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Spreadsheets masterlist

Just gonna make this a sticky post of the spreadsheets that I make. Still working on updating the ones I did previously with season information but the new ones I’ve listed have all that down. Any names down there that don’t have links yet means I’ve not quite made the data presentable yet, but they’re coming…soon-ish.

List after the jump.
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#202 – Golden Kamuy Cast Interview Part.10: Ito Kentaro

10th interview and finally we get one with Shiraishi’s CV Itō Kentarō!

Q: We hear you’re a fervent reader of Weekly Young Jump, the magazine that Golden Kamuy runs in – what were your impressions of your series when you first read it?

A: My first impression was: ‘Wow, this is coming out with all guns blazing’ (laughs). Noda (Satoru)-sensei’s previous series Supinamarada! had already shown off his knack for vibrant facial expressions. That’s why I had pretty high hopes upon hearing that Noda-sensei would be writing a series with this kind of theme. This might sound a little condescending, but from a manga reader’s viewpoint, I do believe the that nothing matches the thrill that comes from turning the pages of a comics volume. As you turn the pages to read Golden Kamuy, you’ll find that each and every panel has the potential to either surpass or betray your expectations. The ideas and expressions contained within are just mind-blowing; it’s as if Noda-sensei is controlling the rhythm as you turn the pages – you can’t help but be exhilarated by the joy of reading the magazine.

Q: Since you’re a manga reader, did you ever harbour hopes of being part of the cast if the series were to receive an anime adaptation?

A: I certainly did. Seeing how it gained in popularity and recognition levels made me feel certain that it would get an anime adaptation at some point. I even put pressure upon myself to read the manga in depth so that I’d be prepared for the auditions no matter what role I was asked to try out for. Having said that, such thoughts would disappear from my mind whenever I read the manga with only a sense of pure enjoyment left behind.

Q: Were there any characters that you were particularly fond of?

A: To be honest, when Shiraishi first appeared, I vividly recall thinking ‘if I were to get a role in this series, it’d be something in the line of [Shiraishi]’ (laughs). It’s a bit presumptuous of me to say so myself, but I honestly thought that I’d be the happiest person alive if I was to voice Shiraishi. Perhaps if I was a bit younger I might’ve considered the role of Sugimoto as a possibility.

Q: Were you conscious of anything in particular during the auditions for Shiraishi?

A: I just wanted to perform my vision of the ideal Shiraishi. I went all-out with no room for regrets in my recorded audition tape and told myself – ‘if I fail, then it’s because [the image I have of Shiraishi] doesn’t match the anime’s vision of Shiraishi, and I will give up’. When you audition for a series where you have little knowledge of the source material, you do tend to wonder whether you’re on the right track. But for [Golden Kamuy] I was familiar with the manga and I had no such hesitations. There was however, a fear within me that I might be too fixated on the image I had [of Shiraishi]. Noda-sensei would certainly have his own vision for Shiraishi, and other readers would have their own interpretations as well. That would obviously apply to the anime staff as well, but I was sure that these individual views would all overlap at a common point, and I wanted to ensure that I didn’t lose sight of that.

Q: How did you approach the first day of the recording sessions?

A: I decided to reset whatever image [of the series] I’d had beforehand to zero. An anime production is a group effort after all. I also do theatre on the side – if you tried to act based solely upon your own opinion, you’ll end up sticking out like a sore thumb. To prevent that from happening I told myself, ‘Calm down, first of all’. And try to be flexible.

Q: What were your thoughts, once you’d had the chance to interact with your co-stars?

A: When I saw Chika-chan [Kobayashi Chikahiro] and (Shiraishi) Haruka-chan performing, it felt like the Sugimoto and Asirpa I’d pictured in my mind when reading the manga, were right there in front of me. It gave me confidence in my views [of the characters] and I felt comfortable being part of the group. Shiraishi’s role within the story is pretty well-defined, which in a sense makes him easier to get to grips with compared to the other male characters.

Q: This is your first time working with Kobayashi-san and Shiraishi-san, isn’t it?

A: On an anime, yes, but I had worked with Chika-chan on a foreign dub production just before Golden Kamuy started. Same for Haruka-chan; we’d previously worked together on a foreign drama dubbing and I had a chance to chat with her during a post-recording drinking party. So yes, we were all acquainted but not quite buddies so there was a desire within me to make sure we synced well both as acting partners and in terms of our characters. With that in mind, I was able to naturally build up a rapport with the two of them in the run up to Shiraishi joins Sugimoto’s group in the story.

Q: Did you receive any specific directions from Director Nanba (Hitoshi) or Sound Director Aketagawa (Jin)?

A: In terms of major aspects, I was told ‘you’re trying to sound too cool’ on the first day of recording (laughs). I suppose I didn’t want to come off sounding too affected initially. While trying to maintain a carefree attitude, thinking ‘the first impression is the most important and I’m gonna produce a performance that makes viewers get even more excited!’, I had to let a bit of sex appeal slip out.

Q: Shiraishi’s existence is for the sake of comic relief – what’s your view on that?

A: I think it’s important to balance the extreme sides of his personality. There are scenes where you see how the more foolish [Shiraishi] is, the cooler it makes Sugimoto seem and that does set the tone for the series. Though he is comic relief, I can honestly say that I don’t actively seek to make people laugh through my performance – it’s natural character traits such as Asirpa’s weird faces and Sugimoto’s girly nature that I find even funnier (laughs)

Q: Those parts really do steal the show (laughs)

A: That’s right. (I) may try my best to stand out as much as possible but in the end, Shiraishi exists as a part of Sugimoto’s group. There were plenty of laughs brought about by the interactions between the main trio and at the halfway point, I’d forgotten about Shiraishi’s role as comic relief. On the contrary, the more [Shiraishi] tried to stand out the more he was deemed to be ‘useless’ – I think that better reflects the status of their relationship, to be honest (laughs)

Q: What’s the mood in the recording studio like?

A: The pool of acting talent was pretty deep, a rare sight in the recording studios of recent years. It’s the gathering of members who have much experience in dubbing foreign works, which made it quite a lavish environment to work in when you consider the current state of Japanese animation works. Given my age [note: currently 45 years old], it was a rare chance for me to adopt the stance of a junior actor, or should I say…a place where I could behave childishly (laughs). I’m the kind of guy who likes to fool around with my seniors but I did have the impression that the personal relationships formed in the [Kamuy] studio somewhat resembled the ones developed between the characters in the series. As more and more veteran actors came in, the clearer my role within the story was, and from that point onward, recording progressed more smoothly.

Q: Were there any differences between recordings for the first and second seasons from an acting viewpoint?

A: Thanks to his colluding with Hijikata, Shiraishi starts to harbour a fear of Sugimoto and the drama that builds within his consciousness was something I tried to remain keenly aware of. Still, I wouldn’t say that my approach towards the role altered too significantly over the course of 24 episodes. I’ve played quite a lot of aggressive roles since I was young but ever since I turned 40 I’ve been trying to make a theme out of producing performances that are a bit more restrained, in a good way. And Shiraishi has proved to be the type of character that allows me to draw out a lot of different weapons from my arsenal.

Q: Do you have any favourite episodes?

A: I like all of them, so it’s hard to choose (laughs). If I had to pick one, then the racecourse scene in the 12th episode was a good opportunity for me to stretch my acting range? Shiraishi’s being toyed around with by Inkarmat, so it was an episode that gave me plenty of room to flex my acting muscles. No matter which other character Shiraishi’s involved with, the conclusion always seems to be that he’s useless, and I get a kick out of that. Maybe I shouldn’t be thinking about something like that being a part of this cast but really, [Shiraishi] is such a meaty role (laughs)

Q: The DVD bundled with Vol 17 of the manga animates a popular story from the manga where Shiraishi falls in love.

A: It’s an essential episode from Shiraishi’s point of view. When I first heard that the anime would be covering the Abashiri Prison arc within 2 cours, I had prepared myself for the inevitability that this story would be left on the cutting room floor (laughs). So I’m happy for the story to be adapted in this format. The content is of course amazing, but the cast is even more so. With so many veterans already on board, I just couldn’t help but expect a legend class actress to fill the Sister’s role. And of course, it turned out to be Shimamoto Sumi-san. She’s perfect, what else can I say? I mentioned my wish to put in more restrained performances earlier on, but I’m also aiming to be able to switch between two extremes the way Furukawa Toshio-san does. I was very pleased that I was able to work with Furukawa-san, who voices Kumagishi Chōan, this time around. You’ll get to experience a story about the libido of the man they call the ‘Escape King’, so please look forward to it.

Q: Lastly, please leave your thoughts about having played Shiraishi.

A: This opportunity to play Shiraishi has afforded me many experiences and new encounters. I will utilize what I’ve learnt as fuel for my daily undertakings as an actor and persist in my belief that there will be Season 3 announcement in the future. I also hope that all of you will read Young Jump weekly like I do in preparation (laughs). And I look forward to seeing you all again as Shiraishi soon.

#201 – Golden Kamuy Cast Interview Part.9: Kobayashi Chikahiro x Shiraishi Haruka

We go back again to the main pairing of Sugimoto (Kobayashi) and Asirpa (Shiraishi) for this interview.

Q: We hear that you went straight into recording for Season 2 after Season 1 was done.

Shiraishi: That’s right. Recording sessions continued without any breaks in between.

Kobayashi: And that’s why we slipped into the process relatively seamlessly.

Shiraishi: The TV broadcast itself was over but we were aware that a second season was coming – that rejuvenated our feelings as we continued [recording].

Kobayashi: Plus, we knew we’d be kicking off with a bang; an episode that packed quite the punch. That made me realize I’d have to work equally as hard on this one.

Q: With this 2nd cour, did you feel like you were getting closer to your character?

Kobayashi: As I mentioned, we remained immersed in the characters as we continued in our roles – the amount of time we spent recording started getting shorter. There were a couple of episodes that required minimal direction [from the staff] as well, weren’t there?

Shiraishi: That’s right.

Kobayashi: The actors would occasionally be entrusted with the dialogue. It felt quite refreshing to perform under such circumstances. And there were a lot more instances where I felt we were able to interact more comfortably. This was partly thanks to our seniors, but another major factor was the fact that the cast’s teamwork as a whole has improved. In episode 23, I happened to notice Terasoma (Masaki)-san* nodding his head going ‘That’s right’ in response to one of my lines. When I saw that I started grinning – it was a nice feeling (laughs). It kind of feels like we’re putting on a stage performance when the cast members are in sync in such a manner.

*voice of Kiroranke

Shiraishi: In Asirpa’s case, a lot of her dialogue in the first season involved explaining things while Season 2 is more focused on showing her emotions. Taking that into consideration, I think the dialogue exchanges were more enjoyable this time around. Also, [the cast’s] performances increased in expressiveness whether it was for the emotional scenes or for the comedic ones; allowing us to get even more intimate with the characters, I felt like something was bursting open within me (laughs)

Kobayashi: Bursting open? (laughs) That’s the first I’ve heard of it.

Shiraishi: For example, in the second half of Season 1 I had to call Ushiyama ‘Dick-sensei’ and the others were like ‘Isn’t that hard to do?’. But when Asirpa says something like that she does it without feeling any shame at all. It does feel kind of surreal, which is why I said it’s like something is bursting open within me (laughs)

Kobayashi: You’re right, I didn’t feel the existence of any sense of shame throughout recording.

Shiraishi: That’s true. In fact, I was only thinking about how to express how funny and cute Asirpa was during those scenes. As it was a 2-cour series I was able to get a firm grasp of the role and the end came around in the blink of an eye.

Kobayashi: Yes it came really quickly.

Shiraishi: I was thinking ‘I don’t want this to end!’.

Q: Thus, did you feel a tinge of sadness when starting to record for Season 2, knowing that the end was in sight?

Kobayashi: Not initially, but I did start to feel that way by the 19th or so episode. We’d be going for meals after recording, musing ‘ah, there’re only 5 episodes left…’ or ‘I wish there was a 3rd season’, things like that.

Shiraishi: I’d really like to do a 3rd season. The cast members all love the manga and I myself would like to continue playing this role for as long as Noda (Satoru)-sensei continues to draw the series.

Q: Looking back on Season 2 – there were changes in the composition of the factions [in the series] as well.

Kobayashi: We had Tanigaki and Ogata from the 7th Division joining up with the group. They used to be enemies but surprisingly, nobody seemed to bear any grudges against the others. As long as everyone shares the same objectives they can still act as a team and share meals together, even if they don’t really get along with each other. Those aspects felt realistic and were interesting to see.

Shiraishi: Asirpa tends to be quite mischievous when she’s with Sugimoto and Shiraishi, but she’s a little harder on Ogata. Like how she keeps reminding him to say ‘citatap’ when he’s pounding away (laughs)

Kobayashi: She’s a bit like a teacher (laughs)

Shiraishi: We didn’t see too much of such interactions during Season 1 so this 2nd season does offer new insights. The way she said those lines was a bit playful as well, and I enjoyed acting out those parts.

Q: How did you feel about recording this time around – was there a sense of freshness compared to [the previous season]?

