Interview with T.M.Revolution at Otakon

interview - 26.08.2017 22:00

T.M.Revolution begins his interview with JaME at Otakon with a big smile!

Earlier this month, JaME reporter Megan Pfeifle caught up with T.M.Revolution during Otakon in Washington, DC. T.M.Revolution was excited about the convention, having had both his performance the night before and a live Q&A session earlier that day. Dressed in a flamboyant suit made of camouflage and white writing, T.M.Revolution sat down with a big smile, ready to begin the interview.

It's great to have you at Otakon for the third time! How do you feel about being one of Otakon's most frequent return guests?

T.M.Revolution: Thank you! Every single time I come here, I am surprised how much bigger and more intense the convention itself is. I am so honored because Otakon is still one of the biggest conventions in America and it is amazing to be a part of that as a guest.

I would like to ask a question in return, too. What do you think American people think of when they hear of Otakon?

Hmmm ... I think that if they are part of the fandom, they think of Otakon and they think of the biggest event on the east coast.

T.M.Revolution: More generally, for people who are not into Japanese culture, or aren’t into anime — what do you think their opinion is of Otakon?

I think they’re very surprised the first time they hear there even is such a thing. I remember getting in my taxi yesterday and my driver asked, “What is this?” and I explained it to him and he was very surprised, and exclaimed how popular it was. (T.M.Revolution laughs) I explained to [my driver] that this event happens every year. But sometimes, when you aren’t in costume you’re stopped on the street* because it is colorful, and it is bright and big and people are always in awe — it’s never “this is really weird,” it is always “this is so cool!”

*Editor's note: The general public sometimes will go up to Otakon badge wearers who aren't in costume to ask what the event is about.

T.M.Revolution: Really! Many times, guests like me can only come over for specialized events like this. So sometimes, when you’re in an area where you’re really well known, it is almost like you think “everyone here is really supportive of me!” but you know that it could be that the general public thinks differently, and that I’m in this bubble of supportiveness. I have always been curious about how it is viewed generally. Thank you for answering my question!

No problem! What are your thoughts on your performance at Anisong World Matsuri yesterday?

T.M.Revolution: (in English) Yeah, it was so great … so amazing! It is especially great because Otakon was my first overseas performance, so for me, this convention has a very special meaning to me.

The cover artwork for 2020 -T.M.Revolution ALL TIME BEST-, which was released on May 11th last year, shows a newspaper page that seems to have flown right into your face. What's the meaning behind this image?

T.M.Revolution: (laughs) Yeah, yeah! I am known, without people even knowing what my face looks like — my outfit, my demeanor — people know it is T.M.Revolution. So it is kind of like a pop icon — you don’t have to necessarily show my face but you know it is me!

So ... going back in time! Your 1996 song HEART OF SWORD ~Yoake mae~, which is included in the collection, is your most well-known song among overseas fans. What do you remember most about the creation of this song?

T.M.Revolution: First and foremost, I am a huge lover of anime. So when I got the offer to possibly collaborate on an anime, I was so honored. It makes me so happy to hear how well received it is for people overseas and that people really love the song.

Committed RED, the opening theme song for 2016 video game "Sengoku BASARA Sanada Yukimura-den", is also included in the collection. How did you decide on the theme and musical direction for this song?

T.M.Revolution: Hmmm … (thinks) well ... (thinks again)

This is apparently a tough one!

T.M.Revolution: Yeah … (laughs) So, this song in particular has a lot of influence from the Sengoku era. So in Japan, they have many different eras, and the Sengoku era is the samurai-ish era, very old Japan. I wanted to infuse the Sengoku era with the rock genre, to see a new style, and that is how this song came about!

So, since we’re discussing infusing different things ... As part of your 20th anniversary celebrations last year, your HOT LIMIT costume was reproduced for sale in Japan. Why did you choose to reproduce this particular costume out of the many costumes you have?

T.M.Revolution: (laughs heartily) It is kind of similar to the question about the newspaper cover. I am known as a pop icon in Japan, so just looking at that outfit, people know it is T.M.Revolution — it is a branded thing. I wanted as many people as possible to also enjoy that perspective of it.

