When T.M. Revolution made his re-appearance at Otakon this year, fans didn’t waste a moment getting to Baltimore and swarming his events. So popular was the art-rock idol that his unpublicized autograph session had to be limited to only those people who claimed one of 100 highly coveted tickets – in person, at the beginning of the convention, no reservations, no ways around it. His limited-edition release, a compilation of 12 fan favorites titled Geisha Boy – Anime Song Experience, sold out all 500 copies within mere hours of the convention’s opening. (One staffer clued T.M. Revolution in on Twitter that the CD had sold out, to which the affable artist responded that he would get it up on iTunes for the fans who couldn’t catch it – a promise he dutifully kept).
So when, at the beginning of the fan Q&A, T.M. Revolution’s interpreter cheekily asked, “Are you ready to see T.M. Revolution in person?” and coaxed the overflowing audience into a chant of “T-M-R,” even the walls seemed to join in on the cheers. As the musical introduction welcomed T.M. Revolution to the stage, he beamed at the audience as he announced his gratitude to be at Otakon once again after a decade away.
The following is a transcript of the question and answer session.
Nishikawa-san, I hear that it’s been five years since you’ve been to America and, like you said, it’s been ten years since you’ve been last in Baltimore. How does it feel seeing all your fans after ten long years?
Ten years ago, I performed my first live performance outside of Japan here at Otakon. So clearly, I was very happy to have been able to perform here ten years ago, and I’m even happier now to see that you guys are even more excited today than you were ten years ago.
We know it’s been ten long years since you’ve been to Otakon, and I’m sure a lot’s happened to you in the last ten years, but first, can you tell us a memorable experience from 2003 when you were [first] at Otakon?
Ten years ago, I was really surprised that here in America – the other side of the world from Japan – there were so many people who loved Japanese pop music and pop culture. And I was also amazed that there were so many fans and so many people cheering me on here overseas in America. Last time I was at Otakon, there were a lot of fans of mine coming from countries [from which I’d never met someone before]. There were fans who came to Otakon in 2003 from Chile, from Colombia, from many countries in South America, so I was amazed that people from all over the world knew about it.
Thank you very much for that response. It’s already been ten years since that day. Time sure flies by. Can you tell us what you’ve been doing in Japan over the last ten years?
Of course, I’ve been doing my solo music work, but in addition to that, I was part of abingdon boys school. Even outside of music, I’ve been working on charity, and I became the tourism ambassador for my hometown. And I organized my own festival.
We’ll be talking about all of these things very shortly, but first, I’d like to hear more about the charity event that you’d been working on. Two years ago, a tragic earthquake struck Japan on March 11, 2011. I heard that you’d been wanting to do what you can to help with the charity effort and you started a charity project called Stand Up Japan. Can you tell us a little bit more about what Stand Up Japan is doing?
Stand Up Japan is a charity that a lot of artists are helping me out with. Of course, I’m part of the charity, but in addition to myself, many musicians and creators, including creators of anime and manga, are helping me with this charity effort with Stand Up Japan. The charity efforts are going to be required for a long time. In order to make sure artists are helping us over a long period, we designed this charity so that they don’t need to really strain themselves to help with the charity.
In terms of events that Stand Up Japan does, once a year, every year, we perform together. All of the artists and creators have a very long live performance. In addition to that, the artists and creators donate items which we auction off for charity, and of course, all the proceeds go towards earthquake efforts. So we try to make this charity something that artists and fans can work together on.
I would like to take this time to thank everybody here. During the earthquake in 2011, the people in America gave many words of encouragement to Japan [and contributed to many] charity efforts to Japan. And not just America – people worldwide sent words of encouragement to Japan and helped Japan out in our time of need. I’d like to take this time here at Otakon to thank each and every one of you for helping out.
Thank you very much for telling us about Stand Up Japan. If you’d like some more information on the effort, the website for Stand Up Japan is www.standupjapan.org, so please check it out. Every little bit of effort or contribution helps earthquake victims.
Now, I’d like to move on to the next topic. Otakon is an anime convention where a lot of anime fans gather. I heard that you are an anime ambassador in Japan. Can you tell us just what you do as an anime ambassador?
There is a project by the Japanese government for spreading Japanese culture called Anime Mirai – Anime Future. This project is all about cheering on people who create anime: anime artists, manga artists, producers, and directors. There are a lot of different anime coming out in Japan, but all of these animes are supported by young animators, by up-and-coming animators. Anime Mirai is a project to support those young, up-and-coming animators. This year at Otakon, we also have some guests here from the Anime Mirai project, and they will be holding a panel here at Otakon, so please check out their panel as well.
