【MMN Interview】Interview with J-POP SUMMIT Performing Artist May’n
“I want to sing songs that will become everybody’s main theme.” May’n began her activity as a singer back in 2004 based on this very desire. Since then, she has gone on to leave her mark on the world stage, having embarked on an Asia tour, a world tour, a tour around all 47 prefectures in Japan, not to mention a solo concert at the world-renowned Nippon Budokan.
Autumn this year marks 13 years since May’n made her debut. Her appearance at J-POP SUMMIT is imminent, as is the release of her new album in October. It will be her first appearance at J-POP SUMMIT in 3 years and her first album in 4 years. Looking back over her career, we spoke with May’n about how she has changed over the years and her outlook for the future.
—Your appearance at J-POP SUMMIT is drawing close, isn’t it?
It’s been 3 years since I’ve performed there, so I want to give it my all like I really have been away for 3 years. Back then it was held outdoors, but this time it’ll be indoors. It also seems like I will have more stage time, so I want to deliver the full package of something much closer to my regular live shows.
—Is there anything that has held a place in your heart these past 3 years?
The last time I was given the opportunity to perform at J-POP SUMMIT. I was on my 10-year anniversary world tour. Experiencing it was like I had reached a plateau, like all of the scary things had disappeared, in a good way… It was as if I had started from the very beginning again.
—So, you’ve gone through changes these past 3 years?
When I reached my 10th year, I started thinking deeply about the kind of image I want perceive for myself as May’n, what kind of figure I want to become for everyone else – those kinds of ideals. But I settled on believing in my own feelings and in my fans to do the things I love. When I look back at photos on stage, I think how happy my face looks (laughs).
—Do you think you have become free in expressing yourself in recent years?
I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was 3 years old, so I think I’ve always been pursuing that ideal. Especially during the time when I did the singing voice for Sheryl Nome, the Galactic Fairy from “Macross Frontier.” I was desperate in trying to become like her.
—From 3 years old!
That’s correct. Thinking about it now, it started back when my teacher praised me at Parent’s Day (laughs). My mother saw that I loved songs and let me go to a concert at 3 years old. From there it was set in stone – I loved songs. Even now, my kindergarten teacher from back then comes to my concerts.
—That’s a wonderful story.
My true self, which my mother and teacher know about, does have its relatively idle moments, but when I look back, I think I might have stifled my true nature until the moment of my 10th anniversary. I’m concentrating on looking after my throat, and it seems taking a break has been a huge turning point for me.
Aoi Kubo to Perform Theme For Short Anime Series “Deji” Meets Girl
Up-and-coming 16-year-old singer Aoi Kubo has been selected to perform the theme song for the upcoming short anime series “Deji” Meets Girl, premiering October 1. The song, Otogibanashi no You na Kiseki (Fairy Tale-like Miracle) is now streaming, and a lyric video has also been uploaded to YouTube ahead of the show’s start. Two additional songs are available on the digital EP, each inspired by the two main characters in the show. Akane Malbeni, the original character designer, also provided the jacket art.
“Deji” Meets Girl tells the story of Maise Higa, a high-school freshman who works part-time at the front desk of her family’s hotel in Okinawa. One day, she meets Ichiro Suzuki, a mysterious hotel guest from Tokyo traveling alone. Ever since he arrives, strange things begin happening, like fish swimming through the air, and Maise is desperate to get to the bottom of things.
Comments from Aoi Kubo
Q1: Describe how you felt when you were chosen to perform the theme for “Deji” Meets Girl.
I’ve always wanted to sing the theme song for an anime series, so when I got the offer, I was super surprised! This is a fantasy series, and it depicts a mysterious world that really captivated me, so I hope tons of people will watch and enjoy it.
I would be so happy if everyone would listen to the songs I created for these characters, and compare how they sound in context!
Q2: When singing these songs, what did you pay special attention to or emphasize?
I was asked to write the theme, and to do that, I really surrounded myself with the show’s world.
Otogibanashi no You na Kiseki is based on my own interpretation of the show’s worldview.
