DANIEL SUBRAMANIAM firstname.lastname@example.org
Two years ago, Wynnie, Beryl, Valerie and Estelle were serving customers dressed in French maid outfits at the Moe Moe Kyun Maid Cafe at the Anime Festival Asia (AFA) in Singpore.
They returned to AFA a year later, but this time, they were there as anime idol group Sea✩A (pronounced Sea-A), performing on stage in front of thousands of screaming anime fans.
“Most of the time we perform in Japan and Singapore but we’ve also performed in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. However, we’ve never performed in Malaysia – which is my homeland,” explained the group’s only Malaysian member, Wynnie. The rest of group hail from Singapore.
That is why the group is known as “Southeast Asia’s first homegrown anime idol group”. The “Sea” in their name actually stands for Southeast Asia, whereas the ✩ represents the stars they hope to become, and the “A” represents their love for Anime.
The four of them were spotted by a talent manager while working in the maid cafe at AFA 2010. A year later, Japanese record label Lantis signed them on as Sea✩A.
Wynnie, 22, said: “Getting to sing anime songs like this is a dream come true for us. We never ever thought something like this would happen.”
The group has already released three of their own anime songs – Dream Shooter, Deli-deli Delicious and Friendship Shooter. Their first single, Dream Shooter, is currently featured as the closing theme song for anime series Cardfight! Vanguard. Their other two singles are also featured as theme songs for two anime series currently airing in Japan.
The girls are no strangers to anime, having been fans of anime culture since they were young. Wynnie explained that they grew up wanting to be part of the culture, which lead to them joining the maid cafe in the first place.
Maid cafes, incidentally, are actual cafes that have become a part of anime culture along with Butler cafes. Customers are served by waitresses and waiters dressed as maids or butlers, respectively.
Wynnie and Estelle were also cosplayers before joining Sea✩A.
“You could say we got too obsessed with the anime characters until we wanted to actually be them, or at least pretend that we were them,” quipped Wynnie who is also the group’s oldest member.
On stage as Sea✩A, the girls perform in character as energetic cheerleaders.
“The whole idea was for us to celebrate our love for anime together with the fans, so we perform as ‘cheerleaders’. We cheer people on and make people happy with our anime songs,” explained Estelle, 20.
Wynnie added: “Even when we were still working in the maid cafe, we actually did chants for the customers to cheer them up. That’s where our manager first got the idea for us to be cheerleaders.”
Most of the songs they sing are in Japanese. But Beryl, 21, says their latest single is actually out in Japanese, English and Chinese. “We hope to target an international audience,” she said.
* Sea✩A will be performing for the first time in Malaysia during AFA Malaysia, which will be happening from June 9-10 at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), KL. Catch their performance on the Animax Musix 2011 concert, premiering on Animax (Astro Ch715), June 9, 2.30pm.