Q&A with Kohara Konomi (27/12/18)

Kohara Konomi does a Q&A on IG every now and then. Do check out the previous ones here! Also, she answers some questions that are written in foreign languages. For those questions and answers, I did not translate them and left them as they are. They are indicated in MAROON.


Q: What are the things you take note when you have an event?

A: I always think of how to make the event enjoyable for everyone who comes. Even though I always say this, I share the same feeling as everyone who says “I’m looking forward to meeting Koko-chan”, and while it is work for me, on the other hand, it doesn’t feel like work too. Being together with everyone makes it enjoyable. Also, I try to look at everyone’s faces. Not just the front, but also the people at the back. Since everyone came out of their way to attend the event. (✿´ ꒳ ` ) ufufufu

Q: What are some memorable dramas you watched? (Hito ni Yasashiku [Be Nice to People] for me)

A: Ooh! I watched that too ✨ I really loved that drama back then. I like Lunch no Joou (Queen of Lunch)  and Pride. Another one would be the dark-themed Soredemo, Ikite Yuku (Still, Life Goes On) which gave my heart quite the impact. The actors’ acting are really amazing. It’s a wonderful show that makes me want to be able to act like that one day.

Q: How did you come up with your autograph?

A: It would be really cool if I could do it in a single stroke, but due to my lack of sense…lol. Since both my family and first names start with “Ko”, I combined them as one. My dad also told me “Cherish your smile”, so I drew a face with a smile within the “O” lol. I thought you could tell that it is “Kohara Konomi” immediately, so I went ahead with this. Heh heh heh.

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Q: Mizuno Akane’s boyfriend, Nomura Kasumi, Kanou Koyomi*, all of them are writers of novels, does Kohara-san have any plans to write one?

A: I don’t have any sense for composition so it’s difficult… (cries), recently I realised I am connected to girls and boys by “Literature”. lol

*All of them are works she appeared in. (Tsuki ga Kirei, Asobi Asobase, Yagate Kimi ni Naru)

Q: Please share with us the appeal of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. In a way that makes us want to watch.

A: Although it is a love story, there are tons of comedic elements in it which will make you laugh. You will be so busy laughing! Lol also Aoyama (Yutaka) san who is in charge of the narration is really interesting! Lol. The character I’m voicing, Fujiwara Chika is really cute… lol. I also got to do tons of ridiculous stuff that you wouldn’t expect haha, it’s a work I put in lots of effort in, so please watch it!!!!!! (cries)

Q: Where do you find all these cute accessories you are wearing all the time?

A: I like handmade items so I go to bespoke shops where they sell all these handmade ones ♡ I also made some myself uhehe

Q: What do you eat to get that charming voice…!?

A: No, not at all, when you put it that way, I’m really thankful… thank you. I didn’t really like my voice in the past. But, being able to do all sorts of work now makes me feel grateful. I get told by mum “I (gave birth to) a respectable one (●´ー`●)” lol

Q: Did you buy a cake?

A: I didn’t buy one for Christmas. Instead, I ate a milk pudding~ lol

Q: The full moon yesterday night was indeed as per “The moon is beautiful (Tsuki ga Kirei)”! Do you think of acting as Akane-chan again?

A: Of course! Even if I talk about acting as “Mizuno Akane”, she has been imbued inside of me as an important existence. I’m sure this will not change in the near future. If there is a chance that I can deliver my voice as Akane again, I will gladly do so. Thank you for cherishing Tsuki ga Kirei.

Q: Do you have any roles you want to take on next?

A: Yes! I’ve been saying this, but I want to act out a role whose emotions is visible on the outside. Sorry for the complicated answer. What I mean is a role that isn’t categorized as a tsundere or loli but as an average person. This thought is probably influenced by dramas or films. That said, I love anime too.

Q: Do you have any things you want to do, or places you want to go in this lifetime?

A: Yep yep! I love Anne of Green Gables so I want to visit Prince Edward Island in Canada someday. As for things I wanna do, skydiving! Somehow it feels like your perspective of the world would change once you tried it.

Q: Sou Brasileiro. Luan.(Hello, I’m from Brazil.)

A: Olá! Obrigado pelo seu comentário. Estou feliz! (Hello! Thank you for your comment! It makes me happy.)

Q: What animals do you like? I love monkeys 💗

A: When I was young, we used to have a monkey at the back of our house lol. I love cats (●´人`●) I keep a cat back home.

Q: What are the hardships after becoming a seiyuu? Also, how about the blissful moments?

A: Although there is no such thing such as hardship, there isn’t a template in acting which makes it difficult, since acting comes from your own accord, you don’t get help from others, and there are anxieties that come with it. However, that is the basis of acting. Your growth (as an actor) will stall if you remain satisfied. The moment that makes me feel blessed is bringing joy to everyone! Even if we do not meet directly, my voice is able to reach you. I’m really thankful for that!

 

Please follow Koko-chan at her IG!

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This Q&A was first published on 27 December 2018 on Instagram. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.

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Q&A with Kohara Konomi (26/12/18)

Kohara Konomi does a Q&A on IG every now and then. Do check out the previous ones here! Also, she answers some questions that are written in foreign languages. For those questions and answers, I did not translate them and left them as they are. They are indicated in MAROON.



Q: I’m going to live by myself this coming spring! Do you have any recipe for simple yet delicious meals?

A: Living alone! You must be looking forward to it ✨ Yeah I wanna know too lol. I like spinach so I love to toss them together with bacon and fry with butter. I also wanna learn tomato dishes.

Q: How’s the outlook for a meet and greet?

A: I don’t know the situation now. But you can be sure that I’m all pumped up for it! Lol

Q: Can you speak any Chinese words?

A: 谢谢 (Xie xie / thank you) is about it maybe… (tears) Being able to speak foreign languages sounds cool eh.

Q: Do you do ego-searching (looking up yourself on the internet)?

A: Not at all. But after an event, I try to relive the fun by looking up the event on the net, and seeing people post comments like “It was great!” makes me wanna work hard for the evening portion too! (if there is one) lol

Q: What cosmetic products did you buy recently?

A: Haven’t bought anything recently (●´人`●) Let me know your recommendations ✨ When I heard that Korres is not making the lip butters that I’ve been using for a while now, I instinctively bought 3 sticks lol

Q: What is Koko-chan’s third favourite milk? (following the format of Dotto Ai (Dot I) radio ✨)

A: I’m so happy! A listener from the radio! Thanks. For that, it’ll be  “White Rose Milk” (From Gainyu). By the way, “Special Rich Milk” (From Megmilk) takes first place, second place goes to a bottled milk from Kawagoe. fufufu

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Q: Can I cheat on you with other seiyuu?

A: It’s good to have others (seiyuu that you like) to support, I feel really happy to receive support already, so to think of such a thing (keeping the support to myself) is ridiculous! There are plenty of wonderful actors out there ✨(Please share with me your favourite lol) “I’m happy if you can continue to support me” – that’s all from me. Receiving comments and letters every time makes me happy enough.

