Anime Central 2013 Kalafina: An Interview
by Theron Martin, May 23rd 2013
On the Saturday of the convention Kalafina had Q&A and autograph sessions open to the public. After the latter I caught up with Keiko Kubota, Wakana Ootaki, and Hikaru Masai for a sit-down interview.
Note: The members of Kalafina took turns speaking through their translator/manager to answer questions, hence the specific member speaking for the Kalafina responses varies unless otherwise noted.
ANN: First off, that was a great concert last night. Do you currently have plans for any other similar performances in the U.S.?
Kalafina: Unfortunately we do not have a plan at this point, but you know, two years ago we performed in Los Angeles at Anime Expo and two years before that at the big 'con in Boston, so every two years we have been back in the United States and we are hoping to be back in the near future.
How long does it take to prepare for a performance like that?
We usually practice with the show in Japan as well, but around a month ago we started thinking about and focusing on the performance for the United States, so it's about that.
Okay. When I was watching the concert last night, I noticed that everything seemed carefully choreographed, but you also took great pains to be individuals on stage. Were you actively going for the impression that you are individuals performing together to be a whole rather than just one whole to start with?
It all depends on the song. Each song also has a solo part, but we also harmonize with all three of us. It's a very important part, that we all sing together and harmonize, so that's why each of us – whether we do a solo part or not – focus on the song, each song. It depends on the song. We focus on the stage as well.
Last night the biggest crowd-pleaser seemed to be “Magia.” Have you found that to be the case in performances in Japan as well?
Yeah, ‘Magia’ is really popular in Japan as well. We released it two years ago, and ever since we released that song it has been popular with anime fans as well. So like yesterday, when the crowd got really excited about it, we were happy, and it's like that in Japan as well.
Last night you made mention of favorite characters. (One said “Saber,” one said “Rider, and one said “Mami.”) Would any of you consider yourselves a casual or strong anime or manga fan? (Side note: during the concert Hikaru confessed to being a fan of Saber and Keiko to Rider from Fate/Zero and Wakana to being a fan of Madoka Magika's Mami.)
Right. (After seeing some somewhat nervous reactions when the translator used the word “otaku”) Not necessarily otaku.
Keiko: I am a fan but not a huge anime fan.
Wakana: I love anime. I love all the Ghibli films, you know, Miyazaki, Totoro, and all of that.
Hikaru: I am a fan of shoujo manga.
It's my understanding that your group was formed by Kajiura-san, and that she does most of your composing and arranging. Is that correct?
All of the songs are produced and written by Kajiura.
Does she ever perform with you? Several people I talked to last night were kind of surprised that they did not see her with you last night.
The basic concept of Kalafina is that Yuki, Ms. Kajiura-san, does not perform with us. She is like the producer.
Oh, so she's behind the scenes, then?
Yes, behind the scenes. She is a producer, so that is her role, not as a performer. So we do not perform together except on special times, and one of those times was our performance in Anime Boston four years ago.
Ah, okay. Do you contribute much to the arranging and choreographing of the performances? Or do you pretty much just do the performances provided to you?
Obviously at the beginning, when we started, we did not know much about it, so we left it up to the producers, but now this is our fifth anniversary, so we are involved more, from the set list to the stage production and everything, so we three rehearse together and then plan.
Okay. Last question: Have any of you done any solo work? If so, do you find performing individually or as a group to be easier?
None of us have done any solo performances.
Oh, okay, yes, I'm familiar with FictionJunction. And Hikaru was added later on?
Translator: Right, but she is not a FictionJunction member. But she started with Kajiura started producing Kalafina, so. . .
Right, right. And that started with Kara no Kyoukai?
All right. That's all of the questions I had, so thank you very much for your time.
Together: Thank you very much.
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