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(For my own reference, mostly. This interview originally ran in Gothic & Lolita Bible volume II, and the translation is from Monologue Sanctuary ).
Special Conversation 1
Mana (MALICE MIZER) x Mihara Mitsukazu x Takemoto Novala
Demon and Angel Tea Party
"Elegant Gothic Lolita" as made famous by Mana-Sama, the manga artist who loves "Goth Loli", Mihara Mitsukazu, and the young girl charisma author, Novala Takemoto. With angels and demons held in their hearts, a secret tea party has come into materialized form from these three lavish people! Have your black tea in one hand come in to the conversation fixated on Gothic & Lolita...
●This article is a republication of the contents posted in the Kera! March 2001 issue (Interview and original text by Hiroyo Uno)
The keyword is "Aesthetic Sense"
For the three of you, what has influenced your thoughts on that?
Mihara: Right now starting with Mana-Sama, what has influenced your thoughts on it?
Mana: Horror movies. A production called "The House by the Cemetery".
Mihara: Is that so. I also like horror movies, but I haven't checked that one out. What kind of influences have you gotten from that production?
Mana: I have used the movie "The House by the Cemetery" for when I'm doing band activities.
Mihara: When did you come across that movie?
Mana: When I was a teenager. The opening song of the movie had been arranged and performed by a band, and the first time I made a song was when I tried to copy that one.
Novala: Did that movie come out in Japan?
Mana: No, it didn't. In fact, there wasn't even a sound track so I would have to rewind the video several times and copy it by ear.
Mihara: That is so cool. As for me, its something more serious...the bible. That is, I spent my youth as a Christian. So I feel like the foundation of Lolita was made of things like a refusal to grow into adulthood from abstinence. As for fashion, I was woken up to lolita a little bit later. What kind of influences did you receive, Mr. Novala?
Novala: It was when I came across "The wind and trees of time" and I thought, I want to live in beauty itself.
Mihara: Thats the manga by Takemiya Keiko, isn't it. I also like that work.
Novala: Among the characters, there was the young boy Jervell, and I really admired him. He was beautiful like a male prostitute. He would put on a blouse over his bare naked body, unbutton two buttons at his chest, and open up his collar. I thought "thats so cool!". Ever since then I never wore a T-shirt under a dress shirt again.
Mihara: Even now?
Novala: Yes. Everyone always tells me "thats erotic," (laughs) but I say "its because I'm Jervell!"
Mihara: And so, I will include myself too and say my sense of aesthetics was largely influenced from when I hit adolescence.
From socks to CDｓ...
Completely surpassing obsession
Mihara: What kind of items are you obsessed with, Mr. Novala?
Novala: Original socks and lighters. I only wear black knee high socks no matter if its summer or winter. However, I can never tell which pair is which. So because of that I thought to myself whats the best thing I could do [about this situation]? so I got them embroidered. One time in one year I get about 20 embroidered. As for lighters, I'm often losing them. So when I'm going to smoke I have 100 yen lighters sitting around all over the place. Its horrible, isn't it.
Mihara: Its an aesthetic sense, isn't it.
Novala: Well because of that, I've asked the manufacturer of the 100 yen lighters themselves if they could put a logo on 100 of their 100 yen lighters just for me.
Mihara: I love these kinds of things where something seems insignificant but its really essential. Mana-sama what items are you obsessed with?
Mana: Gothic Cathedral books and Bach CDs.
Mihara: Both are classical things, aren't they.
Mana: My musical basis is classical. Although its also fun to just look at cathedrals and ornamentation. Things like that must have taken hundreds of years or at least an extremely long time to make. Isn't it awesome?
Mihara: It is cool, isn't it. Even now people can't make things like Gaudi's Sagrada Família cathedral (laughs).
Mana: For something that seems like it came about quickly, they couldn't have made those really fine details without their hands. Something like that really feels like aesthetic sense.
Mihara: It seems like something the workers probably had to refine. The items I'm obsessed with are skeletal bones. I have black electrical appliances at home so they wont destroy the atmosphere. Whenever I can, I choose items that wont stand out... although it can't be helped that the things surrounding me are all skeleton goods. Its a series of futile efforts (laughs).
...With topics that are something like what we're talking about today, its really great to not be seen as strange. Its like meeting another Japanese person in an unknown country (laughs).
Gloomy things that some how make it easier to relax!?
Mihara: The theme is "Relaxing," but in my case, my bedroom is my number one way to calm down. Thats because due to the nature of my work as a manga artist, sleep is especially covetous (laughs). What kind of places do the two of you go to relax?
