Monthly Archives: March 2015

#59 – KanColle

Ah yeah I sort of fell into a KanColle black hole. The Teitoku life has succeeded in hooking me in (albeit a little belatedly) where Livers and Producers failed :< I suspect my wallet will suffer major 大破 this year as a result, so there goes all those planned Japan trips!

Anyway, here is a translation of an interview with the anime’s main cast just prior to broadcast. Teitoku = Admiral, Kanmusu = Shipgirl.
kancollesei
Q: What do you think are the charm points of the Shipgirl(s) whom you voice?

Uesaka Sumire (Fubuki): Fubuki is straightforward and has a very refreshing spirit – she may mess up at first but her motivation remains strong! Also, the shipgirls are really a bunch of individuals and in a way, I feel that Fubuki being the “ordinary girl” amongst them helps make the others look better.

Fujita Saki (Akagi): The anime depicts Akagi-san as an elegant older-sister type who has been entrusted with the job of leading the rest of the shipgirls – indeed, that’s what you’d expect of an aircraft carrier!! Of course, the anime also shows Akagi-san’s playful side as well so I think that this gap is what makes her charming~♪

Iguchi Yuka (Kaga): As in the game, I think that the coolness of the anime version of Kaga-san is what makes her charming. And I believe that in the anime, her feelings of: “I love Akagi-san” are growing ever stronger. It seems she’s a bit of a tsundere.

Sakura Ayane (Nagato, Mutsu, Shimakaze etc): All of them have rich personalities that don’t overlap with the others.

Toyama Nao (Kongou, Hiei, Haruna, Kirishima): I’m trying to look at this from every angle and I’ll say…maybe, the things that make them distinct from each other. There may be similarities in their looks and poses but I think you’ll immediately be able to tell them apart; there are reasons for those differences in details which means you’ll get attached to each of them. The same goes for all of the girls’ lines – you can tell whose it is just by reading the words, and I think that’s amazing.

Otsubo Yuka (Ooi, Kitakami-san): The cute designs of the ships, and how they faithfully recreate their real-life counterparts’ features and historical details. It’s also fantastic how each group of sister ships has different types of costumes!

Hidaka Rina (Mutsuki, Mochizuki, Yayoi etc): I’m in charge of a few characters but my main girl in the anime is Mutsuki, and I think it’s charming how she’s honest and cares a lot about her friends.

Suzaki Aya (Akatsuki, Hibiki, Ikazuchi, Inazuma): In the anime, it’s super cute when the 4 girls of the Sixth Destroyer Division, who each have their own quirky personalities, get together to chit-chat!!

Taneda Risa (Myoukou, Ashigara, Nachi, Haguro): I voice multiple ships who each have their own personalities and I’m giving my all to each one of them! What I think is most charming is the change in the characters’ facial expressions when they’re bonding with the Admiral after a victorious battle. It’s not just about the battles, it’s about the irresistibly cute reactions that are unique to the shipgirls!

Q: Please tell us what is attractive about the story and world of the KanColle anime.

Uesaka: After all is said and done, I’m just happy that Fubuki gets to shine!! You’ll get to enjoy seeing the shipgirls both in their daily lives and during battles, plus you get a detailed portrayal of the naval base and these things help to expand your view of the world of KanColle.

Fujita: You now get a thorough, animated view of things like sorties, docking and expeditions that you only used to be able to click within the game~. What the shipgirls are thinking of and how they feel leading up to sorties…these sorts of things now feel a lot more meaningful when compared to playing the game. Also, everybody is just really cute so I’d love for you to check out how we look in animated form!

Iguchi: Hmmm, I think…the fact that the characters are now moving! And talking! Seeing them fighting is just amazing. The fleet is made up of girls, aha! This is how you depict battle scenes, isn’t it! Amazing! So cool!!!…is what I think.

Sakura: This is an ambitious work that helps to add value to the world of the KanColle game that players have already expanded upon themselves.

Toyama: Each of the shipgirls is cute, it’s very refreshing! Their actions, the way they speak; ahh…”This is how they move! This is how they speak!”, there are lots of these kind of discoveries to be made. You’ll see new sides of the shipgirls you have been so carefully raising up until now! You’ll definitely experience a succession of happy feelings. At the same time, it’s interesting to see the interactions between characters that only existed as individuals within the game. As for what the shipgirls are going to call each other – this is a point I’d like you to look out for in the anime.

Otsubo: It’s charming to see how vessels that existed in real life have been drawn so cutely, and also to hear dialogue between characters that had previously no connection to each other within the game!

Hidaka: I was touched by the mere sight of the characters that, previously having had no interaction with each other within the game, are now having conversations. Also, I think one of the charms is in seeing the growth of the main group of characters with Fubuki in the center.

Suzaki: Fubuki’s growth and the bond between the shipgirls!

Taneda: I’m happy that the anime shows the interaction between the shipgirls, something that was not present in the game. It also shows plenty of things like the difference in capabilities between the shipgirls, battle scenes unique to KanColle and charming little details about the characters such as the troubles they face as shipgirls etc.

Q: Please let us know your thoughts about recordings; what’s the atmosphere like?

Uesaka: It’s somewhat interesting that despite having a large cast of characters, the actual number of cast members during recordings is relatively small. Maybe it’s because we expend a lot of energy due to having to do multiple roles, but it seems like someone is always eating something at any given time.

Fujita: It’s lively since it’s only women there! There are girls who voice a lot of different roles at the same time as well so once recording starts, a strange sort of tension settles over the room (lol).

Iguchi: Fighting girls! Are so glorious!!! Also, everyone has to multi-task roles (ah, all of them are “main” roles!) so it can get a bit tough (lol).

Sakura: When I have a lot of lines, I get so nervous the day before that I can’t sleep. It’s been a while since I’ve worked on something like this. Recordings are tests of one’s ability to maintain an intense level of concentration as well as the level of endurance of one’s throat.

Toyama: I feel the atmosphere is both friendly and relaxed at the same time. Obviously recording studios are places where you perform but I do think that it’s not quite enough to just immerse yourself in the emotions…at the same time, voice work is something that requires a calm approach and the KanColle studio strongly reminds me of the fact . For example, KanColle is all about being able to flip that switch between you roles. Having the opportunity to observe the other actresses working at their individual craft makes the recording studio a truly luxurious place.

Otsubo: Even though there are so many characters the cast is small!!! Each seiyuu voices many different roles…so I get to gaze with respectful amazement at how awesome everyone is. It’s also interesting to have a conversation with oneself.

Hidaka: Since most of the seiyuu are responsible for multiple characters, we tend to tackle recordings with a lot more concentration. The method of recording is also different from the norm, with each scene split into separate segments.

Suzaki: There’s a cozy and peaceful atmosphere!

Taneda: There are many seiyuu who are responsible for the voice of more than one ship and what really sticks in my mind is how some of them end up having conversations with themselves. It’s especially interesting to hear the dialogue between Ooi and Kitakami – it’s one person voicing two people within their own little world (lol). The recording studio is where you get to hear every seiyuu’s personal touch in their characters.

Q: Is there anything in particular that you try to keep in mind when voicing your Shipgirl(s)?

Uesaka: I’m only voicing Fubuki for now so to make up for the fact that I’m not doing multiple roles, I try to draw out as many different expressions for Fubuki as I possibly can. If I have any other roles that come up…yes, I will do my best!

*note: Some of her other characters ie. Soryuu and Hiryuu have appeared in the anime now

Fujita: As I am Fubuki’s admired senior, I try to maintain what makes her the target of admiration – how she’s cool, strong and dignified by paying attention to the details. Also, I believe that I should have fun voicing an Akagi who is always trying her hardest, so I do enjoy every recording session☆

Iguchi: The staff asked me to be careful not to turn Kaga-san’s coolness into cruelness. I’m trying! (>_<)

Sakura: I tend to get distracted by having to switch up my voices between characters, so I try to keep in mind not to neglect the fundamentals of acting – to understand the individual character’s circumstances and also to grasp their feelings, and so on.

