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Beckii Cruel/Rebecca Flint talented J Pop star in Japan

.

.

.

.Isle of Man

.schoolgirl

becomes an

anime star

_in Japan


By Paul Gallagher


____February 7th, 2010


The Observer

Observer | guardian.co.uk


___Links are in GREEN


Like most 14-year-old girls,

Rebecca Flint likes to dress up

and dance.

.

.

But unlike most girls,

she records and posts her

performances on YouTube.


The results have made her an

internet phenomenon in Japan,

home of the anime cartoon

characters she imitates.


More than eight million people

have watched Rebecca performing

as Beckii Cruel,

dancing to bouncy J-pop

(Japanese pop music)

and anime theme songs

in the attic of her home

on the Isle of Man.


Her success has led publishing

giant Tokuma Japan to sign up

Beckii,

teaming her with 18-year-old French

college student “Sara Cruel”,

from Lyon,

and a 16-year-old student from

Portsmouth known as

“Gemma Cruel”.

.

.

The trio –

Beckii Cruel and the Cruel Angels –

release their debut album

in Japan on Wednesday,

when it is expected to reach

the top of the charts.


Beckii‘s looks have created

a sensation in Japan,

where she has become amoe idol”,

a female worshipped for

her small face,

large eyes and slender limbs,

similar to those found in anime

characters –

the Japanese animation-style

heavily influenced by manga

comic books.


Anime has a huge following in

Japan across all sections of

society.


Taro Aso,

a former prime minister,

is a self-confessed anime obsessive,

reading up to 20 comic books a week.


“The perceived virtual existence

and borderless nature surrounding

Beckii are a catalyst for stirring

fantasies,”

said Toshiyuki Inoue,

an IT journalist,

summing up the popularity

of moe artists.

.

.

Kaori Sakurai,

a freelance writer,

said that the otaku

anime geeks who worship

teenagers like Beckii –

will often avoid pretty girls

in real life,

fearing that they would

simply dismiss them.


But they have been

won over by Beckii,

who appears as just

another fan like them.


Beckii’s popularity in Japan

rocketed after her YouTube

videos were picked up by

popular Japanese website

Niko Niko Douga.


Her Japanese DVD debut,

This is Beckii Cruel:

Too Cute to be Real,

was released last November

and debuted at number eight

in Japan’s DVD charts.


Beckii,

who already features in

Japanese TV commercials

for chewing gum,

performed live for the first time

at Akihabara,

home of otakuculture in Tokyo,

last October.


The daughter of a policeman

and a former dance instructor,

Beckii first became interested

in Japanese cartoons and comics

three years ago when she picked up

a translated copy of Fruits Basket,

a Japanese girls’ manga created

by Natsuki Takaya.

.

.

Since then,

she has been voraciously reading

manga and watching anime,

while also studying Japanese.


Beckii’s idea to film

herself in “cosplay” –

derived from costume play –

followed and an internet star

was born.

.

.

Hundreds of thousands of

Japanese teenagers indulge

in “cosplay”, with conventions

regularly held around the country.


Tokyo Dome,

home of the Yomiuri Giants

baseball team,

is a regular weekend hangout

for teenagers dressed as their

favourite anime

or manga characters.


At a recent press conference

in Japan alongside her father,

Derek,

Beckii said she was aware that

her age and the nature of her

videos would attract some

unwanted attention.


“I’m well aware of the

dangers of the internet;

my school back home on

the Isle of Man is good at

educating us on that,”

she said.


Beckii has had her own

webpage since she was four –

her older brother, Ryan had

his at six.


Ten years on from setting

it up with her father,

who says he has educated his

daughter on the dangers of

the internet,

she now has the second most

subscribed website among

Japanese musicians.


The expectation surrounding

the release of her album this

week suggests her incredible

rise to fame shows no signs

of slowing down.


Anime usually refers to a

style of animation originating

in Japan,

influenced by the manga

(Japanese comics) style and

typically featuring characters

with large eyes, big hair,

exaggerated facial expressions

and elongated limbs.


Cosplay is a term originating

in Japan based on the words

“costume play”, and involves

dressing up as anime or

manga characters.

.

.

Links to Beckii Cruel Videos


Meet Beckii Cruel


_Rebecca Flint:

__Beckii Cruel


.

.

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