Your latest single RAIMEI, the theme song for glove puppetry TV show "Thunderbolt Fantasy: Touriken Kouki", can also be found on the collection. How did this tie-up come about?

T.M.Revolution: The original writer of the story is Gen Urobuchi. He wrote “Madoka Magica”. He has also written some other famous titles, too. But Mr. Urobuchi approached me about the offer. I really love this creator, so I was so happy and so honored to receive the offer. Mr. Urobuchi wanted to expand outside of Japan to places like Taiwan, and do almost like a puppet theater collaboration, and that is when the offer came to do something. It was so different!

So, I was inspired by watching that puppet theater performance, and through that inspiration and creation, that is when the tie-up came about. Right now in 2017, there is a new "Thunderbolt Fantasy" in production.

Will you be involved?

T.M.Revolution: Yes, yes. For that particular production too, I will be singing a Chinese version of it. (in English) It is so difficult!

That does sound difficult!

T.M.Revolution: (in English) Yeah … it is. Different accent, different intonation. So difficult.

Well ... practice hard! (T.M.Revolution and interviewer laugh) Since "T.M.Revolution" means "Takanori Makes Revolution", how do think you've fared in your revolution so far?

T.M.Revolution: (in English) No! Not yet … not yet! (laughs) A lot of the revolution is for me to be able to have fans and people who know and love me overseas. That is my revolution.

(whispers) I think you have it!

T.M.Revolution: (laughs) Thank you! Last month, it was my first time going to Brazil, and I was so surprised and happy to see I had so many fans there.

So, how you wish to continue revolutionizing your music and performance from now on? Is there any specific area you'd like to work on?

T.M.Revolution: I would love to continue with T.M.Revolution, but I also have other projects in mind.

Well, my next question then is perfect! What other projects are you working on?

T.M.Revolution: Oh yeah! (T.M.Revolution and interviewer laugh) Up until now, I have been doing a lot that involves T.M.Revolution — me as an entity — but in the future, I would like to find out the possibilities of my voice. What I can do with other people, and how I can collaborate with others. I would love to create something with my voice instead of just as a singer of T.M.Revolution.

Since you have been to Otakon three times, do you have a distinct memory about each visit?

T.M.Revolution: (gasps in surprise) Oh wow ...

(laughs) Another tough one, sorry!

T.M.Revolution: Yeah! (laughs) Hmmm … (in English) So tough! (thinks) In 2003, it is unforgettable because it was my very first concert at Otakon. But at that show, I sang a ballad and when I looked out into the audience, I saw an older couple slow dancing, and I was so surprised. (in English) It was so sweet! (laughs) In Japan, no one does that. They would not just get up and start dancing, so it was just memorable.

Do you have any other memories from your second trip or this one?

T.M.Revolution: Last time I visited was in 2013, and that year, I heard that Otakon might be moving to DC, so I was so excited to be a part of the very first performance in DC. I am so surprised how much bigger it has become since moving, too. Not only has it become bigger in general, but you can see how different it has become — how people enjoy it, how it has become more accepted and more widespread, and you can even see how America has changed in how it receives this kind of culture.

To wrap up our interview, please leave a message for our readers.

T.M.Revolution: First and foremost, I am so honored I was able to come to Otakon one more time because it holds a lot of meaning to me, being my first convention. I am so touched by how many people have been waiting for my return, too. I hope that I can come back quickly, and hopefully do a tour around the US. In the Q&A panel earlier today, I told the audience “I would like to visit the other cities, as well” so I would like to increase my performances overseas and be able to come back more frequently.

Well, based on your performance yesterday, I think people are already excited for your return.

T.M.Revolution: (in English) Really? (laughs) Well, thank you!

Thank you very much for your time!

T.M.Revolution: Thank you! I was glad to see you.

JaME would like to thank T.M.Revolution and RESONANCE Media for this interview opportunity.

Watch the music video for RAIMEI below:

Raimei by T.M.Revolution on VEVO.

T.M.Revolution Links


Anisong World Matsuri Links

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