After an energetic performance and an extended autograph session the night prior, up-and-coming anison artist Haruna Luna sat at the head of the table to a round of applause from the press. While one might expect the jet lag and exhaustion from the trip to have taken a toll on the artist who debuted less than a year ago, Haruna impressed the panel with her engaging conversation while still serving up her trademark refined Goth-Loli style.
Q: Last night at your concert, a lot of people seemed to enjoy the Madoka Magica opening song, your collaboration with Eir Aoi. What made you pick the songs you sang last night and would you consider doing more collaborations in the future?
Haruna Luna: I really like collaborations. There’s a big difference between when you sing by yourself and when you sing with different artists. It’s very stimulating. I learned a lot by being able to sing with other people, so it really energizes me and inspires [me].
Q: Each vocalist has a specific routine that they follow during recording. What sort of things do you do to feel inspired before you record?
HL: I think that song is a good medium of expression, so I read the lyrics carefully, try to imagine what kind of world the lyrics are trying to create, and I preserve that image. I really love anime, so I think I have a good imagination. I try to dial into that when I have to go in and record a song. I look at the lyrics, and cherish that.
Q: How did you feel when you found out you were performing in America?
HL: I was really nervous; it was my first overseas concert. I wasn’t sure what to expect. At the same time I was excited to see how the different fans would welcome us here, and it was very very warm when I was doing the oncert. It almost didn’t feel like my first overseas concert, so I’m really happy that I was able to come here.
Q: How have you evolved over time?
HL: I’ve loved anime songs since I was really small and the music would always leave a really happy feeling inside of me, so whenever I sing and I can see that I’m putting smiles in other people’s hearts it makes me want to become better. Just witnessing communication with the fans makes me want to become better; I want to improve. It also helps me realize once more how wonderful the mediums of song and music are, and how they give people dreams, and inspire people.
Q: What was it like working with the legendary Yuki Kajiura for your debut single?
HL: I am big fan of the TV anime series Gundam SEED, and Yuki Kajiura worked on a lot of the tracks in the series. I really like the worlds she creates through her music, so when I was able to work with her it was a very unreal feeling, because she’s someone I have so much respect for. After listening to the track that she had created I almost felt like I was being immersed in her world, because the music she creates has a very good sense of world. To be a part of the immersion into that world was very, very exciting.
Q: What do you like to do to relax when you’re not singing? Any hobbies?
HL: As you know I’m an otaku, so I like to watch anime in my free time and I might take a walk around Akihabara. Whenever there’s an event I will always take the first train out to get there really early to be the first one there, so I’m really a stereotypical otaku. But anime is everything to me; it’s kind of what created me. I just love anime.
Q: Now that you’ve worked in anime, is it something you’re eager to continue with? Is there any particular anime you’d like to work on in the future? What is your passion for music?
HL: I think I would like to continue the pursuit of working together with anime. I really feel that it’s a representation of Japanese culture, and anime synchronizes people. Also, the fun and intrigue all connect, so I’m really happy to be able to do this.
Q: Are there any artists, either Japanese or American, who you would like to collaborate with?
HL: I would love to be able to do a collaboration with ALI PROJECT. Another kind of collaboration I’d like to do is with the Gothic Lolita Bible. We did more of a fashion-centered collaboration in the past,but I hoped to be able to do more of a musical collaboration in the future because I just love the expression of Goth-Loli. I hope we can express our feelings through this medium together in the future.
Q: When creating a song, do you try to read as much source material as possible so that [the song] will fit with the worldview [of the anime], or do you go towards a more general feeling?
HL: The music that I’ve done has generally been for the second season, so there’s a pre-existing anime, so I will definitely watch those. If there are any prequels or other materials I try to look into those as well. I have a very otaku nature, so once I try and dive into something I just go for it and immerse myself into those worlds. And I just love the characters. I try to imagine what this character is trying to tell people, so when I sing I try and capture the feelings of each one of these characters.
Q: What has it been like starting out as an anime fan and then doing work that contributes to anime?
HL: Until now I was, again, more of a consumer. I would watch anime. Moving into a position where I’m a part of the creative process I think of each anime as a single world. When people look into this world and try to peer into it, I can sense it gives them a very happy feeling. And when I see my music and this anime footage linked together for the first time on top of each other, I feel like the gap between reality and anime worlds are being bridged. So I really feel like dreams come true and people’s thoughts are conveyed and expressed.
Q: Have you ever been recognized on the street anywhere? If so, how do you react?
HL: Whenever I walk around in Akihabara, I try to choose a much more plain wardrobe so that I blend in a little more (panel laughs). But, you know, if someone ever spotted me and approached me, I think we would actually have a good time talking [to them] about anime and stuff. So I’d almost welcome it.
Q: With both of your successes with Fate/Zero and Sword Art Online, what other series are both of you aiming to contribute your voice to?
HL: As long as it’s anime I’m all for it. Being able to sing and contribute my voice to any anime project is a dream come true. So as long as it’s anime I’m good.
Q: Are there any American or Western artists that have influenced your work?
HL: I generally listen to a lot of anime songs, so I can’t say I really expose myself to music of the West. If I had to mention a couple [who I’d listen to if I wanted to] hear some kind of different sense of a world, I’d listen to U2. And a long time ago I’d listen to some Britney Spears as well.
Check back next week for our live report from the joint concert as well as our interview with Eir Aoi!
This interview was conducted as a press conference and could not have been done without the collaboration of several other press outlets including (but not limited to) Japanator, Cosplay Victoria, Japan-A-Radio, SUTORAIKUanime, and, of course, the Sakuracon staff.