Kobayashi: It felt refreshing to have Hosoya (Yoshimasa)-san and (Nakata) Jouji-san standing side-by-side at the mics. I didn’t interact much with Tanigaki and Hijikata previously.

Shiraishi: That’s right. I’m always left spellbound by the resonance of Nakata-san’s voice whenever he calls Asirpa by name (laughs)

Kobayashi: He’s got such a good voice, and it reverberates.

Shiraishi: Hosoya-san did say ‘I wanted to talk to Sugimoto more’, didn’t he?

Kobayashi: I know right? It seemed like they might have, but they didn’t actually talk to each other all that much. But starting Season 2 I’d started go for post-recording meals with Hosoya-san more often, where we’d discuss drama theory at length (laughs)

Shiraishi: Ah, those ‘cultural talk’ gatherings. To be honest, it’s too deep for me and at times I can’t even follow the conversation.

Kobayashi: I’m so sorry (laughs)

Shiraishi: But it’s a chance for me to listen to my seniors engaged in conversation so I’m happy to spend time doing that. I’m very grateful for the fact that I get to act alongside [the entire cast] in the studio; it’s a welcome experience despite the nerves that I do feel. And even after recording is done, I get to hear so many stories while we’re eating – that’s something unique to working on Golden Kamuy. Also, there were few women involved with the series so I was quite anxious about what I should do in the studio. Thanks to our eating sessions those worries faded away halfway through recording the show.

Kobayashi: Is that so? Us oldies are just doing our own thing, are you OK with that? (laughs)

Shiraishi: I do have a lot of fun. It’s kinda hard to start a discussion regarding the deeper aspects of acting when you’re a junior [like me]…

Kobayashi: That’s true.

Shiraishi: Plus I’m able to receive advice about script lines. I’m rarely afforded the opportunity to talk about the wider scope of acting – for example, ‘what kind of works should I study?’ etc. During the Golden Kamuy recording sessions I got to see quite a lot of acting-related talk going on over the course of normal conversations. And I took down notes of the names of the shows that had been mentioned (laughs)

Q: Please tell us about any Season 2 scenes that you found particularly memorable.

Shiraishi: There was a scene in episode 17 where Asirpa and Sugimoto were talking about dried persimmons; it was a high-point of the first half [of the season] so I was feeling a bit nervous about it.

Kobayashi: That’s the one and only scene in the series where Sugimoto lets his guard down in front of Asirpa. It was definitely a major highlight for me both plot-wise and performance-wise so I played that scene as if I was putting my acting career on my line.

Shiraishi: I almost cried watching Kobayashi-san’s performance.

Kobayashi: Really? It truly is difficult though, to emulate the state of mind of a soldier who’s been through the war. I like movies and often watch them – I’ve noticed that the actors in films made around the Showa 50s period (late 1970s) still give off the air of ‘war’. Having survived such situations invariably toughens one’s outlook. It seems inevitable, given how the times would have changed – that even if they tried to relax when they’re speaking, they’d still sound like a man who’s lived through the war; someone like Mifune Toshiro encapsulates that kind of aura.

It remains difficult for me but I put in a lot of effort so that I could get just a little bit closer to exuding a similar kind of aura. From an acting perspective, other highlights would include the sea otter scene, as well as the final Abashiri battle. Before recording I’d already identified those 3 scenes as being pivotal to the series.

Shiraishi: I’d like to say something about this (laughs)! I liked the sea otter episode…

Kobayashi: I know right?

Shiraishi: But! Running parallel to that was a scene where Asirpa and Inkarmat were having a serious talk. Thanks to the sea otter hotpot, nothing registered in my head….’I don’t want to lose out to the sea otter hotpot!’ was what was going through my mind as I was acting (laughs). I mentioned this in another interview as well, but I’d be glad if you could keep watching the Bluray and DVD ‘til you can properly gauge what Asirpa and Inkarmat are talking about.

Kobayashi: When you’re watching that part for the first time, sea otter hotpot is all you’ll end up paying attention to (laughs)

Shiraishi: That’s right. The scene itself may have taken place in a different location but we actors were sharing the same booth so it was a huge struggle to maintain a serious tone while desperately trying to hold back my laughter (laughs)

Kobayashi: I was thinking ‘Alright, the sea otter hotpot is over!’ and when I turned back I saw your solemn face staring back at us (laughs). It was hilarious.

Shiraishi: All I was thinking was ‘don’t get sucked in by the sea otter hotpot, don’t get sucked in by the sea otter hotpot…’. Asirpa would have no knowledge of the sea otter hotpot incident so I had to remove all traces of sea otters from my brain in order to become one in mind with Asirpa (laughs)

Kobayashi: Apart from that, the scene in episode 21 where Toni Anji first appears was remarkable. Toni Anji begins his attack when Sugimoto and co. are in the open-air baths so they ended up fighting in the buff. So there was this and the sea otters as well; you can see how the skin exposure element has increased dramatically in Season 2.

Shiraishi: And of course, I have to mention the turbulent developments in the series’ climax scenes. In episode 1 there is a part where Asirpa extends her hand to reach for Sugimoto; in the climax episode, we see their hands being separated. The acting during those moments was completely unforgettable.

Q: The decisive showdown in Abashiri Prison was pretty intense. What was it like in the studio?

Kobayashi: Rather surprisingly we were relaxed and having fun. There was so much packed into episode 24 with all sorts of happenings and recording was a lot more chaotic than usual. I think we didn’t even have time to collect our thoughts until the episode was over.

Shiraishi: That’s right.

Kobayashi: Also, (Otsuka) Hōchū-san was having a blast (laughs)

Shiraishi: When we’re recording the staff will give us instructions on what sort of expressions we should have for certain scenes. Otsuka-san would try to emulate those expressions through his acting and we were always looking forward to seeing what look he has on his face (laughs)

Kobayashi: It’s business as usual [for him], not only in that aspect but for the show as a whole and I mean it in a good way. The story itself is always exhilarating and we find ourselves getting caught up in the momentum as well.

Q: We have a situation where the individual forces are in constant disorder [when put together].

Kobayashi: That’s right. The potential presence of traitors amongst your allies, and the question of whether Nopperabō is truly Asirpa’s father – all these bits of foreshadowing were brought into the fold over time. I did feel like I was acting in a constant state of uneasiness.

Shiraishi: I agree with that. In episode 24, there’s a fairly emotional incident that causes Asirpa to break down in tears. Up ‘til now we’ve only seen the resilient exterior of Asirpa and it’s moments like these that make you realize she’s but a child. The inclusion of the dream sequence was significant too.

Kobayashi: Yeah. That wasn’t in the manga; it was an anime-original scene.

Shiraishi: That’s why I was worried about how to handle the scene. I’d been mostly relying on picking up expressions from how they’re depicted in the manga so I really struggled to find an answer as to how I should express myself when they put this original sequence in front of me. I acted out the part keeping in mind that it would serve as a bookend for the Golden Kamuy anime series; the last scene that would be delivered to the viewers.

Q: Describe your feelings now that the series has come to an end.

Kobayashi: When recording episode 1 I was thinking ‘what should I do’ and when episode 2 came around I was still thinking ‘what should I do’ – week after week, my head was constantly focused on the episode at hand. That cycle kept repeating and we’d reached episode 24 before I’d even realized it. I’m incredibly pleased to have gone on this journey as Sugimoto. I was able to go through a lot of different experiences and it has been the happiest 6 months of my life. Above all, I am so glad that Shiraishi-san is Asirpa. It’s probably a little impertinent coming from me, but the other cast members were outstanding and perfect for their characters too. I truly enjoyed being able to work with such people.

Shiraishi: I’m truly happy to have encountered the role of Asirpa and it’s also been a blessing for me to be able to work with all these great seniors. What an enjoyable 6 months it has been. Although I felt initial anxiety and [a similar] ‘what do I do?’ over the prospect of having to act as Asirpa using Ainu dialect, I was determined to perform to the best of my ability. Thanks to Nakagawa (Hiroshi)-sensei’s coaching I was able to familiarize myself with the Ainu language and Asirpa as a character. I am extremely happy and blessed to be able to say ‘I am Shiraishi Haruka, the voice of Asirpa’.

Kobayashi: We’re both the same with our ‘we feel blessed’ theme – sounds like a death-flag. But we won’t die! (laughs)

Q: Did you get emotional in the moments after the conclusion of recording?

Kobayashi: I’m feeling kinda emotional right now (laughs) When you look back on the process like this, something just wells up inside me.

Shiraishi: I know what you mean. I don’t want it to end.

Kobayashi: Please confirm a third season soon.

Shiraishi: Yes! I’m really curious to find out if Sugimoto and Asirpa will be reunited.

Q: Last of all, please leave a message for the fans who watched the series until the end.

Shiraishi: Thank you very much to everyone who watched this all the way to the end. As the show was airing, I was very happy to hear feedback from manga fans such as ‘I wanted to see that scene!’ or ‘That was really fun’. As a fan of the manga myself, there were many scenes I was glad to have been a part of. If you were to ask me to name the highlights of the show I would have trouble answering as there are just too many to choose. The series may be over now but you’ll be able to rewatch it over and over on the Blurays and DVDs. Especially the sea otter hotpot and the Asirpa-Inkarmat serious talk scenes that run concurrently – please watch them (laughs)

Kobayashi: Shiraishi-san’s already said everything I’d wanted to say so this is going to sound repetitive (laughs). During recording I was constantly thinking about whether we’d be able to meet the expectations of the fans. It’s probably true for the entire Golden Kamuy team, to be honest. I turned those hopes into strength and I was able to handle countless challenges filled with confidence as well as tackling working on the series with utmost sincerity. I hope viewers of the series will have enjoyed themselves as that would be a source of great satisfaction to us. Of course, I hope you enjoyed the sea otter hotpot scene as well, amongst others.

Shiraishi: Oi I just asked people to pay attention to the other part as well! (laughs)

Kobayashi: I hope that these kinds of interactions that we’ve been sharing will be carved into your memory alongside the series itself (laughs). Thank you

#200 – Kikkake Manga #2: Taniyama Kishow

Part 2 of the Kikkake Manga series features Taniyama Kishow. He has incredibly interesting taste in manga and I have to respect anyone who mentions Dokyōboshi! Plus, he’s been cast in the anime adaptation of Pet due this year so I’m sure he’ll be over the moon with that.

I think of my seiyuu profession and manga as being completely separate things

Q: Through this series of features, we take a look at the publications that you were fond of or were influenced by. Taniyama-san, can you name a book that had an influence on you?

A: When it comes to being influenced by a manga as a person, I’d have to nominate none other than Sakuragi Hanamichi, MC of Slam Dunk (Inoue Takahiko/Shueisha). Hanamichi has what I’d describe as ‘an amateur’s advantage’ when it comes to basketball, a point that I am still utilizing as a ‘guiding principle’ in my approach towards my line of work. When GRANRODEO was formed, I thought ‘I am an amateur (in music) but let’s turn the unknown into an advantage’. That was 100% a Sakuragi Hanamichi-ism. His form influenced my own vocal stance. I still don’t bother to memorize sheet music nor do I have knowledge of musical terms – all I know is that I wanted to make ‘singing’ my strength; I was kinda projecting Hanamichi onto myself. So in that sense Hanamichi’s a character that means a lot to me, though obviously I’d gotten hooked on the manga reading them as the volumes were released.

Q: Since we’re discussing favourite comics, can you name examples of other series that you liked?

A: I like Okazaki Kyoko’s work. The first work of hers I read was River’s Edge (Takarajimasha), which a friend had recommended to me – it left a huge impression on me. Tokyo Girls Bravo (Takarajimasha) was good too. Apart from that, I liked Level E (Togashi Yoshihiro/Shueisha), AKIRA (Otomo Katsuhiro/Kodansha), Master Keaton (Urasawa Naoki, Katsushika Hokusei, Nagasaki Takashi/Shogakukan) and The World is Mine (Arai Hideki/Kadokawa, Enterbrain). Also, Yuki Masami-sensei’s Jajauma Grooming Up! (Shogakukan) – that was fantastic. It wasn’t just the horse racing stuff that was amazing, but the romance angle set the heart racing too. And I’ve got an Adachi Mitsuru manga ranking in my head too. Doesn’t everyone? For me it’s gotta be Rough (Shogakukan); I love that.

Q: How did you first come across those titles that you just mentioned?

A: I often used to buy manga magazines when I was young – I read Big Comic Spirits, Young Sunday, Young Magazine and Young Jump. Most of the titles I mentioned were series that I got hooked on around back in those days. I haven’t read much recently though. Nowadays I tend to go to bookstores to check out what’s new or buy recommended titles and see if they suit my tastes.

Q: We do like to recommend our favourite series to others, don’t we?

A: It’s natural to want to do that. I tend to recommend titles, like the ones I mentioned, that are a bit more niche that I’d love for others to read and learn the greatness of.

Q: The seiyuu profession is one that is deeply intertwined with manga so how do you deal with that as a manga lover?

