While we waited, they were testing the audio of what we latered confirmed to be the extended PV of ‘Preserved Roses’. Since they were stalling for time, the MC began by showing off signed posters of ‘Preserved Roses’ and introducing the Otakon special release cd of ‘Geisha Boy’. The MC fired up the crowd by…reading the track list of the cd. That’s gotta be fun!
The audience shouted out the different anime that the tracks were from. The MC was hilarious and awesome in his own way in keeping up the excitement of the crowd…even as he read each track and spoke in the calmest voice ever. On one occasion of repeated answers of Gundam Seed (since TMR sings many themes and inserts for the series,) one guy called out, “Worse anime ever!” to the surprised gasps of the fans.
- MC: Okay, I think it’s time for what I like to call a ‘lynch mob’. *audience laughs* Does anyone have any tar and feather?
Hilarity also ensued when he accidentally read the track title simply as ‘Sword’ instead of ‘Sword Summit’.
- MC: ‘Sword Summit’. *pause* How many strikes before I’m voted off the island? *audience laughs*
The audience called out for singing to which the MC refused. He did however say that he would sing as a prize to the girl who guessed the last track. Having finished reading the tracklist, he checked with the staff…and stated that stalling needs to continue. He asked for ideas from the audience.
- MC: I heard ‘tell us about the posters’ and ‘tell us about yourself’ so I’m going to tell you about the poster.
With questions to prompt the audience, he introduced Mizuki Nana and asked fans for their fav songs from Mizuki-san and Nishikawa-san. He suggested that fans check out the JRock House booth in order to buy the cd and other goodies. The audience erupted in laughter as a someone requested the MC read out the nutrition label of…his bottle of apple juice.
- MC: The serving size is…. *audience applauds* Servings per container…1. And the calories per container…is 140. *collect ahhhhh’s* Okay, guys, I can read the nutrition label off of this, or we can get started with the panel! *audience cheers*
They opened the panel with a PV of ‘FLAGS’, the opening to Sengoku Basara. To the chants of TMR, the man we all waited for appeared onstage.
- Nishikawa Takanori: I’m happy to be back at Otakon after 10 years. It has been great! *audience cheers*
MC: Well, Nishikawa-san, I hear that it has been 5 years since you’ve been in America and like you said, it has been 10 years since you’re back in Baltimore. How does it feel seeing your fans after 10 long years?
Nishikawa: Ten years ago, I performed my first live performance outside of Japan here at Otakon. *fan cheers* I was very happy to perform here ten years ago and I’m even happier now to see that you guys are even more excited today than you were ten years ago. *fans applauds*
MC: We know that it has been ten long years since you’ve been in Otakon and I’m sure alot has happened to you in the last ten years. But first, can you tell us a memorable experience in 2003 when you were at Otakon?
Nishikawa: Ten years ago, I was really surprised that here in America-aside from Japan-there were so many people who loved Japanese pop music and Japanese pop culture. And I was also amazed that there were so many fans, so many people cheering me on here overseas in America. Last time I was in Otakon, there were alot of fans of mine from countries I met for the first time. There were fans at Otakon in 2003 from Chile, from Colombia, from many countries in South America. I was amazed that people from all over the world knew about me.
MC: Thank you so much for that response! It has already been ten years since that day. Time sure flies by. Can you tell me what you’ve been doing in Japan the last ten years?
Nishikawa: Of course I’ve been doing my solo music work. In addition to that, I’ve been part of Abingdon Boys School *fans cheer* and even outside of music, I’ve been working with charity and I even became the tourism ambassador for my hometown. I organized my own festival.
- MC: We’ll be talking more about all of these things very shortly. But first, I like to hear more about that charity event that you’ve been on. Two years ago, a tragic earthquake struck Japan on March 11, 2011. I heard that you’ve been wanting to do what you can to help with the charity effort and started the project called ‘Stand Up Japan’. Can you tell us a little bit more about what ‘Stand Up Japan’ is doing?
