Since I last posted about Yuuka, she has gotten married! Such wonderful news, considering that she had been seriously ill not too long ago and was actually hospitalized for 2 months. Flying Dog manager Nozaki Keiichi tweeted back in September last year that he had visited Yuuka after her discharge, the first time in six months he had seen her, and that she was recovering but still weak.
It’s great to see Yuuka healthy and happy again now and I hope that she takes things slowly as she eases back into work. Her radio show, Yuuka to OCHANOMITAI had been on hiatus since last May but she just revealed on her blog this week that it will return in the near future.
This time, I am translating Yuuka’s interview for Girlfriend (Kari). There are some parts of her story that we are already familiar with, and some new things to learn. I didn’t think she even watched anime at all!
Q1. How did you become a seiyuu?
I first developed an interest in acting when I went to see a musical with a friend. The realism of the sound and performances was an overwhelming stimulation of my 5 senses…! When I saw kids of my age performing up on stage I thought to myself “How fun it looks!”. Shortly after, I joined a theatre company and was active as a stage child actress until one of my agency’s staff said to me “Your voice sounds suitable for voicing ‘characters’ – would you like to audition as a seiyuu?”, and that was how I got my start as a seiyuu.
Q2. What are the things you try to keep in mind when voicing your various characters?
When compared with my peers who came through voice acting training schools, the way I think and approach acting and character creation are different due to my background in stage. I’m not able to do the same things that other seiyuu can do, so the first step for me is to consider what I’m capable of. These days I approach the process of creating a character in a similar manner as to what I do for acting but unlike on stage, I try to minimize body movement when I’m standing in front of the mic in a studio so that the sound of rustling clothing won’t interfere with recording. Also, I think that the facial expressions that a person has when acting are amazing (lol). Other seiyuu focus on the screen during recording but I think that my own expression tends to be a whole lot calmer…and it’s embarrassing when other people notice that (lol).
Q3. If you weren’t a seiyuu what would you be doing?
I love musicals and in truth, I actually wanted to join Takarazuka. However, my parents said to me “You can only join Takarazuka once you’re older”, so I ended up joining a theatre company instead. Time passed and when I graduated from high school I did have a chance to join Takarazuka but on the day of the audition, I came down with a cold…Nowadays, I tell myself “If only I hadn’t had a cold I would definitely have gotten in!” (lol). Still, I have always admired the stage so if I wasn’t a seiyuu I would probably be in Takarazuka or in musicals. I have a singing career at the moment so you could say I’m doing something similar; so I think I was always headed for something in that kind of direction. If we’re talking about something completely unrelated…having my childhood dream of owning my own cake shop come true would be nice.
Q4. Something that surprised you
Hmm..what has surprised me recently…maybe, what happened at the yakiniku restaurant? Right now, I’m really into the anime Gugure! Kokkuri-san and I love the opening song a lot, so much so that I often sing and dance along to it at home (lol). Just the other day, I was at a yakiniku restaurant and while waiting, my thoughts drifted to the song and its intro started playing in my head. At exactly the same time, the background music in the restaurant changed to the same song! Instinctively, I turned to the person who was there with me and excitedly, burst out “Hey hey hey!” but he/she didn’t quite share my sentiments (lol). I guess I might’ve scared the people around me right then, but I was seriously taken aback by what had happened.
Q5. A message for the fans
As there are so many characters in Girlfriend (Kari), it may be a little difficult for you to find a favourite but since all of the girls are cute I’m sure you will have an exciting time playing the game every day. I think that Yamano Kodama, the girl I voice, is one of the core characters – when I first recorded her lines I thought to myself, “She’s a really strange one, isn’t she?”. She’s the fluffy, gentle type but is also energetic and loves mountain climbing so that ‘gap’ between the two sides of her character is quite endearing. She’s also the ‘little sister’ type as well as being the ‘healing’ type, so for those of you who get to meet Kodama-chan, please make her your girlfriend and treat her lovingly, and she will show you her cute sides.