Toyama: It’s been 2 years since I recorded the lines for the game that everyone has been playing. I think all of you Admirals will have heard our voices repeatedly as you play, so for the anime I’ll take great care to do justice to the characters as people see them. On the other hand, I’m also doing my best to bring a new performance that is befitting of the character and isn’t just a mere imitation of my work in the past.

Otsubo: As Ooi is even more acerbic in the anime than she is in the game, I have to take particular care in voicing Kitakami who gets caught up in those antics. Especially since the two of them are the livewires of the show, so I am treating them tenderly.

Hidaka: For the game we record our lines individually but for the anime I get to interact with many other characters, and I hope that I can help expand the range of the shipgirls’ expressions while still maintaining the characterizations from the game.

Suzaki: A lot of my dialogue actually consists of conversations between my own characters so rather than try to make each one sound distinct, I prefer to prioritize bringing out their individual characteristics instead.

Taneda: The Myoukou class consists of four sister ships so I tried to make sure that the difference in their ages showed during their conversations. There are points from the game that remain the same ie. how cute and energetic the destroyer girls are. The toughest thing so far is preventing my characters from overlapping when I converse with other shipgirls whom I normally wouldn’t have much interaction with.

Q: Lastly, please leave a message for the fans who are looking forward to the KanColle anime.

Uesaka: The anime is just getting started but I hope that all Admirals will look forward with much imagination to how the story will develop. Please kindly watch over our lovely shipgirls in this drama interweaving tales of burning passion and friendship!

Fujita: I believe that as you watch the anime and see how the shipgirls spend their days and what their feelings are as they go to sorties, you will also grow to love the shipgirls more and more!! I hope all Admirals will watch the anime!! Thank you for your support!!

Iguchi: At last! The KanColle anime is starting! Hooray! Each and every character has been drawn with love. I’m sure you will be able to discover a lot of charming new aspects in the anime. Please do watch the show.

Sakura: This is a work we can deliver to fans with confidence as it is made with much love by the staff and cast. I hope that everyone will enjoy the show. Thank you very much!

Toyama: There have been a lot of “firsts” for both the staff and cast when it comes to the KanColle recordings; for me it is a place where I can experience many things. With everyone joining forces, we are enjoying the process of making this show every week. It’s also thanks to the efforts of KanColle supporters that the property has become such a huge hit. Taking this pressure and turning it into strength, I will continue to maintain a good pace as we move towards the finale. It’s a big NO~ to look away from future developments!* Thank you for your support!

*Her words here are a play on an in-game quote by Kongou [MVP line : 私の活躍見てくれたの?もっと頑張るから目を離しちゃNo! なんだからネ!]

Otsubo: It’s thanks to the support from all Admirals that we are where we are today! The shipgirls have become even more appealing now that they’re animated so please enjoy the show! Please continue to show your love for these shipgirls that are full of personality! Thank you for supporting!!!

Hidaka: It is thanks to the support of everyone that we are able to meet the KanColle anime. Thank you so very much! As to how the many shipgirls will grow…please watch the show ‘til the end. Thank you.

Suzaki: Back when the game had just launched, I never imagined that it would one day be made into an anime! It’s truly thanks to the support of all Admirals!! I’m so happy to be able to see the shipgirls moving in animated form! I hope everyone looks forward to it as well! Please continue to support us in the future too!

Taneda: I believe that the KanColle anime is a work that is both newcomer-friendly while at the same time, helping to enhance the experience for existing game players. There will be many developments that can only be depicted in animated form so I’d be really glad if you could check the show out every week to find out if your favourite characters appear! Please support the KanColle anime too!

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Now I’m regretting I didn’t start playing the game way earlier cos I cannot (yet) make Prinz Eugen my ship mistress owo

At the time of writing, the anime finale will be airing in just a couple of hours so I’m uhhh…looking forward to seeing whether we’ll get more tragic or happy-end MI Akaga doujins!

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#58 – Uchida Maaya

58_maaya
This particular interview was something I looked up as reference material when I was doing Mayayan’s 50 questions and I found it amusing enough to want to translate in full. It runs in the same series of Animate interviews with Nichinare graduates as the one I did for Saito Chiwa a couple of months back; Maaya’s is from November 2012, around the time Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! aired.

There is a lot of mention of chu2 itself in the text, so let’s get the basic explanations out of the way first so I don’t have to keep translating chuunibyou as “junior high second grade disease”.

Chuunibyou (中二病) chuuni, chuu2

“Middle-school 2nd Year Syndrome” is a colloquial and rather derisive term in Japan which describes a person at the age of fourteen would either act like a know-it-all adult, or thinks they have special powers no one else has. Some would even go as far as being obnoxious, arrogant, and often look down on adults or older people. This way of thinking or acting is mostly seen in teenagers during adolescence, however there are people who still act like this even after reaching adulthood.

Chuunibyou uses the word “病” for “syndrome” or “disease” but it does not actually relate to any medical condition or mental disorder. It can also be written as 厨二病 in Japanese, where “厨” means “-fag” in net slang. In English it is often abbreviated as chuu2. [credit pixiv encyc]

Part 1

Q: Congratulations on your casting as the heroine of the autumn TV anime Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Please tell us about yourself.

A: Thank you! I’m Uchida Maaya, born 27th of December, a Capricorn with blood type A. I’ve been told I don’t resemble an A-type as I tend to do things at my own pace but I really am a true-blue A-type. My hobbies are playing video games and eating out.

Q: Have you always loved video games?

A: I’ve been playing games fervently since I was in first grade. The reason I entered this industry too, is because I love games. Both of my parents are game lovers as well and as a result, our house was filled with game consoles. My father would be playing games in the middle of the night. Having such parents meant that at Christmastime, they’d play Santa and buy games for us but honestly, I think my father just wanted to play them himself (lol).

Q: Did he buy you games that you wanted to play?

A: Nope, my father bought games of his own choice. Like Gran Turismo…

Q: A driving simulator for an elementary school girl? (lol)

A: I know right?! I have a younger brother so he’d say to me “Play it with your little brother OK?”, but I wasn’t any good at it.

Q: Are there any games you’ve been addicted to lately?

A: Recently, Resident Evil 5. I’m playing it now so that I can get it done before Resident Evil 6 is released.

Q: You love games even now, don’t you! How about anime?

A: I was a video game geek as a kid so I didn’t really watch much TV, but I did watch anime. I think this was about 10 years ago, but I liked Gensomaden Saiyuki.

Q: Did you have any other hobbies apart from games and anime?

A: I love music. J-rock acts like Imawano Kiyoshiro and Sakanaction are my favourites. I like how rock gets you all pumped up~. Also, since I love games I also like to listen to video game soundtracks. The battle BGMs really pump you up! I listen to music both at home and on the go. I like singing as well, so when I have the time I go to the karaoke alone.

Q: You mentioned ‘eating out’ as another one of your hobbies. Have you been doing that lately?

A: Not lately~. Before, I often used to go to Chinatown with my friends or my mom. Also, when I had a bit of time before work, I’d go to the Meguro Sanma Matsuri. I’d line up from around 10am to eat delicious pacific saury!

Q: What are your favourite foods? Is there anything you’d like to eat now?

A: I like natto, I eat it every day without fail. As for what I’d like to eat right now, Hawaiian cuisine is something I’ve become addicted to recently. I wanna eat Loco Moco! Pancakes too.

Q: Let’s talk about your work. What were your thoughts about being cast as the heroine in both Sankarea and Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

A: I was cast in Sankarea in September last year, so it’s been a year since. At the turn of this year I was cast in Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, which was a surprise for me personally.

Q: The heroine of Sankarea is a zombie girl – were you able to get a grasp of her character easily?

A: Sanka Rea may be a zombie but when I read the original manga my impression of her was that she was a very cute zombie, so I just thought of her as a normal girl. Though when I first heard that she was a zombie, images of Resident Evil immediately came to mind (lol).

Q: As a zombie lover, was (Sanka Rea) unsatisfactory for you?

