June 22, 2008

Thundershot Mk.II pre-order

Since Thundershot Mk.II Momoi version preorders started, I have been looking around the web hoping to find somewhere that shipped overseas. A vendor finally turned up.


They seem to be a small shop (Aoshima Bunka Kyozai) with an online page that only recently started supporting overseas customers. Their english version of the site is shady as hell and the credit card entry page isn't even encrypted but what the heck I took the plunge and ordered with them.

It isn't as cool as the pink chrome one depicted in TAMIYA's youtube video which seems to be something you can only get at events (or not at all?), but this one is cool too with the momoi wing stickers. Actually even just buying the box is worth it since it has such a cute picture of Momoi waving a checkered flag on it.

The car itself is pretty cheap, being only $9 if applying the pre-order discount. Total came out to $29 after including EMS shipping. The product is supposed to be released in early August. Hopefully the site is legit. I'll follow up if I actually get it that month.

Momoi liked toy cars ever since she was a kid. Once in primary school, Momoi thought it would be a great present for a gift exchange at her Christmas party. Unfortunately the other girl who got Momoi's present didn't like it at all and didn't even take it home. When Momoi saw it, she felt very alone when she realized her interests didn't fit in with normal girls.

Now, just by lending her name, she will help sell many of these cars, and maybe with the design more girls will start to like them too.

Update: HLJ is carrying it now!

Double-ordered to be safe. Maybe I will have two cars to race against each other :)

Posted by Paranda at 2:42 AM | Comments (7)

June 16, 2008

Feel so Easy!

A new Momoi single "Feel So Easy!" has been listed on CDJapan
Feel so Easy! / Haruko Momoi

Comes with poster on pre-order. Release date is 8/27/08.

Apparently it is an opening theme to Mission-E which is airing next month, and is a second season to Code-E that came out last year. Both shows have Momoi in them as a secondary character.

I never finished the first season since it was kind of boring and Momoi didn't show up nearly enough. Maybe I should give the series another chance.

Posted by Paranda at 8:41 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2008

Momoi talks about Akihabara stabbing incident

Momoi has published a fairly lengthy entry about her feelings about the tragic Akihabara stabbing incident. As most may know, Momoi, the Queen of Akiharaba, has a very special attachment to the place and has always talked about it fondly, even releasing a memoir about growing up alongside it. The latest crime has affected her very deeply.

I felt her latest entry on the topic was very good piece reflecting her frustration about what has happened, and it seems like something every Momoi fan should read.

The following is an unofficial quick translation. Standard disclaimer about claiming no affiliation with Momoi, no guarantee for accuracy, etc..

Now read on...


To readers of MOMOBURO,

I have many memories of Akihabara's main street. As a middle schooler, I would make friends with the arcade people and have conversations with the customers.

When I found CDs that I was looking for, I would impatiently open it in a nearby cafe to look at the lyrics card. Around the time I was a highschool student, I would ride the train by myself in the mornings to go see idol events. Waiting in front of the shuttered event doors, seeing my likeminded comrades it made me happy.

The promotional video for my debut CD was produced in Akihabara. It was very emotional to see my own songs streaming at Akihabara's storefront. At a modest event hall, seeing everyone singing and jumping to the music and the emotions swelling, at that moment I felt that without a doubt, this was the most fun place in the entire world.

And there were many many more other wonderful memories.

To me, every single leaf of the tree lined streets and the color of the roads evokes pleasant memories. Just from visiting it my heart became a more enjoyable place.

I became an adult, a singer, a seiyuu, and even recently a guest who was invited abroad. In Germany, a male anime fan told me "In my life, just once, I want to visit Akihabara." In Canada, a girl into Lolita fashion said to me, with difficulty in Japanese, and with sparkles in her eyes, "My dream is to go to Akihabara." For me, those words made me so happy, so proud; I said "Yes, let's meet next time in Akihabara!"

In that Akihabara, a great tragedy has happened.

Just like that, in the slightly chaotic shopping center where it should never have happened, it is now something that can never be taken back. The dead can not be returned. The scars of the injured can not be healed. Feelings that had not been felt until now are welling up.

In that place where I have smiled so much, I felt I could not anymore. In that location, that scene, that place which is so important to me, that place where listeners of my radio show surely call the "Holy Land", it is ironic that we are forced to say "give back everyone's yearning and joyful feelings!" Akihabara is a place that is very dear to me. It is a place that has become sad.

Thinking over and over as I trying to find way to reconcile these feelings, I only further realized my own powerlessness. But for people who loved Akihabara, those lives that were stolen away like that, I felt I couldn't just do nothing. So although it may have been a little conspicuous, I put my hands together in that place for those people who died, and I made a wish for their happiness in the next life from the bottom of my heart, and on the morning of the 9th, I made an offering of flowers.

When I arrived at Akihabara station, it looked like the weather was going to be rainy. At the mouth of Electric Town, I saw that many news vans were lined up there. Near the intersection of the incident, the scenery was different from the usual. Near there were many people with one atmosphere: they were wearing arm bands, carrying equipment, reporter types. Among that crowd, I saw that the shopping district had been set up with tents, under which there were flower altars. Upon seeing those, the reality of the situation slowly began to sink in. This place wasn't the usual main street. It had become a crime scene.

