On September 1st, I woke to news exploding all over my Twitter feed: Amita--Maeshima Ami--was back.

Aya-chan, sweet, sweet Aya-chan, once again had a voice.

And not just any voice.

Her voice.

After all, Aya is Amita, Amita is Aya. 

Bandori fans everywhere rejoiced.

It was raining all over.

Even where I was sitting.

Now some of you might be asking; "Abner. What is the connection to your anison cover singing activites. What does this news have to do with the price of takoyaki in Osaka?"

Let me explain, Dear Reader...

In mid-Spring 2019 I discovered BanG Dream! and became an instant fan. In addition to watching the initial first two seasons, then Season 3 on its release, I scoured the Internet for information about the show, about the world of the anime, and about seiyuus, especially the members of Poppin'Party.

Three years later, when I began this musical journey, it occurred to me that Bandori was (secretly) influencing my approach.

I sing anison (anime song) covers.

Before being cast in BanG Dream!, Aimi competed in and was a finalist in the ANIMAX Anison Grand Prix. When the judges had asked if she wanted to be an idol, she replied: "I just want to sing anime songs."

Technically, I could be called a kaigai (overseas) idol.

Before she was cast in BanG Dream! Amita was formerly the leader of the idol group SUPERGIRLS.

In the anime, Aimi's character, Kasumi, wants to find that キラキラドキドキ (sparkling, heart-pounding) feeling and she finds it when she starts the band Poppin'Party with her four classmates. When the girls end up performing at the Budokan with two other girl bands, there's a scene where Kasumi is talking to Yukina, vocalist of the symphonic metal band ROSELIA. Yukina notes that Kasumi is always happy, to which Kasumi replies she is because being in a band means the sparkling, heart-pounding feelings never stop. To which Yukina replies:

Which explains why everything shines brightly near you....That smile of yours is contagious. It infects everyone around you, including other bands.

In the first Pastel Palettes live, Amita says the following:

Having this girl named Maruyama Aya come into my life...she's a reminder that having dreams is truly a wonderful feeling....I genuinely believe that Aya-chan has inspired me to dream again.

The first time I saw this clip and heard those words, I was moved to tears.

When I started this journey and ran across that very same clip by chance, the tears came again.

And now, with Amita's return, I recall those very words she uttered, and I know the tears will come.

And the dream.

I want to keep that dream going. 

I want to make everything around me shine brightly and infect everyone with my joy.

It'll be a fun.

Thank you, BanG Dream.

And thank you, Aimi and Amita.


In January 2014, for one night only, I performed a one-man show telling the story of my experiences in voice-acting. In it, I showcased the "People in my Cranium," the collection of characters that I have living in my head.

I personally refer to them as "the Peanut Gallery." 

You know how some people will say "Oh, I'm just talking to myself"?

Well, when I do that, I'm actually holding a roundtable conference with five main personalities, each of whom have their own unique take on what they see going on in my world.

You might be asking, Abner, are you right in the head?

To which I respond, I'm perfectly sane.

How, you might then ask, does the Peanut Gallery figure into my journey as an anison cover singer?

I believe they're the ones who finally put me on this path.

I say "finally" because I think this has been a long time coming.

Let me explain with a story and I'll start like this....

*   *   *

I never planned on being a singer.

Contrary to what some might be thinking, singing, especially becoming an anison cover singer, was never something I had planned from the beginning. 

It was never that dream.

According to 11-year-old Abner, I was going to be a best-selling sci-fi author. 


Just like Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, I was going to be up there on those shelves with five, ten, fifteen, twenty-some-odd books. Some would be stand-alones. The rest, part of a series of one sort or another. I'd have one or two hitting the New York Times Best Seller lists every so often. 

But mostly, I'd make a comfortable living writing science fiction.

Through high school and college and afterwards I wrote three novels (unpublished) and a dozen short stories (four published). I took a brief detour into screenwriting and wrote three screenplays and six TV episodic scripts (all unproduced), then another detour into comic books, before jumping back into fiction and wrote what amounted to three more novels, two of which I self-published and sent off into the wilds of the Amazon digital marketplace.

Then Life took me in an unexpected direction and the door closed on writing.

And that's when the Peanut Gallery began talking to me again.