A: Ahahahaha! I wanted to do zombie sounds like “Vuuu…”~

*here’s a zombie sound pack for you

Q: Would that fit your image? Maybe your fans wouldn’t want to hear that from you.

A: They wouldn’t? (lol). But I do want to appear as a zombie in a game someday. I love dialogue that involves screaming, I’m doing that nowadays too! I’m dreaming of the day I get to be a zombie…

Q: You’d become a real-life Sanka Rea!

A: You’re right! (lol)

Q: Allow me to ask you about Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!. What were your feelings when you took the audition for the role?

A: “Takanashi Rikka’s a tough character to voice~” is what I thought, which is why I was surprised when I found out I had passed the audition. Looking back, I realize now how important it is to persevere and see things through to the end.

Q: Were you nervous during the auditions?

A: There was a lot of dialogue for Chuunibyou and I enjoyed that! I couldn’t even understand some of the lines but I had fun with the katakana words, and I was able to act out the part without having to consciously think about characterization. I wasn’t nervous and didn’t think about characterization yet I still got the role – maybe it’s because I have chuuni disease myself? (lol).

Q: What points did you focus on when voicing Takanashi Rikka?

A: Rikka is quiet and expressionless and it’s hard to read her emotions, but she’s totally a chuuni on the inside. It’s not a character that she created for herself – the chuuniness is totally ingrained in her. That’s why the director told me beforehand “She’s a true chuuni so just keep that in mind when you’re acting and bring out that genuine chuuni disease from within her”.

Q: Genuine chuuni disease? That sounds hard.

A: Yeah it is. “Genuine chuuni diease? What could that be~?” For example, during the delusionary fighting scenes, the way I breathe has to sound like I’m really taking part in a battle. At the same time though, Rikka’s a bit clumsy and has her cute parts. When she gets hit she’ll say “Oww~”, but in a cute way. It’s hard to get the right balance!

Q: You sure are facing difficulties in your own way. Are there ever times that you’ve thought “I might be a chuuni myself”?

A: I’ve been hearing about this “chuuni disease” since I won this role and I’ve come to accept that I myself used to be a “chuuni”. I think that that phase is over now though…maybe…(lol).

Q: So let’s leave present time aside and hear some stories from when you were a chuuni!

A: When I was a junior high student, I had a playlist of “Rainy Day Songs” set aside for days when it rained. I’d leave the house listening to those songs, engrossed in my own world and running around without an umbrella (lol).

Q: Eh? It was raining, right? (lol)

A: Yes it was! But it felt good running around in the rain listening to the songs on that playlist. When I look back now, I think that whenever I got lost in that world of mine – it was probably a sign of chuuni disease.

Q: So you used to do that alone?

A: Of course, I’d do it alone~ I never told anyone else about it either! Ahh…it seems I’ve had many chances recently to expose episode of my dark history; I’m starting to feel embarrassed (lol). Especially since I’m voicing Rikka now, but I’m sure everyone’s doing it! It’s just because we’re all adults now that we insist otherwise, but I believe everyone has had chuuni disease before! (lol)

Q: Thanks for your interesting tale! Let’s get back on topic by talking about the recording sessions for Chuunibyou demo Koi ga shitai!. Have you gotten used to it yet?

A: During recordings, Fukuyama Jun-san, who voices Togashi Yuta, will offer advice to me. Chuuni disease dialogue uses a lot of difficult katakana and Fukuyama-san knows all of them! Apparently he researches even the little things, and he gives us detailed explanations. I’d like to emulate Fukuyama-san and do more research myself in the future. After all, they’re the words used by my own character.

Q: So that means that anyone who watches Chuunibyou demo Koi ga shitai! will become familiar with Chuuni disease terminology.

A: I think they will. Everyone, let’s recall our days of Chuuni disease infection and shout out the names of our Special Moves together!

Q: Apart from Fukuyama-san, how was the atmosphere at recordings with the other cast members like?

A: The 4 main female cast members often attended interviews or went for meals together, so we have become good friends! Just the other day we got all heated up discussing a very Chuuni-like topic “If we were to form a 4-member unit, what should we call ourselves?”. Uesaka Sumire-chan in particular, came up with a lot of Chuuni-like ideas. She also made up Chuuni-names for all of us and I ended up being called Maayan Stein…

Q: Maayan Stein…that sounds painful!

A: Ahahahaha! Though she took the effort to come up with all these names nobody actually uses them! Maybe during future events I’ll introduce myself saying “This is Maayan Stein, the voice of Takanashi Rikka”? By the way, Akasaki Chinatsu-san is “Crimson Black Hole” and Asakura Azumi-san is “Apricot Beauty”! Isn’t Maayan Stein rather cute by comparison? (lol).

Q: We’re looking forward to the fans’ reaction when you introduce yourself that way! Thank you.

Part 2

Q: We talked about how your love for video games from a young age was the catalyst for your becoming a seiyuu. Just how much time did you spend gaming?

A: My whole family loved games so naturally, so did I. Back when I was addicted to web games, I’d spend every minute of my spare time playing them.

Q: Did it ever get to the point where your parents scolded you and told you to “Please eat your meals”?

A: Yeah they did~. I mean, it’s not like you can go missing when you’ve formed a party with other people! I couldn’t bail out since I was the designated healer. I’d either miss my meals to play, or bring food to eat in my room while playing.

Q: Hearing that makes us think you were a shut-in.

A: Ahahaha! Of course, this wasn’t something that happened every single day. Normally I’d make sure I’d eaten and taken a shower before I started playing.

Q: If you liked gaming that much, why did you want to become a seiyuu?

A: I just loved games and wanted to work at a job that could show future generations just how wonderful video games are. At first, I was thinking about working for a game company. However, when I was in junior high I joined the drama club and it occurred to me that “Being a seiyuu might be good too”. Since seiyuu did also get to work in the gaming industry. So I went to visit seiyuu training schools. I found it very interesting and thus, decided to switch to pursue an acting career instead of producing games.

Q: Did you look up a lot of training schools?

A: I decided on Nichinare after visiting around 3 different schools. I visited Nichinare in January of my third year of high school and took its exams in February. I made up my mind fairly quickly so I think my parents were probably a bit surprised. On my part, I had originally intended to go on to college.

Q: What made you choose Nichinare?

A: Because it seemed like the most fun. We were allowed to observe 3 hours of lessons and I was impressed by how all the students worked together well to produce a piece of work. Honestly, the atmosphere there conveyed how everyone was having a lot of fun. Also, it may seem trivial, but despite being quite late with my application, Nichinare were very accommodating throughout our correspondence. It made me think “I’d have peace of mind if I came here”. I mean, you’d normally get all nervous having to make phone calls to training schools by yourself, right? But Nichinare were so kind to me all through our communications and I felt at ease taking part in their school tours.

Q: How did you feel after you joined the agency? Did it meet your expectations?

A: It has been a lot more enjoyable than I thought! I spent most of my high school days doing part-time jobs and didn’t really get to enjoy the joys of youth through things like club activities. I may have been a bit late to the game, but I only started to enjoy my youth once I joined Nichinare (lol). I was enrolled for 3 years and I got along well with everyone no matter what class I took. I still hang out with my ex-classmates nowadays.

Q: You chose to take the weekly course?

A: Yes. I enrolled in the course consisting of 3 hours of lessons per week. Classes were once a week but I would spend the additional time with my classmates. On days without lessons, we’d get together to practise. We’d shout out at the top of our voices at the park, or we’d make time to study acting together. My group of friends at Nichinare; we shared the same goals and interests so it was always great fun whenever we got together.

Q: What were your favourite lessons?

A: I loved it when we were asked to create plays from prepared scripts. Prior to my admission I had my own collection of commercially available scripts and dialogue books, and I’d read them and record my own acting using a voice recorder. With the lessons in Nichinare, we could share out all the roles instead of me taking all of them on myself! It was great fun working together with everyone else to produce a piece of work.

Q: Do you consider yourself better at voicing a role that comes with character designs, or without?