A: I personally keep my seiyuu profession completely separate from manga. When it comes to series that you love, there exists an innate desire as a fan to ‘not want to see it being adapted to anime’ – that would be in conflict with my profession [as a seiyuu], not to mention a source of frustration. I view owarai talents and manga authors with feelings bordering on worship sometimes and I think both are professions that are impossible unless you possess talent; I find myself simply unable to go ga-ga over the latest trends or anime-only works. That’s why I don’t want to broadcast to the whole world that I love manga – in my mind, those two things remain separate. Though I have to say that I do find myself a bit annoying (laughs)

My favourite comics

Hanazono Merry-Go-Round (Kashiwagi Haruko, Shogakukan)
Kashiwagi Haruko-sensei’s works tend to be erotic at their core; it kind of makes you think that you can’t go wrong as long as you’re able to depict a woman’s sensuality. I love horror stories that use indigenous beliefs as a base – when you add the erotic element on top of that, it’s safe to say that [this series] hit my strike zone. I started reading the series when it was still serializing – it is just unbearably good.

The MC’s a young guy who tends to get caught up in happenings – to trace his family roots, he travels to a village deep into the mountainside seeking a sword that has been passed down through his ancestors. However, he finds himself unable to leave and starts freeloading in one of the villager’s homes. There are various traditional customs maintained in the village though…and the story progresses from that point. It’s a series I can recommend to anyone regardless of gender but I’d especially love for guys to give it a read – I’m sure there’ll be loads of you who’ll think ‘I like stuff like this!’ so do please give it a try.

Dokyōboshi (Yamada Yoshihiro, Kodansha)
There’s a popular series called Uchū Kyōdai but for me, when you talk about space Dokyōboshi is what comes to mind. I personally believe that Yamada Yoshihiro-sensei is ‘the man who changed manga composition’, and Dokyōboshi is his masterpiece. It’s a story about going to space in a rocket and I’ve always liked that kind of thing. It’s the tale of a group of young people from across the globe, assembled to investigate an incident where NASA lost touch with astronauts who were on a mission to Mars. The protagonist is named ‘Dokyō’, a quiet and mild-mannered but determined person who toils through harsh trials before being chosen as a member by sheer willpower. I wanted to read more of it – it’s such a pity that it had to be ended. It’s a series that incorporates intricate physics-based ideas like ‘superstring theory’; so perhaps it was just too far ahead of its time. I can confidently recommend this series to anyone who likes space.

Vinland Saga (Yukimura Makoto, Kodansha)
Yukimura Makoto-sensei is another talented individual. He’s exceptionally gifted; a manga genius. I was mulling over whether to go for this or his masterpiece Planetes but in the end I chose to go with this one as it’s still running. It’s a story about Nordic Vikings in the 11th century with a few real-life historical figures being featured – it’s really interesting to see how he delves into the characters. It truly is a thrilling series. There are shocking developments such as how an important character that links up with the protagonist is killed off – the momentum of the series never lets up, which is a testament to the author’s ability. While the series does focus on battles, there is also an overwhelmingly humanistic drama element being depicted and the foreshadowing and presentation is really well done too. I have met Yukimura-sensei before and he is very much a man dedicated to manga. An amazing person who draws classics in a classic way.

Pet (Miyake Ranjō, Enterbrain)
A work of the genius Miyake Ranjō-sensei. Miyake-sensei is currently working on the long-running Imuri series and she has also produced other short works but for me, Pet is her masterpiece. To put it plainly, it’s a series about people with ESP powers. Miyake-sensei is the No.1 author in my heart and I think of her as someone with talent so special that I can’t find words worthy of describing her so let me say that I’m making this choice with the perspective of what I think an ‘author’ is all about. Pet is a series with a unique flavour thanks to it being written by a female author and though it contains BL elements at its core, these parts never overpower the series and I’d actually say that they’re perfectly sublimated into a form of entertainment. The designs may or may not suit your tastes but just trust me and give it a shot. I truly do believe that she’s an author with incredible talent.

Ore to Akuma no Blues (Hiramoto Akira, Kodansha)
This is the work of Hiramoto Akira-sensei who is well-known for Prison School. He’s good at drawing gag manga but it is this particular work that truly shows off his drawing prowess. The story is based upon a the life of a real musician named Robert Johnson, who started off not being particularly good at music until the day that he made a deal with the devil at the middle of the crossroads, and he became a guitar god. The astuteness of adding real-life people like Bonnie & Clyde into the mix, alongside the incredibly powerful art built this into a suspense-cum-horror story. I’d always been fond of the genre but I’ve got to say that this series made my palms sweat, drawing me in with its writing. There were 4 volumes released initially before its hiatus but we finally saw Volume 5 released last year [2015], the first in 8 years – I look forward to further instalments if he decides to draw more of the manga down the line.

#199 – Golden Kamuy Cast Interview Part.8: Takemoto Eiji x Konishi Katsuyuki

A bit belated, but here’s a translation of the interview with Takemoto Eiji & Konishi Katsuyuki, the voices behind fan favourites Sergeant Tsukishima Hajime and Second Liutenant Otonoshin Koito.

Q: Tell us your impressions upon reading the original manga.

Takemoto: I like Hokkaido and travel there on average twice a year. So I was initially drawn in by how it prominently features places that I have fond memories of. At the same time, I only know of modern-day Hokkaido so there was also appeal in learning about the history and nature of these places, which I had not previously known.

Konishi: I’ve always loved the manga and was already reading it before I got to work on the anime. Guys do love these tales of adventure, don’t they? I tend to find myself watching programmes about hunting for mysterious buried treasure whenever they air on TV (laughs). Golden Kamuy is the kind of series that’s packed with such elements and I the characters are ever so charming. It’s not a question of good versus evil since each one of them is motivated by something different. Some possess beliefs; others act upon desire – they all have their own diverging objectives. On top of that, characters you once thought of as enemies suddenly turn into allies while people you thought were on the good guys’ side suddenly turn out to be traitors – it’s fun to never know what lies ahead. So I’m really happy to be cast as Second Lieutenant Koito.

Takemoto: I only learned of the series following my casting but I was quickly drawn into the story as I read it. Thanks to that I’ve dived into the e-books and continued using them as reference material during recordings.

Q: What were your first impressions of your respective characters?

Takemoto: For Tsukishima, I actually went back and reread the manga over and over in hopes of finding out the point at which Noda (Satoru)-sensei started to think about expanding the character.

He seemed like yet another mob character at first but unusually for a mob, he has fairly distinct facial features (laughs). I am quite curious to find out whether [Noda]-sensei decided to expand on the character halfway through or had created those distinctive designs with the intention of developing him as he is now, right from the start. I’d love to put the question to [Noda-sensei] if I had the chance.

Konishi: At first he looked like an ordinary squad member but he started standing out more and more over time, didn’t he? Lieutenant Tsurumi’s team is full of eccentric clods which makes Tsukishima seems like the inconspicuously plain one amongst them, but that’s probably what makes him stand out even more.

Takemoto: In Edogai’s episode there was this character called Maeyama alongside Tsukishima, wasn’t there? He seemed to stand out quite a bit as well so who knows, one wrong move and we might’ve ended up with Maeyama in Tsukishima’s current position (laughs). When you consider something like that, it makes you realize how Noda-sensei’s power of imagination and ability to expand on ideas seem inexhaustible. I’ve got to say I’m really impressed with how Tsukishima has developed into such a meaningful character with that face of his.

Konishi: My first impression of Koito was that he’s cool character with weird eyebrows (laughs). He’s cool and dependable and could’ve been the main character if this were some other series.

Takemoto: He’s got this kind of aura surrounding him.

Konishi: Yeap. But once you read on you’ll realize that he’s just a spoilt kid. He still has plenty of room to grow; many experiences he needs to go through to mature as a man. When you add that to the way he’s hopeless devoted to Lieutenant Tsurumi, I do think he’s the kind of character you could grow attached to.

Takemoto: Just when you think a new star of the series has come along! He suddenly turns out to be rather useless (laughs)

Q: Takemoto-san was part of the 1st series and Konishi-san joined in from Season 2 – how did the two of you approach the studio recording process?

Takemoto: I joined in midway through Season 1 but for the first 2-3 recordings all I said was ‘Yes’. My managed had informed me in advance, ‘The role’s a little special and you’ll mostly be saying ‘Yes’, but he’s a really important character’ – that really intrigued me so I read the manga and found out that it’s true; he barely says anything (laughs). However, as I progressed through the story I understood how important he is so I did worry about how I could adequately portray Tsukishima through that first ‘Yes’ of his’. I think that was the first time in my life I’d muttered the word ‘Yes’ so much (laughs). It was a mere ‘Yes’ anyhow. I wouldn’t find the ‘right’ answer no matter how much time I spent thinking about it. I’ve been working in this industry for 25 years and it made me reconsider how difficult it is [to express oneself] using such brief words.

Q: We see more of Tsukishima in Season 2 – how did you approach the role?

Takemoto: For the ‘Yes’, I tried to portray him as a serious character who didn’t stand out in any way. I made that the base [of his character] and that’s where I kept him, even as his amount of dialogue increased. He’s surrounded by insane people with Liutenant Tsurumi at the forefront, so Tsukishima’s presence mustn’t be distorted or the 7th Division would surely fall apart. Thus in Season 2 I tried to ensure that I played him as firmly, seriously and steadfastly as I could.

Q: What about Koito?

A: As this series is based on an original manga, fans would already have their own ideas of what Koito should sound like. I’ve heard that Koito’s a pretty popular character as well. I did feel some pressure regarding those points, as well as the fact that he speaks a dialect. In fact his initial appearance had him speaking almost entirely in [Satsuma] dialect, so I was naturally concerned about that.

Takemoto: It’s full-on Satsuma dialect after all.

Konishi: Plus, it was a normal conversation so I couldn’t switch to high gear and hope I’d fool anyone. I had to think about the nuances and I consulted with the Satsuma dialect instructor on how I should sound.

Q: How did you handle recording the machine-gun Satsuma dialect that we see written in the manga?

Konishi: He’s speaking in proper Satsuma dialect, at such a speed. He’s not just making random noises; he’s saying things that do actually mean something. Having said that, the words are coming out of his mouth at such a speed that nobody can make out what he’s saying. The staff members were mean and told me to say my lines as fast as I could (laughs). Obviously he talks quickly in the manga too but it really is just too quick.

Takemoto: The Satsuma dialect instructor was quite strict too.

Konishi: That’s right. I tried speaking the way Sensei taught me to but I just couldn’t get their seal of approval. ‘Your pronunciation was spot on but it still sounds a bit off, let’s give it another go’ (laughs). There are subtle nuances only native speakers would comprehend.

Takemoto: Sensei sure had quite a lot of fun driving Konishi-kun further and further into a corner (laughs)

Konishi: Despite the back-and-forth I’d still get given 100 points each time. I was probably perfect (laughs)

Takemoto: This series is all the more realistic thanks to that rapid-fire Satsuma dialect.

Konishi: Though he speaks so quickly that I might actually be cutting corners here and there.

Takemoto: Nah, (we) feel overwhelmed merely listening to you speaking.

Q: Did you receive specific instructions on how to express Koito as a character?

Konishi: There weren’t any detailed instructions so I had the freedom to play it however I wished. In fact, I think I felt more pressure from the points that I mentioned earlier (laughs)

Takemoto: Me too.

Konishi: But you did the first season too.

Takemoto: True, but I still keep getting reminded by Sound Director (Aketagawa) Jin-san to ‘keep it serious, like you normally do’. If I sound a little too friendly he’d say, ‘Takemoto-kun, remember to make Tsukishima serious’ (laughs). There’s a short line in episode 14 where he says ‘Crap…I forgot my wallet’. I tried not to make him sound strangely greedy.

Konishi: Tsukishima asides, the 7th division is a complete mess.

Takemoto: Performance-wise, even (Otsuka) Hōchū-san changes his acting up from the tests to the actual recording and it’s like being punched in the guts. But he never loses his focus so it’s hard to remain stoic when my turn comes up. Also, the part where Koito whispers in [Tsukishima’s] ear was tough to handle.

Konishi: I just followed the script.

Takemoto: Yeah you followed the script. And I thought, ‘Wow this guy’s just as annoying as you expected him to be!’ and I could personally understand how people find Koito exasperating.

Konishi: We recorded that scene separately but I did put my own special feelings into it. Takemoto-kun came after me so he’d wait for my line before he began speaking. And I thought, ‘Just what you’d expect from him’.

Takemoto: Since Konishi-kun had pushed Koito’s annoyingness to the limits during the tests, I was able to record the scene imagining what he sounded like. I think we were able to link up our performances pretty well thanks to that.

Q: Tsukishima’s dedication and the big changes in Koito’s behaviour whenever he’s upset are their respective trademarks, so let’s discuss that. Are there any particular points that you considered when playing the roles?

Takemoto: We’re all playing army veterans, aren’t we? Thus, I’m quite careful about the way I speak – in a formal manner when speaking to my superior and more frankly otherwise. Whenever I get the scripts I do think a lot about the relationships involved; whether they’re professional or personal. As an example, [Tsukishima] often has to officially report to his superior Lieutenant Tsurumi and that is unmistakably a military-style report so I try to adopt a speaking style that emphasizes his status as a battle-hardened sergeant.

