With Cosplay Mania 2015 rapidly approaching and the JAM Concert being a huge part of it, there seems to be a dearth of information regarding one of its musical guests. Pile (pronounced like pile of clothes. She named herself after the textile used to make towels.), aka Eriko Hori has seen a meteoric rise in success after being the singing and speaking voice of Maki Nishikino from LoveLive! School Idol Project.
However, being the voice of an idol in a highly successful franchise has its own problems – namely people will be expecting Maki rather than Pile. Which is not unreasonable, but at the same time she’s undoubtedly here to promote her own solo work. This is a quick guide to Pile and for the most part will focus on her work outside of LoveLive.
Pile debuted in 2007 with the song “Your Is All…“. Needless to say, she didn’t see much success with the song despite being used as the theme song for an anime named Ikari Oyaji Ai no Sekki Youtaikyoku. The song itself is fairly innocuous pop with tinges of dance in it. Her dance inclinations would continue, releasing digital only songs that would feature on Dancemania’s acclaimed Hime Trance series like Flower and Eternal so along my way. The chances of you hearing these songs are really really low, but it’s here just to tell you exactly where Pile’s solo career comes from. (Flower, remains my favourite Pile song as I am an eternal fan of the Hime Trance series.)
It would be seven years until she would release another solo work, this time flush with the success LoveLive brought her.
Densetsu no FLARE is the theme song for the anime Tenkai Knights, and features a pop rock flair which has earned her comparisons to Nana Mizuki and Megumi Hayashibara.
Her second single, Kimi ga Kureta KISEKI would follow and largely features the same stylings and continuing the trend of featuring Pile’s strong vocals.
Pile would release her debut album Jewel Vox on March 4 2015, reaching the top 20 on the Oricon Charts. And true to the name of the album, Pile’s voice is on show here. Most of the songs you’ll be hearing will be from this album.
Unfortunately, not much of this album is available on Youtube save for the short version of Black Butterfly and the above singles. (Which interestingly enough, harkens back to her Dancemania days as it is a cover of the song AGEHA, one of the signature songs of the Hime Trance series). However if you search the internet long enough, I’m sure you’ll be able to find this album somewhere. Just don’t forget to buy loads of Pile merch at Cosmania in return, okay?)
I’d just like to take this moment to acknowledge that Pile may perform some of her LoveLive songs in addition to her solo work – namely Bokura wa Ima no Naka de, Snow halation, Daring!! and Aishiteru Banzai! These songs are largely fan favourites, plus Daring and Aishiteru Banzai are known as Maki’s signature songs in the series.
Zeroblade, translator and veteran of going to J-artist lives has compiled a guide of calls for the songs Pile’s likely going to be singing at Cosmania – including some of her LoveLive staples. You might be looking at this and thinking, what on earth do all of these things mean? Why am I memorising a bunch of random Japanese to yell out and a guide to waving glowsticks? Will my enjoyment of Pile be marred if I don’t know these? Will Pile think I’m an ungrateful fan if I don’t join in?
The calls and the synchronised waving are part and parcel of Japanese otaku culture, known as Wotagei. They are ways of fans showing their appreciation to the artist in question and often play a large part of artist-fan interaction during the live itself. While the practise, like parts of otaku culture, often gets some flak and scrutiny depending on who you ask, I find that the dedication that these fans have to work out where the best place to respond is a testament to how much they love a certain artist.
Because it’s a live in a foreign country, there’s no expectations of knowing any of the wotagei calls or moves, or even the right colour of glowsticks. Often Japanese artists are chuffed that anyone overseas knows their work and the opportunity to perform in a new country is often good enough in itself, but they are often impressed if people actually know the standard calls and chants.
While I won’t be at the event myself, I shall be stalking people who are over on Twitter. Please show your appreciation to the artists by clapping, cheering and generally enjoying yourself. Like with any concert, what’s important here is to have a good time but be considerate to others at the same time. ☆ﾐ(o*･ω･)ﾉ