Translation of this article.
Q: How did the photo shoot go?
A: I had worked with the photographer once before so that was reassuring! Still, I am not used to being photographed. Which direction I should face, what pose I should do…these were things I wasn’t sure about. I just followed the photographer’s instructions during the shoot. I was happy that the photo shoot was outdoors this time!
Q: You recorded a video message too.
A: I was even more nervous about the video filming than I was for the photo shoot! It still felt awkward despite going through a few retakes. I may have appeared on Nico Namas a few times but I still get really embarrassed!
Q: Please tell us again about SHIROBAKO, a show that started airing last October.
A: I voice a girl named Yasuhara Ema. To have my name come 2nd from the top in the cast credits list makes me go “WOW!”. I do feel pressure but above all, I feel happiness.
Q: What kind of girl is Ema-chan?
A: She’s a very quiet girl who says very little. When I auditioned for the role I got a bit confused “Is she the silent type? If so, what kind of silent type might she be?”. Even if somebody is the ‘silent type’, they could be one of many different kinds, for example – the silent chuuni type, or the type who just hates interacting with humans. Voicing Ema-chan, I gradually learned that she wasn’t type who hated other people but rather, she’s someone who is uncomfortable expressing her feelings to people she doesn’t know well but in spite of that, is striving to get along with everybody.
Q: SHIROBAKO is an anime that depicts the animation production workplace. What kind of work does Ema do?
A: She’s an animator. At the start of episode 1, she had been in the job for two and a half years. She got into this industry due to her love of drawing but is currently having trouble trying to balance the demands of “speed” and “technique”. Since SHIROBAKO is an original work we don’t know what happens next until we receive the scripts so I try to think “I’ve got to work at this steadily so that I can make Ema-chan a great character!”
Q: Is there anything you take particular care with when it comes to voicing (Ema)?
A: Ema’s principles and thoughts are unchanging; I have been considering making adjustments to how I can express this point. Having the chance to observe the performances of my seniors every recording session, and the advice I receive makes me think “Let’s change it up next time!”. Unfortunately it seems most other people think that most parts of my acting remain the same…I do struggle.
Q: Recording sessions are where you can get lots of advice from seniors, aren’t they?
A: Yes. But I don’t get shell-shocked, nor do I feel that they are being harsh on me. In fact, I get along very well with them. The seniors are all naturals at acting and are great mood makers too. Though I’m sure some of them will deny it if you say it to their face (lol). With just one word they can calm things down, with just one word they can bring the house down. When recordings are over, we often go to have a meal together as a group.
Q: It makes you seem more like friends rather than colleagues.
A: That might be the case. I get along so well with Kimura Juri-chan and Chisuga Haruka-chan that we sometimes go “Hmm? Are you sure I didn’t already know you when I was in junior high?”. They’re both very open types of people and I can easily share my troubles and joys with them. We’ve only known each other for…er..something like a few months ?!? But it seems more like I’ve known them for about 6 years.
Q: Let’s talk about Sora no Method, another anime that aired in October.
A: Shiiba Koharu-chan’s another quiet role for me. She’s the easy-going type but at the same time, she’s a positive-minded girl who’s really kind and always looks out for her friends. Koharu-chan – her smile is just the cutest thing ever! I formed my own image of Koharu-chan as I read the scripts, but my impression of her changed once I saw the animated version of a laughing Koharu-chan.
Q: What’s the atmosphere like during Sora no Method recordings?
A: The cast is fairly young, but everyone is so well-grounded. “A-amazing! Such wonderful acting!” I was inspired by them. As I watched them stand in front of the mic I thought “the character is standing here right in front of me”. The atmosphere in the studio was similar to that of the anime’s – relaxed and friendly.
Q: You’ve taken part in many cast recordings since your debut. What are your fondest memories thus far?
A: There are so many but…maybe when a senior gave me the advice “You’re reading the script too much”.
Q: “Reading the script too much”. What could that mean?
A: I’m always getting obsessed over doing my best at acting out my lines, so my performances have a tendency to be too “obvious”. I have received a lot of advice – “Try to act it out so that the viewers won’t know what’s coming next”, “Acting is conversation”, “Forget everything, let your acting be spontaneous”. All these left a big impression on me. Also, my senior(s)’ ad-libs are amazing!
Q: When was this?
A: Just recently! During a certain session where there were no reference images nor dialogue provided; all the sound director did was give the description of the (character’s) job and a senior then ad-libbed with perfect timing and good tempo, earning huge applause from everyone. It was so good you’d wonder whether it was scripted. The acting was amazing; it felt like the character was right there beside you. I wouldn’t be able to pull off something like that right now, but I hope to be able to do so in the future.
