency to use meaningless sounds as words, like “uguu.” In your acting, how do you take a sound that doesn’t mean anything and turn it into an emotion?

HORIE: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Now that you mention it, I remember raising an eyebrow about it too. First of all, I try to familiarize myself with the settings and background of the character. Once I have a context of a scene and visualize it in my mind, saying a meaningless word like “uguu” and saying an actual line isn’t really as different as you might think. Once I have my imagination in place, even if I say “uguu” the emotions can be conveyed. “Let’s try.” (in English)

(To Horie) Since you got to work as Ayu in Kanon twice, four years apart, with Toei and later KyoAni, how did the experience relate to each other? As the series grew in popularity, did it become more stressful, or was it easier since you previously worked with the character, or did certain things get resolve any regrets you might have had when you worked with the series originally?

HORIE: Like you said, there was a long period in between, but surprisingly, when you pull a character out of the closet that you haven’t acted in a while, it’s like riding a bicycle, so when you start getting in the groove, it just comes back to you and you can fit the role. in the case of Kanon, there was some evolution in the direction itself, so I acted it slightly different this time around.

(To Kitamura) In Angel Beats, what do you think of fan reaction to your role in that show? (She’s Yui, the main female protagonist.)

KITAMURA: First of all, this was a big brand, and there was a lot of big names in this series. I was thinking to myself that this was a big opportunity and I wanted to avail myself of this opportunity.

Ray: what do you think of the concept behind Angel Beats: that when you fulfill your dream, you’re able to move on to the next life?

KITAMURA: From a fan’s perspective, I thought it was an interesting mechanism in that universe. It’s a different way of conveying a feeling of accomplishment, of achieving a goal. It’s a unique and different way of telling the story.

Did you ever have a chance to work with Jun Maeda of Key while working on the show?

KITAMURA: Unfortunately, I didn’t really have discussions with him. But Maeda-san is an amazing scenario writer, and he is able to convey different ideas very well through the story rather than just words. The way he presents an idea–I got to read the scenario so it helps a lot–when he presents an idea, it’s best told through the story. I haven’t had a chance to say hi to him or talk to him in person, though. In addition to the scripts for the anime, he also does the drama CD scripts too. The way he tells those is almost donjon in a way, but it’s from the official source, but he’s able to pull on the fans’ heartstrings in that regard.

(To Horie) Describe your experiences in a seiyuu pop group Aice5 and whether there are any plans for a reunion.

HORIE: Reviving Aice now would be really difficult. But just watching units like AKB48 working together is really fun. I really hope that we can do something like that in the future.

It’s listed that Eri Kitamura does illustration as a hobby. Has she ever considered going pro?

KITAMURA: I think just going pro right away is really hard. I think it’s really great to convey a story that’s in your own mind and have people experience what you’re thinking. If there’s a way to go pro, then, I’ll be willing to draw something.

Kitamura has a reputation of being an “ota-nii” among fans in Japan. What do you think about the otaku in Japan?

KITAMURA: Of course, I see some things from a fan’s perspective, like when I first saw Horie-san. It’s really beneficial to know how otakus think, because when I act, maybe there’s a little intricacy or nuance that I can act in a certain way that may be more well-received and understood by them.

Mike: The anime industry has seen lots of changes in the past 10 years or so. Can you comment on the changes in the industry, especially with the rise of the moe subculture, has affected you, and where do you think it will affect you in the future?

KITAMURA: It’s definitely become a lot more enjoyable, with the transition to CG from cel shading: it really changes and gives animation more depth. back then, people had to work really hard, but now, with new tools that are available, you can express new emotions, so that’s one aspect that’s affected us.

HORIE: like you said, there have been a lot of changes over the years, but I think tha’ts the result of people searching for something new, because you don’t’ want to tell a story that’s already been told. An interesting product will always be interesting, because it’s a result of trying to pursue human emotion int he search for something new, so of course there are going to be waves of popularity in a particular era, but it’s always in the service of trying something new.

If they do karaoke, do they ever sing their own songs?

HORIE: Sometimes I go to a karaoke box by myself, and I won’t necessarily sing it, but I will play “Yahho” in the background while I think about the scenes.

KITAMURA: I go to karaoke by myself or in groups, but when I go, I like singing songs from people I’ve worked with in the past–like Hocchan’s over here. But if I’m there for long periods of time and I run out of songs to sing, I start singing character songs and add my own twist to things.

A lot of people only associate voice actresses with the anime industry. But it also involves Hollywood dubs. Have any of you worked in dubs for Hollywood movies?

KITAMURA: I haven’t worked on any Hollywood or foreign films specifically. But I have done things like commercial narrations for shows I’ve worked on. If the opportunity arises, I’d like to try it.

HORIE: Of course, compared to the anime work I’ve done, it’s considerably less. The main example I can think of right now is the ghost in “The Ring.” (The American version, I think.) The little girl si acting as a ghost, when I try to rehearse, I would be playing the video in the BG–it would be very scary sometimes. I actually do a lot of horror movies for some reason.

There was enough material for you to do a show at the Nokia Theater. What stopped that from happening?

KITAMURA: We actually don’t do any of the planning, it’s really the higher-ups.

HORIE: It’s kind of mixed feelings. I’m partly relieved I don’t have to go up on stage, but I also feel a little bit of regret that I wasn’t able to.

