#68 – Kimura Juri

68_kimura

I’m (not) sorry for the deluge of Kimura Juri posts but I love SHIROBAKO so naturally, I itch to translate anything related to the series. After reading this interview I suppose it might actually be the last one I ever do since not even Juri-san thinks there will be any sequel down the line ;_;

Q: After a business card exchange event* comes a donut handout event.

A: Yes. At such events, postcards and posters are the kind of things that are typically handed out but for SHIROBAKO we decided on business cards and donuts. It’s something that’s unique to SHIROBAKO and we looked forward to finding out how people would react.

*a prior SHIROBAKO event featured Kimura exchanging (Myamori’s) business cards with 100 fans. The donut event at the end of March had her personally giving out donuts to fans.

Q: What was the business card event like?

A: When I exchanged business cards with the fans, we’d introduce ourselves and in most cases, the fans would then share their thoughts about SHIROBAKO. I was glad to hear working adults tell me how the show “gives me great encouragement for my job” or how students said to me “I wish to work in the animation industry in the future”. Of course, I also got excited to hear fans sharing their favourite lines by characters apart from Miyamori-san, as well as any other conversation related to the show. It was great to hear in person, how each and every one of them felt about SHIROBAKO.

Q: What’s the best thing about having been involved with SHIROBAKO?

A: I’d always loved anime, but being involved with SHIROBAKO made me realize just how interesting anime could be. I actually went to do interviews at P.A.WORKS. Through that, I was able to experience how so many people poured so much passion into creating something called anime. What made me happiest was the fact that I too could experience sharing my passion and love for the show.

Q: SHIROBAKO has now finished its 24-episode run. Tell us honestly how you feel right now. Was it too long? Too short?

A: It was long. I think the recording sessions required a lot more time than normal. Maybe it’s because it’s SHIROBAKO, but the effort to make it the best show it could possibly be meant that the script for the last episode apparently wasn’t completed until the very last minute. I think this was due to the fact that everyone, from the director to P.A.WORKS and all the staff, had their own preferences (about certain issues).

Q: Without a script, recording can’t go ahead.

A: For 1-cour shows, recording is normally completed within 3 months or so. In our case we had to record not just for SHIROBAKO but for Exodus! and Third Aerial Girls Squad as well, so recording took the best part of 9 months to complete. 9 months may be a long time, but it was also a hugely fun time.

Q: What did you learn from SHIROBAKO?

A: The seiyuu who appeared in all 24 episodes were Hiyama Nobuyuki-san, who voices Director Kinoshita Seiichi, Yoshino Hiroyuki-san who voices Takanashi Taro, and myself – just the three of us. When compared to the two of them I am just a total newbie so at first I kind of withered in their presence, but the more time I spent working alongside them, the easier it was to talk to them, and the atmosphere in the studio grew to become like what you see going on in the Musani (Musashino Animation) office. I noticed that my seniors would watch over me as long as I gave my absolute best.

The most important thing I learned as a seiyuu was how I could “fit into a storyline naturally”. There are some aspects of SHIROBAKO that resemble the human drama genre. Thanks to interacting with other senior actors, the words were able to come to me naturally. Our dialogue may be scripted, but it was possible for me to deliver the lines with sincerity precisely because I genuinely empathized with Miyamori-san, and her feelings translated into my words. I’d never truly felt that I was any good at acting up until then, so it was a happy realization or should I say, a discovery for me.

Q: The reason Miyamori Aoi comes alive in the show is because of your words!

A: No no, not at all! I mean, Director Kinoshita’s seiyuu Hiyama Nobuyuki-san has said to me “You’re not acting at all” before after all (lol).

Q: Is that so? (lol)

A: Yes. “He said to me “It’s not just about acting; I feel that it’s because Kimura Juri and Miyamori Aoi both face such similar situations that you can bring out your absolute best right now. That’s why it’s only going to get tougher from now on~ (lol)”. Still, since I’d been well aware of my own weaknesses when it comes to acting, his words made me happy and I feel privileged to have worked in an environment that allowed me to get into character naturally.

Q: Let’s talk about the ‘Donut Handout’ event. Now that it’s over, what did you think about it?

A: I was really happy to see that there were even people who had come all the way from Kansai and Hokkaido! Most of our chats revolved around the events of episodes 23 and 24. Recalling them makes me tear up already. The individual scenes were all wonderful and left deep impressions on many people.

Q: Was it different to other handout events you’ve done so far?

A: Yeah, it was. In prior events I’d be asked “What happens next?” and even though I badly wanted to tell them, all I could say was “It gets even more interesting” (lol). This time however, I could talk about the show to my heart’s content. There were also some fans who had yet to watch the last episode so I couldn’t discuss everything with everyone, but it was a joy just to be able to speak to each person freely.

Q: Was there anything any of the fans said that made you happy?

A: What made me happiest was when I was told “I’m glad that Kimura-san is the voice of Miyamori”. It warmed up my heart, and I feel blessed to have voiced Miyamori-san for 24 episodes.

Q: Lastly, please leave a message for all the fans.

A: When I saw the script for the first episode I thought to myself, “This is so interesting. It’s definitely going to be a much loved anime”. Yet, for the people who have spent so much of their lives working in the anime industry such as the director and the production team, it was a work that was created amidst much conflict, where they often wondered “doesn’t this seem too much of an inside joke?” or “is that even interesting?”.

Then, when it started its broadcast, we saw how it stirred up the emotions of viewers, and SHIROBAKO became a much-talked about show. That became a source of motivation to the staff members. It’s because of this love that everyone was able to work tirelessly to see SHIROBAKO through to its completion. We have nothing but gratitude to all the viewers who stayed with the show to the end.

Q: I’m really curious about the future of SHIROBAKO.

A: Obviously I’d love to remain as Miyamori-san forever since there are so many things I’m curious about such as “Two Piece” and “The Seven Lucky Gods”. Still, SHIROBAKO ended so beautifully that I personally and selfishly think, “Surely there won’t be a sequel to this?”. I think all our supporters will have found their own favourite characters. Now that the anime has ended, I’d be happy if you could imagine those characters and think to yourself “I wonder if they’re out there somewhere?”, and from time to time, remember SHIROBAKO. Thank you very much.

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