Animate.tv recently posted an interview with the four main cast members Ohsaka Ryota (Ikki), Ishigami Shizuka (Stella), Toyama Nao (Shizuku) and Asanuma Shintaro (Nagi). Translating it ‘cos I like the cast! Also in the photo above are Iguchi Yuka, Higashiuchi Mariko and Matsuoka Yoshitsugu.
The anime itself is LN by the numbers and not really my cup of tea so I guess I’m only kind of watching it because I listen to the radio show and want to stay in the loop.
Note: I left tsun and dere as they are, you know they sound silly in English.
Q: Let’s start off by introducing your characters, and tell us if there are any important points we should take note of.
Ohsaka Ryota: I voice a character named Kurogane Ikki. He’s a cool guy who, despite being disliked at school, refuses to let such an environment break him and instead, finds the strength to confront his problems without ever giving in. However, when faced with girls he tends to get carried away and easily panics…. Voicing Ikki, I do think that at times, he says the most unexpectedly cool lines which is why he’s popular with the girls around him.
I was asked to say all those cool lines without sounding overly serious, yet making sure that I imbued them with honesty. That made me think to myself ‘Ah, so he’s that kind of guy’ and I played him, keeping in mind that everything he says comes naturally.
Ishigami Shizuka: Stella is a girl who transfers into Hagun Academy from the Vermillion Kingdom. She’s the second princess of Vermillion and the top-ranked knight in her country. While in Vermillion she had remained at the top unchallenged, which led to everyone around her treating her like a genius – in order to further her growth, she decided to change schools. Right now, she’s aiming to scale the heights of the Blazers, together with Ikki-kun.
Stella is by nature, a tsundere, but when I read the scripts I can see that she’s not necessarily that tsun. In fact, every tsun of hers has a significant amount of dere hidden within, so I voiced her with 10% tsun, 90% dere. I hope she’ll be a character who doesn’t get too harsh. Her words may sound a little tsun, but try to keep in mind that behaviour is very much deredere.
Ohsaka: She was amazing in episode 1, wasn’t she (laughs).
Ishigami: I was surprised by just how dere she could get (laughs). As she’s a princess, she’s had very little prior contact with guys so she obviously starts developing an interest in Ikki when she finds out he’s her roommate. From the first episode you can already see that she’s a mischievous girl who likes to send things flying.
Toyama Nao: Shizuku is Ikki’s younger sister; she’s been living away from him for a while so Hagun Academy is where they are reunited. She does like her brother a lot and when they first meet again, she ends up doing something quite shocking. That’s the extent of her adoration for her brother; those feelings are born out of the difficult circumstances Ikki faces, and that is perhaps why she has so much affection for him. I’ll try not to do anything that might venture into forbidden territory… (laughs).
She’s a character that isn’t afraid to show aggressive behaviour and as a younger sister, she’s not afraid of making fun of her brother. Even though she’s so close to her brother, she keeps her distance from other people; she does dislike humans to a certain extent so I hope I can adequately show the difference in ‘temperature’ between the ways she treats people coldly, or warmly. She has a rich array of expressions as well, with a tendency for violent mood swings.
Ohsaka: She may be small but she’s sexy.
Toyama: She’s a precocious kid.
Asanuma Shintaro: Arisuin Nagi is Shizuku’s roommate; he’s a guy with the heart of a maiden (laughs). He’s the aunt agony for Ikki, Stella and Shizuku and he’s such a friendly guy that even Shizuku, who deliberately distances herself from other people, ends up opening her heart to him. He’s good with words and seems like the jovial type but he’s probably reached a state of enlightenment, judging from the way he’s able to impart appropriate advice quietly to other people. I hope I can pull off how he comes off as motherly (laughs) as well as his gentle side, while trying not to make him seem too ‘perfect’ of a character.
Ohsaka: It feels like he’s staring into the depths of your soul sometimes.
Asanuma: Still, the tone he uses when he’s talking makes him seem a bit aloof. He’s a rather inscrutable kind of character.
Q: Is there anything about your character that you feel is either similar, or the complete opposite of yourself?
Ohsaka: Most of the main characters in light novels are depicted as cool and fit the image of the ‘perfect man’ so yeah, I think I’m pretty similar (laughs).
Ohsaka: I guess we share similarities in that we’re both sore losers. We’re competitive in a different kind of way but I hate to lose as well – even when I know I’m going to lose I just get really frustrated.
