Letters from Ai #1

Kayano Ai released a photobook titled “Letters from Ai” back in 2014, and I’ve always wanted to translate them. I will release them in 4 batches so do check back for more!

P.S : Please view full size if you can’t read the words! Also, please contact me if you want to share them outside, thanks~!


The desire to connect with fans through an exchange of conversation just like “Letters”.

From that thought, the serialization “Letters from Ai” has begun.

In the span of about 3 years from many different locations, by “VOICE GIRLS”,

Binding various themes together in the form of letters, please read them once again.

You can purchase this e-copy of Kayano Ai’s [Letters] at Amazon. As for the physical copy, your best bet are physical stores in Japan since this photobook was released in 2014.

Tanaka Minami’s Seiyuu Zukan

For the next seiyuu in this series, I am featuring Tanaka Minami, everyone’s favourite otaku gacha queen! This interview was done back in 2014, so it may be a little dated, but nevertheless I thought it was really interesting, capturing the energy levels of Minami well enough.

This is ‘Seiyuu Zukan” (Seiyuu pictorial book), where we interview highly anticipated seiyuus, how they got their opportunity to become a seiyuu, their first work, as well as their personal life and any other interesting things, together with a mini photoshoot.

For the 22nd edition, we welcome Tanaka Minami, the voice behind Katayama Minami (Wake Up, Girls!) and Hana N. Fountainstand (Hanayamata).

Q: You made your in Wake Up Girls! as Katayama Minami, can you tell us more about the character?

Tanaka: I would say Katayama Minami is very cheerful and bubbly, as well as being able to change the mood. When she puts her mind to something, she will do it seriously and think them through carefully.

Q: The catchphrase “Unmenya~” was also thought up by Minami-chan right?

Tanaka: That’s right! That phrase was originally from the script in the social game. When I saw that line at first, I was trying to figure what it actually stands for, then the staff told me that that phrase will be used quite frequently later on in the show. In the end, I had to say it many times during episode 3 (laughs).

Q: The distinctive tone that became a habit with that line is really cute! Were you able to say it so smoothly from the start?

Tanaka: I had to do many retakes for the first “Unmenya”. The sound director had to tell me, “Imagine Minami-chan having to repeatedly think before finally coming up with “Unmenya“. It was then I could finally deliver that line at the last moment. If it was Minami-chan, she would be doing a cat-like pose while saying the phrase.

I was told that that was the moment the catchphrase was born. It has become a really precious line for me.

Q: What was the challenging parts during dubbing?

Tanaka: At first, I couldn’t quite understand what the director or sound director want to relay. When I considered about the way to deliver the lines and said them, I was told that it’s a little different image from what they had in mind. However, as I continued this process, I could understand how to fix the way the lines are being delivered even if a big change was required.

Q: What’s your favourite scene?

Tanaka: It was the 7th episode, where all 7 of us reunited. I cried when i watched it the first time. When I saw Minami-chan putting in all her effort, I got reminded that Minami-chan is a really amazing girl. It was really an unforgettable scene.

Q: What’s your thoughts on when you got chosen for the role, debuting as a seiyuu in the show, and when the dubbing ended?

Tanaka: I had wanted to become a seiyuu since I was young, so I couldn’t believe it the moment I really became one. The first time hearing my voice in an anime really spurred me and made me think, “I will have to continue working hard from now”. In the 12 episodes that the members of WUG (in the show) grew, I felt that us seiyuus voicing them also grew together with them, giving us the feeling that we could voice them preciously.

Q: What was the moment that you felt you have grown up?

Tanaka: Being able to understand myself when I was voice acting, and being conscious of the transition from an anime viewer to being watched in an anime!

Q: From the moment you passed the auditions, till the dubbing – there was really plenty of lessons you had to take right?

Tanaka: We gathered in Tokyo for lessons, and went to a training camp 3 times during the summer holidays and Golden week. Stamina is really important to perform on stage, so we had to run in the morning, go for dance and singing practice. The lessons everyday was packed from morning to night for 10 days.

Q: Acting lessons too?

Tanaka: Yes. I hit a wall during the “outburst of emotions” lesson. I couldn’t portray “anger” in my acting. When I thought I acted those feelings out, I was told that it was still too gentle. Eventually I decided to forget about the script, but focused on getting angry, and at last I got the hang of it.

Q: Was there any other things that was tough to deal with?

Tanaka: I…don’t have physical strength. I couldn’t even do 1 sit up. Physical training was tough because of my lack of stamina too. Also, there was also dance training. When I tried to dance to the rhythm of the music, but because I’m so weak, I was like start-stop-start-stop – it was difficult to catch up to the rest at the start!

