Promotional photo for Queen Bee that depicts the members of the group dressed in black suits

Interview

Hail to the Queen: Queen Bee at Anime Boston


  • Interview With: Queen Bee
  • Location: Anime Boston 2024
  • Interview Date: 3/29/2024

Anime Herald: What was your experience like last night performing here at Anime Boston?

Avu-chan: (In English) Very very good!

We performed in Seattle last year, but the anime fans here in Boston were very different. It was interesting to see that difference.

The big difference we felt was that in Seattle, the fans were pretty shy initially, while here at Anime Boston, once the audience embraced the moment, the room exploded with energy. It was truly a memorable experience.

Behind the Manga: How has Boston been treating you so far?

Avu-chan: (In English) First time.

One thing that struck us while in Boston is inspiring to see such a variety of people. At the anime convention here, unlike in Japan, where the emphasis is often on replicating characters precisely, there’s a refreshing openness. People here are eager to infuse their own personalities into their portrayals. The distinction between their own identity and that of the anime characters is vivid and celebrated. The extent to which individuals embrace and personalize their fandom, and the overall receptiveness to these unique expressions of anime, is truly impressive.

AHA Connections: How would you describe yourselves and your music?

Avu-chan: Queen Bee is the best real fantasy.

Anime Herald: Where does Queen Bee get its sense of fashion?

Avu-chan: Everything!

(Serious) Japanese fashion sense…In Japan, fashion is closely intertwined with one’s identity and personality. People often choose a specific style to align with. Quite often, you’ll see people size each other a little bit. It will indicate your personality greatly depending on what you’re wearing. We take that into account. Of course, it’s about that first impression. But our overall inspiration comes from our desire to reach people from all different types of backgrounds and places and be something everyone can connect with.

Photograph of Queen Bee performing at Anime Boston 2024. Avu-chan is dressed in a black, blue, and red outfit with sky blue boots, standing straight as they sing. Yashi-chan, meanwhile, plays the bass wearing a black sleeveless shirt

Behind the Manga”: What was your biggest influence for producing music?

Yashi-chan: I take a lot of inspiration from temples and nature… mountains…

Hibari-kun: I get inspiration from playing the guitar and other instruments, reading, watching films, and relaxing.

Avu-chan: Queen Bee is Japanese hip-hop. (sings a hip-hop opening). Queen Bee is real. My mind is very hip-hop. My inspiration is very mysterious and stoic.

Our band draws inspiration from experiences in our lives, including certain traumas and other significant events. The people who have been part of my life, especially my bandmates, are my greatest inspiration for the music I create as part of Queen Bee.

AHA Connections: The band has been together for nearly 15 years. How do you feel your fashion and music has evolved over that time?

Queen Bee: The more we do, the more we get “fresh” and “real.”

Avu-chan: Every time we experienced a significant event, it was crucial for us to be honest with ourselves so we could truly understand and embrace it. By maintaining this honesty, we can continue to build upon what we’ve created and keep moving forward.

Anime Herald: If you play video games, or read manga, or watch anime, what are some of your favorites from growing up or some of your current favorites?

Yashi-chan: Pokémon! Mother 2. I have a lot of merch at home for Mother 2.

Hibari-kun: Dragon Ball. Evangelion. JoJo.

Avu-chan: Devilman Crybaby. Sailor Moon. Yu-Gi-Oh!. My first experience was with Street Fighter. I really like fighting games.

Photograph of Queen Bee performing at Anime Boston 2024. Avu-chan is dressed in a black, blue, and red outfit with sky blue boots, while Yashi-chan plays bass in a black shirt and pants

Anime Herald: What was your Street Fighter II character?

Avu-chan: Cammy. Cammy is very sad. Her story is so sad, yet she’s very powerful.

With the amount of brainpower we’ve invested in Pokémon, we could have probably learned other things, but (In English) “No regrets.”

AHA Connections: Recently your music has been featured in a lot of anime, especially big ones like Oshi no Ko and Chainsaw Man. Do you feel that’s brought in a new audience for you, being in the spotlight of some big anime?

Avu-chan: I reject the premise that there are ‘big’ anime and ‘small’ anime. All anime are valid.

Certainly, those songs and their associated anime have brought us new fans. Being able to attend conventions like this is a result of that exposure.

The most important thing, and if you were at the concert last night, you would have felt this too, is that even if fans initially discover us through anime, they eventually stay for Queen Bee. We believe that is our strength. It’s as if Queen Bee were the coolest anime that never ended, like a Hello Kitty-Pikachu crossover.

Photograph of Queen Bee performing at Anime Boston 2024. Avu-chan is dressed in a black, blue, and red outfit with sky blue boots, as Yashi-chan and Hibari-kun play bass and guitar.

Anime Herald: What is your creative process like when creating music for established works?

Avu-chan: For Oshi no Ko, the writer informed us that the story of Mephisto parallels the plot of the final episode.

