I wasn’t really planning on translating older articles, but Seigura’s Seiyuu Mirai Yosouzu column is an interesting one that I’d like to dig into as it gets seiyuu to talk about their hopes and aims for the future. The cool thing is to look at the articles a couple of years from when they were first written and see how far along the seiyuu are in achieving their targets, so that’s just what I’ll do.
Going back to this particular feature, which was #2 in the series published back in June 2011, Kayano Ai was on the cusp of stardom having just featured in the wildly popular AnoHana anime. Of course, we know now that bigger things were in store for her but let’s take a look at her rookie mindset at that point in time.
5 years old – Entered elementary school
Despite my easy-going personality I had a competitive streak. Though I was the slowest in the class during running practice, when Sports Day itself came around I ended up being the fastest within my group – I was the type of kid that only did their best when it came to the crunch (or maybe, I just couldn’t be bothered to try otherwise).
12 years old – Entered junior high
There was a girl in my class who knew a lot about seiyuu. That was the first time I learned about the seiyuu profession. But I wasn’t considering becoming a seiyuu myself; instead, I was thinking of working at a job that had a ‘healing’ aspect to it, maybe in the beauty field or in a café.
15 years old – Entered high school
When I was in high school, I attended beauty (vocational) school on the side and got qualified as an esthetician. At the same point in time I started developing an interest in voice acting as a job; I had been watching foreign films and thought to myself “How can action scenes be expressed so well solely through voice?”
18 years old – Entered College
I attended college while still working in the beauty industry.
21 years old – Devoted all my energy to my job
There were times when things at work got so busy I’d only get home late at night. On one of these nights, I happened to turn on the TV to see it was showing the anime ARIA The ORIGINATION, and (watching) it helped me to relax. That was what made me realize, “Maybe the seiyuu profession too, could be one that ‘heals’, like what I have aiming for”, and I decided then that I would like to take on the challenge of voice acting. At that point, I auditioned for seiyuu training school.
22 years old – Admission into Pro-Fit Seiyuu Training School
While attending lessons once a week, I made my debut in an OVA in the role of a student. Seeing professional seiyuu acting right in front of my eyes was moving.
23 years old – Attachment to Pro-Fit
I voiced the roles of a cat in Senkou no Night Raid and Maomin in Durarara!!. Also, I won my first regular TV anime role in Toaru Majutsu no Index II.
25 years old – Take on the challenge of hosting radio
Actually I’m not really articulate and talking isn’t a specialty of mine but I do listen to radio quite often and I’m interested at giving it a shot myself. I’d like to be in charge of a programme that’s easy on the ears and helps listeners to relax.
27-30 years old – Take on the challenge of voicing a mahou shoujo
I dream of being able to show my future child(ren) an anime that I acted in, so I’d like to voice the main character in a magical girls’ anime that children could have fun watching.
After 30 – Get married
I’d like to get married and have children. My twenties will be all about working hard without regrets, and then I’ll start to think about marriage. I don’t know at what age that would be, but my hope is for it to be within my early 30s. Of course, whether or not I’ll find the most crucial part (of a marriage) – a marriage partner, is a mystery.
35 years old – Take on the challenge of dubbing foreign films
As I first became interested in the seiyuu profession because of foreign films, I would love to do dubbing work for them. If possible, I’d like to try dubbing a sexy type of character in the French films that I love to watch. I’d like to think that by this age, I would have mastered (the art of) grown-up sex appeal.
40 years old – A beautiful mother who can balance work and family
Just because one has a career does not mean you are unable to manage your household at the same time. Also, I wish to be a beautiful mother whom my children can say they are proud of. It would be amazing to hear your child say “I’m glad that I have such a mom”!
10 Questions for Kayano Ai
Q1. Describe your personality in one phrase.
