by Mario Bueno, Translated by Evan Miller,

T.M.Revolution scarcely needs an introduction; international pop star and actor, he debuted in Japan with his first single,"Dokusai -monopolize-" in 1996. Since then he's had an avalanche of hit albums and has become tremendously popular among North American anime fans. We caught up with the man himself in New York earlier this year.

ANN: You're going to be performing at New York Comic Con this weekend, and this is the first concert you've done in the United States since Pacific Media Expo in 2004. Has your view of American audiences changed at all since then?

TMR: Before doing PMX in 2004, the first show I did in the US was Otakon in 2003. To have my third concert in the US be in New York is really incredible - I never imagined that I would have the chance to perform in New York! As far as the differences go... well, until recently, Japanese music was in the position of "receiving" music from overseas. As an artist presenting "Japanese music" outside of Japan, I was pretty nervous when I first played for an American audience. But when I saw the people in the audience out there enjoying themselves, I realized just how universal the appeal of music can be.

Do you do anything different to prepare for a concert in the US as opposed to Japan?

My feelings towards playing live are the same no matter where I do a show, but I always work with different people and staff. So the way I approach the relationship I have with the staff in each place always differs.

You mentioned that you are very excited to play in New York. Are there any other venues or cities you would like to perform at in the future?

Lately, there have been lots of offers - particularly from Europe. I'd love to play there - perhaps France or Germany.

I know that they have Japan Expo in France - I'm sure they would be thrilled to have you. In additon to contributing songs to anime, you've also contributed voices as well - most notably for Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny. What do you find most different with voice acting compared to being on stage or on screen?

In singing and performing, I get to present my own personality. In voice acting, the task is to present those aspects of the character. To become that character and present that character's feelings and personality to the viewer can be tricky. However, both singing and acting involve a similar element of performance and conveying feelings.

So would you say that voice acting isn't difficult because of that same element of performance?

For me, when working on Seed and Destiny, I was part of the project on the request of the staff and the character's image and personality was tailored to mine a bit. Considering that, the image involved with being a singer came naturally. So from that perspective, it wasn't that difficult.

Since we're on the subject of the performing, I heard you were in the stage musical "How to Succeed" last year. What was that experience like?

Actually, about 9 years ago, I was in a production of "Little Shop of Horrors." I really love watching live theatrical productions, and I had many offers for roles, but considering how much work goes into a musical - song writing, touring and so forth - I didn't have the time to do it. For "How to Succeed," the preperations began two years before the show.

Are there any other shows or productions that you would like to do in the future?

There are many shows I'm interested in... perhaps "Spring Awakening," which won many Tony Awards last year. The story for the show was good of course, but the score for the show was incredible. I kept thinking, "I'd like to perform a number like that." I even had the chance to meet and interview Duncan Sheik last year!

That's awesome. So while we are on the subject of acting, do you see yourself doing more acting in the future?

I'm a singer first and foremostly. There are many things that I would love to try out, from acting to production. As long as my schedule allows for it, if there is a part or role that is geared towards my personality, or a production that fits me particularly well, I'd love to be a part of that. Are there any you would recommend?

Well, Gundam 00 is going into its second season, so maybe...

Yeah! [laughs]

So let's move away from your professional life a little bit. I'd like to ask about the Takanori Nishikawa that likes to, say, sit at home, read manga and play RPGs. First off, what are some of the manga that you enjoy reading?

TMR: That's a tough one.. I don't have a lot of free time! I get manga as presents from fans sometimes. When I did the theme song for Soul Eater, I read all the volumes of that series that had been released and created a song with the anime adaptation in mind. In turn I became a fan of the series as well. I wrote the songs for D-Gray Man and Rurouni Kenshin in the same way - if it's a project that I'm involved with, I want to know the material.

Let's return to Mobile Suit Gundam for a moment. This next question may be a very difficult one; it may be one that could potentially break the universe, but it must be asked: Amuro or Char?

Char, I guess! [laughs] It is a complex question indeed. Who do you like?

Char. This next question may be a bit easier; I understand you are a fan of the Final Fantasy series. Which game is your favorite, and who is your favorite character?

Hmm... it's one of the titles that came before Final Fantasy was a worldwide phenomenon. The one with Cloud - the efforts of the creators really shined in the way the story was presented. The gameplay itself was very well done too. You can tell that they really pushed the limits of the hardware when making it. These days doing 3D character animations and such is easier, but back then it was revolutionary. I've also recently played Final Fantasy IV on the DS.

Now that the internet knows about this, are you worried about receiving buster swords as gifts?

 [laughs] Well, I don't actually have much time to play games, so it's not a big deal! Actually, the kinds of titles that are popular differ between the US and Japan, so I'd like it if someone could recommend a few titles.

Well, I'd recommend Halo...

Now that you mention it, I did record one song for the video game FolksSoul (Folklore) last year with Abingdon Boys School. It was actually a bigger hit here than it was in Japan, or so I heard.

Images © Epic Records Japan Inc.

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