Hanamori Yumiri is one of the newest kids on the scene and she has been quick off the blocks in 2015 with major roles in Rolling Girls and the forthcoming Etotama. Using the stage name ‘rimyu’, she took part in Pony Canyon’s 2nd Koetama audition and was awarded a special jury prize, with Endo Yurika the overall winner. Her agency swallow is new too, but obviously they have the backing of Pony Canyon so you can expect a music début for Yumiri in due course.
Da Vinci recently interviewed Yumiri for their rookies series. You can find the original post here.
Q: We have seen your photo that is published on your agency’s website. Your hair has grown out a lot, hasn’t it?
A: Yes it has, somewhere along the way (lol). I got it cut short once for a school event but I do think that having long hair allows for more flexibility with regards to styles. It was actually all the way down to my waist before I had it chopped off. I did feel lonely when my hair was gone (lol).
*Please refer to her agency profile page for photos of her with short hair.
Q: A school event?
A: I was a cheerleader for athletic meets. I’d actually been a member of the tennis club but I ended up joining the cheerleading squad along with my seniors.
Q: You’re a high school student now. Are you used to having your photo taken?
A: Actually..I find it uncomfortable. All my friends are good at it, but I’ve been told that I’m a master of funny faces (lol). It’s not that I do it intentionally but somehow, it always seems to end up that way (lol).
Q: Heh. Yumiri is a fairly uncommon name. Do you have any nicknames?
A: There aren’t any in particular…just things like “Yumirin”. There was one instance though, when my school-friends called me “Yumiringo”, like ‘flamingo’ (lol). Right now I’m hosting a Nico Nama called Pony-Can Zenbu! and they call me Yumimi there. On Etotama Radio~ Soruraru Kurenya!~, Murakawa Rie-san had a chance to make up a name for me. She was talking about her favourite snacks to go with beer and her favourite carbonated juices, and when playing around with the word “non-be” (飲ん兵衛, heavy drinker) she ended up calling me “Hana-be” (lol). But of course I don’t drink alcohol; I’m a high school student (lol).
Q: Etotama Radio is the web radio show for the new spring anime Etotama, hosted by you, Murakawa-san and Matsui Eriko-san, isn’t it?
A: It gets so lively every time on the show; we’re aiming to become the #1 noisiest radio show in Japan (lol). The three of us may have our own designated roles within the programme, but we never know what’s going to happen every time (lol).
Q: We look forward to the anime broadcast (lol). Recording for currently airing anime Rolling Girls, where you voice Misono Chiaya, has already progressed quite far. What’s the atmosphere like during recording?
A: Every episode features guest appearances from amazing veteran seiyuu. This does mean that I get fairly nervous each time out, but I do think that at the same time, it helps to create an atmosphere that makes it easy to put in a good performance. Since it’s an original story, we do get the sense that we’re all working together to create this anime and I am grateful for that! When I am acting, I am always filled with hope that it will be a great anime.
Q: At 17, you’re nearly the same age as 16-year old Chiaya. Was there anything special in the way you approached the role?
A: Chiaya is a girl who has a rather awkward way of speaking and has to think properly before putting her thoughts into words. Every single thing she says is a result of her careful thought process. Thus, when I am voicing her I take a deep breath [note: Hanamori places a hand on her chest] before I say my lines. I try to emphasize a natural delivery of her emotions that come from within. “Don’t think; feel!” something like that (lol).
Q: The 4 main cast members perform the theme songs and insert songs as THE ROLLING GIRLS!
A: They’re cover versions of songs by THE BLUE HEARTS. For example, there’s a rather gloomy part in the ending theme Tsuki no Bakugekiki where the lyrics go “Ah~wakaru” (Ah, I understand); and I tried to sing it with similar feelings. It’s a strange tune where I do feel a certain amount of empathy even though it utilizes words that I would not think of using myself, and it also has lyrics that aren’t necessarily cheerful despite it being such a fun song.
Q: Do you talk much with the other 3 girls during recordings?
A: Ozawa Ari-chan is seated next to me so we’re always chit-chatting (lol). We talk about how Chiaya is such a difficult role, and she gives me some advice about acting. Ari-chan has…Ah, she does let me call her Ari-chan (lol)..taught me how she believes that amongst the characters, there are the types that require natural acting but that there are also types that come with a fixed image. She also told me that she loves how Chiaya-chan is overall, a very relaxed kind of character (lol)
Q: What kind of things do you talk about?
A: Last year, we were talking about how Christmas was just around the corner and we ended up exchanging gifts. I happened to be using a light blue pair of earphones at the time so I asked her “Ari-chan, would you like a matching pair?”. She said she’d like a pink pair so I got her pink earphones (lol).
Q: What did you receive in return?
A: I received a super cute pair of pyjamas! I put them on right away (lol). The pyjamas were short and fluffy with a polka-dot pattern and came with a hood; it keeps me very warm (lol).
Q: You girls sure get along well (lol). By the way – we know that you got your start as a seiyuu through the Pony Canyon Koetama Audition, but did you watch anime prior to that?
