#77 – Yamaoka Yuri

Name: Yamaoka Yuri (山岡 ゆり)
DoB: 7 July
Agency: Holy Peak
SNS: Twitter, Blog

Yuri’s been around for a while but has remained somewhat under the radar. Following her graduation from Amusement Media Academy in 2009, she enrolled in Holy Peak Actors School and has been at the agency ever since. She made her debut in Umineko no Naku koro ni as Beelzebub and has since voiced the likes of SHIROBAKO’s Yano Erika, Kyokai no Kanata’s Shindo Ai, Hibike! Euphonium’s Yoshikawa Yuko and Tamako Market’s Mochimazzi Choi. This season, she can be heard in VENUS PROJECT -CLIMAX- (Chia), Tribe Cool Crew (Otosaki Kanon) and Aikatsu! (Arisa).

This interview was conducted in May and published end-June.

Q: How was the photoshoot today?

A: It was so hard~~! My face probably turned really red, and I also broke out in a sweat. Since I was young, the camera has always hated me. Even the photo in my agency profile was that one miracle shot out of a few dozen failures. I’m fine with appearing in public in events or Nico Nama, but I’m terrible with cameras~. I’ve always been like this, so today was the first step in overcoming my problems.

Q: Thanks for the hard work (laugh). Let’s get to talking. In Hibike! Euphonium you voice Yoshikawa Yuko. Like Yuko, you’re good at the trumpet, is that right?

A: I’ve been playing the piano since I was 2-3 years old so I had intended to join the music club once I entered junior high. While I was trying to decide on which instrument I should choose, a super pretty senior who played the trumpet called out to me “Yuri-chan, pick the trumpet!”! When a pretty senior invites you, there’s nothing you can do but say “Yes!”, isn’t it? (lol)

Note: Here’s a video of Yuri playing the trumpet (from Kyokai no Kanata).

Q: I’d have said yes too (lol)! Did you end up playing trumpet for a long time?

A: For all 6 years through junior and high school. In high school we went to the nationals and grabbed the top prize. I did actually consider going on to music college but by that point, I felt like I’d done everything I wanted to do already. Just when I was thinking of trying out something different, a friend complimented me on my voice. Hence, I enrolled in Amusement Media Academy to become a seiyuu. It was a really sudden change of plans (lol).

Q: If we’re talking about music, then your current line of work would still involve singing…

A: I think voices and instruments are two totally different things. I can play the trumpet but if you were to ask whether my singing was any good, then I’d say not at all (lol). I may understand things like pitch and rhythm, but to reproduce those ideas in sound, using my body…that’s a whole different story (lol).

Q: We’ll spread that story around then…how was it voicing Yuko…?

A: Hmmm I don’t know about that (lol). But I see Yuko being similar to myself, she’s a character who loves her seniors. What’s more, my beloved senior Nakaseko Kaori-san is voiced by Chihara Minori-san. I love Minorin! Also, the trumpet Yuko plays is silver, coincidentally the same colour as my own.

There was also this story in the anime about the school participating in the Sun Festival. When they showed Yuko playing the trumpet, I noticed that her stance was exactly the same as mine when I play. That surprised me (lol).

Q: You’re both totally in sync (lol).

A: Even our personalities are similar (lol). We’re moving towards the climax of the story now and there is still much in store for Yuko so everyone, please watch Hibike! Euphonium. The DVDs are being released in turn, so please look forward to that as well.

Q: You have also been voicing the role of Otosaki Kanon in Tribe Cool Crew since September last year.

A: Kanon is a girl who has been uploading her dance videos onto the internet. Initially, she was a very quiet person who rarely let her emotions show but she’s livened up a lot. You get to see a cheerful Kanon-chan now.

Q: Dance is the main theme of the story, and it seems there are dance scenes every episode.

A: There are scenes featuring Rhythm (note: Kanon’s internet persona), and the dancer whose movements were utilized for Rhythm had moves that were cool and a little different. It was difficult to express that feeling of lightness…somehow it ended up a little awkward (lol). Everyone else has tripped up over Rhythm’s part at least once (lol).

Once, I went to learn how to dance at Avex. My body was screaming out in pain but I had fun! Nowadays dance is a compulsory subject in elementary school, so kids and adults as well can enjoy watching the anime. It airs a little early at 7am on Sundays, but I hope that you can wake up and watch Tribe Cool Crew!

Q: Moving on to one of your most memorable roles – Yano Erika in SHIROBAKO. It was an anime filled with cute girls and amongst them, Yano-san stood out with her hairstyle and fashion as well as her slightly harsh way of speaking.

