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ALTIMA Concert Otakon 2014


Six hours ago, ALTIMA made a daring promise. The Japanese pop trio, responding to a question of whether they would ever cover a Run DMC song, boldly urged members of the press and public to attend their evening Otakon concert.

One hour ago, they delivered.


Full of power, grace, and confidence, ALTIMA put on a dynamic performance – flitting about the stage, posing with each other, and swapping keyboards for guitars. They stopped at nothing to please the audience – dancing, strutting, jumping, and thrilling Baltimore with rousing renditions of Run DMC’s ‘Walk This Way’ and Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock n Roll.’ The audience responded with adulation – jumping out of their seats, waving colored glow sticks, and even running in place as Motsu trotted out Japanese dances for them to attempt.


Everything was on the mark: the sound technicians, the lighting, the beat, and the cavorting performers. There was one time when a sound tech did not make an instantaneous adjustment, but it meant nothing next to the sheer energy and raw enthusiasm displayed by Motsu and Maon, set against the backdrop of digital pop provided by Sat.


There are times in live performances where the human element falters, rendering the result less than a recording, and there are times when humanity rises to all challenges and creates a work of true beauty and matchless wonder.  At the end of the concert, Maon cried out that she would remember it for the rest of her life. This was no exaggeration.

Set list:

  1. I’ll Believe (Shakugan no Shana ED)
  2. Fight 4 Real (Strike the Blood OP)
  3. Mission Dispatch
  4. ONE
  5. Backfire
  6. Walk This Way (cover)
  7. I Love Rock n Roll (cover)
  8. Here We Are
  9. Indefinitely
  12. (Encore) Burst The Gravity (Accel World OP)



ALTIMA Press Conference Transcript: Otakon 2014

ALTIMA are a digital J-pop group widely known for making the Shakugan no Shana ED. They are:


  • Maon Kurosaki – vocals – a self-described anime otaku
  • Mototaka “Motsu” Segawa – rapper – loves US dance/house music
  • Satoshi “Sat” Yaginuma – sound production; instrumentals

Motsu, you put the band together. Could you tell us why you felt compelled to work with these artists?

Motsu – At first . . . ? I love J-pop – and my old band, m.o.v.e., starting doing less digital J-pop. I found on YouTube that I could do digital J-pop with Sat, and we just needed a vocalist who was into it. We found her, and we were set!

Any funny or inspiring stories from the road?

Maon – In Thailand and in HK, the crowd had memorized the songs and sang with us! I felt that music connects us, even across distance, borders, and cultures.

Motsu – I love how loud the fans get in the US! It’s the best feeling, being cheered on like that.

Sat – We visited many places for the music videos and had a lot of experiences. It’s a real honor to be in the US.

You are each from different musical traditions. What is the concept of ALTIMA?

Sat – What we aim at is digital J-pop. I don’t know if you’d say digital pop exists elsewhere in the world, but digital J-pop is exactly what we want to do.

What artists inspired you?

Sat – Motsu~! (Grins across.)

Motsu – (Laughs.) (Pauses.) For me, as a rapper . . . Beastie Boys, 2Unlimited, house music . . .

Sat – Run DMC, Walk this Way!

Maon – For me, actually, a lot of anime artists! Minami Kuribayashi, Mizuki Nana, JAM Project – I found this style of music most interesting and I want to tell the world how wonderful it is!

Sat – I also manage FripSide . . . we were successful and I had the chance to work with Omura Tetsuya. I said, “I did it!” It really felt like a milestone in my life.

Maon – I also really respect Hamasaki Ayumi.

Sat – Hey Motsu – you’re in the same company as her, aren’t you? (laughter)

How do you deal with creative differences?

Motsu – Janken! (laughter)

Maon – Jan! Ken! Pon! (makes hand motions)

[Editor’s note: This is Rock, Paper, Scissors, which is ubiquitous in Japan.]

Sat – Seriously, though, we’re all in different age groups – 20s, 30s, 40s. We don’t really argue and we have no problem talking things over.

What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your music careers?

Motsu – Starting up this group, actually. Three years ago, not everyone was sold on this idea. We faced a lot of opposition. It was worth it though – we’re here now!

Sat – I likewise feel the greatest challenge was putting this group together. But I was a huge fan of Motsu already, so I knew I wanted to work with him!

Motsu – (Embarrassed) Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Maon – My own greatest challenge? Actually, it was stepping up and singing! I am really the introverted type; I love being inside playing dating simulation games, but when I discovered the world of anime music, I became passionate about sharing it with everyone. So stepping into the light was my biggest challenge.

You mentioned that Run DMC influenced you. Is there any chance we’ll see a Run DMC cover some time?

Motsu – Yes. Come to our concert tonight!

What’s your favorite swear word?

Maon – English or Japanese?

Motsu – Jikusho!

Bonus question: Where’d you get your shades? They’re very distinctive.