Q: What’s your conditions for marriage?

A: Working hard at work. To be considerate towards each other. Also, this is a little embarrassing but, someone who thinks of me deeply would make me really happy.

Q: What’s Koko-chan’s theme song?

A: It’s here! This question ✨For now, it is “Make My Dreams Come True, Doraemon”. I had a conversation recently with mum who said “If you sat down to listen to this song, you would end up crying.” so I kept listening to it before leaving home each day for work.

Q: Where do you wanna go for the New Year Holidays?

A: I guess, hatsumode (First shrine visit)  for the start of the year? As for the eve, I’m gonna relax at home (parent’s home).

Q: Did you buy any presents for yourself?

A: A dressy one-piece! (formal dress for ballrooms,functions…etc) I hope to have the chance to wear it one day.

Q: What’s something you had to bear in mind after becoming a seiyuu?

A: My throat is sensitive, so I’m mindful of my throat’s condition. Also stuff like catching a cold… Everyone, take care too.

Q: What drinks do you like?

A: If it’s something recent, I’ve been drinking tea from this brand “Warm Tea”. It keeps my body nice and warm.

Q: What was your best buy this year?

A: “A 2-way Scandinavian design sofa (cushioned chair)!” Since my room is small, there wasn’t a good one. I found and bought this and it was great ✨ It comes with Velcro tapes and can be folded into a crescent moon shaped cushion or expanded into a cushioned chair with backrest. You can find it by searching with this key words “2way 北欧 フロアソファー マジックテープ” lol

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Q: Who do you want to do a radio with next?

A: Ishigami Shizuka without hesitation! Who (else)~ lol

Q: If your siblings are Guru guru (Mahoujin Guru Guru) characters, who will they be? Also, please share if they are the elder or junior.

A: My younger sis would be Kukuri. She’s cheerful and fun ✨ As for Nike, he’s cool so I want him to be someone Kukuri likes instead of my (Kukuri’s) siblings.

Q: It was one day early, but I gave my dad a storage case for his watch! Does Koko-chan have any plans to give anyone presents?

A: I gave my younger bro a bed ✨ I was glad he liked it.

Q: What is your favourite event in a year?

A: Eh, I wonder… I like how Spring brings along the blooming of Sakura flowers 🌸 I can’t pick since there’s too many!

Q: What kind of gestures, actions do you like from the opposite gender?

A: I’m weak for kindness that comes from the heart. Also, an earnest face. I think it’s dangerous when he says “Come here”… I’ll go like “Kyaaa♡”. I’d get Zucchi to say it to me next time.

Q: Have you played Smash Bros before?

A: I played when I was younger! Everyone is playing it now ✨ It became a topic in the studio set for Kaguya sama.

Q: Do you feel great when you had a “Boom! Got ya YO!”* moment?

A: Yep, it feels great. Lol I wonder how many times I’ll get to say it later on?  Looking forward to it haha

*This is a gag line from the upcoming Kaguya-sama where she plays Fujiwara Chika.

Q: What’s the most memorable moment from this year?

A: I’d say gaining many new experiences from Asobi Asobase. Being a playscore setting for the recording, everyone’s faces left a lasting impression, it was frantic lol and full powered ( *´艸`) and something we can’t show to everyone haha

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This Q&A was first published on 26 December 2018 on Instagram. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.

 



Q
: Were there any difficulties you had to face while voicing Kasumi-san in Asobi Asobase?

 

A: Keeping in mind her personality, I was constantly thinking about how to break down her character. What is it like to talk when you have a cute and restrained appearance, or things like whether it would be interesting to make her voice lower when she is angry. It isn’t hardship, but that was a role that made me think lots about.

Q: Did you take part in any club activities in school?

A: In grade school, I was in the basketball club, and badminton club in middle school. But, I actually wanted to join the track and field club. Because I liked long distance running.

Q: I really really hope that Asobi Asobase will have season 2 ! Best anime ever . (I’m fan from Taiwan)

A: I’m really happy.Thank you very much.I want to play a kasumi again.Please continue supporting me!

Q: What’s your recommendation for the perfect Christmas song?

A: I’m so sorry I answered this after Christmas has passed!! There are many songs that come to mind but I like “When The Christmas Carols Play” (Inagaki Junichi). Also, I like B’z’s “A Merry Christmas One Day”.

Q: What kind of cakes does Koko-chan likes? Cheesecake for me.

A: Shortcake 🍰!! I love whipped cream 💕

Q: What kind of sweets (desserts) do you like?

A: I love whipped cream, lots of it. I love sweets that have tons of them layered on top, so please share with me your recommendations!

Q: Are you good with using the camera?

A: Not at all, i’m just a amateur… I always pay a visit to the IG profiles of people who asked me camera related questions ✨ Please teach me some tips!

Q: I love you ;w: (sorry i can’t read japanese)

A: Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you saw it!Thank you as always

Q: I have a question, but I can’t write it in Japanese.

A: I try my best to read them so writing in other languages is fine too! Thank you. (I’ll do my best to read it, so even a foreign language is fine.Thank you as always)

Q: As a seiyuu, do you have any personal creed that you won’t allow yourself to lose to anyone?

A: Honestly, I don’t think about such things. If i get chosen, I will respond to that expectation with the best of my abilities. Hmm, what could my personal creed be… I’m looking for one lol

Q: What is your choice for Christmas cakes? Shortcake or chocolate cake?

A: Shortcake without a doubt!

Q: Since Koko-chan mentioned that you like winter, have you gone to Hokkaido?

A: I went with my family when I was around 8 years old. I was having so much fun on the ice that I ended up falling down hahaha.

Q: I’m unable to be proactive in chasing the person I like. Please teach me how to draw out my courage.

A: I still believe it starts from a conversation, that way you can build on the courage by talking to her. Even if it’s something small, it’s important to have an objective. If you feel shy about it, try to say “Hello” to her once in a week. I was the same back in school, wanting to talk but got too shy about it and end up running away. If you don’t want to regret, then try your best! A big change begins from finding your courage!

Q: Please share with me your recommendations for cosmetics!

A: I like Elegance’s Radiwater cheek rouge. It comes in a cute small container. I like the faint redness that it gives out.

Q: Sorry, this isn’t a question 💦 Today, I was able to finally go to Kawagoe! I went together with Benippo (Mascot character in Tsuki ga Kirei)~!

A: Wow!! How was it? Did you have fun? Let me know your thoughts.

Q: Are there any brands you like?

A: Brands… Not really lol! Wait! Muji!! Even though I graduated from being a staff there, I still am in its care lol.

Q: Do you have any youthful memories you are proud of?

A: It’s not something to boast about but back in middle school, the person I liked was good at piano. He will always be in the music room during break time, and I went over to talk to him. Lol (Does this feel like youth?)

Q: What words will make your heart tighten when you hear them?

A: Being told “I wanna meet you” in a straightforward manner. Ah, just the other day, Zucchi messaged me this on LINE, “I love you, Konomi”… I couldn’t keep still in the bed then.