And I started to listen.

They'd spoken to me before, of course. Starting way back in high school. I personally think they're an internal manifestation of my high school friends who always cheered me on. 

It's the Peanut Gallery who, from the beginning, through little hints and nudges, steered me toward performing.

Let me back up a bit.

You see, before I planned on being a best-selling writer, I performed. 

At first, it was at family parties. Usually Christmas. We'd have a huge gathering at our house. Family, aunts and uncles, cousins, neighbors. They'd pack our house, there'd be tons of food, and, as the evening progressed, there'd be a performance.

My sister and I would each play the piano. Then we'd crank up the karaoke machine and my mom and dad would take a turn. Then my sister. Then me. And afterwards, I'd recite "A Visit From St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore.

So even by the time I was telling myself I'd become a writer, the Peanut Gallery already knew about the performing, especially the singing.

Even more, they knew I enjoyed it. They knew I got a thrill everytime I got up in front of people, entertained them, and made them smile.

It was always one hell of a buzz.

So the Peanut Gallery would always steer me in that direction.

In 8th grade, they steered me toward performing in our school talent show. I played the piano, to the delight of my teachers and classmates.

In freshman year of high school, they steered toward auditioning for My Fair Lady. But I chickened out at the last minute.

As "revenge" for that, they made me invite my friends from high school to my birthday parties at home and inevitably, my mom would ask me to get up and sing. And because Back to the Future was one of her favorite movies, I'd sing my rendition of those two classics from the movie: "Earth Angel" and "Johnny B. Goode."

To the joy of my friends.

And it was this joy that led to a joint effort between friends and the Gallery in my senior year of high school.

Toward the end of October 1989, the Music Department announced vocalist auditions for that year's annual fundraiser, the Winter Dinner Dance. The minute they heard the announcement, my friends immediately rounded on me. "Dude! You sing. You should try out."

"You think?" I said.

"Just go for it!"

The Peanut Gallery echoed their sentiment.

So I auditioned.

Of the dozen who did, three were selected.

I was one of them.

During the first rehearsal with the band director, the two other vocalists, and the band director's wife (who served as our vocal coach), after going through each of the songs we'd be singing, the band director turned to me and said, "You know, you've got a nice voice. We're going to be auditioning for the Spring musical. I want you to try out."

The other two vocalists concurred. So did the director's wife.

The Peanut Gallery also concurred. 

When the audition announcement came up, this time the Gallery made sure I went by having me run into one of my fellow vocalists from the Dinner Dance who saw me, waved me over, and said, "You're headed to auditions, right? Come on, we'll head over together."

The musical was Guys and Dolls. I got the part of "Arvide Abernathy" and got a solo in the second act.

In my first year at college, I saw that auditions were being held for Fiddler on the Roof and, recalling Guys and Dolls my senior year (and at the nudging of the Gallery), I auditioned.

This time, no go.

At first.

But two days later, I got a phone call from the director. "The person who originally got the role turned it down," he said, "and you were next in line. Would you like the part?"

I played "Yussel, the Hatmaker" and, while I didn't get a solo song, I did get a few lines.

Toward the end of the run of the play, our music director, who was also the choral director, welcomed cast members who were interested to come try out for any of the four choral groups.

Of course the Peanut Gallery jumped at the chance and, after the play had finished, they steered me toward the auditions. 

Two days later, I found myself standing in the rehearsal room that would be my "home" for the next five years. First, as a member of the University Singers. Then, concurrently with the Men's Chorus. And then, for a short time, with the chamber singers, the Polyphonics.

Just before I left college, another musical came along and, of course, the Gallery was more than happy to send me in. This time, I didn't have to wait two days and once callbacks were posted, I joined the cast of Into The Woods.

After college, the Gallery searched around for more performing things for me to do.

Now mind you, these were "side projects." All this time I was still focused on writing and the dream of being a bestselling sci-fi writer. 

Even the "side project" of voice acting, although when the opportunity to sing in a voice acting workshop came up, the Peanut Gallery flew into action. The class, led by a voice director for Disney, had a section on "singing in character." So I did. To the delight of the workshop teacher and my fellow students.

Then came the one-man show and once again, I "sang in character," to the delight of the audience.

