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Mari Ijima and Macross...


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From Mari Ijima's Facebook account:

"Every time I speak my mind about Macross or Minmay, people take it negatively. Like I don't like it / like her or I haven't accepted it as a part of my life. Maybe you guys have NEVER been typecast as one thing for years and years in life?

We all need to move on in life. I do daily. More than anyone! But at the same time, my life is like the film The Groundhog's Day for the last 30 years. I move...d to the States I thought it would ease my frustration but guess what, it didn't. Surprise, surprise. lol If you hear the same thing again and again, over and over for 30 years every day, even YOU can get tired of it.

Is there anyone who is willing to put yourself into my shoes? I guess not . . . instead, people just start criticizing me like I'm bad mouthing your favorite anime. I simply get tired of hearing about it from time to time. I can hold for a while. But today . . . after I talked about how inspired I am musically and shared my insight with you, I couldn't bare hearing about it again. Even if I was talking about let's say . . . my poop or boobs, you guys start talking about Macross right away. How crazy is that. I'm completely being honest here.

I didn't build my career based on Macross. I'm ALL ABOUT MUSIC. Take it or leave it. If you hate me because of my honesty, what can I say. I guess we are not on the same wave length.

I gotta get back to my life. My sons are graduating from college tomorrow. I'm a mom also. I raised them as a divorced single mother since 1996 and I'm darn proud of it. And!!! I'm in the middle of making my 22nd original full album. Thanks guys...".

Is funny, you know? I always thought she felt that way about being typecast... is not a nice thing to have people believe you are somebody totally different from your true self. She is NOT Minmay!!!

I wonder if Kawamori feels the same sometimes?

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I wonder if Kawamori feels the same sometimes?

I don't think he does. First off, he's diversified - he gets harangued by otaku with a bunch of comments and questions about a variety of different anime.

2nd (and probably more important), he's still getting large royalty payments.

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Only since she made that public I'll vote my opinion on Mari & the Minmay typecast.

Yes it does suck to get typecast. Their are also a ton of people who been typecast or only remembered for one part and are perfectly okay with it. Some are able to see the positive of it. Those are the ones who are okay it. Mari wanted to be musician starting out. Her big break was Minmay and it is haunting her the whole time. I think it is only a problem because she lets it. Without Macross she may have never gotten notice at all. If it wasn't Macross would have been something else. Her first big break could have easily been a pop album that had little to do with her actually music preferences and she could have been typecasted by that. There's a ton of one hit wonders in the world. A ton of people have been typecasted. How is she different? Sure it sucks but plenty out there have accepted it.

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I'm of two minds when I see people - famous or forgettable - frustrated like this.

On the one hand, I do understand Mari's frustrations and can sympathize. It's an imperfect and VERY inefficient world we have created. A lot of talent is never realized, some never reaches full potential and even more is outright squandered. We see it every day and even as consumers, we participate in the horrible perpetuation of that tragedy. How much talent have we killed by paying money for mediocrity? Every time Michael Bay makes a movie, entire countries of real talent go forever unfinanced, LOL. But seriously, maybe Mari is a victim of our imperfect system. Perhaps she could have been more than the shadow of Minmay and Macross. If opportunity had been fostered and circumstances more favourable, maybe Mari could have opened our minds and hearts with much music we have not heard otherwise (some might argue she has). Wouldn't be the first time there were potential works of art we simply failed to imagine.

On the other hand, it makes me wonder if these famous folks like Mari are ever thankful at all that they had even some small impact on human culture. The vast majority of us will never have that honor. Even so, have folks like Mari ever considered the fact that their talents might not go beyond what they are known for? I mean let's be honest, what was Mari expecting to achieve with her music? High art? Social change? To paraphrase one of my favorite films; "If Mari was the inventor of a new genre, she'd have invented a new genre". Mari is not The Beatles...she's not The Clash...in the annals of music history, she might not even be Diana Ross. Maybe she could have been more...but isn't it just as possible Mari never was more than what she has been? I don't have an answer for certain but it comes across to me as rather arrogant of her to simply take that for granted.