Nishikawa: ‘Stand Up Japan’ is a charity that alot of artists are helping me out with. Of course, I’m a part of this charity, but in addition to myself, many creators including creators of anime and manga are helping me with this charity effort. The effort for this charity requires alot of time. In order to make sure that artists are helping us over a long period, we designed this charity so that they won’t need to do more and strain themselves to help with this charity. In terms of what ‘Stand Up Japan’ does, once a year every year, we perform. We gather all the artists and creators and we have a very long, live performance. In addition to that, a part of the creators donate items which we auction off at a charity auction. Of course, all the proceeds go to earthquake effort. We try to make this charity something that the artists and the fans can work together on. *audience applauds* I would like to take this time to thank everybody here. During the earthquake in 2011, lots of people in America gave many words of encouragement to Japan, many charity efforts to Japan. Not just America, people worldwide sent words of encouragement to Japan and helped Japan in their time of need. I would like to take this time to thank each and every one of you for helping out. *audience applauds*
- MC: That was about ‘Stand Up Japan’, if you like more information on the effort, the website for ‘Stand Up Japan’ is standupjapan.org so please check it out. Every bit more effort and contribution helps with the earthquake victims. I would like move on to the next topic. Otakon is an anime convention where alot of anime fans gather. I heard that you, Nishikawa-san are an anime ambassador in Japan. Can you tell us what is it you do as an anime ambassador?
Nishikawa: Yes, there is a Japanese project for spreading Japanese culture called ‘Anime Mirai’ (Anime Future). This project is all about sharing from the people who create anime, anime artists, producers and directors. There are alot of different animes coming out in Japan. All of these animes are supporting young animators. Anime Mirai is a project to support those young, up and coming animators. At Otakon, we also have some guests from the Anime Mirai project. They’ll be holding their panel at Otakon so please check out their panel as well. *audience applauds*
- MC: Nishikawa-san, I’m very impressed that you’re taking part in all of these activities outside of your music. You mentioned earlier that you’re also the tourism ambassador of your hometown in the Shiga prefecture. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Nishikawa: I was born in the Shiga prefecture and I wanted to give thanks to my hometown. *fans awww at the Takanori mascot* In order to give back to my hometown, I organized the Inazuma Rock Festival. *fans cheer* It’s going to be held this year on September 21 to September 22. In the Shiga prefecture, here is a really big lake called the Biwa lake. It is the largest lake in Japan. Part of the Inazuma Rock Festival is to preserve the environment of this lake and through this lake, to contribute to the environmental efforts around it.
- MC: I also heard that at the Inazume Rock Festival 2013, there is going to be many famous artists appearing to perform. One of the artists who is going to be performing is Mizuki Nana (from the poster.) *audience cheers* Everyone in the audience knows that you work with Mizuki Nana on the opening theme of Valvrave the Liberator. The song is a huge hit in Japan and lots of people in the anime world are talking about this collaboration between you and Mizuki Nana.
Nishikawa: Yes, I worked on this collaboration with Mizuki Nana-san because I always wanted to do a collaboration that everybody is watching for but would be hard to do. There are alot of people in Japan saying ‘I wish there was a collaboration like this.’ ‘I wish there was a collaboration like that.’ And dream is to make this collaboration come true. This is the first step towards that. *audience cheers*
MC: I think this collaboration is awesome! And I heard that last week on August 4th, you appeared in Mizuki Nana-san’s live as a secret guest.
Nishikawa: Yes! *audience laughs*
MC: And the two of you made an announcement there that you’ll be collaborating again on the second opening theme song for Valvrave the Liberator. *audience cheers*
Nishikawa: Actually, we finished recording the song already! *fans cheers* So in ‘Preserved Roses’, we invited Nana-san to the T.M.Revolution team and recorded the song as part of the T.M.Revolution team. With this new song, we took it the other way around. Nana-san invited me into her team. This new song is produced by Nana-san’s team so it will be a rather different song than what you heard with ‘Preserved Roses’. *fans cheer*
MC: It seems like we have alot to look forward to with Mr. T.M.Revolution. *pauses* *to the audience* Is that awkward? *rephrases* It seems that we have alot to look forward to T.M.Revolution! *audience applauds*
The floor opened for questions and the audience rushed the mic for questions. The crowd of fans startled Nishikawan-san as his expressions changed in surprise.
- Q: What is your favorite PV outfit and which is your favorite live performance outfit?
Nishikawa: Mmmmm…I always find myself attached to the latest PV outfit, so right now, my favorite outfit is from ‘Preserved Roses’. Each year at the Inazuma Rock Festival, we make a new outfit for our festival. For tomorrow’s concert, I chose my favorite outfit from the festival.