Motsu – It’s my own brand! Ghetto Blaster. So we could say I made them myself.

You move so fluidly! Did you have dance training, Motsu?

Motsu – I started out as a dancer.

Do you have a message for your US fans?

Motsu – You guys give us huge greetings when we come to the US. It’s great to have you cheering us on!

Sat – As the producer, let me say – we try for an unconventional style. I really want to see how fans react to it!

Maon – Even in Japan, it’s a rare opportunity to do everything raw. Here in the US, it’s an especially rare opportunity to bring you our raw sound, our raw voices . . . I’m looking forward to it!

Sat – I really hope we can spread exposure across the country to those who are looking for our sound. So I hope you guys can write good articles and convey our spirit to the world!

Otakon Music Festival 2012: JAM Project FTW!

I actually went to this event as a JAM Project fan, since I and like sooo many other fans attended this event. I heard of fans coming in from California, Canada and Ohio to see this. From my personal experiences, to love this group is to listen to songs that the group performed countless times, and then going at it in karaoke, or in the presence of your own family who looks on as you rock to the music. Then at performances like this, shout, scream, jump back to the performer. So when performers like Hironobu Kageyama, Masaaki Endoh, Hiroshi Kitadani, Masami Okui, Yoshiki Fukuyama merged as the group of Japan Animationsong Makers, dare I say… JUST HOW EPIC CAN THIS GET!!!

I heard about this festival with the closing of this year’s Otakon, and waited until I can buy tickets to pounce on them. Since I have seen them in 2008 when they were first in the U.S, I can honestly say I didn’t want my experience seeing them as I did five years ago. I wanted to be able to rock as hard as I possibly can. Ram’s Head charges $8 for coat ($3) and bag ($5) check in.

I arrived at Ram’s Head with Mori. There were already a good amount of people there, so we queue up, and waited until the doors opened. People were streaming into Baltimore throughout the afternoon  so I was able to keep track of some activity from concert going friends via social media. For the concert I stood with Mori and Paper, stage right.

Unluckily many of JAM Project official con goods sold out even before the show began. I am not as familiar with Faylan, and Natsuko Aso, outside of Baka and Test’s opening. They began the show, and sang about five songs each. I waited until JAM Project came on after a ten minute break. Of all the members of the band, Kagayama spoke the most in  English, though all JAM Project spoke English to greetings, and short conversations.

Kagayama asked (Baltimore audience) if we were ok with the cyclone. He then corrected himself and said Hurricane.  He was concerned about fans who shouted that they were from New York. (I am also from New York). He mentioned remembering Otakon and said that us fans were “especially nice to us” (JAM Project). He asks audience to call him A-chan, and said the best part of Baltimore was buying a Carl Ripken t-shirt. On another note, many fans at the concert were also wearing 08’s No Boarder concert shirt, Kageyama was clearly happy, but teased that the concert and tshirt was already an old thing.

Kitadani “absolutely loves seafood” and shouted emphatically that he can “eat [it] everyday.” He also loves crabcake and jokingly asks audience members if anyone had any at the moment.


Okui was greatly impressed by all the cosplay at Otakon. She also mentioned that since “some of us (fans) are really hardcore” that she gets inspirations for her next cosplay.

Endoh introduces himself last, and mentions how Baltimore and Otakon was a “special memory” for him.  Then he points to the other performers on the stage, and says “We’re JAM Project from Japan” and invites fans to sing along if we knew the lyrics.


During the performance, the concert, there was a Skype chat with Fukuyama who as a regular member of JAM Project was unfortunately unable to be present at the concert due to health reasons. There were hiccups due to technical lag that was entertaining, it certainly cracked up the rest of the JAM Project band members on stage. It was 9 am in Tokyo, so he mentions that his neighbors should be angry (if they were around.) In front of the web cam, Fukuyama  picked up his guitar and performed two songs on the spot.

Throughout the show, JAM Project members were always in motion, and switching places throughout the stage. The stage can be seen as narrow, and with their full band behind them, and the precise movements showed off the rich experience of a seasoned power group.


During their Transformer Evo song, JAM Project tossed their band towel’s into the audience.

Before the encore, Kitadani brought out a crab plushie, that symbolized Baltimore’s mascot. He called it Crabby-chan and had a bit of fun with it, before the audience. Even Okui wore a bib in fun.

Encore happens, and between the two encores, Faylan, and Natsuko Aso came out as JAM Project sang Skill. After Skill, Kageyama thanked audience for supporting last year’s Japanese earthquake, with memories about US’s Operation Tomodaichi. There’s a “bond between people, but” (what’s) “stronger”  (is) “love between people”

The show ends with Kageyama introducing the band, and then every performer held hands and did a couple of bows.