Q: Contrast that to his interactions with Edogai and Koito – you see another side to him.

Takemoto: That’s right. I wanted to expand on that side of him a bit more so I tried out a couple of things. Like being friendly (and getting shot down for it) as I mentioned earlier; that was part of the process (laughs). On the one hand I’d like to get more out of Tsukishima as a character but on the other I have to keep in mind the position that he’s in – I’m always aware of how hard it is to balance all those aspects.

Konishi: As for Koito, the most important point is how fluently I can speak the Satsuma dialect. Unlike standard language, it is impossible for me to figure out the intervals between lines over the course of a conversation in Satsuma dialect merely by reading the words. All I can do is mark up the text to get a better handle on things, which is tough. Added to that is the fact that the Satsuma dialect written in the script can differ from the Satsuma dialect that the instructor speaks. When such a situation crops up, I start off by selecting 1 of the 3 speaking patterns to use. There would have to be adjustments made to the script depending on my choice, so it’s quite challenging.

Q: On top of that, you’d need to consider the relationship dynamics when you’re appearing alongside other characters.

Konishi: His Satsuma dialect basically only slips out when he’s lost his mind in the presence of Lieutenant Tsurumi so I don’t have such problems during conversations with Tsukishima. As Takemoto-kun mentioned, Koito and Tsukishima are both proper soldiers when the occasion calls for it. It’s just that he becomes useless in the presence of Lieutenant Tsurumi. In that sense, Tsukishima’s a very important person to Koito. That’s why he thinks so highly of him (laughs)

Takemoto: After all, the core component of Koito’s personality is his Satsuma dialect.

Konishi: When it comes to Lieutenant Tsurumi his emotions become hopelessly erratic and he just suddenly switches to crazy mode. The way he swings between both moods is another challenging aspect.

Takemoto: Tsukishima may be older but in terms of position, Koito is higher up. He’s forced to pass on messages to Tsukishima in spite of that and he does piss you off sometimes – I’ve got to give credit to Konishi-kun for making Koito so good.

Konishi: It’s because you’re my partner, Take-pon, that I can say things like that so easily.

Takemoto: The relationships we actors have is pretty similar (laughs). [Konishi] brings out Koito’s selfish side very well, and anyone who listens to his lines would say he’s cute.

Konishi: I hope that’s true. Anyhow, I’d love for my portrayal [of Koito] to be well-received.

Q: Are there any specific scenes that you feel are vital in showing off the appeal and presence of your characters?

Takemoto: It’s got to be the exchange between Tsukishima and Koito in front of Lieutenant Tsurumi. It’s a very interesting and important scene, and they proved to be a great pairing up ‘til the ending ‘How annoying’ part of the dialogue.

Konishi: They balance each other out well.

Takemoto: Yeah. A perfectly distorted balance (laughs)

Konishi: You kind of feel that Tsukishima forcibly summed it all up.

Takemoto: When I read that scene in the manga, I thought to myself ‘What kind of performance will Hōchū-san deliver? And how will Konishi-kun react to that? And how should I myself in turn, respond?’ – I was very much excited going into recording on the day of that scene. The result was that they both exceeded my expectations; it was incredibly entertaining.

Konishi: For Koito maybe it’s all about the posture he adopts when dealing with Lieutenant Tsurumi, or how he turns into a complete mess. That’s just how he is though, so I very much appreciated his character as I was playing the role. Speaking of which, there aren’t actually many scenes where Koito behaves properly, are there? (laughs)

Takemoto: He was great when he was fighting on the airship.

Konishi: That’s about it I guess? When he next showed up, you’d forgotten he was ever [cool] like that (laughs)

Q: What’s the mood in the recording studio like?

Konishi: Koito doesn’t appear in many episodes so honestly, I can’t say that I spent enough time in the studio to be able to savour the atmosphere. But the cast members did go for meals after recording so I could see how good the teamwork was. Plus, it was familiar faces all around in the studio anyway so it didn’t really occur to me that I was working on a new series. In that sense it was a pretty comfortable studio for me to work in.

Takemoto: The studio was a place where we didn’t have to work too hard at creating the ‘mood’ – it was just an environment where we could concentrate on our performances. We had Konishi-kun struggling with his Satsuma dialect and others having trouble with the Ainu language, but we’d all look upon them kindly (laughs). ‘Do your best! Everybody knows you’re capable of doing it!’

Konishi: And when I pull it off they’ll all go ‘Wooahh~’ (laughs). It’s a great help, mentally.

Q: Lastly, please leave a message for the fans.

Takemoto: For Sergeant Tsukishima, his buddy or should I say partner, Second Lieutenant Koito has finally appeared. I think you’ve been looking forward to seeing this combo so I think we’ll be shaking & stirring up the world of Golden Kamuy and making things even more fun so I ask for your continued support.

Konishi: Koito makes his appearance in Season 2 so my first thought is that I hope that he is well-received by the viewers. I’m also aiming to become one of the show’s supporting pillars so I’d like to be accepted as a member of the Golden Kamuy family, with your help. Thank you for the support.

2018 Round-Up

Lists. Of stuff.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance folks!

It’s been a busy year for…
Guys: Sugita Tomokazu, Kaji Yuki, Sakurai Takahiro each pulled in around 50 anime (series, OVAs, movies) credits. Tsuda Kenjiro & Nakamura Yuichi are some others who notched up 40+.

Girls: M.A.O was the busiest queen bee, being the only lady on my watchlist to notch up at least 40 credits. Sakura Ayane, Hikasa Yoko, Yuuki Aoi, Kayano Ai and Fujiwara Natsumi were others who went past the 30 mark.

Favourite Voices
1. Hikasa Yoko’s Pitohui [SAO Alt GGO]
2. The battery consisting of Ichikawa Taichi’s Urabe and Ohata Shintaro’s Andy [Major 2nd]
3. Naganawa Maria was a perfect fit for Platelet (Kesshōban). Too cute for words
4. Entire Golden Kamuy cast is fantastic, but Shiraishi Haruka stands out as Asirpa. No mean feat considering how crazily experienced the rest of the cast is.
5. Saito Shiro’s Gansaku. ‘Mae ni 5, Ushiro ni 5 da!’ is a phrase that will stick with me for a while [Megalo Box]
6. Mitsuishi Kotono’s chicken voices are finger-licking good [Zombieland Saga]
7. The Tsukumogami team of Nakano Toru, Iguchi Yuka, Hirakawa Daisuke, Akesaka Satomi & Nakano Yutaka [Tsukumogami Kashimasu]
8. Tsuda Kenjiro’s Kirin. Wakarimasu? [Shojo Kageki Revue Starlight]
9. Hayami Saori’s pink bitch voice – it’s so funny to hear her go against type. [Double Decker]
10.Anything Shintani Mayumi does. It’s not like she’s disappeared from TV screens or anything, but she just seemed a lot more prominent this year with FLCL & SSSS.GRIDMAN. I used to find her vapid voice annoying, now I find her a breath of fresh air

My MVPs of 2018
1. Tanezaki Atsumi
I’d thought her career was diving back into eroge and mob-land after the promise of Zankyo no Terror and Subete ga F ni Naru, but snagging the main role in a well-known license [Mahoyome] has reversed that. And oh, being Mizore in the Euphonium series too. Next year looks good already, looking forward to hearing her as a shojo lead in Kono Oto Tomare!

2. Enoki Junya
Always felt he was on the cusp of something big as a less annoying version of the typical whiny male lead. 2018 proved to be his year and then some, with some big castings in Jojo and Gundam & a bunch more things coming up next year (Kono Oto Tomare! etc). That dramatic reveal of his ‘relationship’ with Anzai Chika won’t have hurt his profile either.

3. Uemura Yuto
Uemura’s been in and around doing a lot of things in various areas of showbiz but now he’s part of Kiramune and going for a lot more anime-related jobs, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with, following in the footsteps of his theatre group seniors Miyano Mamoru, Kimura Ryohei and Uchiyama Koki.

4. Hondo Kaede
I’m Ent’s pushed her hard for a few years now [overtaking Ozawa Ari in the process] with middling [Regalia? Keijo? Demi-chan?] results but 2018 has yielded a few more successes – she was golden in Hinamatsuri and shone in Zombieland Saga. Lots more to come from Ede!

5. Fujiwara Natsumi
There’s always one female seiyuu-who-does-badass-shonen-voices that always comes along every 5 or so years and Fujiwara looks set to be this generation’s chosen one. Essentially a younger version of Paku Romi and Tamura Mutsumi.

6. Takada Yuuki
I had my doubts over her being picked out for Yu, looking at her paper-thin credits list – Buso Shojo Machiavellianism wasn’t the place you’d look for fine performances, was it? Yagakimi’s very much convinced me that she can do dramatic acting though, and I hope she gets more chances to do stuff that’s not all about the events & merchandise & all those other whistles. I also regret not standing up or paying attention when she was shilling that anisong fitness thing during AFASG17 but let’s leave that story to one side… (did I mention I only started to think she looks really cute after she grew her hair out???)

7. Ono Yuuki
A flawless year for OnoYu…before he fell off his bike but…still! He’s still had a great 2018, his first full year since revealing his long-term marriage/quitting Atomic Monkey to go freelance. That move seems to have been justified, judging from him picking up leads in Yuragisou, Angolmois, DakaIchi and Kishuku Gakko [+ Conception]

8. Shiraishi Haruka
Honestly I paid zero attention to Shiraishi previously ‘cos she was in things I had no interest in watching (Anne Happy? Umaru-chan? Centaur no Nayami?). Luckily, Akejin picked her out for leads in AICO Incarnation & most importantly, Golden Kamuy. Haruka’s at a mainstream talent agency (Hirata Office) as opposed to a seiyuu-centric one but they’ve got Komatsu Mikako and Kondo Reina on their books as well so no worries there.

9. Kusunoki Tomori
The rookie that stands heads and shoulder above the rest. Came out of the mess that was the Marchen Madchen anime intact, and held her own amongst a star-studded Alt: GGO cast. Plus point for me is how good she sounds on record – I really do have a weakness for those透明感 type of singing voices.

10. Kimura Subaru
HypMic overall still makes me laugh uncontrollably, but that’s what you get when your expectations are spoiled from watching Show Me The Money and Unpretty Rapstar…but! At least we have Subaru K. He’s had a pretty decent year voice-acting wise, getting in all sorts of things from Boruto to Violet Evergarden to Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san. I also loved how he turned up as a rapper in Zombieland Saga & did all that beat-boxing for the rap battle between Sakura and Saki as well. A++

2019 Rookie Watchlist
Last year’s list had Kusunoki Tomori, Iwami Manaka, Kondo Reina etc on it and they’ve all had very good years.

I’m Ent gets their own list…cos they’re just that prolific.

The I’m Ent kids
1. Okasaki Miho – Tweeted about her a bit some time ago. Already good in Tensura. Liking her on the radio too, as well as assisting Matsuoka Yoshitsugu on his hamburg show.

2. Tokudome Shinnosuke – Only noticed him after watching bits of a RoboHachi stream – he has the most amazingly natural high-pitched, feminine voice that outdoes people like Murase Ayumi and Yamamoto Kazutomi. Will be interesting to see how he gets utilized.

3. Akao Hikaru – She’ll probably be looking to make headlines that don’t involve breaking her arm.

4. Murai Misato – I think the most jarring thing was looking at Murai’s profile and only realizing she was a lady after clicking ‘play’ on the voice sample. Has a Sawashiro-type voice but with an androgynous rock-star look – I’ll be very curious to see if I’m Ent will attempt to push her.

5. Otsuka Takeo – Lead in Kazetsuyo. Good-looking chap, will do bits.

6. Sekine Hitomi – a Hocchan-Mariannu-Rierii hybrid. I’m Ent do like this type of voice.

7. Sato Gen – A bit under the radar right now but he’s picking up a bunch of game credits already, let’s check in on him again in 1 years’ time.

8. Sasahara Yu – Second lead in Tonari no Kyuketsuki-san. Might go places, or might not. I’m have way too many talents on their books…

Other kids I’m watching
1. Suzuki Ryota – putting him on the list again cos he seemed to spend most of 2018 in seiyuu school instead of doing stuff, until Tsurune came along. He’ll be big, for sure.

2. Hirose Yuya – SSSS.GRIDMAN should prove to be his big break.

3. Tanaka Takako – Made a big impression with her first lead in Hinamatsuri. She’s at Mausu so they’ll surely find ways of selling her weird personality.

4. Kobayashi Chiaki – The next boy Osawa will push after Ichikawa Aoi.

5. Yasuda Rikuya – Cute in many ways. He’s at Artsvision, where Umehara is.

6. Nozuyama Yukihiro – the one I wasn’t familiar with in Saito Soma’s Hypmic posse – turns out he’s actually signed to Hayami Show’s agency Rush Style. I actually like his voice, which is more deep/gruff-toned than your typical young male rookie

7. Kawase Maki – she’s probably turned a lot more heads thanks to Zombieland Saga (as Junko), though I had committed her name to mind after Hisone to Masotan. Versatile voice, one to watch long-term.