The intense choreography made everyone feel fatigued, and made me wonder if I could really sing and dance at the same time. But, I think after all these time together… we will surely be fine now! I think we will be able to do our best for the lives (concerts) and Anisama!

Q: By the way, what’s your favourite WUG song?

Tanaka: “Tachiagare!”*. No matter how many times i hear the song, every time the intro plays, i get goosebumps. I think it was also because that was the first song I learnt, and the choreography was really tough too. Now, I can finally say with pride that Tachiagare! has become the song I am best at (laughs)!

*Lit. stand up!

Q: For the WUG spinoff short anime (Wake Up, Girls ZOO!), what kind of Minami-chan will we be able to see?

Tanaka: It is based off the zoo theme, Minami-chan will be portrayed as a tiger, and she will be firing off rapid successions of “unmenya“, also the glutton in her will be in full display! Even after becoming a tiger, she is still the same Minami-chan that lusts after meat. Also, while she is ferocious, you can feel the energy and cuteness coming out from her.

Q: Let’s move on to Hanayamatas Hana N. Fountainstand. Can you tell us about the character?

Tanaka: Hana-chan came from America, loves yosakoi* and is a very lively and hyper girl. Her reason for liking yosakoi comes from her love for Japan, and she will end up drawing in people around her. In other words, she’s just a person who dashes forward full-spiritedly.

I was pretty much given freedom for the acting direction of Hana-chan, so I went with theimage of evil magistrate who goes like, “fufufufu“, also elements of a samurai and ninja, having fun at times (laughs).

*Yosakoi is an unique style of dance that originated in Japan and that is performed at festivals and events all over the country.

Q: Was it difficult to keep up a hyper image during dubbing?

Tanaka: Oh, It was alright! I had a switch within that tells me when to instantly turn on/off. Besides, I’m usually hyper so it’s just me being myself (laughs).

Q: Let’s also hear about yourself! Tell us your top 3 favourite food.

Tanaka: First – chocolate! (instant reply) For rice, I’d say omurice*. I like light and fluffy egg dishes. Oh and waffles are my weakness! I’ll have waffles whenever I go to a cafe. Top that off with chocolate and blueberries, lots of berries and it’ll be perfect! Actually my top 3 could be just desserts, I really love sweet stuff.. But desserts are for a separate stomach, so after eating omurice, I’ll still be able to eat waffles!

*Omelette fried rice

Q: How about cake buffet?

Tanaka: I’m free now (laughs)! I’ll take one of each for starters, go for second helpings for the delicious ones. And finally top them off with chocolate fondue! – that’ll be how it goes (laughs).

Q: How do you spend your off-days?

Tanaka: Hang out with friends. Usually that means going to the Karaoke singing boisterously and loudly. Karaoke is very much my personal hobby as well, so I’d go alone sometimes too. I also like going to eat out with them, chilling at family restaurants and chatting till late (laughs). At home, I’m usually at my PC watching recorded anime. Lastly, having a blast at theme parks are really the best!

Q: Even the roller coaster?

Tanaka: I love that! Take me up! Higher! That’s about the feelings I get from riding them (laughs).

Q: What’s the best attraction you’ve been to?

Tanaka: It has to be Disney. Since it’s a land of dreams, won’t everyone want to ride the attractions?

Q: By the way, what’s the best one that will leave you screaming?

Tanaka: Fuji Q’s Tekkochu Bancho has this mid-air swing, the climb up is really great, and because you can’t feel your feet, that feeling is just like flying in the sky. The view of Mt. Fuji is really pretty from there,so I’d shout, “SO BEAUTIFUL~!” at the top of my lungs(laughs). My friends sitting beside are definitely the type who are bad at shouting out loud, so when they shout, “Please stop this!”, I’ll try to calm them down by shouting, “You’ll be fine!” (laughs). Oh if there’s a very frightened kid beside me, it’ll be all the more fun (laughs)!


Q: Eh? Don’t tell me you are an extreme sadist?

Tanaka: hahaha! I wonder (laughs)? I don’t really quite understand, but it’s pretty fun (laughs).

Q: You’re good with haunted houses too?

Tanaka: Yes! Actually just a while ago, when we were recording for the DVD, we (WUG members) went to challenge Fuji Q’s “Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear”. (Okuno) Kaya is pretty bad with them, Mayushii is also pretty bad. Actually most of WUG’s members are bad with scary stuff so (Takagi) Miyu and myself led the group. I held the torch light, while Miyu filmed us, so while walking through the labyrinth, everyone was squealing and screaming (laughs). Looking at them get frightened only made Miyu and me laugh throughout the whole ordeal (laughs). It was really fun~.

Q: What else is included in the DVD?

