The name ROOT FIVE has been a source of confusion and contention over AFA SG weekend for those not familiar with them, foremost of which – “Aren’t they a boyband?”. Well, there just isn’t a simple answer to that, but our previous AFACHAN feature should shed some light.
The five members, themselves Nico Nico mega celebrities in their own right, came to Singapore to join the final night of AFA SG’s I Love Anisong concerts, as well as headlining the Nico Nico Kunikaigi stage events alongside utaites such as Gero, Amatsuki and Ito Kashitaro. Just before they had to rush off to the rest of their packed schedule for the day, we caught up with the ROOT FIVE members – koma’n, Mi-chan, Dasoku, Kettaro and Pokota for a short interview. Despite their initially serious mien, the members were quick to warm up to our questions, even Mi-chan, who could not talk due to his vocal chord surgery. His animated gestures to convey his answers (often “translated” by Dasoku), with each member’s own funny and witty take on our questions, sent the interview room chuckling with laughter multiple times.
As this was not Dasoku’s first time in Singapore, Dasoku was quick to express his love for chicken rice, even admitting that he already had chicken rice four times since arriving three days ago, and will continue to have chicken rice for the rest of the week. Kettaro talks about the Japanese having an impression of Singapore being a clean and pretty city, while he noticed that there were many garbage cans along the streets, and feels that it would be nice for Japan to do the same. Pokota likes that our food stalls are centralized in hawker centres, unlike street side stalls in Japan that can change from season to season, and that we can enjoy al fresco dining all year round. koma’n however, expressed his disappointment at being unable to visit our local icon, the Merlion as he had no time, but would like to meet the Merlion if he comes again.
As all of them got their start as utaites on Nico Nico Douga, performing from the comfort of their own rooms, we asked them about the differences between performing solo and as a group. Not surprisingly they unanimously agreed that they all preferred solo utaite life. Both Dasoku and Mi-chan liked that they did not need to leave the house, while group performances are usually ‘live’ outside. Kettaro, koma’n and Pokota are self-professed hikkikomori (shut-ins) that prefer the freedom to do anything they like. However, they stress that performing as a group has its perks too. As a group they have been able to challenge themselves with dancing and choreography, and had oppotunities to travel overseas together for group promotions. Although Kettaro admits that one of the bigger difficulties performing as a group was trying to showcase Dasoku during dance formations, since he doesn’t like to move a lot.
Speaking of overseas promotions, since ROOT FIVE has been travelling to Taiwan rather frequently, we asked them if they picked up any useful Mandarin phrases. Evidently Kettaro uses “好吃，好好吃” (delicious, very delicious) a lot, being the foodie of the group, while Pokota has mastered “北京烤鸭” (Peking Roast Duck), his favourite dish. Dasoku’s pet phrase is”不要” (don’t want), while koma’n springs a “今天天气很好” (Today’s weather is good) surprising us with his fluency. Best of all was Mi-chan and his ”请带我回家” (Please bring me home), which Kettaro exclaims that Mi-chan says that a lot in Taiwan, but has never succeeded.
On the most “interesting” gifts they have received from fans, koma’n expresses his bewilderment at receiving multiple gifts of girl school uniforms, especially sailor-types. Dasoku once received a paperbag with a zombie hand inside, which turned out into a telephone; while Mi-chan is still very proud of his Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Brothers gift set. Kettaro once received some raw beansprouts that were unfortunately rotten by the time he got them, and Pokota probably takes the prize for strangest gift. He received a receipt for sweets in a letter, stating that the sweets have been eaten, and the fan was basically only sending him the feelings of having eaten and enjoyed the sweets.
AFACHAN caught ROOT FIVE again for an exclusive video interview after their live performance at I Love Anisong, where we got them to talk about their AFA SG experience, and what they do when they hang out. Those keeping up with their twitters and blogs would have seen that they were literally eating their way through their entire trip, as koma’n admits that Singapore is making them put on weight! When talking about future plans, they said that while continuing to have live performances in Japan, they would like to perform more overseas, as they aim to become more global as artistes. Watch the video for full details! (Don’t miss Mi-chan at his cutesy best despite his inability to join in~)