I suppose I am kind of surprised that this article dropped…Saori is one of the most veteran of seiyuu to have been featured in Da Vinci’s series of interviews thus far, if not the most. It does feel a little strange that she would agree to doing something like this given how quiet she’s been on the social/media front in recent years but it’s nice to see that she can finally say whatever it is that is on her mind, free from the shackles of an agency.
Q: What sort of appeal do you feel your character Fuwa Hyoka, from the currently-airing Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai shinai Taikutsu na Sekai, has?
A: She’s a girl who holds an unusual thirst for the facts of life, exploring issues related to pregnancy and carrying out her own research all day and all night on things like the observation of mating insects. I think I can really empathize with Hyoka’s ‘thirst for knowledge’. I am similarly curious about my characters, wondering – “What goes through her mind as she lives her life…?”. I too, hold a strong urge to “know” but honestly, it is just a simple desire… It’s truly refreshing and cool when you see how Hyoka never allows herself to be influenced by others, always holding on to what she believes in. Those traits are, I feel, what makes her appealing.
Q: That’s deep… Recently a sequel was announced for STEINS;GATE, in which you voice another character that has left a strong impression – Kiryu Moeka. Looking back at your time spent voicing her, what kind of role did it feel like to you?
A: She’s a girl whose emotions are difficult to read. Her facial expressions hardly change as well… At first I felt confused as I didn’t know what would make her feel happy, what would bring her displeasure, what type of upbringing she had or what she wished to do in the future.
Q: Were those doubts eliminated after that?
A: Instead of worrying about what kind of acting I should show or what sort of approach I should take, I devoted myself to her, body and soul: “Stay as I am, with Moeka’s heart in mine. I will love her no matter what. I will draw closer to her”. It wasn’t a case of ‘breathing life into a character’; it was more a case of ‘trying to get as close as possible to a life that already exists’. These are the feelings I harbour towards each and every one of my characters…I wish to maintain a relationship with them the same way human beings connect to each other in real life.
Q: Through Goto-san, your characters can move to the forefront.
A: It sounds kind of cool when you put it that way…(laughs).
I think it’s amazing but above all, it’s a great joy to be entrusted with these characters and to be allowed the freedom to vividly express myself.
Thus, I want everyone who experiences any of the works I am involved with, to feel the presence of the characters, to see them come to life. I want you to understand the characters, to fall in love with them. I hope I can be of service this way.
Q: Does your speech and behaviour affect your characters in any way?
A: Obviously I am a completely different person from my characters and I would never let the lines be blurred. It’s just that I do take quite a bit of time to get to know my characters better, to get closer to them, to ponder upon them. To me, the time spent doing that is precious.
Q: Such is the way of life of an artiste. At this juncture, allow us to ask you about your hobbies! Is there anything you’ve taken a liking to, or got addicted to recently?
A: I like cooking. Something I made recently that was tasty – pork stew. I make the sauce by adding wine, ketchup and milk to demi-glace. I like nikujaga as well so I do cook it quite often. Simmered dishes are a favourite of mine so I make them quite regularly.
Q: Is there anything else?
A: I like books. I can spend many, many hours in the library or in bookstores. Non-fiction is a particular favourite of mine. I feel that it’s an important learning experience, allowing my mind to dwell upon real-life events. I like everything – books on space, plants, minerals, animal picture books, books about shrines and temples, photo books of old castles. Lately, and this might sound strange to some, I’ve even taken up reading books about swords and battleships.
Q: What’s the appeal there?
A: Let’s consider this – how many people can fit in a huge battleship? how many peoples’ hearts were poured into it? I think about its history. I think about the people who made it, the feelings of the people who were on board, the feelings of the people who saw off their family members, I even think about the historical background of the battles. I believe there is much to learn from the thoughts of the people who lived through those times.
Q: Let’s go back in time a bit. Please tell us once again why you wanted to become a seiyuu.
A: It was during junior high that I became aware of how much I liked acting. My drama club activities were tough, yet fun. My journey however, began when I applied for a public seiyuu audition. Even after I made my début I was clueless about everything and there was a countless number of harsh incidents but thanks to the help of many, I made it through.
Q: You made your début when you were in high school. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities?
A: I wasn’t involved in anything. After school was over, I would put in shifts at my part-time job if I didn’t have any (seiyuu) work activities lined up. My main part-time job involved working the sales counter at a bakery and I really enjoyed interacting with customers there. I was allowed to bring home the leftover bread as well – it was tasty, and my family loved it (laughs).
Q: Looking back on your past activities, is there anything that has made you glad that you are a seiyuu?
A: Being able to meet people. From the day I was born up until now, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of people and gained a lot of experiences through them. I have experienced many different feelings as well. I’ve been surprised by how vivid my own emotions can be; sometimes they can inspire me as well. The catalyst for these emotions is the people around me at that given time. I am filled with gratitude towards these people and wish to say to them, “thank you for stirring these feelings in me”, or “thank you for reminding me about such emotions”.
Q: I see.
A: I would like to express my gratitude to the family members of these people as well. When I meet the father and mother of my good friends for the first time, there are instances where I’m so happy I feel like crying. “I’m so glad to have met xxx-chan. Thank you!” (lol)
For all they have done to nurture them I will say “Thank you. I am so grateful to have met this person” – I can’t help but be filled with gratitude.
As long as one is alive, it is certain that there will be pain and regret. It is the same for me as well. However, it is because I have tasted pain and regret that I can come to love myself just as I am. Thanks for all that has helped to nurture me. This is something I can always return to. That in itself, is something to be joyous about.
Q: There might be times where it seems that the unpleasant feelings are prevalent.
A: I don’t deny those feelings. Instead, I think there is something to be learned from such experiences. Through these moments of displeasure, you could come to learn to know how to protect yourself, or be aware of terrible things you definitely should not do to others; you might learn and vow never to bring sadness to yourself or others. It might even end up being a driving force towards you getting your own back at someone! Please don’t treat difficulties in life as if they don’t exist – instead, face them head on for the sake of your own future growth. I hope to always possess the desire to improve myself. That by itself, would entail an entire lifetime’s worth of study.
Regardless, there will be times when you will feel wretched and end up going to bed in a huff, and that’s natural (lol).
It’s important to just let loose and take a breather at times as well.
Q: Somehow, your words give me courage. I believe there are many people who hear Goto-san’s acting and think to themselves “Starting tomorrow, I will give my all!” – are you aware of this?
A: Treasuring the chances I have to draw nearer to my roles, I will strive to similarly draw closer to the hearts of everyone who comes across any of my works so that they might too, be able to say such warm things. I hope to be a source of encouragement and healing, I hope to fill people with feel vibrant feelings. As mentioned earlier, I have already received so many wonderful feelings from everyone so I would love to continue to reciprocate them.
Q; Lastly, please leave a message for the readers!
A: I am grateful to always receive warm support from all of you.
From now on, using the love that is within me as a starting point, I will live each day continuing to cherish the people whom I am connected to, my works and my characters.
I may still be inexperienced but in order to be able to convey vitality and healing, love and life, as a single human being, I will dedicate myself to grow more and more. I pray for enrichment, so that I can share joy, delight and happiness with all of you.
I humbly ask for your support in the future. Thank you.
I think we’ve seen time and again how Saori struggles with her inner…demons? She’s always so hard on herself… It does seem that reflecting on her experiences serves as a form of therapy for her – I hope she gets more chances to do so in the future.