AFA 2014 Idolm@ster Special Interview
-- How are you enjoying AFA? Please give us your honest impressions
Numakura: We have mainly been active in Japan but Singapore too has very passionate fans not unlike Japan that have welcomed us here. It makes think that, no matter where in the world there must also be Producers too.
Tadokoro: This is my second year at AFA but you can completely feel the love of anime from Japan and Singapore. Singaporean fans are also very generous and many have studied Japanese earnestly so I'm glad to be able to speak with them.
Imai: This is my second time traveling overseas for idolm@ster (TL Note: her first was Taiwan) but each year it feels like the opportunities for others to get to know more about us are growing. When we were on stage yesterday, many people peaked in to watch and even clap with everyone else after seeing the enthusiastic fans looking like they were having so much fun. So I'm very glad to have the chance to show more people about idolm@ster and it would be my dream to have an overseas performance with the full idolm@ster group one day.
Ohashi: Although this is the second time I've participated in AFA, it's the first time I've done so for Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls. Yesterday at the signing and handshake meet I even met with people who came to our lives in Japan from Singapore. I'm super happy that works from Japan are so loved in Singapore as well.
Hara: I was very surprised to receive so much cheering from Producers not only from Singapore and nearby countries but also up to even America (f*** yeah!). I was deeply moved by the welcoming banner with the character's faces illustrated on it.
(you can see the banner here, illustrated by Saiseki)
--What does it feel like to become an idol on stage?
Hara: When I first became a seiyuu I did not stand on a stage as an "idol seiyuu" as much as I do now. I have a strong play image too so it's a strange feeling for me to be able to take on so many different challenges lately.
Ohashi: I never thought I would stand on an idol stage like this so when on stage, I get the feeling that I'm standing up there with Shimamura Uzuki-chan and think about how to be like her.
--Being a member from the beginning, does Imai-san have any pressure being a senpai for im@s?
Imai: Out of the members here I'm the only one who has been there from the very beginning. But I think idolm@ster has a strength in being able to stand on stage with the young and talented. I can really feel the heat and excitement, working and performing on stage with not only the same generation as myself but also with people of other generations.
--What is an idol to you?
Tadokoro: To me being an idol means making others happy!
--Then what does "idolm@ster" mean to Imai-san?
Imai: It's my life. Idolm@ster is a life I can't escape from lol
--How do you relate with your idolm@ster role?
Numakura: For a long time I've been called adult-like and relaxed. When looking at Hibiki she's a bright and lively girl whose specialty is making others energetic too, so at first I didn't resemble her at all. But since Hibiki being good at knitting is similar to myself I don't believe we are completely different. It was only later while I was voicing her that the staff added that to Hibiki so nowadays I feel like we've become sisters or family members.
--Since Shijou Takane is a very graceful character, what are some of the challenges in successfully playing her?
Hara: Takane is always beautiful so I don't resemble her at all. Since I want the feeling of Takane when I'm on stage I have to elevate my own performance in order to not pull away from her.
--Idolm@ster has been around for 9 years, have there been any unforgettable incidents?
Imai: There are several but, no one knew at the time but during the first and a half to second year of recording, I went to an arcade center with the experimental version of the game privately. When I first saw Producers playing, I can still remember being deeply moved thinking, ah there are real Producers here.
--Did you ever imagine Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls would become this popular?
Ohashi: It's thanks to everyone at Namco, the senpai idols, and everyone else that this has all been made possible and also thanks to all of the new Producers playing the game that Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls could happen. Thanks to everyone's support a TV anime broadcast has been decided, the game has come to its 3rd anniversary, and we've been able to have commemoration lives. I'm truly happy that we've gotten more and more support (tears up from emotions).
--Lastly please give a message to the fans from Singapore to around the world
Hara: I think it's great that we've expanded this far. Thank you for supporting and spreading idolm@ster around the world.
Ohashi: I'll continue doing my best with Uzuki-chan from here on in. I hope to do my best to reach out also to those who don't know much about producing.
Imai: There were also Producers here who had come from overseas to see the Cinderella Girls live in Japan. Everyone has always been coming to Japan to support us so if we ever had the chance to go overseas then I wanted to thank them directly. I hope we can have more opportunities like this in the future.
Tadokoro: I think when Idolm@ster Million live first came out, there weren't many who knew about it in Singapore. We haven't reached our idolm@ster senpai's level yet but we will continue to work harder to become closer to them even if just a little. I'd love to participate in AFA with the other Million Live members one day so please continue your support!
Numakura: I've had so many wonderful memories in my first trip overseas. I still have two more days here so I look forward to making even more special memories. There are also many of those who couldn't make it to AFA. However I now feel that idolm@ster is dearly loved all around the world so I'm certain we'll definitely meet one day, so please be waiting (OK NU-SAN ;__;).
By no means am I a competent translator so there are likely to be some errors but I hope I could transmit their messages as best as I could. Merry Christmas everyone!