A: Recently, I saw a character illustration and I thought to myself how fun it would be if I were to match my voice to the image~, but I also did use to love doing etudes*. At Nichinare, we had lessons where we’d have to create plays from scratch without any basic character settings provided. I loved those classes. I’d be the type of person who’d raise their hand high and shout “Me! Me!” whenever the lecturers asked for volunteers. As an example, if we were given the setting “You stir from your sleep. Do something”, I’d quickly decide on “shouting” and raise my hand right away. And then I’d do some ad-libs.

*etude = creating ad-libs based purely on written character settings

Q: Good at ad-libs? That’s something veterans do!

A: I think it’s still difficult to make ad-libs as seiyuu but at Nichinare we were given a free hand to do them however we saw fit so it was like a “first come first serve” situation for me (lol). For anime we have to match our ad-libs to the character settings, while for etudes we are creating our very own ad-libs – it’s a lot of fun to do and I love it! When I look back at those times, I do think I was a really proactive student. My mindset was always “Keep on moving forward”.

Q: What sort of people were there in your classes?

A: As I’m a very active person, most of my friends tended to have similar personality traits. Having such members of a class meant that after our 3-hour lessons, we’d have gatherings in a family restaurant where we’d seriously discuss our lessons and our future goals.

Q: How has the reaction been like from that group of friends?

A: I’ve taken part in various different activities thus far; some of those friends have gotten in touch to say “I watched you in [insert anime title]”. It’s embarrassing when friends from those days watch my shows, but I do feel happy at the same time. I do actually get to meet some of them from time to time during reunioin gatherings they’ll say things like “I feel frustrated at myself (seeing you) but I’m going to do my best too!”, and I too will get motivated to do my best as well.

Q: What was the age composition of your classes like?

A: I started at 18 so I was at the lower end age-wise. There were people in their 30s as well; at Nichinare, age is something irrelevant. No matter the age, as long as we entered at the same time we’d be classmates, and we still got along well.

Q: What was your lifestyle like during your training school days?

A: At the time, my whole life centered around Nichinare. To prepare for the days that I had lessons, I’d do my best to complete all my tasks at hand as well as practise. There was just so much I had to do that a week would quickly fly past.

Q: Apart from training school lessons, what sort of voluntary training did you do?

A: I’d do a lot of recital training* everyday. I’d also do script-reading, recording my own voice so I could listen back to it. These are all very simple things but I still feel that they’re very important.

*specifically, 滑舌 (katsuzetsu) = how to smoothly and fluently recite lines

Q: Are you referring to recording your own voice?

A: Yes. It’s a kind of training to get one to like their voice. It’s normal for people to hate listening to their own voice but once you get used to it the feelings of discomfort fade away. Still, it’s useful to hear how your voice actually sounds like to other people and helps to make acting an easier task. At the same time I get to find out about my own habits.

Q: Did any of the Nichinare lectures leave a big impression on yo? What sort of lessons were they?

A: This topic often came up during chats with my classmates, but I personally love Sakamoto Chika-san! Chika-san’s lessons were about forming groups to create plays. Very few details would be written on the small sheets of paper we were provided – instead, she’d tell us “you’re free to make up your own characters”. They were unlike etudes and were lessons that provided a lot of freedom to improvise.

Q: Lastly, as a pro seiyuuu please give advice to everyone who is aiming to become a seiyuu!

A: Nowadays it may seem like the race to become a seiyuu is highly competitive but if you truly wish from the bottom of your heart to become one, I believe you can achieve anything! One of the ways you could become one is to take a major step by going to visit training schools like I did. Another way you could get your start is by buying a voice recorder and train yourself to get used to listening to your own voice. Even if you don’t have a voice recorder, you could use a PC or a smartphone to do the recording. Just take things one step at a time. In any case, it is important to always be proactive in taking on everything.

Q: It’s important to be proactive, isn’t it!

A: Up until now I’ve always maintained the mindset of “Keep on moving forward” and never regretted anything (lol). Thus I feel it’s not wrong to keep rushing forward. This is my personality – I’m the type of person who will take the plunge without looking, trusting that I’ll land on my two feet and I’ll only think about the consequences of falling when I actually do fall. As long as you diligently advance towards your goal of doing what you love to do, you will be able to see what lies ahead. To those of you reading this now, I hope there comes a day when it is possible for us to work together.

Q: Thank you for your advice. If there is anyone out there who decides to join Nichinare after reading this article, please be kind to them!

A: Of course! At Nichinare, we are taught “Give back to your juniors what you have received from your seniors”. I have learned so much about acting and seiyuu from my Nichinare senior-by-a-year Matsuoka Yoshitsugu-san. In the future, I will share what I know with my juniors. After all, it is a Nichinare tradition to pass on our knowledge to our juniors!

#57 – Takamori Natsumi

56_takamori
Name: Takamori Natsumi (高森 奈津美)
DoB: 14 February 1987
Hometown: Kofu, Yamanashi
Agency: Pro-Fit

Translating Natsumi’s 50 questions feature, #29 in the series. I know her from Another (Misaki Mei) and Rozen Maiden (Saitou-san). You will know her now, from IM@S CG (Miku-nyan).

1. Please tell us why you became a seiyuu.
I think the first time I ever thought about becoming a seiyuu was when I was in junior high. I used to read manga out aloud and my younger sister said to me “It seems interesting to be able to play a character just by using your voice!”

2. What was your début anime role?
A Sakura-dan member in WHITE ALBUM.

3. Of all the shows you have acted in thus far, is there any character that has left a particularly strong impression?
My first lead role as Sakura Akari in Jewel Pet Twinkle.

4. Please tell us if any of the characters you are voicing now share any similarities to yourself.
An example would be Hiotan from Denkigai no Honya-san, whose trait of brimming curiosity I share.

5. From all the shows you’ve been in, please tell us about any scenes that left a particularly strong impression.
Any scene where I have to confess my feelings to the person I love, makes me nervous.

6. Please tell us any horror stories or memorable tales from the recording studio.
I fret endlessly when my stomach won’t stop growling.

7. Are there any seiyuu you see as rivals or as someone to aim for?
There are many people I look up to but I hope to be capable of displaying a wide range of acting, the way someone like Yajima Akiko-san is.

8. If you weren’t a seiyuu, what do you think you would be doing now?
Before I was a seiyuu I was working at a railway company so I think I’d have become a train conductor.

9. What’s the hardest thing you’ve experienced as a seiyuu?
Sometimes, I feel depressed at my own incompetence…

10. On the flipside, what’s the happiest thing(s) that has happened to you as a seiyuu?
I’m very happy when people tell me that they love the works I have acted in.

11. Do you like singing?
It’s not something I’m good at but I do like it. I was surprised when I saw a CD that I had featured in appear on an Oricon chart programme.

12. From all the radio shows you have hosted, were there any mails that left an impression on you?
When I get really interesting mails from listeners during oogiri* corners to the point where I end up becoming jealous of how interesting the listeners are.

*oogiri (大喜利) is a game commonly featured in Japanese variety shows where some sort of topic/question/scenario is provided and the guests are supposed to provide answers, usually on white boards (for TV)

13. Is there anything you take particular care about when you’re acting?
As I act I try to keep in mind that I want to make this particular character the most fascinating one.

14. What kind of roles would you consider your specialty?
Characters with dark personalities are easy to voice…

15. Tell us what goals and dreams you have as a seiyuu?
I think it’d be great if I could still be a seiyuu even when I’m a granny.

16. To the people who are aiming to become seiyuu, please give them a word of advice.
Try to take on any challenges, even if they’re not related to acting!

17. Apart from the shows that you’ve been in, are there anime that you like to watch?
I watched a lot of anime when I was young! I remember trying to imitate the voices of the characters in Fruits Basket when I was in junior high.

18. In relation to the above, are there any types of roles you’d like to voice or perhaps, characters that you admire?
Maybe…Yuki.