Q: Do you feel any generation gap when you talk to your brother?

A: Nah. My bro has a keen interest in the things I like, so we often watch (shows) and play around together, we don’t run out of common topics. Even though we are 10 years apart, it doesn’t feel like it and the both of us are simpletons. Lol. I think we are very similar. That said, my bro is a way better kid than me.

 

Please follow Koko-chan at her IG!

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This Q&A was first published on 26 December 2018 on Instagram. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.

Q&A with Kohara Konomi (25/12/18)

Kohara Konomi does a Q&A on IG every now and then. Do check out the previous ones here!


Q: Merry Christmas!

A: Merry Christmas ✨ I received tons of messages like this. Is everyone having a wonderful Christmas?

Q: Who are you spending this Christmas with?

A: I’d just say this first. There’s nothing for me to hide. When I end work, I’ll go straight home and prepare for the next day’s work. I spent Christmas at my parents home last year, but this year there is not one bit of festive joy since I’m spending it alone.”

Q: Are there any bands you like?

A: Yep~! But I’m not that specific. I just listen to whichever is popular at that moment. Please share with me your recommendations!

Q: Good evening~ How will you be spending the new year?

A: I’ll be going back to my parent’s home for the new year.

Q: I hope you do an Insta Live!

A: A live like radio shows would be fun (●´人`●) But, it will end up being at night, and I will end up troubling everyone.

Q: I wanna know what bag you bring around and the contents inside. I’m curious about what you use!

A: There’s really nothing too significant inside. I’ll post a photo next time lol.

Q: Did you receive any Christmas presents that left a lasting impression?

A: There’s a lot of questions on this! ✨ Let’s see, I think I had more memorable presents back before I was big enough to go to school… I liked “Sylvanian Families” back then, so I was really excited when I saw the “Calico cat family” (Daddy, mummy, son, daughter, baby) set lined up when I woke up in the morning.

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Q: Are you a beef stew or cream stew person?

A: Stews are indeed delicious. If I were to picked one, I’d go with cream stew. I love stews 💕 I also love dad’s overnight beef stew.

Q: Do you usually use perfumes?

A: I don’t! Ah, but I use the hair cologne spray that Zucchi (Ishigami Shizuka) got for my birthday ♡

Q: Merry Christmas 🎄 What kind of milk products do you like?

A: Merry Christmas ♫ As for milk, I like special rich milk (Megmilk snow brand). I also like Aloe yogurt and Partheno yogurt!

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Q: Where do you get your clothes from?

A: I love stuff from bulle de savon ♫ But I have a few other stores I like too. Muji is still one of favourites since the time I graduated as as staff from there.

Q: I enjoy reading your posts each time ♡ What LINE theme are you using now?

A: I use this one “Kisekaeru-shi-” ^^I’m eagerly awaiting the stickers from this series.

Q: I’m envious of your silky smooth hair~! What shampoo do you use? 💖

A: Not at all!! My hair is thin so it gets affected (damaged) easily. I think that’s (because) I bleached my hair. I’m using this brand “Aujua” for shampoo.

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Q: Are you the type who spends New Year at home? Or travelling?

A: I haven’t traveled during the New Year holidays yet!! It’s the Kohara household customs to visit relatives’ houses during that period lol.

Q: Why did you decide to become a seiyuu?

A: I was previously an actor. I was encouraged by my mum and teacher back in grade school to try out voice acting… Since the thought of a voice-related job was always in my heart, I decided to give it a shot when I was 23! Then, I sent my CV to my current agency (Office Osawa) and here I am now.

Q: Do you get along well with your siblings~?

A: I get along well with my little bro ♫ I’m coming home soon~ lol

Q: Thank you for always posting the IG stories! I hope to be able to meet Koko-chan one day!

A: I should be thanking you instead! Sometimes, I’d head over to pages of people who posted their comment with a photo lol, so that’s a kind of event~ Also, it’ll be nice if I get to do a meet and greet ✨ I look forward to meeting everyone too!

Q: Merry Xmas~

A: Merry Xmas ( *´艸`) What are you having on this lovely day? 🎄 Oyakodon for me lol.

Q: How high can your voice pitch go?

A: I wonder…I haven’t done it during acting… But I won’t lose to Kino HIna-chan* haha

*Her co-star in Asobi Asobase, who voices Honda Hanako)

Q: What’s the sight that left the most lasting impression on you this year?

A: First up would be the sunrise I saw with my lil bro on New Year’s Day, in second place would be bidding farewell to everyone with Zucchi for Mahoujin Guru Guru’s event. That moment when I saw everyone’s smiles, tears and faces was a blessing. Hearing the words “Thank you Koko-chan” made me feel that I was really glad to have been voicing Kukuri! Above anything else, Zucchi’s happy face made me really elated too.

Q: When did you stop receiving Christmas presents? Also, what’s the present that left you with the deepest impression?

A: I wonder when… Maybe when I was in grade school? Since then, I received money and letters from dad ^^I’m at the age where I’m giving them out now. As for memorable presents, I answered earlier (Sylvanian Family)!

Q: Is milk your favourite drink?

A: That is the correct answer! It is indeed milk 🥛

Q: Are you still hanging on with the cast members from Tsuki ga Kirei?

A: We’re still chummy with each other~ We still go out for meals from time to time!

 

Please follow Koko-chan at her IG!

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This Q&A was first published on 25 December 2018 on Instagram. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.

Nikkei Entertainment interview with Takahashi Rie

Hisanori Yoshida, more commonly known by his nickname, Yoppi, sat down with Takahashi Rie for an in-depth interview earlier this year. It was published as an article in Nikkei Entertainment’s magazine, and compiled in 2019 edition of Seiyuu Bible. As such, the interview is less rigid than usual, but also offers an inside look in Takahashi Rie’s acting thoughts on being an otaku, voice actor and finding acting.

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Takahashi Rie

A new star with many lead & heroine roles under her belt, talks about “The way of a female voice actor”, and also about her “Thoughts” that was born through her love for anime.

 

It has been 5 years since her debut as a voice actor in 2013. Takahashi Rie possesses sweet and crystal clear voice as well as her impressive acting skills that has helped to elevate her performances for her roles. In 2015, she landed her first lead role in Sore ga Seiyuu, as well as being selected as part of the main cast for Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace and Gakkou Gurashi, and has since became the main lead in Mahou Tsukai Precure.  Through her wonderful acting as the main heroine, Takagi san, in the popular manga Karakai Jouzu no Takagi san, she brings to us a brilliant performance.

There are usually two polar opposites when it comes to an image of a voice actor, one whose love for anime and games became their reason to become one – or in other words, a voice actor who possesses otaku attributes, the other which is the opposite, and often taking a completely different route to become one. Despite being on board with Takahashi Rie for numerous events and radio programmes, we have not established which type of voice actor she is, so the purpose of this interview is to get a conclusive answer.