I’m very impressed that you’re taking part in all these activities outside of your music. You mentioned earlier that you’re also a tourism ambassador for your hometown in Shiga prefecture. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
I was born in Shiga prefecture, and I wanted to give thanks for my hometown. So in order to give back to the my hometown, I organized what’s called the Inazuma Rock Festival. It’s held every year. It’s going to be held this year from September 21 to September 22. In Shiga prefecture, there is a very big lake called Biwa Lake. It’s the largest lake in Japan. Part of the Inazuma Rock Festival is to preserve the environment of this lake, and through this lake, to contribute to environmental efforts around the world.
I also heard that at Inazuma Rock Festival 2013, there’s going to be many famous artists appearing and performing. One of those artists is Miss Nana Mizuki. Everyone in the audience knows that you worked with Nana Mizuki on the opening theme song for Valvrave the Liberator[, “Preserved Roses”]. This song’s been a huge hit in Japan, and lots of people in the anime world are talking about this collaboration.
I worked on this collaboration with Nana Mizuki because I’ve always wanted to do a collaboration that everyone wanted but would be hard to do. There were a lot of people in Japan saying, “I wish there was a collaboration like this,” or “I wish there was a collaboration like that.” My dream is to make those collaborations come true. This is the first step towards that.
I think this collaboration is awesome, and I heard that last week, you appeared at Nana Mizuki’s live as a secret guest and you made an announcement there that the two of you would be collaborating again on the second theme song for Valvrave the Liberator.
We actually finished recording the song already. With “Preserved Roses,” we invited Miss Nana Mizuki to work with the T.M. Revolution team. So we recorded “Preserved Roses” with her as part of our team. But with this new song, we took it another way around. Nana Mizuki invited me into her team. This new song is produced by her team. It’s going to be a rather different song than you heard with “Preserved Roses.”
So it seems we have a lot to look forward to from Mr. T.M. Revolution. At this point in time, I’d like to open this panel up for questions from the floor. We have a microphone in the center, so if you have a question, please line up in front of the microphone-Oh my. [Note: dozens of fans rushed to the microphone line.] Wow.
What is your favorite PV outfit and your favorite live performance outfit?
I always find myself attached to the latest PV outfit, so right now, I’m a big fan of “Preserved Roses.” At the Inazuma Rock Festival, each year we create new outfits for the festival. For tomorrow’s concert, I chose all my favorites from those outfits.
Hi. Thanks for coming back to Baltimore. Thank You! You have really nice legs. [Mr. Nishikawa then stood up and showed off his legs to the audience, and the audience ostensibly went wild.] My question is that, you’re always wearing hot pants during the concerts. Why do you do that?
(Asking the audience) Which do you like? Skinny or wide [pants]? [The audience applauded and yelled “Skinny!”] Right choice. Okay, I’ll keep wearing skinny pants, then, just for you.
I just wanted to know, especially in the new PV you just showed us, did you get a lot of inspiration from Michael Jackson?
Michael Jackson is definitely one of the greatest artists of our time. For my music, I’ve received inspiration from many artists all across the world. It’s quite possible that Michael Jackson was a great inspiration for my works. But one thing you don’t have to worry about, I’m not sick like Michael Jackson was. I’ll be here for a while.
I would just like to say you are my favorite singer in the entire world, and this is the biggest dream come true to me to see you… So, I came up with this question in the shower. I would just like to ask you, because you’ve been in a lot of musicals in Japan that are from America, are there any other American musicals in Japan that you’d like to do?
You’re probably referring to Rock of Ages. I was in Rock of Ages in Japan. And also Little Shop of Horrors. I loved Little Shop of Horrors. But back to Rock of Ages, I’d already seen the Broadway version of Rock of Ages. The other day I was in Las Vegas, and I saw the Las Vegas version of Rock of Ages. That makes me want to perform in Rock of Ages again.
I came all the way from Europe, and this is my very first Otakon. It’s really great to meet you. There are two questions. What inspired you to sing in the first place? Did you ever have a favorite celebrity that you looked up to?
My very first experience with singing, I wasn’t really interested in singing at the time, but I formed a band with some friends and they told me to sing. I didn’t think I was a good singer, and I didn’t particularly want to sing, but they told me to sing, so I did. That’s how I got a start in singing. I never thought it could last this long, and I never dreamed I would be performing in the US like this.
Following this informative session, fans rejoiced as they were given the opportunity to snag limited edition prizes, including autographed posters. Though T.M. Revolution had a solid enough base coming in to the convention, this delightful, casual Q&A surely won over the remaining handful of would-be fans.
S-T.net readers, we need your help! There was one more fan question at the end of this Q&A, but unfortunately, in the hustle, we were not able to hear the question clearly. If any of our darling readers happened to be at this panel, please do let us know if you caught that final fan question so that we can update our report accordingly!
Tags: T.M. Revolution