pledis: *raises voice slightly just enough to be heard across the room* hey doogi do u think u can take some pics of seventeen rn but try to be stealthy i can already smell the fans’ thirst for their pics



Even though it’s hard now, you’ll look back on these times with fond memories, when you get older and have kids.                           You probably don’t understand what I mean, at your age. You don’t realize what a great time in your life this actually is.    
                      How would you guys know that now?

Matsui Rena interview from GIRLS LAB x 2.5D (January 2015)

GIRLS LAB X 2.5D (out 2014/12/09)


SKE48 core member, Nogizaka46 kennin, AKB48 senbatsu member, as well as working profusely on her own, behind the mask of the splendid “Matsui Rena” who bloomed in the outside world, lies a fan of anime, manga and an avid idols enthusiast, whose peculiar otaku-ish point of view spawned her singularity. Combining the attributes of a player and a fan, her ambivalence confers her an unusually strong power of expression.

Q - Today you posed in front of GraphersRock’s graphics. How was it?

Rena - Looking at those graphics evoked me a giant control panel. They somehow reminded me of the electronics we had at home when I was young, I spaced out for a moment vaguely nostalgic in front of that work. (laugh)

Q - Speaking of collaboration with the world of 2D, your poster for AKB48 General Elections in which you morphed with a character of the anime “Kill la Kill” was a huge hit.

Rena - I wanted my poster for the elections to have an impact and as I wondered what character I could cosplay, I thought of how great it would be to be able to reproduce the key visual of my favorite serie at the time, “Kill la Kill”. When the poster was finally complete, thanks to the help of the many people who had collaborated to the project, I was deeply moved. I was really happy with all the reactions it stirred from people of all horizons.

Q - A lot of comments have been left online pleading for Matsui-san to cosplay other characters but are there any you think would suit you best?

Rena - I’ve been told by fans that I look like  “Senjougahara Hitagi” from “Bakemonogatari”. How we both have straight hair and  how we can appear to put on a prim air. I think it has to do with my role in “Majisuka Gakuen” but we seem to share the same affinity for edged tools (laugh), so if I have the opportunity I’d love to cosplay her.

Q - No doubt that your character in “Majisuka Gakuen” had a big impact on fans.

Rena - During the first part of the shooting today when I was wearing a satin jacket, a member of the staff told me it reminded him/her of Gekikara. (laugh) Since I played that role, I can’t wear that type of jacket without someone telling me the same thing. (laugh)

Q - Was there ever an anime character you felt particularly in synch with?

Rena - Eureka, the heroine of “Eureka Seven”. She is a teenager and defiant, she wants to rely on others but don’t know how to trust them, so I remember sympathizing with her when she was blue. I was also a teen when I watched the anime, so I totally related to Eureka.

Q - Are there any titles you kept cherishing since your tender age to this day?

Rena - The children book “The Little Prince” . It’s a difficult story without a clear conclusion, but it’s filled with sentiments you tend to lose when growing up, it brings back to the surface my own innocent child heart. I’ve been particularly touched by that one line “What is essential is invisible to the eye” and whenever I have the chance I go back to read it again.

Q - Is there a manga you never grow bored to read again and again?

Rena - When I need some breathing space I favor reading “Honey and Clover”. I love to see the protagonist, Takemoto-kun, worrying endlessly in his journey to find himself. (laugh) Also, even if it started being published before I was born, “Tokimeki Tonight”. The plot is rather cliché but reading it nowadays has something refreshing. I don’t count how many times I’ve reread it.
(tln : reminder that Rena is a huge fan of Umino sensei’s works, among which San Gatsu no Lion)

Q - What’s the anime you’re the most hyped about this season?

Rena -  “Tokyo Ghoul”. The serie is filled with a wide assortment of charismatic characters so it is thrilling to follow the story every week. But also “Love Live!”, cute girls prattling is just too adorable.

Q - Matsui-san is also well known to like 3D idols, can you tell us who caught your interest lately?

Rena - Aonami Jun-chan. I first saw her on stage during last summer “Tokyo Idol Festival”, among all those idols who were singing and dancing, she started reading aloud. It was a shock for me “Why on earth is she starting a recitation?!”.

Q - Aonami Jun-san has received a lot of attention from creators and critics since she won the Miss iD 2014 award, following her apparitions in MV and movies.