I will say that in spite of her frustrations I wish her the best and hope she does reconcile her path in life. Some of her music reached me and I'm grateful for that. I hope she can be too.

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I replied to her post on her FB. Yeah at first when I saw her perform a few years ago at Genghis I was like: "Sweet" and somewhat became a Macross Fanboy but after that first time I started listening to more of her post Macross works and I didn't realize how much I was missing. It does suck that she is always bombarded with Macross stuff even when she is feeling good about what she is doing now. As much as I love hearing Lynn Minmay whenever I watch Macross or DYRL, I am more thrilled by hearing Mari Iijima sing her other songs more than anything else because she is the person not the other way around.

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Finally, a thread about her pulling off a "Get a Life". I got my arse kicked twice just because of admiring, and this might as well be the best place to get this issue off my chest.

I hear that someone listened to her songs on live at an anime expo, and according to him, most of them were all about unrequited love.

It makes for startling contrast that while May'n and Nakajima were able to go a step beyond Frontier in terms of achievement as singers, Mari's pretty much stuck up, never got to progress or diversify or evolve beyond that single pinnacle of success in 1982. I mean, she's that big "could-have, would-have, should-have" who's also saddled with personal issues.

If she were to debut right now as a singer, Mari would've have a lot more options to choose from to bring out her music to the world. Yet in 1982 everything depended on her agency, who did the talking, the deals, and determined how much she's getting. And then I'm sure even at that time there's hundreds of other small-league idols doing the same thing, going from discovery to short-lived fame to disposal, never lasting a year. Had it not for her being asked by BIg West to do Minmay on the strength of her songs, she would've been an obscure housewife writing songs on the side and singing them in an out-of-the-way cabaret.

She could've used her fame as a springboard to better and bigger things. But she didn't, because she imposed the limits on herself... and damn, Pink Lady and Seiko Matsuda had it much better.

Edited by soul.assassin
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The problem with Mari is that she essentially "ran away." Funny that Minmay still doesn't get the primary "Mnmay message." Regardless of whatever management assuredly wanted to control what she did, and regardless of the fanbase who just wants to hear the same thing over & over again, Mari has yet to take the reigns and say "listen to my song." She's just kinda hung back and hoped that people would listen.

Chances are if she'd hung out in the anime industry for a while longer, sang some other peoples songs for a while longer, and played "the game" a bit more, she'd have been able to get her self financially into a place where she could make more rules. As it stands she does have much to be proud of, and what she keeps forgetting is that even though she's pretty much known for "one thing," in its circle it's a pretty big freakin' thing.

Guess what I'm really saying is that while I completely sympathize with her, I also think she's being a bit moody, lettin' out the rage a bit at the wrong crowd. Someone mentioned Shatner, and that's an interesting comparison. He had his rage at the fanbase, he got to have his character killed off, and then what does the guy do? He complains that he didn't get to take part in the new franchise. Nimoy on the other hand kept his big trap shut, and is enjoying a bit more of the notoriety.

I'm still not clear on just what Mari wants here. Did she want more diverse acting roles? Because I'm sure at soem point, definately by the mid 90's/early 2000's she could have gotten them. Did she want an idol music career? It seems to me that that's actually "not" what she wanted, and why she walked away. Did she simply want the accolades for her solo work? Because the U.S. just really wasn't the right move to achieve that. Hell our music industry is equally as narrow & controlled as the idol system she walked away from. When you add in the "we only like what's familiar aspect," then there's really little chance that she'd break through with her heavy accent.

Someone also mentioned May'n, and so far it seems to me that she's much better at playing "the game" to remain relevant. She's changed her target musical style, she's picked up a variety of post Macross singing job's, and she's taking her opportunity's to slip in her own music into her industry releases. We've yet to see where that will go for her, but as of now, she's remaining relevant.

I just hope Mari eventually understands that a lot of people not being able to seperate her from MInmay isn't because they only like a character. It's because they love the parts of Mari that brought that character to life.

