Name: Asanuma Shintaro (浅沼 晋太郎)
DoB: 5 January 1976
Hometown: Morioka, Iwate
Agency: Dandelion (formerly Osawa)
Representative roles: Sogoru Kyo in Zegapain, “Watashi” in Yojohan Shinwa Taikei (Tatami Galaxy), Tsuda Takatoshi in Seitokai Yakuindomo, Daimon Kaito in Phi Brain
How many people remember Zegapain? Airing back in 2006, it was a convoluted mess of an anime that tried to bite off more than it could ever chew. In hindsight, the best thing the show ever did was to hand out debut lead roles to two relatively unknown newcomers from Office Osawa – Asanuma Shintaro and this other person named Hanazawa Kana.
“Seiyuu” is just one of the many hats Asanuma Shintaro wears though – before he started providing voice work, he was already an established scriptwriter, director and actor for stage plays, which he continues to do today both solo and as part of his entertainment unit bpm.
He has collaborated with Sphere and Mizuki Nana for the stage play portions of their live concerts in the past, and he will be writing and directing the Ace of Diamond stage show scheduled for this year. Asanuma also dabbles in design from time to time, helping to design SCANDAL’s costumes for 2012 FNS Uta no Natsu Matsuri as well as designing a series of T-shirts for Parco’s Yojohan Shinwa Taikei collaboration.
Asanuma still finds plenty of time for his side-job of voice acting and regularly pops up as supporting or guest characters – even if you don’t know him, you’ll definitely have heard him. Recent roles include Tokyo Ghoul’s Nishio Nishiki, Ace of Diamond’s Kuramochi, Isshukan Friends.’ Kujo Hajime, Akame ga Kill!’s Susanoo and Wake Up, Girls!’s Matsuda Kohei.
These are his 50 questions.
1. Please tell us how you became a seiyuu.
I neither aimed nor studied for this so you could say that (being a seiyuu) is like a “windfall” for me. I’ve answered this question a lot of times before, so please look for it elsewhere.
2. What was your début anime role?
Zegapain’s Sogoru Kyo.
3. Of all the shows you have acted in thus far, is there any character that has left a particularly strong impression?
Zegapain’s Sogoru Kyo, Yojohan Shinwa Taikei’s “Watashi”, Yu-gi-oh! 5D’s Crow.
4. Please tell us if any of the characters you are voicing now share any similarities to yourself.
I think I might be similar to Kuramochi Yoichi from Ace of Diamond in terms of his “tsukkomi” character as well as his brattish tongue. I also feel an affinity to Arthur from Kuroshitsuji Book of Murder due to our shared interest in writing.
5. From all the shows you’ve been in, please tell us about any one scene that left a particularly strong impression.
Episode 10 of Yojohan Shinwa Taikei. It left a great impression, both as a memory and as a record.
6. Please tell us any horror stories or memorable tales from the recording studio.
When I think of the voice acting seniors who I’ve known since I was a child; the fact that I’ve had the chance to fight battles alongside them, become their grandson or go on journeys with them – these things are particularly memorable to me.
7. Are there any seiyuu you see as rivals or as someone to aim for?
Regardless of age, sex or their working history – there are just too many seiyuu I look up to.
8. If you weren’t a seiyuu, what do you think you would be doing now?
I’d be doing whatever I’m doing now – writing scripts and directing, or being a creator of something back in my hometown of Iwate.
9. What’s the hardest thing you’ve experienced as a seiyuu?
The first few years where I was struggling with everything; I couldn’t tell my left from my right and was just desperately trying to keep up.
10. On the flipside, what’s the happiest thing(s) that has happened to you as a seiyuu?
When I found out that I was able to bring a bit of cheer to, or put a smile on someone’s face every day, even if I don’t actually know the person or am aware of it. Also, that I’ve been able to be a good son to my parents.
11. Do you like singing? What has left the biggest impression when it comes to singing thus far?
I do like going to karaoke when it’s for fun, but when I have to sing in front of a crowd or for character songs it’s not so enjoyable. As for what has left an impression – when I got to stand on the Yoyogi Gymnasium stage, something that would never have been possible unless I was in this line of work.
12. From all the radio shows you have hosted, were there any mails that left an impression on you?
When I received a mail from a friend whom I’d gone to school with from kindergarten up ‘til junior high. I still regret to this day that I was too embarrassed to read it out (on the show) – my friend passed away a few years after that due to illness. I still keep fragments of the letter, even now.
13. Is there anything you take particular care about when you’re acting?
If it’s a long-running series where the character’s design and personality changes over time, I too will try to adjust the tone of my voice to match that growth. Though sometimes I get hurt when viewers misunderstand my efforts and instead suggest that I’ve “forgotten what the character is meant to be like” (lol). During recording itself, I will keep in mind that I should ‘instantly respond to whatever orders the director issues’.
14. What kind of roles would you consider your specialty?
There isn’t any specific type of role I’m good at. I’m always just doing the best that I can.
15. Tell us what goals and dreams you have as a seiyuu?
I want to be independent as soon as possible.
