Backtracking to May 2016, Takahashi Rie did a short interview with Fresh YanYan, where she talks about her role in PreCure, her aims and goals as well as her past. You can see how much her thinking has changed in the 3 years by reading this interview by Nikkei Entertainment.
The spirit of the up-and-coming heroine actress
“Continuing in the voice industry is my dream, but not my goal.”
ーーIt is listed in your profile that your blood type is either A or O, why is that so?
Takahashi: I didn’t take the test when I was born. There was once I wanted to donate blood and went to have it checked, but since it was winter, I was told my blood vessels were too thin and they couldn’t plunge the needle in. Since then, I have gone for further checks.
ーーIf you were to make a guess, what type would you be?
Takahashi: I share the love of eating with my dad, so maybe I’m an O. That said, I don’t really believe in personality profiling by blood type. To assign people into 4 different types of personalities, I think that’s a little…… (laughs).
ーーPutting aside that, when you were voicing Futaba in Sore ga Seiyuu, you mentioned that “Her serious side is similar to me”.
Takahashi: I spend excessive time choosing the ideal words while composing a text. I’m also confident to say my room is neat and prim like hers, and I’m clumsy with my fingers. Ah, I guess that doesn’t really have any relation to the serious side (laughs).
ーーWere you the honours student back then?
Takahashi: Probably not? It was just easy for me to get immersed in the things I was interested in, so Biology and Language was my best subjects. On the other hand, for subjects I wasn’t interested in…… (laughs).
ーーSo you liked Biology?
Takahashi: I love drawing the cell division process (laughs). Since the process of separation was interesting, I got absorbed into drawing them subconsciously.
ーーEver since last summer where you got to act in 3 anime including Sore ga Seiyuu, you have burst onto the scene.
Takahashi: No, not at all. In any case, it’s not my aim to become popular. To borrow the words of Futaba-chan, I just want to be able to continue in the voice industry. I wish to convey the charm of all these wonderful characters and the shows to everyone.
ーーBy that, do you mean to say that your aim is to become a polished voice actor?
Takahashi: Of course, I’m an actor after all. With the number of characters now as well as the wide repertoire of voice actors available, I may be replaced by another person. There must be a reason for me to get chosen even then, so I’m sure there are characters whose appeal and charm can only be drawn out by me, I would like to keep that on my mind as I continue to advance.
ーーWas that the mindset you had ever since you set your sights on becoming a voice actor?
Takahashi: That’s right. In the first place, the use of voice was what got me interested. When I was in elementary school, I volunteered to be the the reader for karuta competitions. I’m bad at snatching the cards (laughs), so I went on to become the reader for the prefecture competitions for 4-5 years? I’ve received comments like “Rie-chan’s voice is pleasant on the ears and that allows me to concentrate on the game itself.” Although I hadn’t aspired to become a voice actor back then, it was what seemed like the start of my interest in voice related activities.
ーーYou also said that were aspiring to be a singer rather than a voice actor in the beginning.
Takahashi: Back in kindergarten, all the kids around me was saying “I want to become a patissier”, “I want to be florist”, I thought the ring of “singer” was cool so I got interested. I wasn’t particularly good in singing, so it was more like a vague feeling of wanting to become a singer. I was just a kid who was not against the idea of standing in front of people. The kid wanted to do something that is different from the rest.
ーーWhen you debuted as a voice actor, were you expecting to have activities in the mould of EARPHONES?
Takahashi: Recently, there is an influx in idol-related productions, and since Sore ga Seiyuu also revolves around the activities of the unit formed by newbies in the voice acting industry, I was thinking if we will get to sing too. However, after the anime ended, the management staff told us that they wanted us to continue our activities as a unit, that there were requests for us to do so. I did not think of that probability in the beginning. Although I had trained in singing and dancing back in training school, it was never my aim, and my vision of singing was limited to character songs at most. I haven’t thought of carving a career out of being an artiste, and it was not my dream. As long as I get to act and express my voice, I’m happy enough.
ーーHaving a string of roles under your belt at a young age, surely you didn’t need to slog it out from the bottom like Futaba?
Takahashi: That wasn’t the case at all. I also had a time I went without any jobs. I was doing part-time all that time. I have worked as a waitress in a family restaurant, receptionist in a sports centre, and as a demo salesperson grilling wieners in a supermarket…… When I got the sausages, I also saw the PreCure sausages on the shelves. I was thinking “Ah, I wanted to grill those instead……”
ーーAnd now, you are acting the lead role in MahoGirls PreCure! (Mahōtsukai Precure).
Takahashi: It was decided quite some time back, but I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, even my family was kept in the dark. When it was announced in January, I received many congratulatory messages and that made me feel really warm and fuzzy inside. “It’s really amazing”- that was the kind of emotions I had (laughs). The fact that I was going to be inside sunk in gradually and when the anime aired, I saw many kids memorizing the ending choreography.
ーー To be entrusted with the phrase “Our miracle! Cure Miracle!”, was that an honour to you as a voice actor?
Takahashi: The transformation phrase is something that only exists in the PreCure universe. It is unique only to MahoGirls PreCure!. It’s a real blessing.
ーーWas there an experimental process when acting as Mirai?
Takahashi: When I received the script, how she was like growing up wasn’t written, so I had to consider that. Her inquisitive and straightforward nature is similar to me, so I went to my mum and asked her “How was I as a kid?” along with other thoughts of that nature. I wanted to convey how and what instigates her to act.
ーーDid your image of Mirai change from your initial impression?
Takahashi: At first I had the impression that she’s the natural airhead, cheerful and bubbly girl. It’s not that she can’t properly convey what she thinks, it’s because of her strong apprehension of danger, she speaks out her thoughts one thing at a time, and that is her persuasive strength. How she arrived with that kind of mentality is revealed as time passes. It seems like she will continue to change and I’m looking forward to it.
ーーSeeing that your dream of becoming a voice actor has been realised, do you you have any visions for the future?
Takahashi: Even though I realised my wish back in middle school of becoming a voice actor, it was more like that of “fulfilling my dream”. For me, that isn’t the goal. Because I love the voice industry, I want to continue doing it no matter where I end up. That is my dream, and not my goal.
Photo: Kusakari Masayuki
Hair & Make-up: Enta Hitomi
Text: Saitō Takashi
This interview was published in Fresh YanYan 2016 Vol.2 on 10 May 2016. You can buy the magazine over at one of the merchants here. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.