Pre-screening! Dialogue with the cast, KONOSUBA the movie, Part 3: Takahashi Rie, voice actor of Megumin
『KONOSUBA: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!』(KONOSUBA) is back as a movie! Leading to its release in theaters on August 30 (Friday), Da Vinci News gathered the 5 main cast members to talk about their passion and deep love for KONOSUBA. The novel has now sold more than 8.5 million copies, with the anime doing well. Through these interviews, we get to the bottom of how the staff and cast get together, the wonderful laughter, the wonderful energy that KONOSUBA brings to everyone who’s watching.
In the 3rd part of this series, we have Takahashi Rie who voices Megumin in the series. From deciding who gets to be in charge of the jingles and more, the studio is full of vigor. For this time, the stage is set in Megumin’s hometown, the Crimson Demon Village. Plenty of her new sides are explored through the appearances of her family and friends. For starters, let us hear about her thoughts on the Crimson Demon Clan being the feature in the movie.
There is nothing better than being able to record the lines with everyone, acting as Megumin and going on an adventure together.
――The movie title is 『KONOSUBA: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!! Legend of Crimson』. So that’s the long awaited story of Megumin right?
Takahashi: Although Megumin is the feature in the movie, after watching the movie, you will definitely feel that she is wonderful when she is with her party members and the people from the Crimson Demon Village. Contrary to what the [Legend of Crimson] title may suggest, she is incapable of doing things alone (laughs).
――Megumin’s conversations with the other characters is a highlight on its own.
Takahashi: Although “Crimson” is the theme of the movie, I hope that everyone sees the party as a whole and look at Megumin’s relationship with everyone else. It is because of the 2 season we had that made me feel this way. There is nothing like the team we have here.
――Because of the popularity of both seasons, a movie got green lit. What are your thoughts on this?
Takahashi: Putting aside the movie, I’m just happy that I got to work on a new production for the series. Being able to record the lines with everyone, acting out Megumin, as well as going on an adventure with everyone is the best thing I can ask for. In KONOSUBA, the characters go on adventures, live out each day in the streets, occasionally battle indomitable foes, it is a work that makes you wish for the continuation of these boisterous days. That was why tears wouldn’t stop flowing when I heard about the plans for the movie.
――I believe the recording for the movie was tough too. How was it actually?
Takahashi: The movie lasts for about 90 minutes and we had 2 days for the recording. Day 1 was for the 1st half of the movie, and vice versa for the 2nd day. I read the entire script when I got it, but for the 1st day’s preparation, I had to avoid consuming too much of part 2. It felt like if it will be tough to act for part 1 if I crammed in too many of these climax scenes into my head. So I didn’t think too much about the developments in part 2 and only after we wrapped up recording for day 1, I sat down to study part 2 in further detail.
――Were there any takeaways from day 1?
Takahashi: Yeah. Since it was the first time in a while for all of us, we had to think about the extent of improvisation for the lines. It was also to actually get a feel of bringing out the character’s personality. For the 2nd day, (during the recording) I thought about injecting more fun.
――You have been in the recording studio since the 1st season now, how is the atmosphere like?
Takahashi: KONOSUBA gives off the impression that the recording sessions are easy. Unlike many production sets, where the sound director receives instructions from the director and passes on to us, for KONOSUBA, the director does it directly. Director Kanasaki (Takaomi) and the Sound Director Iwanami (Yoshikazu) will be in discussion at our recording booths and explain to us the directors they want for the scenes. Furthermore, we go into recording while all these instructions are still fresh in our minds, so everything moves at a fast pace. The recording sessions always have this pleasant feel to them.
――Being able to interact with the director face to face allows for a smooth transition into the acting.
Takahashi: Director Kanasaki is very thorough about scenes that he is particular about. He draws the line clearly on scenes that he allows for freedom of expression and scenes that he wants a particular direction on. While recording for the movie, hearing those directions made me feel “Ah KONOSUBA, I’m back.”
――What are the scenes in question?
Takahashi: For example, we have the order of emotions for Megumin. For those scenes that I feel touched by, my feelings well up as a response and these thoughts spill over. However, that’s when Director Kanasaki stepped in and asked me to control the feelings gently. “I want you to take up a cool stance for now.” And then in other scenes, he will be specific with his instructions, “I want a taste like this.” When we challenge ourselves to meet those expectations, the results turn out to be interesting! Director Kanasaki always throws down the gauntlet with his wide spectrum of requests, while I go out searching for the answers to them and challenging myself.