A: Yano-san was very popular, apparently even among the staff members (lol). She acts as a sounding board for the other characters so there is a bit of pressure there. I faced a bit of difficulty in that I was required to speak persuasively using words that were unfamiliar to me – it was my first time voicing a character such as Yano-san and I feel that I was able to grow together with her.

Q: You also voiced the role of Tatiana in Musashino Animation’s Third Girls’ Aerial Squad.

A: Everyone had multiple roles. While I was voicing Tatiana, I thought to myself “Ah, she’s starting to resemble Yano-san~”.

Q: The two Kyokai no Kanata movies – “The Past” and “The Future”, started screening in cinemas in March and April this year.

A: Kyokai no Kanata is very much a human drama. The movies focus on each character in turn, so the mysteries that were left over from the anime will be resolved. “The Past” is a retrospective look back on the events of the TV series so first-time viewers can enjoy it, while still being able to provide a richer experience for the anime’s viewers.

Q: Shindou Ai is a youmu disguised as a cute girl, isn’t she?

A: She’s a cute character but in truth, she’s lived many hundred years. You can sort of see that her ‘cuteness’ is intentional (lol). Still, that trait wasn’t that obvious in the TV anime or the movies. Letting her sarcastic side slip through might cause others to hate her, so she just focuses on being cute. You can see a bit of her ‘other side’ on the web anime.

Q: You visited Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto for (the movie’s) stage greetings, did you get to eat delicious foods?

A: I got to eat takoyaki in Osaka, Mitarashi dango in Kyoto and tenmusu in Nagoya. Also, since the events were held in movie theatres, there was always popcorn available backstage. I would stuff myself so full of popcorn that I had no appetite left for the local specialty foods (lol).

Q: You seem to get along well with your Kyokai no Kanata co-star Taneda Risa. When did the two of you start getting friendly with each other?

A: It was because of the Kyokai no Kanata radio show Fuyukai Radio. When we worked together on Genshiken Nidaime, we greeted each other saying “We’ll be together on Kyokai no Kanata following this”. As we spent so much time together all the way through to the radio, we became fast friends.

Q: Seeing photos of the two of you together, it seems that you both look quite similar.

A: Ah, people often tell us we look alike because we both have long, black hair, with the only difference being our (hair) partings. Our belongings appear to be similar as well. At the Kyoto event, we both wore star-patterned clothing, and when we went out on a date to Asakusa we wore the same shoes but in different colours. We went “Woah~!” at that (lol).

Q: Do your hobbies match?

A: I don’t think we’re similar to such an extreme level. My mom and I do share a theory though – that the two of us were twins in a previous life (lol).

Q: Being with her, during what times do you think “Ah, she’s a great girl?”

A: This will probably take an hour or so for me to talk about (lol). Anyway, she’s just really easy to get along with. She may appear quiet but easily slips into a jovial mood, plus she also has her airheaded moments. We probably think on the same wavelength. She surprised me on my birthday last year by making reservations for a restaurant. The bracelet I’m wearing now was a birthday gift from Tane-chan as well, and I always have it on. She looked up the effects behind precious stones and chose one that suited me. Tane-chan has the same one in a different colour, so they’re pair bracelets. I’ll make sure never to lose it (lol).

Q: Haha. You voice Chisa in Zettai Geigeki Wars, which will be released on 2nd July.

A: She’s a newbie operator who, if nothing else, has fighting spirit to the max. She’s also a bit dumb at times, but it’s pretty cute (lol). As her role involves the handling of data, her dialogue includes a lot of difficult operator-specific language and I spent plenty of time practising my lines.

Q: The world that’s shown in the videos looks really cool.

A: I wanna play it as soon as possible (lol)! You get to choose whichever operator you like and there are so many rich individual characters, from the cool types to the mature women. Though..I’d be glad if you would choose Chisa~ (lol). This rookie sends you her regards (lol).

Q: It seems like a game that will get more and more aggressive as it goes on, is that something you’re good at?

A: I’m confident of my overall gaming ability, so yes I do think I’ll probably do well (lol). Rather than playing with other people, I like to sit alone and hit the targets by myself. On my days off, I just want to speedrun through games (lol).

Q: Lastly, please leave a message for the readers.

A: Thank you for reading until the end. I might hate having my photo taken but I’m sure that there will be that 1 miracle shot in there somewhere! In the future, I will take on any challenge where my voice is required. I love voice work so I hope that I can keep on doing it. I’d be happy if, after reading this article, you would reserve a little corner of your mind for Yamaoka Yuri.


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