8. Onishi Aguri – Signed to Link Plan, the idolish arm of Pro-Fit, junior of Taketatsu Ayana. Wanted to be an actress and joined Oscar Pro’s Bishojo Contest when she was 15 (in 2012) but I guess that didn’t work out, despite her being in the top 21 finalists. She’s in the Love Live franchise and the Shometsu Toshi idol unit so it’ll be worth keeping an eye out on whether she gets more acting jobs.

9. Suzushiro Sayumi – Picking up a succession of sizable roles, with Bokuben and Kotobuki next year. She’s another one from Artsvision so maybe it doesn’t seem so funny now when I laughed at some 2ch thread joking that all seiyuu in the future are gonna have graduated from Nichinare and signed to I’m/Arts.

10. Kawaida Natsumi – Long shot, but I’ve been waiting for something to happen with Kawaida as she’s from SuzuKen’s Intention agency. Naobou’s been big-upping her junior on Twitter as well so we shall watch, and see…

4 Hanazawa Kana sound-alikes
1. Ichinose Kana – used to think she sounds like Hanazawa Kana minus the confidence prob cos of her stint on DarliFra alongside Umehara? w Really enjoying IchiKana’s radio dot i solo show now though – definitely a lot brighter and fun than I thought. She’s picking up major roles steadily though, with Boogiepop up next.

2. Miyashita Saki – just the one major role so far in Harukana Receive but listening to her week-in, week-out on the radio show told me enough: she sounds like HanaKana, a lot. And she’s at Sigma 7e just like Ichinose – how are they going to split roles between the two??

3. Iwami Manaka – thankfully this is less true after a year of listening to Iwami-chan’s range of characters as she has a very sweet lilt to her voice that is instantly recognizable, refer to Tada-kun or Kakuriyo.

4. Noguchi Iori – the lead in short series Hashiri Tsuzukete Yokattatte. She is definitely a HanaKana copy/paste. I wonder if we’ll ever hear from her again..

Reviving Ghosts of Posts Past

I was flicking through my archives and unfortunately stumbled across these two posts that made me cringe (it seems I was still extremely closeted in 2008 lawl ;;;), but hey, in the spirit of celebrating the 10th anniversary of this particular slice of stupidity I thought ‘why not pick a fresh new list?’. For fun (sweats ;;;)

Top 10 most physically attractive male seiyuu

1, KENN – cos he looks like Takky aka Takizawa Hideaki, one of my teenage crushes
2, Hamano Daiki – good enough looks to pass as a drama actor. Only 28 but he’s already married with a kid…
3, Umehara Yuichiro – Stoic.
4, Kumagai Kentaro
5, Ono Daisuke
6, Suzuki Ryota – Muscles!
7, Uchiyama Koki – I guess I like sour people (re: Umehara)
8, Suzuki Tatsuhisa
9, Masuda Toshiki – He reminds me of some HK/TVB actor…
10, Nishiyama Kotaro – Not the classically handsome type but it’s those puppy eyes!

Top 10 female seiyuu I am yuri for

1, Tomatsu Haruka – Well, not embarrassed to put her on the list now that she’s way past the legal age
2, Inoue Marina
3, Lynn – Strikingly pretty features thanks to her half-half genes. Always wondered why she didn’t make it big during Sabagebu!
4, Shiraishi Haruka
5, M.A.O – she’s looking kinda old after she gave up the gravure tho w
6, Kotobuki Minako – I didn’t actually use to fancy her 10 years ago. But like fine wine….
7, Fujii Yukiyo
8, Kayano Ai
9, Amamiya Sora
10, Taneda Risa

#198 – Reflections on Yagate Kimi ni Naru 1-6: Takada Yūki x Kotobuki Minako

Animate Times put up a lengthy piece with Yagakimi’s main pairing Yū (Takada Yūki) & Tōko (Kotobuki Minako), looking back on and discussing the first half of the anime series. This kind of thing is normally limited to radio talk so it’s nice for fans of Yagakimi to read how they break down the show episode by episode

“Tōko’s true intentions, hidden behind her words, Yū’s true desire, hidden behind her obliviousness”

Character relationships that are redefined every week and the direction of the arrows

Q: The anime recently aired episode 6, the turning point in the series. The original manga is popular in its own right, so it’s not surprising that viewers responded in a big way [to the episode].

Kotobuki: We’ve received a lot of positive feedback! ‘It’s unexpectedly deep’ or ‘that was erotic’ – we hear all kinds of things (laughs)

Takada: That’s right! We’re happy when people say ‘I didn’t expect certain scenes (in the anime) to go that far’, but it’s also embarrassing (laughs). What makes me happiest though, is when others say to me ‘You’re exactly like Yū’ or ‘You’re perfect [for the role]’.

Obviously I was already aware of how popular the series is when I first took the audition and I must admit I was a little apprehensive about whether [my performance] would be well-received. Thus, I was really happy when people started saying to me that I was perfect after they watched episode 1 and I’m glad that I continue to hear positive comments as the episodes go by.

I’m also very thankful to hear people say ‘Thank you for voicing Yū’ but to be honest, I am the one who’s filled with gratitude (laughs). I never thought I would be able to receive such encouraging words from the viewers – I’ve been overjoyed ever since the first episode aired.

Q: The two of you also serve as hosts of the Bloom into You ~I Think I Might Come to Love this Radio~ (Yagate Kimi ni naru~Watashi, Kono Radio Suki ni Narisou~) web radio show. You’d have the chance to hear candid impressions from listeners who mail in to the show.

Takada: We get to hear the listeners’ honest opinions – putting their feelings into words. The mails aren’t limited to fans of the manga; we do hear from anime-only viewers, writing in saying things like ‘I’m looking forward to future developments’. I’ve come to realize that there are quite a lot of people who are learning about the existence of this series through watching the anime.

Kotobuki: It makes me happy to know that the anime served as an entry point to the manga for some people. The Sensei [author Nakatani Nio & editor Kusunoki Tatsuya] also attended episode recordings every week; working [with everyone] to ensure that the worldview of the series was kept as close to the original as possible. We want that passion to be conveyed to the audience and it would delight us all if manga fans and newcomers to the anime end up being captivated by the series.

Q: We’ve reached the halfway point in the blink of an eye – let’s look back on proceedings, shall we?

Kotobuki: I’m feeling nostalgic about recording sessions already~!

Takada: That’s right! For the first half of the series, episodes 3 and 6 were particularly memorable for me, especially since I voice Yū.

Kotobuki: I personally thought that although episodes 3 and 4 had scenes that made them memorable, it was episode 1 with its aggressive directing and Tōko’s behaviour that made people think ‘I wonder what’s gonna happen from here?’ – and it never betrays those expectations as the story develops, which made me think ‘this is amazing’.

I had read the first 3 volumes of the manga beforehand but once my casting was confirmed I decided not to read the rest. This makes every script feel fresh for me, as well as giving me a sense of excitement as I work on each episode.

Q: So you approached each recording with a fresh perspective.

Kotobuki: That’s right. I prioritized that ‘feeling of freshness’ for recording. Moving into the second half of the series, the story is increasingly seen from Tōko’s perspective. The first half was mainly from Yū’s point-of-view, but starting from the closing scene of episode 6 we’ll be able to glimpse more and more into Tōko’s heart – that makes the latter half of the series even more interesting.

Takada: On the other hand, I have read the series up until the latest published volume so every time I received a script I’d think ‘oh so they’re covering up ‘til this part’, and I’d marvel at how detailed the depictions were.

Also, the scene in episode 5 where the characters all stop by Yū’s family bookstore warmed my heart – I loved that part even when I read it in the manga*! However, this type of short scene tends to be omitted from animated adaptations or get shifted elsewhere due to the lack of available airtime, but this series really takes time to cover them thoroughly and I can’t help but feel pleased as a reader (laughs). I’m thinking, ‘Wow, I get to play Yū in this scene too!’ and right then, I realized that episode 6 will be up next….!

*Volume 2 extras.

Kotobuki: Ah, the riverbed scene! It represents the emotional peak in the series, marking it as a standout episode. You could say that each and every character in this series is important…as we see from episode 6 with the conversation between Yū and (Saeki) Sayaka, or the chat between Maki (Seiji)-kun and Yū (in episode 4) – every character is essential to the storyline.

Not only that, it’s also really interesting to see which way the arrows are pointing in terms of the characters’ human relationships. If we were to draw up a relationship chart, the arrows would be pointing all kinds of different directions and you’d be able to discern the unique relationships shared by certain pairings by reading the accompanying text. Still, I think this series is amazing in how it manages to pull together all [of these characters].

Takada: With the airing of episode 6, I think we can finally see the whole relationship chart. Up until now it’s been hard to tell which direction Yū’s arrow has been pointing towards, hasn’t it? But with the ‘and yet, I lied…’ and ‘I must have been lonely too’ parts of Yū’s monologue, you can begin to see the faint arrow that connects Yū to Nanami-senpai.

There was also a scene where you can catch a glimpse of a new side of Sayaka-san. Generally speaking, we’ve only been shown a vague view of the relationships between specific characters in the first half of the series.

Q: The arrows seem to come in different shapes depending on the individual as well.

Kotobuki: That’s true~. Not all of the arrows looks straight (laughs)

Takada: In that case, I wonder what shapes Nanami-senpai’s arrows would be (laughs)

Kotobuki: Oh, I’m curious too! I get the feeling that they’d be complex arrows that are bending so much that they might sustain a fracture!

Takada: Watching episodes 1-5, you’d be thinking that the arrows looked quite straightforward but in episode 6 there’s a moment where you’ll go ‘Oh…?’ (laughs)

Kotobuki: Well it’s not just Tōko who’s like that; everyone seems to be shouldering some kind of heavy burden in some way. While still keeping an eye on Yū, Tōko’s biggest priority is to consider what kind of person she should be – in a sense, I kind of felt as if she was ‘in love with herself’.

But to be ‘in love with herself’…is a kind of a misleading thing to say; the basic idea of wanting to be like her sister, or doing it for the sake of her family – it’s something she’s been fixated upon since she was young, which is why she places such importance on what she should be. Those desires may come to her naturally, but they do make the people around her worry.

However, harbouring these thoughts means that they’ve taken root within her heart and often causes others to think that she’s doing such things for her own sake. In that sense, she may give off the impression of being ‘in love with herself’ to others. Though at the same time, she’s not the type of person who allows her feelings to show, which is probably what makes other people feel like they want to do something for her.

Q: Compared to episode 1, the characters’ mental states and relationships have undergone great changes. I’d like to discuss what it’s like playing such characters – for Takada-san, you mentioned on the radio that when you auditioned for Yū, you felt like you could voice the character exactly as you were.

Takada: Yes. Regarding the flow of the audition process, I normally begin practising once I receive the pre-selected audition lines. In this case, when I started reading the lines I was able to hear Yū’s voice inside my head automatically and I felt that I could fit the character’s [voice] within the tones of my own speaking voice. Instead of manufacturing a voice for the character, I felt confident that it was a role that I could compete for with natural acting, using my natural voice.

It’s the first time I’d ever felt this way – to be honest, when I’m reading lines for all the other shows I’ve worked on, I tend to feel like I’m unable to hear my own voice in there. I’m often burdened by anxiety; thinking ‘does this voice work?’ or ‘is that kind of acting OK?’. Mostly, I follow the pattern of creating [a character voice] based upon reading the source material and getting to know the character better.

But in Yū’s case, thoughts like ‘she’d say that in this tone’ or ‘she’ll be feeling this way when saying those words’ flowed naturally through my mind as I was reading her dialogue. Thus, even though I was nervous heading into the auditions I also felt confident, thinking ‘This is definitely the kind of person Yū is!’ as I performed. Yū’s the first girl who made me feel this way.

Q: Definitely the kind of role that you’d find absorbing. On the other hand we have Kotobuki-san who played Tōko in the manga PV that preceded the anime – we hear that you received some pointers from the author on how the character should be played.

Kotobuki: There were a number of lines to be read within a fixed time-frame – the PV came in digest format, featuring a couple of scenes from the manga. That was when I started reading the source material – my first impression was that Tōko was cool and refined, and I strongly felt that I needed to bring those characteristics out in my acting.

However, the digest showed a weaker side to Tōko that becomes all the more evident the further you read on into the series, so I was asked to ‘bring out a little more vulnerability’ at certain points.

Despite its short length, I recorded my lines for about an hour. Thanks to this session, I received hints from [Nakatani] Sensei that Tōko wasn’t just a cool type of character.

Q: Seeing the various expressions that Tōko possesses must’ve been a great help towards your audition [for the anime].

Kotobuki: 2 years after I’d recorded the PV, I received word of the tape auditions that were being held for the anime. Embracing the emotions that Sensei had spoken of, I thought ‘This is how I would choose to play Tōko now’ and ‘if it was me, this is the nuance I’d pick!’ – I did my best with those thoughts and plans in mind.

Q: We hear that the audition involved lines that ran the gamut of emotions – could you whisper some examples of Tōko’s?

Kotobuki: Yeah. In terms of the spectrum of emotions, I think I recall doing 2 different tones – the riverbed scene from episode 6 as well as a normal, everyday conversation with Yū.

