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Anime Key Player Interview #9
Mr. Takashi Sonoda, General Producer of ANIMAX MUSIX, Manager of Animax Broadcast Japan Part.3


[On ANIMAX MUSIX and overseas]

There is always a big turnout at ANIMAX MUSIX. And I think it also attracts a lot of people overseas. Do you see a lot of overseas customers at events every year?

- To be honest, I can’t really tell how many visitors come from abroad. But I see programs with overseas audiences being interviewed, so there does seem to be a lot. I feel like there are many people from North America and Europe. So yes, I have that impression. I also feel that fans share the same experience since they can all sing along in real time.

ANIMAX MUSIX was held in Taiwan and Guangzhou, China. Please tell us about the overseas events so far.

- There were many different artists who are already visiting Taiwan for similar events on a regular basis and we have to see how far we can expand our events in mainland China. These are some of the challenges we are facing. We had two events in Taiwan, one in 2012 and another in 2014 as well as one event in China last year in 2018. So we had 3 in total.

Please tell us if there were any hardships overseas, and what left a lasting impression on you.

- I don’t think there were any in Taiwan. Although in China, many things are different from Japan so that was hard. We had some difficulties in deciding who would perform and so on. Basically, we didn’t know if the event would even happen until the very end. The strangest thing was that even though 5000 people were supposed to fit into the venue we were not allowed to have any visitors stay around the center stage. The regulations in China definitely caused a lot of hardship for us.

Do you plan on expanding ANIMAX MUSIX overseas?

- Yes, I do want to, but it’s hard as there are a lot of things that need to be worked on. There are big hurdles we need to overcome such as making our events more profitable and scheduling appearances of Japanese voice actors who do not have schedules that are open for more than 3 days.

What do you think are the differences between the events overseas and events in Japan?

- In my opinion, I feel like there aren't as many differences when the event starts. In Japan, they might have seen the artists before, and you can see that the audience feels a strong connection to them. Overseas audiences have only seen the artists on videos, so they get really excited about the fact that their favorite artists actually exist.

[On the future of ANIMAX MUSIX]

This year too there will be a series of ANIMAX MUSIX events. Please tell us as much as you can about this year’s concept and goals.

- The events in Yokohama and Osaka will happen as usual. We usually do the same thing every year. Besides those events, we would like to do other things as well which have yet to be decided.

Is there something that you, Mr. Sonoda, are personally looking forward to?

- Nothing in particular. Maybe the last session in Yokohama and Osaka, after all the performances come to an end. I am very curious what this year's “last session” is going to be. It’s usually a song that represents the whole year. A song everybody knows. Last year it was the special song for Cardcaptor Sakura's 20th anniversary.

What kind of an event would you like to make for ANIMAX MUSIX in the future?

- We also have an omnibus event, and I want to make entertainment on many levels. I want to do many interesting things and work with different genres so that people can have more fun. If possible, I want to bring the event to the States and Europe in the future once we clear all the hurdles.

What does “Anime Music” mean to you?

- What a question! (laughs) It’s not a genre, each song contains different feelings of different people, so I think it’s exciting music. Music that connects the feelings of many people. Well…that’s actually a hard question (laughs).

Yes, that’s right. Thank you very much for the interview!

©ANIMAX MUSIX 2018-2019

Written by Tristan Junker

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