Tanaka: We cooked together for the first time at a BBQ. I was in charge of making the curry, so I cut the veggies and boiled them. While it’s not difficult making curry outside, we had to properly set up the fire. As for the taste, though the curry was thin at the start, the taste was strong and soupy type,but somehow along the way, the curry became super delicious (laughs). It was as if Yamanashi’s magic was cast on it, letting us enjoy such a good meal!

Q: Do you have any recent bloopers to talk about?

Tanaka: When i was changing trains, I was cutting it close for time, so I dashed across the platform and boarded the train there. But that was not the train that stops at every stop…it was in fact the limited express train. But luckily I wasn’t late! Just that it wasn’t the trip I had on my mind (laughs). Also, when it was late and I just want to get home faster, so I’ll just board the train. When I came to realise, I actually boarded on the wrong direction (laughs). It happens quite frequently for me!

Speaking about stupid mistakes, when I went to see Asanuma Shintaro’s stage play who voices Matsuda in WUG, as it was really wonderful, I wrote a letter and passed to him. But the next day, Asanuma-san told me that there  was nothing inside the envelope (laughs). I couldn’t remember where i placed the letter. It ended up being a story told at many places, and it was really embarrassing (laughs). But, since it was able to make me laugh, it’s good!

Q: What kind of seiyuu do you want to become from now on?

Tanaka: I would like to voice many different characters! For now, my characters are the buoyant type,so I would like to try out quiet and reserved, cool etc. type of characters, or a boy and even a sister role. At the same time, I really like singing a lot, so I hope to be able to get tons of people to watch me perform on stage.

Q: And lastly, a message to the readers.

Tanaka: I’m still very much a newcomer, but I am pushing towards my goal as a seiyuu, so please continue to support me! Thank you!

And here’s a special video commentary by Tanaka Minami for “Seiyuu Zukan”, subbed by me.

Thank you for reading!
Please look forward to the next issue of Seiyuu Zukan!

Tanaka Minami ‘s profile page (81produce)
Wake up, Girls! Blog

Interview: Azabu Tanu
Photography: Yamamoto Tetsuya
Casting cooperation: Yoshimura Naoki

This interview was first published on 29 August 2014 in ddnavi.com. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.

Takahashi Rie’s Seiyuu Zukan

As mentioned in the previous post, I will be starting a series where I focus on some seiyuus before they got their break. Since debuting in 2013, Takahashi Rie has gone from an unknown to recently being ranked at No.9 in a female seiyuu popularity poll conducted by Charapedia.

I chanced upon DDnavi which has an ongoing corner where they interview up-and-coming seiyuus. This was also that defining moment in my opinion where Takahashi Rie really got her break. She had won auditions to voice 3 prominent characters in their respective shows that summer.

This is ‘Seiyuu Zukan” (Seiyuu pictorial book), where we interview highly anticipated seiyuus, how they got their opportunity to become a seiyuu, their first work, as well as their personal life and any other interesting things, together with a mini photo shoot.

For the 74th edition, featuring Takahashi Rie, who has voicedas Ichinose Futaba (Sore ga Seiyuu!), Naoki Miki (Gakkou Gurashi!), Kobayashi (Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace)

Q: Good job on today’s shoot! The outfit really looks good on you!

Takahashi: Thank you! I would usually wear a shirt or a collared shirt with a jacket and slim pants but for today I thought that I would try to coordinate my whole outfit together that would look cute. Also, the hair styling really matched well with my clothes. Usually I would show my ears.

Q: You have 3 main roles coming up in July! Firstly, what kind of a girl is Ichinose Futaba (Sore ga Seiyuu) ?

Takahashi: While she’s a new seiyuu just like me, I also feel that her character is similar, and she puts in her emotions in what she does. When I imagined Futaba as this kind of girl, I realised I didn’t need to change much of my natural voice (laughs). In the end, when I realised, ” eh? That’s me! “, I was taken aback (laughs).

Q: Now that you said it, she really does resembles you. Energetic, lively image for example.

Takahashi: At the beginning, Futaba didn’t really carry that lively image. I think Futaba passes off as a serious and earnest girl,and might appear as someone who puts in everything in what she does. But that facade gives off a certain cheerfulness which I think also reflects myself. It’s a little embarrassing to pass off that image as myself though (laughs). I would also think being overly serious could be a demerit too.

Q: “I’m bad at self promotion and lacking in personality” – that was the one of the brief outlines for Futaba. Surely that wouldn’t be similar to you right?

Takahashi: Actually I think we are kind of similar in that aspect too (laughs)! When I was in Japan Recitation Academy radio show together with the seiyuus from my cohort. At times I was lively, sometimes I was warm and fuzzy – that period made me wonder and fuss over what my personality actually was. But now, I can finally say that being serious (outlook) is one of my traits. This was all thanks to having met Futaba.