Mana: Basically my home is where I relax, but within it, my living room. Its all unified in blue, and my blue sofa is really relaxing. Since I made my living room the image of the sky there is nothing in it that gives off a lived-in feeling. On the contrary, for me my bedroom is not the most relaxing place.
Mihara: Ah, is that so? I wanted my bedroom to be a deep blue, so I used all my effort to wallpaper it up. What kind of places do you relax in, Mr. Novala?
Novala: My room is also comforting, but I like relatively gloomy places. Therefore, I close the lined curtains in my room. But if I go out, I relax at a famous tea house called "Lion" in Shibuya.
Gothic & Lolita are not fashions
Mihara: "Goth Loli" is something of...a new genre, don't you think? So first of all, what would you say Goth Loli is?
Novala: For me when you say Goth Loli, Mana-Sama is what I think of first.
However, previously when I would hear conversations on it I would say "thats wrong"...
Mana: Thats because I'm Elegant Gothic Lolita.
Mihara: Well, Mana-Sama created Elegant Gothic Lolita, so is that what you're referring to?
Mana: I have always from the start really loved the gothic world, only I couldn't live in it. Furthermore, there should be males and females in it, shouldn't there. So this kind of fantasy became a wild idea, and then as it came to be in existence it turned out the female image of this reality was a lolita girl.
Mihara: So within yourself you decided the true female image should be Gothic Lolita. We left this topic a while ago, but to me the basis of lolita has a former mental component outside of fashion. It was at that time that what we now know as lolita clothes came from something on the inside. Therefore, I feel like you can't tell who is goth or who is loli just from the clothes they wear.
What do you think, Mr. Novala?
Novala: Since I am originally goth rather than lolita, I can't say something like, Goth Loli has to be regarded in this way! ... But there are people who usually worry about things like if they're dressed stylishly enough.
Mihara: So what would you say it fundamentally is?
Novala: There are people who will all at once say something like, "I'm Goth Loli because I'm wearing this jumper skirt" and will then be done with it. But when you're talking about Goth Loli, since theres an idealism to it, when you wear the clothes you want the clothes to suit you. That also goes for the way you speak and your behavior. I'm not saying Goth Loli should be every part of your life. It just feels like even though its only clothes, theres something different about Goth Loli.
Mihara: That is so true.
Its important to always refine your sense of aesthetics!
Mihara: Mana-Sama, whenever I look at your pictures, you always without fail pose so elegantly. Is that something you're always bearing in mind?
Mana: In relation to that, looking in the mirror and studying myself isn't something I really do. I don't even practice my make up. Its just something I do at the time. So I have the ability to concentrate on everything [all at once]. Its an intigration of my spirit. Thats not really how we live in modern society though, is it. Although I live in modern society, I would say I live in my own illusional world and if I integrate my spirit as well, it all comes together naturally.
Mihara: So you concentrate on beautiful images in your mind?
Mana: Yes. I draw an image in my head and then all on its own my spirit links up to that. So then it raises my awareness to some extent. If you look in the mirror and check with your eyes, eventually you will be bound general things. So I clear away from things like that and let my soul decide. If I wanted to decide what really is Gothic Lolita I would start to say "I don't want myself to live in just this world" and my feelings wouldn't be so strong about it anymore.
Mihara: What you're saying is its no good if you're just wearing the clothes.
Mana: I talked about that kind of thing in the previous issue of the "Gothic & Lolita Bible" if you read it.
Mihara: Yeah (laughs). To conclude our conversation up to this point, we talked about how things are seen from other perspectives and whether or not our sense of aesthetics matches each other. So now, how do we live honestly for ourselves...
Novala: Thats right. We spoke of things like a single person being who they are, and if that person is okay with showing it or not.
Mihara: Therefore you always have to brush up on your aesthetic sense. Eventually even when you're seen by other people you can say "What about it?"
Novala: Even when I get talked about behind my back I just laugh about it because I've definitely experienced it ever since I was young. It never wavers (my sense of aesthetics). You save yourself that way. I'll think things like "This silk hat isn't very good to buy (Something from Victoria maiden I wore on the day of an interview) but still, it makes me smile," and so I buy it. I have no way to express it other than saying this is just "me".
Mihara: Thats right. However, until you bend yourself like that, you wont be able to adjust yourself to the world. For that reason, I enhance my own sense of aesethetics within myself. If you do that, finally people wont talk about you behind your back. Above all you will be able to take fortitude in an "enhanced sense of aesthetics".