I’m Ent keeps rolling out the young ‘uns, here’s another one of them – teenager Naganawa Maria. Physically she gives off the same iyashikei fuwa-fuwa air as Horie Yui, aurally she sounds like Kaneda Tomoko dialled down by 2 notches of crazy, with the same airy feel that people like Kadowaki Maii & Ogura Yui give off.
Maria’s first major role was in Rokujoma no Shinryakusha!? last summer and she already has her own radio show 長縄まりあ HAPPY ぬ~ LIFE! so I guess I’m Ent is at least finding things for her to do. She’s from the same batch as Ozawa Ari and they’re doing a show together now (Ozanari) that is a great mix of awkward and lolz. I’m glad the staffers went with the obvious pun on her name and gave her a corner where listeners confess their sins and ask for forgiveness. Maria-sama wa Miteru yo!
Please also check out her self-illustrated weekly blomaga on Nico Nico Douga!
The following is a translation of her DaVinci Rookie interview from last September.
Q: First of all, let’s talk about why you became a seiyuu.
A: I started watching anime during my elementary school days, but it wasn’t until I listened to seiyuu talking on radio shows that I realized how cool it was to hear that gap between their characters and their real voices. I found seiyuu really charming and decided then that I’d like to try it out myself.
Q: What kind of anime did you watch?
A: Shonen Jump-related properties like Naruto and HUNTERxHUNTER; I mostly watched shonen-oriented shows.
Q: Were your siblings into shonen-oriented shows?
A: I only have an older sister. For some reason, I was drawn in by shonen shows..I’d just keep on watching whatever anime was showing on Animax. The peak of my obssession was during elementary and junior high.
Q: What was the appeal of shonen-oriented shows to you?
A: I love strong characters. For shonen anime, I would always favour the hero of the story.
Q: What was your first job as a seiyuu?
A: It was for PROJECT758. It features moe characters to promote the revitalization of Nagoya. It was my first ever voice acting job, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to voice the main character.
Q: Speaking of which, you were born in Aichi so the Mikawa dialect is your specialty. What is the Mikawa dialect like?
A: We sometimes end our sentences with ‘jyandararin’. We say things like blah blah ‘dara’, ‘Yatte mirin!’, and so on.
Q: You were cast in Rokujoma no Shinryakusha!?, which began its broadcast in July (2014). Is it your first leading role in an anime?
A: Yes it is. For 758 there weren’t any illustrations and I only needed to recite my lines, but for an anime I have to match the words to the animation and I get overly conscious about it some times…it seems I’m not able to act out my lines the way I want to, and I always get nervous as I move up to the microphone.
Q: What sort of character is Theiamillia Gre Fortorthe?
A: She’s an alien. She came from outer space to invade the 5000 yen per-month rental, 6-tatami mat room of the hero, a boy named Kotaro, but she’s just a child who barely understands anything…She’s actually a member of royalty from another planet in outer space but she’s bossy and selfish, easily loses her temper and always ends up breaking things. She’s also full of pride and when others make fun of her she goes “Ah—”. Amongst the main characters, she’s the chief trouble maker.
Q: So we get to see a different side of you, like the way you spoke just now.
A: I was told to act out my lines in a ‘condescending’ way. I’m not the type of person who normally speaks in a forceful manner so I was always conscious of acting like I’m giving commands and speaking from a level above other people.
Q: There are 4 beauties who have invaded the main character Kotaro’s room. Which of the other 3 characters are you interested in?
A: I’m interested in Yurika, voiced by Omori Nichika-chan. Yurika is a totally hopeless girl and messes up pretty much everything she tries to do. Even though she’s so hopeless, I like how she always does her best and is very humble about it. In the first episode I just thought”Oh she’s cute”, by the second episode I wanted to support her, and by the third I just wanted to shout “Yurika, do your best!”. She’s a really good girl (lol).
Q: The four of the seiyuu are close in age as well. What are recordings like?
A: Lively. We like to share our opinions. “That part just now – I think you should’ve said it like this” or “How did I do?” or “Didn’t you say that in a lower voice than usual?” and so on, the moment the test (recording) ends we’d have started chatting already. The 4 of us have a lot of fun going for meals together as well.
Q: Do all of the others resemble their (anime) characters?
