Anime conventions aren’t just a place to meet follows fans and buy rare merchandise. They’re also about discovering new series, artists, music, and performers. One thing I love about AnimeNEXT in Atlantic City, NJ is that they invite many talented Japanese guests that Western fans may not be as familiar with.
And when I heard LeChat was visiting the con, I was thrilled. She deserves all the attention she can get. LeChat is a Japanese professional cosplayer who attends events all over the world, including Germany, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and many more. She’s cosplayed as Hatsune Miku, Ciel Phantomhive, and a myriad of other anime and video game characters.
LeChat also recently became a singer. In 2014, she performed with a Miku-enthusiast band called Hatsune Kaidan and later debuted as a solo artist in 2017. In her everyday life, she is very interested in “lovely yet dark things” which is sometimes reflected through her cosplay and performances. Her image is what initially attracted me to her work.
At AnimeNEXT, I attended LeChat’s concert, where she performed songs from her mini-albums, clad in a Gothic Lolita-ish outfit. She seemed a little nervous at first, but quickly became more open and put on a great performance. LeChat has this otherworldly presence. She’s mysterious and spellbinding, both as a model and a singer. It’s easy to be entranced by her.
Besides the concert and other convention events, I was also able to sit down with LeChat for an interview to ask about her career and interests.
Welcome to AnimeNEXT! Is this your first time in the US?
Are you excited?
Yes, I was really looking forward to coming.
(At the concert, LeChat mentioned that she really wanted to see Spider-Man while she was in the US. And trust me, there were plenty of them walking around the convention center.)
You’ve been to many different countries through your cosplay work. Do you have any fond memories or funny stories from one of your trips?
One time, I was invited to an event in Vietnam. We arrived, had dinner, and were giving cheers. But then the next day, my event was cancelled!
Oh no! *everyone laughs*
How did you first become interested in cosplay?
At first, I didn’t know anything about cosplay. I went on the internet, and I was searching for pictures of my favorite characters. As I was scrolling through the images, I noticed some were people dressed up as the character, and I thought, “What is this? What could this possibly be?” Of course, there are illustrators who show their affection for a character by drawing them. I can’t really draw, but I thought at that moment, “Oh, if I cosplay, I could show my love for that character.”
Is that what makes you choose to cosplay a character? Like, a connection to the particular character?
Yes, that’s exactly right!
Do you make all the costumes yourself?
Yes, I do.
Wow, does it take a long time?
I get asked that a lot, but there are times where I can finish a costume in a day.
That’s amazing. As a cosplayer, you must be a big fan of anime. What are some of your favorite anime characters?
That’s hard… there’s so many. Hmm… I like Ace from One Piece.
Are there any anime series that you like?
I really like the Gintama anime. Is it popular in America too?
Yes, it is!
Recently, you became a singer. How did this come about?
My current manager asked me if I would be interested in singing, and I thought, “Yes, I’d love to.”
Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
No, it’s not! *laughs*
Do you enjoy singing so far?
Yes. I’m still nervous, but I enjoy it more now.
Is it different than cosplaying?
Yes, because there really isn’t a character that I’m portraying when I am on stage.
I’ve heard you are a fan of beautiful yet dark things. What makes you so interested in horror and things of that nature?
I really, really like the horror genre. And a lot of people ask me, “Why do you like horror? It’s so scary.” I’m very attracted to its uniqueness, and I find it very pretty. But a lot of people still think it’s gross or scary, so I’ve come to the assumption that I must like things that other people don’t.
I’m the same way, actually. I’m so tiny, and people are always surprised that I like kind of stuff.
*laughs* It’s good you like that stuff too, though!
Your interest in lovely yet dark things is definitely reflected in your songs and music videos. Do you think your music helps represent who you are as a person?
Actually, my music videos are totally left up to my director. But it suggests to me that the director was able to pick up on that vibe from me and was able to create that kind of world through the music videos.
Not too long ago, you covered a song by French virtual idol Alys (pronounced “Alice”). What was that experience like?
It was difficult and a lot of hard work recording Aly’s song “Sous cette pluie“ in Japanese since it was originally written in French. But because of that, I have seen a lot more people become aware of Alys in Japan.
I’ve also heard you love France. You even have a French stage name. What makes you so attracted to France?
I really like the Rose of Versailles. France is the setting of that manga, and it showed the luxurious Versailles gardens. So, I’ve always wanted to go to France.
Rose of Versailles is a very famous manga, even here in the US.
Really?! Is it popular here?
Not so much now, but it’s considered legendary.
That’s similar to Japan. Not many people nowadays have read it, but they know of it.
So… you’re cosplaying as Hatsune Miku right now! I know you’ve cosplayed her many times before. So, I’m guessing you must really like her.
I REALLY love Hatsune Miku!
I love her too! I have seen her three times on concert. Have you seen her live?
Really?! And no, it’s really hard to get a ticket for her concerts in Japan.
With that, the interview came to a close. But first, I HAD to get a picture with LeChat. Because not only am I a fan of her work, I’m a huge fan of Miku as well. She couldn’t have worn a more fitting costume.
Sometimes, things just fall into place. For LeChat, a simple internet search led her to discover cosplay. After a lot of hard work, she went professional and eventually became a singer. I hope that her cosplay and music work help her gain more exposure in the USA and elsewhere. Again, she deserves it.
Thank you to AnimeNEXT for the opportunity.