This is Seiyuu Zukan (Voice Actor Pictorial Book), where we interview up-and-coming
seiyuu, 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 5th edition, we have Sawashiro Chiharu-san, who is currently involved in the PS3 and PSVita game, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters (Mato Kurenai Yūgekitai).
――Why did you decide to become a seiyuu?
Sawashiro: When I was in high school, I was approached by a talent scout in Shibuya, but I was immersed in my club activities back then, so I rejected the offer. When I entered college, I eventually did some acting, and started to question myself what I really wanted to do in the future. At that time, my sister (Sawashiro Miyuki) was the deciding factor. I thought it would be nice if we got to stand on the same stage together.*
*Together, they have not had the opportunity to be standing next to each other as main roles, but they have appeared on the same anime for some shows, most recently providing the “Zawa” voices for Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa.
――How were you like when as a student?
Sawashiro: I concentrated on my club activities only. I was in the football club in elementary school, baseball club in middle school and handball club in high school. I really love sports, and I’m still playing baseball now. Previously, I hated being in the spotlight as a student (laughs) Even though some part of my heart must have yearned for it, I couldn’t really tell my parents about my interest in the entertainment world (laughs).
――What were the difficulties you faced when you made the decision to go forward as a seiyuu?
Sawashiro: Going to workshops (acting guidance), taking up voice training…and polishing my skills as an actor, at the same time, I had school work and part-time…come to think of it, it was really tough (laughs). I joined a theatre unit DEAD STOCK UNION, but since it’s a small troupe, I had to make all the big props by myself. There are also times when I would suddenly forget my lines even though I practised intensely for a month, times when I can’t bring out my best acting.
Also, 1 week before the performance, I caught influenza and went to the hospital, only to get told that I would need 5 days to recover… Furthermore, the week before the performance is reserved for the full dress rehearsal, and is an important period. So, I had to miss out on that and go straight to the actual event which taught me the importance of taking care of my physical condition.
――Having experienced life at the bottom, did your ambition of becoming a seiyuu grow stronger?
Sawashiro: Yeah. At the start, I did various things, but having a role model in my sister by my side, I was gradually influenced by her and eventually the desire to become a seiyuu became stronger. I repeatedly acknowledged that the path towards a seiyuu as well as an actor wasn’t going to be easy, and in normal circumstances, I think it would difficult to see that as my future vision. However, having “someone living in that reality” made the destination easier to visualise. I was able to see the path to become a seiyuu laid on the backbone of hard work and diligence. Also, I wasn’t just indebted to my sister. I got many opportunities to speak with other seiyuu at the forefront of my activities, and watching them grapple with what’s in front of them made me want to work together with them in this industry.
――Other than your sister, who are the seiyuu you look up to?
Sawashiro: I first saw Saitou Chiwa-san at an event where she appeared with my sister. She appeared to be a seiyuu who doesn’t get shackled by the restrictions and I also aspire to be able to act with freedom like her. As for male seiyuu, it would be Miyano Mamoru-san. While chasing after him, I found out that he didn’t just do voice acting, but also a wide spectrum of other activities. I had an opportunity to meet him recently, and he told me “Work hard!”. That invigorated me to push myself to find my goal.
――Do you have any run-ins with other seiyuu to share?
Sawashiro: My sister sometimes takes trips with her friends, when I go the airport to pick her up, and I thought the person sitting behind is from her usual group of friends so I don’t pay too much attention to them, since the person was wearing a mask and put on a cap. Afterwards, when I watched the annual end-of-year music programme on TV*, it was definitely that person sitting at the back of the car! Finding out things like this really shocked me (laughs).
*He’s referring to NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen, which is an annual New Year’s countdown music programme where 2 groups, red and white, battle with each other through songs.
――Going back to the present situation, what do you intend to do moving forward?
Sawashiro: I have spent 2 years in training school and thought about several things, and in the end I wanted to challenge myself in an unfamiliar environment, so I stepped out and started from the ground. Everyone was very kind to me in school, and I met many respectable teachers who would guide me with passion, so I’m extremely blessed. I want to repay their kindness moving forward.