Yoshida: It wasn’t really the case in the past, but recently I feel that there has been a spurt of otaku-ish voice actor who joining the industry because of their overpowering love for anime, and to put it in all honesty, I feel that Takahashi-san exudes this otaku-ish characteristic, but on the other hand, that doesn’t feel like it too. So, which is the case here!? – that is the theme for this time round.

Takahashi: I see! That’s a really happy theme (laughs).

Yoshida: Really!? Why is that so?

Takahashi: That was something that weighed on my mind when I entered this industry. Liking voice acting as a job makes me treat it importantly, it can be put as someone who is passionate about his/her job, but because I really like voice actor, subconsciously I would have constant thoughts of  “It’ll be nice if there is a voice actor like this” or “I want to become a voice actor like her”.

For me, I also got to know about voice actor through anime, so there’s definitely an otaku inside of me that loves anime, but if I happened to meet them (the voice actor who appeared in the anime) on-set and tell them “I watched this anime~”, it gives off a feeling that I’m coming to work to play instead. So even if I meet a person I admire or a person involved in an anime I like a lot, I want to stay focused and keep these thoughts within myself, and properly carry out my responsibilities for the job that I have been entrusted to. I think that is the basic etiquette that I should observe as actors on the same set. I would like to keep ‘The voice actor, Takahashi Rie’ and ‘The otaku, Takahashi Rie’ as separate entities.

Yoshida: That’s great. It sounds like something that Downtown-san¹ would say.

¹ Downtown is a Japanese comedy duo from Amagasaki, Hyōgo consisting of Hitoshi Matsumoto and Masatoshi Hamada. Formed in 1982, they are one of the most influential and prolific comedy duos in Japan today. (Wikipedia)

Takahashi: Ah, is that so?

Yoshida: By that, I don’t mean that you are expressing yourself as an entertainer. But somewhere in the middle, it shifted to being able to be responsible for the work itself. I had a chance to hear from Nozawa Masako-san, who told me that there was no profession known as ‘Voice actor’ in the first place. That is why she said she doesn’t think of how and what a voice actor should be like. Times have since changed from back then, and I feel that is the reason for this way of thought now.

Takahashi: I feel that is a new mindset now.

Yoshida: In my era, there were many voice actors in their 40s who got entrusted with roles in anime, while it was a given that there would be thoughts on characters and voice acting as a job, but I feel that it is the ‘New generation’ that kick started the notion on how voice actors are seen as.

Takahashi: New generation eh… I wonder.(laughs).

 

Getting into anime through ‘Higurashi’


Yoshida
: Was your love for anime from an early age, so much that you discovered that ‘you only like anime’?

Takahashi: I was absorbed into the world of Hinamizawa² back in the 2nd year of middle school (laughs). I was really deep into Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.

² Hinamizawa is the fictitious village that the events of Higurashi is centered around.

Yoshida: This is already the generation that ‘Eva’ doesn’t get mentioned already (laughs). But anyway, you didn’t get into it when it was first released, right?

Takahashi: Yeah. I couldn’t follow it back then, so I started after it got adapted into a manga series and played the game after that, I also only found out about the anime afterwards. But I learnt a lot after entering the world of Higurashi. It spawned doujinshi, character songs, and I also learnt about the other shows that the cast appeared in. In a sense, this was my portal to the otaku world.

Dōjinshi (同人誌, often transliterated doujinshi) is the Japanese term for self-published works, usually magazines, manga or novels. Dōjinshi are often the work of amateurs, though some professional artists participate as a way to publish material outside the regular industry. (Wikipedia)

Yoshida: So that was your life back in middle school, how about back when you were a kid?

Takahashi: My mum gave me free rein to do the things I wanted to do, so my education policy was relatively based on my free-will. I liked singing as a kid, so I joined the neighbourhood theater troupe, as well as doing rhythmic gymnastics for around 8 years and playing the piano!

Yoshida: That’s quite the devotion you put into learning.

Takahashi: Surprisingly, I tried out many different  things. I even joined the soft tennis club in middle school.

Yoshida: And the number 1 question that everyone asks themselves after entering a club in middle school is “Why did I choose this club?” (laughs)

Takahashi: That’s true (laughs)! Furthermore, my seniors were really strict.

Yoshida: (laughs). That is why you got  into Hinamizawa.

Takahashi: Yes, under the influence of my friend (laughs). There was an otaku group in the class whom I got along well with, and thereafter was introduced to Higurashi. Since I like the horror genre, maybe that is why they introduced the manga to me. But, even though I was under the impression or reading a horror manga, I learnt of the moe subculture through some moments while reading.

Yoshida: I see. In the first place, getting into Higurashi is not the usual route (becoming an otaku) you would take. If you are used to moe stuff, getting into horror afterwards might be a little jarring.

Takahashi: That’s right. I went into this world via the other side (laughs). After that, I found out about Nico Nico Douga  and also fiddled with portals like Koebu (laughs). That’s really nostalgic.

⁵ Nico Nico Douga is a video sharing website that was launched on 12 December, 2006.
⁶ Koebu was a community portal where users can record lines, upload recordings as well as listen to recordings from other users. It was used by many middle and high schoolers who were aspiring to become voice actors. Koebu concluded its service on September 30, 2016.


Yoshida: When did you start having aspirations of becoming a voice actor?

Takahashi: It was during the 3rd year of middle school.

Yoshida: So you took the auditions back then?

Takahashi: No, that was during high school. To be honest, I already had all the materials for becoming a voice actor back then, so I was really determined to go down that path. However, my parents insisted on graduating first, so I set my sights on joining the broadcasting club and practicing singing in high school. After graduating from middle school, I joined the broadcasting club as well as the light music club.

Yoshida: Light music club!?

Takahashi: I felt that just being in the broadcasting club was insufficient, and since I wanted to practise more, and K-On! was very popular back then (laughs), buying a Les Paul was not out of the question too.

⁷ Les Paul is the guitar of choice for Hirasawa Yui in the anime, K-On!

Yoshida: So you bought it right (laughs).

Takahashi: Yes (laughs). However, I really liked being in the recording studio for the broadcasting club activities since I could talk about otaku-related topics, but at that time the general consensus of otakus was not too well received, and since the light music club was more on the fashionable side, I kept K-On! a secret from everyone inside there. Instead, I would give suggestions like “Hey, let’s play Stereopony’s Namida no Mukou⁸ ~”

⁸ Stereopony was a 3-member girl group who disbanded in 2012. Namida no Mukou was used as the 2nd opening theme for the 2nd season of Gundam 00.

Yoshida: That just about qualifies as an anison (anime song).

Takahashi: Ah, but I would usually bring tea and sweets to club (laughs). Everyone was wondering why, but in my heart I was like “Let’s have a girls’ talk and enjoy some after-school tea time⁹!” (laughs)

⁹ After-school tea time is the band name of the 5 main characters in K-On!.

Yoshida: You managed to adapt to the situation well enough instead of controlling it.

Takahashi: The first step starts from conforming to others (laughs).