19. As a viewer, what kind of anime do you like?
I like gag anime.

20. What kind of child were you?
The complete opposite of what I am now…I was a lively, extroverted child.

21. Please tell us what TV programmes do you often watch?
I have a feeling that it’s mostly the news these days.

22. Tell us what your favourite books are.
Saito Hiroshi’s Rudolph and Lotsathings.

23. Tell us what your favourite game is.
Final Fantasy IX.

24. Tell us what your favourite movies are.
House of Himiko.

25. Tell us about your favourite music.
There are many but if I had to pick one I’d say YUKI.

26. Tell us what your motto is.
It’ll work out somehow.

27. Tell us about any of your experiences with sports.
Swimming –> mini basketball –> volleyball –> badminton!

*mini basketball is basketball adapted for grade schoolers

28. Tell us what songs you often sing when you go to the karaoke.
JOY by YUKI.

29. Tell us what your favourite foods are.
Rice!!

30. Tell us what foods you hate.
I’ll eat anything, actually.

31. Tell us about the stores you often go to.
I love cafés and often go alone.

32. Do you have any favourite snacks?
Jaga-pokkuru.

33. Do you drink? If you do, what sort of drinks do you like?
I like fruit-based, dessert-like cocktails.

34. What did you do on your last day off?
Played games at home without taking a single step outside…

35. If you had a whole week off, what would you do?
I’d like to take a trip to Europe.

36. Are there any hobbies that you’ve been obsessed with recently?
Drinking unusual flavours of soy milk.

37. Tell us about any qualifications you have.
Information processing, secretarial, Kanji Proficiency, English Proficiency, calculator proficiency etc.

38. What challenges would you like to take on within the next 10 years?
Make a photobook collection of my hobbies.

39. What type of guy do you like?
Someone who I can feel at ease with, someone who’s fun to talk to.

40. Which part(s) of a guy do you notice most?
His ankle.

41. Tell us the most expensive thing you’ve bought recently.
A one-piece (dress).

42. What is the one thing you most desire now?
Physical strength.

43. If you could bring only one item to a deserted island, what would it be?
A firearm.

44. If you had 1,000,000 yen that you could spend as you wish, how would you use it?
I’d go on a trip!

45. Please tell us if there is anything that you do on a daily basis, habits etc.
I drink aojiru-flavoured soy milk.

46. Please leave a message for your fans.
Thanks for always supporting me. It gives me great encouragement. Please be gentle to me in the future (lol).

47. Do you remember the first time you met Mikami Shiori?
I think it was during a discussion meeting for a radio show.

48. (A question from Mikami Shiori) Your partner during your first ever yuri work (a drama CD) was me, what were your feelings about that!
Embarrassing! It’s so embarrassing doing yuri scenes with someone I’m good friends with!!

*The drama CD in question is Lilycle.

49. Please tell us which seiyuu you get along well with.
Nakatsu Mariko-chan*, Takamoto Megumi-chan, Saito Ayaka-chan, Matsuzaki Rei-chan, Hara Sayuri-chan.

*has now changed her stage name to Nakatsu Mari

50. Please leave a question for Hara Sayuri.
Please let me know if you know of any good ways to refresh yourself.

#56 – Mikami Shiori

54_mikami
Name: Mikami Shiori (三上 枝織)
DoB: 6 January 1989
Hometown: Aomori
Agency: Aoni Production

Translating Shiori’s 50 questions feature, which is #28 in the series. It’s funny that what I think of as potentially Shiori’s biggest role (ie. Krista/Historia in Shingeki no Kyojin) to date has yet to truly “happen”. Hopefully we’ll hear that for real next year!

1. Please tell us why you became a seiyuu.
The starting point was when I watched an anime called Saber Marionette J during my elementary school days. I was shocked to learn that the male characters were voiced by women and with the thought that if I were a seiyuu, I could become anything I want, I started to work towards becoming one.

2. What was your début anime role?
A female student in Shugo Chara!

3. Of all the shows you have acted in thus far, is there any character that has left a particularly strong impression?
Akaza Akari from the Yuruyuri series.

4. Please tell us if any of the characters you are voicing now share any similarities to yourself.
Kobori from Amagi Brilliant Park is a shy character; maybe that part.

5. From all the shows you’ve been in, please tell us about any scenes that left a particularly strong impression.
A solo scene where I was standing all alone recording at the mic, for God knows how many pages long (from Yuruyuri♪♪ episode 5).

6. Please tell us any horror stories or memorable tales from the recording studio.
When I got a NG because of my growling stomach…

7. Are there any seiyuu you see as rivals or as someone to aim for?
It’s a secret! (lol)

8. If you weren’t a seiyuu, what do you think you would be doing now?
I love kids so probably a nursery school teacher….

9. What’s the hardest thing you’ve experienced as a seiyuu?
The fact that there is such a wide range of skills being demanded and not just acting, but also singing and radio work. But it’s very rewarding!

10. On the flipside, what’s the happiest thing(s) that has happened to you as a seiyuu?
Receiving fan letters.

11. Do you like singing? What has left the biggest impression when it comes to singing thus far?
I love it! What’s most memorable is seeing how beautiful the sea of (pen)lights is at live concerts.

12. From all the radio shows you have hosted, were there any mails that left an impression on you?
For an aunt agony corner, there was a female listener who took my advice and got her hair, something that could be considered the soul of a women, chopped off and reported the fact to me.

13. Is there anything you take particular care about when you’re acting?
I never give up trying to get to the bottom of a problem until it’s solved.

14. What kind of roles would you consider your specialty?
I voice a lot of girls.

15. Tell us what goals and dreams you have as a seiyuu?
To get to meet a lot of different roles!

16. To the people who are aiming to become seiyuu, please give them a word of advice.
You may face a lot of challenges but in turn, you will find it is a thrilling and rewarding profession!

17. Apart from the shows that you’ve been in, are there anime that you like to watch?
When I was young I watched Popolocrois.

18. In relation to the above, are there any types of roles you’d like to voice or perhaps, characters that you admire?
I wouldn’t mind voicing even a weed if it meant I could be in the show!

19. As a viewer, what kind of anime do you like?
Either heart-warming stories or those with a brutal worldview.

20. What kind of child were you?
I loved playing outside, but I was the type of child who disliked performing in public or standing out in any way.

21. Please tell us what TV programmes do you often watch?
Getsuyou kara Yofukashi. It airs right at the times I turn on the TV so I’ll always watch it.

22. Tell us what your favourite books are.
Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. really sets my heart racing. It’s my Bible!

23. Tell us what your favourite game is.
The PoPoLoCrois series.

24. Tell us what your favourite movies are.
Porco Rosso. I admired Madame Gina’s strength as a woman.

25. Tell us about your favourite music.
I listen to a wide range of artists…

26. Tell us what your motto is.
What will be will be.

27. Tell us about any of your experiences with sports.
I was in the soft tennis club in junior high.

28. Tell us what songs you often sing when you go to the karaoke.
I try to accommodate the tastes of the people I am going with, so there aren’t any songs in particular that I always pick!

29. Tell us what your favourite foods are.
Yakiniku. Chocolate.

30. Tell us what foods you hate.
Certain types of shellfish.

31. Tell us about the stores you often go to.
Yakiniku restaurants.

32. Do you have any favourite snacks?
A chocolate called Sasha.

33. Do you drink? If you do, what sort of drinks do you like?
Yes I love it! Umeshu and white wine and Japanese sake are my favourites.

34. What did you do on your last day off?
Cleaning!

35. If you had a whole week off, what would you do?
I’d like to travel overseas. Somewhere with beautiful seas!

36. Are there any hobbies that you’ve been obsessed with recently?
Mobile games.

37. Tell us about any qualifications you have.
Driving license, Kanji Proficiency Level 2.

38. What challenges would you like to take on within the next 10 years?
Go to the gym to build muscle.

39. What type of guy do you like?
Someone who wears glasses.

40. Which part(s) of a guy do you notice most?
Hands.

41. Tell us the most expensive thing you’ve bought recently.
A PC.

42. What is the one thing you most desire now?
New glasses.

43. If you could bring only one item to a deserted island, what would it be?
A firearm.

44. If you had 1,000,000 yen that you could spend as you wish, how would you use it?
Dine in a top-class restaurant! I want to eat 1,000,000 yen worth of food.

