AX 2019: Interview with Aqours from Love Live! Sunshine!!

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  • At Anime Expo 2019, GamePress had the opportunity to interview members of the Love Live! group Aqours!
  • Anju Inami (voice of Chika Takami), Kanako Takatsuki (voice of Hanamaru Kunikida), and Aina Suzuki (voice of Mari Ohara) answer questions from how their characters inspire them to their experiences in LA!

Making their appearance here are three lovely ladies from Aqours. Would you like to introduce yourselves?

Aina Suzuki: My name is Aina Suzuki, voice of Mari Ohara. Nice to meet you~

Anju Inami: Hello everyone! My name is Anju Inami, the voice of Chika Takami. It's very nice to meet you!

Kanako Takatsuki: My name is Kanako Takatsuki, the voice of Hanamaru Kunikida. It's nice to meet you~

Let's begin with the questions! First, how do you keep your smiles so bright?

Suzuki: I think the secret is to have fun. From like acting or performing on stage. So if I'm having fun, I'm sure the feeling will spread to all of you as well.

As Love Live! Sunshine!! has ended for now, but Aqours are still going strong, I'd like to know how you all evolved, as performers and people since the end of the series.

Takatsuki: It's true that the movie might be done as for now, but the characters always showed us the growth of this group, Aqours, and I hope from now on we would like to be the ones who are leading the group, such as coming overseas, or having a performance all over Japan or overseas countries. We would love to grow even more.

Do you have a favorite memory from working on the movie, or something that made you smile when you worked on the movie?

Suzuki: As for the recording, we had three days in total. The first day was for the first and second years. The third years joined the recording after day 2. Since it takes place in Italy and the first and second years already made this fun atmosphere, the third years could drag them around Italy to make it crazier and even more fun. So yeah, we had lots of fun.

This is for Anju-san. As the leader of Aqours, you have a unique viewpoint compared to the other members. What was the biggest challenge for Aqours and how did you overcome it?

Inami: So the biggest challenge for Aqours would be finding Aqours' original path.  Finding our own path was challenging, as well as finding our own "shine". That was our biggest goal for this group.  Like the movie title, "Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow," at the end I feel like Aqours can hold each others' hands and jump over the rainbow toward a brighter future.

It's so great to see all of you perform again at Anime Expo for a concert. Do you have any memorable experiences from Anime Expo or from Los Angeles that you would like to share with us?

Takatsuki: When I first came to Los Angeles, that's when we premiered, the first episode of the first season. It was actually our first time watching the full episode as well. So it was really fun to watch this episode with everyone's big reactions.

What part of the character you play inspires you the most?

Suzuki: I play the character of Mari, and as you know Mari is very bright, cheerful, energetic. And she's so... Super Shiny! (Laughs) She always gives me energy and power whenever I play her. She also taught me how to be kinder, nicer, to others as well.

Inami: I play Chika, and Chika is always honest, and curious about everything. She knows exactly what she wants. Once she knows what she wants to do she's very determined! I was very inspired by Chika, who is this kind of character, and also the view that you see through her eyes, and also her facial expressions. That's taught me so many important things as well. I'm always inspired by her.

Takatsuki: As for Hanamaru, people started telling me that Hanamaru and I are very look-alike. That we look like we have some things in common. But I think people tell me that because both Hanamaru and I are always kind of one step behind. For everyone I'm observing, and watching them over.

This will be your third year in a row at Anime Expo. As regular travellers to the city of Los Angeles, what are your favorite things about coming to Los Angeles and Anime Expo?

Suzuki: So this is my third year visiting Los Angeles, and thankfully last year we even had a solo concert! My impression of Los Angeles is that people are always so nice, warm, and welcoming. As for last year's concert, as a surprise, when we performed "Yuki wa Doko ni, Kimi no Mune ni" (lit. Where is your courage? In your chest!), they even made a 9-color rainbow, and we were so touched by it. It was a surprise to us - we didn't expect to see that, so it made us even happier to come back to Los Angeles again and see everyone.

What's your favorite song to perform, and why?

Inami: Overall, I love all the songs.  This may not be the best song to perform right now, but my favorite might be "Jingle Bells ga Tomaranai" (lit. Jingle Bells can't be stopped), especially singing and dancing to this song.

Takatsuki: Mine is Aozora Jumping Heart.  With this song, we can hype up the crowds even more.  Since I'm a first year, we always go, "Whoo!" during the song, and the whole audience also goes, "Whoo!", so it's extra fun to hear everyone. 

Suzuki: I think my favorite is Thrilling One-way! It's such an energetic song that we can hype it up with the crowds, like I think it's such an exciting song from the beginning to the end.

What is the most endearing quality of the year you're in?

Suzuki: I'm Mari so I'm a third year, and third year means we're the seniors of the school. I feel like we're in the position of watching over everyone.

Inami: Chika is in the second year, and the second years are kind of the ones who started Aqours. In episode 3 there's a scene where we hold each others' hands, and I think the warmth, the feelings that Aqours always have are especially shown in that episode pretty well. I also think some of the best parts of the second year is the trust and teamwork.

Takatsuki: The first years are all very energetic, like little kids. But, it doesn't mean that we can't read the atmosphere. Every time we have serious scenes, it gets serious, but because of us, the first years can break the ice over the serious relationships/scenes, and I think that's how our roles work the best as the first years.

Recently the Love Live! series celebrated its 9th anniversary. With μ's and Aqours as well as fans' dedication to each group, we are curious to know your opinion on the future and legacy of the Love Live! series.

Inami: Love Live! overall is the story of dreams achieved by everyone together. That's the signature of the series. I feel like we all create and cherish this series together, succeeding μ's, and also the fans. We'd like to keep this tradition, and keep delivering this message to everyone.

When performing overseas, do you get a different impression from the different audiences compared to Japan?

Takatsuki: Everyone's reactions are bigger than the Japanese crowds. I think Japanese people are shy in general, so they generally build up hype gradually towards the end. But when we perform overseas I feel like everyone is 100% energetic from the beginning! I'd like to see different countries more, so I can see different reactions when we perform.


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Represents GamePress at conventions and conducts interviews, typically in cosplay. Fan of Metroidvanias, retro games, and game dev.

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