There’s always the token boin lover in every group. Azusa Ps are an especially rare breed these days so I’m happy to have KenP around as the very first Azusa P from overseas I’ve met. Double Mt. Fuji!
1. How did you first learn about “The iDOLM@STER”? What were your first impressions?
My first exposure to idolm@ster was through an automatic Mario video of GO MY WAY!! back in late 2007. I had the song stuck in my head for days, and decided to look up more info about the franchise. I thought the songs were fun, but it took me a long time to really get into the franchise due to the language barrier.
2. Have you played any of the idolm@ster games? Which is your favorite?
While I own im@s 2 and OFA, I have not played very much of either as my Japanese is still really poor. I should just swallow my pride and play along with a guide. The only im@s game I’ve played a lot of is Shiny TV so I guess that’s my favorite. While not an im@s game, I did buy Beautiful Katamari because Danketsu was part of the soundtrack, and it featured the 765Pro office as a stage.
3. Which idol is your favorite and why?
Proud to be the first AzusaP in HPT! Azusa has been and always will be my favorite. I love the contrast between her elegance on stage and goofiness behind the scenes. Also, I too want to find my destined person. Her songs definitely helped me through some of my more stressful moments in college. I clearly remember pulling one all nighter where I was alone in lab, measuring hardness of steel samples, and singing along to 9:02pm at the top of my lungs. I even shaved my beard for the first time in 4 years, just so I could cosplay as her!
4. What is your favorite idolm@ster song and why?
No matter how many new songs have come out over the years, GO MY WAY!! will always be my favorite. I have no idea how many times I’ve listened to it, but I get amped up every single time. A close second is Danketsu since the lyrics and PV are a great way of introducing the characters. I wish they had made a video to go along with Danketsu 2010!
5. What’s your favorite aspect of the idolm@ster series?
The characters, hands down. I have always been a much more visual person so I don’t think I would have gotten as into the franchise at first had it not been for the eye-catching character designs. Of course, as I got deeper into the fandom, especially while watching anim@s, I learned that all these girls were more than just pretty faces, and really begin to relate to them.
6. When and how did you become a “Producer”? That is, when did you consider yourself an idolm@ster fan?
While im@s had long been a part of my music library, and I watched anim@s as it aired, the franchise didn’t really click for me until I rewatched it in early 2014. I was snowed in (2 inches of snow is enough to shut Atlanta down) with not much to do, and decided to marathon the series. Something in me had changed during the 3 years in between, because the series resonated with me on a deeper, more emotional level. I suddenly “got” everything I had previously written off as melodrama, and became deeply attached to all the characters and the world they inhabited.
7. Have you ever been to an idolm@ster live concert? Please share your experience or any particularly special memories if so.
This summer, I will be working in Japan, so unless ticketing ends up being a total disaster, 10th will be my first im@s live!
8. Do you play any of the mobile game series such as Cinderella Girls and Million Live?
Once upon a time I played a ton of Rage of Bahamut. I never put a dime into it, but I did spend a lot of time and energy on what ultimately felt like a total waste. Ever since I have not been able to bring myself to touch any card mobile game.
9. Are you watching the Cinderella Girls anime? What are your thoughts?
I watch the show every Friday while eating lunch at work. As I mentioned previously, I refused to play the game, so this is my first real exposure to this side of the franchise, and I am absolutely in love with it. The characters have a wonderful dynamic, and as someone who is really into yuri, this show gives me a lot of material to work with. I’m looking forward to all the Love Laika and * doujins that will no doubt come out.
10. Do you have any favorite seiyuu related to the idolm@ster series?
Despite being an AzusaP, my favorite im@s seiyuu is definitely Kugyu. I was her fan even before I got into im@s, and I would definitely fly to any con in the United States and Canada just to meet her. I’m still not as familiar with the Cinderella Girls and Million Live seiyuus, but maybe that will change after 10th!
11. Shout out your love about the idolm@ster series, say anything you’d like!
When I was in college, I didn’t know anyone who was interested in im@s, even amongst my anime club friends. I’m really glad I was able to find a group like HPT to express my love of this franchise with. I truly felt like a P for the first time when I met all of you. You’re a bunch of crazy mofos, but you’re my kind of crazy. Thanks to Bandai Namco for making this franchise and bringing all of us together!
12. [From garbejP] As one who is equal parts P, Liver, and Aikatsu ojisan, if you had to produce a unit composed of idols from each franchise, who would they be and why, and what would they be called?
This was a really hard question, but not one I hadn’t considered before. So for your reading pleasure, I present you with not one, not two, but THREE im@s/Love Live/Aikatsu units. First up, consisting of my oshis from all three series is a trio of Azusa, Nozomi, and Sumire. One of the common grounds between all three girls is an interest in fortune telling, so as their producer, I would call the unit Lady Luck. In addition to their usual concerts, their other big idol activity would be hosting a TV horoscope segment. For stage costumes, a gypsy theme would be appropriate, or something designed by Bohemian Sky.
My second unit would consist of Takane, Rin, and Mizuki. Takane and Mizuki are both closely associated with the moon, and Rin’s last name Hoshizora means starry sky, so I would call the unit Midnight Sky. I could see the three of them hosting radio segment with Mizuki tsukomiing Takane and Rin for completely different reasons. For stage costumes, keeping with the night sky theme, Mizuki’s personal brand of Love Moonrise would work best.
My last unit would consist of Miki, Eli, and Ran. As the more stylish members of their series, I can see the three of them focusing on the modeling side of being an idol. Being strong willed girls, a lion theme would work for them, so I’d call the unit Lioness. Maybe Mayushi from WUG can show up as a surprise guest to one of their shows. Miki and Eli would definitely look good in Ran’s preferred brand of Spicy Ageha, although I would love to see them in the Stellar Guard BDU costume from OFA.
As a bonus, here are a couple of cross franchise duos that I thought would be fun to see. First is Hibiki and Yurika. I could see them performing together in the Vampire Kyun outfit, and Yurika getting surprised and flustered by Hibiki’s animals. Both of them being voiced by Nu also makes this a meta combo. Nico and Aoi are a fun pair since they’re both huge idol nerds, and I could see them hosting an idol news segment together. Lastly, Yayoi and Otome could be a lot of fun together, but might be too much energy for this world to handle.
13. Say something about the next interviewed person (YashaFoxP), also please ask them a question.
I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Yasha in person. After all, Poland is very, very far away from Atlanta. However, from the interactions I’ve had with him on the chat, he seems like an awesome (and suspiciously pure) dude, and I look forward to having a drink or five with him at 10th. My question for you Yasha, is if by whatever miracle Takane or Ranko (or both) ended up in your hometown in Poland for only one day, how would you entertain them for that day, and how would you convince them to never leave?
You can follow KenP on Twitter @djwhack03
<Better Know A Producer>