Perhaps the main reason we attended Anime North this year was the Japanese idol Halko Momoi (桃井はるこ). You may know her as either a singer or as a voice actress, her debut single being “Mail Me” in 2000 and debut role being Komugi Nakahara (中原こむぎ) in The SoulTaker. Others may only remember back to her days with denpa unit UNDER17. During that time, she did songs for many games like Popotan (ぽぽたん) and Majokko a la Mode (魔女っ娘ア・ラ・モード). Her recent works include the theme song and voice for Filia in Prism Ark. This is her 3rd overseas convention, having attended California’s Anime Expo and Germany’s Connichi in 2007 .
Her schedule for this convention was pretty packed with two Q&As, two autograph sessions, a concert, and much more. The concert was very popular, and everybody who attended got involved, jumping with glowsticks provided by Momoi’s official fanclub’s members. 14 of the fanclub members were in front of the stage doing ‘calls’, a combination of shouting and moving with glowsticks, and the audience copied. Momoi was impressed that everybody was so into the concert. She even performed an old song, “Popotan” (ぽぽたん), because one of the people she met during the convention was cosplaying as Mii, whom Momoi did the voice for. Other songs she performed included “LOVE.EXE” from the PS2 version of Baldr Force EXE and “Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbie” (天罰！エンジェルラビィ) from Magical Twirler Angel Rabbie (まじかるトワラー・エンジェルラビィ☆).
The Q&As were interesting too. Perhaps the highlight of it was when someone asked if she was able to get boyfriends when she was young. Everybody in the room was laughing by the end of the question, and laughing again soon after Momoi started her answer. She started her response with, 「いっぱい彼氏いたか？いっぱいいたか？いないよ！！」, “Did I have many boyfriends? Did I have many? I had none!!” After the laughter died down, she went on to explain that she can do what she’s doing today because of that. But she had lots of boyfriends in her mind. And even became the boyfriend when she was playing galge (ed: orz). She also did an Utamaru voice for everybody at the second Q&A session, from the Da Capo series.
In addition to all of this, she managed to find time for us to have a private interview about visual novels. It was quite interesting, and is included below. Also, we have included links to where you can get her music. We would like to thank Momoi, her staff, and the Anime North staff for all their hard work.
Also, a minor note. On the episode of the weekly internet radio show Chou! Momo-i (超!モモーイ) that was published while she was at the convention, she mentioned that the previous weekend she attended KSL Live World 2008. It was a live show from Key Sounds Label, which primarily publishes songs for games from the game company Key. It sounds like she’s a fan of them too.
encubed: Do you play visual novels?
Momoi: Yes, I do. Recently, I’ve been playing a game called CHAOS;HEAD
e:Do you have a favorite game or brand?
M: I don’t really have one. It’s not like I’ve a fan of any particular studio. I don’t really have a preference for major or minor games.
e: Have you watched the anime versions of these games? Like SchoolDays.
M: I have watched some.
e: What do you think of them?
M: The game had various endings, but the anime only has one final episode, so I thought about how difficult it must be while watching it.
e: How did you become a singer for these game theme songs?
M: I was walking in Akihabara in 2001 and saw a huge gathering of people. As I wondered what it could be, I saw they were doing a PC game demonstration at a computer shop. Then, I thought, “Oh, PC game music is something people will listen to – something popular”. That was around the time when music downloading techniques were developed. I thought, “I always wanted to have a musical profession.” There was a time when I knew I wanted to do songs, but I didn’t know which genre to choose. I felt this was a genre suited for Akihabara and anime. Bishoujo game songs. As if it was fate, the next thing I knew, I was given the chance to sing a PC game song. That made me think about trying to write these songs too.
e: Would you like to make games too?
M: I would like to, but from what I’ve seen the creators have a hard time, so I think making a game is hard. They all just tell me they haven’t slept. However, I have always thought I want to work on game music.
e: What is your favorite bishoujo game song?
M: I like Tokimeki Memorial (ときめきメモリアル) songs, like “Motto! MOTTO! Tokimeki” (もっと！モット！ときめき). I remember attending one of Mami Kingetsu’s (金月真美) concerts. But I like my songs the most. I make songs thinking that, like this is the best.
e: Omakase! Trouble Tenshi (おまかせ！トラブル天使) is scheduled to come out next year.1
M: Ah, it’s finally coming out? I was wondering when
e: Though the release date hasn’t been announced yet, it’ll be next year.
M: I see.
e: But the previous game, Prism Ark, was released in 2006. Recently, have bishoujo game makers been asking you to sing for them?
M: Recently? For bishoujo games, it takes an extremely long time from recording until the game is released. A recording from a year ago is only now being released. What was it, that song I sang and wrote. CROWD’s X Change (ed: X Change Alternative 2 -キミノヒトミニウツルキミ-). That was recorded a year ago, and is being released soon. That’s the most fun thing, something being released.
e: Is the feeling when working on theme songs versus CD-only songs different?
M: Probably when I work on theme songs, I think about whether or not it will fit the game or not. However, recently I’ve been told not to worry about that too much.
e: Do you want to voice more game characters? Your voice roles have been primarily anime characters.
M: Recording for games is quite different than for anime. I think both are interesting.
e: Do you have any message to English-speaking fans of these games?
M: Do many English-speaking people play these games? Japanese is hard, isn’t it.
e: English versions…
M: Games that have English versions? Tales of the Abyss in places like America is talked about a lot. Just earlier at the autograph session, a person brought a printout of it. I would like to visit Canada or America again. If I do come, let’s have fun. Let’s have fun at my concert!
e: Unofficial English versions exist too.
M: Ah, like fansubs?
e: But for games.
M: Games too?
e: Like Tsukihime (月姫).
M: Really!? Amazing!
e: How about to those bishoujo game fans?
M: This is partly for myself as well, but I want to do more game voices. How would I do business in North America? I might perform a role in another game. When I do, please play it. Huh? I wonder if that’s okay. Something like that. Is it okay? I feel like it would be better to say something more interesting. I want to see a game made by an American person! American or Canadian. I want to do a voice for it!
e: Games made by fans exist too.
M: Really? I’d like to try one. It seems like something else that would be different from the ones in Japan.
e: Thank you very much. And thank you for the concert too.
2008-06-12 update: Momoi appeared at Connichi in 2007, not early 2008. Thanks Akira fan.