16. To the people who are aiming to become seiyuu, please give them a word of advice.
Since I myself have no experience of voice work training I can’t offer much advice, but the one thing I might say is “Please try out many other (mediums of entertainment) and not just anime”.
17. Apart from the shows that you’ve been in, are there anime that you like to watch?
When I was a kid I loved Lupin the Third, Kinnikuman and Disney shows.
18. In relation to the above, are there any types of roles you’d like to voice or perhaps, characters that you admire?
I’ve never actually considered that kind of point of view or thought about “one particular character”, but I would like to be part of any of the Disney/Pixar worlds such as Toy Story.
19. As a viewer, what kind of anime do you like?
I like thrilling and suspenseful shows like Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro.
20. What kind of child were you?
I was short and had a high-pitched voice – people often mistook me for a girl. I think I liked surprising people that way.
21. Please tell us what TV programmes do you often watch?
I like variety shows.
22. Tell us what your favourite books are.
I have a feeling that I have yet to read this.
23. Tell us what your favourite game is.
24. Tell us what your favourite movies are.
If we’re talking about the sci-fi genre then Back to the Future, if fantasy then Nightmare Before Christmas…but I have many favourite movies in many different genres, too many to mention.
25. Tell us about your favourite music.
26. Tell us what your motto is.
I was born to be praised.
27. Tell us about any of your experiences with sports.
Badminton, snowboarding, extreme sports.
28. Tell us what songs you often sing when you go to the karaoke.
ONE OK ROCK’s C.h.a.o.s.m.y.t.h.
29. Tell us what your favourite foods are.
Curry, ramen, menchi katsu, sushi, fried rice, gyoza. Takikomi gohan, anything served at night food stalls or service areas.
30. Tell us what foods you hate.
Coriander, cooked liver, chamomile tea.
31. Tell us about the stores you often go to.
Village Vanguard, TSUTAYA, cafes, clothes stores in Harajuku & Omotesando.
*Village Vanguard is a store that sells cheap, pointless junk.
32. Do you have any favourite snacks?
Strawberry shortcake, green tea chiffon, kakipi, anything with LaFrance in it, sweet potato yokan, Mamadoru (bean cakes), Hakata torimon (a bean jam manju made in Hakata, Fukuoka).
*LaFrance are pears grown in Yamagata
33. Do you drink? If you do, what sort of drinks do you like?
I’m not much of a drinker. But I do drink Red Eye (cocktail made from vodka, beer + tomato juice), Shandy Gaff, gin & tonic, umeshu & whiskey mixes. Also, I drink Ron Zacapa rum once or twice a year.
34. What did you do on your last day off?
I took care of the laundry that had piled up and then I went shopping.
35. If you had a whole week off, what would you do?
I’d go on a trip abroad.
36. Are there any hobbies that you’ve been obsessed with recently?
Searching for a hobby.
37. Tell us about any qualifications you have.
I haven’t got any.
38. What challenges would you like to take on within the next 10 years?
39. What type of girl do you like?
Someone who’ll never stop trying to improve themselves, someone with a refreshing personality. A fashionable person who has a refined way with words and upstanding manners.
40. Which part(s) of a girl do you notice most?
Hair and skin.
41. Tell us the most expensive thing you’ve bought recently.
42. What is the one thing you most desire now?
A Zero-G tempur bed.
43. If you could bring only one item to a deserted island, what would it be?
A survival guide book.
44. If you had 1,000,000 yen that you could spend as you wish, how would you use it?
I’d organize my own birthday party and invite all my loved ones.
45. Please tell us if there is anything that you do on a daily basis, habits etc.
Pour 2 cups of coffee – one for myself and one to put in front of my father’s photo.
46. Please leave a message for your fans.
I am always full of gratitude to you. Every once in a while, with a smile on your face, come to see me. I will be waiting.
47. What’s your biggest memory of Hatano Wataru?
During Anime Kohaku we were together backstage and getting all nervous.
48. (A question from Hatano Wataru) What is the last thing you say to the person you love on the phone?
“Get a good rest. Good night.”
49. Please tell us which seiyuu you get along well with.
Hatano Wataru-kun, Kimura Ryohei-kun, Toyonaga Toshiyuki-kun, Kimura Subaru-kun, Hosoya Yoshimasa-kun, Kaji Yuki-kun, Namikawa Daisuke-san, Sakurai Takahiro-san, Uchida Yasuki-kun, Narita Sayaka-san, the Sphere members, the Seitokai Yakuindomo members.
50. Please leave a question for our next interviewee.
If I’m an animal I’m a ______. If I’m an electrical/electronic product I’m a _______. If I’m a movie I’m _____. If I’m a country I’m _____ etc etc. Please compare yourself to an object.
EDIT (25/04/15): Asanuma was involved in 2 separate controversies this year – 1 where a teenage girl uploaded revenge photos of him asleep, claiming he’d dumped her after sleeping with her once and that he loved picking up other girls of similar age. Another one was how Asanuma started randomly blocking Twitter users who had complained about the Ace of Diamond stage shows (he was writing the scripts). Said users were only posting general tweets and not at Asanuma directly, so it was obvious that he was searching Twitter for negative comments. Asanuma has since deleted his Twitter.