Interview: Luna Harunaby Rai Kelly,
With her tender yet powerful vocals, Luna Haruna has made a strong impression on the anisong scene, contributing theme songs to hit shows from Sword Art Online to Saekano to this summer's Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs. We had the opportunity to ask this talented singer about her career and future aspirations ahead of this year's Anisong World Matsuri in New York City!
ANN: This isn't the first time you've been to the USA. How was your previous time here, and are you excited about performing in Anisong World Matsuri?
Luna Haruna: The last time I performed a concert in America was in Atlanta about a year ago. Whenever I come to America, I always get stimulated by the city I'm in and the people I meet there. It's been about two years since I performed at Anisong World Matsuri in Los Angeles. I remember vividly how the Microsoft Theater was surrounded by passion and excitement. I'm really excited to be able to perform at Anisong World Matsuri again!
Out of all the places you have performed outside of Japan, which one has been your favorite?
I'm truly grateful that I've been able to perform all over the world. Every place I went, everyone was so welcoming, so it's hard to choose just one favorite. I'm so thankful from the bottom of my heart. Depending on the country, there are different ways that fans enjoy the concerts, and I think that's the most unique thing about performing overseas.
I heard that you've been interested in anime and manga such as Sailor Moon from a young age. What were some of the other series that got you into anime, and do any inspire you now?
The anime that influenced me the most in terms of music was the Gundam Seed series. This series made me believe that I might be able to help someone with singing. I thought, "With music, I might be able to get closer to someone that is hurting." That show made me want to be an anisong singer.
It's been said that you got into gothic Lolita fashion because of anime and manga. What are some of the inspirations for your unique style?
With anime themes, I'm able to sing in a broad range of genres, so I change my costume and the way I sing depending on the music. For my new single “Momoiro Typhoon”, I challenged myself by creating a costume mixing traditional Japanese style with Lolita fashion. With the song, I tried to find a midway point between singing and rapping, kind of singing and talking. I personally have clothes that incorporate Lolita and punk fashion. I really like dressing up in the Harujuku style.
You recently made your debut as a seiyuu in the anime Urahara! Was voice acting different from performing on stage, and do you think you will take more seiyuu roles in the future?
I've always enjoyed anime, so I've often imagined what it would be like to be a voice actor. But becoming a voice actor felt like a faraway dream, so when I was asked, I really panicked, thinking “Do they really want me?” Before I took that first role, I always thought singing and voice acting were quite different. But when I started to prepare, I realized that both express emotions through voice. Because I was able to challenge myself with voice acting, I feel like I expanded my emotions in my singing performances, and I want to continue using the new skills I acquired. I was offered the job for Urahara when I was modeling for a Harajuku style magazine, so I'm not sure if I will get any more offers, but if I do, I would love to try different roles.
You have performed songs for some very popular anime, like Fate/Zero. Do you track the success of the anime your songs are attached to? Does it matter to you?
Usually when I see the show's name or the character's name trending on the internet or news, I'm happy to see that it's popular. Also, when I perform overseas and I see the audience singing along, it makes me realize how popular the song has become.
You have done several collaborations with other Japanese singers, such as Haruka Tomatsu, Sachika Misawa, and Marina Kawano. How was that experience, and are there any other idols/artists you would like to collaborate with?
I have done a lot of collaborations! I've worked with fellow anisong singer KOTOKO and Rika Mayama from the idol group Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku. I've also had the opportunity to do some exclusive collaborations only at live events. Every time I work with another artist, I feel a happy kind of nervousness, and I always learn something. Because I'm a solo artist, this is an opportunity to see how other artists interpret the songs and how they record. I've only worked with female artists, so it would be nice to work with male artists. I would love to hear how my vocals would mix together with a male singer.
Do you have any favorite anime that you would love to perform a song for?
I would love to able to sing for the Gundam series since it has shaped my life, and I'd also like to sing for Inazuma Eleven. It would be a dream come true for me if my song became an irreplaceable part of the show!
As someone who has performed many of the openings/closings for Sword Art Online, what are your personal feelings about the series?
There is the human drama, of course, but I feel like the battle inside the games is something that can actually happen in the near future and that gets me excited. I went to Melbourne in Australia to watch the world premiere of Sword Art Online: Alicization. The animation was beautiful and the characters all have very strong personalities. I'm excited to see how the story unfolds.
Do you have a message for the fans coming to see you in New York City?
I've had the opportunity to perform all over the world, but it's actually my first time performing in New York! I am so excited to be able to share fun times with all the anime fans! I hope to see you all at Anisong World Matsuri in New York City!
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