(Editor’s note: The one-take version of Mephisto is a must-see).

When I compose songs, whether for myself or for anime titles or films, I do a deep dive and write from a profound place. If it’s for an anime, I consider the intention behind the original work. I feel that I am able to capture its essence because I focus on the writer’s intentions.

Behind the Manga: What was your reaction to discover the growing international audience for your music?

Avu-chan: Big Smile, in English “I’m very happy.”

AHA Connections: Do you feel there’s a big difference between audiences in Japan and audiences abroad?

Avu-chan: Totally different.

Both are really great. While Japan has some diversity, it is largely a homogeneous country. There’s a very clear distinction between insiders and foreigners. We don’t see that distinction as much here. That’s one difference about the Japanese audience. Simply not looking like a traditional Japanese person can lead to being labeled as a foreigner. This contrasts with the diversity observed here.

The fact that we (Queen Bee) emerged from that culture in Japan was somewhat shocking to some people. In Japan, getting people on board with and understanding our approach takes a bit longer. However, here, the audience is immediately receptive. They grasp what we’re trying to do right away. The speed at which people get on board here is noticeably different.

Photograph of Queen Bee performing at Anime Boston 2024. Avu-chan is dressed in a black, blue, and red outfit with sky blue boots, standing straight as they sing.

Anime Herald: You’ve been able to perform in Japan, Seattle, and Boston. Is there any city or venue that is on your dream list that you would like to perform in?

Avu-chan: All of them!

From under the sea to the far reaches of the galaxy. I am so serious. We are so serious. We embody fantasy. Final Fantasy.

Anime Herald: Emerald Weapon. Under the sea.

Avu-chan: Yes. Kingdom Hearts.

AHA Connections: If I could offer a recommendation, Red Rocks in Colorado.

Avu-chan: I appreciate your suggestion, and I’ll consider it, but I don’t enjoy performing outdoors.

For yesterday’s performance, we couldn’t bring the lighting team that usually handles our shows in Japan. Although we pride ourselves on being adaptable and able to perform anywhere, we strive to deliver our best production and put on the best shows possible on a global scale.

Behind the Manga: What would you say the most challenging piece to compose was for you?

Avu-chan: None of them. I’ve never really struggled because what I compose is pure, and my songs are deeply honest.

Anime Herald: Oshi no Ko shines a light on the Japanese entertainment industry. When you were reading it, did anything strike you as genuine, like something you’ve personally experienced?

Avu-chan: First off, yes. A lot. The Japanese entertainment world has a clear distinction between entertainers and musicians.

Of course, there are good people in the entertainment industry. However, many of the contracts can be overbearing. They place a heavy burden on people, often more than they were expecting. All these things can be shocking, whether in Japan or elsewhere. There’s a sense in which people give up on the light and simply accept the darkness. It’s very important that this story was created. I connected with many of the scenes. It’s significant that they were able to produce it.

Photograph of Queen Bee performing at Anime Boston 2024. Avu-chan is dressed in a black, blue, and red outfit with sky blue boots, reaching up as they lean back and belt out a note.

Behind the Manga: What would be your advice for up-and-coming artists who would like to follow in your footsteps?

Avu-chan: First off, we’re young as well. Forever young. Even though we’ve been around, we are young. Having people discover you is, of course, very important, but it’s even more crucial not to rely solely on that. You need to hone and develop your own abilities.

People are always watching. If you’re doing something truly unique or special, in this modern age with the internet, we’ve entered an era where anyone can be discovered no matter what. This also means you’re competing with even more people. We’re not going to tell anyone what to do, but if people see how hard we fight for ourselves and how hard we work and take inspiration from that, it might serve them well.

Anime Herald: That was a very good point you just made. If everyone can have their music listened to, you’re competing with everyone.

Avu-chan: (Nods)

Anime Herald: How do you keep developing to keep ahead of the pack that’s constantly chasing you? How do you keep your music as fresh as you’d like it to be?

Avu-chan: Never let go of loneliness. Many people want to become artists to escape the feeling of being left behind. Creating is not a hobby; it’s serious—so serious. It’s almost like a martial art. It requires extreme dedication and discipline.

If you think that people will eventually understand and connect with that loneliness, don’t try to avoid it. Instead, connect over it. That’s how we keep our music fresh—by fostering understanding through shared feelings of loneliness.

It could even be across the distance between stars. Just knowing that you’re there and seeing each other. One day, the light will arrive. Oshi no Ko. Smiles

Behind the Manga: What’s an anime or game you would recommend everyone watch or play?

Queen Bee: This is a very hard question.

Yashi-chan: The more I think about it, the more examples come to mind.

Avu-chan: For anime, Ghost in the Shell. It’s very romantic. It portrays a future similar to the one we might be heading toward, but it’s more romantic than what we actually expect.

This is a hard question.

Anime Herald: The final boss.

Avu-chan: Hard boss!

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