#78 – Onishi Saori

Name: Onishi Saori (大西 沙織)
DoB: 6 August 19xx
Hometown: Chiba
Agency: I’m Enterprise

Another one rolling off I’m Enterprise’s endless conveyor belt of talent is Onishi Saori. You heard her in Mikagura and Danmachi, you can hear her now in Shokugeki no Soma (Hisako) and Denpa Kyoshi (Momozono).

Translation of http://www.animate.tv/school/interview_details.php?s_id=A01&id=1432104757 which is part 1 of a 2-part series.

Q: Please tell us about yourself.

A: I was born on the 6th of August, and I’m blood type O. It seems to be difficult to come up with a nickname for me… My personal preference is ‘Saorin’ and my colleagues did actually use that at first, but once they got to know me better I was told “Your personality is nothing like a Saorin” (lol). I’m more frequently referred to as ‘Onishi-chan’ or ‘Onisshi”. I’m quite a blunt person and also a bit of a lazybone. On my days off I just stay at home and roll around doing nothing – I can’t even be bothered to eat or watch TV, it’s too troublesome. Ah, there’s something I should say here! People often say to me “You’re bright and cheerful” (lol). Also, it seems that I can easily become friends with just about anyone.

Q: Do you have any hobbies or things you’re good at?

A: I’m good at illustrations. My hobby is listening to soundtracks – I like film scores as well but I prefer listening to anime soundtracks. I also like listening to songs by my favourite composers. Just the other day, I was allowed to observe the orchestral recording sessions for the anime Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru wa Machigatteiru Darou ka; it was moving to be able to hear the orchestra play live.

Q: Let’s talk about the anime you’re appearing in starting this April. Tell us your impressions of Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku.

A: Mikagura forms part of a mixed-media franchise that unusually started with the music of Last Note. before further expanding into light novels, comics and now, an anime, where each of the characters has their own story told through songs. By first listening to the songs, you can learn about the characters’ background, personality and hear their story, which makes acting in the anime a lot easier. The ‘club wars’ setting is interesting too. The school only has cultural clubs, with each having its own unique weapons and fighting style. There is a great balance between the gag parts and serious elements as well. At first glance, the art may give off a ‘pop’ impression but there will be parts that take time to depict the troubles of the individual characters. Eruna-chan’s piercing ability is incredible (lol). She’s so powerful that the whole school gets caught up in it.

Q: Your character Seisa is the total opposite.

A: It’s amazing how she manages to swat away Eruna-chan’s extraordinary antics (lol). Seisa is the granddaughter of the school’s headmaster and has a cool, mature demeanour but there a lot more aspects to her than that… She finds human contact difficult due to a past trauma but when she is communicating with Eruna-chan or engaging in battles she shows off many different expressions, so I consciously try to keep those two sides of her separate. The more time she spends in contact with Eruna-chan, the more she opens up, little by little…. Somewhere along the way, I also began to feel that she is a surprisingly delicate girl. You can catch a glimpse of that by the way she bluntly refuses to mention her past.

Q: Was there anything you tried to keep in mind when voicing her?

A: To keep myself sealed away as much as possible (lol). The poppish everyday scenes combined with the gag-filled antics of Eruna-chan had me getting a bit carried away by the comedic atmosphere and I was told “That’s not very Seisa-like. You’re overdoing it” (lol). Seisa’s quiet and cool poise had to be at the forefront, so I voiced her with an air of indifference.

Q: Did you get envious of the fun going on all around you then?

A: I was really jealous. When I was told that Seisa wouldn’t have any ad-libs, I got a little depressed (lol). To make up for that, I went all out when acting as the Seisa inside Eruna’s delusions. I enjoyed that – the only place where I could play around.

Q: Eruna, Seisa and Otone sing the OP and ED themes as the Afterschool Paradise Club.

A: Both songs are new compositions by Last Note. The OP song Afterschool Revolution (Houkago Kakumei) is an uptempo, positive and cheerful song. There’s a part at the end of the chorus that goes “And the magic word is ‘Pappappa no Pa!” – there are quite a lot of unique phrases that make no sense but sound fun! There are a lot of shouting parts too, which makes it more exciting. I tried my best for the raps, which I’m bad at, as well (lol). The ED song Paradise Fanfare too, follows a similar pattern of repetitive phrases such as “Tokotoko tokotoko tokoton ne”, which is interesting and leaves a good impression. I like the part that goes “Suki suki suki no sukima darake yo La La La Love Me Tender”. The way the lyrics are crammed together tightly makes phrasing difficult, but I sang the song with a big smile on my face (lol). There are currently plans for the cast members to record cover versions of Last Note. songs so I look forward to singing Seisa’s character song!

Q: Next up – what were your first impressions of the Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru darou ka light novels?

A: The story is about the hero Bell’s meeting with goddess Hestia and how they grow as adventurers as they spend time fighting together in the dungeons – when I first read the novels, I thought that the world setting was so wonderful. I could instantly visualize each of the characters, the monsters, the streets and the dungeons. It’s a work that is easy to read and allows your imagination to roam freely. As I read on, I gradually started seeing the charms of each of the story’s characters…I get excited thinking about how any two characters might interact if their paths crossed.

Q: Bell meets a lot of girls and ends up having to rely on them.

A: He’s a pure-hearted person who would never think of mistrusting others; he always works his hardest to level up and is very concerned about whether his actions can make other people happy – I think these wonderful traits of his are why girls are naturally drawn to him. This is why I want to say out loud that this isn’t just a harem story (lol).

Q: Describe Aiz, your character.

