There shouldn’t really be a need for me to introduce Ito Shizuka, I have written about her an embarrassing number of times in the past. Do glance through this profile I posted in 2008 for some information on her background.
This is a translation of an interview that was featured on Gakken Anime Seiyuu Web in June 2014.
Q: You first learned about the existence of an occupation named ‘seiyuu’ when you were in high school, is that right?
A: I had often watched anime, but I wasn’t really aware that there was such a thing as a seiyuu profession until my high school days. It was only when I saw a PV for a game at the video games shop I was working part-time at, that I started developing an interest (in seiyuu). I found out that the job wasn’t just about matching voices to characters, but that it covered a wide range of activities including singing and radio.
Q: Was it then that you decided you wanted to become a seiyuu?
A: Nope, it was more like – I’m a bit curious about this so let’s just get into the training school for now and see what happens next (lol). But when I got there, I discovered that acting was fun and felt that I was suited to it. Though I like being the center of attention, I am a little shy and turn red easily so I thought it’d be a good to become a seiyuu…but in fact, when I actually became a seiyuu there were so many photoshoots and events (lol). Of course I’m used to it by now but I did feel a little uncomfortable with it around the time I debuted.
Q: Do you remember your seiyuu debut?
A: The first (show I did) was the Soreike! Anpanman movie, but I was only called in to provide one of many voices for scenes with background noise (note: refer, walla) and before I could get to grips with anything, it was all over. On the other hand, I remember being terribly nervous during my TV anime debut series TEXHNOLYZE. The heroine didn’t actually have a lot of lines but my hands were always trembling when I was holding the script. Still, I was so happy to have been able to take on the role, and I ended up memorizing all my lines from the first to the last episode.
Q: Around when did you start getting used to the (seiyuu) work?
A: Probably midway through Maria-sama ga Miteru to around the time of Starship Operators. From around 2004 to 2005. I think I was able to relax a little more during Maria-sama ga Miteru due to the fact that it was mostly women in the recording studio. For Starship Operators I voiced the lead character, so I often found myself having to explain parts of the series to seiyuu who came in to voice guest characters. That meant I not only had to be knowledgable about my own character, but I also had to have a complete picture of the show; to be aware of the inter-character relationships and the direction of the series as a whole.
Q: Have there been any changes in the way you approach acting?
A: Hmmm. When I first started out I was prone to over-focusing on my own acting – “I’ve got to listen to my voice work!” and caring only about the character I was voicing. But I learned that acting is not something you can do alone, that it can only start when you engage in dialogue with other actors. How to ensure that the dialogue and the acting I wished to portray could come together – there was a point in time when I came to consider these things.
Q: Listening to your story, it appears that there was a period where you gained the awareness of being a creator (of anime)?
A: That might be true. It was when I got to join in official cast & staff parties that I learnt just how many people are involved in the making (of a show). A 30-minute programme airing over just 1 or 2 cours, takes not just dozens but hundreds of people to make it. When I see something like this, it reinforces the feeling that I am actually part of this creative process.
Q: Moving on. In all the shows you’ve been in so far, were there any recording sessions that were particularly memorable?
A: I’d say Amagami SS, where I voiced Morishima Haruka, left a big impression in terms of embarrassment. Especially that scene when (Haruka) was alone in the pump shed with the lead character Tachibana-kun! It was a scene where they were talking about where he should kiss her, and that ended up being ‘the back of the knees’. While recording that kiss scene, I could hear muffled laughter coming from the rest of the cast seated behind us. I felt as if my heart would break at that moment (lol). Still, I managed to get over that hurdle and my heart of an actor has strengthened as a result (lol).
Q: Lastly, please leave a message for those who are aiming to become seiyuu in the future.
A: It’s my personal point of view, but rather than just single-mindedly focusing on becoming a seiyuu, it might be a better idea to broaden one’s horizons by going through all sorts of life experiences first before becoming a seiyuu. Of course, there are many teenagers nowadays whose goal is to be a seiyuu but in my opinion, if one wishes to make acting a lifelong career, it wouldn’t hurt to take some detours along the way and take in various (experiences of) life beforehand. In fact, there’s a possibility that those experiences would make you a better actor. Therefore, take your time, don’t rush, and give your best in the path you’ve chosen.
It’s funny that Shizuka flew under the radar for quite some time at the start of her career; barely spoke in TEXHNOLYZE and overshadowed in Tsukihime by (of all people) Nabatame Hitomi. With hindsight, Rei’s taciturn personality in Marimite didn’t allow her much room to shine either and as for Starship Operators…does anyone remember that one? I think the turning point for me came with Shakugan no Shana’s Wilhelmina (in autumn 2005) and then a string of good roles in 2006 – D.Gray-man’s Lenalee, Asatte no Houkou’s Shoko and Pumpkin Scissors’s Alice sealed it. Of course the yuri stuff is a whole other story of epic proportions.
And yes it has to be said – I was sad when she got married (lol).