Anime Boston 2015: LiSA Press Panel


So during this magical year of ridiculous snowfall and winter blues, international Japanese Pop Diva LiSA graced us lowly denizens of New England with her presence this year at the 2015 Anime Boston. Accompanied by a legit rock band (unlike the 2012 performer Itou Kanako — damn, that was an awkward show), LiSA dominated the stage for nearly two hours making thousands of ecstatic weeaboos gleefully jump for joy and scream at pitches even higher than her own range. It was a fantastic performance, and honestly one of the better concerts (regardless of music genre) that I have attended over the past few years.

Once the dust had settled and the ringing in my ears ceased, I was given one more awesome gift: her exclusive presence at a media panel. Along with three other happy fans interviewers, we gathered for a half-hour Q&A session to learn more about this rock star who created several infamous anime theme songs (e.g. Sword Art Online, Fate/Zero, and Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei), three studio albums, and one fantastically Engrish stage name (LiSA actually stands for “Love is Same All”).

Thankfully, I was allowed to record this wonderful Press Panel. As an added bonus, my podcast co-host Kelloggs transcribed the entire interview and added some color commentary. I did too — but meh. Please enjoy the live recording!


AB: Sorry the audio isn’t great — blame the rep who put my recorder behind a water pitcher.

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AB: So you’ve been making music since your high school band: Chucky. Can you describe your experience going from a small town artist to an international pop star?

K: Oh god I’m hearing LiSA’s answer but it hasn’t been translated yet, did she just say she liked Green Day?

AB: Translator seems to be having trouble with this question. Not a good start already. Nerves?

LiSA: I feel really really happy about that, especially being able to perform in the US because growing up all the artists that I liked were actually all from the US. Green Day was a huge influence on me, so to come here and to be able to perform where they were from makes me really happy.

K: I always feel like the panelist never quite answers the exact question that was asked and I always wonder if it’s a translation issue or they just didn’t want to talk about that like it seems like she latched onto the international part of your question and didn’t really say much about her rise to stardom.

Guy #1: Can you compare the experience of playing to a crowd like this versus one of your usual crowds in Japan?

LiSA: The biggest difference would definitely be for shows in Japan they’re all here to see LiSA [me] they all know LiSA. But when they come to an event like this, they’re all not necessarily fans of me. Everybody loves anime, that’s the common thread, but to connect with them on a deeper level that’s a challenge for me and something I puts a lot of thought into as far as what show to put together.

Guy #2: You have fans everywhere around the world. You’re here at Boston. Mexico next. Do you feel very excited about seeing people who cannot speak Japanese see you sing your Crossing Field song in Japanse? Does it make you feel very excited and overwhelmed?

K: Follow up? And it’s a bad question too. “Do you feel excited?” “No. I hate it. Next question, idiot.”

LiSA: Of course it makes me really happy because they don’t speak Japanese and really make an effort to learn and their love of anime and language, their interest really shows through. It makes me really happy.

Guy #3: This will be a multi-stage question.


Guy #3: From going solo in 2010 to 2012 being your first US appearance to last year being your first Budokan to this year’s your first world tour. I just wanted to get your feelings because those are really big leaps in your career. How does she feel about making such big leaps?

K: Well that was a long-winded way of asking a worse version of your question. She had trouble translating it too. Good job dude.

LiSA: It was really fast, all the different stages of my career. Starting from my first single for Fate/Zero (Oath Sign) and before that was with Angel Beats and they’re all connected to anime titles and because of that it makes me motivated for the next stage of my career to make more great music and to spread it to the entire world.

K: Didn’t really answer the question again, but I blame the asker this time. Here’s an acronym for you: Keep It Simple, Stupid

AB: So you mentioned that you’d like to progress further in your career. Many pop stars such as Mizuki Nana and Sakamoto Maaya have done both singing and voice acting. Have you ever considered going into voice acting?

AB: Oh dear, LiSA’s eyes got shifty when I name dropped. Might have struck a chord with that one.

LiSA: If there’s a chance that would be something I would consider but for now singing is a priority so that’s what she wants to focus on.

Guy #1: So this is a bit of a follow-up to that question.

K: Oh god…

Guy #1: But if the opportunity ever arose for you to get your own anime series or you ever being given the chance to create your own show…


Guy #1: …what would you like it to be about?