Rome (in Japanese): Do you think the rise of the “herbivorous man” (soshokukei) has contributed to the rise of otakudom? (Long conversation in Japanese ensues)

KITAMURA: there are little nuances here and there…for some reason, all the male roles in anime have the girls come on to them, so I don’t know if that’s really an accurate reflection of a certain type of shy guy, and you have to think about that a little bit. I don’t know if it directly correlates to the rise of all that.

Mike: This is for Kitamura. Ami, in Toradora, struggles with the balance between her public persona vs her private persona. Do you, or people you know, have a similar struggle in balancing the two? How do you manage it?

KITAMURA: When I act or perform, I have to flip the switch–I have to alter my emotions. Looking back, sometimes I think people perceive these emotions differently…they’re like different mes in the characters I play. I wonder sometimes if that’s a reflection of my own private self. Everyone, when they express themselves, they have their real emotions behind what they say. What they say may not neck be a lie but may be a way of dealing with the situation…it’s like playing catch, back and forth with a person.

In Bakemonogatari, there’s a complicated tongue twister that’s said by Tsubasa. What was the story behind that line and did that give any trouble?

HORIE: The first time that line actually popped up was in a drama CD. Seeing it in hiragana makes it look like a meaningless jumble, but I had to look at the original kanji when I read the line…Araragi’s line was the complete version. Then I twisted it a bit. It was still difficult.

(To Kitamura): what did you feel about your role in Kodomo no Jikan?

KITAMURA: It gives me a smile, a pure feeling, of a girl in love who wants to be liked by her teacher.

Rome: I heard about the “17 forever movement” started by Inoue Kikuko. Is Kitamura part of it, and is it Horie Yui’s mission to spread it all over the world?

HORIE: When I asked Kikuko-san if I could join, she said yes. I don’t have that mission in particular though!

KITAMURA: I play the role of saying “oi! oi! that’s not right!” whenever someone says they are 17 years old. Prior to meeting Horie-san I knew about this movement. And now I’m in charge of the “oi! oi!”

Yuu (Julia) Asakawa Interview – AX 2010 Press Junket

Yuu (Julia) Asakawa Interview – AX 2010 Press Junket from Anime Diet on Vimeo.

Yuu Asakawa, Japanese voice actress (Motoko: Love Hina, Sakaki: Azumanga Daioh), talked to us at Anime Diet about her roles, the World Cup, and many other things. This was one of our most fun, relaxed interviews, and it turns out that Yuu (or Julia, as she calls herself) speaks decent English–so only half this interview is in Japanese. Her open and outgoing nature are on full dispaly in this video.

Ray is trying to offer her a gift of sorts near the beginning of the interview–that’s what she’s saying when she exclaims, “this is for me?” :) All in good fun!

Horie Yui Fan Panel – Liveblog

Preliminaries

4:28 PM–just found out, sadly, there is no photography or video allowed, even for press. But liveblogging is allowed. Sheesh.

4:34 PM–still waiting for the guests to come out.

4:39 PM–the room seems to be packed. but as press, we are front row. Still stung a little by the no footage policy, but oh well. I’m going to be right in front of her…

4:43 PM–we have real deal Japanese press next to us. Even they can’t take pics. Only the manager of Horie Yui can, who presumably will then release official photos.

4:48 PM–they seem to be setting everything up now. But this is pretty late….almost 20 minutes actually.

4:50 PM–note, we are going to a press conference with both Horie Yui and Eri Kitamura tomorrow. Maybe they will allow footage then.

4:54 PM–MC is making announcements. Getting his battery replaced on his mic.

4:55 PM–we can take pictures, as long as we take pictures of all the panelists. (IE, no zoom.) Here we go!

4:57 PM–looks like they want to show the first episode of Toradora! before the actual panel begins. We will be back in about 25 minutes.

Actual Panel

5:22 PM–Horie Yui says she’s 17 years old too!

5:23 PM–Producer of Toradora! is next to Horie Yui.

5:24 PMQ: why did you become a voice actress? A: because of Dirty Pair. She even blew her hair up because of the character Yuri.

5:25 PMQ: what’s the hardest part of being a VA? A: hmm….it’s hard to say. Capturing the feeling of the characters, the emotions of the scenes, and matching them with the lip flips.

5:27 PMQ: which character you played resembles yourself most closely? A: Naru Narusegawa from Love Hina. (Japanese press calls out “tsundere!”) She says she has a tendency to hide the true intentions.

5;28 PMQ: please do your favorite Minori line. A: (She does it, then to translator: “In English please! With super feeling!” Translator reply: “what do the subtitles say?”)

5:29 PMQ: if you were Minori, how would you interact with Taiga and Ryuji? A: I don’t think I’d back down.

5:30 PMQ: do you have any similarities between you and Minorin? A: Minori is a bright, cheerful character, and I have some of those characters. “A little” (in English).

5:31 PMQ: could you sing your favorite song for us, please? A: (Sings the first few lines of the 1st ED of Toradora, “Vanilla Salt”. Now she’s taking requests. Somebody does the Minori “Yahou!” in the audience. She expects us all to spread the word about it!)

5:34 PMQ: give us some advice about how to become a voice actress. A: Live healthy, observe things around you. See how they interacted in school in Toradora!. And don’t catch a cold.

5:35 PMQ: how do you come up with all of your songs? A: get the feeling, then the tempo, then the magic happens.

5:36 PM–Producer says: thanks for coming. What did you think of Toradora! episode 1? (We cheer.)

5:37 PM–Horie Yui: I’m glad to meet everyone. It looks like the fan panel is over though–what a shame! (That’s what she’s saying.) “It’s going to be lonely leaving America behind like this.”

6:00 PM–It’s over.