Yoshida: So, how exactly did you get about becoming a voice actor in high school?

Takahashi: Back in high school (and the agency she belongs to now), I took on the auditions held by 81 Produce,  but I did not receive any notification (of passing) which left me shocked. After that, I knew I had to work harder and went on to represent the broadcasting club at the national meet, wrote that down on my records and took on their auditions 1 year later again, and this time, I managed to win the special prize. That said, it was more of earning the rights to begin training at their facilities. Although I had not formally entered the agency, it was a big step for me.

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‘Female voice actor’ as an occupation

 

Yoshida: You mentioned earlier about ‘Liking voice acting as an occupation’.

Takahashi: While in high school, I watched tons of anime for the purpose of becoming a voice actor, and after entering the broadcasting club, I found the expression of voices to be interesting, and that was about how I became a voice actor otaku (laughs). It wasn’t the anime themselves that captivated me, but the narrative behind the acting, and I became interested in the past records of the voice actors and their lifestyles. After looking into them, I realised that there are already people of my age group in this industry, and since I like watching their singing and dancing expressions, I went to Sphere and StylipS’ concerts several times. I’m sure it was not so much on gaining more in-depth knowledge about the anime, but rather, it was the moment that I grew more invested in the world of voice acting, especially ‘female voice actors’.

Yoshida: In the present day, I hear that there is a code to live by for female voice actors, or simply put, their “Strategy”.

The best way to bring out my potential was to join EARPHONES and to distinguish myself from others.

 

Takahashi: I believe it exists. I thought of setting my sights on that, but I realized that even among all the seniors, everyone of them has their own strategy on how to stand out from the rest, so no one is doing the same thing. That is what gave me the resolve to join EARPHONES.

Yoshida: EARPHONES certainly feels like a project that is fresh off the bat.

Takahashi: When I started activities with EARPHONES, it was different from the image of female voice actor unit that I had in my mind (laughs). But I think it’s all good, since we got to head towards an interesting direction. I think EARPHONES is really great for me.

Yoshida: It’s rare enough to find someone who’s a female voice actor enthusiast, that’s why I find that Takahashi-san has looked at the overview of this subject, and that there are really few voice actors out there who understands the context as much as you.

Takahashi: Ah, I think I still got a long way to go from looking at the complete picture…

Yoshida: I think you are already doing well enough in that department!

Takahashi: Because I really like the world of female voice actors, I end up paying attention to them.

Yoshida: Let’s put aside the talk about acting for now. It’s a given that no one is neglecting that, what do you think about your own specialty and how do you act upon that?

Takahashi: I always think that it would be great if I can make the the series enjoyable through my acting, and to allow everyone to feel the earnestness that I put in the process. However, I don’t want it to be a case of the viewers just looking at the character being voiced by Takahashi Rie, it would be the best if everyone can think of that as just one character involved in the series and to enjoy the series as a whole.

From my own viewpoint, for example, if there’s an anime you like, and you like it so much that it becomes the reason for living. Once you reach that stage, you would be curious about what kind of feelings and mood the production team had when they created that series. And if their passion and feelings align with yours, you would definitely be over the moon. That’s why I feel that if I hope to properly convey these feelings of earnestness and importance of the work to me in the series, and for the viewers to enjoy watching without worrying about anything else.

Yoshida: That sounds almost like a shrine maiden, making sure not to neglect the deities (fans).

Takahashi: (Laughs). Because I like the work, I would like to convey my appreciation to the fans in the greatest way possible, which is by my acting and enjoyment in the series. For the purpose of achieving that, I’m in the midst of trying out things and ironing out the flaws.

Yoshida: For example?

Takahashi: For events and interviews like this, I’m still thinking on how should I present myself, or maybe how I should proceed on a whole. Using Twitter is also part of the bigger picture. I try to make my tweets relevant to the words that were conversed on-air, but to be frank, I’m still really bad at it. I’d take 20 minutes to draft out a tweet… (laughs). Since we are at the era where voice actors appear on the public stage, I would like to think of the broader picture and how to support the series moving forward.

 

4 hours for script checking!?

Yoshida: Takahashi-san left a very deep impression on me with your portrayal of Kobayashi in Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace.

Takahashi: Thank you for watching it!

Yoshida: It was a series that I really liked. Furthermore, I felt that since the role is played by a female voice actor, she must be really up to the job and that she should be specialized in playing the roles of a young boy for a long time.

Takahashi: Ah!

Yoshida: That is why when I saw Takahashi-san’s portrayal of Kobayashi, I felt that you were really good and also thought you brought out the essence of the character.

Takahashi: It makes be really happy to hear those words. I was a newbie at the time of Rampo and that made it possible for me to act out the role, or should I say, because I was empowered by my surroundings, I was able to find my inspiration and act out a difficult role like that. That was also the impetus that led me to be able to act out the role on the theater last year too.

Yoshida: You reprised your role as Kobayashi right?

Takahashi: That’s right. Uezu Makoto-san who was in charge of the series composition for the anime was also back in as the screenwriter and supervising director, but he told me this “What’s wrong? You aren’t able to act out Kobayashi anymore? (like how she was able to do because it was her first time)”. That stung me and made me frustrated. I wanted to prove that it was not a fluke the first time round so I gathered my thoughts and tried again, and this time I got the approval. Two years have passed by since the broadcast of the anime.

Yoshida: I had no idea that happened!

 

While chasing after the image of the voice actor, I discovered my number one love, acting.

 

Takahashi: That said, since acting is something you express with your entire body, I had interest in it. Ever since being told “A voice actor is an actor.” back in training school, I always wanted to appear on a stage someday, so I took part in this project. Not just the acting part, but being able to talk with the other actors about acting was enjoyable too. Everyday was stimulating, and it made me feel throughout my whole body, that I really love the expression (of acting).

Yoshida: At that point, you must have felt a love for acting that exceeded the love for a voice actor.

Takahashi: I think so too. While chasing after the image of a voice actor, I discovered that my number one love is acting, and that is something that made me want to give my best.

Yoshida: That is certainly putting the audience as the priority.

Takahashi: You really think so? There are times I’ve been told that I’m over thinking a little…

Yoshida: While that may be the case, I feel that that is something the voice actors of today have to consider.

Takahashi: Actually, while that was ongoing, I heard “Voice actors are really too good”, and that made me a little sad. At that period, I was thinking about Kobayashi the entire time. How would Kobayashi eat his meals, how would he walk home, to list a few examples. Although I’m happy with that, the fast switch from being a voice actor surprised me, or should I say, saddened me.

Yoshida: I see~!!

Takahashi: It was about playing one role in the morning and another role in the afternoon, and I felt apologetic on realizing the relative lack of time I had for each of the characters. However, I feel that voice actors who can do this switch between the characters and expressions are true professionals, and it is something that I’m lacking in.

Yoshida: Somebody once told me that voice actors are like divers. When you are ready to go, you submerge into the waters in that instant, and when it is time to withdraw, you come back swiftly.

