Welcome to 2017, where the line between anime idols and their voice actors has all but ceased to exist. In this day and age, to follow an idol anime essentially means you’re following and supporting their cast as well. That is, the voice actresses that hold live streams and concerts to promote their material and themselves.

Ever since the early days of IDOLM@STER and LOVE LIVE, this culture has been particularly strong in Japan. Thousands gather to fill a stadium for the sake of watching the voice actresses/idols perform. But when it comes to the west it’s a little trickier. After all, even if the girls are cute and doubtlessly talented, there’s only so much content you can enjoy when there is a language and cultural barrier in place. However, with the upcoming idol anime project 22/7, that barrier may just have cracked.

American-born Idol Sally Amaki

Sally Amaki has drawn the attention of idol fans from both the east and west with her fluent bilingualism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Sally’s first language was English. Now, she lives in Japan to fulfill her dream of becoming an anime voice actress. She voices Sakura Fujima in 22/7.

Sakura Fujima | Image: Anime News Network

Sally is also a self-proclaimed meme queen. As part of 22/7’s promotional activities, Sally participates in live streams on the mobile app SHOWROOM. There, she answers comments and questions posed by viewers. Ever since the revelation of her impeccable English came out, her Q&A sessions have become a lot more (as the kids say) “highkey lit.”

Shared on Twitter with the hashtag #天城サリー (Amaki Sally)Sally’s streams have begun to receive enormous attention from the western side of idol fans. With more westerners appearing on her streams and asking her questions, the more western her responses become. She cracks jokes about her “trash Tumblr” and how much she misses Taco Bell. She loves Girl Scout cookies, Naruto runs, throwing shade…what more could you ask for, really?

And best of all, she has an entire portion of a stream dedicated to teaching her fellow 22/7 member Chiharu Hokaze how to dab. She really goes into detail about it, too. Like, really.

Chiharu’s a little confused at first, but she gets the hang of it by the end.

BANG DREAM: Poppin’ Party’s Rise to Stardom

Idols Through Time and Space!

According to Anime News Network, 22/7 is a new multimedia idol project, marketed with the concept of “idols who cross dimensions.” In other words, the line between voice actresses and the characters they voice is hazier than it’s ever been. On top of animated music videos and an upcoming anime, the group’s voice actresses also perform as idols in the real world. Their first live event involved an onstage performance and a motion-capture one. This allowed the audience to see the song and dance performed by both 2D and 3D idols.

22/7 group shot, ANN
The girls of 22/7 | Image: Anime News Network

Through streams that appeal to both Japanese and westerners, Sally has been able to push awareness of her group overseas. There’s no shortage of idol anime projects these days, but an idol who can communicate with and relate to American fans? No wonder her Twitter hashtag is blowing up!

Plus, memes aside, Sally has a truly charming on-camera presence. Her honesty while answering questions and the way she shares her experiences since her move to Japan seems more genuine than what one usually sees in Japan’s idol industry. With this, it’s never been easier for westerners to learn about a new group and directly connect with one of its members. Check out #天城サリー to learn more about Sally and 22/7!

22/7’s first music video released on September 15th and their first album released on September 20th. The video is available worldwide on YouTube.

Fall Anime 2017 is the Season of Idols

Featured image from 22/7’s Official Website.

Show ComicsVerse some Love! Leave a Reply!