For the other two songs I wrote based on the main characters, I tried to imagine what they were feeling, and what thoughts were running through their heads.
A creator contest is also being held! Creators can submit illustrations or music videos based on one of Aoi Kubo’s three songs for “Deji” Meets Girl. The best illustrations will appear on TV, while the best music video will be streamed on Kubo’s official YouTube channel. Entries can be submitted starting October 1, so be sure to check out the special site if you’d like to participate!
Otogibanashi no You na Kiseki
Streaming Links: https://kubo-aoi.lnk.to/orogibanashi
“Deji” Meets Girl
Premiering October 1, 2021, during Super Animism slot on MBS/TBS (28 stations nationwide)
Anime Official Site: https://dejimeetsgirl.okinawa
Special Site: https://dejimeetsgirl.okinawa/creator-challenge/
Cup Noodles Celebrate 50 Years with Goods from Fashion Brand niko and…
Popular Japanese fashion brand niko and…will release a number of items in collaboration with globally-beloved Cup Noodle starting October 6, 2021. Preorders are now open on the official online store, so be sure to check it out before everything’s gone!
Collection at a Glance
Cushion & Blanket: ¥4,180 (Tax Included) / Apron: ¥3,080 (Tax Included) / Coat: ¥5,390 (Tax Included)
Storage Box: ¥2,200 (Tax Included) / Tote Bag: ¥2,750 (Tax Included) / Shoulder Bag: ¥2,420 (Tax Included)
Cup Noodles originally hit the market in 1971, and in the past 50 years, the product has become incredibly popular as an affordable meal around the world. Blending the worlds of food and fashion, this collaboration with niko and…will offer people a chance to show off their noodle love with some fashionable items. The illustrations featured on the limited-time collection were provided by German artist Stefan Marx. The lineup has plenty of variety, with fashion items and household items galore, offering something for everyone!
niko and… x Cup Noodle
Release Date: October 6, 2021
Where to Buy:
niko and…stores nationwide, Official Web Store, ZOZOTOWN, Rakuten Fashion
*The Tokyo store will begin selling these products on October 1, 2021.
Preorders begin September 15, 2021.
Official Site: https://www.nikoand.jp
Maison de Fleur Launches Eighth Anniversary Collaboration with Sanrio’s Wish Me Mell
25.September.2021 | FASHION
Japanese accessories brand Maison de FLEUR is celebrating eight years with another collaboration, this time with Sanrio’s bunny character Mell. A number of special items are now available to preorder on the STRIPE CLUB e-commerce site until October 3, 2021.
Double Ribbon Tote Bag: ¥5,819 (Tax Included)
Side Pocket Tote Bag: ¥5,819 (Tax Included)
Mini Pouch: ¥3,949 (Tax Included)
Face Pouch: ¥3,949 (Tax Included)
Drawstring Pouch: ¥4,389 (Tax Included)
The character Mell is also celebrating an anniversary, turning ten this year. Items went on presale on September 20, which also happens to be the little rabbit’s birthday. The character was designed by Miyuki Okumura, more famously known as the designer of Cinnamoroll.
These pink bags and pouches feature a classy salmon pink color, and the adorable inner lining is sure to make any Sanrio fan smile, showing Mell and her friends from Merci Hills surrounded by balloons. The canvas material makes these perfect for everyday use.
Look closely at Mell’s bunny ears to see the Maison de FLEUR logo! Will you be grabbing any of these items?
ⓒ’21 SANRIO APPR.NO.L629405
AZUL BY MOUSSY Selling Tokyo Revengers Collab Merch at Tokyu Square Flagship Store
The Minatomirai Tokyo Square AZUL BY MOUSSY shop is now selling collaboration merch inspired by the popular anime series Tokyo Revengers! The items will only be on sale until September 26, so if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by before the event ends.