A: I started watching the late-night anime programming block from around my second year of junior high. It’s a clichéd story, but it was when a friend who had said to me “You should become a seiyuu~”, that I became aware of the possibility of being one. As I have no performing experience, it was only when I received my first role in Aiura that I started to learn the importance of things like how to stand in front of the mic and what acting is.
Q: What have you gotten most nervous about during recording?
A: That would probably be how my stomach kept growling during Aiura recordings…the more you try not to make a sound, the more it does (lol). Maybe the staff thought that I was really nervous~ (lol). Right then Uchiyama Yumi-san, who voices the teacher, gave me an onigiri. I fell in (one-sided) love with her right away (lol).
Q: Haha! So you’ve been continuing with your lessons since then, haven’t you?
A: For the whole of last year I attended voice training school, where I even had to learn sword fighting and dance. I am still taking lessons to strengthen the basics of seiyuu work and voice acting. Vocalization and line recital are some of the areas I still find difficult.
Q: What do you find most difficult?
A: I’m terrible with kanji and sentences. Sometimes I come in late on my lines because I’m too busy trying to keep up with the kanji characters. Therefore, when I receive my scripts I try to memorize as many of lines as possible before I go for recordings.
Q: What anime do you watch?
A: Actually, I really love Youkai Watch (lol). Before I became a seiyuu I was a huge fan of Level 5’s works! I loved Inazuma Eleven and Danball Senki. Or maybe I’m just fond of righteous*, easy-to-follow stories. Recently I’ve taken a liking to shows which question what the ‘truth’ really means, such as Psycho-Pass and Terror in Resonance. I like how there is foreshadowing everywhere, and how the creators can deliver their vision and convey their message to viewers.
* the word here is 王道 (oudou), which literally translates as ‘royal path’. It’s kind of a subset of the shounen genre and generally refers to series with the classic shounen elements of heroic feats, battles, friendship, good-defeating-bad etc…Naruto, Dragon Ball, One Piece would be that kind of show. The opposite would be 邪道 (jadou, evil path), darker things like Death Note.
Q: What characters do you admire?
A: I love Endo Mamoru-kun from the Level-5 work Inazuma Eleven. When I was in elementary school and finding it tough studying for the junior high entrance exams, I really looked forward to seeing Endo-kun every week on TV. I gained courage from seeing how he keeps moving forward no matter what he is up against. I would say the same of Pokemon’s Satoshi. He’s very honest. I’m aware of how much strength they’ve given me.
Q: Did your school-friends and family watch anime as well?
A: I’m always talking about anime with my younger sister (lol). Unfortunately, our ways of thinking are so different that we often end up arguing (lol). Unlike me, my sister is a good orator so she can get really obnoxious sometimes (lol).
Q: Now that you mention it, I heard from your manager that you often go to the karaoke with your sister (lol).
A: Yeah, I’m always going to karaoke together with her~. We both love Vocaloid songs and my sister especially loves the Kagerou Days series so we can go on for 4 straight hours singing those songs repeatedly (lol). Halfway through we can get so tired that we end up only humming, or we let the songs play as background music while we eat (lol).
Q: What are your favourite songs to sing?
A: I love singing the songs of Hachi, also known as Yonezu Kenshi – he’s got a really unique worldview. The melody in each of his songs is different and it’s very tough to sing, but I have a lot of fun trying. They’re very stimulating. His songs also help to heighten my senses, and that helps out with my acting.
Q: Let’s move on to talk about your future prospects. What is your aim as a seiyuu?
A: I hope to become a seiyuu who is able to deliver ‘something’ special to anyone out there, the way someone like Takeuchi Junko-san, who provides the voice for my beloved Endo-kun and Naruto, does. I say this because I too, received so much joy from watching anime. I’d love to continue acting with the objective of delivering that special ‘something’. I want to be a person who can make someone out there, even if it’s just 1 person, feel safe just by having me by their side.
Also, I hope to expand my abilities anchored upon voice work. I had a chat with my dad about this; how there are so many seiyuu these days who are good at singing and dance, and how I wanted to be like that as well. About how the seiyuu profession can open up so many new possibilities. Thus, not just for me but for others who are hoping to become seiyuu from now on, our dreams can grow even wider. But of course, in order to do this I need to work harder and harder (lol).
Q: Come to think of it, in a profile you filled up a year or so ago, you answered “a bride” to the question of “what you’d like to be in the future”. Does that still stand?
A: Ah, that was…you know. It’s every girl’s dream to be a bride (lol). I think rather than just being a bride, it’s more of a wish to walk down that aisle at a wedding, to set my parents’ hearts at ease. I’d love to be able to express my gratitude to my parents for supporting me and always having my back while I walk down this path of being a seiyuu….ah, I’m so embarrassed (shy).
Q: Last of all, please leave a message to the readers!
A: I know I’m still very inexperienced, not just as a seiyuu but as a human being, but I hope that I can develop into a seiyuu who has the ability to touch people, even if it’s only one person! I have much to learn still so I ask for your support in days to come!
Yumirin is really quite the adorable kid, isn’t she? To me, she does look like an almighty amalgamation of Taketatsu Ayana, Toyama Nao and Yuuki Aoi. It’s early days yet but do keep an eye out for more of her name and her voice in seasons to come!