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Who is Momoi Haruko?

Momoi with a Nintento Powerglove

Momoi Haruko (桃井 はるこ) was born December 14, 1977 in Tokyo, Japan and is a a prominent voice actress, song writer and artist. She is called "Halko" by fans (Japanese pronunciation of the nickname sounds exactly like Haruko ironically), a nickname she gave herself which is inspired by HAL 9000, the computer in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Since beginning her career in the late 90's, she became an important idol and representative of the niche otaku subculture during the time.

Haruko attended Tokyo Metropolitan Yoyogi High School. She has gone on record to note how she was often bullied in high school due to having unusual interests that other girls did not have. She enjoyed Bishoujo Games (lit. Pretty Girl Games, Visual Novels), Anime and especially video games. During this time she recieved a personal computer and started a personal blog which is still around today, in all its 90's glory: momoi.com She eventually gained recognition online and was offered a job to write for "Weekly ASCII".

During this time, Haruko began performing live in Akihabara, a popular gathering place in Tokyo for otaku. Her first hit single was "Mail Me" which was featued in the 2000 Sion Sono film Suicide Club (自殺サークル). However, hse had already established herself with a small following in Akihabara performing in underground live concerts as seen in this 1997 clip of her single "GURA GURA." She had also begun performing theme sounds for adult visual novels around 2000 with "Omakase! Angel Trouble" and "Baldr Bullet."

After the success of her singing career, Momoi was offered a role in the 2001 anime "The SoulTaker" and the eventual spin-off "Nurse Witch Komugi-chan" in 2002. The latter of which recieved a lot of vocal albums showcasing Haruko's vocal talents. Around this time she collaborated with Masaya Koike to form UNDER17.

Momoi Haruko also had many roles as a seiyuu (voice actress) in anime during the early 2000's. Similar to her experience with visual novels, she also performed many opening songs for anime during this time. Some major roles include but are not limited to:

Komugi-chan ep 2.5
Insert song from "Nurse Witch Komugi-chan" performed by Momoi Haruko and arranged by Masaya Koike (2003)

Momoi is currently still involved in the tangetially related otaku media industries, though it appears she has not receieved major roles as a seiyuu. I suspect she has been working in the production side of things as well as continuing a prolific career as a singer. Best of wishes for Momoi and her continuing endevors!

Further Reading

(Info from natalie.mu & Wikipedia & Visual Novel DB & MyAnimeList entries)