45. Please tell us if there is anything that you do on a daily basis, habits etc.
Tweet on Twitter.

46. Please leave a message for your fans.
Thank you for always watching warmly over me…!

47. Do you remember the first time you met Otsubo Yuka?
It was a lush day in May. Dressed in her school uniform, with a smile that was as innocent then as it is now, a girl of a mere 17 years of age appeared in front of me.

48. (A question from Otsubo Yuka) What was your first impression of Otsubo Yuka ps please write lots of nice things ☆
“High school girl!? Uniform…! She’s got such beautiful, long black hair… Her smile is so dazzling…! Cute…so charming…friendly…I think!?”

49. Please tell us which seiyuu you get along well with.
The Yuruyuri members. My radio show members. Let’s have Takamori Natsumi-chan do this next…!

50. Please leave a question for Takamori Natsumi.
Your partner during your first ever yuri work (a drama CD) was me, what were your feelings about that!

That last question is too fun to leave unanswered :3

#55 – Otsubo Yuka

55_otsubo
Name: Otsubo Yuka (大坪 由佳)
Nickname: Yukachin, (JK/JD) Baum
DoB: 11 June 1993
Hometown: Chiba
Agency: Early Wing

#27 in the series features Otsubo Yuka, currently voicing the lovely(?) yuri pairing of Kitakami x Ooi (Kancolle). She made her début in Yuruyuri at the age of 18.

1. Please tell us how you became a seiyuu.
It all started back when I was in elementary school – I had spent the whole day in bed sick with a cold, and when I woke up at night and turned on the TV, that was my first ever time watching late-night anime.

2. What was your début anime role?
Toshino Kyoko from Yuruyuri. I will never forget how nervous I felt standing in front of the mic during my first ever audition.

3. Of all the shows you have acted in thus far, is there any character that has left a particularly strong impression?
I’m fond of each and every one of my characters but if I had to pick one, I’d go for my début role Toshino Kyoko. I’m still voicing her 3 years after I made my début, she’s the character I’ve spent the longest time with together.

4. Please tell us if any of the characters you are voicing now share any similarities to yourself.
Nishimikado Tami from Hanayamata, who always has a smile on her face and is just that little bit mischievous…we share those similarities♪

5. From all the shows you’ve been in, please tell us about any scenes that left a particularly strong impression.
From Akuma no Riddle where I voice Banba Mahiru/Shinya, a scene where the two personalities are conversing with each other.

6. Please tell us any horror stories or memorable tales from the recording studio.
It was during recordings for Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai!. There was a part where I’d personally requested a retake, and after that was done I meant to say “Thank you! I’m so sorry!” to the staff in apology, but I messed up and said “Thankfully I’m not sorry!”* instead. It was so embarrassing but luckily, everyone reacted with amusement**.

*that would be “Arigatou gozaimashita! Sumimasen!” turning into “Arigatou gozaimasen!”
**in the Japanese, Yuka uses a reference to the comedy group Drifters who were famed for having rather OTT reactions in their skits.

7. Are there any seiyuu you see as rivals or as someone to aim for?
There are many I hope to be like. To be more and more like the veteran seiyuu, most of whom are so meticulous in their acting and are such great joys to work with in the studio, I hope to learn from them – not just their acting skills, but also their sense of humanity and the way they conduct themselves.

8. If you weren’t a seiyuu, what do you think you would be doing now?
I think I’d be a normal college student. I might’ve been working part-time at a candy store!

9. What’s the hardest thing you’ve experienced as a seiyuu?
When I had a sore throat I just couldn’t produce my character’s voice. Health is the most important thing, isn’t it…

10. On the flipside, what’s the happiest thing(s) that has happened to you as a seiyuu?
The respectable, all my cast members, all of the fans who support me. If I wasn’t a seiyuu I would never have gotten to meet such wonderful people.

11. Do you like singing? What has left the biggest impression when it comes to singing thus far?
I love it!!! I used to be self-conscious about singing as I couldn’t read music, but now I’m happy to have the chance to sing so many charming songs in character!

12. From all the radio shows you have hosted, were there any mails that left an impression on you?
When I got a mail from a listener reporting “I have gotten married to a fellow fan!!”. I was so happy, it was as if I had gotten married myself!

13. Is there anything you take particular care about when you’re acting?
Cherish the personality and colour of my characters.

14. What kind of roles would you consider your specialty?
Maybe carefree girls? I once had a staff member tell me that the type of voice I had was one that was ‘carefree’, so maybe I’ve been conscious of that ever since (lol).

15. Tell us what goals and dreams you have as a seiyuu?
I hope to someday have my characters and the shows I have been in, be something that “means all the world to, or is the pillar of support for” someone out there.

16. To the people who are aiming to become seiyuu, please give them a word of advice.
There are times when it’s important to have entertainer superpowers!

17. Apart from the shows that you’ve been in, are there anime that you like to watch?
Kage Kara Mamoru, Kaleido Star, Stratos 4, Shaman King, ARIA, Happy Seven etc etc, loads of them! Hehehe.

18. In relation to the above, are there any types of roles you’d like to voice or perhaps, characters that you admire?
I admire mascot characters like ARIA’s Aria-shacho!

19. As a viewer, what kind of anime do you like?
Anime with a lot of cute girls, or shows with unique backgrounds, or fantasy-type anime. I’ll watch anything from slice-of-life to shows in the Supokon genre!

*supokon – portmanteau of Supootsu (sports) and Konjou (guts), so generally referring to sports titles that show a lot of fighting spirit.

20. What kind of child were you?
I was a boyish child who loved running around. I preferred card games and sports to playing with dolls!

21. Please tell us what TV programmes do you often watch?
Jounetsu Tairiku, shows that feature Italian towns and world heritage sites. Also, soccer and comedy programmes!

22. Tell us what your favourite books are.
Propos sur le bonheur by Alain (Jp translation: 幸福論, Koufukuron), books of quotations, books of proverbs.

23. Tell us what your favourite game is.
The Animal Crossing series.

24. Tell us what your favourite movies are.
So, so many favourites!!! Umm~ recently, I like Roman Holiday!

25. Tell us about your favourite music.
Songs from shows I have been in!

26. Tell us what your motto is.
“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down, but you don’t have to destroy it” by my Dad.

See here for an explanation of the original term.

27. Tell us about any of your experiences with sports.
Basketball and track and field.

28. Tell us what songs you often sing when you go to the karaoke.
Mirakuru! Mimika Number One, Overmaster

29. Tell us what your favourite foods are.
Baumkuchen!!!

30. Tell us what foods you hate.
Watermelons, melons.

31. Tell us about the stores you often go to.
I frequently pop into baumkuchen stores and the cinema.

32. Do you have any favourite snacks?
Baumkuchen!

33. Do you drink? If you do, what sort of drinks do you like?
Moscow Mules, gin and tonic and Mimosas are delicious!

34. What did you do on your last day off?
I watched a movie, got a haircut, went to the shrine, had a delicious meal!

35. If you had a whole week off, what would you do?
Go on a trip to either Italy or Germany to tour the Baumkuchen stores nationwide!!!

36. Are there any hobbies that you’ve been obsessed with recently?
Atlas puzzles. Collecting carnival masks. Also, watching the Dlife channel endlessly!

37. Tell us about any qualifications you have.
Kanji Proficiency, Word Processing Skills Qualification, Ski License, Secretarial Qualification etc etc – I got all of these when I was in high school.

38. What challenges would you like to take on within the next 10 years?
As a seiyuu, I’d like to appear in kids’ anime and dub movies. On a personal level, I’d like to take up diving or travel overseas alone.

39. What type of guy do you like?
Someone who’s like Karasuma Ouji from School Rumble.

40. Which part(s) of a guy do you notice most?
Neck!

41. Tell us the most expensive thing you’ve bought recently.
A replacement for my wallet.

42. What is the one thing you most desire now?
The ability to play the violin.

43. If you could bring only one item to a deserted island, what would it be?
The President.

*I had to look into this one a bit. Apparently Otsubo has answered such a question on radio before? The reason she gave at the time was that having the (US) President there meant she would get rescued for sure. Not sure how true this is.