Q: I think it’s fairly obvious from episodes 3 and 6 that Tōko is a character with a wide range of emotions.

Kotobuki: That’s so true, isn’t it~! As the episodes go by I’m seeing how her expressions keep on changing. I’m sure everybody has a sense of admiration for someone like her – a person who’s able to think ‘this person is wonderful!’ must surely be someone who has a rich range of expressions.

For example, she might look like she wants to say ‘I’m sad ‘cos this happened~’ but instead, she makes herself smile and says ‘I still had fun!’ – experiencing that change in her facial expression makes you want to see more and more of it.

From episode 1, I could already feel that Tōko was a person who possessed such characteristics. She may take pride in being a perfectionist but in reality, she’s so very human – I was relieved to discover that about her.

Their first encounter and the beginning of something special

Q: Moving on, let’s talk about the best scenes from episodes 1-6. First of all we have episode 1, which featured Yū and Tōko’s initial encounter.

Kotobuki: Yūki-chan, it’s that scene!

Takada: Ahh~ I really loved that part~ (laughs) But for me, the scene before the part where Yū replies to the confession she received, where Nanami-senpai patted her on the head, saying, ‘it must’ve been tough on you, feeling like you had to love him back’ – I love that bit where her ahoge pops back up; for me, that may actually be the best scene (laughs)

Both: (laugh)

Takada: Ah ahoge that’s unbendable…is what I was thinking (laughs) But I did feel what a cool senior Nanami-senpai was in that moment. Yū was calmed down by that one ‘It’ll be all right’ phrase and she was able to take a step forward because of that – it’s one of my favourite scenes. The coolness of our refined Nanami-senpai was very much evident here.

And I also like their first encounter! The part where she said ‘I’m Nanami Tōko from the Student Council. Nice to meet you’, with the breeze blowing in the background – what amazing presence she had (laughs). It was as if there was a new wind blowing inside Yū herself, and the way the anime depicted that was impressive.

Q: As for Tōko, in the B part of the episode preceding the scene where Yū consults with her on how to reply to the confession, there is this really cool line where she says ‘…because you look like you want to say something’.

Kotobuki: That’s true! (laughs) She’s the type of girl who, if going out for a meal with Yū, would say ‘Ah, by the way I’ve already paid the bill’, having done so when Yū’s away from her seat for a moment (laughs)

Q: (laughs) How about you, Kotobuki-san? What are your thoughts on the episode?

Kotobuki: For those who’ve watched up to episode 6, Tōko’s ‘I think I could fall in love with you’ line might make you think, ‘back then, did she say those words while having those kind of intentions?’. Let’s look forward to finding out the answers going forward.

On a personal level, I was constantly reaffirming throughout recording, the emotions that I believed she harboured, but as the weeks passed by I would be surprised. ‘Wow, was Tōko really thinking that deeply!?’

Takada: There’s also the part following Nanami-senpai’s ‘Because…I think I might fall in love with you’ line; the moment where the distance in Yū’s heart materialized…but I love that kind of disparity.

Going from the instance where Yū believes that she’s met someone who possesses a similar mindset; someone who’s ‘the same as me’, someone who ‘won’t harbour any kind of special feelings’, to the moment where the distance opens up in her heart as she realizes that [Tōko] de indeed ‘hold special feelings…’ – I was especially careful when acting out this scene.

Kotobuki: When you think about it in such a way, you realize how, despite how thoughts like ‘my heart has grown apart from yours’ or ‘we’re together now’ were not put into actual words, you could still read into, and comprehend a character’s emotions by seeing their movements and hearing their lines, which is something that’s fascinating about Yagakimi.

From the confession scene in episode 1 you could tell that Tōko had unsealed the bottle of rationality and I felt like she was starting to act solely by instinct…I describe it as ‘animalistic’ myself (laughs). The beginning of ‘Animal Tōko’.

Regardless, I believe that courage is a necessity if you wish to live life being true to yourself, so seeing Tōko put it into practise makes me realize how amazing she is. The part where Yū thought ‘I don’t understand… a single thing this person is saying’ – that’s a scene from episode 1 that I like. And in Yū’s monologue at the end, that phrase appears again: ‘In the end…I still don’t understand this person’. Ah, it’s so true! (laughs)

‘Unfair!’ and ‘unfair’. The story of Yagakimi that could not be told without Yū’s feelings

Q: Next up is episode 2 – when we mention this one, it’s got to be…!

Takada: And by episode 2 they….already did that (laughs)

Kotobuki: Woahhhhh! (laughs)

Takada: This is the kind of thing you’re referring to when you mentioned ‘animalistic’ earlier; I thought ‘did that just happen out of the blue!? In episode 2!?’ (laughs)

Kotobuki: Animal Tōko! Tōko’s thought process is never explicitly mentioned in the scripts. The script notes basically cover the characters’ actions, so when I first read the script for this scene, I was thinking ‘Hmm, Tōko doesn’t appear to have any line—oh wait!? Are they kissing!?’ (laughs)

I was surprised by the sudden speeding curve of developments but as I worked to unravel it all, I felt like I was able to link that to the kind of love that Tōko was seeking, a love that would ‘allow her to do those things [like kissing]’.

Her demeanour is normally calm so she does want to treasure her feelings of being in love with Yū – it is her first time experiencing such exhilarating emotions after all. You could say that she’s still taking Love 101 classes, fumbling around with her clumsy, earnest feelings.

Q: The exchange that ensues after the kiss: ‘…what should I do…’, ‘…that’s what I should be asking’ – the distance between them was so perfectly depicted.

Takada: Ahhh~ that was great, wasn’t it~!

Kotobuki: That made me blush! I wanted to butt in and say ‘that’s rich, coming from you!’ (laughs)

Q: Voicing Tōko in that scene – you’d say your feelings were those of ‘embarrassment’?

Kotobuki: I was feeling embarrassed inside. I’m sure that Tōko was inwardly thinking ‘I love her! But if I let her know about those feelings it’ll be over, so what I can do to express them now would be…this!’ and it ended up being a kiss. The result of her acting upon her feelings was that – a kiss.

Tōko normally has a commanding view of everything going on around her but when she’s experiencing these overflowing emotions of love, her perspective is narrowed. After the kiss, she came back down to earth and recognized that ‘there are people all around us…!’; as they continued walking she could feel her heart beating faster and the heat rising within her.

I think her ‘what should I do?’ line comes about as a result of realizing that she ‘might have done something rather embarrassing’ but while blushing, she knew that there was no going back now and was perhaps, rather surprised, that she managed to ‘take a step forward!’

Q: On the other hand we have Yū, whose monologue during her recollection of the scene was ‘I felt nothing’….

Kotobuki: That’s so mean! Even though that was her first kiss! (laughs)

Takada: (laughs). Being Yū, I think she was overwhelmingly confused more than anything else. My personal feeling was ‘Oh my god~! They kissed~~~!’ (laughs)

As she’s thinking about how to process the situation, Yū’s shock and confusion leads her to question, ‘why did she kiss me at that moment?’. What happened in the interval after [the kiss] was memorable – Nanami-senpai’s ‘….My love, is the kind of love that makes me want to do these things with you’ line was immediately drowned out by the train rushing past and the flowing crowd – that very moment!

When I was reading the manga I’d thought that this kind of scene would look more realistic if animated. Things like confusion or time silently flowing between the two of them. It’s something that really moved my heart as I watched the anime – I realized how anime had the ability to express such bittersweet feelings.

Kotobuki: That’s true! So even though there are a lot of scenes that I like in episode 2, as Tōko I would pick their first kiss as the best scene.

Something else in episode 2 I’d like to mention is the scene where they’re taking a group shot for the student council election, and Yū holds Tōko’s hand. The way Yū reacts with an ‘Eh?’ upon seeing Tōko, whose heart skips a beat when Yū takes her hand in hers. These actions appear to be testing Tōko and I honestly think Yū is amazing. She does have such courage – normally, you wouldn’t even dare to do something like that~ (laughs)

Takada: That’s definitely true (laughs)

Kotobuki: Since I’m voicing Tōko I honestly did feel happy at that moment (laughs) It makes my heart skip a beat, sets my pulse racing. Unaware of Yū’s hidden intentions, Tōko goes ‘Koito-san…?’ the moment she feels her hand being taken into Yū’s – inwardly, she’s probably thinking ‘Why is she doing this?’

Despite the uncertainty: ‘I’m not sure what’s going on but…maybe she’s trying to comfort me?’, Tōko still feels happy. As Tōko’s voice actress I was definitely glad, but I also went ‘Yū….!’ as I read the script. Because the light from her eyes disappeared at that point (laughs)

Takada: The world as Yū perceived it, had changed considerably (laughs). The anime does very well in transmitting the shock [that Yū feels], more so than in the manga. However, she still felt disappointed in herself for being unable to feel any kind of emotion despite being kissed.

Q: Even so, Yū still continues to assist Tōko who is running for student council president.

Takada: I’m sure Nanami-senpai told Yū to help her out with her student council election speech not because she needed the help, but because she wanted to do it together with Yū. Yū has a strong sense of responsibility so she’d view the situation as ‘I’ve got to follow up on Nanami-senpai’ and ‘I’ll need to work hard’, but when she held Nanami-senpai’s hand she saw a girlish side to her.

Yū’s ‘Unfair!’ monologue that came up right after that was as shocking as it felt when I read the part in the manga.

Kotobuki: With just three syllables*.

*unfair – zurui (ずるい)

Takada: That’s right! I was surprised that those 3 syllables were the first thing that came to Yū’s mind but I do think that it’s an essential ‘emotion’ in the world of Yagakimi. Like anger, loneliness, jealousy. I did have some trouble, pondering how to express that complex desire of ‘wanting to be on the other side’.

Looking at Yū, her determination to not to allow herself to be fearful is conveyed clearly and instead, you can see her feelings of envy and the shock that lies somewhere within her heart. I was doing my best to express those mixed emotions – I would be happy if the viewers could share in those feelings through the role I play.

Q: The ending part features another monologue from Yū – this time she says ‘she’s totally unfair’, with a nuance that is different from the ‘Unfair!’ we mentioned earlier.

Takada: That’s right. It may be the same word – ‘unfair’; but the careful work that goes into animating the difference between the 2 ways the word is expressed is amazing. You can see how such scenes are born from the love that the staff have for Yagakimi.

Q: So would that be your choice, Takada-san? That ‘Unfair’ scene?

Takada: As the voice of Yū, I would have to pick the first ‘Unfair!’ and the 2nd ‘unfair’ together. The 2 scenes where you can pick up the different nuances behind the same word.

The weaknesses and strengths that Tōko shows to Yū alone

Q: Another high point of the series would be episode 3, where we finally see the student council election speeches.

Kotobuki: During recordings for the election speech scene, Yūki-chan actually copied down all of Yū’s speech lines from the script. The manuscript that Yū was reading in the speech – you wrote that out, right?

Takada: Yes I did…!

Kotobuki: The original draft had been prepared and given to her by Sayaka, but I’m sure Yū added her own little things to the speech which is why she rewrote the whole thing. I noticed [Yūki-chan] turning her script sideways in the studio, reading some handwritten notes off the page so when I asked her about it later on, she told me ‘I tried writing it out’…she’s just so amazing!

Takada: No way! (laughs) Yū’s speech had a great number of words in it. I was wondering what kind of feelings she’d have, memorizing the content of the manuscript and delivering the speech by heart. The script splits up the dialogue for each cut so I wasn’t quite able to tell just how much text there was overall.

Which is why I tried transcribing the entire speech. When I did, I could see just how great the number of words were. Yū, who’s not fond of standing in front of an audience, has to memorize the speech and deliver it with confidence – seeing how magnificent she was spurred me on to do the same in my performance.

Q: And you could hear the change in Yū’s voice when she declared her own intention to become a member of the student council, compared to how she delivered her speech. You could sense Yū’s strong will packed into the words of her declaration.

Takada: Thank you very much. I think transcribing the speech text definitely helped me out there.

Also, the vulnerability that Nanami-senpai showed before the speech left a big impression on me. It was the first time that Nanami-senpai showed this side of herself to Yū, and the ‘it’ll be all right’ phrase that I mentioned earlier from episode 1 was now being used by Yū herself [on Tōko] – what a contrast. This particular scene gave me the strength to stand on stage…but ahh, there are just too many scenes that could be my ‘favourite’ (laughs)

Kotobuki: So true (laughs). There’s also the last bit of the A part, where Yū’s trying out the planetarium that she received as a gift from Tōko, and the monologue goes: ‘Am I happy to receive this? Yeah, pretty happy. Just normally happy. Well, I do love the stars after all’ – she’s asking questions and answering them herself. And I’m just thinking ‘Ah we do that ourselves, we definitely do!’ (laughs)

I think everyone does do that – run their own Q & A sessions in their mind! The way Yū’s contemplation scene was depicted feels so realistic; it was wonderful to watch it.