――Were there any off-the-chart requests?
Takahashi: Yeah~ (laughs). There were times when he threw the ball at me saying “Try out something, anything.” (laughs). There was actually a scene that I recorded while being utterly confused… It seems like the scene was actually used for the movie so I’m looking forward to how it played out.
――By the way, what kind of scene was that?
Takahashi: It was a scene where Kazuma went on the offensive against Megumin, and she returns with a retort. Director Kanasaki wanted to finish off that scene with a punchline. However, I couldn’t think of any. “How about this?”, “Or perhaps this?”- I got various suggestions but in the end, he said to me, “Try saying what you like.” Finally, the take I was entrusted with ended up getting adopted. However, I was being cornered at that point of time, so I don’t really remember how I actually acted that scene out.
――It was an acting that was delivered upon so many trials and errors that you couldn’t remember.
Takahashi: It resembles a chaotic scene where Kazuma starts rattling off to Megumin, and she just goes, “Kazuma, what are you babbling about?” Since I was lost in the confusion, so in a positive way, I thought I synchronized with Megumin’s feelings pretty well at that moment.
――There are scenes where Kazuma gets closer to Megumin right?
Takahashi: For those who read the source material, they will be very pleased with many of the scenes. It feels like a reward for everyone who comes to watch the movie. I also gave my all making sure to showcase Megumin’s cute and girly side.
――That means we will be getting plenty of cute Megumin moments.
Takahashi: The interesting thing about KONOSUBA is that when there’s a scene with a feel-good factor, it will be followed by something of the reverse. It feels like the essence of KONOSUBA, when I thoroughly go about the acting from being alone with Kazuma, to the stark contrast of the punchline that follows. For every cute moment, there will be a gag that follows. In the end, I wanted to give an interesting twist to the cute moments.
――So there are heart fluttering scenes of Kazuma and Megumin… How does Megumin actually feel about him?
Takahashi: Yeah, that hasn’t been depicted in the anime yet. There are no lines that speak of Megumin’s true feelings, it’s like she intentionally doesn’t want to put them into words. So I also had to properly think about concealing that emotion.
――I see. So the gap between the heart fluttering moments and the punchline is the highlight right?
Takahashi: I put everything I had into dishing out those abuse (laughs). But since they were done in a cute manner, no matter how vehement they might be, I’m sure it will turn out fine. I hope that everyone enjoy the gap between the cuteness and trash talk.
The Explosion Magic (Explosion) in the movie is of the finest quality.
――The Crimson Demon Village is the stage for the events this time. As several Crimson Demons will make their appearance, what are you looking forward to?
Takahashi: Many members of the Crimson Demon Village who appeared in the spin-off [Gifting this Wonderful World with Explosions!] make their debut in the movie. I’m really happy that they finally get voices to their names. “Wow- Their voices are a perfect fit!” I’m just glad there are more of my kind around now. When you read the novel or the manga from now on, you will hear their voices in your head. That’s how perfect the casting is. As a member of the Crimson Demons, I feel nothing but happiness.
――And among them, the one that sticks out the most is…
Takahashi: Yeah, I’m really happy that there are voices to dad (Hyoizaburo) and mum (Yuiyui) now. At the same time, because they are so laid back, you feel “With such a family, Megumin sure works hard!”. She is surrounded by so many free-spirited people (laughs). We get to see Megumin’s family environment as well as her house this time. I enjoy seeing that as well.
――How about the memorable scenes in the movie? Around which part of the movie do they take place in?
Takahashi: The Explosion Magic (Explosion) in the movie is of the finest quality. The chants are different, and it was difficult to give a different twist to each explosion magic that I did in the various scenes. Matching with the various scenes and giving a different take on them, the spells in the movie are definitely top of their class.
――So it has a different feel from the ones we have seen from the TV anime.
Takahashi: That’s right. Since she can only fire off one of those in a day. Furthermore, there isn’t a day that goes by without her firing a shot, so you can feel that she puts in her heart and soul into firing that one shot. Although she got several opportunities this time round, I hope that the Explosion Magic will strike a chord with everyone.
――Next, this is something that has been bugging me, did you do any of the jingles within the movie?
Takahashi: Yeah, I did!! The movie is like the anime, where tons of jingles get inserted for the transitions of scenes. Similar to the anime, the cast decided on the jingles. On the day of recording, while cross-checking the script with everyone, it went like “How? Who’s gonna do this jungle?”. Basically we would voice out “KO. NO. SU. BA.” for them, but we are given the leeway to decide what to say each time.
