If you’ve been in Anime Expo in the past three years, or really, any anime convention in the past three years, you’ve probably heard of the Aqours. The Aqours have charmed concert, anime, mobile game and Japanese music fans worldwide. I had the very special privilege of interviewing them among a group of talented reporters. This took place the day before their back-to-back shows held at the Novo during Anime Expo.
The Aqours are an all girl singing and dancing group, referred to as “school idols” who are also the voice actors for the Love Live! Sunshine!!. Love Live! Sunshine!! is a Japanese multimedia project, which is represented by a mobile rhythm game app, two seasons of anime, a feature-length film and many more types of media.
Anju Inami (who plays Chika Takami), Kanako Takatsuki (who plays Hanamaru Kunikida) and Aina Suzuki (who plays Mari Ohara) all sat down for an interview to tell us more about the Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow, their favorite experiences in the United States and the journey to becoming the international sensations they are now.
Q: How do you keep your smiles so bright?
A(Anju is speaking): The secret is to have fun. So if I have fun that will spread.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory from working on the movie, or something that makes you smile?
A (Aina is speaking): As for the recording, we had three days in total. The first day it was for the first and second years, and the third years joined the recording after day two. Since the 1st & 2nd year voice actors they already had this fun atmosphere, and also the story takes place in Italy, so the 3rd years, thanks to the fun atmosphere that they made… The third years could joke them around even more to make them even more fun. Yeah, we had lots of fun!
Q: As Aqours leader, what would you say was Aqours greatest challenge and how have you overcome it?
A (Anju is speaking): The biggest challenge for the Aqours is, finding our own original path. Finding our original path was fun and challenging, and also it was hard to find our own shine. That was our biggest goal for this group. As for the movie, Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow, Aqours could hold each others hand and jump over the rainbow for a brighter future. That was our biggest challenge.
Q: Do you have a memorable experience from Anime Expo or any other experience you want to share with us?
A(Kanako is speaking): When we first came to Los Angeles, that was when we first premiered the first episode of the first season. That was the first time we watched the first episode as well. It was really fun to watch this episode and everyone’s big reaction.
Q: How have your characters inspired you the most?
A (Aina is speaking): The character of Mari, as you know, is really bright, cheerful, energetic and she’s super shiny. She always gives me power and energy. Every time I play her character. She’s also taught me how to be kinder and nicer to others as well.
A (Anju is speaking): I played Chika and she is very honest and knows exactly what she wants. Once she knows what she wants to do she is very determined and I was very inspired by Chika who is like the captain. (she went on to say) I’m always inspired by her.
A (Kanako is speaking): People say that Hanamaru and I look alike. We look like we have lots of things in common. I think people tell me that because me and Hanamaru are always kind of like one step behind from someone. Observing. Watching over them.
Q: What are your favorite things about Anime Expo?
A(Aina is speaking): Last year we had a concert here, and the impression of Los Angeles is that people are always so nice, warm and welcoming. As for last years concert, as a surprise when we performed the audience even made a rainbow with their lights. (citation added) We didn’t expect to see that, so we were so happy, that’s why we were even more happy to come back to Los Angeles again this year!
Q: What’s your favorite song?
A (Anju is speaking): I love all the songs and this might not be the best song to perform right now, but my favorite is “Jingle Bells ga Tomaranai”. (citation needed)
A (Kanako is speaking): “Aozora Jumping Heart”. (citation needed) with this song we can hype up the crowds even more, and since I’m a first year we always go “whoo!” during the song. I noticed that the audience also does it together as well.
A (Aina is speaking): “Thrilling One-way”. It’s such an energetic song that it came hype up the crowds together. It’s an exciting song from the beginning to the end.
The performers all entertained thousands over the span of the 4th of July weekend, just a day after this interview. They performed a variation of their biggest hits including favorites like “Koi Ni Naritai AQUARIUM” on the 5th and “HAPPY PARTY TRAIN” on the 6th. The crowds were delighted on both nights to witness such a display of professionalism, cheer and wonderful talent during the weekend concerts in Los Angeles.
Thank you, Aqours! We are so grateful to witness such an amazing performance in 2019!