“BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! Online Cafe” was an online fan meeting event for customers who purchased collaboration menu items from the “BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! Cafe LA 2020”. Anime Trending had the opportunity to attend the event and participate in an interview session with guests Aimi (CV. Kasumi Toyama) and Ayasa Ito (CV. Arisa Ichigaya). The two members of Poppin’Party commented on the online event experience, their favorite desserts, and their global experiences with BanG Dream!
Q: How are you feeling about the event just now, especially as your first online event?
Aimi: It was my first online event, but I had a lot of fun, just like any other talk show that I had done in the past! The fans are always very warm and kind and they have accepted me with open arms. Everyone accepted me, so I felt like it was the same thing as I usually do with these talk shows.
Ayasa: This is also my first time doing an online event, but it was really interesting seeing everybody’s homes! I could see on my screen where they all lived and what their rooms looked like. It was very sweet being able to see everyone holding up their plushies and seeing how they support us. It was a very unique thing about an online event, and I really enjoyed it.
Q: What did you think of the collaboration cafe menu we looked at during the event?
Aimi: It looked very fancy, the designs were very cute and I was able to really enjoy just seeing them. If I had seen them at the store, I would definitely want to buy one for myself! I think donuts are very American.
Ayasa: The donuts looked really colorful. There were colors that we would not expect to see on sweets in Japan, so that was really unique to see. It made me want to see what other kinds of collaboration menus would be possible all over the world.
Q: Your latest album, “Breakthrough!,” just released. What is your favorite song on the album?
Aimi: I like “Mirai Train.” The lyrics were very interesting for me. They really showed Kasumi’s growth as a character, so that was something I really loved to record.
Ayasa: I really enjoyed “Hello! Wink!” That’s one of those songs that would definitely get you energized. A high tension song even at a live event, I really love that. It’s definitely my favorite.
Do you have any special memories from working on the album?
Aimi: This album really describes the evolution of the members, really seeing their growth. Not just in the lyrics and songs themselves, but also the growth in their skills as performers. That’s something I thought was really memorable about this album.
Ayasa: When we recorded the music video for “Breakthrough!,” we had to travel overseas, and that was the first time I traveled during the new year. It was also the first time the five of us traveled as a group to record for a music video.
Q: This is the first “BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! Cafe” event held in the U.S. As BanG Dream! has really risen in popularity across the world, and we’ve even seen collaborations, like the song Baby Shark, come exclusively to the global version of the mobile game. What are your thoughts on the increasingly global nature of the franchise? Are there any new ways you’d like to see BanG Dream! brought overseas?
Aimi: I really love traveling overseas, so I love this feeling of globalization. I’m a very global kind of person myself. I think it’s a great thing that the franchise is becoming globalized. Recently I’ve been able to show up on some music programs, and I think it would be awesome if I could maybe show up on some music programs overseas as well. That would be a really interesting experience.
Ayasa: When I was watching everybody on screen during the event and I saw everybody’s room, all kinds of people from all over were there cheering us on and holding on to their plushies. It really showed how global the franchise is, seeing all of their support. I think in terms of globalization, I really would like to try covers of English pop songs.
Q: At CharaExpo USA 2019, Aimi and Sae Otsuka came up with a fun name for their pair of characters in Poppin’Party. What title would you give yourselves as a duo?
Ayasa: Huh? Aimi and Sae Otsuka, “Sexy Two”?
Aimi: We wanted to change the name we had, “Sexy Two,” to “Kira Kira Hanazono Land”. So that was something we were kind of thinking about, maybe something similar.
Ayasa: Usually we just connect our two names to AimiAyasa-chan, but maybe…
Aimi: “Love Beauty Flower”?
Aimi: What does “Ayasa” mean?
Ayasa: Ayasa can be read as “colorful sand.”
Both: “Colorful Flower”?
Ayasa: We’re thinking about the kanji. My parents said the meaning of my name might be “sand,” but I’m not entirely sure. “Colorful Sand”?
Aimi: What about Kansai-ben? What is “hōgen” in English? “Dialect”? Then “Happy Dialect”. We both speak in Kansai dialect, so, Happy Dialect! “Happy Speak”.
