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V-kei now would be impossible without this person!

Mana-Sama

Mana-Sama's supreme existence rules the V-kei scene. Even though we know Mana-Sama really loves video games, we were able to talk to him about various things!

Guest Talk
I like realistic games

-- It says on Wikipedia for Mana-Sama that your favorite book is the Weekly Famitsu which is quite famous for game lovers, but were you familiar with Game Labo?

No, I didn't know about it (smiles).

-- Is that so……. This time is a V-kei special feature, but first please tell us about video games.

I've liked video games since childhood. Before FC I had a lot of LSI games. Even after that I still loved them.

-- What kind of games do you like specifically?

I like games that have a realistic aim towards them. Things that contain an extreme portrayal of a world view to them. In the PC Engine's "Necromancer" the way the blood splatter was depicted, I thought to myself "This is what I'm looking for!" I have continuously loved the "Akumajo Dracula" (Castlevania) series, in D's dining Table I remember being shocked thinking "This game is like a movie!". I also really like car games.

-- So Realistic car games, like "GT 5" and such now?

hmm, well as you might expect I haven't been playing games much recently (smiles). Since I have to focus intently on games, its good when I feel like I'm going for a drive from start to finish. Recently……I sort of forgot the title, but you get to be this guy who can freely run around Los Angeles. You can walk around on the side walk as a pedestrian even (Editor's Note: We found out afterwards this game is called "Midnight Club Los Angeles")

-- Do you like things such as "Test Drive Unlimited"?

Aah, The game where Hawaii reappears? When I saw news about it in a magazine, I was extremely interested. I have a PS3, but I don't have an Xbox360. When I went abroad, before it went on sale in Japan I bought the PSP version, I really want to play it on a beautiful screen. Since the images presented on the PSP are limited, I didn't end up playing it much after all.

The Best Gaming System is 3DO REAL

-- So you don't have an Xbox360. Even if the game hardware maniac Mana-Sama said that it was famous.

I don't really like the appearance of the Xbox360. I think the first generation Xbox was really good, but doesn't the 360 seem like a PC? Incidentally, until the N64 I would probably buy every gaming system, I wouldn't buy games for the GC, only for the appearance.

-- GC wasn't something you had in mind?

I couldn't really decide (laughs). However, I wondered why…… Around the time of GC, I was interested in comparing machines, I was probably turning more towards music than games.

-- I see. But its cool that you probably bought every gaming system up until the N64.

Every major gaming system, such as the PC Engine's CD-ROM² and DUO, LT, and GT from start to finish. Both the Neopoke and WS Monochrome version and Color versions, Lynx and jaguar in order of foreign gaming systems. Its rare, but I also got the handheld version of Mega Drive's Nomad before it was released in North America.

-- Thats really cool (laughs). Which one is Mana-Sama's most favorite gaming system?

I really like the 3DO REAL gaming system. It had a polished appearance, and at that time the front loading was wonderful. That means I had a lot of games I liked, but maybe something like the PC Engine?

-- Continuing with that, can you tell us what the best game is?

"Crazy Climber" To me unsophisticated Japanese things are very likable.

Mana-Sama's thoughts on V-kei past and present

-- We have run out of talk about games, so now let's move on to the real issue at hand. Should we go with V-kei from the start?

We probably should. Basically the point of music is not the words. However, it something that has been born and grows in the culture of Japanese monologues and has had a very big existence within me.

-- How do you interpret being called V-kei?

I don't think being called V-kei is something thats easy to understand or easy to accept. I especially don't think you can say "This is V-kei" as a whole.

-- Mana-Sama has arrived at a certain style now, where did you gain your experience from?

When I was little I was raised to listen to popular music, but that was at the time of the time of 44MAGNUM. I really didn't think their appearance was human. In my young mind, I thought "They have a cool appearance!" so I also wanted to try to put on make up.

-- Did you feel any reluctance as a boy putting on make up?

