Canada Welcomes Japanese Sub-Culture Stars

Selia and Takuya Angel at Anime North

Canada’s Anime North welcomed fashion designer Takuya Angel and singer Selia last month. JAPANESE STREETS’ Theo Rallis was there to record their impressions.

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Two of Japan’s creative giants in the world of fashion/music were guests at this year’s edition of Anime North, Canada’s premier fan-run anime convention. Classically trained singer Selia and fashion designer/DJ Takuya Angel teamed up for two performances during the three-day event, held from May 28 to May 30 in Toronto.

This marked the first trip to Canada for Selia, and the second for Takuya; his maiden visit was in 2009.

On the third and final day of the convention, the extravagantly dressed duo met with fans to field questions, sign autographs, and pose for pictures.

Takuya Angel and Selia at Anime North
A fan talks with Takuya Angel (sitting) through an interpreter

The biggest buzz during the 30-minute Q&A session came when Takuya and Selia, who were speaking through an interpreter, announced their upcoming creative projects.

“I’m planning to do something entirely different, in terms of both fashion and music,” said Takuya, who is known for his colourful clothing designs that mix traditional and modern Japanese fashion.

He said he’s currently making new music using singing synthesizer software Vocaloid. Some of it might be released on Japanese video sharing site Nico Nico Douga, though Takuya hopes to release it officially.

As for countertenor Selia, he said an opera is currently being written based on his singing style. The opera is being made in France, but he’s not sure when it will be completed. “They say it’ll be finished next year, but that’s what they told me last year,” he said. “French people are really easy-going, so I can’t say for sure when exactly.”

Once it’s been completed, he said it would most likely be performed in France, and if successful, would possibly expand to the rest of Europe and then internationally.

In the meantime, Selia will be preparing for a European tour scheduled for October, and a possible trip to China in August. Takuya’s next international destination will be Mexico in August.

Anime North Con - Photo By Theo Rallis
Cosplayers at Anime North

The two guests shared their thoughts on Canada, with the weather being a popular topic. “I thought it would be cooler, but it’s really hot,” said Selia. “I like it.”

Takuya’s previous Toronto stop was during the winter, so he was amazed by the extreme temperature change from winter to summer. He added that he’s enjoyed getting to experience the “early days” of Canadian culture, which he thinks will become stronger and more defined over the next few hundred years.

Selia also praised the Canadian cosplay community, making note of the high level of participation at Anime North.

Even at an anime convention, it’s pretty hard not to notice Takuya and Selia, which makes one wonder how people in Japan react to their style of dress.

“It definitely depends on the place,” said Takuya, who got into this style of fashion at the age of 27. “If it’s Harajuku, it’s normal. But if you go to (the upscale shopping district) Ginza, people will look at you differently.”

“The thing about Japanese people is, they don’t tell you directly what they think,” said Selia, who takes about 90 minutes to get dressed. “They might look at you funny, but they won’t comment.”

They both stressed that you should wear what you want, regardless of what other people think.

Anime North Con - Photo By Theo Rallis
Cosplayers at Anime North. The image on the left shows Yaya Han, a pro cosplayer who was also a guest at Anime North

Fans of the Takuya Angel brand might be disappointed to know there are no plans to open any stores internationally, though purchases can be made through the online shop.

“There are people who say they want to open a shop in Toronto, then there are people who say they want to open a shop in Mexico, but I think the shop in Japan is enough,” said Takuya. He didn’t close the door on the idea entirely, saying that if someone were to express an interest in working with him, he would consider it.

He’s also open to doing musical collaborations outside of his genre, as is Selia, who’s already crossed over into the gothic/electro scene.

“It doesn’t really matter what genre it is,” said Selia. “I always like to try out any music that goes well with my voice.”

All photos by Theo Rallis. See more photos of Anime North on his blog.

Theo Rallis About the Author

Toronto-based reporter and street fashion photographer Theo Rallis has been running his blog Style Invasion since 2007. His love of all things Japanese has fueled his desire to one day live and work in Japan, photographing the ultra-cool street looks that captivate and inspire him.

Recent articles by Theo Rallis:

Comment (日本語もOK)

Interesting article. :D

Jun 17, 2010 (4187 days ago)

Thanks, Berry.

Kjeld Duits
Jun 18, 2010 (4186 days ago)

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