Name: Yuki Kana (優木 かな)
DoB: 10 March 19xx
I got to learn of Kanashi around 2014 through Ai Tenchi Muyo and as part of Kneesocks for Blade Dance. She hasn’t done too much since then anime-wise so I kind of forgot about her until a couple of months ago when I started picking up some of her shows – FgG radio with Komatsu Mikako (they both voice characters in the upcoming Shinobi Nightmare) and the Youtube show PhanKill-sensei where both programmes are related to Fuji&gumi Games.
Yeap, Kanashi is quite the gamer and accordingly, most of her activities have been game-related. Most recently, she’s been reunited with her Kneesocks colleague Ishigami Shizuka for the yet-to-be-released Shadowverse, which has an ongoing radio show too. Personality-wise she is a bit of a boke but she’s also a good talker, which is why she’s been doing quite a lot of web radio & TV. She has pretty nice assets too (which Mikakoshi is quite jealous of w).
Da Vinci’s interview with Kanashi was 2014, around the time of Blade Dance.
Q: So let’s talk about why you wanted to become a seiyuu.
A: Yeah! To be honest I don’t really remember the ‘one’ reason, but I do know that I wrote ‘I want to be a seiyuu’ in my elementary school yearbook. When I was a child I was a bit of a little demon – when people praised me I’d respond with things like “Nope I’m nothing like that!!”; I was that kind of sassy kid. The type that would be cute in 2D but annoying in 3D (laughs). For some reason though, I was happy when people praised my voice and received such compliments gratefully. Maybe that was what made me think about becoming a seiyuu. I did like anime at the time as well.
Q: And after you graduated from elementary school…
A: I got into junior high and that was when I evolved into a full-fledged otaku. My friends and I would zealously discuss our favourite shows, and I’d draw art (of them). When I think about it now, I was an unabashed otaku then (laughs).
Q: How about when you entered high school…?
A: My otakuness got worse. This time, I was obsessed with games. I’d go to game centres after school and play until it was dark outside. And that was on a daily basis.
A: Yeah. I kept a diary in those days so I could keep track of how often I went. And it turned out that I’d gone to the game centre 500 days in a row (laughs). That included the times where I just stopped by for a while, but I went on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Christmas as well. I’d mostly play the music games in my local game centre. Oh, I did study properly too too, if you’re curious about that (laughs).
Q: So the game centre was like your ‘backyard’?
A: Yeah! You’d treat your favourite hangout spots like they were your own home and I became really friendly with the uncle working at the game centre, it was truly a second home for me.
Q: So how did you get on the path to becoming a seiyuu after that?
A: Let me see. Even as I was dashing down the otaku path, I did have it in mind to try to become a seiyuu once I’d graduated from high school. However, I had once tried out for an audition for those wanting to become singers or seiyuu and was told by one of the judges on the committee that “it is impossible for you to become a seiyuu”. My singing was praised; I had received voice training and sung before and I was already in half a mind to give up on becoming a seiyuu. After some time, I came to the realization that I had yet to put in the effort needed to achieve my dream of becoming a seiyuu. With the thought that I would only give up once I had studied properly and found out whether I truly possessed no talent, I enrolled in and started attending Nichinare.
Q: What was your first job as a seiyuu?
A: It was for a certain game. I didn’t need to audition for the role so I was filled with nothing but surprise when I found out I had been chosen. When I got home, I looked at an illustration of the character and finally realized, “I’m gonna voice this girl”, and my heart was filled with joy. The tears just started flowing as I thought, “I really am a seiyuu”.
Q: Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance represents your first regular acting role in a TV anime. Can you tell us more about your character Rinslet Laurenfrost?
A: Rinslet appears to be quite the haughty princess but in truth, is also a caring, kind girl. None of the Kneesocks members will accept it, but I do think she resembles me a little. Stuff like how she can’t be honest with herself. She was the character I loved most when I read the original novel, as well as being the only role I auditioned for.
Q: Why won’t the other members accept that? (laughs)
A: Apparently, the other members believe that the only thing I share in common with Rinslet is that we both “have long hair” (laughs).
Q: You must’ve been happy to pass the audition, having placed all your bets on the role of Rinslet.
A: Yeah. It was the first ever role I had been chosen for through audition so I was really happy when I got the news. To be honest, there was a point in time where I had been failing audition after audition and was worrying about whether I should quit the business. So when my manager informed me about passing the audition, I had no idea what he was talking about (laughs). But I was in the train on the way home, and ended up crying. Ah, I’m always crying aren’t I (laughs).
Q: Yeah (laughs). But you always try to hide it when you’re crying, don’t you (laughs).