Rena - She is shy so silent characters suit her perfectly, her fleeting aura is captivating. Every evening she has a round of “good night janken” on twitter, it’s fun to participate!

Q - Is there also an idol group you’re keeping an eye on?

Rena - The group I listen to the most, my hands down favorite is Babyraids. (tln : now Babyraids JAPAN) There is also BELLRING Shoujo Heart, even if I’ve never seen them on stage rumor says their performances are amazing, so it makes me curious. If I have the opportunity, I’d like to see them on stage.

Q - They both fall in a quite strong rockish category, don't they?

Rena - Yes. Seems like I have a thing for idol groups with a strong band sound. I always feel pumped up when I listen to Babyraids or tracks from Himekyun Fuit Can.

Q - Idols aside, is there a band or musician you like?

Rena - I love Gesu no Kiwami Otome. I loved their sound before that but when I saw them perform live during a recording I was deeply moved by the dexterity of their drummer Hona Ikoka-san, by the passion and energy emanating from her. I’m not that confident in my own sense of rhythm so I’m often fascinated by people playing drum. I’m also really fond of CHARAN-PO-RANTAN. They sing about unrefined bit of life combined with vintage tunes and produce an addictive result. Their MV and costumes are also refined, they are a treat for ears and eyes.

Q - It’s been nearly a year since your concurrent position with Nogizaka46 started, did it change you?

Rena - There are plenty of members in Nogizaka46 who are beautiful in every circumstance, joining the group and working along with them gave me the opportunity to learn how to present myself anew. But what really changed is that now I’m able to objectively look at each group. When I’m with SKE48 now I’m able to submit ideas clearly “It would be better to do things more like this or like that”.

Q - I am under the impression that this year you've made more declarations focusing on SKE48 junior members and the future of the group.

Rena - As I see it, the specificity of 48 Group is, while allowing the large number of members to compete between them to become a star, to make it possible for us along with fans to transform the group. But looking back I have the feeling SKE48 didn’t know much changes. To provoke those changes I want to multiply occasions on which spotlights will hit the younger members and to do so I realized it was necessary for me to step back sometimes.

Q - Otherwise put, while being the ace striker you want to shift to post play from time to time. Added to your concurrent position with Nogizaka46, did your experience as Team E leader also played a part in your new, more global, vision of SKE48?

Rena - It was often impossible for me to be there for the stages, I think I made a poor leader. Rather than leading everyone, it felt like I was building a team with the help of all the members who were in it. Still, I think that the time I passed as leader really influenced me in the sense that now I’m constantly thinking about “what can be done for this team to gain more fans?”.

Q - Possible consequence of this experience, but you do look way more adult lately.

Rena - Thank you. (laugh)  Since I ended up shooting “gift” I got plenty of people telling me “Your face looks more mature, no?”. Building up a character with a different personality than mine during the movie, it’s possible I gained something without realizing it.

Q - You had a serious role in “gift” while every day you’re required to show a perfect opposite stance as an idol. Was it hard to jungle between both?

Rena - I didn’t find it difficult. Being defiant, thinking how make efforts is for losers, I think that for the most part everyone has dealt with those feeling at one point or another of their lives. So I played trying to bring back to the surface those emotions I once experienced. More than becoming my character, it felt like I was digging in my own memories to revive and express emotions I had buried.

Q - In the fields you haven't explored yet, is there something you’re interested in challenging?

Rena -  I want to write lyrics! It’s not like I already had texts aside ready to be used, but I like to think about all sort of things in my everyday life and I’m often struck with all kind of phrases. It’s not rare that I feel ”Ah, it would be wonderful to turn the scenery in front of my eyes in a song…”. I can’t guarantee I would have the slightest talent to do it (laugh), but it would definitely be interesting to try it someday.
(tln : We’re so gonna have Rena-P bringing us the next generation of idols someday~✰)

Q - To achieve this interview, can you tell us what is your goal right now?

Rena - It would be great if I could get as many roles as possible. Through acting I want to give to a lot of people a different image of myself than the one they have now.

Let Go of Your Ego

‘Liberation does not come when you conquer your ego, silence it, or through repression and denial get it to behave “properly.” Liberation comes when we release our attachment to the habitual conditioned nature and structure of our temporary egos.’

- Jun Po Denis Kelly Roshi, Liberation.