The event "'ONE PIECE' Anime Fifteenth Anniversary x Movie 'ONE PIECE FILM Z' Broadcast Commemoration Special Announcement Talk Event" was broadcast on Fuji TV on January 14. AAA was inaugurated as the PR ambassador for the fifteenth anniversary of the anime. PR ambassadors are often used for things like movies, but this is the first time for there to be a yearly ambassador for a regularly airing anime.
The event featured Mayumi Tanaka, who plays Monkey D. Luffy, Kazuki Yao, who plays Franky, and the PR ambassadors AAA. AAA performed the new theme song "Wake up!" for the first time.
Tanaka and Yao spoke about their memories looking back at the past fifteen years. Tanaka also told an anecdote about when her son (currently 27 years old) asked "ONE PIECE" creator Eiichiro Oda a question. At the time, her son was in his first year of middle school, asked, "How far can Luffy's arms stretch?" Oda answered, "Hmm, I wonder. They can stretch a lot. Thirty-eight gomu gomu." Even though she didn't know what a "gomu gomu" equaled in meters, Tanaka thought it was admirable the way that Oda answered in such a way as to not shatter her child's dreams or his belief in the story.
Yao then commented that it was shocking that all the members of the Straw Hat Pirates had reached their forties or older. "(Fifteen years ago), Kazuya Nakai, who plays Roronoa Zoro, was a newcomer. Now he's a key figure. Back then, he was refreshing," he said, making the press corps laugh wryly. Looking back on the past fifteen years, Yao commented, "I've had the chance to take part in many other projects, but no one wanted to get together in their private time with the creator." Then he revealed that everyone from "ONE PIECE" had takoyaki parties. Apparently, "ONE PIECE" creator Oda likes takoyaki so much that he has a professional-grade takoyaki maker in his home. When everyone got together at Tanaka's house, she didn't have a takoyaki maker, so Oda gave one to everyone as a present, saying, "This is so I can eat takoyaki no matter whose house I go to."
Tanaka and Yao never ran out of things to say, talking like a husband and wife comedy act, before AAA appeared on screen. They performed a cover of "We Are!" the theme song to the special "Episode of Nami: Tears of a Navigator and the Bonds of Friends." AAA member Takahiro Nishijima also took part in the aforementioned special as a voice actor.
The members of AAA all appeared on screen in matching "ONE PIECE" shirts. "We feel as though we've become members of the Straw Hat Pirates," said Uno-chan, and Luffy's voice actress Mayumi Tanaka replied with, "You are members, aren't you?" The members of AAA, who are also fans of "ONE PIECE," must have experienced a feeling of satisfaction at hearing those words. Member Mitsuhiro Hidaka could not hide his enthusiasm, saying, "I'm so excited I don't know what to do."
Nishijima explained that as PR ambassadors, AAA would appear at various "ONE PIECE" events throughout the year. Additionally, Nishijima will be writing a column on the official "ONE PIECE" website, OnePiece.com, entitled "Nishijima Takahiro no Massugu."
Then member Naoya Uruata explained that their song "Wake up!" would begin airing as the theme song for "ONE PIECE" beginning on January 19. "Wake up!" is an up-tempo song that will increase people's excitement about the storyline. The song was created through various meetings with the anime production staff, making it truly a song created just for "ONE PIECE." When it is aired as the anime opening theme, lines by Luffy and Kurohige will be included. "Wake Up!" became available for download as a ringtone and a full song starting on January 19. The CD release is as of yet undecided, but it is expected to come this spring or summer.
Asked by the press corps what he wanted to do as the PR ambassador, Nishijima responded that he wants to appear as a voice actor again, like he did in ""Episode of Nami: Tears of a Navigator and the Bonds of Friends," if they release another special. Voice actors Tanaka and Yao gave Nishijima their stamp of approval, saying, "Nishijima's vocalizations are good," and "He was able to speak his lines in one take."
Hidaka said absurdly, "As the fifteenth anniversary ambassador, I'm going to do PR as a rap." He created and performed a freestyle rap with words he received from Tanaka and Yao, which were "Eiichiro Oda," "Underwear," and "Fifteenth Anniversary." Hidaka will be releasing his first album as SKY-HI, entitled "TRICKSTER," in March
"You guys become the publicity kings! I'll become a pirate!"--Mayumi Tanaka to the press corps
"AAA's opening theme is great. I think it really fits with 'ONE PIECE.' I think it will make all of us want to sing. Soon, let's do a collaboration between the Straw Hat Pirates and AAA. When that happens, please come cover it."--Kazuki Yao
"We [AAA] want to do our best to support the story of 'ONE PIECE' and celebrate the fifteenth anniversary with 'Wake up!'"
On January 18, the day prior to the start of "ONE PIECE" being aired with AAA's new theme song, the 2012 movie "ONE PIECE FILM Z" was aired on television for the first time.
text and photo by ytsuji a.k.a. editorial department (Tsu)