It could also be that Kawamori understands her feelings all too well. Perhaps the true reason why he's kept Minmay at a distance in the franchise is because Mari isn't ready to bring her back yet. (get ready for fan interpreted parallels). The Megaroad leaving for parts unknown could be relative to Mari leaving for the U.S. The tale end of the TV series actually is pretty telling of any idol being ground up in the industry going through the motions. And perhaps Mari did say she wanted to leave to go sing her own songs.

Edited by Keith
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I think you all folks are forgetting a very important fact, which Mari herself posted... She's been typecasted for 30 years now. 30 years!!! Now, that's a looot of time. I actually understand her frustrattion with some diehard fans who still keep asking her anything Macross. Btw... May'n and Nakajima haven't been nearly as famous in Japan as Ijima did back in 1982, so that's why they haven't got the same problem...

Edited by Kronnang Dunn
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Btw... May'n and Nakajima haven't been nearly as famous in Japan as Ijima did back in 1982,

How did you come to that conclusion?

The world has changed a lot and perceptions of fame might not even be comparable any more.

Anyway, Mari from the first album was trying to promote herself as a singer-songwriter -- all of her non-Macross songs were written by herself. She was frustrated that it didn't pan out as she wished. It is true, she was on music shows with Kuroyanagi Tetsuko and people like that, but at the end of the day, I think she was probably too ahead of her time. Female songwriters like Angela Aki and Yui are popular these days, but idol culture ruled back in the early 80s (and it's come right back around today, thanks to the fragmentation of musical tastes in society), and I think she got trapped in the middle of it, and although she had full control over her music for the most part, she was without full control over her marketed image.

She believed singer-songwriters do not get that treatment in the US, and so she left to pursue the dream, only to be faced with more challenges, like cultural ones.

I think the entire "mainstream" (if there is such a thing any more... which I doubt) music industry in Japan is not conducive to creativity at all, and has not been for over three decades... However, if you make the right connections, it is segmented enough that a particular band or musician can now find his/her audience using a variety of tools and networks, both online and off-. I think that is something Mari did not have the fortune of being able to take advantage of back in the day.

Edited by Renato
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One last thing, I think Keith is on the right track in terms of the idea that May'n and Megumi are "playing the game" and Mari outright refused. There is a bit of that happening. But I'm absolutely certain she would have been completely unhappy doing that.

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> had his rage at the fanbase, he got to have his character killed off, and then what does the guy do?

Yup, he NEVER should have killed off the priceline negotiator...

Has for Mari, wasn't she the first (or darn near one of the first?) of the REALLY REALLY big anime VA/singers? She was young and probably took the job just to get some money and a little exposure. What she ended up with was the role that overshadowed anything else she would ever do. And unlike those that came after her she probably had no idea that the role would do that. That plus, if that post above is griping, then it is the mildest kind "I am grateful for the role, but it gets tiring sometimes", gee, sounds like something everyone can say.

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To quote some fan who thought otherwise:

Enh, that's unfair, I think. The woman writes, performs, produces, releases, and promotes her albums ALL BY HERSELF. And she's made, what, 25 albums? Many of them exceptional.

In other words, she HAS done something different and she HAS evolved as a singer. Have you checked her out?

True, it's highly commendable that she did all of that, but who gets to listen to them?

Edited by soul.assassin
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I'd been already told about that, and sure she provides full access... but the thing is, except for a few there's a whole generation of anime fans (or so they call themselves fans) who haven't even heard of her.

Personally I'm very disappointed, but I wish her luck in so a difficult path she has chosen. That's all I can say.

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I'd been already told about that, and sure she provides full access... but the thing is, except for a few there's a whole generation of anime fans (or so they call themselves fans) who haven't even heard of her.

Personally I'm very disappointed, but I wish her luck in so a difficult path she has chosen. That's all I can say.

So why don't you help her out and buy one of her albums?

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I would have been happy to support... if only she didn't have to kick my arse twice on both Twitter and Facebook for innocently mentioning Macross in a comment.

Now will you guys excuse me as I get something hard to drink?

Edited by soul.assassin
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I would have been happy to support... if only she didn't have to kick my arse twice on both Twitter and Facebook for innocently mentioning Macross in a comment.