Q: Speaking of the planetarium, Tōko looked really girlish when she was trying to hand the souvenir over to Yū (laughs)

Kotobuki: Plus, the words that were coming out of her mouth were a mass of contradictions (laughs). Yū was just giving her indifferent responses, but the way Tōko reacted in such a flustered manner was great (laughs)

Takada: Nanami-senpai was really cute in that scene (laughs). The colour in Minako-san’s voice allows you to feel like ‘Nanami-senpai is right next to you, but there are moments when you do think ‘Ah, she’s cute!’ (laughs). But even if Yū thinks so, she’s the kind of girl who’d never let it show on her face.

And that’s why I think Yū definitely knew what was on Nanami-senpai’s mind when she was trying to give her the souvenir. ‘I’m not thinking of anything special, but why are you here?’. I was trying to keep that indifference in mind when I was voicing the scene.

Regardless, that ‘just how much do you love me line’ of Yū’s is incredible!

Kotobuki: That’s right! Like episode 2’s hand-holding and this ‘how much do you love me?’ line in episode 3 – they’re things that you’d never say out loud in your whole life (laughs)

Takada: In the studio, we were all going ‘I’d never say that kind of thing in my life!’, weren’t we? (laughs) But it’s because Yū is aware of Nanami-senpai’s very direct emotions, that she could actually say something like that. The scene where Nanami-senpai responds ‘I love you a lot’ with a smile, truly allows her to feel the amount of love that she has for her and that is what makes her start questioning herself.

Q: What would you vote as the best scene of episode 3?

Kotobuki: We’ve discussed a few of them already but for me, I’d definitely pick the part where Tōko shows her weakness to Yū behind the school building. The scene where she suddenly switches to a sharp, loud voice saying ‘That’s no good’ was pretty tough to record, and I had redo it again and again.

As I was performing, I was thinking about Tōko’s state of mind; how she let herself show such vulnerability and how she raised her voice all of a sudden. By the second half of the episode viewers would have learned of the situation with her older sister, allowing everyone to better understand where she’s coming from.

I too was surprised by Tōko’s fluctuating feelings, but it helped me to understand how strong she is at her core and to also draw out the kind of emotions I needed for my acting. It’s also a fairly important scene in terms of her future development.

Takada: For me it’s got to be Yū’s speech. How she delivers the speech she’s prepared for and also, following the scene behind the school building, how she declares that she will join the student council – these parts show how Yū is thinking honestly about Nanami-senpai and conveying how she really feels, and I love that. Coupled with her monologue, the flow of scenes that culminated in that declaration made it the best scene for me.

What Maki brings – minor changes and major triggers

Q: With the end of the student council arc, we have episode 4 up next, where Tōko officially becomes the student council president.

Kotobuki: For episode 4, Maki-kun stole the (best) scene.

Takada: That’s right. It’s the episode where you learn what kind of boy Maki-kun truly is.

Kotobuki: During the interval between episodes 1 and 3, the radio staff were like ‘Isn’t Maki-kun just one of the student council members?’ – I suppose that would be the general view for those unfamiliar with the source material (laughs)

Q: There are indeed, a lot of memorable scenes throughout the episode. You kind of feel like [Maki] was just their peer up until this point.

Kotobuki: Episode 4 is Maki-kun’s turn and his way of thinking becomes clear – personally, I do feel like I can understand what he’s saying. Obviously I don’t enjoy observing other people’s love lives as much as Maki-kun does but at the very least, I don’t dislike the idea of witnessing the exact moment where a person’s thoughts and feelings of love, or the relationship between two parties, becomes evident.

In that sense, I won’t say that I don’t see where Maki-kun’s coming from; though my interests are not as pinpoint as his are, I do think that he has an interesting way of thinking. I do also like that part where he notes that it’s bizarre for the star of the stage to fall in love with an audience member like him.

It’s an expression that was part of the original manga as well and I recall thinking that [Nakatani] Sensei’s amazing for coming up with a scene like this, but it was also the moment I felt afraid of Maki-kun.

It’s not just Yū and Tōko that he can’t take his eyes off of; it’s the same for every other character – that is the kind of perception that this episode was built upon. Thus, I’d pick the part where Maki-kun talks about what drives him as my best scene.

Oh, but episode 4 is when Tōko’s ‘erotic’ scene happens!

Takada: Ah, this is when that blew up right – the famous ‘Erotic Pass’* power phrase.

*Erotic Pass (ero-tōge, エロ峠), Pass referring to routes through a mountain range, which are normally very tough paths to travel. Erotic Pass is a phrase casually coined by Ichikawa Taichi, CV of Maki-kun, during recording. It ended up as a sort of catchphrase amongst cast and staff. Mostly used to describe flirting scenes between Yū and Tōko ie ‘oh that was an unexpected Erotic Pass today’ or ‘let’s climb the Erotic Pass’ [as described on Yagakimi radio ep 3]’

Kotobuki: It’s not either of us who came up with that though; it’s Ichikawa-kun (laughs)

Takada: But I have to say I was surprised by how smoothly Nanami-senpai’s mouth moved – ‘She’s really enunciating each syllable in E-RO-TIC!’ (laughs)

Q: (laughs). I personally found that the flow of dialogue there; from ‘Erotic’ to ‘Wait! Don’t!’ to ‘Let’s do it’ made a huge impression. Your suggestive, captivating acting and how the nuances of each of the 3 lines were different – I was very much impressed.

Kotobuki: There is a part of Tōko that is unexpectedly sadistic – those lines were her attempt to be a bit playful with Yū. You can see the many different expressions that she possesses throughout these scenes.

Q: How about you, Takada-san? Would the conversation between Yū and Maki be your favourite scene?

Takada: Probably yes – that last scene between Yū and Maki-kun. It’s the first time that their relationship has been exposed, and when Maki-kun says to her ‘Koito-san, you do actually love Nanami-senpai after all’ and she replies ‘Not really, it’s just something normal’ with a certain kind of expression on her face – it’s not normal anymore, and I love it (laughs)

Up until that point Yū and Maki-kun had been talking under the shade of a tree but the moment she thinks about her feelings, saying ‘…love? ….me?’, she’s stepping out from the shade. I think the directing was meant to express the change in her emotions as well. It’s not just their faces, but the environment around them also goes through small changes that represent Yū – that kind of direction left an impression upon me. Yū might be saying ‘no, it’s just normal’ but her surroundings are telling her ‘you have contradictory feelings’ – I was impressed by the direction of that scene.

Yū’s true feelings, hidden within her heart

Q: In episode 5 we see the depiction of some of the relationships of the people around Yū. What would you pick out as your best scene?

Takada: The scene where they go to Yū’s house to study! Yū’s question of ‘Is this what people are like when they’re in love?’ and Nanami-senpai’s reply of ‘My heart is beating so fast right now’, while placing her hand on her heart – it’s so erotic (laughs). After the events of episode 4, even a scene like this starts to feel erotic (laughs)

All: (laugh)

Kotobuki: Tōko’s supposed to be feeling embarrassed here and yet, she tries to provoke Yū. With such behaviour and the way she gazes [at Yū], I can’t help but think that people would fall for her so easily. You feel how naturally attractive her personality is at that point, which is good. Also, the part that follows shows how she’s obviously jealous – these all add up to make it my favourite scene!

Q: You can see the shy nuance behind Tōko’s ‘Wanna listen?’ line. If the person opposite her was anyone other than Yū, Tōko would surely display her normal, dignified look. But Tōko only blushes because it’s Yū.

Kotobuki: That’s true, she has many expressions that only Yū is allowed to see, as in this particular scene.

Takada: Yeah. In episode 5, we also see Koyomi-chan writing a novel. It’s a scene that allows the audience to see the kind of things that Koyomi-chan has an interest in.

She only hands over the novel that she’s written for Yū to read because of their friendship, and the belief that they have a kind of emotional connection. It was sheer happiness for Yū in that moment and I do consider it one of my favourite scenes.

Q: This was true of episode 4 as well, that we’re gradually digging deeper into the people around Yū.

Takada: In that respect, episode 5 is full of scenes that’ll make you think ‘Her family’s amazing!’. Like (Koito) Rei-chan’s casual ‘Nanami Tōko. Nanami-chan huh…please take care of Yū’ line. I was watching the recording of this line [by Komatsu Mikako] from the back and to be honest, it made my heart skip a beat!

Rei-chan is Yū’s older sister and is very observant about a lot of things (laughs). Those of you who are reading the manga would be going ‘Oh yes’ at this scene, and having voices added to it made it all the more emotional.

Also, every episode tends to end with a monologue by Yū and in episode 5 we hear her say ‘if only my heart would choose for me….’ Yū’s monologues are always where she most clearly expresses her honest thoughts.

Kotobuki: Her choice of words is wonderful.

Takada: That’s right. So for me, the best scene in episode 5 would be Yū’s ending monologue – ‘If only my heart would choose for me…’.

The lie that Yū told, and the truth that Tōko finally reveals. What is special to them eventually brings them to the next step

Q: And now we arrive at episode 6, the peak of the first half of the series.

Kotobuki: Will you go for the riverbed scene too, Yūki-chan…?

Takada: It’s got to be that~!

Kotobuki: From Tōko’s perspective, her ‘I’d rather die than be told that’ line was severe. It pierced right through the heart; hurting both the one who said it and the one who had it said to them.

I always rehearse my lines at home, where I read the scripts first and then do a V-check*. I’d try to predict the expression she would have on her face as I read the script, and then check it against the video to see if they matched up. For this scene I was especially able to relate to her expression: ‘Oh I knew she would have that look on her face!’. It was a moment where I personally felt connected to Tōko, which made me very happy.

After that part we have Yū approaching her, but that reply of ‘I’d rather die than be told that’ made her fearful of Tōko. And from there we went into the C part.

*V-check refers to early-stage video that seiyuu are provided with prior to recordings, that allow them to check the dialogue timing etc

Q: The C part was where we first get to hear a monologue from Tōko’s point of view.

Kotobuki: The direction up to that point had been interesting. The B part ended with Yū’s perspective and once the ending theme played and we entered the C part, you’d realize that it starts off exactly the same way as Yū’s monologue part did. Even during recording, we were thinking ‘Oh, we’re repeating the scene’. Just as you’re thinking that they’re copying and pasting the same thing, we suddenly move into Tōko’s monologue.

And from this scene onwards, we finally start to see things from Tōko’s point of view, which opens up a new path for the story to develop, but also makes you feel uneasy about whether Yū will struggle moving forward. When one of them steps forward, the other one stops moving, and vice versa…the incompatible sense of distance between them is agonizing.

Takada: Nanami-senpai has been showing a variety of expressions to Yū over the course of episodes 1-5 which makes her feel like she knows everything [about Tōko]. And that’s why the shock was so great when she heard ‘I’d rather die than be told that’ coming from her – it was as if she had run straight into a brick wall.

So if I were to specifically pick outthe best scene , I’d say the ‘I can’t fall in love with you…senpai’ part.

The monologue that follows, where she thinks ‘And yet, I lied…’ ‘Because I’m lonely too’ shows that Yū is aware of her own feelings and understands that she was telling a lie when she says that [she can’t fall in love with Tōko] – and that shook my heart to its core.

Yū may not have been present during the scene when Nanami-senpai says ‘Please, Yū…don’t fall in love with me’ in her monologue, but hearing it alone sent a jolt of pain through my heart. It’s a scene that shows viewers how Nanami-senpai is expressing herself while harbouring those kind of thoughts, and it’s a painful episode for me.

Q: We’re seeing a monumental shift in the relationship between Yū and Tōko just as we move into the second half of the show. For many manga readers, this may be where the story truly begins.

Kotobuki: The tightening feeling in your heart from watching the climax of episode 6 will only worsen from now on and I’m sure the viewers will feel the same agony as well. Still, there are many scenes coming up that show how everyone is oh so very human, trying to live their lives being true to themselves.

We talked about the character relationship chart and the direction of the arrows earlier, and there will be an increasing number of episodes covering these relationships in future. I hope that you will watch over them with a feeling of warmth in your heart, and as we approach the end, please watch over Tōko and Yū as they learn how to relate to each other. Do continue to watch all our girls in the second half of the series.

Takada: For all of those who have watched episodes 1-6, you will probably be experiencing a mixture of feelings. In episode 6, you will have seen a side to Nanami-senpai that you never knew existed and I’m sure everyone will be worried about [Tōko and Yū] and wondering what lies ahead for them. I’d be glad if you could continue observing their emotions and the distance between them until the very end!

And by the way, this is my own opinion, but the lyrics from the TV size, 1 min 30sec version of the ending theme ‘hectopascal’ performed by Minako-san and myself reflect the events of episodes 1-6 while the lyrics of the 2nd verse are perfect for the latter half of the series starting from episode 7!

The part where Yū sings ‘going on without recognizing that ‘special’ means ‘special’’ is a phrase that can only come forth from her lips after the events of episode 6, Also, the difference in vocal tone between Yū and Nanami-senpai when she’s singing the line ‘let’s forget about that and go somewhere tomorrow, without destroying the distance between us’ is all the more remarkable after watching episode 6.

You can feel the depth of the lyrics from the song, and the second half of the show will be equally profound so please continue watching to the end!