After that, the Gallery continued its search for things to steer me towards.

Following a month or so of enjoying a live band (specializing in jazz standards) and some dancing at a local bar, I asked the band leader if I might sing a song as a special treat for someone. He was hesitant at first and asked for a sample. I gave him a short snippet of the song. The surprised look on his face said it all.

A few moments later, I sang "The Nearness of You."

I'd get invited up to sing again a few more times.

After the door closed on writing, the Peanut Gallery steered me toward stand-up comedy, drawing on my voice-acting and years as a nerd to come up with a nerd-centric routine that was part monologue, part one-man radio drama (very much reminiscent of my one-man show), and culminating in a final set that included (to my utter delight) four song parodies.

That set was supposed to be performed at Emerald City Comic Con in 2020 but, as we all know, the world changed that year, and the Con was cancelled.

In the following months, the routine eventually dropped to the wayside while the song parodies went in and out of mind.

Then in 2021, the Peanut Gallery took a different approach. 

It began with my livestream chat show ANIME SHIYOU!! in May, followed a month later by a mini-concert during the 'stream to celebrate my birthday. 

Then came the birthday song in honor of seiyuu Aiba Aina sung during 'stream that October.

This was followed in December by two BanG Dream-themed parody songs: "One Song More," a parody of "One Day More" from Les Miz, and "Ako & Mashiro in 'Little Dark Book'," a parody of Garupa Pico Fever episode 10 and Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana.

Then 2021 turned into 2022, and soon it was April.

Time for Sakura-Con and...well, you already know what happened there.

*   *   *

So, no, I never planned on being a singer 

But I guess I was supposed to be one all along.

Thanks to the Peanut Gallery.


Post Karaoke Open Mic Thoughts

Sakura-Con took place this past weekend and I chose to use their karaoke open mic as an actual open mic, in which I would try out material in front of an audience. 

Specifically, my set list from The Anisons of My Youth.

Minus the MC parts.

Mainly, I wanted to be in "full performance regalia" onstage to see how things would come across. A tech preview, if you will. 

Now I didn't get to do all the songs from my show, but I did enough songs to get a feel for audience engagement.

Here's what I found.

The "classic" songs went over well. 

I started with "Getter Robo" and that seemed to perk up the crowd, small as they were at that time of the morning.

After "Uchuu Senkan Yamato," an audience member yelled out "Encore!"

To which I replied: "I'll be back for one."

Next came "Runner" and I got some "arm swaying" from the crowd.

Then came the "power ballad"--"Ai Oboete Imasu ka." Adding the dialogue from the movie during the long mid-song instrumental went over like gangbusters. When I came off stage, one of the moderators (actually the audience member who called for the encore earlier) said: "That was epic."

A Macross Fan ran up to me as I started back to my seat, shook my hand, and thanked me profusely for singing that song.

"Fly Me To The Moon," the swinging Sinatra version, came next and I vaguely heard some "ooooh"-ing from the crowd.  "The NERV Orchestra!" at the instrumental break got a cheer. The applause at the end of this was punctuated by a couple of cheers.

Next, "Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan," with choice bits of choreo taken from the live shows. Got the audience to join in with some hand-claps. And the monologue at mid-song got some enthusiastic response.

When I came off stage, Encore Moderator said, "Epic, again."

I responded, "And there's the encore you asked for."

"I got two of them," she replied and gave me a thumbs up.

And now, a story...

*   *   *

A few people after I sang, Encore Moderator got up on stage and sang "Country Roads" from Ghibli's Whisper of the Heart. During the instrumental, she talked about her love for Ghibli films.

An idea came to mind but I noticed the morning session of open mic was closing soon and I had to duck out. So while another person took to the stage, I went up to Encore Moderator.

I said to her: "Will you be back here at 5pm from the afternoon sesssion? I have to duck out early now but I'd like to sing to you a song from a Ghibli movie."

She gave a small start in surprise, then said, "Yes, I'll be back here."

I then approached the other open mic moderator and asked how to get near the top of the queue at the afternoon session because I was singing a song for his co-moderator. 

"Put your name in the queue," he said, "and I'll flag it for the afternoon."

I did and handed over the mp3 of the backing track.

