Better Know a Producer #05: Shinikenshi


Every successful group of organized criminals has a tough and respected boss and Shinikenshi fills that role for us. Some say he once fought a tiger with nothing but a glowstick and a mahjong tile as weapons and won. Ok nobody says that, but in any case Shinikenshi is a very valuable member of HPT who is always helping the other members out, especially with buying goods from Japan. He even once sacrificed his own luggage just so he could bring back goods to the others back in the west (;_;). Being an old man, we really shouldn’t rely on him so often, but I guess it can’t really  be helped. Sorry boss!

1. How did you first learn about “The iDOLM@STER”? What were your first impressions?

Unlike probably everyone in HPT, I actually hated iDOLM@STER when I first came across the franchise in Japan. In retrospect, the hate wasn’t exactly warranted but I know I’ve said stranger things I’ve backtracked on before.

I first came across the iDOLM@STER franchise when the port of the arcade game came out on the XBox 360. I openly derided the franchise thinking that Microsoft Japan was acting out of desperation to keep the XBox 360 alive in Japan. Much like the better than expected sales of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball was credited with ensuring the survival of the XBox in Japan, I couldn’t help but feel the same way about iDOLM@STER.

At the time, I also thought it was strange that an arcade game could made about 2D idols doing… idol things of some sort. For some reason, I found it hard to believe that people would be brave enough to go into an arcade to sit in front of an iDOLM@STER cabinet and was nevertheless amused that such machines were relegated to the back of some arcades. Strangely enough, I didn’t actually know what type of games these were yet I was quick to jump to these negative conclusions.

2. Have you played any of the idolm@ster games? Which is your favorite?

I’ve played iDOLM@STER 2 (PS3) and one of the three Shiny Festa (Groovy Tune) games on PSP. I’m not sure if I should count Cinderella Girls and Million Live as games per se.

iDOLM@STER 2 was my first real foray into the franchise and certainly my favorite at the moment I suppose until I start OFA. Despite knowing what I feel is enough Japanese to play the game, it’s still an ass kicker without a walkthrough. That was hard to come to terms with. Nevertheless, I am impressed with the surprisingly difficulty and variety in the game.

With every right (and wrong) choice, I found myself more and more attached to my idol unit and I’ve had to restart numerous times from the beginning because of this. Alas, I still have yet to finish one playthrough of the game…

3. Which idol is your favorite and why?

While I started out liking Miki, Haruka is definitely my favorite idol. While she exhibits the standard tropes you’d expect from a main character, I guess you can say that I am a sucker for someone like her. I love how much she values friendship even though it’s a stated goal that each of the 765pro girls want to be the top idol. Add her smile, voice and her girly qualities such as sweets making and she’s just perfect. Not so sure about her clumsiness though…

Oh Haruka, why so maji tenshi...
Oh Haruka, why so maji tenshi…


4. What is your favorite idolm@ster song and why?

This is a bit tougher as I feel that my favorite song has shifted several times as I’ve gotten deeper and deeper into the franchise. At one point in time, “Otome yo Taishi o Idake!!” was my favorite Haruka song and my gateway drug into iDOLM@STER music because of this video.

In terms of character songs, my favorite Haruka song at the moment is “I Want”. The punk flavor of the song is such a departure from what you’d expect Haruka to sing. I just like how it kind of brings out a bit of the dark and sexiness that you wouldn’t find in more of the peppier, bubbly songs she sings.

As for my favorite iDOLM@STER song overall, I would have to say Chihaya’s “Yakusoku”. It’s hard not to have the scene this song appears in the anime seared in your memory. The lyrics and the scene itself really sticks out especially in dealing with the sense of loss. Family is something I find very dear to my heart and the story of Chihaya and her brother just really tore at my emotions. Although I am probably deviating from why I like “Yakusoku”, I suppose I can say that I am a sucker for anything where family is a central theme.

5. What’s your favorite aspect of the idolm@ster series?

It’s really hard to say what really drew me to the franchise. But if I were to point out a particular aspect of im@s that I really enjoy it’s certainly the music. For me, music is the most important part of any medium and it is even more so when music without context can even tug at your heartstrings.

Financial damage. One of many side effects to being a P.
Financial damage. One of many side effects to being a P.

6. When and how did you become a “Producer”? That is, when did you consider yourself an idolm@ster fan?

As mentioned above I started off disliking the iDOLM@STER franchise but my hatred began to give way to vague curiosity with the rise of fan made videos on NicoNicoDouga. Years later I finally decided to watch the anime and I hadn’t turned back since.

Upon going to last year’s winter live at Saitama Super Arena and making my first producer card, that might be the point I became a “producer”. However, the camaraderie I felt upon meeting fellow producers from Japan and the rest of the world might be a better point at which I really felt that I had become a producer. It was something else to have a stronger connection to the franchise then just being a mere fan.

7. Have you ever been to an idolm@ster live concert? Please share your experience or any particularly special memories if so.

