Mari had two Q & A sessions, one on Saturday and another on Sunday. She
performed at the masquerade, and there was a banquet that I didn't go to (her
table was sold out before I found out about it).
She had two autograph sessions on Saturday, and one on Sunday. There may have
been one on Friday too, but I didn't get to Dallas until late so I don't know.
The autograph sessions were more relaxed than the one at FanimeCon, and there wasn't a huge line. I
think having multiple sessions helped. She was selling her t-shirts, and a
Rain & Shine concert tour booklet. At the various sessions, I
got her autograph on Rain & Shineand CD File (she
told me that Victor hadn't gotten her permission to make it--something to
keep in mind for your CD purchases). I also bought one of the booklets, which
she signed, and a t-shirt for a co-worker who I'd introduced to her music.
Saturday Q & A Session
This session was pretty informal. The audience were allowed to ask as many
questions as they wanted, and take pictures throughout. There was no chair
for Mari, so she had to sit on the edge of the stage the whole time. I showed up
early enough to get a front-row seat right opposite her. I wrote down her
answers to the questions:
Nobody asked her to do any other voice acting after Macross,
although she would consider doing it again. She explained that early in her
career, it was a real struggle to get people to see her as more than just
"Minmay," and as a result people might have gotten the impression that
she didn't like anime.
Her upcoming American album, No Limit, will have four new
songs and English versions of some of her best old songs. The songs on this
CD will all have one "image" or style.
She will try to debut it at Anime Expo. She was originally hoping to have it
done for Otakon, but everything is running behind.
Her favorite musicians are Goo Goo Dolls, New Radicals (she said she only
liked one song), The Squeeze, Duncan Sheik, Taxi Ride, and Depeche Mode
(especially their latest album). She said that Danny Elfman is "my hero for
soundtracks." She said that she liked songs with "guys screaming," and
prefers male singers because she can feel like they are singing to her.
She would do FanimeCon again, and said maybe about A-Kon, depending on how
the rest of the con went. Up to that point, she'd had a rough time, with a plane
getting delayed for an hour and her suitcase getting lost.
She had been writing songs since she was 10, and wanted to be a musician
from the 3rd grade. By the time of her Macross audition, she
had a stock of about 100 songs--she sang her own songs and played the piano
at the audition. Her parents were really supportive of her wish to become
She might do more LA gigs. (I hope so!)
She's written songs for other people, but not very many. She wrote songs for
a few idol singers a few years ago, and also wrote a song for the Playstation
game Macross Digital Mission VF-X and for Tomo Sakurai.
Her favorite song that she wrote is Us (watashitachi), the last
song on Good Medicine. She said that singing it made her sad
sometimes, because it's about her personal life.
She described the Japanese entertainment industry as fairly closed, with one
production company that dominates, crushing anyone who tries to compete.
She said that the music scene is "terrible," and that was one of her reasons
for coming to LA.
She didn't keep track of how many CDs she had sold, but she said the
ai oboeteimasu ka single sold about 500,000.
Most of the Macross songs were written by Kentaro Haneda.
Some of her favorite movies are Shawshank Redemption,
Secrets & Lies, and Perfect Murder. She mostly likes
serious movies that are a little bit dark, but she also likes Austin Powers
. She also likes Clueless, because the main character is
like her with clothes shopping. Later she mentioned Tim Burton's movies,
Mars Attacks and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
She said that English doesn't take as many notes to say something as
Japanese, amd more words can "fit" in a song, and English lyrics tell more of
a story than the Japanese version.
Her career didn't affect her kids, because she doesn't go on really long tours,
and times the ones she does to coincide with their school breaks. She was
never away from them.
Her neighbor has been getting her auditions for various parts here in America,
but so far she's only gotten a commercial for MTV. She auditioned for a part
in Anna and the King, and a Japanese commercial with Leonardo
She hadn't thought about selling her songs as MP3s--she wasn't familiar with
She sometimes writes songs by sitting down and working at it "like homework,"
but the best songs just come to her at odd times. The example she gave was,
"while plunging a toilet bowl."
She doesn't travel much in the US. She's never even been to San Francisco--
she commented on how strange that was.
She doesn't listen to rap music, but she did have a short rap in Different
Worlds. Someone told her it was "too sweet," and she felt it didn't have
any impact. She says she could do a better rap now because she has more anger.
She said she was "angry at men."
She has been seperated for three years. She had become more independent as
a result, and feels like she is moving forward now.
Her last concert video was Something Special. She taped her
Rain & Shine tour herself, and might edit the tapes into
something she could sell through her web site.
She's seen the new Star Wars movie, but she had trouble
understanding the heavy accents. She liked Jar Jar, and Anakin's pod race
She and her kids watch Power Puff Girls.
Towards the end, some people in the audience convinced her to sing something. I
thought they were a bit rude about it myself. Anyway, she sang part of ai
oboeteimasu ka a capella.
Her concert was held during the masquerade, between the (seemingly endless) skits and
the awards presentation. She sang five songs--Free Style, "D",
More than yesterday (all from Rain & Shine), Sudden
Kiss, and ai oboeteimasu ka.
The first four songs were with recorded music, and for ai oboeteimasu ka
she was accompanied by Jim Studer playing piano.
Sunday Q & A Session
This session was also pretty informal, but this time she had a chair. Again, I took
notes. Some of the questions went over the same ground as the Saturday session, so
I didn't include that here.
Her first song was a 4th grade class song. Her teacher asked her to write it.
When Macross was on, she was a student at Kunitachi Music College,
the best music school in Japan.
She did lots of concerts in those days.
She used to really like hamburgers. After mentioning that on a TV show, people
called her "hamburger." She's a vegetarian now.
Beethoven and Chopin are her favorite composers. Bach's music doesn't fit her
personality, but she respects him. Mozart's music fits her personality better.
She feels like she's been living two lives with concert tours and publicity in Japan,
and a normal life here in America. The change was hard to deal with sometimes.
She met Jim Studer in 1987 when she was working on Miss Lemon,
her first album in LA.
Breaking into the American market has been her dream since she was 22.
Living in LA wasn't a big change from living in Tokyo. LA is more relaxed, though.
One cultural difference is that gift-giving is much bigger in Japan. She sometimes
gives CDs to valets, but then the next time she sees them they don't say anything.
Her more recent songs reflect her knowledge and experience in life. Her older songs
weren't so deep.
She auditioned for an episode of the TV series JAG. She almost got the
part, but they picked someone else. The character was only 16!
She hadn't thought about dubbing anime for US companies. (After the session someone
from the audience gave her a bunch of business cards.)
She feels that in Japan she was underrated, and maybe people didn't want to
acknowledge her ability.
In Japan, singers with long careers are not so appreciated, because people always
want something new. Also, her managers always complain about how she is so far
Her favorite Minmay songs are ai oboeteimasu ka, Angel's Paints
(tenshi no enogu), and Friend the 15th anniversary duet she
sang with Tomo Sakurai.
She wrote songs for Kyoko Koizumi.
She said that Japanese people should sing more "straight from the heart."
When asked about Tetsuya Komuro, she said (jokingly) "he is my enemy." She hasn't
met him, but she doesn't like what he is doing.