Just before 5pm, I got back to the room, grabbed a seat, and got ready. The Open Mic Coordinator recognized me from earlier, waved, and came up to me. "Hi Abner," she said. "We've got you going up second."

I said, "Is Encore Moderator here? I'm going to be singing to her."

Open Mic Coordinator said, "Oh. She went to get a snack."

"Can you put me on when she gets back?"


She went back to prep and I sat back to do some prep myself.

A few minutes later, someone walked up to me and said, "I'm here!"

I looked up. 

Encore Moderator.

"Sweet!" I said. "I'll have them put me on the queue."

She took a seat up front and I went to talk to Open Mic Coordintor.

The session started.

After two singers, they called my name.

I went up on stage, gave a short lead-in to the song.

Then I turned to Encore Moderator and sang "Ue o Muite."

I think she enjoyed it.

Story ends.

*   *   *

As I started "Ue o Muite," a quartet of Japanese girls sitting at the front row gave a squee of recognition and began to clap along in time to the music.


This is exactly the kind of thing I'd hoped to see. 

Now that the room crowd was much larger than the earlier session. the applause and cheer after the song was more pronounced.

And, as expected, the second session had a longer rotation interval. I managed two more songs.

"Enter Enter MISSION" earned hand-claps and chants during the song. This was the only deviation from my original plan of working my show; a friend who is a Girls und Panzer fan was in the audience and I'd promised I'd sing this one.

He got a big kick out of it.

I think the audience did, too.

Panzer Vor!

My last song was "DREAM SOLISTER" and this time, the audience really got into it. A cheer from the crowd when I said: "This one is about the little concert band that could." From the outset came the hand claps in time to the song. I led them in chants at the instrumental, then arm waves during the last verse. 

Honestly, I was trying to channel TRUE's 2016 Anime Japan performance of this song*

At the very least, I think I got the energy level nice and high.

Substantial cheer and applause afterwards.

Three people came up to me after and said they enjoyed it.

*   *   *

Eight songs. 

Technically, seven.

Roughly half the set for the show.

Overall, I think it went well. I'm pleased.

Audience engagement seemed positive, especially with the larger crowd. Hard to tell if it was positive because it was open mic and they're being encouraging or because they're enjoying the performance.

I'm leaning toward a little of both but hoping it's more because I entertained them.

I know for a fact, Encore Moderator and Macross Fan were entertained. Some friends who were in the audience (one of them Girls und Panzer Fan) were also entertained.

For the live, I know I want to check audio. I think there were some inconsistent audio levels and balance, easily fixed during set up. 

Also, turning up the audio on the monitor speaker. 

Staging: I moved within a roughly five foot area when I know I can spread out a little more to increase audience engagement and enhance "visual" variety. 

*   *   *


This can work.

I will bring this to stage. 

And I hope you guys will be able to come watch it.

*TRUE and "DREAM SOLISTER" at Anime Japan 2016.


 Post-concert Thoughts.

It's Monday, 20 February as I write this. 

The concert was this past Saturday and, overall, I feel it was a success.

A minor technical snag near the beginning--no sound.

I didn't check audio connections after hooking everything up prior to stream and didn't notice there was no outgoing sound until partway into the first number.

It's a livestream. 

It can happen. 

It's happened to me before. 

Even after a tech check prior to stream.

But it was easily resolved and not a big deal.

Fix. Move on.

Not counting the "pre-stream message" 15 minutes prior (and the tech glitch), the show ran 1 hour and 35 minutes, give or take a minute.

Interesting. I had originally figured it at about 1 hour 10 minutes: 55 minutes of music, 15 minutes of MC bits /song intros.

Somewhere, I had gained 24 minutes (give or take a minute)!

At the last full run-through, I clocked in at around 1 hour 10, 1 hour 12. 

But I think, the extended time came from additional ad-libs (not part of the"scripted" MC) and more time spent during the sing-along portion where I taught the lyrics to "Sanpo" and the Ranma 1/2 OP.

I must take that all into accout as I now re-look at what I'm envisioning the "full show" to be: a 2-hour anime song extravaganza.

The other thing I noticed was, by the time I got to the encore song, my voice was starting to fatigue and I had to make sure I was giving enough breath support to my performance. I hope it sounded okay to everyone watching/listening; some parts sounded "wobbly" to me (technical term there, "wobbly"), but the majority seemed to have been okay.