Q: You need to be really talented to pull off ad-libs, don’t you.
A: Yes, that’s true. Being able to do ad-libs means that you’re able to firmly grasp the character from within.
Q: The broadcast of iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls has started. Can you tell us a bit more about your character Jogasaki Mika-chan?
A: She’s an energetic, charismatic girl!
Q: She’s your first regular role. Do your feelings for her run especially deep?
A: Yes they do! Mika and I go way back, right back to the time when I was (a rookie) who couldn’t tell her left from her right. First of all, I’m really glad that Cinderella Girls got an anime! In the beginning we did have conversations like “It’d be great if this became an anime~”, so for it to come true feels like a fairy tale.
Q: Since the start of the (game’s) service in 2011 we’ve seen CD releases and events happening.
A: Yeah. From the game to the CDs to the events and now, to an anime. We’ve gotten to meet many different Jogasaki Mikas thus far, so please look forward to the anime version as well. I am going to use all the experience I’ve gained from other works towards voicing and creating a more charming Mika.
Q: Initially, you weren’t comfortable with singing.
A: When I had to sing for the first time I was in a state of panic. I was aware that I had no talent for singing, and I hated that fact. But I thought to myself “I shouldn’t be like this! Fans are spending precious time and paying good money to see me!”. So I thought to myself “Isn’t there something that I can do?”, and I decided that I would ask the fans to “watch over my career growth”.
Q: Fans will cheer you on as you continue to progress and grow further!
A: Even though I started off on the wrong footing, I am doing my best now by constantly reminding myself that “I did better today than yesterday!” while also having fans watching over my progress. The other seiyuu taking part in Cinderella Girls are all very good at what they do and no matter how much I grow, I still feel that I am still lagging far behind…It does make me sad, but there are happy moments too. The more time I spend (with them), the more I feel that “I want to be like them!” – it’s a lot of fun.
Q: Being a part of Cinderella Girls, have your negative feelings towards singing changed?
A: I am singing in character so I do receive a lot of support from everyone and I have come to like (singing). But I’m still terrible at karaoke~. I’ve been to karaoke in order to practise my singing but I just couldn’t get used to it and wanted to go home straight away (lol).
Q: We know that you’re always doing your best at work, but we’d like to know a bit more about your private life too. What do you do on your days off?
Q: Oh, are you really tired!?
A: No no, it’s not like that, it’s just that I’ve always loved sleeping (lol). But lately, I’ve been going out often with my friends from SHIROBAKO and iM@S.
Q: Who are the seiyuu you get along well with?
A: I have been good friends with Suzaki Aya-chan and Numakura Manami-chan since our time together in training school. I love having sleepovers at my friends’ places! Every once in a while I will stay over at a friend’s house.
Q: Whose place have you stayed at recently?
A: Miyake Marie-chan…also, Yamamoto Nozomi, who voices my character’s younger sister Jogasaki Rika in Cinderella Girls, stays nearby so we often hang out and have meals together. Nozomi-chan’s cooking is really good!
Q: How about your cooking…?
A: Ahahahahahaha… (wry laugh).
Q: Er…do you have any other interests?
A: I went to a batting centre with the SHIROBAKO members and had a lot of fun, it’s addictive! I’ve been practising my swinging at home in preparation for the next time we go.
Q: Practise swinging! Now, here is the final question. In the future, what kind of seiyuu would you like to be?
A: I want to become a seiyuu who is a “living (embodiment of) acting”, to be able to produce a performance that makes people believe that the character has truly come to life. Recently I have once again come to realize how amazing acting can be. Seiyuu can only convey their acting through a voice; from a voice you can create many things, to give life to a character. When I listen to performances that make me feel that way, I do get a bit worried and think “I have a long way to go”… Right now, even though I make a lot of mistakes and have a few regrets, I hope that someday I will be able to produce a level of acting that brings out the best in a character.
Q: Thanks for your time. Please leave a message for your fans.
A: I always enjoy reading the letters that you send to me. I’m also very grateful for all the support you give during events. Your letters and encouragement are a great source of strength to me; when I am feeling down or my spirit is breaking, your words are the key to turning my feelings around and they save me. I wish I could repay this debt of gratitude…but the only way I can do so is through my work. I’ll do my best so I can pay you back!
I’m sad that she’s not one of the mains in Deremas 😦