A: Like Bell, she’s human and just a normal person. However, unlike the fledgling, lowly level 1 adventurer Bell, Aiz is someone who is strong enough to be called the Sword Princess. The moment she appears in taverns everyone will be whispering amongst themselves, “The Sword Princess is here!”; she is a real presence to be reckoned with. Viewers may see her and think she’s just a cool, quiet person and wonder what’s on her mind – she’s got that mysterious aura about her. However, as the story progresses you will have a chance to get up close with Aiz and you might see her and think “Ah, she has this cute side to her!” or “Oh, she’s surprisingly airheaded?” – she’s got these elements about her that will hopefully make you think that she’s ‘girlish’? I’m the complete opposite of her. I love talking and very strong language often comes out of my mouth (lol). Even if Aiz is in trouble or faces conflict she finds it hard to express herself with words so she wishes that she could talk things through with someone, that she could lead a carefree life. I want her to find happiness.

Q: Was there anything you’re particularly conscious about when it came to voicing Aiz? Or anything that you learned from specific director instructions.

A: During my audition, I was told that I “showed too much emotion. By the time recording sessions for episode 1 arrived, I had come to the realization that (Aiz) is a character who does not allow her feelings to show, so I did my best to keep my emotions under wraps. As the show progresses you get to see different sides of her that would make viewers think “Oh, so there’s this side to her” or “Ah, so she does say such words”; so I had to absorb those parts of her and create an Aiz whose charms got across to the audience – it was hard. Those experiences presented an opportunity for me to change up my acting for the episode that focuses on Aiz. By the way, I took part in the recording of the walla scenes and it felt a bit sad to me when I had to say “Aiz is useless” (lol).

Q: You host the Danmachi radio show as well.

A: The radio show has a long title – Is it Wrong to Pick Up Matsuoka (Yoshitsugu) in the TV anime Danmachi’s Radio?, and is co-hosted by myself and Minase Inori-chan, the voice of Hestia. The show may have Matsuoka-san’s name in it but he’s not involved at all. There is a life-size cut-out panel of Matsuoka-san in the studio and we’ll kick off each episode by saying “Good morning, Pane(l)-Oka-san!” (lol). Content includes the reading of phrases that Hestia might say, or phrases people would like Aiz to say, or other Danmachi-related corners such as a Familia Recruitment Campaign! Please enjoy the radio alongside the anime!

Q: Last of all, let’s talk about Denpa Kyoshi. What was your impression of it when you first read the manga?

A: The manga is serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday and in fact, this is my first time being involved with a shonen title so I was fired up for it. The show’s setting is that protagonist Kagami Junichiro suffers from “YD syndrome”, a disease that “only lets him do what he wants to do”. My initial response to that was “Is that even possible for a human being?” (lol). Kagami-san is a useless human – he’s an otaku who loves junk food but hates working and somehow, he becomes a high-school teacher on a whim. It’s an unusual kind of school story. Also, he’s probably the worst possible teaching candidate ever? (lol). Yet, because of his YD, when there’s something that piques his interest he suddenly becomes extra motivated and starts moving full steam ahead – I think that’s something I could learn from. Also, it’s interesting to see how the students around Kagami become influenced by his ways. His students are a bunch of rascals, but there are reasons for their behavior. I’ll secretly cheer him on as he continues the process of rehabilitating them (lol).

Q: What kind of character is Momozono Makina?

A: She’s the student council president of Icho Academy where Kagami is teaching and is the right-hand woman of the school’s Chairman, the person who summoned Kagami to his teaching role. She also serves as a member of the judgement committee that holds the power to punish not only students who violate the rules, but also possesses the authority to expel errant teachers. Obviously, she refuses to acknowledge Kagami and treats him coldly. In truth she is a gentle girl, but because of her rigidness she has difficulty seeing the good in other people and finds it hard to be honest with herself.

Q: She could be one of the characters in the story who undergoes major changes in terms of her feelings.

A: Meeting Kagami has changed her perspective of other people as well as how she interacts with them – I feel her views have broadened. Regardless, the way she deals with Kagami remains as severe as ever, so I hope that at some point she can get along better with him (lol). We share…very few common characteristics. I’m not that strict, and I do believe I’m easy to talk to (lol).

Q: Was there anything you kept in mind when playing this role?

A: Denpa Kyoshi is a shonen magazine title and its anime airs in a primetime evening slot so director Sato Masato requested of us “Everyone, please use your natural voices”. I try as much as possible to act as ‘Onishi Saori’ rather than creating a different voice; it opens up more possibilities in terms of the range of expressions I can utilize, which made acting easier. During recording, I was often asked to sound ‘as condescending as possible’. In particular, I had to be aggressive when it came to Kagami – I was told to ‘make her sound more arrogant’, as the character I initially created was deemed too soft. I hope you look forward to Makina-chan’s sadistic ways (lol).

Q: The characters in these 3 works all happen to be cool and outstanding types.

A: They just happened to overlap this time. Plus, they’re all the complete opposite of who I am (lol). I guess it’s because my voice sounds calming. I don’t have to change the tone of my voice all that much, and through voicing characters that prefer not to let their feelings show forth I get to make new discoveries that make me go “Ah, I should do things this way!”. I used to be prone to adopting a ‘finer’ style of vocal expression when faced with cool beauty roles but I realize that those weren’t necessarily the words of the character in question. Characters breathe, at times they speak quickly and at other times, they slow their pace – when I managed to grasp these timings, things became a lot easier. I do feel that my approach towards acting has strengthened somewhat.
Part 2 will come…at some point. She also had a Da Vinci rookie feature from last year which I might do when I have time to spare…..


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