Haruchika: An Interview with Iida Satoki

Last season’s Haruchika was one of those shows that people liked to dislike – that gay angle, too much plate-spinning (and too many of them ending up on the floor), no sense of direction etc etc. Despite the flaws, I found myself enjoying it week after week, mostly for the character interactions.

Mantan Web interviewed sound director Iida Satoki of Dax Production in February to talk about his work on the show. Some of Iida’s recent credits include Noragami, Sakura Trick, Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru and Assassination Classroom. Do also read this article for the view on Haruchika’s casting from director Hashimoto Masakazu & producer Tsuji Mitsuhito.

Q: Tell us what the series is about, and what its appeal is.

A: ‘Cultivating human relationships’ is the essence of this story revolving around high-schoolers Haruta and Chika, who as members of the wind music club encounter a variety of people who are each facing their own individual problems and worries. As the source material is mystery novels, you get to see some pretty impressive mystery-solving scenes while the wind ensemble scenes fit in each episode seamlessly; each case is fashioned with great detail and this results in a series that can be enjoyed from a number of aspects. However, I think its greatest appeal would be the witty dialogue between Haruta and Chika. They’re really making the most of their youth.

Q: What were the decisive factors in the casting of Sarah Emi Bridcutt as Homura Chika and Saito Soma as Kamijo Haruta?

A: Haruta is a sweet, good-looking young guy; he plays detective and is the type who always likes to have the last word. Saito-san’s reflexively sadistic style of acting was a perfect fit for Haruta. On the other hand we have Chika, a silly girl full of energy. Bridcutt-san is a fearless actress who likes to boldly insert her own ad-libs, which made her perfect for the aggressive Chika….hmm? I was complimenting them; did that come across in a weird way?

Q: Tell us what the atmosphere in the recording studio is like.

A: The theme this time is ‘youth’, so I went with younger actors for the regular cast members. I believe that the freshness that they possess allowed for a better depiction of a youth drama. Due to the nature of the story, we see more and more characters coming in with each arc but they’re all from the same age group so the addition of new cast members made the atmosphere in the studio harmonious and very pleasant indeed.

Q: What were the delightful, as well as difficult, aspects of making this series?

A: From a sound perspective, the wind ensemble scenes were tough to handle. Since the number of club members increases with each episode, the organization of the musical instruments also changes every time so we had to make sure that we created the appropriate sounds. Furthermore, with the spontaneous additions of the oboe and saxophone to Haruta’s French horn and so on, we needed extra sound sources to match up with the story line. For the wind ensemble segments, there were comprehensive meetings involving myself, the director Hashimoto (Masakazu) and [representatives from] Lantis, and I was helped out a lot by their good song selections.

Personally, I’m quite fond of the string phone scene from ‘Springraphy’, the 6th episode. I actually got the cast to record it while using paper cups. It was a strange sight to behold, but from a soundman’s perspective, we got a great recording out of it.

Q: Tell us about what’s in store for the show.

A: In the second half of the series, we finally get to see them take on the challenge of the competition. At the concert venue, there will be mysteries that happen one after the other (laughs). It seems the Haruta-Chika combination only succeeds when all the key club members assemble.

Q: Please leave a word for the fans.

A: It is wholly up to you whether to choose to enjoy this as a crime thriller, or for its wind ensemble elements. Like Kusakabe-sensei says, “[I] wish [this to be] a place where, as you detour, something important too can be found”, Haruta and Chika will grow through their many different experiences. Please continue to watch over them as they walk down this bittersweet road called youth.

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