Layla Serizawa (芹澤レイラ), better known as Reira (レイラ), is the half-American, half-Japanese lead singer of Trapnest.
Although her name is often transliterated as "Reira", her actual name is "Layla", after Eric Clapton's famous song of the same name.
Layla's friendship with her band comes all the way back to her elementary school days, starting with Takumi Ichinose. The two met when Layla and her mother moved to Japan. Often criticized by the neighbourhood because of her then-vague understanding of the Japanese language, Takumi was asked to befriend her. The two stuck together throughout their childhood, mostly teaching each other about their first language; Reira learned more about Japanese, while Takumi learned more about English.
Layla always showed an interest in singing at a young age, seen through her rendition of Cyndi Lauperi's "Time After Time". During one of the first times she's shown singing this, she tells Takumi she loves him and gives a rather unexpected kiss. As this prompts him to be (not unexpectedly) put-off, Layla explains, though not very convincingly, that she often kissed (or was kissed by) anyone she respected or admired back in America, such as her parents or teacher. After being told that it's usually only reserved for "adults in love", Takumi reluctantly tells her it's fine if she does that, or holds hands with him, as long as it's only when they are alone.
Their friendship remains a close one until the beginning of middle/junior high school, when Layla (again) kisses him after he calls her cute, just like any other day. This time, however, he admits to her that they're getting older and she should only do those things with a boyfriend. Layla doesn't hesitate to ask him to take that place, but Takumi, somewhat unwittingly, rejects her coldly, saying he already has a girl of his own. Takumi begins to tell Layla it shouldn't be hard for her to find a nice boy herself, but by then she's gone from the room.
In between junior high and high school, she befriends both Naoki Fujieda and Yasushi Takagi, the latter of which was then in the band, Brute with Ren Honjo. Layla became frustrated with Takumi only seeing their relationship as that of a brother and sister, or in her eyes, being nothing more than Takumi's "caged songbird". At one point in time, she even asks him what she is to him, but he doesn't respond. To deal with her unrequited feelings, she begins to date Yasu. Their relationship doesn't last, but it was a nice distraction from the pain.
Within Trapnest, she has at times been seen 'expressing' interest in both Takumi and Ren, drawing the ire of Nana Osaki. To make matters worse, the tabloid magazine, SEARCH mailed to Nana photographs of Ren and Layla together, though the shots were simply of an innocent trip the two took to their hometown. To stop the magazine from publishing the photos, Takumi decided to reveal his relationship with Hachi, who initially was suspicious of Layla as well.
Around the time when her band was at its most popular, Layla decided to visit a nightclub in an attempt to pick up an escort for the night. In doing this, she meets and provokes the attention of Shinichi Okazaki, Blast bassist. After spending a night with him, she continues their meetings. The two eventually decide (at first through Layla's wishes) that the relationship is more than that of a prostitute and client, and Shin requests she no longer pays him to stay the night.
Eventually, Takumi catches onto their situation. Knowing that Shin was underage, and also that Layla could possibly ruin her career, Takumi warned both parties to think of the possible consequences. Layla initially brushed off his idea, later realizing how potentially dangerous their meetings were, thanks to the media's recent capture of Layla and Ren together. She reluctantly breaks it off with Shin, only to regret it and beg for forgiveness, possibly repairing their relationship. Shin, however, still a bit scared of Takumi's warning and not wanting to sully her reputation, refused. The two have yet to get back together.
In current chapters, Layla has given valentines chocolates to Takumi and tells him she is "tired of forcing herself" through tears. Takumi states that she is more important to him than anyone, and inquiries whether she's sure that she only wants to become one of his many lovers, knowing that they couldn't have a relationship. She accepts and they kiss passionately, but are soon interrupted. Takumi flees the scene quickly, but not without catching the eye of Ren, who wanders back into the room to check on Layla. They are last seen walking out together, Layla wiping her eyes. Takumi however becomes unsettled about Layla and himself, and its unclear if their relationship continues in the future.
When Reira breaks down and cries after Shin blames her for being "selfish" and not considering other people's feelings because she cried to Nana, telling Nana that it was her (Reira's) fault Ren's death occurred, Takumi is left to pick Reira up from the floor and (possibly) try to comfort her after Shin leaves. After that scene, it is possible that this is the last time the two ex-lovers see and talk to one another.
To fans, Layla is the archetypal idol: beautiful, charming and possessing a good voice. However, to her circle of friends, she's probably just as well known for being somewhat naive, overwhelmingly friendly, throwing child-like tantrums and making questionable demands. Together with Naoki Fujieda, she's Trapnest's main source of laughter.
When Takumi Ichinose became linked with Hachi, Layla quietly left the recording room, upset over her conflicted feelings for him and didn't return for hours. However, it seemed to have cooled, seeing that she personally invited Hachi to her birthday party. As for Ren Honjo and Nana Osaki, Layla has the thought that Nana had misunderstood her; during a long distance call over to the UK, Nana realized that Layla was in Ren's room at midnight (local time).
Behind the scenes
- In the anime, Reira is voiced by Aya Hirano. Her singing voice is provided by Olivia Lufkin, who is herself half American, half Japanese.
- In both live-action movies, Reira is portrayed by Yuna Ito, who interestingly is half-Japanese and half-Korean-American.
- Reira first appears in episode 17 of the anime titled, "Trapnest, Live".
- Through the filming of the movies, Yuna Ito became good friends with Mika Nakashima, the actress/singer portraying Nana Osaki, which is ironic, considering that in the storyline, Nana was not too fond of Layla.
- In Hachi's Confused Heart (episode 24), Reira tells Shin that, despite what most of Japan thinks due to her agency advising her to keep it a secret, she's really half-Japanese, half-American.
- Reira's surname Serizawa means "celery" (芹) (seri) and "marsh" (澤) (sawa/zawa).
- Reira was born on November 1, 1978.