Takahashi: That’s indeed relatable. But I’m the type who wants to make use of every possible minute to work on the role…

Yoshida: I took it that you were gaining experience by putting your 100% into the role through the stage play.

Takahashi: Although there are also people who finish their script checking in an hour, I took around 4 hours for mine at that time. I guess it’s like embracing my profession as a voice actor?

Yoshida: Are you talking about efficiency here? But that aside, efficiency comes later on. It’s the end result that matters after all. If we put it this way, it feels like you are thinking about many different things. I can only say it is like a mystery.

Takahashi: You are right, I think there is really a lot to think about (laughs).

Yoshida: I’m sure that is what makes the voice actor, Takahashi Rie. On one side, you are an otaku, and on the other, taking care of what the viewers see.

Takahashi: That will be nice if that is the case.

The places you put in effort as a voice actor

 

Yoshida: I think the currently airing (at the time of this interview) Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san is a wonderful anime. The emotions of the characters are expressed in a delicate manner on a whole, and everyone performed their roles perfectly!

Takahashi: I agree. Even the movement of an eyebrow adds detail to the scene, it feels like every little thing consolidated to form Takagi-san as a complete product.

Yoshida: Takagi-san is certainly a role that required the input of many thoughts.

Takahashi: That’s right (laughs). I started from “The things that Takagi-san likes”, “The things that Takagi-san likes to do”, “Her favourite Nishikata’s reactions”, “The things that fans of the original work wish for” to list a few, so I gathered thoughts like these before the first recording session (As well as plenty of notes written down on A4 sheets, as well as hand-made character memos which Takahashi-san showed during this interview)

Yoshida: That’s amazing. Is it really okay for me to look at these!?

Takahashi: Yes! Maybe my notes are a little difficult to understand though… I thought that if I didn’t do this beforehand, I won’t be able to grasp the image (of the character). Even though the direction of the acting changes at the studio, I have to fix the fundamentals clearly in my mind, since there’s no luxury of time at the studios. Doing it like this makes me grasp the situation clearly and that is a hypothesis that I have come to form for myself.

Yoshida: (In the memo) “From the director, the pace of the middle schoolers on the island” is written. Was the setting based on an island!?

Takahashi: It wasn’t specified in the manga, but in the anime, you get to see the sea and experience the laid back feeling pretty often. The director specifically wanted me to portray the pace of middle schoolers living by the sea, and not of those from the city, so it’s something like dictating your own life by your own pace.

Yoshida: That’s really amazing, going out of your way to prepare these materials for the interview.

Takahashi: I feel uneasy if I don’t have them at hand (laughs).

Yoshida: I feel that Takahashi-san has done everything that was needed of the role. Things like controlling the situation fittingly and making a decisions on certain parameters. I think that is a role that a generic voice actor cannot carry out.

Takahashi: Thank you. Takagi-san was a really difficult role… Since there are many fans of the manga, there is considerable pressure and responsibility that fell on me on how to answer to their image of the ideal heroine through the anime. That is something a voice actor has to put in effort for!”.

Interview: Hisanori Yoshida

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This interview was published in Nikkei Entertainment’s Anime Special “Seiyuu Bible 2019”. You can buy the magazine at Amazon. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.

Special thanks to Pyrite for proof reading!

Interview with Suzaki Aya (Part 1)

This is a 2-part interview courtesy of Animatetimes. Suzaki Aya, a graduate of Japan Narration and Acting School (Nichinare) talks about her currently airing shows and her ideals for voice acting. I will translate part 2 when it is out.

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Today, our guest will be the popular voice actor, Suzaki Aya-san who have ongoing roles in the currently airing “Himote House” and “RELEASE THE SPYCE”, as well as voicing the protagonist, Asuka in the upcoming January release, “Mahō Shōjo Tokushusen Asuka” (Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka).

In the first half of the interview, Suzaki-san will share with us the charm of the 3 series, while we also take a close up look at her private life.

 

日本ナレーション演技研究所洲崎綾さんインタビュー前編2.jpg――Please give us a self introduction.

Suzaki Aya (Suzaki) : I’m Suzaki Aya from I’m Enterprise. I have some nicknames, but the more common ones are “Ayappe” and “Pecchan”. I have a positive personality and I feel that I’m an organized person. For fans following me, they may already know this, but I’m unexpectedly an interesting person. However, there are many people who would disagree with that (laughs).

――What are your strong points and weak points?

Suzaki: My strength would be not letting my past hold me back. What I mean by that is that all those moments I disliked and felt sad about….. I’m the type who forgets about them completely by eating and sleeping a lot. My shortfall is that I’m a forgetful person (laughs). I guess whether it’s on the surface or the inside, I’m the same person.

――Next, let’s hear about your hobbies and talents, and I saw that your profile on your agency website listed “Singing, soft tennis, scuba diving” as your hobbies.

Suzaki: That was written 7,8 years ago…..Why did I write singing as one of my hobbies back then…(laughs) I’m sure it was because my instructor advised me to put in a performance related craft (laughs). As for diving, I do it in my free time.

――By the way, what are your recent hobbies or interests?

Suzaki: I wasn’t interested in temples, shrines and pottery in the past, but recently I’ve got into traditional arts and crafts like Rakugo and cultures passed down from a long time ago.

I also like spending time at home now, and as I grew older, I became more interested in the way of living. I also developed a habit of arranging the interior so that it’s easy and comfortable for me, and now I’m living a life surrounded by my favourite things. Thus, I like checking my scripts at home now. In the past, I couldn’t concentrate, but home is the best place for me to let out my voice. I also like cleaning and keeping things tidy.

――Next, I would like to ask you about the series you are appearing in at the moment, “Himote House“. First off, the catch phrase for the show is “5 people and an animal, a lively cohabitation.” What exactly is the series about?

Suzaki: Firstly, it is an original series by the director Ishidate Kōtarō-san. The story tells the lives of 5 girls and a cat who live under the same roof, but the twist is that all of them have their own unique supernatural powers.

While the first half of each episode features a variety of scenarios, the second half is when everyone gathers and talk about different topics, something like the last act of a play with plenty of ad lib. There are several different depictions that give rise to the literal style of the anime, and we are given a lot of creative freedom.

I voice Hongou Tae-chan, and she feels like a girl who pulls the story along with her. She’s someone who doesn’t think too much, or simply put, gives off the impression that she’s an idiot. (laughs) The anime is full of cute girls and they are all characters you can love, I think it is a really lovely series.

――Beginning with Tae, all the characters have rich personalities.

Suzaki: I feel that the director is definitely conscious about how each and every cast member share similarities with their respective roles. Arai Minamo has a veil of mystery surrounding her and a calm demeanor which is exactly how Sumipe (Uesaka Sumire) is like (laughs). Akesaka Satomi-chan is also similar to her character, Himote Kokoro, like how she has all these smart retorts as well as her serious side. Enishi has an allergy to cats despite being a cat herself, and that cat allergy setting mirrored her voice actor, Nishi-san (Nishi Asuka). She even speaks in the same Kansai accent like her too.