Vocal stamina will be another thing to take into account. And I think that just comes with time and practice.

Looking at statistics on YouTube, I see I had 10 people watching the stream. A big "thank you" to those 10. 

Would I have liked more?

Sure. Who wouldn't?

But that was for the stream. Current stats show 55 views since it posted as an archive.

At this point, though, I'm not going to worry too much about numbers. I think I've said this before.

Just looking at the chat stream and the reactions from those folks, and from folks who later texted me their reactions after watching, said it all. They had a fun, awesome time. They enjoyed it. 

And that's exactly the reaction I'm looking for.

Overall, yes, it was a success.


31 January 2023

18 days until the concert.

I just finished Test Run Part 1. Ran through Songs 1 - 3 and the MC bits (yes, I've planned these out)

Checked flow and timing. Worked out cues. Tweaked as needed.

A couple of stumbles here and there. Those will be tightened up.

Need to put additional bits to the stream overlay.

And add a couple of extra lines to the MC bits.

And go over choreography.

Yes, there is some. Nothing full blown.


More later.


Back in October, when I "revamped" things, I essentially started from scratch.

Yes, I had attached the Thing to my anime livestream show. But no one knew I was doing anison covers as "me."

Before I'd shut down the Red Comet YouTube channel, I had acquired about 20 subscribers.

Under my own channel, I currently had 49 subscribers but those were for ANIME SHIYOU!!, not the covers.

In an effort to drum up subscribers to the covers, I decided to issue a challenge: get to 100+ channel subscribers

The reward: a livestream concert.

That was back in mid-October.

Two days into January, I decided to make it a Challenge For The Month: get 100+ subscribers by 11:59pm PST on February 2 and I'd put on the concert.

Sometime on the 15th of January, I then decided to drop the challenge and just announce the concert.

February 18th. 8pm PST.

As of January 30th at 6:50pm PST, we have amassed 63 subscribers. 

If we don't count the 49 already in place for the anime 'stream, that means 14 have subscribed for the covers.

Not quite 100.

But is the subscriber count really important?

That's what I've been pondering since issuing the Challenge For The Month.

There's that concern that my videos are just "screaming into the void."

On the other hand, many of them have garnered more than 10 views. Some, even 20 or more.

One cover has broken 65+ views.

Again, not world-shaking numbers by any means. At least compared to some covers out there.

Then again, should I really be comparing myself to others? 

In that way lies madness, it is said.

But shouldn't the video views translate somehow into added subscribers?

Pondering turned up one possibility: longevity.

After all, posting as "me" only began in October, just three months ago. I'd lost the momentum of the previous four months with the revamp so it should be expected. 


Just need to give it time.

As the saying goes: slow and steady wins the race.

And as long as I'm entertaining someone with these covers, it's worth putting them out there.


It's the 30th of January as I'm writing this.

Roughly two weeks until my 1st livestream concert, slated for February 18th.

I've got headphones on and I'm listening to the songs from my setlist.

Equal parts excited and slightly nervous.

No--take it back. More excited than nervous.

Of course I want the evening to go smoothly and within any hiccups. So there's the nervous part there.

But I'm excited about singing for my potential audience and "bringing back good memories." Once I'm onstage, the nervousness immediately vanishes so it's all about having fun. And, I gotta tell ya, there's nothing more fun than singing fun songs for fun people.

If I had to get technical, this isn't my first livestream concert.

Back in June '21, on my anime livestream chat show ANIME SHIYOU!! I performed a short concert to celebrate my birthday. I think I did two or three songs. Maybe four?

But this upcoming one will be three times the number of songs.

Two weeks until, and there's still stuff to do. I have the gear I need...I think. I may need on more piece, not fully certain yet. Rehearsals are moving along. There will be a test stream coming up.

Honestly, I hadn't planned on a concert that fast. 

I blame it on the Peanut Gallery, aka "the People in my Cranium." I feel like they're really the ones who helped get me here.

I'll talk about them next time.


As I mentioned before, I began this journey last April.

But the actual covers didn't start appearing until the first week of June--

At this point, sharp-eyed followers will likely say: 「ちょっと待って!」("Wait a minute!")

