#73 – Omigawa Chiaki

73_omigawd
Name: Omigawa Chiaki (小見川 千明)
DoB: 11 November 1989
Hometown: Kanagawa
Agency: Hirata Office

Translation of Da Vinci’s interview with Omigawd. No, I still can’t stomach her acting…I was hoping to gain some insight into her mindset from this interview and all I can tell is that she’s still behaving like a newcomer, a whole 7 years after Soul Eater.

Q: You will appear in the anime GOD EATER, which starts airing in July. Your character Kusunoki Licca is a popular character said to be the waifu of many players.

A: She’s a girl who spends most of her time in the maintenance room, earnestly awaiting the return of the protagonist. Whenever he breaks his God Arc, he’ll come to see Licca. She’s really cute, but above all she’s an expert in maintenance with unrivalled knowledge of God Arcs, so I tried to play her as someone who’s capable rather than someone who’s cute.

Q: There are some pretty prominent seiyuu in the cast list.

A: Honestly, all these people are on a level where someone like me would feel embarrassed to be in their presence – I could feel my back muscles tensing up just by sharing the same recording booth as them. At first I was really nervous, but I was able to relax because Koyama Rikiya-san was there. I’ve worked together with Koyama-san many times, starting from my début work Soul Eater. He’s someone who often helps to calm (me) down during recording sessions.

Q: Have you had a chance to see the completed visuals?

A: I’ve only seen a little, but the graphics are gorgeous enough to make you think that it’s a movie you’re watching. I think it’s going to be amazing to have such visuals on a TV broadcast!

Q: You’ve also been appointed as the anime’s publicity chief, haven’t you?

A: Yes, together with Ito Kanae. It seems there will be opportunities for events so I am looking forward to meeting fans of the show. I think the gameplayers will attend as well, so I hope we’ll all have fun together. I believe people who have ploughed hours and hours of play time into the game will feel strongly about the anime. I hope to ensure that (this) will not only not betray their feelings, but will also exceed their expectations.

Q: And for the spring cour, you voice Mori Sono in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan.

A: I was still in high school when The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi was broadcast on TV. At the time, I had not even considered the possibility of becoming a seiyuu.

Q: She’s the teaching advisor of the literary club and cuts an impressive figure in her red jersey. She’s not only a teacher, but she’s a maid as well.

A: She’s a mysterious woman. That’s why I found recordings tough. In “Disappearance”, the characters’ personalities have changed from the previous series so I wondered about how I should handle Mori-san. When I asked staff members, they told me “Play her as a capable maid!” (lol). Her twintails give her a cute image and I was thinking that she would have a warm and fuzzy feel to her, so to be told that she should be a “capable maid”…(lol). That’s why I made sure that I was careful with her speech, for example omitting the “ra”s*.

*there has been quite a fuss kicked up about the younger generation’s tendency to omit “ra”s from verb conjugations (termed “ra-nuki”//ら抜き). See discussions on this issue: in English & Japanese

Q: Given how extensive the Haruhi series is, you would have to take care when ‘creating’ the role, wouldn’t you?

A: I did feel a certain amount of pressure on coming into such a renowned title halfway through. I was very conscious of the (opinions of the) people who have worked to create the world that the story is based in. What I find funniest is that I voice the teacher despite being the youngest cast member (lol).

Note: Mori Sono was voiced by Omae Akane in the original Haruhi series. Omae has since retired from voice acting.

Q: Did you feel pressure during recording as well?

A: Yes I did. But I received support from my co-stars. Sugita (Tomokazu)-san asked me “Hey, how old are you now?”. When we first met I was just 19, so when I told him “I’ve turned 25 now”, he started to get depressed over the fact that he was getting older (lol).

Q: Kyon, whom Sugita voices, is a very kind person in “Disappearance” as well, isn’t he?

A: As a matter of fact, everyone is very kind and that creates a world that is filled with compassion. Just watching it heals your heart. Even so, I think it’s great that we still have Haruhi around; as ever, she remains the Haruhi we know. I was moved by the scene where she first appears, thinking to myself “Ah..this is Haruhi~”. This show is a perfect balance between the world of “Disppearance” and a Haruhi who never changes.