Q: You two have been working together on anime and music projects for a while now. What are some changes and improvements in abilities you’ve noticed in each other over the years?
Aimi: I’ve known Ayasa since she was much younger, and over the years I’ve noticed that from experiencing many things in life, she’s been able to notice a lot more and become more sensitive to people’s needs around her.
Ayasa: I’ve noticed over the years that Aimi’s expression of her emotions have become much more clear. She’s very good at making subtle things clear during her performances.
Aimi: I really think “Tokimeki Experience” fits Ayasa. She’s been able to notice more with emotional experiences.
Q: Aside from the instruments you play in Poppin’Party, are there any other instruments you’re interested in playing, or learning to play?
Aimi: Drums! I think my personality would go really well with this persona of supporting members from the back. Right now, I do the opposite as a guitarist/vocalist at the forefront, drummers can support everybody from behind.
Ayasa: I’d have to say drums as well. Currently I play the keyboard, and the actual real-estate of each key is small, so the movements I have over the keys are not as large as they would be with drums. If I was playing the drums I’d be able to make large movements with my body, which would be very freeing as a performer.
Q: Are there any projects you’re working on or have coming up that you can tell us about that you’re looking forward to?
Aimi: We are currently rehearsing and practicing towards a live performance, so I really hope we’ll be able to go through with that event.
Ayasa: I’m really looking forward to which next original song by Poppin’Party will be included in the BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! mobile game.
Q: You previously have been guests at Bushiroad’s Grand Festival and CharaExpo events here in the US. What was the experience like being able to meet the fans here in the US?
Aimi: They’re very kind! I like to joke around in English, and every time I do, the fans react very well to it, which I think is very kind of them.
Ayasa: I’ve noticed that American fans are extremely passionate, and I could feel the heat at these performances. They sing with us all throughout the performances, and it’s incredible to hear them singing almost as loud as Aimi is. That makes us very happy.
Q: If you were to be invited to another convention or Bushiroad event in the US in the future, what city have you been interested in visiting?
Aimi: I really want to go to New York. I’m a big fan of American comics, and I have this image that my favorite hero is in New York. I definitely want to visit these landmarks that I see in movies.
Ayasa: I want to go to Broadway! I love musicals, so I want to go to a live Broadway performance.
Q: Aimi has been to the US multiple times so far. Ayasa, did you receive any gifts from her? If so, what was it?
Ayasa: Every time she goes to the US, I get something from her. The last time, I got socks?
Aimi: Yes, socks.
Ayasa: She actually bought socks from the US as a souvenir for all 5 of us in Poppin’Party, but it turns out they were actually men’s sizes. They were very colorful and decorated, but they were men’s socks. (laughs) I also remember when you got us some perfume in the US.
Aimi: I got the socks from a large mall in Hollywood, and I bought the perfume from a store in that same mall.
Q: Aimi, we last saw you in America at December’s Chara Expo event (2019). You, along with the rest of PoPiPa, were also present at the 2018 event. What have you noticed in terms of the evolution of American fans?
Aimi: I think a lot more fans were there in 2019. There were more people at the performance, and also more people in cosplay. I noticed they had more merch and goods on them, too.
Q: The BanG Dream! event focuses heavily around desserts and sweets. Do you two have any favorite desserts or sweets?
Aimi: Aaaaah, Ayasa you go first.
Ayasa: I really enjoy sweets and desserts, so it’s really hard for me to choose one, but if I had to I would choose pancakes. Even when we went to overseas to record the music video for “Breakthrough!,” I had pancakes for breakfast.
Aimi: I remember now that you mentioned pancakes, my favorite is definitely french toast. You can actually make it yourself easily, and that makes it my favorite. I like it so much, sometimes I just make French toast out of three pieces of bread and eat it all myself.
Special thanks to Bushiroad and Tasty Design Studio for the interview opportunity.
Poppin’Party’s newest album, “Breakthrough!,” is available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! recently celebrated its second anniversary, and is free to download on the App Store and Google Play.
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