For this time, we have Yasuno Kiyono! At this point of the interview (Spring 2014), it has been 4 years since her debut, and before her major breakthrough in Saekano. Unfortunately, most of the photos from this series seem to have been taken down already. Nevertheless, enjoy the interview! 🙂
Read more after the tab!
This is ‘Seiyuu Zukan” (Seiyuu pictorial book), where we interview up-and-coming
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 16th edition, we welcome Yasuno Kiyono, the voice behind Koneko (Hamatora) and Kitaōji Sakura (Aikatsu!)
Q: Why did you want to become a seiyuu?
Yasuno: Sometime in elementary school, I chanced upon this documentary on TV about anime production. That was the first time I found out about the behind-the-scenes production and the work of a seiyuu, and though I stumbled upon it, that gave me the conviction to become one.
Q: Out of all your roles, who do you have the most emotional attachment to?
Yasuno: That’s difficult to answer, since I have feelings for each of them. But, if I had to single out one, I would say Todoroki Kizuna-chan from my debut show Kizuna Ichigeki*. To be able to play the lead role in my first work made me really happy. In any case, the fighting scenes were longer than the dialogue. I had to shout out, “Ya-, Ha-, Dorya-!”, so I received actual battle guidance from the animation director as well as the sound director. (laughs) For some reason when I paid a visit to the animation production company, the staff brought out a mitt as if to receive my punch and kicks. (laughs) “Pa-kon, Pa-kon**,” “Too weak, one more!” “Pa-kon, Pa-kon,” (laughs)
*Kizuna Ichigeki is a training project for young animators.
**Sound effects when hitting someone
Q: (Laughs) How about any other roles with deep impression?
Yasuno: Safu from No.6 left quite an impression. It was my first regular role in a broadcasted anime, so I put everything I had into that role. The time spent living, being together with someone she loves, the sadness from their separation, her many struggles – that was the first work that taught me the meaning behind ‘Living to the fullest’. The role left a deep impact and significance, and even now lingers somewhere within myself.
Q: Re:Hamatora will be airing soon from next month, can you tell us more about Koneko?
Yasuno: Koneko-chan is 15 years old, and is part of the protagonists’ detective team, where she works at their hideout, Cafe Nowhere. Hamatora is a story in which lives are lost and people are hurt in battles between individuals with supernatural abilities. The premise of the show is darker than the usual shows, and is depicted as a show where sorrow is inevitable. However, outside of the battles when everyone is at Cafe Nowhere, the mood is lively and cheerful, and the conversations are always fun. Koneko will be holding the fort with the cafe master, swinging her broom around and smacking the behinds of everyone, asking them to work harder. In some ways, she’s like a young housewife. She is a lively and reliable person, an innocent girl. Her charm lies in wearing spectacles and having a cat’s tail. Also, actually her tail moves left and right depending on her mood. (laughs)
Q: For Re:Hamatora, what are you looking most forward to for Koneko?
Yasuno: I really respect Koneko for keeping the hideout safe and secure, and after the first season, she is now able to relate to everyone and has become someone whom you can trust, which I hope that status to stay the same till the end of the show. As a character who loves everyone deeply, I wish to etch those feelings in my heart and express them out.
Q: I have read your blog, and I saw the dedication you put into it.
Yasuno: Thank you very much. (laughs) It has witnessed my experiences and growth. That is why, the title is ‘Kiyonogatari’* The blog is a place for me to gather these thoughts, and express my gratitude to everyone who I cannot meet directly.
Q: There are also plenty of pictures, which makes reading enjoyable.
Yasuno: Lately, there has been an influx of local-based anime, I would go visit the locations that the anime was based on if I have the chance to. Wake Up, Girls!* is based in Miyagi, which happens to be my hometown. Before the recording started, I went back and took lots of photos. Ah! This is the backdrop for the show! (laughs) For now, my aim is to start photography as a hobby! I will devote myself to carrying a SLR around travelling, and bring more enjoyment for the shows to everyone.
*Yasuno Kiyono voices Kobayakawa Tina in the show.
Q: That also shares a link with being a seiyuu, right?