Q: You have appeared in numerous shows up to this point – is there any one Omigawa Chiaki work that you’d like people to check out?

A: I made my début at age 18 and I’ve always wanted to shout out loud about the works I’ve been blessed to have been involved with so in truth, I’d love it if people could watch all of them but…if I had to pick just one then I’d say Natsu no Arashi!.

Q: Your début TV anime role came in the work preceding that (Natsu no Arashi!) – as Maka Alban in Soul Eater, wasn’t it?

A: Yes. The Soul Eater (cast) is like family to me, so I actually consider Natsu no Arashi! (role: Kamigamo Jun) as my first ‘independent’ piece of work.

Soul Eater sound director Wakabayashi (Kazuhiro) is someone who will carefully guide you along the way, saying to me “This is what Maka thinks, so you yourself will have to consider how you should get to the same point, otherwise it is meaningless”. He allowed as many retakes as possible, took time to give me pointers. The cast was full of veterans as well, so it was a workplace where I was confident that I would walk the right path as long as I listened to the words of the director and my seniors.

Q: So what did it feel like when you flew the nest?

A: It felt like my first day in kindergarten (lol).

Q: Do you have any worries regarding recording sessions?

A: Sound director Tsuruoka (Yota) is the type of director who leaves the performance up to his actors; he’ll let you go about things freely and then pick up on points when he needs to. Up until then, I’d never had any experience of freestyle acting so I went “Eh?” and wondered what I was supposed to do. (Natsu no Arashi!) is a gag show so Sugita-san and Yasumoto (Hiroki)-san went all out with their ad-libs. “Wow, it’s okay to say things that aren’t in the script~~” is what I thought (lol).

Compared to the first season, Season 2 was gags all the way so it did feel rather embarrassing to be the only one who wasn’t putting in ad-libs. It would’ve been silly for me to hide in a corner so I tried my best to open up.

Q: So you tried to do ad-libs as well?

A: Yes. It was supposed to be a line of dialogue while (my character is) breathing, so for the first time I went to the director and told him what I wanted to do. I felt pressured, wondering what I’d do if my suggestions differed from the character’s perceived image. But thanks to that, I feel like this show represents the first time I took a step on my own.

Q: By the way, you seem to have voiced a lot of maids. Arashiyama Hotori from Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru has a part-time job at a maid café as well.

A: Yeah, my maids-to-anime ratio is quite high! Natsu no Arashi! and Soremachi both had maid cafés as part of their settings, Mami-chan from Mouretsu Pirates worked in a maid café, in Seiken Tsukai no World Break (my character) wore a maid outfit, and now, in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki, Mori Sono-chan is a capable maid. What’s more, most of them wear old-fashioned, long-flowing maid clothing and not modern styles (lol).

Q: That’s amazing!

A: I secretly proclaim myself as the “Maid Seiyuu” (lol). To the point where during auditions, if the character is as a maid I am certain that I will get the role (lol). Oh, and I forgot to mention Minko-chan from Hana Saku Iroha – the drama CD that came after the anime had her working in a maid café as well!

Q: It seems there’s no doubt that you’re a magnet for maid roles (lol). Have you ever worn maid outfits yourself?

A: I have worn them for photo shoots before and honestly speaking, that made me really excited (lol). Still, I have never bought maid outfits myself nor have I worked in a maid café before. I think if I ever bought a maid outfit, I’d never be able to return to normal (lol).

Q: Lol. Is there anything you like to collect?

A: Yeah I do have a bit of a hoarding streak in me. For example, I own 4 copies of the “Night on the Galactic Railroad” picture book by Miyazawa Kenji, who I love.

Q: Wow!!

A: The illustrations may differ, which is why I love collecting all versions of my favourite authors’ works. Both new and old translations included.

I also collect photos of Miyazawa Kenji when he was a boy as well as any photo collections with his picture in them, and I also collect the works of authors who study the works of Miyazawa Kenji. I enjoy comparing and contrasting my own views against the opinions of other writers.