Famouse last words…

Despite becoming a fan of the franchise, I wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge and go to lives but funny how things change so quickly.

A little over a month before last year’s winter live, “THE IDOLM@STER M@STERS OF IDOL WORLD!!2014”, I was out with some friends who were out shopping for gifts they were going to give to Love Live seiyuu at the μ’s 4th live which took place 2 weeks before the im@s live. I had already heard from them that regular sale tickets for μ’s 4th sold out in a matter of minutes but yet they convinced me to try for im@s tickets anyway. With no real plans at all, I got on e-plus at the appointed time and then this happened:

Yes, you heard it right. Livers convinced me to go to an im@s live. In fact, one of them was the one who sold his copy of iDOLM@STER 2 to me while the other sold me his spare PS3. What is this enabling…

Before coming to Saitama Super Arena, I had not attended a live in such a big venue before. Truthfully, I was a bit overwhelmed and wasn’t prepared for what was to come. For one thing, I didn’t get the im@s penlights that were sold at the venue. Thankfully, omo was kind enough to loan me his set from 8th live so I was at least armed for the live. Preparation was an entirely different thing.

The opener with “THE IDOLM@STER” completely blew me away. Seeing the energy and excitement surging through the arena was something I was not expecting at all. Even over a year after SSA, it’s hard not to feel lingering effects of the energy the crowd had when listening to this song.

Another memory that sticks out in my mind is hearing “Yakusoku” on day 2 of the 9th live. Seeing emotions taking over Mingosu as she sang that song has been completely seared into my mind. While I have seen her perform this song at SSA and of course day 1 of 9th live, seeing her break down in tears while the rest of the 765pro gals helped to finish the song while also crying was something else. To say that there was no dry eye in the venue that day is an understatement. That moment was I truly felt the emotional power of music.

8. Do you play any of the mobile game series such as Cinderella Girls and Million Live?

I play both. I don’t think this is a good idea and recommend others against doing so.

9. Are you watching the Cinderella Girls anime? What are your thoughts?

I was apprehensive at first as to whether or not Cinderella Girls would be good but my expectations really have been blown away. The series has done a great job of further fleshing out the characters especially for fans who might not be familiar with the mobile game or the drama tracks from the CDs. I suppose it’s a bit of main character syndrome but I can’t help but be enamored by Shimamura Uzuki. Perhaps I just have a soft spot for positively energetic girls like her.

10. Do you have any favorite seiyuu related to the idolm@ster series?

While I’ve grown to like everyone who’s been involved in voicing characters in the franchise, my favorite will have to be Nakamura Eriko who voices Haruka. Although I don’t know a whole lot about Miss Nakamura and wholly regret not seeing her at Anime North in 2013, I still admire her vocal abilities and of course her beauty. Asian genes are something else.

As for the other iDOLM@STER franchises, while I like Uzuki I am more a fan of Shibuya Rin’s seiyuu, Fukuhara Ayaka. I’m alright with her looking disdainfully at me for repping Uzuki over Shiburin.

As for Million Live, I’m definitely a fan of Itou Miku (VA of Nanao Yuriko), Inagawa Eri (VA of Ogami Tamaki) and Asakura Momo (VA of Hakozaki Serika). I feel bad that I’m not familiar with their non-im@s work but- why is Mikku so adorable??? All of my hnnnnngs.

11. Shout out your love about the idolm@ster series, say anything you’d like!

I blame iDOLM@STER for robbing me of my money faster than any other hobby I’ve ever had. At the same time, I praise iDOLM@STER for putting me in touch with people I would never have imagined meeting in my lifetime. These people are those I can truly call friends and I value each and every one of these connections. Again, never in my wildest imagination would I have thought a single franchise could bring people together the way iDOLM@STER does.


12. [From Seraph] If you had to marry your daughters off to members of HPT, who would be the prime candidate and why?

I don’t know why people keep asserting that certain seiyuu (or their 2D counterpart) are my daughters so this question doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. However, there are merits to choosing to daughter idols versus waifu’ing. I want to say that it would certainly seem less creepy to have daughters over multiple wives but- wait, what am I even talking about??? Damnit guys, damnit!

13. Say something about the next interviewed person (Erwin), also please ask them a question.

It occurs to me that I don’t actually know a lot about Erwin. What I do know is that he is part of the growing numbers of HPT Canada, reps Hibiki and may or may not be increasingly corrupted by the more dodgy elements of HPT.

I will spare you any similar questions that have been asked before and will ask this instead: You are the coach of a basketball team and are tasked with building your roster. Which im@s idols would you put in your starting line-up? You are allowed to substitute basketball with another sport if it helps.



You can follow Shinikenshi on Twitter @shinikenshi

<Better Know A Producer>

#01 – [Exciel]
#02 – [Kurotsuki]
#03 – [vota]
#04 – [Seraph]
#05 – [Shinikenshi]←Here
#06 – [Erwin]

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