- Fan: Welcome back to Baltimore!
Nishikawa: *in English* Thank you!
Q: You have very nice legs. *audience laughs and cheers* My question is, you always wear hotpants during your concerts, why do you do that?
Nishikawa: *in English* Which do you like? Skinny or wide?
Fan: Skinny. *audience laughs*
Nishikawa: *in English* Skinny? Ah, okay! I choose it! *switching to Japanese* I’ll keep wearing skinny pants than, just for you! *audience laughs*
Q: I came from California just to see you! *fan tears up as audience applauds her courage* In the PV you just showed us, do you get alot of inspiration from Michael Jackson? Especially as ‘Captain Eo’?
Nishikawa: Oh…ooo…. Michael Jackson is definitely one of the greatest artists of our time. I receive many inspirations from many artists all across the world. It is quite possible that Michael Jackson was a great inspiration for my works. One thing you don’t have to worry about, I’m not sick like Michael Jackson was. *audience applauds*
Q: So I practice this question in the shower. *audience laughs* Since you’ve been in alot of musicals in Japan that were from America, are there any other musicals that you would like to do in Japan from America?
Nishikawa: You’re probably referring to ‘Rock of Ages’. I was in ‘Rock of Ages’ in Japan. *audience applauds*
Fan: And you were in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’.
Nishikawa: Oh! Yes, I love ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. Back to ‘Rock of Ages’, I always seen the Broadway version of ‘Rock of Ages’ and when I was in Las Vegas, I saw the Las Vegas version of ‘Rock of Ages’, that made me want to sing it again.
Q: I’ve always been curious, what inspired you to sing in the first place? Did you have a favorite celebrity that you looked up to?
Nishikawa: My very first experience with singing, I wasn’t very impressed with singing at the time. I formed a band with some friends and they told me to sing. I didn’t think I was a good singer and I didn’t particularly want to sing, but they told me to sing, so I did. *audience laughs* That was how I started singing. I never thought I would last this long and I never dreamed that I would be performing in the US like this! *audience applauds*
Q: I love all your songs from the Sengoku Basara series. I love the movie as well. How sad when there was the live action that you weren’t in there. That instead Gackt was in there. He was pretty cool, but were you ever approached to be in it? If there was a scenario where you could be in it, which character would you like to act as?
Nishikawa: Hmmmm…. What do you think I should play?
Fan: I think you would be a great Kimura.
Nishikawa: Kimura? Really? What do you think?
Fan: Yeah, you could do it! You have the energy.
Nishikawa: *thinking* Really? Mmmm…okay, if they ever made another live action, I’ll tell them I want to play that character. *audience cheers
As they closed the Q&A portion, Nishikawa-san thanked the fans with, “Gomen ne…arigato! Gomenensai honto ni!” I loved his various expressions and exclaimations at the questions. His facial expressions are so vibrant and clear. They brought out the signed posters again which fans could win by answering trivia questions from the MC. Fortunately or unfortunately…they were all quite easy.
- Q: T.M.R…what does it stand for?
A: Takanori Makes Revolution.
Q: One of T.M.R’s song is ‘Heart of Sword’. What is the name of the main character in this anime?
A: Kenshin Himura.
Appropriately, a Kenshin cosplayer won this one. ^_^ Nishikawa-san decided to pick the last question. The MC noted that it was a ‘hard’ one.
- Q: In Gundam Seed– *audience starts jumping* I said three words, guys! In Gundam Seed, Nishikawa-san played the role of Miguel. In Gundam Seed Destiny, which character did he play?
A: Heine Westenfluss
To close the panel, they presented the full 12 min. featurette PV for ‘Preserved Roses’. The presentation is quite special since they only show the full PV one day in Japan and many have only seen the 5 min. version. The audio we heard at the beginning of the panel was this PV. Nana risks it all to release Nishikawa from his space prison, or is it to save her true self? What is reality really? Reconstructing reality, defying space and time. ‘Pain, suffering. Bokutachiwa subete wakashi. I want you.’ It seems that a virus has overtaken their ship and Nishikawa was stuck in cold sleep for some time. His awakening ended the PV.