Q: Moving on, in Gakkou Gurashi, you played the role of Naoki Miki who is a member of the School Living Club. Please tell us more about the adaptation!

Takahashi: The adaptation will also include a different development from the original work, so I think even for people who has read the Manga would enjoy it. I hope that everyone will watch it!

Q: Finally, we have “Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace” which is a series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the passing away of author Edogawa Ranpo. You play Kobayashi, who can be said to be the navigator of the story.

I hope everyone will enjoy my performance as Kobayashi. He is a character who often holds the final dialogue to solving the mysteries, so I have to be careful on how to convey his lines smoothly without getting lost for words.

Q: And there, you really have a busy summer ahead of you!

Takahashi: I’m really, really surprised (laughs). People around me also told me they are surprised but I think I’m the one who’s most startled by the news (laughs).I won’t forget the gratitude for the things i have experienced till now, and from now on, and I will cherish every character I act as!

Q: By the way, what was the trigger that made you want to pursue a voice acting career?

Takahashi: Back in middle when I saw anime which had female seiyuu acting in male roles, I knew I wanted to be a seiyuu.

Editor note: And she has really become a seiyuu who has also voiced male characters! (Ernesti from Knight’s & Magic, Kobayashi..etc)

Q: What did you watch when you were younger?

Takahashi: I watched Ojamajo Doremi when I was a kid! In junior high school, I got absorbed Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and SOUL EATER, and that really made up my mind to aim to become a seiyuu.

Q: How about the opportunity that led you to debut as a seiyuu?

Takahashi: I joined an audition held by 81 Produce during the 3rd year of high school, and subsequently joined their training school. After a year of training, I joined 81 Produce as a seiyuu. The first role I got credited for was “Girl C”!*
The solitary line was “I’ll be travelling with my family”.

*See the subbed video of Rie talking about it by LEGOF here!

Q: What was your first work after joining 81 produce?

Takahashi: It was for 81 studio’s audition CM narration. For the first time in my life, I went into the recording studios, read out telephone numbers and practiced a lot.

Q: Tell us about your private life! What do you like to eat?

Takahashi: Recently, I came to really like takoyaki! I’ll be happy to eat them for all 3 meals. It can be anything from the frozen ones sold out there, or the authentic ones from Osaka – I would eat all of them!

Q: What do you do to freshen up yourself?

Takahashi: UV curing resin is really popular now, so I created a key chain holder of Korori chan*. I’m pretty skillful with my fingers!

*Futaba’s plushie from Sore ga Seiyuu.

Q: How about your off-days?

Takahashi: If anything, I’ll do vocal and articulation practice at home. Also, redoing lines I couldnt deliver well, building up stamina for lives (concerts) at a gym, doing up my nails or going to the salon. I like using the time for my self development. Oh and I make sure to sleep properly! On days I can afford to sleep in, I would really just sleep a lot (laughs).

Q: Who do you get along well with?

Takahashi: Ueda Reina & Aisaka Yuuka comes to my house often to hang out! Also the seiyuus from L.I.N.K.s* (Aisaka Yuuka, Ishihara Mai, Ikuta Yoshiko, Yamamoto Nozomi) as well as Earphones** (Kouno Marika, Nagaku Yuki). I hang out with them a lot in my private time, as well as work with them in the studios!

*A seiyuu unit formed for Ange Vierge
**A seiyuu unit formed for Sore ga Seiyuu

Editor note: Both Reina & Yuuka are still her close friends, see here
Reina mentioned recently in Shigohaji #19 to Tanaka Minami that Takahashi Rie is a very important person in her life.

Q: Do you have any ambitions as a seiyuu?

Takahashi: I want to voice a character where only I can bring out the charm! Also, I would like everyone to enjoy, as well as be able to surprise people with my performance.

Q: Lastly, do you have any messages to the readers?

Takahashi: I’m Takahashi Rie, a new seiyuu! For the characters entrusted to me, I will do my best to draw out the charm for each and everyone of them, treat each of them with great care and earnestly act out my parts. I would be really happy if any of the characters I play can bring joy to someone out there and end up making people fall in love and support the work. Thank you!

This interview was first published on 30 July 2015 in ddnavi.com. All images you see here belong to their respective owners.

Takahashi Rie’s Origin Series #1

When I started a youtube channel last week, I meant it as a one-off thing as I wanted to focus more on magazine translations. I ended up subbing a 2nd video the very next day. LEGOF already does very good work for Takahashi Rie’s stuff on YouTube, so I thought I would expand that “rie-verse” he has built, and bring to everyone more of her earlier stuff. Maybe I’ll translate one of her earlier interviews later on.

For now, enjoy;