Kohara-chan might have been a huge part of it
──Let’s talk about the anime. The production for season 2 (S2) was announced back in October. So how about the both of you? When did you first find out?
Furukawa: The last episode for S1 aired in March, so I guess 2-3 months after that? We found out about it then.
──Furukawa-san, you also mentioned at last year’s AnimeJapan 2019’s stage event that “you feel like you will probably see your fellow cast members again.”.
Furukawa: I’m glad my hunch was on the mark. There were still many episodes that I wanted to do, then when I thought about the pace at which the anime is being adapted from the manga, it heightened my expectation of seeing the Sports Festival being adapted as a major event. I was delighted and excited to see what would happen next.
Suzuki: I was overjoyed to see an increased interest in the work since S1. When production for S2 was green lit, I was really curious (about which arc the anime would cover until). I can’t say much, but just like Furukawa-san, I’m looking forward to the Sports Festival because of how it enabled me to re-immerse myself into Ishigami’s character.
Furukawa: There were talks on whether recordings would begin in 2019, and although recordings have started now, I was really eager to start working when production was confirmed then.
──I have interviewed several cast members in the past for features and events, but I must say that there is a feel-good mood with everyone.
Furukawa: I wonder why heh.
Suzuki: Even after recording sessions ended, we would stay around and chat.
Furukawa: But it wasn’t always like that. I was a little nervous at the start. During the recording for the first 2 episodes, I was thinking, “How do I go on to break the ice with everyone” since there were many people I haven’t met before.
Suzuki: Exactly! I only joined the team later on, so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to gel with the team smoothly.
Furukawa: Now that I think of it, (voice actor of Fujiwara Chika) Kohara-chan (Konomi) might have been a big part of it. In the early days, she created a “Let’s all work together to make this happen” kind-of atmosphere, she worked really hard, talked to everyone and enlivened the studio. “What a great girl” I thought. Seeing that, both (voice actor of Shinomiya Kaguya) Koga-chan (Aoi) and I told ourselves, “We gotta do this!”. I feel like that became the foundation of what we have today.
Suzuki: The same position as Fujiwara in the series.
Furukawa: Fujiwara acts as a buffer in the series and occasionally, she would change the entire mood with her tendency to create chaos, so that’s like a similar role that she brings us. Of course, she doesn’t actually bring us chaos (lol), but I just want to say how appreciative and thankful I am for her presence.
──Tomita Miyu-san, who voices Iino Miku, joined the team from S2. Did she fit in like how Suzuki-san did?
Furukawa: I can’t go into details since it’s gonna lead to spoilers, but since I think she had to synchronize herself with her character, she was pretty much alone at the start. But she has since gelled well with us.
Suzuki: I often see her eating vegetable sticks.
Furukawa: She’s very mature. “She’s amazing for how young she is” – I often get those thoughts (lol).
Suzuki-kun played around with his parts for S2.
──So with the recording already underway, were there any changes in regards to your individual acting and the team when compared to S1?
Furukawa: In a good way, nothing has changed, I felt a sense of solidarity here, like how the studio feels like “Kaguya-sama“. Like what I mentioned earlier, Kohara-chan would chat with us a lot during the breaks, Koga-chan just being her fluffy and adorable self (lol), (voice actor of Hayasaka Ai) Hanamori-san (Yumiri) just giving great reactions.
Suzuki: Hanamori-san just laughs at everything. If it’s about something that has changed since S1, I have to say that Koga-chan has really improved by leaps and bounds.
Furukawa: She has gotten even more immersed into the character now, and her acting makes you feel like, “There’s no one who can knock her off right now.” That’s how wonderful she is. Also, speaking about acting, Suzuki-kun, you have injected quite a lot of playfulness for S2, haven’t you?
──What do you mean by that?
Furukawa: In terms of expression. When I am checking my script, I try to imagine how the other cast members would act out their parts, and I must say that Suzuki-kun really surprised me. “Suzuki-kun, so you went with this style of acting here eh!” Although S1 had its fair share of Ishigami moments, I think there are perhaps more of those scenes in S2.
Suzuki: Because there is already an image of my portrayal of Ishigami from S1 right? Like there’s already an established base for him.
Furukawa: That’s right. Like I was expecting a particular style but it turned out entirely different. To state a metaphor, it’s like I thought that a straight ball* is coming but you threw out a fork ball* instead. “You sure got me there!” (lol)
*Straight ball and fork ball are types of pitches in baseball.
Suzuki: (Lol). Other than Furukawa-san and Aoyama-san (Yutaka) who does the narration, the rest of the team are relatively closer in terms of age or career age to me. So when I saw their growth from S1, I knew that I needed to get on their level. In the break between S1 and the recording for S2, I asked myself, “What else can I add to my acting?” and after much deliberating, I thought that I can definitely do more with the “Improvisation of lines”.