Draken S/S Shirt: ¥9,900 (Tax Included)
Revengers Tee: ¥4,400 each (Tax Included)
Scene Photo Tee: ¥4,400 each (Tax Included)
Revengers Crewneck: ¥8,250 each (Tax Included)
Revengers Sweatpants: ¥8,800 each (Tax Included)
Scene Photo L/S Tee: ¥5,500 each (Tax Included)
Revengers Cap: ¥3,300 each (Tax Included)
Revengers Rubber Keychain: ¥660 (Tax Included)
Revengers Coin Case: ¥1,650 (Tax Included)
Revengers Acrylic Stand (3 varieties): ¥1,650 each (Tax Included)
Revengers Clear File (3 varieties): ¥550 each (Tax Included)
Revengers Sticker: ¥1,100 (Tax Included)
Revengers Ribbon Keychain (3 varieties): ¥1,100 (Tax Included)
Revengers Reversible Face Mask: ¥1,980 (Tax Included)
Revengers Pin: ¥550 each (Tax Included)
The AZUL BY MOUSSY flagship store at Tokyu Square is the only place to get these limited-edition goods. This shop opened in spring 2021 and calls itself the nation’s only ‘Radical Store’ filled with the unique elements of space, sound, fragrance, culture, person, and black. Those might be strange descriptors, but these words completely embody the AZUL BY MOUSSY brand concept.
A part of the shop will feature brand-new illustrations of Takemichi, Mikey, and Draken clad in some of the new merch. Talk about breaking the fourth wall!
Tokyo Revengers is currently popular worldwide. The original manga series was written and illustrated by Ken Wakui and has been serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine since March 2017. The anime series just wrapped, and a live-action film was released in Japan in July. Over 20 million copies of the manga have been sold to date.
AZUL BY MOUSSY x Tokyo Revengers
Available: September 17 – September 26, 2021
Where: AZUL BY MOUSSY Minatomirai Tokyu Square Location
Official Site: https://www.minatomirai-square.com/
Largest Ever ‘Houzuki’s Coolheadedness’ Original Painting ‘Hell Museum’ Exhibition Opens at Matsuya Ginza!
24.September.2021 | ANIME&GAME
The largest ever original painting exhibition featuring art from the manga ‘Hozuki’s Coolheadedness,’ the ‘Hell Museum,’ will be held at Matsuya Ginza from September 22 until October 5 2021. The manga, which depicts the fun daily life of Enma Daiou’s demon staff, was serialized in Morning magazine between 2011 and 2020. Over 14 million copies of the manga have been sold, with an anime starting in 2014 and continuing with season two in 2017.
Stainless Mini Bottle / Hozuki’s Coolheadedness Logo Ver.: ¥2,200 (Tax Incl.)
Mao Hao Hao Mascot Eco Bag: ¥2,200 (Tax Incl.)
Hand Towel: ¥880 (Tax Incl.)
Acrylic Character Stand (Two Types): ¥1,870 each (Tax Incl.)
Croquis Book (Two Types): ¥968 each (Tax Incl.)
MISTGRAPH A (with Autograph Copy Card) Made-to-Order Item: ¥22,000 (Tax Incl.)
MISTGRAPH B (with Autograph Copy Card) Made-to-Order Item: ¥22,000 (Tax Incl.)
This exhibition will be the largest exhibition of mangaka Eguchi’s work, with over 200 pieces scheduled to be exhibited. There will be a focus on the artist’s manga manuscripts and original color illustrations. There will also be corners where you can learn more about Hell, introducing areas such as the “10 Courts of Hell,” the “Eight Great Hells,” and a guide to the “Residents of Hell.” Also featured is original artwork made especially for the exhibition, and sketches that were posted on social media.
Get a closer look at Hozuki’s world through this charming ‘Hell Museum.’
©Eguchi Natsumi / Kodansha
Hozuki’s Coolheadedness Exhibition ~Hell Museum~
Duration: September 22 ~ October 5 2021
Location: Matsuya Ginza 8F Event Square https://www.matsuya.com/ginza/
※Entry on September 22 & 23 requires payment/advance reservation for ‘Hozuki’s Coolheadedness’ Exhibition.
※Last admission is 30 minutes before closing. Exhibition closes at 5pm on the final day.
