Name: Konishi Katsuyuki (小西 克幸)
DoB: 21 April 1973
Agency: Ken Production
When I first started watching anime by the season, Konishi was one of the new, young upstarts on the scene with major roles in shows I liked – Spinel Sun in Cardcaptor Sakura, Tooya in Ayashi no Ceres, Amidamaru in Shaman King. Obviously he’s one of the elder statesmen of the industry now and pops up all over the place; this season he’s in things like Drrr!!, Prison School, Ranpo Kitan, Akagami no Shirayukihime and Classroom Crisis. Check out MAL for a comprehensive listing of his roles.
The Oshaberi Hotline series of interviews is a shorter version of its print counterpart that runs in the Animedia magazine. I translated one with Ito Shizuka some time ago, I’ll probably work through them all…eventually. First up, Konishi Katsuyuki’s.
Q: What sort of childhood did you have?
A: I’d say I was the kind of kid who’d stay indoors all the time. I never liked going out that much (laughs). However, when I was in fourth grade Captain Tsubasa started airing on TV and at the invitation of a friend who loved the show, I joined a football club in Wakayama. From then I played football all through my elementary, junior and high school years.
Q: But you still preferred staying at home?
A: Actually, when I was in junior and middle school I was also a Boy Scout. My parents pushed me into joining as my good friend was also a member of the scouts.. it was tough (bitter laugh). After all, you’d have to do things like going camping and taking part in other recreational activities. Since I was already playing football I really didn’t want to go outside any more often than was necessary (laugh). That’s why I came to prefer life indoors.
Q: What first led you down the road to becoming a seiyuu?
A: There was a period of time when I was thinking about what my future career path would be after graduating from high school, and it was then that a friend introduced voice acting to me. I did like anime and manga just as much as the next person, but I never really had a chance to watch anime on TV. At that point in time there were plenty of anime airing during the ‘golden time’ hours but they always clashed with my club activities and cram school…Most of the time I would watch lots of anime reruns during longer school holidays and bit by bit, I got to know just how fun anime could be.
Q: So you weren’t really aware of the seiyuu profession up until then?
A: I had no idea at all. I probably thought that the images naturally came with voices attached to them (laugh) . There was once a TV programme which featured a certain seiyuu’s appearance – I happened to see it, and I went straight out to buy the anime magazine that he had recommended. After doing a bit of my own research, voice acting did look quite interesting so I came to consider entering voice training school as one of my possible career paths.
Q: How did your family react?
A: I spoke to my older sister about it and found out that she had actually wanted to become a seiyuu herself sometime in the past. Wow, that shocked me~ (laugh). She taught me about training schools and their individual characteristics and after I settled on Katsuta Voice Actor’s Academy, she gave me a piece of advice: “It’ll be like Sparta in there but if you’re really intent on becoming a seiyuu, it’ll be good for you”. My parents wanted me to go to college at first, but in the end they decided that my dreams took priority. My father was the president of the PTA so he had this belief that it was important to treasure a child’s dream. I’m very grateful for that.
Q: So was training school really Spartan?
A: The people there were harsh, yet kind. When they were harsh they were really harsh. They’d say very frank things like ‘if your acting is bad then you might as well just give up right now’. On the other hand, if you put in a good performance then their praise would come from the heart as well. Now that I look back on it, I do think that the carrot-and-stick approach was perfectly executed. Experiencing both frustration and joy, I feel I was able to grow progressively.
Q: Is there anything you learned from your time in training school that still applies today?
A: Lots. Something that left a particularly strong impression is the phrase ‘read between the lines’. The only things a script contains are lines and stage directions. When you wish to consider what makes a particular character say a particular word or phrase, all you have to go on is the information contained within the script. For example, a character may appear to be quiet and his words calm, but perhaps…there might be anger boiling within him. There were classes to teach us how to deduce such emotions and I’m still putting to use today what I learned then.
Q: Lastly, please leave a message to those who are aiming to become seiyuu in the future.
A: There are increasing numbers of people who are hoping to become a seiyuu during their teenage years, but I personally believe that it would be best to make sure that you experience school life properly. I do think it is good to start young when aiming to be a seiyuu. Yet, there are things in life that one can only experience when they are young (laughs). The seiyuu profession demands a lot out of people nowadays. You’ve got to look the part and talk the part, whether it be on radio or during events. Lots of life experiences will help to build up your knowledge, which will not only be a boon to your voice acting, but also brings a lot of plus points to other areas in your life. Therefore, I hope people will not only pay attention to their studies, but also spend a lot of time playing with their friends as well as having fun watching movies and reading.