So...it's personal, then?

Because you brought up Macross instead of her more recent work, you got upset...so you refuse to buy her more recent work and get disappointed when she points out said more recent work?

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So...it's personal, then?

Because you brought up Macross instead of her more recent work, you got upset...so you refuse to buy her more recent work and get disappointed when she points out said more recent work?

As I live in a third-world country without a credit card, I don't have to buy, but I can only provide praise or moral support.

But I'm not angry, just sad.

I'm a normal fan who just happens to have found a new opportunity to rewatch the series after a very long time, and for her to do the unexpected on such a personal level abruptly left me a lasting impression about her personality more than her music.

Edited by soul.assassin
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I dunno...as a Macross fan AND a Mari fan, I kinda see both sides...

Minmay shouldn't define her career...she's done a TON of work since then...and yet, I originally only went to see her concert because she was Minmay...

Her frustration is understandable, I think.

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In twenty years, no make that ten years, no how about five years May'n and Nakajima careers could be the same place. Mari's career path is a very common one. Most pop acts have one big moment in music history that forever defines them and that moment is often at the cost of their musical integrity. Best you can do is take comfort that even if your typecaste by it you still had a positive effect on people's lives.

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I think y'all are misunderstanding her post.

She made a follow-up Facebook post:

"I guess some people don't understand what I'm expressing here. I'm not denying or dismissing anything. I'm not making anything little. It's the opposite. I'm saying I've been impacted hugely and NowMari needs your support.

BOOM!

Later."

Is that better...?

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Mari needs to remember rule #1: NEVER POST ANYTHING PERSONAL ON THE INTERNET! It's a lawless frontier full of everybody, and you will almost assuredly hear the exact thing you don't want to hear just because someone finds it entertaining to say it.

Edited by Keith
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I'm of two minds when I see people - famous or forgettable - frustrated like this.

On the one hand, I do understand Mari's frustrations and can sympathize. It's an imperfect and VERY inefficient world we have created. A lot of talent is never realized, some never reaches full potential and even more is outright squandered. We see it every day and even as consumers, we participate in the horrible perpetuation of that tragedy. How much talent have we killed by paying money for mediocrity? Every time Michael Bay makes a movie, entire countries of real talent go forever unfinanced, LOL. But seriously, maybe Mari is a victim of our imperfect system. Perhaps she could have been more than the shadow of Minmay and Macross. If opportunity had been fostered and circumstances more favourable, maybe Mari could have opened our minds and hearts with much music we have not heard otherwise (some might argue she has). Wouldn't be the first time there were potential works of art we simply failed to imagine.

On the other hand, it makes me wonder if these famous folks like Mari are ever thankful at all that they had even some small impact on human culture. The vast majority of us will never have that honor. Even so, have folks like Mari ever considered the fact that their talents might not go beyond what they are known for? I mean let's be honest, what was Mari expecting to achieve with her music? High art? Social change? To paraphrase one of my favorite films; "If Mari was the inventor of a new genre, she'd have invented a new genre". Mari is not The Beatles...she's not The Clash...in the annals of music history, she might not even be Diana Ross. Maybe she could have been more...but isn't it just as possible Mari never was more than what she has been? I don't have an answer for certain but it comes across to me as rather arrogant of her to simply take that for granted.

I will say that in spite of her frustrations I wish her the best and hope she does reconcile her path in life. Some of her music reached me and I'm grateful for that. I hope she can be too.

I just wanted to commend Mr March for an excellent and well thought out post. I agree 100% and couldn't have summed it up better.