Tickets: (L Code 38333): https://l-tike.com/event/hozukino-reitetsu-ex
JUSTIN DAVIS Collaborates with UNDERCOVER to Produce 20th Anniversary Jewelry
24.September.2021 | FASHION
To commemorate the brand’s 20th anniversary, JUSTIN DAVIS has announced a new collaboration jewelry collection with UNDERCOVER.
The collection is made up of three items; UNDERCOVER’s iconic Giraapple has been transformed into a ring and earrings, while the blindfolded bear has transformed into a carabiner. The three new pieces will be available to preorder through the JUSTIN DAVIS stores nationwide and online, and in the UNDERCOVER Aoyama store.
This is the brands first collaboration with UNDERCOVER since 2014 when the blindfold bear necklace was released, which is still on sale to this day. In 2014, and now again in 2021 SS, it was designer Takahashi Jun who put forward the offer to collaborate on jewelry.
Be sure to check out these cute motifs and charming jewelry pieces!
JUSTIN DAVIS x UNDERCOVER
Release Date: September 17 2021
JUSTIN DAVIS Official Online Store
Official Site: https://justindavis-online.com/
Coji-Coji Pop-Up Store Selling Parakeet Goods at Tokyo Solamachi
Popular Nippon Animation character Coji-Coji is getting a new pop-up store at Tokyo Solamachi, and this one is focused on the 3rd Year Parakeet Class from the series! The shop will be open from September 17 until October 10, 2021, and is located just underneath Tokyo Skytree–you can’t miss it!
Original Business Card
Magnified View (Partial)
Coji-Coji attends school in a fairy tale land, and the 3rd Year Parakeet Class is filled with all kinds of fun characters. The pop-up shop will sell 300 different Coji-Coji items, and will also feature a classroom-inspired photo spot!
Those who spend more than ¥3,000 (including tax) on either Coji-Coji or Chibi Maruko-chan goods will get a special business card as a gift, with five unique cards available. A different character’s card will be handed out depending on the day of the week!
A special stamp card will be given to guests visiting the shop. Just showing up to the store is enough to earn a stamp, and those with three stamps will receive an original business card as a present.
Coji-Coji Pop-up Shop – 3rd Year Parakeet Class
Running: September 17 – October 10, 2021
Where: Tokyo Solamachi East Yard (4F, #12)
Hours: 10:00 – 21:00 *Hours of Operation are the same as those of Tokyo Solamachi.
Official Site: http://cojicoji.site/
Sauna-loving “Sauna Manager’ Starts New Apparel Brand ‘Saunatte Iiyone!’
24.September.2021 | FASHION
‘Saunatte Iiyone!’ is a new street x sauna apparel brand from the mysterious Sauna-ryman (sauna + salaryman) Sauna Manager (@sauna_bucho37), a Tokyo-based Instagrammer who really loves saunas!
Sunglasses Bag Logo Long-sleeved T-shirt
The manager checks out locations nationwide in search of the perfect sauna, conveying the charms of saunas each day through their Instagram. Their sensational and fun new brand fuses street with the sauna, conveying the owners knowledge and love for the experience. The first items include a long-sleeved t-shirt and towels featuring the brand logo.
They will continue to produce new sauna goods while paying careful attention to fabric and details, so be sure to keep an eye on them!
Release Date: September 18 at Noon
Purchase Location: Online Store
Official Site: https://saunaiiyone.com
Toei Animation and Publisher Kawade Shobo Shinsha Begin Novel x Anime PV Project
24.September.2021 | ANIME&GAME
Publisher Kawade Shobo Shinsha will release two coming-of-age novels on October 14! To promote both The Last Dance of the Time Keepers and Home on the Night of the Star Festival, an anime PV created by the staff of the 2016 anime series Pop in Q and directed by Naoki Miyahara (Digimon Adventure, Dragon Ball Z) has also been released! There are also some pretty famous voice actors featured, so see if you recognize any!
