Interview with Kanon at Japan Expo

interview - 09.14.2010 20:01

An Cafe's Kanon discusses his first video-game release as creator of label Studio Blue-3.

After the internationally recognised visual kei band An Cafe postponed activities after their performance at the Nippon Budokan, each of the band's members went their separate ways to work on other projects. The band’s bassist Kanon soon set up his own label, Studio Blue-3, and recently released the mobile phone game Pinky☆Distortion revolving around a visual kei band’s rise to fame. JaME spoke with Kanon about his interest in video games, his trip to France and what it’s like being a producer.


Since we last spoke with you, you have become the producer of the label Studio Blue-3, why did you choose to do this?

Kanon: After An Cafe put its activities on hold, I wanted to continue to make my own music. But rather than being bored by doing the same thing as before, I wanted to try different things. That’s why I created Studio Blue-3, to manage these various creations.

Is it very different being a producer from the previous work you have done in the music industry?

Kanon: In my previous musical activities, I was always part of a group, where we always created things together. But now that I am the sole producer, I am going straight ahead for myself. I am aware that I am responsible for everything that I am doing.

Why did you choose the name Studio Blue-3?

Kanon: The address of the management in Aoyama is sanchoume. Together those kanji characters mean “Blue mountain” and “3." I simply decided to use this name to make “Studio Blue-3”.

Will you continue on with Studio Blue-3 after An Cafe finishes its hiatus?

Kanon: Yes.

You have recently released a mobile phone game, Pinky☆Distortion. Have you always been interested in video games?

Kanon: From the point of view of music, I am certainly interested in video games.

This game revolves around its music. Where did you come up with this idea?

(For a better explanation, Kanon’s collaborator answers instead.) In Japan, the world of video games has been established for a long time, and this success gave rise to an important base of players. We thought while using the existing appeal of visual kei and Harajuku, thanks to An Cafe, we should appeal to a new fanbase and create a parallel gaming culture accessible to all. The “novel games” (or “visual novels”, which generally use fixed images, a lot of text but little interaction) were started in Japan in this urban culture, and we were interested in that type of game, as a vehicle for our creations.

Can we hope for an international, in particular a European, release of Pinky☆Distortion?

(Here the interpreter answers directly.) Yes. The game was first created for Japan, but because of An Cafe’s international fame, we thought it would be interesting to widen the sale to the rest of the world.

Will there be a release in English?

(Again the interpreter answers directly.) Yes.

Would you be happy if this release sparked more creators of visual kei video games?

Kanon: Yes but… yes. (laughs)

How involved were you with the actual production of the game?

Kanon: I looked into the characters, I gave – or didn’t give- my approval on scenario points that were submitted to me, as much as a usual producer then. I gave my opinion equally as to music, which I wrote the lyrics of.

Did you help the character designer?

Kanon: Yes, I also worked with him. We tried to design the individuals according to each of their characters.

How did you find the musicians to produce the music for the game, for instance the vocalist?

Kanon: While searching on the site Nico Nico Douga I found some musicians and decided that they would be the ones to form the group, without the vocalist then. (Nico Nico Douga is a Japanese version of Youtube and is a good medium for discovering talent).

The characters in Pinky☆Distortion do seem slightly similar to the members of An Cafe. Was this your intention?

Kanon: No. It was not my intention to begin with, but in the end, it is true that when the characters of Pinky☆Distortion were finished, they did resemble the members of An Cafe. I think it's brilliant and I'm glad.

You have already been a few times to France on An Cafe’s world tours. Do you have any places that you want to visit again?

Kanon: The Eiffel Tower shining at night, I would really like to see that again.

You will be attending the Baby The Stars Shine Bright tea party. Are you particularly interested in Lolita fashion?

Kanon: Yes, I like Lolita clothes.

Do you think of yourself as an ‘otaku’?

Kanon: (Giggles)

Lately there have been some entries in English on your official twitter page. Have you started learning English?

Kanon: Actually, I use a website which translates it all for me.

Do you have any musical plans over An Cafe’s hiatus?

Kanon: It’s a secret.

Finally, do you have a message for our readers?

Kanon: Yes. As a musician I am going to try to vary my activities, and I would like to thank everyone who is following and supporting me on my journey.


JaME would like to thank Kanon and his staff for this interview


Pinky☆Distortion

A game developed by Studio Blue-3 for mobiles and smartphones.

Official Site (English version)

Story
The game follows a girl who works in a studio in Harajuku and adores visual kei. She meets a group called DIS;CODE, composed of four members and looking for a singer. They then meet Hazuki, who, although he is a beginner, has a unique voice. Relieved that the group has found its singer, the heroine becomes their manager. Will the player succeed in guiding DIS;CODE to fame?


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