"According to the date on YouTube, your first cover was posted on October 7, 2022! How in the Wide Wide World of Sports can you say it was last June?!?"

Now gather 'round, Children. Uncle Abner's gonna tell y'all a story....

When I originally envisioned this Thing I'm doing, I had decided I'd use a stage name.

In tribute to the types of anime songs I'd planned to cover--older songs from the '80s and '90s--I went with the moniker "The Red Comet," an outright reference to Char Aznable from Mobile Suit Gundam and its sequels. 

Short of dressing up as Char in cosplay complete with iconic helmet and performing as such, I went with a subtler outfit: a red suit jacket. 

That, in turn, conjured up images of a lounge singer-type persona and I hit upon the character of Lorne from Angel and then Vic Fontaine from Deep Space Nine.


Vic Fontaine

But then I occurred to me: why go with a fictional character as a model when I could style myself after the real folks.

Like John Barrowman.

Or better yet, since I was singing anime songs: Sasaki Isao.

Sasaki Isao. Who sang the classic theme song "Uchuu Senkan Yamato," among others.

And so when June rolled around and I posted my first cover, "Runner" from Macross, on YouTube, it was under the stage name "The Red Comet." 

Up went The Red Comet YouTube channel. 

Up when the Twitter account. 

I even started calling my followers "Cometeers."

I would post 10 cover songs over the span of five months as The Red Comet."

Then, at the end of September, I decided to drop the stage name. 

I decided I had to be me. Not "me playing as someone else."



So over a busy weekend in early October, I redid my logos, recut the cover song videos with the new titles, took down the Red Comet channel and Twitter, and reuploaded all 10 songs to my own personal YouTube channel, alongside my anime livestream show, ANIME SHIYOU!!

By mid-October, we were back in business and dropping more cover songs.

Of course, I took a hit.

Up until the switchover, some of the covers were getting good play. My cover of "Uchuu Senkan Yamato" had, at that point, amassed more than 100 views.

Okay, probably small change compared to elsewhere in the YouTubes, but it was still 100+ views and I was rather proud of that.

With the switch, all the number vanished and I was back to 0. 


Goose egg.

I was basically starting from scratch.

In hindsight, I should've started posting as me right off the bat. Created an anison cover singer channel and posted there instead of going with a stage name.

Oh well. 

You live and learn, as they say.


This is the Thing I'm doing.

Singing anime song covers.

"My name is Abner, and I'm an anison cover singer."

*   *   *

It began last April, courtesy of Sakura-Con 2022.

I had gone with the intention of enjoying a fun day at the con. I'd check out merch in the Dealers' Room, catch an interesting panel or two or three, and watch some anime episodes the the viewing rooms.

And then I got a look at the programming booklet and this caught my eye:

I'm not one to say "no" to karaoke. Certainly not to any chance to sing, being the ham that I am. And I happened to know a couple of anime songs. So I thought "Sure! Why not?"

So I went.

And ended up spending the entire day in the karaoke lounge. From 10am to 9pm when I finally left the convention. Half hour for lunch. Half hour for dinner. Otherwise, I was either singing up on stage or cheering on the other folks who sang while I waited for my turn in the rotation.

And that was when I had a revelation: this is what I'm supposed to be doing.

I'm supposed to be singing anime songs.

Not just singing them.

Singing them for others. Singing to an audience. An audience of like-minded anime enthusiasts.

Entertaining them with anime songs.

This was further brought home to me when, at one point, after I'd just finished singing "Uchuu Senkan Yamato," I was stepping off the stage and heading back to my seat when a woman came up to me, smile on her face, and said, "That was awesome. Totally nostalgic. Thank you for bringing back good memories."

And that's what I'm here to do. 

Bring back good memories.


 ...is it me you're looking for?

Lionel Richie jokes aside...

*   *   *

This is a chronicle of my journey as an anison cover singer.

Yes, there's a vlog already in place (and which I hope to add to and continue doing) but this felt like a place where I could talk about more in-depth things than could be done in the vlog. 

So I went with this format, a place where I could chart my trek as well as muse and ponder about the all the details involved in this Thing I've undertaken.

So sit back and enjoy the trip.

Here we go...