LiSA: I had a major concert in Tokyo this past January at Budokan. It was a two day concert and both days she had an intermission movie which was like a little anime that I created. There were two mascots for the concert that were called “Dona” and “Nuts”, if you put them together you get donuts. And the name is a play on words in Japanese because it says “do na temo” which means “whatever happens, today’s another great day” which was the motto of the show. So donuts came from that, it’s a little hard to explain in English but that’s the concept of donuts. So there are two characters “dona” and “nuts” and the animation is based on these two characters. So for example that was something I loved doing because that was a part of the concert and that’s something I’d like to keep doing.

AB: We are not giving this translator a break. I’m assuming 50 puns just got lost in translation.



Guy #2: I see on your Facebook you’re very, very active. Posting videos, eating donuts…

K: I don’t think I can properly convey through text how douchey the way he said “eating donuts” was.

Guy #2: …and acting funny and doing countdowns and really talking to your fans on there and showing your enthusiasm and stuff. And I saw you also had a karaoke contest to have people do covers of your songs…


Guy #2: … A lot of people do it in Japanese but I also see other people do it in English which has gotten very popular over here in America. Is it strange to hear your own song or style in an English tone? Like hearing somebody who speaks English singing Crossing field?

Translator: In Japanese?

Guy #3: No, in English. They hear it and they go: “that’s how it would sound in English”

K: That question was about 3 times as long as it needed to be

LiSA: Of course it makes me happy because seeing people put all that effort into putting the song into their own language. It can sound totally different but it’s not strange or anything to me. It’s more about how they went to all this effort to do it. And it sounds cool.

Guy #2: [some shit nobody cares about regarding a rando fandubber. Booooooooooooooooring]

AB: Honestly, I don’t even have notes for that part of the conversation. I pretty much zoned out at this point

Guy #3: Last year was your first time doing Budokan. If you could elaborate a little more about what was the feeling being on that stage. Like for every artist in Japan the dream is to be on that stage. So like, when you saw the sea of glow sticks go on, etc…

K: Questions like this rarely have good answers

LiSA: It’s like I can’t believe that I’ve progressed to this stage and [laughs]. It’s not that different from when I perform abroad or all my concerts because it’s live, it’s there. Of course the scale is bigger and it’s a special place but you know, nobody ever knows what will happen at a concert and so every one is special to me.

AB: The second season of Nisekoi features your new single: “Rally-go-Round”. Can you tell us what the song is about and what inspired you to make it?

K: I imagine the inspiration involved the people from SHAFT showing up at her apartment with a large check

LiSA: So all my previous anime tie-ins were all sort of a “cool type” of anime. You know they’re all like fighting, they have a lot of fighting. They’re epic stories. This is my first time doing sort of a love story, like a love comedy. So I wanted to focus on that and put my normal, cool sound but put a lot of more pop elements into it to make it fit Nisekoi. So it’s a new challenge for me. It’s a really pop, a fun song that at concerts people can clap and sing along and really enjoy it together.

Guy #1: I know as a musician you like to go through different sorts of musical styles: rock, pop, sometimes really soft music. Is there a type of music style that you would like to tackle for a future album that you’ve never done before?

LiSA: Is there something you want to hear?

Guy #1: I’d like to hear like a very punk album.


AB: Ehhhhhhhhhh. 

Guy #1: Like a female Stance Punks? [explains who they are]

AB: The translator is clearly confused here. Poor translator.

LiSA: Uh huh… Okay… [kind of unsure of herself] The type of music I listen to is really wide ranging. I like a lot of loud music I like punk, but I also want to listen to something musical like “Let It Go.”

AB: Still haven’t seen that movie yet. Am I really missing out?

Guy #2: What was the last music album that you listened to? Either on the plane from Japan or something you listen to when you go to sleep. What’s your current favorite album right now?

LiSA: Fall Out Boy. Do you know? (all in English) 大好き! [singing] ♪Dance Dance♪

K: You know, LiSA listening to Green Day and Fall Out Boy actually makes a lot of sense

Guy #3: What’s the next big thing you’re working on or the next thing you want to do?

LiSA: So of course not only Japan, I want to continue expanding overseas. I’d love to come back to Boston, come back to LA…


LiSA: …go to places that I’ve been before so that it’s not just a one shot. I’d like to grow my fans all over the world as well.


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