Furukawa: When I listened to his acting, it made me feel like I could switch up my acting at certain portions. “Ah, let me improvise on this part here then.” I think we struck a good feel with the work because of how we played around with our parts like that.
Furukawa-san has a commanding voice.
Furukawa: Another point I want to touch on is how Suzuki-kun’s acting gave me the chills. S2 touches on Ishigami’s inner self, and when I saw how Suzuki-kun’s acting gave life to that, it wasn’t something that felt manufactured, but pure and raw emotions. I’m going to say that those are Suzuki-kun’s inner emotions that were brought out from beneath Ishigami’s shell. This… It’s a little difficult to explain without talking about the story.
Suzuki: We are heading into spoiler territory with this (lol). Having read the manga beyond S1, whenever Ishigami becomes the focus, it gets a little bitter with each time his feelings are explored. I’m sure those who read the manga are aware of his bitter past. I thought about how to reveal that side of him without being too purposeful. I felt that it was unnecessary to force a emotional narrative, so I acted out what I feel to be a realistic portrayal of him. Speaking about getting the chills, it was the same for me when I saw Furukawa-san’s acting.
Furukawa: Oh, really?
Suzuki: I can’t say that in detail, since it is going to be a spoiler. What I can tell you is that we recorded a scene separately, so I got to witness Furukawa’s acting before my turn. It moved me deeply. I feel that it was his acting which empowered me to do the same. Since he was also recording another part at that time, I asked if we can act that scene out together once more. Also, I got to say that Furukawa-san has a commanding voice.
Suzuki: I always feel that it was impossible for me to compete on his level (lol).
Her 147cm stature is also cute, in fact, all of her is just adorable (lol).
──Since we have both the main male characters here today, I’m going to ask both of you about the appeal of each other’s characters.
Furukawa: Like how it was mentioned earlier, there’s a scene in S2 where you can catch a glimpse of Ishigami’s past. In short, he’s a person who’s capable of making the decision between letting go or not, choosing to protect or turning a blind eye, I think that side of him is really amazing. Also, you may or may not have seen this in S1, he is a really firm person. Even though he’s not the type of person who expresses it out, he’s someone who holds his ground. When giving in meant defeat, he would stand firm by himself.
Suzuki: Basically he’s a person who acts on his own.
Furukawa: In the final episode of S1, there was a brief moment in the fireworks festival where Ishigami got fired up. In the first place, he is actually a passionate person and someone who has an unwavering tenacity. You will understand why he is referred to as the “hidden protagonist” in this series.
Suzuki: Like what Furukawa-san said, I feel that Ishigami shares this unwavering tenacity with Prez. So even though both of them are in different grades, it feels like they are best friends. In S2, Shirogane will find himself wrapped around Kaguya’s finger more often than S1, you are going to see more of his flustered self, which is going to paint him as a cute character, and scenes that make him stand out as well.
──We talked about this earlier about how S2 will see the arrival of Iino Miko. What do you all think about this character?
Furukawa: She’s really attractive in her relentless pursuit to achieve something, but because she is so pure, she is susceptible to influences (lol). That gap or should I say, insecurity, makes you want to protect her.
Suzuki: It’s not that she has a thick shell, but there’s a helpless side which she conceals and shows everyone her ideal and strong image, she has a different value of strength compared to that of Prez and Ishigami. Her 147 cm stature is also cute, in fact, all of her is just adorable (lol).
They really outplayed themselves with S2.
──Furukawa-san, you mentioned at JumpFesta 2020’s stage event, “The production is really elaborate”. Can you tell us more about that?
Furukawa: There are like pranks inserted in, in a good way of course (lol). We also got surprised at how “Ah, this scene turned out like this huh.” So you should definitely look forward to what’s in store for you… Or maybe it’s a better idea not to look forward to anything (lol). I think it’s going to be enjoyable for you to watch it with the mindset of “The production is kinda awesome”.
Suzuki: If anything, the amount of parodies has increased. Those who know where the parodies are adapted from would enjoy those scenes even more.
Furukawa: That’s true. Those who know about Aniplex’s other works would definitely enjoy it more. They really outplayed themselves with the insert song too, I want all of you to listen to that as soon as possible (lol).
Suzuki: Probably everyone who’s involved in the work is on the same page regarding the jokes (lol). And you can definitely expect an upgrade across the whole anime, it’s going to be even more enjoyable than S1.
Furukawa: Yeah. All the episodes that I watched while they were doing the dubbing (the addition of sound, SFX, BGM to match with the visuals) were really good in quality. It is something that makes you feel “Wow, that’s really great”, so do look out for it. The finished product will definitely respond to your curiosity towards it.
Suzuki: Our role is to breathe life into the characters with our voices, the production team enhances the product with visuals and sound effects. There is even more attention paid to every character and you can look forward to other facets of characters you haven’t seen before.
Interview/text: Miyazu Tomonori
Photos: Irie Tatsuya
This interview was published at Comic Natalie on 13 March 2020. All images and videos you see here belong to their respective owners.