It used to be rare for foreigners to make it as seiyuu in Japan but like in mainstream entertainment, a lot of “Half”s are starting to pop up in the industry. The most prominent was Nakajima Megumi, now we’ve got the likes of Pile, Lynn, Sarah Emi Bridcutt and Mark Ishii. Half-Japanese, half-Filipino Ishii is a very good looking young chap and he’s only starting to make a breakthrough now – he had the lead roles in Gundam Reconguista and Cardfight!! Vanguard G, and also voices Nekoma’s Lev Haiba in Haikyuu!!.
This is his Map of the Future.
Up to 4 years old – Lived in the Philippines
I lived in the Philippines with my grandparents. When I was in kindergarten I was a precocious kid – I’d steal out of my room to go buy gum at the local shops.
11 years old – Took up music
I loved festivals so I’d actively run for class president. I’d also volunteer to play the taiko during sports meets and I was really into that up until sixth grade. I also tried my hand at musical instruments like the euphonium and trombone.
13 years old – Gained an interesting in voice acting
In junior high I was actively involved in cheerleading and soft tennis, but I was drawn to the world of voice acting through watching an ad for the .hack//GU game. As a result of playing the game I became interested in seiyuu, but I was too embarrassed to join the drama club.
16 years old – Entered seiyuu training school
With friends, I’d produce my own radio shows and learn to play piano versions of anime BGMs; things that strengthened my desire to pursue the seiyuu profession. Just as I was seeking out schools, I was introduced to ‘seiyuu schools’ – taking it as a sign of fate, I decided there and then to attend one.
18 years old – Agency attachment
During my first year of vocational school I had a conversation with staff from my current agency which gave me a good feeling so once again, I took it as a sign of fate and decided to aim for admission (to Spacecraft). By the summer of the following year I had come under the agency’s care and started my activities, mainly on stage.
21 years old – Started doing voice work
I switched over to the voice acting department and began working on radio shows.
21 years old – First anime lead role!
Landed my first lead role as Bellri Zenam in the anime Gundam G no Reconguista!
24 years old – Be on the cover!
I want to be on the front cover of Seiyuu Grandprix!
25 years old – Debut as a singer
I wouldn’t say that singing is my strongest suit, but I’d love to release a single under the name Mark Ishii. And at that time, I’d love to hold a concert…I’d like to do things a bit differently (like a rock show in a smaller venue).
30 years old – Continue to grow as an actor
As a seiyuu, I’d love to take on a variety of roles. In my early 20s I’ve mostly voiced young male characters so by 30, I’d like to be able to take on more elegant, adult roles.i
35 years old – Aid in developing juniors
If I have built up a good stock of knowledge and experience by this age, I would love to pass it on to my juniors and others who wish to become seiyuu. Through my own passion, I want to show others just how joyful acting can be.
40 years old – Communicate directly with fans
I’d like to go on a bus tour with my fans! Rather than doing this when I’m young, I’d like to have had immersed myself in the seiyuu world for a period of time before creating this opportunity to convey my gratitude to those who have been cheering me on all the while.
All my life – Be an inspiration
I would like be become an actor whose words are able to inspire others’ lives. On top of that, I hope that there will be people who aspire to be seiyuu, animators and mangaka because of works I have been involved in.
10 Questions for Mark Ishii
Q1. What is your nickname?
A: Just Mark, my real name. It’s hard to stick a “kun” at the back, so just Mark is fine. My parents gave me this name because ‘it sounds cool’. I can’t say if that’s true!
Q2. What is your favourite food?
A: Chocolate parfait! I basically have a sweet tooth, but it gets worse during the winter. I find yukimi daifuku irresistible too.
Q3. What is your signature dish?
A: Fried rice! When my parents are away I cook for myself. I’ll try to mix this with that to see if they go well together…that is my own style of combining food.
Q4. How do you spend your days off?
A: I play games by myself. I love the world of Phantasy Star Online and have played it since the service started, racking up over 2600 hours of game time.
Q5. What’s your stress-relieving method?
A: I play games, or go to karaoke alone!
Q6. What hobbies have you taken up recently?
A: Card-collecting! Right now I’m very much into Vanguard, which had an anime that I also appeared in. There are around 26 clans and I plan to build decks based on each of them.
Q7. What’s the place you’d most like to visit right now?
A: Machu Picchu in the Andes, or the Pyramids in Egypt. Some time ago I explored the Senbon Torii gates of the Fushimi Inari shrine, and I loved the mysterious, surreal aura permeating the place.
Q8. What’s your favourite book?
A: A foreign book named Good Luck. It tells the tale of the hero and his rival who both journey in search of a four-leaf clover. It’s a very positive story.
*note: I assume this is Good Luck, by Alex Rovira.
Q9. Have you got any favourite recent purchases?
A: I got Bellri when I tried out G no Reconguista gacha machines. Though I did have to turn it about 10 times…
Q10. What is your motto?
A: When there is a will, there is a way.
From Mark Ishii
I may still be inexperienced but I will work hard so that I can gain recognition, little by little. Ultimately, I hope that the shows I appear in will become much-loved works so I’d be happy if you could continue to support me!!