44. If you had 1,000,000 yen that you could spend as you wish, how would you use it?
I’ll give it to my parents.

45. Please tell us if there is anything that you do on a daily basis, habits etc.
Drink plain hot water!

46. Please leave a message for your fans.
Thank you for reading up til this point! Whenever I think of my fans, I will cheer up! I wish to be someone who can bring such cheer to you too. Please continue to watch warmly over me!
Also, I will be performing at my agency event Amazing Soul Fes 2014 Hisho on the 1st November! I’m gonna be having a blast together with my agency seniors, so please come join in the fun!

47. Do you remember the first time you met Suwa Ayaka?
Yes! I first met her during a recording for a drama CD and I thought, what beautiful legs she has!

48. (A question from Suwa Ayaka) “If we were to hang out together, where should we go!?”
We’ve already gone for a meal and for a massage together so next…would be a trip to the onsen!

49. Please tell us which seiyuu you get along well with.
There are so many seiyuu I get along well with but hmmm…! I get along especially well with the Yuruyuri cast members. So much so that I’d love to go on holidays with them!

50. Please leave a question for Mikami Shiori.
What was your first impression of Otsubo Yuka (ps please write lots of nice things ☆)

Yeah the amount of Baumkuchen is overwhelming. Also, I raged hard for about 10 seconds when I saw pictures of Otsubo in a ManUre shirt ((╬ಠิ益ಠิ)) j/k

Next up, Otsubo’s Yuruyuri colleague Mikami Shiori.

#54 – Aoki Ruriko

aoki
Name: Aoki Ruriko (青木 瑠璃子)
Nickname: Ruuri
DoB: 24 March 19xx
Hometown: Saitama
Agency: Atomic Monkey

The Ps know Ruuri best, so let Paranda tell you all about her.

This is a translation of #31 in the Seiyuu no Wa series.

1. Please tell us why you became a seiyuu.
While playing video games that didn’t feature voice acting, I would make up my own voices as I went along and that helped to extend my interest in the seiyuu profession.

2. What was your debut anime role?
A female student in Coicent.

3. Of all the shows you have acted in thus far, is there any character that has left a particularly strong impression?
Priscilla Twilight in Genei o Kakeru Taiyou. I’d never really had a chance to play an “older sister” type of character who at the same time, has a very frank personality, so I had a lot of fun voicing her.

4. Please tell us if any of the characters you are voicing now share any similarities to yourself.
I might be similar to Tada Riina from IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, in particular how she thinks that one should “Cherish the feelings of ‘Loving the things you Love!!’”. She has only survived ‘til now because of her love for entertainment….(lol)

5. From all the shows you’ve been in, please tell us about any scenes that have left a particularly strong impression.
The flashy scenes. Also, I do sometimes wonder to myself how certain characters would say casual, everyday words like “Yeah”. So I do find such scenes memorable too.

6. Please tell us any horror stories or memorable tales from the recording studio.
Because of my height I try not to wear shoes with heels or else I’ll be too tall to reach the mic! I try to avoid such disasters.

7. Are there any seiyuu you see as rivals or as someone to aim for?
There are too many, I wouldn’t know who to write!!

8. If you weren’t a seiyuu, what do you think you would be doing now?
I’d like to do something related to the creative (film/animation) industry, but hmm…I wonder what? (lol). Even if I was an office lady I don’t think my basic style would be any different from what I am now.

9. What’s the hardest thing you’ve experienced as a seiyuu?
A cold that wouldn’t have much of an effect on normal everyday life can become a hindrance to a seiyuu’s work as it affects the voice. Managing one’s physical condition is very important.

10. On the flipside, what’s the happiest thing(s) that has happened to you as a seiyuu?
There are many things, but I would say the feeling I get when I watch the finished versions of anime and games I have acted in. “How wonderful it feels to have helped create this work alongside so many other people”.

11. Do you like singing?
I like singing, but I get nervous singing live so I draw strength by reminding myself that “There are people here to cheer me on!”. I feel really happy during my songs at lives when I see that fans have come up with calls using their penlights.

12. From all the radio shows you have hosted, were there any mails that left an impression on you?
If the listeners’ pen-names are interesting then I’ll remember them easily (lol). Also, when I see letters that are concise and well-written I’ll think “This guy is a postcard artisan!! Amazing!!”.

13. Is there anything you take particular care about when you’re acting?
Basically, we act by reading text from the script but when it comes to unusual phrases I try as much as possible not to merely “read” the words.

14. What kind of roles would you consider your specialty?
It’s easy to voice characters that speak Japanese clearly.

15. Tell us what goals and dreams you have as a seiyuu?
I hope to still be a seiyuu 10 or 20 years down the line.

16. To the people who are aiming to become seiyuu, please give them a word of advice.
I’m not in a position where I’m qualified to offer advice but…(whispers) do your best.

17. Apart from the shows that you’ve been in, are there anime that you like to watch?
Fullmetal Alchemist. Also Shiawase-sou no Okojo-san.

18. In relation to the above, are there any types of roles you’d like to voice or perhaps, characters that you admire?
I was attracted to the energetic roles.

19. As a viewer, what kind of anime do you like?
I like anime that targets the male audience.

20. What kind of child were you?
I used to run around and play games at the park. I loved making my own secret bases out in the woods.

21. Please tell us what TV programmes do you often watch?
Sometimes I’ll watch documentaries or variety shows.

22. Tell us what your favourite books are.
Shimada Soji’s Mitarai Kiyoshi series. I’ll read any mystery stuff.

23. Tell us what your favourite game is.
The Legend of Zelda series.

24. Tell us what your favourite movies are.
I can’t choose…recently, I watched Big Hero 6.

25. Tell us about your favourite music.
I like music without vocals such as video game music etc.

26. Tell us what your motto is.
The chance of a lifetime.

*the phrase is 千載一遇 (senzai ichiguu)

27. Tell us about any of your experiences with sports.
I did actually take up swimming and kendo seriously. I wasn’t too good at ball games but I did like physical fitness tests!

28. Tell us what songs you often sing when you go to the karaoke.
Karaoke are places where you can talk with friends without worrying that you’re bothering others around you, so even if I do go I end up not singing (lol).

29. Tell us what your favourite foods are.
Tea, coffee, plain hot water, Italian food, high-calorie food.

30. Tell us what foods you hate.
Cucumbers, kiwis.

31. Tell us about the stores you often go to.
Electrical appliance and hardware stores are places that are filled with dreams to me. I also like window shopping for clothes.

32. Do you have any favourite snacks?
It’s!!! Chocolate!!!

33. Do you drink? If you do, what sort of drinks do you like?
Wine and cocktails that aren’t too sweet. Things like Salty Dogs and Gin Bucks.

34. What did you do on your last day off?
I brewed delicious coffee and played games while leaving the PC on.

35. If you had a whole week off, what would you do?
I’d just lock myself in at home. Or go somewhere far alone.

36. Are there any hobbies that you’ve been obsessed with recently?
Shine my shoes. My feet are large so it’s hard for me to find shoes but once I discovered international-sized leather shoes that are a good fit for me; I have been taking good care of them so that they will last for a long time. They aren’t even that nice a pair of shoes though (lol).

37. Tell us about any qualifications you have.
3-dan calligraphy, 2-dan kendo, ordinary driving license.

38. What challenges would you like to take on within the next 10 years?
Live well for 10 years.

39. What type of guy do you like?
I don’t like attaching labels to people in general and not just the opposite sex; it’s not possible for me to classify “types”.

40. Which part(s) of a guy do you notice most?
I don’t really take notice of such things…for a girl, her skin. Also eyelashes.

41. Tell us the most expensive thing you’ve bought recently.
I don’t really buy expensive things, but I do spend money on electronics!

42. What is the one thing you most desire now?
Money!!!!

43. If you could bring only one item to a deserted island, what would it be?
A mirror. Shine! Shine! I learned from a certain game that I can use it to put out rescue signals.

