#42 – Sakura Ayane

Name: Sakura Ayane (佐倉 綾音)
DoB: 29 January 1994
Hometown: Tokyo
Agency: I’m Enterprise

I’m sure everyone knows more about Ayaneru than I could ever claim to. She’s one of the younger generation seiyuu whose voices I am quite familiar with and do very much like her husky tone, but she always seems to be in anime I don’t watch. Still, Ayaneru is very young and has plenty of time to expand her range & test her versatility; I definitely think she’s got what it takes to go the distance in the voice acting biz.

These are her 50 questions.

1. Please tell us how you became a seiyuu.
Since I was young, I was the kind of child who loved watching every aspect of a production from the show itself to the making-of videos. I went on to gain admission to a theatre troupe where my voice training teacher recommended that I aim to become a seiyuu.

2. What was your debut anime role?
In the ‘Keroro Gunsou Tanjou! Kyuukyoku Keroro, Kiseki no Jikuu-jima, de arimasu!!’ movie.

3. Of all the shows you have acted in thus far, is there any character that has left a particularly strong impression?
Hotarubi no Mori e’s Takegawa Hotaru.

4. Please tell us if any of the characters you are voicing now share any similarities to yourself.
I don’t think there are that many similarities; I always have to develop the characters from scratch. That by itself is a fun process.

5. From all the shows you’ve been in, please tell us about any one scene that left a particularly strong impression.
The scene in Kimi no Iru Machi where Asuka said “Liar,” to Haruto.

6. Please tell us any horror stories or memorable tales from the recording studio.
During a recording session for my TV anime debut series, I had no idea my skirt was torn until Ito Shizuka-san informed me. And then, I got to have Kawasumi Ayako-san mend the skirt for me.

7. Are there any seiyuu you see as rivals or as someone to aim for?
I admire Asano Masumi-san, Hanazawa Kana-san, Sawashiro Miyuki-san.

8. If you weren’t a seiyuu, what do you think you would be doing now?
Working part-time at a bookstore. I wanna draw on the POP boards*!

*The POP in POP boards/stands/panels/ads (ポップ/POP広告) actually stands for Point of Purchase. These are the ‘ads’, often hand-illustrated, that you see at bookstores & CD stores recommending or introducing certain products. See here.

9. What’s the hardest thing you’ve experienced as a seiyuu?
When I had a sore throat and lost my voice, I thought I saw my future going up in smoke. I tasted the feelings of despair I never would have if I hadn’t become a seiyuu,

10. On the flipside, what’s the happiest thing(s) that has happened to you as a seiyuu?
That I get to know so many wonderful shows. And as those shows near their completion, I am grateful that I have been involved with them.

11. Do you like singing?
Yes I do.

12. From all the radio shows you have hosted, were there any mails that left an impression on you?
I’m very happy to receive anything from casual mails talking about what happened recently in listeners’ daily lives to detailed personal impressions of my series and event. I haven’t got a blog nor do I use Twitter, so it’s only through radio shows that I can hold casual conversations and share my thoughts. Regardless of whether I’m able to introduce all the mails sent in on my radio shows, I do read each and every one and reply to them, even if only in my heart.

13. Is there anything you take particular care about when you’re acting?
Be confident, live and breathe the character. I believe that lack of confidence will lead to a shaky rendition of the character.

14. What kind of roles would you consider your specialty?
…this isn’t a specialty, but it seems that I tend to voice red-haired girls.

15. Tell us what goals and dreams you have as a seiyuu?
There would be no greater joy than to spend my whole life expressing myself through my voice. Also, I wish for my beloved training school teacher Amano Yuri-sensei’s words “Someday, I want to voice the role of Ayane-chan’s (character’s) mother”, to come true.

*Amano Yuri is a veteran seiyuu who was popular in the 90s, voicing Kiyone in the Tenchi! series.

16. To the people who are aiming to become seiyuu, please give them a word of advice.
I think you can get plenty of hints from everyday life. I’ll continue to put in the required dedication so that someday, I can meet you in a recording. Let’s work hard together.

17. Apart from the shows that you’ve been in, are there anime that you like to watch?
Gundam 00, Yondemasuyo, Azazel-san.

18. In relation to the above, are there any types of roles you’d like to voice or perhaps, characters that you admire?
In Gundam 00 I admired the Saji and Luis couple’s fated love, I remember being in tears over it. For Azazel-san, I loved Sakuma-san and wanted to be a university student like her.

19. As a viewer, what kind of anime do you like?
When my heart is up for it I like watching shows with a story to tell, or those that have a strong message to get across. When I’m tired I like watching gag anime where I don’t have to utilize any brain power.

20. What kind of child were you?
A tomboy.

21. Please tell us what TV programmes do you often watch?
Shabekuri 007, Ame Talk!, Sekai no Hate made Itte-Q!, Getsuyou kara Yofukashi, Matsuko.Ariyoshi no Ikari Shinto…they’re all variety shows.

*see here.

22. Tell us what your favourite books are.
For books, I like the works of Mukoda Kuniko, Isaka Kotaro, Shigematsu Kiyoshi. For manga I like the works of HERO, Tanemura Arina, Hotta Kiichi.