――As for the decision making, who was usually in the center of it?
Takahashi: (Kayano) Ai-san (Darkness) is almost always in the thick of them being the initiator, “What about the jingle? How are we doing it?”. Then, both (Amamiya) Sora-chan (Aqua) and I briefly ran through where we want to come in for the jingle. After that, (Fukushima) Jun-san (Kazuma) gave suggestions along the lines of “Hey, isn’t this part better if 〇〇-san did it?”. We would then discuss together after that, “After this character’s line, the jingle will come in. Why don’t 〇〇-san do this part?”, and come to a consensus.
――Do you think you share any common traits with Megumin?
Takahashi: Megumin pours in all her passion into a single thing. I think that part of her is similar to me. I love this job, and I want to put everything I have into voice acting. So everything else is secondary (laughs). Megumin puts in all her skill points into Explosion Magic, and as for me, I wish to put all my skill points into being a voice actor. I feel like I can relate to her in that sense.
――Megumin drops dead onto the floor after firing a burst of [Explosion] heh.
Takahashi: I know that feeling. After KONOSUBA’s recording ended, we had a drinking party and it felt just like the rowdy guild parties in the anime itself. After the party ended, I felt empty when I reached home. “KONOSUBA has ended huh…” There was a gaping hole in my heart, time passed by and I just sat there without a thought running through my mind.
――Did you feel that after the recording for the movie as well?
Takahashi: That’s right. It wasn’t a particularly sad feeling, but I still picked up my script and looked through it again at home… “It was fun.” “I wonder how the completed visuals will look like for this scene.” I’ll browse through fan art while doing that too…
――The feeling of “loss” is undeniable after the recording heh.
Takahashi: Indeed. It feels like it came too quickly though, since the movie has yet to air (laughs). That said, I’ll feel better with the energy I get from watching the movie in theaters later on, so in a way, I feel that it’s a good system.
――Takahashi-san, having joined a comedy based production in the vein of KONOSUBA, how was it actually like?
Takahashi: There was never a moment I thought that it was easy. The passion that each cast member puts into the acting is immense. Both Jun-san and I are the type who expresses them out, so it really shows on our faces. If I think I didn’t do something well, it shows on my face (laughs). Conversely, Sora-chan and Ai-san are the cool type, they are always composed and never let these emotions show on their faces. However, beneath that facade, they are thinking deeply about many things. During the drinking parties, we will talk about acting fervently. I’m really grateful for this encounter and they are a team that I will cherish forever.
――It has been around 4 years since the recording for the 1st season. The cast team has become a great team.
Takahashi: In a good sense, they are my comrades.
――Looking at the other cast members, were there any moments that impacted you?
Takahashi: Darkness’s gasping sounds get more and more amazing (laughs), Aqua’s crying voice keeps getting more variations, Kazuma keeps getting those interjections in even the tightest of spaces. When I think about it this way, while everyone keeps extending their boundaries, there are times I wonder if it’s fine for Megumin to just keep going at Explosion Magic. Everyone keeps doing more and more interesting things… However, through the recording of Legend of Crimson, my worries proved to be unfounded.
――So the recording cleared up those doubts. What was the trigger for that?
Takahashi: From reading the script of Legend of Crimson, Megumin’s feelings regarding Explosion Magic is depicted clearly. That’s why I was able to feel that it is fine for Megumin to pour all her passion into Explosion Magic. I’m really grateful to come to a conclusion on that matter.
――If you could dive into the world of KONOSUBA, what class do you want to become?
Takahashi: I, I really like staves. Previously when I went for a trek up the mountains with friends, I picked up a long branch and started swinging it around. So I guess… Arch Wizard. I want to wield one and strike cool poses with it. Oh, and since I’m a voice actor, I want to cast a magical incantation along with it.
――Lastly, for fans who have been looking forward to the movie, how do you want them to enjoy it?
Takahashi: For fans of KONOSUBA, I think that everyone’s favourite portions lie in different areas. However, I feel that many people would enjoy this movie. Whether you are coming in as someone who loves the source material, someone who likes the characters, or someone who likes Megumin, I hope that you can find your own favourite scene from the movie.
Interview, text: Shida Hidekuni
This interview was published at ddnavi on 29 August 2019. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.