Senya Mihagi, the author of both full-length novels, is an up-and-coming talent, winning the Kadokawa’s Da Vinci Story of Books Award in 2014. The original character designs and cover illustrations for each novel were created by Kouhaku Kuroboshi, who has worked on a number of popular anime works, including Kino’s Journey, Fate/Grand Order, and Sword Art Online Alternative. The PV includes voice actors Asami Seto, Shiori Izawa, Atsumi Tanezaki, Ari Ozawa, and Tomoyo Kurosawa. The music was produced by Yuki Tsujimura, who has collaborated with a number of popular Japanese artists in the past.
To commemorate the release of the novels, five original postcards featuring art of each main character will be available from Amazon, Kumazawa Books, TSUTAYA, and Miraiya Books. You’ll get a different character depending on where you buy, so double-check beforehand!
The Last Dance of the Time Keepers
Isumi Kominato, a high-school freshman, moves to Tokyo from Kochi Prefecture and forms a new dance unit with her classmates. Behind the scenes, however, strange things are happening–power outages, disappearances, amnesia? Isumi, Aoi, Konatsu, Asahi, and Saki must use the power of dance to help return the world to normal.
Home on the Night of the Star Festival
Satoshi, known as a child prodigy from the time he was an infant and like a sibling to Iori, died suddenly at the age of twenty-one. Iori, unable to accept his death, runs away to attend college in Tokyo, but three years later, she begins to receive strange e-mails after Satoshi’s belongings, including a smartphone, are given to her. What was he researching before he died, and why was a global IT company involved? What is the truth behind his mysterious death?
Novel x Anime PV Project
Novel Release Date: October 14, 2021
Price: ¥1,320 (Tax Included)
The Last Dance of the Time Keepers: https://www.kawade.co.jp/np/isbn/9784309029948/
Home on the Night of the Star Festival: https://www.kawade.co.jp/np/isbn/9784309029955/
Specific Bookstore Purchase Bonuses
Isumi Kominato Version: Amazon
Aoi Hioka Version: Kumazawa Books
Konatsu Tomodate Version: TSUTAYA
Asahi Omichi Version: Miraiya Books
Saki Tsukui: TSUTAYA
Amazon Exclusive Bonus: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4309869947/
Participating TSUTAYA Locations: https://tsutaya.tsite.jp/storelist/feature/bonus/book/20210909/index
Miraiya Books Exclusive Bonus: https://www.miraiyashoten.co.jp/news/tokimori_lastdance/
*Limited-edition bonuses subject to availability.
THE STRINGS Omotesando Introduces New ‘Violet Halloween Afternoon Tea’
THE STRINGS Omotesando will be offering a new and limited ‘Violet Halloween Afternoon Tea’ at the ‘Cafe & Dining ZelkovA’ 1F between October 5 and October 31 2021.
The Halloween themed afternoon tea offers a selection of cute sweets, including black monster themed Maritozzo and purple taro Mont Blanc cream puffs topped with witch hats.
The cool Autumnal menu is made up of sweet and savory violet snacks, with purple potatoes, cassis, blueberries and more. You’ll find yourself able to taste the season, with the rich fig cheesecake and sweet chestnut scones.
Enjoy bottomless drinks with a selection of 16 herbal and flavored teas, coffees and lattes. You can even enjoy a cup of tea from TWG, a luxury brand from Singapore.
This adult-aimed afternoon tea is full of luxurious ingredients, such as parfait-like organic vegetables and salmon micuy, roasted Angus beef, and violet desserts. Spend your afternoon relaxing on the French and Italian crafted sofas while you take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Why not spend an elegant Autumn afternoon enjoying a luxurious afternoon tea, watching out over the iconic zelkova-lined streets of Omotesando?
Violet Halloween Afternoon Tea
Availability: October 5 ~ October 31 2021
Location: Cafe & Dining ZelkovA 1F
The Jellyfish Kaleidoscope Tunnel Transforms for Halloween at ‘HALLOWEEN in Sumida Aquarium’ Event
23.September.2021 | SPOT
Between October 1 and 31 2021, Sumida Aquarium will be hosting the ‘HALLOWEEN in Sumida Aquarium’ event, where you can enjoy an exciting Halloween alongside the Jellyfish.