Toyama: That’s right! Previously during recording for another show, the cast went to play darts together and I faced off against Ohsaka-san. It was my first time playing darts so I was throwing them randomly and I managed to beat him, probably because of beginner’s luck. He was in a really bad mood after that (laughs).
Ohsaka: I screamed “I’m not gonna lose next time!”, challenging her to a rematch (laughs).
Asanuma: Y’know, it’s a sin to play games with your seniors. They don’t know the meaning of ‘hospitality’ (laughs).
Ishigami: For me, the closest resemblance would be how my feelings are written all over my face. I’m bad at telling lies. That’s similar to Stella-chan, everything is just written on her face.
Toyama: Shizuka-san, aren’t you a tsundere?
Ishigami: Yeah, though if I had to pick I’d say I’m more on the tsun side. I’m not used to being spoiled by other people. I’m an only child, so I had to do everything by myself.
Ohsaka: On the other hand, I feel that if I get too close to Ishigami-san she might start to really hate me.
Ishigami: N-no way, i-it’s not like that! (laughs)
Toyama: I’m the complete opposite of my character. Higashiuchi Mariko-san (voice of Shinguji Kurono) said to me, “Toyama-san, you really leave your heart wide open don’t you”.
Asanuma: You’re making an absolute fool of the key to your heart’s door (laughs).
Ohsaka: Your security system is way too lax (laughs).
Toyama: Oh! (laughs). I’ve often been told that I look as if I’m easy to deceive. In the same way, I believe that it’s because Shizuku sees so many things going on that she finds it hard to trust people. This time, I found it hard to show how she opens up her heart to Arisu by just saying that one word “Yeah”. The key of my own heart is a fool (laughs), so when I open up my heart I just shouted “Yesss!” out loud. I was however, instructed by the director, “It’s their first meeting, please don’t open up your heart so easily”. That made me think “I’ve got to work harder at building this character”, and that’s how I ended up saying that one “Yeah”.
Asanuma: I think I’m similar (to Nagi) in that neither of us is treated like a man. I’m often told that “You seem to know no shame in being the one guy slipping into girlfriend get-togethers and girl talk sessions”.
Asanuma: Of course I feel uneasy! is what I think (laughs). It’s a bit of a disgrace for me as a guy. Some people even call me ‘Madam’…. Maybe those parts are similar. How we both love clothes and sweets as well. Come to think of it, the fan gifts I receive tend to be quite girly? It makes me wonder just what my image is like (laughs). Body soaps, treatments, masks, lotion, L’Occitane hand cream… my toilet is full of these products so it’s really quite feminine. So much so that they’d make people think “Ah, so he’s that kind of guy” (laughs). Maybe, that’s really what others think of me? Gee, that’s embarrassing.
Staff: After reading this interview, aren’t you going to receive even more of them?
Asanuma: Oh, darn it ☆ (laughs)
Q: There’s no rule against picking your own here, so which of the characters are you most interested in?
Ohsaka: I’d want Nagi as a friend. It’d be totally easy to. He’d start up the conversations, he’d hear me out and even when he’s not saying anything, he’ll look like he might say something.
Asanuma: He’d make a great housemate. He looks like he might be a good cook too.
Ohsaka: He’s a neat-freak so it seems like he’d be good at cleaning as well. Even if clothes were scattered all over the place he’d just go “Ah, it can’t be helped”.
Toyama: I really like Ikki. It’s nice that he’s not just a loser. He’s definitely strong and I admire how behind it all, so much back-breaking work has been put in – he’s a character you want to cheer on. However, people don’t see the efforts he puts in in and he ends up being rather disliked; if they would take the time to get to know who he is inside like Stella does, he’d be much loved.
Ohsaka: There aren’t many guys out there who would run 20km every day, y’know.
Asanuma: I’m interested in Saikyo Nene (CV: Iguchi Yuka). The way she deftly dodges everything, her personality and her tone of voice, how she looks like she’s hiding something – there’s so much about her I’d love to probe. Nagi is somebody who’s already so tough to read, so to have somebody else who’s even more of an enigma really piques my interest.
Ishigami: The character played by Matsuoka Yoshitsugu-san, who’s already finished recording his parts – Kirihara Shizuya, I thought he was awesome (laughs). Rather than actually liking the character, I was interested in how (Matsuoka) could “take that role to new heights”.
Asanuma: It seems like you’re more interested in Matsuoka-kun rather than Kirihara (laughs).