A: In my opinion they’re exactly the same. Nichika-chan speaks slowly, which is a bit like Yurika. (Suzuki) Eri-chan is the most level-headed out of us all and is a cheerful mood-maker, which makes her perfect for her character Sanae. (Tazawa) Masumi-chan’s diligence resembles Kiriha as well. That’s why I’ve been told that I’m the ‘special one’.
Q: The four of you form the unit Heart Invader and performed the opening song on the Anime Japan 2014 stage.
A: It was my first time standing on stage in front of so many people and having to sing and dance made me think ‘wow’. Also, I was nervous about the fact that I was the only one whose personality is so different when compared to my character Tia…
Q: Do you remember anything about standing on stage?
A: My memory of the view from the stage is like a single photograph, a snapshot of a moment in time. I believe the audience members were aware of how nervous we were feeling. I think our talk section was more like a conversation between the four of us rather than what our seniors can do, that is interacting with the crowd properly.
Q: Did you practice the dance?
A: I practised at home. I’ve had almost zero chances to dance up ‘til now, so I felt really anxious about it.
Q: The uniforms you wear are cute. How did it feel wearing the costume?
A: They were made to measure for each of us. It felt refreshing putting on the costume and I almost wanted to go straight to school wearing that (lol).
Q: We look forward to seeing how Tia’s character develops.
A: All four of the main girls are totally different from each other so I’d be glad if viewers could pick a favourite from among the four and support them. It’s a story about 4 people fighting it out for a 6-tatami mat room but it’s not like they’re going on an all-out battle since in truth, they do all get along quite well. One of the higlights of the show is its relaxed, carefree atmosphere.
Q: How do you spend your days off?
A: I’ve been rather tired lately so I’ve spent most of them sleeping (lol). I really sleep a lot. I used to go to bed at 11pm and when I opened my eyes, it was already 3pm the next day. And yet, I’d still feel sleepy…
Q: Sleep for 16 hours!? Are you really that tired, or did you just oversleep… (lol).
A: I do normally space out immediately. Even when I’m taking a bath, I’d have been in there for 30 minutes before I realized it. Getting in, actually sitting there, then getting out again – they all take loads of time… That’s why time flies so fast starting from around 7pm. After I eat dinner and take a bath, it’s like ‘Ah, where has all that time gone!’
Q: Do you space out even when you’re with someone else?
A: Indeed it’s impossible when I’m with another person but when there are 3 or more people there I might start to lose consciousness when I’m listening to the others talking. People say “Are you listening?” to me quite often. But of course I do listen..sometimes.
Q: What is it like in the recording studio?
A: There are snacks in the studio. I gorge on them. They’re delicious and they prevent my stomach from growling during recording (lol). For rice crackers and snack foods, I prefer the salty type.
Q: Do you have any favourite snacks?
A: I used to love hunting down Jagarico. When I saw packets printed with ‘Limited Edition’, I just had to have them! My favourite was a scallop soy sauce flavoured one.
Q: What are the difficult things about living alone?
A: I’m bad at handling machines; lately I had trouble ‘cos I didn’t understand the washing machine at all. It had “Normal” or “Speedy” options on it and since my mom said it’s better to put it on “Speedy”, I put in the detergent and softener and turned it on and in the blink of an eye it immediately went into rinse mode. After putting in all that detergent and softener, to see it get washed away in less than a minute is…maybe, I should’ve put it in somewhere else?
Q: By the way, did you choose the clothes you are wearing today yourself?
A: I’ve had (the dress) for a while, it’s one of my favourites. It’s a bit more of a chic and mature look today but it’s different from the norm; most of the time, I wear a hoodie with a smiley face on it and short pants.
Q: Your dark hair is beautiful, what do you do to take care of it?
A: Nothing in particular. I just do a a shampoo and rinse, then dry it. I’ve never dyed it at all before though.
Q: Are there any seiyuu you admire?
A: Ohtani Ikue-san and Kugimiya Rie-san. I started to admire Kugimiya-san when she acted in Gintama. I loved how cute Ohtani Ikue-san’s Chopper in ONE PIECE was. I’d be happy if I can someday voice mascot characters or small, cute characters like those Ohtani-san and Kugimiya-san do.
Q: Last of all, please leave a message for the readers.
A: I have only just embarked on my seiyuu career and am at a point where I still can’t tell my left from my right, but I’m going to work my absolute hardest so please support me!