If anyone out there reads Miyazawa Kenji, I would like to recommend “The Nighthawk Star (Yodaka no Hoshi)” and “Twin Stars (Futago no Hoshi)”! It’s fun to unravel the story alongside the characters.

Q: Come to think of it, you even own the planetarium DVD edition of Night on the Galactic Railroad which features Kuwashima Houko’s narration, don’t you?

A: (Yes), since I love Miyazawa Kenji and Houko-san’s acting as well. I was invited to see Houko-san’s live recital plays as well! (She) even brought me out for a meal and that made me happy.

I have an interest in the constellations so if there is ever an opportunity, I would love to take on the challenge of narration work for a planetarium. I often go to visit them myself. I will go whenever I have gaps between my schedules.

Q: You have written poetry before – do you like writing in general?

A: I’m the sort of person who finds it easier to convey my feelings through writing rather than with spoken words so when I want to get my feelings in order – I write.

Q: Tell us what kind of seiyuu you are hoping to be in the future.

A: This is something I’ve been thinking about this for a long while – I’d like to grow old along with my characters. Someday, I hope to be able to play maternal roles. Hence my ultimate goal is to play a grandma! In the many years to come, I will handle each and every one of my performances with care so that I can get closer to my ideals.

Q: Last of all, please leave your thoughts for the readers!

A: Thanks for reading all the way to the end. GOD EATER will begin this summer so I hope that you will enjoy both the game and the anime! Going forward, I hope to have a long-lasting career – there may be times when people who are cheering on me on have worries over me but please do not fear. I would be grateful if you would continue to watch over me at your own pace.

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6 thoughts on “#73 – Omigawa Chiaki

  1. Giorno Giovanna

    You and many others have noted that she’s still acting like a newbie.
    I have found that she still has a very niche dedicated fanbase due to her voice being easily recognisable.
    But if this is a negative point, what motivated you to translate these?
    Thanks for the work as usual.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      I initially decided to translate the article because I saw Kuwashima Houko’s name in it!
      That asides, I was genuinely curious to read she has to say – I’ve always been so turned off by her acting that I never really bothered to find out anything about her personality.
      I don’t think this article helped much though – apart from lolmaids, most of it was boring, stock answers…my impression of her hasn’t really improved.

      Reply
      1. Giorno Giovanna

        Sugita as well has a major crush on Kuwashima Houko due to her role in Quiz Magic Academy, he mentioned on Tokyo Encounter once. And everytime he pokes fun at Nakamura over the time he spent with her doing Tomoya and Tomoyo in Clannad.
        But which characters of Kuwashima’s do you personally think is the best?
        I have only heard her voice in Soul Eater, Clannad and Azumanga Daiyo myself, so I’m wondering what her appeal is, granted that I really liked Tomoyo and wished there was more than one OVA for her route.

        Reply
        1. admin Post author

          Oh dear I could go on for ages about this…

          Houko has always been one of my favourites, right from when I started getting into anime seriously…around 2000 or so. She was in a lot of shows I first watched – Nadesico’s Yurika, Blue Gender’s Marlene, Noir’s Kirika, RahXephon’s Quon, X TV’s Satsuki, Juuni Kokki’s Shoukei, Angelic Layer’s Sai, InuYasha’s Sango, Ryvius’s Aoi. She started off playing mostly strong women despite having a naturally girlish voice, but over the years has shown that she can just about do anything you ask of her. She has range, she has acting chops – a total pro, basically. If I had to name my 5 fave anime characters of hers:

          Denno Coil’s Isako
          Saiunkoku Monogatari’s Shurei
          Inori Konkon Koi Iroha’s Uka-sama
          Noir’s Kirika
          Claymore’s Clare

          Reply
            1. admin Post author

              Oh yeah I am watching Drrr!!…though more for completion’s sake rather than me really liking it any more. As for Hou-chan being it it….well. There are just too many characters with too little screen-time. I did enjoy Namie/Kobayashi Sanae’s episode a lot though….

              Reply

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