――How about you? Were there any points you were conscious about when fleshing out her character?

Suzaki: To be honest, I didn’t really cast any particular attention to the role, I just acted out as it was. For example, although Tae-chan’s base voice and voice when she speaks to other people are different, the way she moves up a gear when she speaks to other people is about the same as me. It may be a little far fetched to say that I’m the same as Tae-chan though…… I mean I’m not as much of an idiot like her (laughs).

While ad-libbing, I try to keep her character as much as possible, delivering lines as if it was from the character herself, and I have the impression that this was how everyone went about for the creation of their characters.

――I heard that to keep the playscore setting (dubbing without any footage), there was no visuals at all during the recording.

Suzaki: That’s right. However, I was tasked to host this radio show, “Suzaki Aya’s Himote House, going all out radio*” for one cour before the broadcast of the anime, where we invite various guest from the industry and present the charm of the original work. In the show, we had advance airing of the voices for part A. Because of that, the recording for the anime took place significantly earlier than usual, and the radio was used as a means to close the distance between the original material and the broadcast. Although I got to know about the character design at the time of recording, since it was animated, it was difficult to comprehend.

But after watching the anime, everyone is really cute! From the perspective of a male, it is akin to getting a peek at a group of girls in their late twenties chatting about life in a Cafe. Furthermore, the gags are independent from the story, so it is an anime you can enjoy with a clear mind. Even when 1 episode has passed and you miss out some of the talk from earlier, you don’t feel that you are being left behind, and I think it is one of the charms of the anime.

*The original title of the radio in Japanese is “ 洲崎綾の「ひもてはうす」ぐいぐいプレゼンラジオ”. I couldn’t find a more natural way to translate “ぐいぐい” here so I rephrased it “Going all out”. Let me know if you feel there is a better way to translate that, and I’ll edit it.

日本ナレーション演技研究所洲崎綾さんインタビュー前編3.jpg

――By the way, did you have time to chat with the other cast members during your breaks?

Suzaki: We had many opportunities to talk about stuff like “The scenario this time round was really interesting eh.” The one that left the deepest impression on me episode 2’s “Otome no Policy” (A maiden’s policy), where there was a scene about Momoya’s battle. Everyone was using their own special ability to try to open the cap of a bottle, and I really liked that part (laughs). After the recording, we kept talking on how interesting it was.

Also, since the second half is more or less ad-libbed, we try not to talk too much about them since it will affect the content of the scenes. While we talk about our thoughts after that, the mood before the recording was like boxers in the waiting room (laughs).

――Everyone is just quietly focusing on the match (laughs).

Suzaki: Other than that, Mizuhara Kaoru’s (voice of Himote Tokyo) acting was really fun, everyone was shaking with laughter, and it got so bad that we had to pause the recording for a while (laughs). I really enjoyed the recording sessions and it felt like a girls party.

――Before the broadcast of the anime, there were various events such as theme song release, radio shows and events, what left a memorable impression on you?

Suzaki: The radio shows left the biggest impact on me. For the currently airing “Himote House Radio, we’re not sleeping tonight” which I host with Akesaka Satomi-chan as well as “Suzaki Aya’s Himote House, going all out radio”*, we had many different guests come onto the shows.

We had guests like Dan Mitsu-san (actress), Hyadain-san (Maeyamada Kenichi, musician) and Tenshin Mukai (entertainer), unexpected guests which would make you go “Eh!?”.

――(Laughs)

Suzaki: That said, because it was my first time meeting them, I was nervous almost all the time, and paid special attention not to appear disrespectful. Although I said it would be a good learning experience, I just really want to perform my role on the radio show (laughs). By the way, for Dan Mitsu-san, everyone was excited on what kind of radio show it would turn out to be. It was really fun since there were so many people who came.

――Since Suzaki-san has been involved in this series for a long time, how would you describe its appeal?

Suzaki: Since the broadcast timing is on a late timing slot on Sundays, it will surprise you on how the anime is refreshing and keeps out the Monday blues for all those working and studying. I think it is really an anime reserved for the last activity of the day (laughs).

The characters are cute, and I feel that it’s a perfect anime for times when you are tired, since you can go into it without thinking about anything. You will be able to sleep with ease after watching, and you will feel refreshed and have all your vigor restored the next day.

Especially when you have something on your mind or when you just don’t feel like doing anything, this is where the anime shines. Also, even though I said the ad-libs are the main part of the show, it still blew me away with the amount of ad-libs (laughs). And since they are all thought up on the spur of the moment by the cast, we will be delighted if you can enjoy them. There are also many scenes that got cut, but they will be included in the Blu-ray so please keep a look out for them too!

――Moving on, let’s hear about “RELEASE THE SPYCE”. What is it about?

Suzaki: “RELEASE THE SPYCE” is centered around a private intelligence agency called “Tsukikage” and its activities as a spice team. There are 6 high school girls in the team, where 3 members act as mentors to 3 apprentices and together, they battle a criminal group known as “Moryo”.

Takahiro-san, the creator of “Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru” (Yuki Yuna is a Hero) is the screenwriter for the show, and although I cannot reveal too much, but I would say it is not a straightforward anime. It doesn’t stop at just the cute appeal of the characters, but there is a dark theme behind the story. There are scenes that make you weep as well as scenes that yuri-centric, and it is a show that gets you excited as you watch.

――As for Suzaki-san, you play the role of Yachiyo Mei in the anime.

Suzaki: Yachiyo Mei-chan is a free-spirited character who looks at the whole picture of the scenario. Although she may be seen as a cheerful person who jokes around, she is the one in the team who can pick up subtle changes in the environment. She is the only mentor who is of the same age as the apprentices, so she can be often be seen chatting with them, making her the closest to them, and that is an unique position for her character.

――What were the key points you had to consider when voicing her?

Suzaki: Since the tone of her voice is close to mine, I used my usual voice to act out the role. Because of that, I was more conscious of my co-actors voices since I didn’t really have to affix an image to my character. Also, I try not to look at the visuals too much while voicing her.

――Oh, so you don’t think about the visuals while recording?

Suzaki: Personally, I wanted to act out the role as if I was in the scene itself. So, I imagined the character’s position and status in my head while doing the recording. I think that is why there were many of her lines were natural.

――So you wanted act as if you were Mei herself, rather than fitting her with a voice?

Suzaki: That’s right. I wanted to dictate the portrayal of Mei, and not the other way round. It was also discussed during the recording for the first episode where I undertook the direction of “Portraying a natural elder sister”.

Also, in addition to her free-spirited nature, the staff requested me to “play around more”, I thought it wasn’t so much about creating the character’s composition in this case. So I thought of putting aside the visuals, and tried to breathe life into Mei while while putting my vision of her together.

Moreover, I was told “Suzaki-san, we will adjust the visuals to match with your acting, so go ahead and give your input.”, which made me think “Oh, we can do it like that?” (laughs). On the other hand, I felt that I was given too much freedom, and since I would trouble the animators if I overdid with my acting, I decided not to disrupt Mei’s expression as much as possible and played around with her lines.