44. If you had 1,000,000 yen that you could spend as you wish, how would you use it?
I’d do nothing else but! Put it in the bank!

45. Please tell us if there is anything that you do on a daily basis, habits etc.
Write 4 lines in my diary. I do slack a bit here and there, but I’ve been doing it for over 10 years.

46. Please leave a message for your fans.
To those of you who send me letters and Twitter messages, thank you. It takes much effort to write plus it’s difficult to express yourself well, so it does make me very happy. They are a great encouragement to me.

47. Do you remember the first time you met Hara Sayuri?
I do remember. At the time, she was just hiding her true self. She was pure and cute back then…nowadays, she’s charming. But I feel hesitant to use the word ‘cute’ to describe her.
A Hara Sayuri who continues to evolve. It’s amazing.

48. (A question from Hara Sayuri) You’re always displaying your splendid literary talents. Please give me a few tips on how to write interesting content.
Hmmm I wonder… “splendid” eh….why does this sound like false flattery….Um. I think you might find the experience of browsing good ‘ol literature sites* useful. Or you might not.

*the word here is テキストサイト, which refers to websites where literature (novels, diaries, poetry) is the main content. You can find a list of some examples here.

49. Please tell us which seiyuu you get along well with.
I’m good friends with everyone from IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, or maybe I should call them my sisters-in-arms (lol). I am also good friends with Asai Ayaka from our time spent together in dubbing work.

50. Please leave a question for Matsuzaki Rei.
Rei-chama, you’re so good at nail art – where did you learn the tricks of the trade from? Do you do any other art-related things as well?

…I wonder what Ruuri’s shoe size is? Kpop fans send clothing, footwear and accessories to their idols all the time so maybe overseas seiyuu ota should start fundraising for that w

#53 – Uchida Maaya

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Name: Uchida Maaya (内田 真礼)
Nickname: Mayayan, Marei
DoB: 27 December 1989
Hometown: Tokyo
Agency: I’m Enterprise

I’m sure no intro is needed for Marei. I myself have only ever seen 2 of her shows (Hunter X Hunter & Noragami) so I really can’t tell you anything anyhow, but I do suspect much of her appeal lies in her visuals…right?

This is a translation of her 50 questions, which was #8 in the series.

1. Please tell us why you became a seiyuu.
Because I love games!

2. What was your début anime role?
Boku, Otaryman.

3. Of all the shows you have acted in thus far, is there any character that has left a particularly strong impression?
Ichinose Hajime from Gatchaman Crowds!

4. Please tell us if any of the characters you are voicing now share any similarities to yourself.
I do think I’m similar to Iki Hiyori from Noragami where I can express myself decisively through words.

5. From all the shows you’ve been in, please tell us about any scenes that left a particularly strong impression.
In Gatchaman Crowds, where every dialogue between my character and Katze became a battle.

6. Please tell us any horror stories or memorable tales from the recording studio.
It’s a funny story now, but during my first ever recording I was so nervous that I ended up falling down (lol).

7. Are there any seiyuu you see as rivals or as someone to aim for?
I admire Inoue Kikuko-san♪

8. If you weren’t a seiyuu, what do you think you would be doing now?
A maiko.

9. What’s the hardest thing you’ve experienced as a seiyuu?
When I just can’t grasp the character properly.

10. On the flipside, what’s the happiest thing(s) that has happened to you as a seiyuu?
The moment I hear my voice coming from the character, I think “Ah, he/she is alive…”

11. Do you like singing?
I love it♪

12. From all the radio shows you have hosted, were there any mails that left an impression on you?
At times, before I even get to the actual mail, I see how funny the listeners’ pen-names are and I start laughing (lol).

13. Is there anything you take particular care about when you’re acting?
When I’m acting, I try to imagine the characters moving around animatedly.

14. What kind of roles would you consider your specialty?
Characters that have hyperactive tendencies.

15. Tell us what goals and dreams you have as a seiyuu?
To see more people coming to love games and anime through the characters I voice.

16. To the people who are aiming to become seiyuu, please give them a word of advice.
Give your absolute best!!

17. Apart from the shows that you’ve been in, are there anime that you like to watch?
Gensomaden Saiyuki♪

18. In relation to the above, are there any types of roles you’d like to voice or perhaps, characters that you admire?
I loved Goku~

19. As a viewer, what kind of anime do you like?
I love anime that have a lot of surprising scenes.

20. What kind of child were you?
A quiet and shy child.

21. Please tell us what TV programmes do you often watch?
Anything with Ariyoshi (Hiroiki) in it.

22. Tell us what your favourite books are.
The book that had the #1 biggest impact on me was the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni light novel. The night I first read it I got so freaked out I couldn’t sleep…!

23. Tell us what your favourite game is.
Eh!? I can’t really pick one..

24. Tell us what your favourite movies are.
I recently bought My Neighbor Totoro♪

25. Tell us about your favourite music.
BoA’s VALENTI. I listened to it ‘til the CD was worn out!

26. Tell us what your motto is.
Treasure every encounter, for it will never recur.

27. Tell us about any of your experiences with sports.
Next to nothing…!

28. Tell us what songs you often sing when you go to the karaoke.
Anisong!

29. Tell us what your favourite foods are.
Plums❤

30. Tell us what foods you hate.
Eel.

31. Tell us about the stores you often go to.
Bookstores. I always spend a long time there.

32. Do you have any favourite snacks?
Japanese sweets. Like dango…♪to have them is bliss♪

33. Do you drink? If you do, what sort of drinks do you like?
I do♪ Recently I’ve taken a liking to Cassis Orange.

*a cocktail that is part Crème de cassis, part orange juice

34. What did you do on your last day off?
I watched DVDs.

35. If you had a whole week off, what would you do?
I’d go somewhere to see the beautiful sky♪ But it’d be lonely to go alone so I’ll probably just stay at home and play games.

36. Are there any hobbies that you’ve been obsessed with recently?
Making tonjiru! (・ω・) I can make it!

37. Tell us about any qualifications you have.
EIKEN English Proficiency Level Three.

38. What challenges would you like to take on within the next 10 years?
Take a trip alone! I wonder if I can manage that?

39. What type of guy do you like?
Someone who’s manly!

40. Which part(s) of a guy do you notice most?
His arms!

41. Tell us the most expensive thing you’ve bought recently.
A Roomba!

42. What is the one thing you most desire now?
White towels and lace curtains♪

43. If you could bring only one item to a deserted island, what would it be?
A towel (^O^)/

44. If you had 1,000,000 yen that you could spend as you wish, how would you use it?
I’d spend it on small items, little by little. I can’t bring myself to splurge on any one thing.

45. Please tell us if there is anything that you do on a daily basis, habits etc.
Every day, I enjoy a bath with bath salts ♪

46. Please leave a message for your fans.
Let me tell you about my recent troubles. I think about this every day – won’t winter come early? This hot autumn is troubling.

47. Do you remember the first time you met Tokui Sora-san?
I do remember! It was at 2012’s Tokyo Game Show!

48. (A question from Tokui Sora) Mayayan~ ♪ Mayayan, you have appeared in live-action dramas before! It seems so exciting since it’s so different from anime recordings! Are there any things you do differently or take particular care about when doing dramas? Please do tell♪
When I’m in costume, I’m able to maintain the character’s frame of mind even during breaks. Even the way I speak is somehow more mature. Hence, it doesn’t feel too uncomfortable. The only drawback in live-action dramas is that I can’t look at the script; it feels strange to not have it in my right hand like I always do during recording sessions! That’s the one worry I have (lol).

49. Please tell us which seiyuu you get along well with.
Yamamoto Nozomi-san.

50. Please leave a question for Yamamoto Nozomi.
Non-chan, you love animals don’t you! I’d like to ask for some advice. If I were to keep a pet in my home, what animal do you think would be suitable for me?? o(^▽^)o From Uchida, who is thinking of getting a pet (lol)

This was uhhh….fun. At least she doesn’t hate coriander!!