A: It’s embarrassing to be crying tears of joy in public after all (laughs). But when I’m being scolded I cry immediately, even in front of my manager (laughs). Just recently he had to tell me “Don’t cry~” (laughs).
Q: By the way, which of Kneesocks’ songs is your favourite?
A: That would have to be our first recording Shukusai no Elementaria, which I’m strongly attached to. It was the first time we had to practise dancing together and the first song we performed in public. My heart still skips a beat when I recall the excitement I felt when I first learned that I had been chosen for the role.
Q: Do you have any favourite lyrics?
A: When it comes to favourite lyrics, there is one phrase in the ending theme Seirei Blade Dance that I particularly like. The part that goes “‘I will keep on believing’ as I ready my strengthened arrow of ice”. Rinslet-chan has another name, “The Ice Demon Rinslet”. I had been going through my own troubles but thanks to meeting Rinslet-chan, I gained resolve and vowed not to lose my way and to keep going down this seiyuu road. When I sing these lyrics, I realize just how important of an encounter it was.
Q: Next up, let’s talk about Yuki Kana.
A: So, is it okay if we talk about mahjong?
Q: Mahjong! When did you first start playing mahjong?
A: I started thanks to my chancing upon a certain mahjong anime. I didn’t know much about mahjong before that but it was really cool to hear some of the terminology like “Riichi!”. ‘I have no idea what that means! But it sounds cool!’ It really tickled my chuu2 heart (laughs). ‘I want to try saying “Riichi!” too!’ (laughs). I went on to download an online mahjong game and despite not knowing the rules I tried my hand at it, picking it up over the course of 3 months. One of my acquaintances is a pro female player and when she let me handle her mahjong tiles for real, I got addicted to it immediately and ended up buying a cheap mahjong set for myself (laughs). I often play ‘one-man mahjong’ in my room (laughs).
Q: Mahjong is a game as well.
A: So it is. I think I basically love games. At one point I was addicted to online games, I’d play a variety of things like Fantasy Earth: Zero, Phantasy Star Online 2 and Red Stone. When my real-life friends would invite me out, saying “Shall we go for a meal now?”, I’d reply “Sorry, my guildmates are waiting for me…” (laughs). My friends scolded me, “You’re an idiot” (laughs).
Q: What games have you been obsessed with lately?
A: Recently, some of my acquaintances formed a table games club. It’s a club where they play cards and UNO, or any other analog games. At first there were 2-3 members but it’s expanded to about 30 people now. On days off we’ll say, ‘let’s get together and play games!’ (laughs). A huge group of us gathered the other day in a certain park to play ‘outdoors Werewolf’ from mid-morning ‘til the last train! We spread out a vinyl sheet on the ground (laughs). Werewolf is a table “talk” RPG so hearing my senior seiyuu acquaintances putting on voices while they played the game was great (laughs).
Q: By the way, are there any seiyuu whom you admire?
A: Yes, there are a lot. First of all, my agency senior Horie Yui-san. I respect her not only as a seiyuu but as a person too. Also, Hayami Saori. I just love Hayami-san’s personality and her acting. Apart from that, my former teacher Sawaki Ikuya-san. He was my instructor during my 2 years in training school and the person who opened up my career path for me. If it wasn’t for Sawaki-san, I would not be here today. I’d be happy if even a little bit of Sawaki-san’s acting could be heard in my own performances.
Q: Which of Sawaki-san’s lessons do you hold most dear in your heart?
A: He would keep saying ‘you have no charms’. Even if your performances are adequate, you have to keep showing your charms at every moment in order to impress people. People can only get hooked through such things, so it is pointless if you can’t get them to fall in love with you. And after 2 years, I finally received words of praise from him. I was so happy that I cried.
Q: Lastly, please tell us what kind of seiyuu you want to become in the future.
A: Through Rinslet, I feel that I was able to take my first step as a seiyuu. In the future, I would love to take on a variety of roles and challenge a number of genres. My lifelong dream is to have no regrets at the end of my life. Even if it’s a struggle right now, I will continue to do what I think I should do so that someday, I can see that my efforts have paid off. Though an individual act may seem fruitless, each one of those experiences has helped make me who I am today; I want to become a person who can say ‘I’ve lived a good life because of what I went through’. Also, you could say that this is a more realistic dream, but I want to hold a solo event (laughs)!
Whether it is a handshake meet or an autograph session, I would love to have a chance to speak to everyone who has supported me. I want to be able to experience more of this feeling; that ‘Today, I am here, because all of you are here’. I will work harder so that I can have an opportunity to express that.