――I see. By the way, how did you feel watching it when it aired?

Suzaki: Namori-sensei really did a great job in making the characters so cute, the action scenes were also done very well, the slick and smooth animations resonated with me. The balance between the regular and the fighting scenes was really superb!

――Although the series placed an emphasis on the mentor-apprentice relationship, please tell us more about the charm of the relationships during the production process.

Suzaki: I really love the dynamics between Mei and Fū. While Mei is cool and reliable when she is out there battling, she’s like a hopeless husband when it comes to her private life (laughs). Her genius comes with a block-headedness and she always makes Fū worry about her.

Since they are poor, they ended up living together. There are scenes where Fū gets angry at Mei for wasting funds even though she scrimps and saves for Mei’s sake by making meals for her (laughs).

Although their mentor-apprentice status is strong, the opposite can be said for their private lives. Relying on Fū for her daily routine, or rather, she has to let Fū take care of her. I think that relationship between them is really wonderful, it gives a sense of both relying on each other in different scenarios.

――They feel like the contrast between day and night.

Suzaki: Episode 4 places the focus on them where they got into a quarrel. The difference in their opinions caused them to butt heads with each other, and it makes you feel warm inside seeing how they reconcile with each other, it was an episode that left a deep impression.

The scene where Mei sings while strumming her guitar on the streets, and the insert song was her singing about Fū – that was a really wonderful scene. I’m sure that episode 4 would have ended by the time this gets published, please definitely re-watch this part.

――Also, the main cast did a live filming for the MV (music video) for the opening theme “Slash! Spy & spice”.

Suzaki: When the talks about this began, it caught me by surprise….. I was at a loss on what to do (laughs). I only had a singular experience of filming a MV which was for “Suzakinishi THE ANIMATION” which was spawned from the radio “Suzakinishi”, so I went into the filming this time round with the mindset of a newbie. By the way, Nu-nu (Numakura Manami) who voices Hanzōmon Yuki, is very good at winking, and she was really cute! The MV was first shown at the advancing screening, and it caused quite the commotion (laughs).

日本ナレーション演技研究所洲崎綾さんイン――(Laughs). Was there any memorable incident from the filming?

Suzaki: Actually, we couldn’t find time to match our schedules to practice, so we received the footage to practice at home. Despite that, when we first gathered at the studio to film the MV as well as practice together for the first time, it felt youthful, or should I say, it was the feelings as if we were students, and it was really enjoyable.

The outfits provided by SPINNS also gave off the feel of students, youngsters. Everyone was rowdily busking in the high school girl-esque atmosphere while eating our take-out meals, it was so much fun.

Incidentally, our outfits at the screening were also provided by SPINNS, and they were different ones from the MV. Especially since Nu-nu, Ucchi (Uchida Aya, voice of Aoba Hatsume) and me are on the older side, we don’t get to wear cute outfits often, and the fans were really delighted for that.

――Please share with us once again, the appeal point of the show and points to watch out for.

Suzaki: “RELEASE THE SPYCE” is a show with cozy slice-of-life scenes, with a mixture of cool spy-like scenes, as well as an abundance of action scenes. While it is an anime that makes you admire the characters, the plot of the story gets clearer gradually, and every episode will have certain developments.

――Finally, we have “Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka”, which will air from January 2019, where you voice the protagonist Ōtorii Asuka. What impression did you have after reading the manga?

Suzaki: With a title like that, my first thought was that it is a Sunday morning anime targeted at girls (laughs). After peering past the surface, I found out that it is a serious anime with a strong dark fantasy theme by Fukami Makoto-san of “PSYCHO-PASS” fame.

While there are many harsh depictions, the birth of characters in that cruelty and the interaction and exchange between them are depicted with importance. The maid costumes that are being used as camouflage for the girls of the special operations team is a a cute factor, but there are also other factors that are the opposite, and this is a gap that makes the series enjoyable. Also, the female characters feels quite girly and good! The actions scenes are also cool. I’m sure that it will be received by the viewers as a very attractive series.

――For people who sees (the title) “Magical Girl”, they will surely be shocked by the key visuals (laughs).

Suzaki: It was a real eye opener! (The characters) are equipped with weapons (laughs). When you think about magical girls, you picture them flying and shooting out beams, and the enemies fall without blood being spilled. But this isn’t the case here, where you see blood flowing out (laughs).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3n76fmP9Og

――This was a role that was decided from an audition right?

Suzaki: Yeah, that happened. I was sure that I failed the auditions, so I was shocked to receive the call.

I’m sure everyone’s image of Asuka is a cool and composed girl. I haven’t had a role like this before, so I think fans can’t imagine what it would be like for me voicing her, I’m heading to the recording with excitement……! Also, although I worked with the sound director, Iwanami Yoshikazu-san on previous works such as “Kill La Kill” and “Knights of Sidonia” previously, it felt fresh for me this time in regards to my acting. When I recorded for the CM (commercial), he told me “That’s rare. It sounded really cool.”, I found my determination to put in my best. I was also elated when Fukami-sensei told me that the image was perfectly in line with what he had.

――How did you go about formulating a plan for the auditions?

Suzaki: For the typical auditions, the majority of the lines in the audition script would be based around human emotions (Joy, anger, sadness, humour). This time round, there wasn’t anything like that. The lines were describing a character who doesn’t express much emotions due to her past, or simply put, imprison herself in that state. That’s why I thought that the amplitude of her emotions isn’t wide, and thought that maybe I can pull it off.

Actually, I only got to know of the audition a day before (the actual audition), so I took on it without reading the manga. Of course, I sat down and properly went through it after I passed but, I also had thoughts that it was good that I didn’t over-create the character at the time of the audition.

I feel that if I read it beforehand, I would end up inputting my personal opinions on certain scenes. I think that is why it would be difficult for me to come up with the unexpected expressions that was required. I don’t know if it is just for this case only, but I’m really glad that I got chosen.

――As the voice actor of Asuka, what is your impression of her?

Suzaki: Although she is a magical girl, she is shouldering many burdens in the harsh reality she is in, and carrying a wounded body and heart. Because she is very different from me, I feel that the recording will be difficult, but as an actor, it is a role that is worth doing. Also, she has many exchanges with Kurumi-chan, and I’m looking forward to her voice since it’s my first time working with Sekine Akira-san.

――What do you think are the key elements to watch out for when it airs?

Suzaki: I still believe the appeal of the show lies in its action scenes. Perhaps there will also be people watching it because of its title (laughs). After getting betrayed by their impression of a magical girl show, I feel that they will fall into the cool vibes of the series. As for me, it is a new challenge for me, and I believe that the other cast members also feel the same way as me too. I think that everyone will unite in the creation of the series, so i’ll be delighted if you watch it.

――Thank you.

Interview, text: Toyabe Kouhei

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This interview was first published on 4 December 2018 in Animatetimes. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.