I drew closer to the flower altar, saying "excuse me" as I opened up a path. Having done that, one after another, those reporters were calling out to me. "Are you related to the victims, are you an acquaintance of the dead parties?".... Hearing the same thing repeated over and over, it was almost unbearable as I tried to ignore my annoyance at them. But I didn't say anything and I quickly brought my flowers to the altar and unwrapped them. As soon as I had done so, light shined from the immense number of camera flashes.

"Please don't take pictures," I asked, but even as I placed down the flowers to pray, the lights continued.

"Please stop taking pictures" I said, once again. After that, whenever there was a flash I pleaded "please don't take pictures" many times. In the end, I finally said it pretty loudly. I put my entire heart into that plea, but instead people only continued to interrupt with the sound of shutters and the light from flashes. I clasped my hands together and said "please stop" over and over, my tears were flowing out. Then I stopped saying anything.

I thought "for something so sad, can't I at least be allowed to pay my respects? I truly can't do anything. What should I do?" I said a short prayer, and though I wanted to run away, I realized I would regret it. So I turned around once again, and from the bottom of my heart, I was able to put my hands together. In that moment, even though there were flashes from people, I had already accepted it as something that I couldn't change. It was something that cannot be described with words...an extreme sadness that I had never felt until then. Even after that, they followed me, and labeled me as "grieving family" as they called out to me. I responded "No" and walked away. It was a very very unpleasant feeling.

Before the incident happened, when I met newspaper and magazine reporters in this place covering an event, they had been kind, principled, and overall just good people. When I thought my love for Akihabara could be made into a report, and transmitted to readers, and preserved into future generations, my heart would fill with gratitude. I thought about having a photo in the middle of an article, showing how much I love Akihabara with the biggest smile I had ever seen. But today, in the same place, facing those cameras, it was completely different from that time. My memories were steadily being turned upside down. It was very sorrowful.

Once, Akiba's pedestrian shopping district was supposed to be a fun place. There was a girl who came to hear her own songs, from early in the morning, carrying equipment to come sing, dreaming of becoming a singer. There were people performing tricks, and there were dancers too. And there were cosplayers too. But, those kinds of people have also been immediately warned, arrested, or taken in by police.

And yet, here and now, there are these big cameras and microphones preying on the emotionally wounded, and people who are arguing loudly about business on cellphones in a place where others are trying to bring flowers to the dead. And even though they are occupying the middle of the street, and their cars are parked in the middle of the road, not a word is said to them. There are policemen nearby, but none of them were in front of the altars paying any attention to it.

But even before the law, I really wish people would just be more considerate of others. I get a little lost, and just stare mindlessly at the scene. Gradually, the rain began to fall. The roads would be filled with people, there umbrellas colliding. It would be very troublesome. The stores are open, but in this kind of atmosphere nobody goes inside. I cry from the feeling of loneliness. It was the first time I shed tears in Akihabara for a reason other than happiness.

I really yearned for the fun I had in Akihabara with all the fans and their smiling faces. Boys and girls who came to my live, they always had such lovely smiling faces to cheer me up. On many TV programs, Akiba-kei otaku are portrayed as disgusting, and targets to be laughed at. I often receive requests like "I want to see Momoi and her fans appear together on variety programs and participate in stuff like Otagei Taikai," but I reject them. If we did appear on that kind of show, how would it be portrayed as? My fans, though they strike weird poses from time to time, and though they dance in funny ways, they always follow the rules, give and take seats courteously, clean up after any garbage, and are mannered ladies and gentlemen. In front of the media who block the way in front of this altar, which side do you think will be portrayed?

I opened my cellphone under the overhang of the UDX building. I didn't know any others within the same industry who felt the same way about Akihabara. Though I searched for blogs, the searching method was difficult so I didn't find any. I thought about updating my own blog too, but I was in a sloppy mood. At any rate, feeling lonely and wanting to meet someone who could understand, I went into a familiar store. I talked a little with the people in the store, and I did some autographs. There, I added "I love Akihabara" and postscript indicating my gratitude to Akihabara.

After that I went to a radio recording. During the program, I didn't talk about the incident. I felt, "to help those who have been hurt to begin healing, I had to provide an existence of encouragement" so I did a cheerful radio session.

Returning from work, I met with some otaku friends of mine, and we talked about the incident. At that time, my body wasn't feeling very good and though I was withering, I wanted to convey what it felt like to have no place to go, so I talked about it with all my might. My friend, shedding tears, listened to what I had to say. Thereafter, they said "I want you to put this in your blog. There are definitely people who feel the same way as you out there", so it is why I have written this.

Though it was sad, I think I somehow wanted to do it. Though I am far from perfect, I want to be a kind person to others. My words may not be eloquent and may be irritating, but I put in all of my heart to convey my feelings. People who love Akihabara and have been hurt like me, people who yearn for Akihabara, people who feel depressed, please, feel better. Akihabara stores, please, do your best. I will not diminish, and tomorrow, I will do my best in what I want to do.

Those who have injuries, I am praying for your recovery. Families and friends who have been hurt emotionally, I wish for those wounds to mend.

Thank you for reading this to the end,

2008/06/09, Night, Momoi Haruko

Posted by Paranda at 5:13 AM | Comments (5)

« May 2008 | Main | July 2008 »