[Planning, interview, text: Toriyabe Kōhei]

#197 – Kishuku Gakkō no Juliet: Kayano Ai x Sakura Ayane

One of the shows that has pleasantly surprised me this season is the anime adaptation of Kaneda Yōsuke’s Kishuku Gakkō no Juliet manga, a modern-day take on Romeo & Juliet with humans named after dogs & cats. I’m not normally one for harem stories with the endless squabbling over who wins the heart of the main guy/girl, so Juliet works for me in that the main couple is established from the start and everyone else is just harmless romantic fodder.

The source material is still ongoing so I wonder what kind of ending the anime will give us, but hopefully not one that entails er…double suicide….

Here’s an interview with the 2 main female cast members from the show – Kayano Ai, voice of heroine Juliet Persia and Sakura Ayane, voice of Komai Hasuki, Persia’s (non) rival for MC Inuzuka Romio’s affections.

A worldview that can be enjoyed by both guys and girls

Q: What were your initial impressions of the series upon reading the original manga?

Kayano: My first encounter with the manga was when I took part in the ‘Let’s try acting as Persia!web video feature – my initial thought was that the art was pretty.

The lines of the art were so fine, giving me the impression that they were the work of a female artist so when I arrived at the studio, I was surprised to see that Kaneda-sensei, who attended the recording, is a man.

The series is very simple to read and you get sucked into its world easily – there are so many attractive male characters as well, so I do think that it’s a work that both guys and girls can enjoy.

Sakura: I just remembered this the other day – around 2 years ago I went out for a meal with Kayano-san and we were discussing this series & she said to me ‘There’s this character in it that really looks like she might be voiced by Ayane-chan’.

Kayano: We were full after eating lots of rice but Ayane-chan was like ‘I still have room for dessert’. I’m thinking ‘Wow she’s amazing…’ while watching her munching French toast, and that’s when I mentioned it.

Sakura: It was only some time later that I heard auditions were being held [for this] and I thought, ‘Oh, so this is the series that Kayano-san was talking about’. That’s when I started reading the manga – I’d thought it was a shojo manga based on the cover art but as I got further into the story, I could see its style gradually morphing into a shonen manga. The more I read, the better I understood why it was being serialized in (Weekly Shōnen) Magazine.

The male characters are interesting though, so I do think it’d be nice if the series gained more female fans.

Kayano: There are a rich variety of personalities on display (laughs)

Sakura: Though all of them seem to be lacking a little ‘something’… (laughs)

Kayano: In the studio we’re always going ‘This is supposed to be a school for geniuses, but why are they all so stupid?’ (laughs)

The mature Persia and the youthful Hasuki

Q: What are your impressions of Persia, the character that Kayano-san voices?

Kayano: The first impression I had of Persia was ‘Cute!’, but she’s not just cute – she possesses great inner strength as well. Her self-confidence is evident in the way she speaks, so I try to make sure that I don’t only focus on showing that cute side of hers through my acting.

Still, the way she interacts with Inuzuka is completely different from her exchanges with Scott – you can see the natural charm that shines through whenever she’s with Inuzuka, so I am always thinking how it would be nice if I could bring that real-life high-school girl cuteness of hers to the fore.

Q: Did you consult with sound director Tsuruoka Yōta-san when it came to the creation of Persia’s character?

Kayano: When we were recording the PV, we did discuss how old Persia should sound and Tsuruoka-san said not to make her sound ‘too young’.

Sakura: There needed to be a contrast between Persia and Hasuki, so we were told to ‘make Persia sound mature and Hasuki sound young’.

Kayano: The Persian cat is her motif so you would imagine her to be similarly imperturbable but it appears that she’s easily flustered throughout the show (laughs)

Sakura: You can see how she doesn’t allow that distress to show in front of the other White Cats though.

Kayano: There are expressions that she would only show to Inuzuka but when she’s with the White Cats, she wants to come across as dignified. It was tough for me to get that balance right at first.

‘It’s alright to not try so hard to make yourself seem young; don’t worry – just look around you’ was what I was telling myself (laughs)

Sakura: You’re referring to the cast members around you (laughs)

Kayano: I was surrounded by veterans so it gave me a sense of security; I felt that I was safe in their hands.

Q: What about Hasuki – what impressions did you have of her?

Sakura: Hasuki is a character with visuals that very much appeal to me. Long, dark hair with a prominent fang plus the fact that she’s one of those characters who won’t ever get the rewards that she deserves, makes me think ‘I want to be on her side’.

Q: Hasuki’s personality changes upon donning her glasses. How do you go about portraying that duality?

Sakura: That’s why I was in a dilemma – for the PV I had been told to make her ‘young’, what should I do if I was then told to make her sound ‘very mature’ [for those scenes]?

Thankfully, I was asked not to stretch it too far; to focus on showing how she ‘drags along those low-IQ Black Dogs despite her low IQ’. She’s actually pretty smart, but I try to play her as if her brain has frozen (laughs)

I also had to switch things up a bit for the parts where I voice a young Hasuki, but now that she’s surrounded by the Black Dogs she’s enjoying herself being at the same intellectual level.

Kayano: When she’s embarrassed she’ll start drooling and wagging her tail, which is so different to the Hasuki we see when’s got her glasses on – I like that contrast between the two (laughs)

Sakura: A couple of the other cast members have said the same thing – ‘She seems like the type of character that Ayaneru would play’. And I’m thinking, ‘What impression do people have of my voice…’ (laughs)

Kayano: I’m guessing everyone thinks that, like Hasuki, you’ve got a fang and you wag your tail? Everyone’s got a good grasp of their characters – there’s Kamiya Hiroshi-san with his super loud Scott voice that’s way too funny. I’m trying so hard not to let myself to be affected by his performance (laughs)

Sakura: The cast members tend to be quite different from their respective characters, though we have Kamiya-san, the voice of Scott, who’s quite sharp in the studio. On the other hand we have someone like Kayano-san who’s very cheerful, gentle and bright. Inuzuka’s seiyuu Ono Yūki-san is very friendly too.

Kayano: Not a single part of him could be described as scary, unlike Inuzuka (laughs). But we do have Shimamura Yū-san, Char’s actress, who has a slightly sadistic streak about her, though not on the level of Char’s. When she’s smacking people about I’m thinking ‘she’s kind of like Char, isn’t she?’.

Sakura: It’s a cast with a lot of familiar faces, so it’s fun.

Even ‘Male Student A’ is a veteran seiyuu!

Q: Kishuku Gakkō no Julie has a really star-studded cast list. What’s the mood like during recordings?

Kayano: We talk a lot. When the seiyuu for the 3 Idiots (Maru Chizuru, Tosa Kento, Kohitsuji Eigo) gather, it gets even livelier. Kohitsuji’s seiyuu Shimono Hiro-san always fails to read the situation and goes and does all kinds of stuff… (laughs)

Sakura: There are things that you wouldn’t normally do in the studio that Shimono-san did… (laughs) Like taking a razor out of his backpack & starting to shave. The thing is, Shimono-san’s seat is in quite a prominent position, where everybody [in the studio] can see him.

Kayano: That’s a seat that I honestly wouldn’t want to be seated in (laughs)

Sakura: Anyone who’s on that seat would be easily seen by the cast whose turn it is to record at the mic so we’re all saying ‘don’t sit there’ but for some reason, he stubbornly refuses to move.

Kayano: So when there’s this scene where Persia or Hasuki are trying to say ‘~na no yo’ or ‘~da zo’ cutely, you’re faced with the sight of Shimono-san shaving right in front of you. And he fools around with sound director Tsuruoka-san as well (laughs)

Sakura: Apparently [Tsuruoka-san says] ‘it’s okay to treat Shimono-kun as if he doesn’t exist’ (laughs)

Kayano: I think they’re words filled with affection, but they really do fool around in such a manner (laughs) The cast’s more or less 50-50 in terms of the gender split, so it’s really fun when we record the crowd noise in the background of certain scenes. There are quite a few scenes where the guys get quite hyper, so it’s something people should try to look out for.

Sakura: It gets pretty hot-blooded; a lot of passion goes in to it.

Kayano: That’s why you have a lot of different people voicing ‘Male student A’ so it might be worth trying to figure out who’s providing the voice.

Sakura: You get experienced veterans who recently stopped playing mob characters popping up throughout – their voices have so much presence and they’re allowed to do whatever they like (laughs)

Kayano: Though we get scolded if we overdo things (laughs) I enjoy listening to them every week.

What if you were to live in dorms?

Q: The series is packed with colourful personalities – who are your favourites?

Sakura: I’m quite the fan of the White Cats. Julio (cross-dressing Persia), Scott and Cait Sith, for example. I’m looking forward to Okitsu Kazuyuki-san’s Cait Sith.

Kayano: Okitsu-san’s in his element there (laughs). I myself quite like the Black Dogs; perhaps it’s because Persia’s usually amongst the White Cats that I have this point of view, but their dorms seem like a fun place to be. You don’t see much of the White Cats’ dorms.

I was able to take part in Hasuki’s tutorial sessions while disguised as Julio, and seeing that made me think that it’d be fun.

Sakura: The Black Dogs are about ‘unity’, while the White Cats are ‘independent’ – that’s the kind of aura that you get.

Kayano: Cats tend to operate on their own while dogs work better in packs, so that lively feeling they exude makes it seem fun. Maru may say ‘it’s better to be alone’ but he always ends up as part of the group of 3 Idiots. It’s quite cute to see them that way. I’m a fan of the whole Black Dogs group (laughs)

Q: One of the main points of the story is that it’s set in the dorms of a boarding school – if you had the chance to live a dorm-style life with your own friends, what would you like to do?

Sakura: That sounds fun!

Kayano: It may be quite different depending on who you get as a room-mate though (laughs)

Sakura: Kayano-san and I, we’re both only children so we can’t quite imagine a situation where there are people other than our parents at home.

Kayano: I’d like to get in a fight over whether or not to turn on the TV.

Sakura: And fight over what channels to watch.

Kayano: Like, ‘I want to watch this!’. I’m always jealous of people who have siblings.

Sakura: You’d have someone else to play games with the whole day long at home too. I wanted to play cards. I’ve played cards alone my entire life, from when I was a kid.

Kayano: One-man card games…it’s so lonely! (laughs)

Sakura: I played solitaire or one man Speed or one man Daifugō, but it would always be more fun to play when someone came around to visit.

Kayano: You still get excited about playing cards now, right? For me, I was making up my own stories while playing with my Sylvanian Families set of toys (laughs)

Voicing a real dog!?

Q: The characters in Kishuku Gakkō no Juliet are named after breeds of dogs and cats. Are the two of you dog or cat lovers?

Kayano: It’s kind of complicated for us when it comes to cats and dogs, isn’t it? (laughs)

Sakura: We both love cat motifs and own plenty of cat-related goods but we both live with dogs at home (laughs)

Kayano: I’d love to keep a pet cat at home but for some reason, what we have is a….

Sakura: We even buy each other clothes with cat prints on them but at home we have..

Kayano & Sakura: ..dogs.

Q: (laughs)

Kayano: So let’s just say I like both. ‘Cute’ is not enough to describe them. Animals are so healing.

Sakura: They’re the best. We’ve got a toy poodle at home.

Kayano: Ours is a Yorkshire terrier. I’d love to discuss that with Wang Teria’s seiyuu Ogura Yui-chan when I next have a chance to (laughs)

Sakura: Come to think of it, this series doesn’t have a poodle anywhere, does it?

Q: It doesn’t. Though there is a Maltese dog (Maru Chizuru).

Kayano: But I wonder if we had Maltese dogs, whether they’d have voices that sound like Sugita-san’s… (laughs)

Sakura: A tiny Maltese… (laughs)

Kayano: I want to see an extra for that! We could have completely unrelated live-action video with the 3 Idiots providing voices for a bunch of dogs running across the prairie (laughs)

Sakura: Shimono-san would be the Old Sheepdog (Kohitsuji Eigo) and Hosoya-san would be a Tosa (Tosa Kento). And Maru would definitely be a tiny dog, now that I’ve thought about it (laughs)

A Hasuki (Siberian husky) is actually bigger than a Maru (Maltese), so that means I’d be bigger than Sugita-san too (laughs)

Kayano: It’d be surreal if we were to do that an event, but it sounds fun (laughs)

Q: (laughs), Lastly, please leave a message for the viewers, not forgetting to mention the highlights of the anime.

Kayano: The anime’s going to start airing soon and episode 1 kicks off with turbulent developments.

Do please look forward to seeing how Inuzuka and Persia stand up to the difficulties they face through this animated series, like in Romeo and Juliet. Thank you for your support!

Sakura: The story is easy to follow, yet the characters’ personalities and rapid-fire delivery make this a very unique series.

I am sure that the show can be enjoyed by those of you who are already aware of the manga, as well as those of you who are starting out with the anime. We actors are taking these fantastic scripts and putting our souls into our performances so that we can bring out the best of our own personalities to make each episode even more interesting. Make sure you keep an ear open for all those little details while you’re watching!

Q: Thank you for your wonderful stories!

[Interview & Text: Yoshino Kuranosuke]