――How does it feel to start your activities as a seiyuu?
Sawashiro: Since my first job was being involved in a game, I did the recording alone in the booth. But there were still 8 people in the production team watching from the outside, and it made me nervous since I have never had this experience. Also, that experience once again reminded me of the importance of smooth delivery and articulation so I’m practising it everyday now.
――You play the role of Masamune Shiga in the April 10 release of Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters.
Sawashiro: It is a game that will be available on both PSVita and PS3. It is an original creation by the director, Shuho Imai-san, and I play one of the main characters in the game. It is also my first time playing a main role. Masamune is a high schooler who has exceptional grades and is capable of doing just about anything. He is the polar opposite of me and has a good head on his shoulders (laughs). The heroine is voiced by the famous Asuka (Neon Genesis Evangelion) cosplayer, Sakura Inagakisaki-san.
――You are also in Taito’s music game ‘Groove Coaster”.
Sawashiro: Yeah. I sang a rearranged version of ‘Densha de GO’, but I feel that the famous song is ‘Hontou ni Boku de Ii no?’ Even though I was nervous since it was a song from a game I used to play back in elementary school, the studio was very homey and got rid of those nerves. There are many original songs too, so I think it is a wonderful game.
――Are there any other work you want to talk about?
Sawashiro: In Kodansha’s Young Magazine serialization, Suna no Eikan (Crown of the Sand), I got to voice the main character in the animated comic version. He is quite the chatterbox so I got to talk for most of the 36 episodes (laughs). I won the role through the auditions, and I got described by the people at Kodansha as being a perfect fit for the role… Also, it seems like it was a hotly contested audition so I’m really happy to have landed the role.
――How about your hobbies?
Sawashiro: I play the guitar everyday! I also love singing and baseball. The annual pass was cheap when I was young so I would watch up to around 60 matches a year. For now, I support the Yokohama DeNa BayStars, their cheering song is really cool! The hook really fires you up (laughs). As for guitar, I also got involved with Petralka Anne Eldant III’s guitar song from Outbreak Company. They even listed my name in the credits for the CD (laughs).
――So you like both anime and games?
Sawashiro: When I was a student, I would wake up early to play games before I headed to school (laughs). I love fighting platforms such as Street Fighter II, and my addiction got extreme till I developed blisters on my fingers. Also, I would make my own baseball team on Jikkyō Powerful Pro Yakyū (Power Pros) and pit them out against other teams (laughs).
――It seemed that you also have quite a clumsy side to you…
Sawashiro: I watched mainly male-oriented anime, but not so much on the female-oriented side. I got to know about Uta no ☆Prince-sama♪ and thought that I wanted to appear in this series. Then, I half-jokingly asked my sister “Do you know Utapuri? I really want to get cast in this series, so do you know anyone inside?” She replied with “That…I’m actually inside of it.” which surprised me (laughs).
――Do you talk to your sister about work?
Sawashiro: Because we are siblings, she feels that it is not a good idea to teach me, so she adopts a policy to not teach me anything. Even when we are on the same studio set and shares stuff with me as a co-actor, my intention is to study with my own ability. However, she did teach me something that I didn’t learn back in school, which was the cue lamp (cue light) (laughs). Before that, I didn’t know that the the cue for the start of the recording was red… At first, I kept wondering what that light was for (laughs). Everyone else was thinking that it would be natural for me to have pick this up from my sister beforehand…
――How about your aims as a seiyuu?
Sawashiro: Since I love sports, I hope to one day, be cast in a sports anime. It would be great if I could get into a baseball anime. Also, getting into genres that aren’t possible with theatre or drama, like fantasy. Also, I hope to act alongside my sister in a sibling role. I will work hard!
――Lastly, would you like to share a message for the readers of this column
Sawashiro: In order to deliver a smile to everyone, I will put in my best effort, and I hope to receive your support. I’m counting on you!
―― Thank you!
Please look forward to the next edition of Seiyuu Zukan!
Interview: Uchida Nozomi, Tsukino Shizuku
Casting cooperation: Yoshimura Naoki
This interview was first published on 11 April 2014 in ddnavi.com. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.