When I was a child, I was really good at the arts so since I also grasped make up as "art", I didn't feel any reluctance (smiles).

-- There was a V-kei boom entering in the 90's, and among that MALICE MIZER left a special impression. Why do you think it became a special group?

Before MALICE MIZER I put a band together, and it was pretty ordinary; the band just seemed like any band. So when I came in to the formation of MALICE MIZER I strongly thought "I want to make this group a great piece of art". Even up to now my ambition is to make these kinds of things. So therefore, I added theatrical components to lives, not only playing instruments; I took in various measures.

-- In the media you became part of the "Big V-kei Four"

If you want to talk in relation to MALICE MIZER, there was a V-kei boom regardless, so don't mistake it as there was a "MALICE MIZER boom" at that time. So I think saying, "A V-kei boom came to be and MALICE MIZER was something that was noticed during the V-kei boom" is not "Since MALICE MIZER was noticed there was a V-kei boom". It was something that was raised in the media……so I didn't really think anything about it. It wasn't something that was really on my mind.

-- On one hand, while you were popular you would say "There will be no Visual Kei in the future". It seems you predicted the boom would have an end after a while.

Booms are something that naturally go away. There wasn't an additional meaning to it.

-- For several years now there has been gossip that there will be a "Neo-Visual Kei boom"

Since I have continued to do the same thing, I doubt there will be a Neo Visual Kei boom. If the 90's boom was something spontaneous, then I have the impression now that "someone will rise up". To begin with, at the time of 90's V-kei boom spread to the living room, but I don't think theres such a thing now?

-- I see, surely you could say that. Is there something different between the 90's and now?

When we started band activity we wanted to represent something which resulted in the V-kei style, but now when I see young bands I get the feeling they are doing a band because they want to become V-kei. I think general people and V-kei people are become something different. Now, if I go to places like Shibuya there are many V-kei type people walking around, but previously musicians were the complete heresy, what I'm trying to say is it was something that rivaled ordinary people.

-- In foreign countries isn't it different from what was popular in the 90's and now?

It is. In fact, when I did European lives it was wonderful when people there would say "I liked MALICE MIZER at the time". So although V-kei is not paid attention to now, we seem to be noticed because in foreign countries people say things like "Japan is cool". Since V-kei and anime are close I think there is a wall thats being cleared away.

-- Is there something you feel is different in Japan and foreign countries?

The quality of guests is very different. The sex ratio of lives in foreign countries is roughly half and half. In Japan there is an overwhelmingly large amount of females.

I want men to also come to lives

--What is the sex ratio of lives in Japan?

Its about 80% female. Although I think there are comparatively many males. I want more males to come in Japan, but for some reason there is a fixed idea that "V-kei is for girls". I don't particularly make my music "aimed towards girls" though……. Of course I am enthusiastic that male fans do come to my lives, but I would be happy if it increased.

-- Game Labo magazine has mostly male readers. Please give a message to these readers.

Sure. It seems there are people who think "It is not acceptable for a man to wear make up". Of course that is one way of thinking, and I'm not going to press "Listen to my music because its good!". However, if you get something from reading then, then by all means please try to give my music a listen once.

This was from Mana-Sama

-- Mana-Sama continues to be the V-kei scene top runner, but was there any great influence for the next generation?

Certainly I have heard more or less that MALICE MIZER gave influence. However, I also hear many people say "I long for X" and "I like LUNA SEA", and I'm not really in that vicinity (laughs).

-- Last question. from here what do you think is to come of V-kei?

Its hard to say "how it will become", but it was born and developed in Japan, and V-kei is being spread across the world. Having said that, I will always follow my sense of beauty, and I think of making good music.

-- Thank you very much. We hope you will flourish more and more. By the way, we are going back to the beginning of the talk, but "Test Drive Unlimited 2" plans to be released in March. This time there are certain plans for a PS3 release.

Translations by Sarah @ Mana-Sama.net