23. Tell us what your favourite game is.
Err…Tetris…maybe? Sorry, I’m not very good at games…but for Monster Hunter, I’m good at farming honey…

24. Tell us what your favourite movies are.
Hotarubi no Mori e.

25. Tell us about your favourite music.
I don’t have any favourite artists in particular, but Miyuki Nakajima-san’s albums used to be my lullabies.

26. Tell us what your motto is.
I want to become a person who makes her parents proud.

27. Tell us about any of your experiences with sports.
Basketball, swimming, gymnastics.

28. Tell us what songs you often sing when you go to the karaoke.
Mostly Tamura Yukari, Sakamoto Maaya, DECO*26, Supercell, Nogizaka46. Also bits of whatever songs I remember from the radio.

29. Tell us what your favourite foods are.
My mother’s cooking! There’s nothing she cooks that isn’t delicious.

30. Tell us what foods you hate.
Bitter foods, astringent* foods, spicy foods.

*a note about the word shibui (渋い) that is used here. When used with reference to food, ‘shibui’ is a particular type of taste that falls somewhere in between bitter (nigai) and sour (suppai), and is most frequently used to describe the taste of persimmons but also the taste of strong tea or red wine. ‘Tannic’ might be another way to translate shibui instead of ‘astringent’.

31. Tell us about the stores you often go to.
I could spend a whole day simply wandering around bookstores and shopping malls.

32. Do you have any favourite snacks?
Baum rolls, plum-flavoured snacks, FLO’s millefeuille langue de chat.

33. Do you drink? If you do, what sort of drinks do you like?
I’m still underage right now but once I turn 20 I’d like to go to a bar, be told “this is from the customer over there”, and get a drink zinged across the counter to me.

34. What did you do on your last day off?
Sleeping and eating.

35. If you had a whole week off, what would you do?
Buy a huge amount of books, manga and concert DVDs and indulge in them while accompanied by my dog, all without taking a step out of my house…unless someone manages to lure me outside!

36. Are there any hobbies that you’ve been obsessed with recently?
Attending various acquaintances’ live concerts. Collecting clothes or items with cat motifs. Playing around with my dog ‘til I lose track of time.

37. Tell us about any qualifications you have.
Microsoft Office Specialist’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, P-ken Level 2, IT Passport.

*P-ken (P検) aka ICT Proficiency Assessment tests general computing knowledge and ability. The IT Passport Examination is an official government-sanctioned certificate for IT professionals.

38. What challenges would you like to take on within the next 10 years?
To always be able to view myself objectively. To learn to enjoy the things I am not so good at.

39. What type of guy do you like?
Azumi Shinichiro-san!

*Azumi is a TBS announcer.

40. Which part(s) of a guy do you notice most?
Eyes? Not a body part, but his smile. Also, his bloodtype.

41. Tell us the most expensive thing you’ve bought recently.
A matching platinum necklace set I bought for me and my mom.

42. What is the one thing you most desire now?
Gift vouchers*…cute clothes.

*I believe the original article has a typo here (しょうひんけn), or maybe this is some new moon rune slang I’m not aware of…

43. If you could bring only one item to a deserted island, what would it be?
Family! If I had to pick an object…fire?

44. If you had 1,000,000 yen that you could spend as you wish, how would you use it?
Build a deck in my garden.

45. Please tell us if there is anything that you do on a daily basis, habits etc.
Dive into a futon and put on lip balm and a face mask, and read before I sleep.

46. Please leave a message for your fans.
Thanks to all of you, I am able to smile every day. Please send your opinions, impressions and requests to the agency office or my radio shows. I’m someone who still has much to learn but please continue to support me in the future.

47. Do you remember the first time you met Yamamoto Nozomi-san?
I’m sorry…but it’s so natural for us to be together these days that our first meeting is now a distant memory…

48. (A question from Yamamoto Nozomi) I often go out for meals with Ayaneru but we’ve not actually hung out together, otherwise so here’s a question! If you could take me out on a date where would we go? Please seriously think of a date plan so that we can put it into action someday (lol)
Hmm…first of all, let’s go to Ani(m)ate!
I love the “Nojo-san” who is looking at and talking about the things she loves so I’ll be able to stare at her intently while she does this!
And then, we’ll rock out at karaoke!
“Nojo-san” is that special someone whose high levels of tension match those of mine (lol)
I’ll stare intently at the “Nojo-san” who goes all-out singing, dancing and screaming!
Aaand theen, we’ll go for an all-you-can-eat meat meal, where I can stare intently at the “Nojo-san” who’s munching on her food.
Aaaaannd theeennn we’ll go back to my house, where I can stare intently at the “Nojo-san” who plays around with my parents and my dog!

49. Please tell us which seiyuu you get along well with.
Komatsu Mikako-san! Mikakoshi! Somewhere along the line, we started getting along really well! When I see Mikakoshi smile, all my weariness fades away.

50. Please leave a question for Komatsu Mikako.
Be frank with me…in Mikakoshi’s heart, what position does Sakura Ayane take up?

This interview was done in November 2013, and there has since been some internet talk about Ayaneru’s living status (she’s said to now be living on her own) as well as rumours of a relationship with Ishikawa Kaito…but let’s not go into that one!


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