Yasuno: That’s right. I have to express out the character’s emotions through words, but sometimes it is difficult to do it through words only. I thought that if I could restore some lost emotions (Things that can’t be expressed in voice acting alone), for example, ‘A view like this’, ‘Such a wind blowing in a scene’ to the acting, it would allow me to express much more. Also, while we are doing the recording within the booth at the studios, the people watching the end product are from all over Japan and the world. I would like to stand at the same viewpoint as them, to present a product from a broad perspective like that.
Q: Actually, I’m very curious about this column you have in your blog, ‘Yasukiyo Stretches’. Was that your idea?
Yasuno: I came up with that after arranging things that I was taught by my teacher. (laughs) I will try to move my body around, and stretch a little before auditions and recordings. I’m the type who can’t project out my voice if I don’t warm up my body. There’s one part I won’t miss out while stretching, which is the area around my shoulders and my upper body. Rotate your shoulder around like this and feel those shoulders move, then stretch them out in front like this.. Pan! Pan! Pan! Also, it’ll be more effective if you throw out your arms out like this! (laughs)
Q: Somehow that feels like a cat punch. (laughs)
Yasuno: Ah, I was told that the other day too (laughs), Just like a cat punch, tilt your fists like this, and release those punches. If you do this, you will be in your best condition for sure. (laughs)
Q: Are the any other things you do before recording?
Yasuno: There is a routine that I always follow. The first thing I do, after waking up in the morning, is to have my breakfast. By moving my teeth and eating something, allows my body to start up. Then, I’d get into the bath, and do some ‘Yasukiyo Stretches’ while humming. After doing all these, I feel like I’m ready to go. (laughs)
Q: What are the roles you want to challenge in the future?
Yasuno: I think one of the virtues of anime is, being able to give dreams to children. I’m blessed enough to be in this job where I have ample opportunities to bring all these happiness to them. This is something I have always wanted, so I’ll continue (giving dreams to children through anime). Other than that, I also want to participate in different stories, including entertainment and inferences that adults can enjoy. Also, difficult roles such as an esoteric work filled with suspense. I’ll work hard and hope to be able to deliver all these to the hearts of people of all ages.
Lastly, my goal is to be able to play the lead role!* (In an anime)
*She achieved it just half a year later by voicing Katō Megumi in Saekano.
Q: Now that you have mentioned it, there’s really many anime targeted at children.
Yasuno: That’s right. Anpanman, Yokai Watch and Pokemon for example. There’s usually many veterans working in such shows. I’m glad to be a part of these productions which I can be proud of, and having them gently teach me on how to properly translate certain feelings to the audience. Watching them and seeing their awareness level makes me want to learn from them. I feel that making anime for children carries a high level of responsibility, because we are adults, and we need to make sure we put in the effort into the show. That’s why I think people working in such production are really cool.
I wish to take part in a production like this, where I can feel the same strong sense of duty, in the future.
Photo Credits: Her Blog
Q: Lastly, a message for the fans who are reading this please!
Yasuno: This time, the focus was placed on me, it was the first time in a while that I could speak without rushing, so it felt really fresh. This year marks my 4th year as a seiyuu. All the characters I have met so far have not passed by me, but instead continues to pile up inside of me. There are also fan letters telling me, “I loved that role you voiced.” I am still a junior, and there are tons of anime out there, but if there is even just one role (which I voiced) that remains in your memory, that would be the happiest thing for me. I will face my characters and work and move forward from now on, in order to leave a lingering impression on everyone.
For the work I was able to present on the stage last year, and the work I get in the future, and how I may be able to meet everyone – I can’t predict at all, but I hope to deliver new experiences as well as surprises to everyone.
Last year I let you out on the stage and what kind of work I will be able to participate in the future and how I can encounter you, I can not predict at all, but I want you to discover new discoveries and surprises in various scenes I hope to deliver it. Lifetime service! Never get bored! Continue to work hard! As Yasukiyo, Yasuno Kiyono, please continue to support me in the years to come!
And here’s a special video commentary by Yasuno Kiyono for Seiyuu Zukan.
Please look forward to the next edition of Seiyuu Zukan!
Interview: Azabu Tanu
Photography: Yamamoto Tetsuya
Casting cooperation: Yoshimura Naoki
This interview was first published on 27 June 2014 in ddnavi.com. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.