A workshop will be held at the event, teaching guests all about the floaty, mysterious and ghost-like jellyfish.
The aquarium’s famous 50m ‘Kaleidoscope Tunnel,’ which is formed of 5,000 mirrors, will be transformed into a Halloween wonderland for the ‘Jellyfish and Halloween’ event. Eight aquariums are embedded into the walls, with colorful background panels which feature Halloween motifs such as witches and pumpkins. The jellyfish look just like festive ghosts!
Moon Jellyfish Aquarium in the Kaleidoscope Tunnel
Each aquarium introduces seven mysterious facts about jellyfish – For example, did you know that jellyfish have no heart, and have tons of eyes?
The mysterious tunnel wall is covered in images of cute jellyfish that transform into ghosts and jack-o-lanterns, while Halloween themed music plays in the background.
A jellyfish comparison workshop
A jellyfish comparison workshop will also be held at the aquarium’s Aqua Academy. Young children can participate in the workshop which explains the visual differences between different types of jellyfish, while crafting a cute jellyfish mobile under staff supervision.
Spend this Halloween at the incredible Sumida Aquarium!
HALLOWEEN in Sumida Aquarium
Duration: October 1 ~ October 31 2021
Official site: http://www.sumida-aquarium.com
The Heike Story Anime Gets New Visuals, Staff Comments Released
23.September.2021 | ANIME&GAME
The Heike Story, now airing on Fuji TV on Demand in Japan and Funimation in the United States, has released some new visuals. The series is set to premiere on Fuji TV’s +Ultra block in January 2022. The new visual shows a profile shot of Biwa (voiced by Aoi Yuuki), a blind priestess with the ability to see the future. A new 15-second PV has also been released, and translator Hideo Furukawa, artist Fumiko Takano, and character designer Takashi Kojima have also posted comments on the project’s official website.
The Heike Story PV (15-second version)
The 90-second version of the show’s ending theme unified perspective by Kensuke Ushio is now available to stream.
The Heike Story is based on Hideo Furukawa’s 2016 modern translation of The Tale of the Heike, an epic tale from the 13th century. It is produced by Science Saru and produced by Kyoto Animation’s Naoko Yamada, known for her directorial work on A Silent Voice, Liz and the Blue Bird, and K-On!
Comment from Translator Hideo Furukawa
The Tale of the Heike is a story all Japanese people should know, but in my opinion, many people misunderstand it. This is likely because people are typically only exposed to a very small piece of a much larger story. If you read through the entirety of the book, you’ll find plenty of examples of the horror of war. It’s sad. There’s a need to repose the souls of the dead, a need to mourn the dead. But in addition to the men who play the main roles on the battlefield, there’s even more drama depicted by women. Who knew that the main characters in The Tale of the Heike also include women? I wanted this anime series to show that. It’s vivid. Poignantly so. This series touches on points once hidden in the original work. Biwa, the main character, is sure to pull on your heartstrings.
Comment from Artist Fumiko Takano
When I began sketching the characters, I started with Shigemori, then moved on to the Heike brothers, starting with the youngest.
All of them are incredibly handsome. They’re unlike the kinds of guys I usually draw in my own manga.
In the middle of the design stage, I was shown the director’s storyboard.
I was so happy when I saw Biwa all over the place, with her round face and her curious eyes.
This series is fresh and new, and I just want to thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to be a part of it.
Comment from Character Designer, Takashi Kojima
(It’s fantastic, so be sure to watch!)
The Heike Story
Airing on Fuji TV’s +Ultra programming block in January 2022
Currently on Fuji TV on Demand and Funimation in the US
*Broadcast dates and times are subject to change.
The Heike Story original soundtrack EP/Kensuke Ushio
the beginning, boy’s own, unknown plan
Streaming URL: https://lnk.to/Heike_OST_EP
The Heike Story Ending Theme
unified perspective (90 second variation)
Streaming URL: https://lnk.to/unified_perspective_TVsize
Official Site: HEIKE-anime.asmik-ace.co.jp