Crest of “Z’’s
Break Out
鋼のレジスタンス [Hagane no Resistance]
レスキューファイアー [Rescue Fire]
輪舞-revolution [Ribun Revolution] (Okui solo)
ウィーアー! [We Are!] (Kitadani solo)
勇者王誕生! [Yuusha-oh Tanjou!] (Endoh solo)
CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA (Kageyama solo)
キングゲイナー・オーバー [King Gainer Over] (Fukuyama solo via Skype)
DYNAMITE EXPLOSION (Fukuyama solo via Skype)
KI・ZU・NA (encore 1)
SKILL (encore 2)

Since the concert at Baltimore, fans have been able to see JAM Project member’s individual blogs mention Baltimore, and Otakon. Though these pages are in Japanese only, it is great to see what JAM Project personally though of their experience, and what happens afterwards or behind the scene. KageyamaOkui, Endoh, Fukuyama

Omo, and Kurotsuki also have their own fan reports up. Take a look at Anime Diet’s Flickr for more other photos taken by Paper, and soon to be updated with Mori’s concert photos. Paper has his report up, now waiting for a write up from Mori.

At this point, I am back in New York, and recovering still from losing my voice, but as far as I am concerned. This experience with JAM Project has been an excellent one that I would remember for a long time. Kageyama hints that JAM Project would be back next year with Fukuyama, so this fan is in anticipation for this epic super group coming back to America again!

Otakon Day One – Kikuko Inoue Panel Q&A, Pt 2.


Part 1 is here.

Kikuko Inoue is a famous seiyuu associated with many popular anime. Her past performances include Belldandy of Aa Megami-Sama, Kasume Tendou in Ranma 1/2, Rune Venus in El-Hazard, Kazami Mizuho in Onegai Teacher, Lust in Fullmetal Alchemist, Miria in Claymore, Grace O’Connor in Macross Frontier, Akane in Higurashi, and Cecile in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. She answered questions at Otakon.

Inoue was also accompanied by Hidenori Matsubara, the character designer of Ah! My Goddess, the show Inoue is best known for.

Continue reading Otakon Day One – Kikuko Inoue Panel Q&A, Pt 2.

Otakon Day One – Kikuko Inoue Panel Q&A, Pt 1.

Kikuko Inoue is a famous seiyuu associated with many popular anime. Her past performances include Belldandy of Aa Megami-Sama, Kasume Tendou in Ranma 1/2, Rune Venus in El-Hazard, Kazami Mizuho in Onegai Teacher, Lust in Fullmetal Alchemist, Miria in Claymore, Grace O’Connor in Macross Frontier, Akane in Higurashi, and Cecile in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. She answered questions at Otakon.


Continue reading Otakon Day One – Kikuko Inoue Panel Q&A, Pt 1.

Otakon 2009 Video Teaser – Day 0


According to an Otakon staffer who declined to name himself, lines will be long today.  Fewer people than expected got their prereg badges on Day 0.

I got a clip of Sonicwhammy and Koushi plugging Anime Press Your Luck, their panel on Saturday.

There is a lot of Bleach cosplay this year, if Day 0 is any indication.

Follow along at http://twitter.com/moritheil for breaking Otakon news.

VAMPS at Otakon 2009

VAMPS, the new project of HYDE and K.A.Z., had previously advertised a show at SONAR the day before Otakon. “Going to Otakon? Come early!” their ads urged. While at the time this struck several Anime Diet staff members as a clever bit of juxtaposition involving a shared demographic, we had yet to truly appreciate the lengths to which VAMPS would go to secure an American fanbase. Now Otakon has released more guest news, and VAMPS is putting in an appearance there as well.

Jim Vowles, Otakon’s head of Guests, Industry, and Press Relations,  commented, “I guess we must have made a good impression on HYDE a few years ago.  We’re delighted and flattered that they changed plans to
meet the fans.” HYDE previously appeared with L’Arc~en~Ciel at Otakon 2004.

As previously announced, Anime Diet will be covering Otakon 2009.  VAMPS will be at Otakon on Friday afternoon, with exact times and locations to be announced when their schedule is finalized.

Anime Diet @ Otakon 2009

In the early days of Anime Diet, our illustrious founder Mike covered every Otakon personally. With a heavy con load this year, it has fallen to newer writers to step up and cover Otakon 2009!


It may seem a little early to be speaking of this July con, but some folks have been preparing since last August! I leave you with these classic words, “The flag has been planted, and world domination will surely follow! Look forward to our coverage.”

Otakon 2008 Video Diary – Saturday (Finally!)

At last, the belated Otakon 2008 video diary–starring special East Coast correspondent Sally–is online! The audio is not quite the greatest because all the footage was taken with a still camera’s video function (the only equipment we had on hand) though I have tried my best to fix it as much as possible. (Guiding subtitles have been added at times.) This mostly just consisted of interviews with cosplayers, one of our staple features, and some highlights from the Masquerade in the evening.

Saturday, unfortunately, was the only day we could get footage, so this is the whole thing. Next year, though…just wait. We’ve got big plans for our con coverage in 2009 which I will announce when it’s ready. See you then!