On the 21st of January 2017, the HGH Hall in Sentul found itself overrun by Love Live! fans. Not for a world domination meeting, sadly, but the real reason might just be better. Finally making her stop in Malaysia, Pile – better known as the voice actress of Maki Nishikino from Love Live! – was here to perform for her first ever Asia tour!
With a name meaning “wrapped with warmth, an artist that will be loved by everyone”, Pile first debuted as a singer in 2007. After landing the life-changing role of Maki in Love Live!, she shot to fame with several tracks hitting the top of the Oricon charts.
That weekend, the MAGIC RAIN team had the opportunity to attend her Meet & Greet session which took place before the concert that night. Starting slightly behind schedule at 2:30PM, the event kicked off with a Q&A session.
Q: Is this your first time in Malaysia? How has your impression been so far?
P: I’ve never come to Malaysia before. Actually, I didn’t think I would have the chance to come here! Yesterday, when I arrived in the evening, I didn’t have the chance to go places, but personally, I thought the town was really colourful.
Q: Since you have so many activities to attend, how do you relieve the stress and body fatigue after that?
P: I think the most enjoyable thing I can do is play with my dog! Recently, I’ve also really enjoyed watching movies, like Star Wars. In fact, when I was on the way home after watching Star Wars, I actually bought some green onions and pretended it was a light saber. (*laughs*) So, that is how I relieve my stress.
Q: Recently, it was your second time being on the Anisama (Animelo Summer Live) stage using your personal name (Hori Eriko). How do you feel about that, and how was it different from the first time?
P: [For the first time], just singing in front of so many people who didn’t know about me made me very nervous. The second time when I appeared, it was less nerve wrecking. I had strong feelings about wanting to do my best and make everyone happy! If other similar opportunities appear in the future, I think it’ll get even more interesting.
Q: What is your favourite song to sing, and why?
P: After all the concerts I’ve performed throughout Asia, I think the song I enjoy performing the most is Angel Song. But when I actually have the chance to sing it, I enjoy singing Next World.
Q: If you had the chance to work with your favourite singer or group, who would you like to work with the most?
P: In the group I used to be paired in, some of them have come out as solo artists as well. When I used to watch their live performances, I remember thinking to myself: “I would never be able to do this!” But now, if I have the opportunity, I would like to take up that challenge.
Q: Since many fans know you through Maki Nishikino of Love Live!, could you share with us why you decided to attend the Love Live! audition in the first place?
P: The reason was very simple. I heard that there was an audition for this kind of work, so I just went ahead and attended the audition – that’s it! This audition in particular was a big turning point for myself. If I didn’t qualify for it, I wouldn’t be here today. (*crowd makes disappointed sound*) Oh, but please don’t get sad, because today I’m still here with all of you!
After that, the event moved onto the Game Corner. Prior to entering the venue, attendees were given a card with an ‘O’ on one side and an ‘X’ on the other. This was used for the three games that were played – Yes Or No, Colour Guess, and Scissors Paper Stone.
Each game ran on an elimination system. Those who got the questions right or won the game could remain standing, and those who didn’t would be eliminated! The last 10 standing had the prize of a chieki session (one-on-one instax photography session) with Pile herself, so the stakes were pretty high.
In the end, 10 winners emerged from the games as well as another 10 lucky draw winners, bringing the total to 20 attendees who had the opportunity to take a photograph with their idol. On top of that, Pile also picked out another 4 lucky attendees to give out 4 t-shirts; 2 signed by her and 2 of her own design.
With that, the Meet & Greet session came to a close. Before leaving the hall, each attendee was gifted a simple New Year’s Greetings postcard from Pile as a final ‘thank you’ for attending.
Despite our initial expectation that it would be a more intimate affair, it didn’t seem to hinder the attendees from having a good time. Besides the initial delay, the rest of the session was also handled very professionally. No doubt it was a memorable day for a lot of Pile fans. We hope she will consider coming back here again in the future!