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That first post is slightly out of context as it was spread across three posts originally (she has a habit of censoring herself, especially when it's emotional). What kicked it off this time was a comment someone made about being Minmay when she was younger. Instead of brushing it off, she reinforced that she "isn't" Minmay in a literal sense and started it off with this follow up

I'm so freaking tired of hearing about Macross and Minmay, guys. I know you guys are fans. To me, it was a job. I got paid like $40 per episode just like you do when you work at Starbucks or maybe McDonald. It was an after school activity for me at first before it went crazy. It didn't create my 30 year career. It's only a part of it. I know IT's HUGE for you fans. But I don't think about it like you guys do. I was once in it, but I got out of it 28 years ago. Sure it's still a part of me because the franchise never died. Surprise, surprise. I never thought about 30 years into the future when I took the job. Now, I only deal with it when they ask me to do something. Isn't it time for you guys to let me loose and free from that "image"? I don't really enjoy discussing about it after I gave some inspirational speech about life. I'm sharing my insight with you because maybe . . . maybe I thought it would inspire you also. I don't live in the past. I'm here now.

I might do something for ITs' 30th Anniversary. But my 30th Anniversary as a recording artist, singer & songwriter is coming up and my focus is on that.

I'm not Minmay. I love her. But I'm not her. Do you understand? She is a character I played. I was never Minmay. I contributed my voice for the project. My feelings for the project is neutral. But I don't want to constantly talk about it on my facebook Music page which is about my life and my music. It's about the "NOW" and my honesty.

My name is Mari IIjima (I'm not Mary either, haha). I'm a multi instrumentalist, composer, producer, musician. Thanks for reading. I'm not upset. I feel a little bit silly though. I just want you to understand once for all. Thanks.

. I get what kicked it off, as the comment was on a post about how she felt about her career and future. I do think she overreacted though as it was basically a playful comment. As another fan of both, I can understand her frustrations, but do think she lets it get to her a bit too much.

What seems to be the key issue is the "typecasting". I can understand why she'd be upset that people come in and seem to love a role she did three decades ago instead of her new work. It seems to make her feel like she can never top herself. Add in that some people have implied she's a has been or never was, and I get why it's upsetting. She doesn't want to be known as Minmay, but it's inescapable. Like it's been said though, this happens all the time, and one must learn to live with it. Instead, she lets it eat into her confidence and that's what's troubling. What I don't understand is why she can't accept it for what it still is - fandom and adoration. Minmay is a big deal in Macross, and she seems to forget that while she isn't Minmay, Minmay IS her. Unless all you've seen is Robotech, part of the reason we love Minmay is Mari. We love Minmay and by extension Mari. But that is apparently not good enough for her as a fan, even though a lot of us have branched into her music. It's something that's in the past, and she only wants the now. She also forgets that she hears it a lot because it's a gateway. She wasn't just in some anime, she's in what many consider one of the best shows of it's era and genre. Fans remind her of it because they're new fans. They don't know better. She needs to recognize that and accept them as such while introducing them to her new stuff.

So I get her frustration. It's why I try to buy her latest album whenever I have her sign something Macross related. I like her new stuff, but I only know of her thanks to Fanime (I actually met her long before I knew of Macross), and loving Macross sealed the deal. Her constant fronts of saying it doesn't bother her when it clearly still does makes it more confusing.

I've seen this all the time with other actors. I know Brent Spiner was distant from Data as well. More infamously was an instance in which Sir Alec Guinness agreed to sign a fan's copy of Star Wars on the promise that he'd never watch that movie again, he hated it so (he only appeared in the sequels as a favor to George). I think Mark Hamill summed it up in an interview best. "Well I'm a Shakespearean actor, I've won awards... So what?! You're also Luke Skywalker: Once a Mouseketeer, always a Mouseketeer". In other words, no matter how great and relevant her stuff is now, the old stuff still exists, and there will always be people that like it. It troubles me that she lets what has been a great asset for her to connect to younger fans upset her just because said fans tend to be passionate about it. Though this time was nothing. Frankly, the saddest thing I ever read on her board was a post that basically stated that she would prefer to play for new people rather than people that knew her through her old stuff (strongly implying she meant Minmay). That kind of hurt a lot. No one wants to think someone you admire and is associated with something you love resents you for it. I also hate seeing fans apologize for being a fan. It's there several times: people sorry that they brought it up, or jumping in with "I'm no Macross fan" to make her feel better, like that those that found her through Macross and not "Uncompromising Innocence" or "Wonderful People" are the scum fans. I sometimes wonder if it's just because Macross was a job, and not just old. Would it be like this if people consistently pointed out how much they liked "Rose" or "Blanche"? Just because a fan loves your old stuff a bit more than your new doesn't make them less of a fan, and if she wonders why people think she's being taken negatively for wanting to distance from Macross is because she often makes it seem just that.