A: I’m still the same as when I was a child – carefree and easygoing, a little bit spacey. Sometimes people say to me “I have no idea what it is you’re thinking about”, but it’s likely that at those times, I wasn’t thinking about anything at all (lol). Also, there are times when I look calm but it’s just that I find it hard to express it explicitly, the fact that I’m feeling really nervous inside!
Q2: When you’re in trouble, how do you solve (those) problems?
A: I’m the type who likes to internally digest the issue at hand rather than to confide in someone else, so when I’m feeling troubled I’ll go café hopping. Being able to sit back and relax while enveloped in the aroma of coffee is a joyful thing.
Q3: What movie(s) would you recommend?
A: Amélie. The scenery in the movie is pretty, the colours are beautiful, the music is stylish. I play the movie at home so often that it’s like background music to me. I love works like these that blend in with the daily landscape.
Q4: Your special skill is listed as ‘art’, is that something you still do?
A: I loved painting since I was young; when I was in junior high I was a member of the art club and would do watercolour paintings. Nowadays, I still draw animal illustrations on the birthday cards I give to friends.
Q5: What’s the scariest experience you’ve ever had?
A: When I rode the Fujiyama roller coaster in Fuji Q-Land. The fear factor is comparable to that of being in a falling airplane. I only got on it ‘cos a friend had asked me to, but I got so scared that I ended up banging my nose hard against the safety railing…I was never really fond of roller coasters in the first place and after that experience, I never want to ride on one again (lol).
Q6: What is your happiest experience ever?
A: I’ve gained a new family member recently. It’s a Yorkshire Terrier named An.An. Its mummy is really particular about that ‘dot’ in the middle of its name (ie. it’s An.An, not AnAn) so don’t forget it. It’s my first time keeping a pet so I do get a bit lost sometimes, but I am doing my best to make baby food now.
Q7: What’s your favourite food?
A: My tastes are rather simple, and I like Japanese soba. It tastes delicious when you put a bit of wasabi on top of the soba noodles, taking care not to let it melt into the soup. I love soba so much that if I ever found that I’m allergic to it I would die. Also, natto and so on. My daily meals are mostly Japanese foods.
Q8: Is there anything you are particularly careful about when voicing a role?
A: What fans and staff members are looking for from a character. I hope to get as close as possible (to the ideal image), but it’s good if it’s also infused with my own style and expressed in a natural way. I feel the difficulty of this task every time I am in the recording studio but bit by bit, I will continue to grow. I’m going to do my best!
Q9: What type of characters do you dislike voicing?
A: Foul-mouthed characters. I did study how to act out various types of characters while I was in training school but I still feel that it’s really difficult to say phrases that I’m not used to, in a natural way. To tell the truth, when I’m at home I’ve secretly practised saying ‘Bakayaro’ etc many times (lol).
Q10: What is your motto?
A: I don’t have one (lol). I think it’s more important for you to be yourself than to allow your personality and lifestyle to be dictated by any one policy….and that actually, may be my life’s policy (lol).
From Kayano Ai
Before I became a seiyuu, I had lived my life without having the chance to express my emotions openly or to shout at the top of my lungs. As I had concentrated on my education and beauty school studies when I was a student, as well as working in the beauty industry after I graduated, my career as a seiyuu has got off to a slower start when compared to others. However, for as long as I continue down this acting path, I will continue to push to challenge my limits. Though I may face times of trouble while I am still furthering my knowledge in this field, do please watch over me warmly. As for the future, I hope that I will become an actress whose performances resonate in the hearts of those who listen to me.
-Of course, she is no longer attached to Pro-Fit as of October 2014. Perhaps, you can expect a move to Osawa soon..?
-I started laughing at the magical girls part, thinking of SHIROBAKO. It’s Kayanon voicing an anime version of Kayanon who’s voicing a magical girl in an anime that the people in the anime are making.
-Would you say that her radio programmes are easy on the ears? I’m thinking of Nogenora. Maybe you can blame it all on the Tsugutsugu…
-3 more years guys (and girls), and Kayanon will be thinking of getting married. Get your asses moving!