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Tom Smith on the Gothic Lolita who overflies all the competition

Meet Haruna, the artist behind Sword Art Online’s third ending theme; Overly. At the age of twenty she managed to land her dream job as a singer. And not just any singer; an anime singer!

Haruna was obsessed with everything to do with anime and manga, particularly some of the fashion styles employed in a number of series. Even her outfit in Overfly’s music video is influenced by SAO’s character designs.

As a young teenager she was a regular indulger of the Gothic Lolita and Harajuku look, as well as an avid reader of KERA, Japan’s alternative fashion magazine. By the second year of senior high school she was already appearing in the pages of her favourite publication.

While Luna’s popularity as an amateur model continued to rise, she made sure not to forget about her love for singing. Since the age of five, when she first heard the theme songs of Sailor Moon, she had wanted to make it her goal to be an anime singer.

In junior high she had already made steps in the right direction by triumphantly landing her first theme song in Rental Magica – the internet radio off-shoot of the popular fantasy franchise. However, her popularity would really blossom when she would enter the 2010 Animax Anison Grand Prix – the X Factor of the anime song world.

The Animax Anison Grand Prix is an annual talent search held across several of Japan’s cities. It’s hosted by the anime television network Animax (if the name wasn’t too much of a clue), and a series of celebrity judges, music producers and record label execs judge young hopefuls singing their hearts out in hopes for a recording contract for the theme of an upcoming anime.

Haruna didn’t manage to win the event, but getting through to the finals did bring her plenty of attention. The experience influenced her to take music more seriously, so she spent the following year practicing singing full-time. In that time she released her first song with LisAni! (‘Listen Anime!’), the magazine for anime-song fans. The track was called Binetsu no Tsuki, and it got her attention in all the right places. SME Records soon swooped in, signed her up, and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

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To date, Haruna Luna has only two maxi-singles tucked under her frilly petticoat; the four-track Overly single, with the title track being used as an ending theme in Sword Art Online; and her very first major label debut Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau, including the second ending theme to the anime series Fate/Zero. Both EPs are available in full worldwide on iTunes. She has a handful of others, as well as a full-length album entitled OVERSKY, but they have yet to be made available outside of Japan.

Haruna Luna’s song Overfly is the ending theme to Sword Art Online Part 3, out on UK DVD and Blu-ray from 24 February 2014 courtesy of Manga Entertainment.

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