I still laugh at the memory of her staring at my friend and I when she preformed "Do You Remember Love" at Fanime while we were in our Macross outfits that we made for that concert. When it's at an anime con, what do you expect?.

I love Mari and her music. She's important to me in that respect, and I want her to be happy and fulfilled. Frankly, it's awesome to me that someone involved in a show I hold dear knows me on sight. ^_^ I'd like to think she appreciated us like we do her or at least learn to take it in stride. She also needs to seriously recognize that given how talented and hardworking she is, someone calling her Minmay isn't a detraction from it.

Edited by Mercurial Morpheus
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It seems to be the general view in this thread that Mari a)left Japan for the US straight after Macross and b) did so in the search for more artistic freedom.

I believe it's a bit more complicated than that. For a start Mari had quite a long career in Japan post Macross and ended up marrying an American which I guess contributed to her relocation.

I'm a fan of all her work and have half a dozen non-Macross related albums of hers. Beautiful music, definately a notch above your average pop music, you can tell she's a real artist and a music lover. She gets quite personal in her lyrics sometimes too so her facebook posts aren't really that surprising to me.

Edited by Bounty Hunter
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I believe it's a bit more complicated than that. For a start Mari had quite a long career in Japan post Macross and ended up marrying an American which I guess contributed to her relocation.

Specifically she married one of the American musicians who was working as a back-up band on her 6th album, and moved to the US after that, with her contract with the record company in Japan continuing until 1999, by which point she had at least 15 original albums. It was after that that she went "independent".

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Specifically she married one of the American musicians who was working as a back-up band on her 6th album, and moved to the US after that, with her contract with the record company in Japan continuing until 1999, by which point she had at least 15 original albums. It was after that that she went "independent".

interesting

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I don't think he does. First off, he's diversified - he gets harangued by otaku with a bunch of comments and questions about a variety of different anime.

2nd (and probably more important), he's still getting large royalty payments.

Do they do that in Japan??

I know they are a lot more honorable about respecting IP rights compared to well, the REST OF THE WORLD!!!

I can understand Mari's frustration, but her participation in that show has opened doors to her that she never had. She is an accomplished musician, but she should really talk to Bill Shatner about this. That guy was embarrassed for years about his work on Star Trek until he saw how Patrick Stewart handled the same media scrutiny and Shatner realized he did work he could be proud of.

Mari might need to consider that as well, She did work she can be proud of and if all some only remember her for is Macross, then so be it. Hell it is one of the main reasons non-Japanese go to her concerts in North America, is their introduction to her music through Macross. She has built a fan base with her music, made a living doing what she loves and that is something few people can say. Maybe she didn't make it in the US as an actress, but then again how many do? She is more known in Japan than the US, again, not a surprise.

Being frustrated about Macross only questions is expected, but what else is really known about here in the West? Not a lot when one considers she's lived in LA for over 15 years. I guarantee you that the Japanese public know more about her life than the majority of Western audiences do...

The only way to avoid that is to stop going to anime conventions or getting pre-approval for interview questions and NOT doing Q&A with fans.

IMHO, the bottom line is that whatever Macross means to her, it is a large footnote in anyone's life to be associated with anything that has lasted so long. It was an opportunity that jump started her musical career in a way that nothing else could and gave her the noteriety to make a dream job reality for 25 years. I think perhaps she "believes" she is typcast, but that would mean that she's actively sought a career in Voice acting and that simply isn't the case. She did some brilliant work on Macross, she is part of that legacy and she should be proud of that. She will always be asked about her experience playing Minmay, just as Shatner will always be asked about Kirk, Nimoy as Spock, Mark Hamill as Skywalker and Harrison Ford as Solo. When the character you play in a timeless story becomes iconic, then that will dog you till the day you die. Welcome to showbusiness.... B))

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