Ohsaka: Watching his performance, I had to wonder to myself “Why on earth is Kirihara even popular with the girls?” (laughs).
Toyama: I never understood what likable traits he had at all (laughs). Matsuoka-san always changes up his acting during recording when compared to what he does during the tests, so I have to be on my toes all the time (laughs).
Q: His performance is definitely something we’ll have to keep a lookout for (laughs). Kurogane Ikki has given his all to get to the point where he’s known as the ‘Another One’ – have any of you ever put a lot of effort into anything?
Ishigami: Personally, I love games so when I have spare time I’ll be going all out playing them. Upcoming games I’m looking forward to include Persona 5, Summon Night 6 and Dark Soul 3. I like lengthy games.
Asanuma: For me it’s coffee. I drink so much of it that it’s fair to say that I’m addicted. I drink about 10 cups a day; it’s become something that I automatically turn to when I’m looking for something to calm myself down. While I do have my preferences, for example – I don’t drink instant or ice coffee, I’d like to become discerning enough towards aspects such as the beans being used. I’d like to get to a point where I could recommend coffees to people based on criteria such as levels of acidity or bitterness.
Ohsaka: For me it’s audio equipment. I buy my own microphones. I used to love getting together with a group of people to record our own drama and radio CDs. I would edit and add sound effects on my own as well. I own 2 mic stands and in time, I’d like to purchase amps and enough equipment to set up my own small studio – I hope I can do that for real.
Toyama: I’m aiming to prolong my ‘hobbyless’ record but at some point, I’d like to take better care of my hair. At this point, it’s the longest it’s ever been in my entire life.
If we’re talking about things like improving your style, beautifying the skin or learning make-up to make yourself look cuter – you’ve got to take into account that what works for one person may not work for others, and that the results you get may not be proportional to the amount of effort you put in. On the other hand, I have noticed that if I put a bit of work in, my hair can look beautiful! Thus, I’ve been looking up and trying out treatments and so on, and I’ve managed to avoid split ends with my hair as long as it is now. That’s why I’ve been thinking, “Ah, so if I do make an effort, (my hair) will be obedient” (laughs). Hair really is a precious thing; I’ve also gotten more compliments from my make-up artists recently so I’m a bit more particular about it of late.
Asanuma: Your new nickname shall be ‘Vidal Sassoon’ (laughs).
Ohsaka: How about ‘Lux Super Rich’ instead? (laughs)
Toyama: Sounds like anything will do for my nickname! (laughs)
Q: Those are great-sounding nicknames (laughs). Last of all, please leave a message for everyone who is looking forward to the anime.
Ohsaka: There have been an increasing number of fantasy school tales of late, and I think most of you would have had the chance to watch many of these. This particular anime will move in a different direction from other stories. Of course, the other characters possess their own charms, but Ikki and Stella get close to each other very quickly and I think it’s rare to have a show that is so firm in its depiction of the relationship between the two leads. What’s more, the two of them will only continue to get cooler. I think many of the viewers will be guys but I hope more girls will watch the show as well, since you could enjoy seeing Ikki’s coolness and Nagi’s girlishness (laughs). This anime will show a lot of different sides, so do please look forward to it.
Ishigami: The story of this anime will advance with Ikki and Stella as the main focal points. An equal amount of effort has gone into depicting both their romantic relationship, and how they treat each other as competitive partners. I hope you will look forward to seeing the dual nature of their relationship. The animators have put a lot of passion into this project, so while homing in on the deeply charming characters such as Shizuku-chan and Arisu-san, I hope you will look forward to the show.
Toyama: Based on the impressions I have gained from recording thus far, this anime is filled with a lot of strong characters. I myself am looking forward to seeing what should turn out to be some really impressive battle scenes. In the midst of that will be some richly unique characters so please look forward to their appearances. As for Shizuku, there is one particularly surprising scene that will make you think “Wow, isn’t that a crazy entrance she’s made!?”. When I read the part in the light novel at home, all hell broke loose for me (laughs). It’s a shocking development and I hope I get to share it with all of you soon. Please look forward to it.
Asanuma: Right from the start, an intense character like Matsuoka-kun’s Kirihara will already make his entrance – I myself am looking forward to seeing that on air (laughs). How Ikki fights, how he wins, how he loses – it won’t just be a one-sided thing so there are plenty of highlights to look forward to. This will be an anime that anyone from honour students to dropouts can empathize with. I hope lots of different people out there will watch this.