Damashigami employee Shima Renge tops the dumbass rankings in RINNE with her rotten personality and lack of common sense; you can’t help but cheer every time she messes shit up. I did however, think that it was a strange casting for the character itself – putting Zucchi into a show that already has Inoue Marina is odd when they’re really so, so similar in terms of range and performance…I swore I was hearing double whenever Mamiya Sakura and Renge were in the same scene. But I’m getting used to it and loved Renge vs Murakawa Rie’s Ageha – battle of the dimwit bitches! Too bad we’re moving towards the end of the series already, really wouldn’t mind a second sequel to this in the future since we have enough material to go on…
A ______ girl with so many gaps!
Q: Tell us more about Damashigami Renge, whom you voice – what sort of character is she?
A: To put it simply, Renge-chan is extremely diligent but well..I guess you could describe her true nature as being ‘twisted’ (laughs). She has a neat appearance but on the inside, she’s just wicked.
I might be wicked too? (laughs)
Q: Do you think the two of you share any similarities?
A: It’s a bit odd for it to come from my own mouth, but I think we’re both diligent (laughs). Now that I’m voicing her, I do think that I wouldn’t be able to express those parts unless I was similar to her in a way. As for her wicked side…hmm, maybe [I share those traits]? (laughs)
I thought ‘MAYBE!’ (laughs)
Q: It’s been 3 months since the 2nd season started and you’ve finally made your long-awaited appearance. How are you feeling about that?
A: To tell the truth, since there wasn’t an [official] announcement for the longest while, I kind of thought, ‘Perhaps the cast has been changed without me knowing!?’ but thankfully, I have made it into the show (laughs).
I honestly think she’s a good girl at heart
Q: What do you think are Damashigami Renge’s charms?
A: H~~~mmm~~♪ The reason I was attracted to Renge-chan was because of the gap between her looks and what she’s like inside! Her looks are immaculate, like a gentle Yamato Nadeshiko..but contrary to expectations, Renge-chan is more rotten to the core than anyone else (laughs). But I do honestly think that she’s a good girl at heart. It’s my own selfish belief that she’s the way she is because she’s accepted her fate of being forced to work for the Damashigami Company.
Q: Do you think you could be friends with someone like Damashigami Renge?
A: Friends huh….! It’d be fun to just observe her but being friends might prove to be too hard. But on the other hand, I feel like I might want to attract her attention. It’d probably a bit of a pain if you’re around her age but as Renge-chan is younger than I am, I think I could be friends with her.
A wicked lady who learns through trial and error
Q: What, to you, is the most important aspect of acting as Damashigami Renge?
A: I do try to deliver verbal abuse in a not-so-harsh way that won’t make you hate her. It’s hard to put it in words, but it’s kind of like I’m trying to soften the edges of her harshness…Rather than letting rip, I try to be careful to hurl out torrents of abuse in a tasteful manner. It’s all trial and error but I’m enjoying myself; I hope I’m able to portray Takahashi Rumiko-sensei’s type of female antagonist well.
It was fun to act without inhibitions (laughs)
Q: Now that you’ve made your appearance, which of the show’s characters have left an impression on you?
A: For now, I’d say Ageha-chan. Well, not Ageha-chan herself, but rather, the Ageha-chan who gets entangled with Renge-chan (laughs). During recordings, the [sound] director said to me, ‘Go ahead at full force whenever you’re with Ageha’ (laughs). I had fun expressing Renge’s feelings without inhibitions!
I want to show you the cute side of Renge
Q: Are there any characters that you’d love to be involved with in the future?
A: Of course, it has to be Kain-sempai ♡ I’ve mostly been using an evil-yet-sickly sweet tone up ‘til now but [with Kain] there would a different type of voice required and I’m feeling both anxious and excited about that. I’d like to show [everyone] the genuinely cute side of Renge, all meek and shy.
I’d say everything, but if I were forced to choose, it’d be…
Q: What do you find attractive about Kyokai no RINNE?
A: Everything about it— ♪It’s hard to express with just one word! Each character has their own unique worldview and there are plenty of places where you see the humorous atmosphere featuring nice jokes and comebacks but personally, I’d like people to pay attention to the lovelines! What are Rinne’s feelings for Sakura truly like? Stuff like that.
I want to be someone who works behind the scenes, therefore…
Q: As a seiyuu, what do you consider your creed?
A: To ensure that “I” am never visible [in my characters] – that’s important to me. Ideally, I would like for people to be unaware that I am the one who is voicing a certain character, until they see the end credits roll. This is merely my own opinion, but I believe that ‘knowing’ what someone is like could affect part of the perspective of the individual watching the anime. This is why I’d rather be someone who just works behind the scenes.
Persistence will pay off (laughs)
Q: What was your turning point as a seiyuu?
A: This is a story from when I first started getting jobs regularly. One day, in a certain studio, I was asked out of blue, ‘Could you do the voice for a fat boy?’. I was supposed to voice a thin boy that day and that request sort of threw me off a bit but I quickly thought, ‘Let me just try to do this to the best of my ability!’ and the moment I said my lines earnestly, the recording booth erupted in laughter.
At first I thought I’d performed badly but Sugita Tomokazu-san who was there, said to me “That was interesting” and only then did I realize that people had enjoyed what I’d done. I believe it was because of that led a staff member to comment that ‘Surprisingly, Ishigami can pull off quite a variety of characters can’t she?’. And after that, I gradually started seeing an increase in the number of jobs I received. At the time I realized that I am not the type who is blessed with natural talent nor can I pull off characters that are intentionally outstanding. Even if I’m not able to throw a breaking ball, as long as I tackle everything diligently, when the time comes – I will get picked.
Checking my dictionary on the streets
Q: Over the course of your daily life, has there been anything that makes you think – Ah, this could be an occupational disease?
A: When I’m out in public and I hear certain words being spoken with a dubious accent, I’ll pull out my dictionary on the spot. Though I don’t do that in front of my friends. Nor do I deliberately correct them (laughs). They’d probably think I’m an annoying person so I’ll just quietly think to myself ‘I think that guy just said that word with the wrong accent’ (laughs)
I was seriously working towards becoming a magic user!
Q: Are there any NHK anime that you remember fondly?
A: Card Captor Sakura. Watching Sakura made me think that I’d be able to use magic someday – I was seriously working towards becoming a magic user. Actually, Sakura was also the show that made me aware of the existence of the seiyuu profession. So perhaps, if I became a seiyuu and was able to use magic in an anime…that would be another story about how I started off on this path towards becoming a seiyuu.
It is my dream to appear in a kids’ anime
Q: If you could appear in any NHK programme, what would it be?
A: I’d say Nintama Rantaro. Appearing on a kids’ anime is one of my dreams. I’d like to play a kunoichi. Obviously anything besides a kunoichi would be fine too, be it an animal or so on. I’ll probably cry if I ever make it onto the show (laughs).
If only to catch a glimpse – the future, but to stay – the past!
Q: If you could get in a time machine, would you prefer to go to the past or the future?
A: If only to catch a glimpse, I’d go to the future. I want to take a look at myself 10 years from now; check out what kind of person I’ve become in the future. If things don’t look good then I would just have to work extra hard starting from present time! If I had to go to either [past or present] and stay, then I’d choose the past. Back to when I was an 18-year old high school graduate. I would still choose to become a seiyuu, but I do wonder how my life would turn out if the me of ‘now’ went back [and relived those days] (laughs)
A job where you breathe life
Q: To you, what is a ‘seiyuu’?
A: Hmm. I’m probably not qualified to say this myself, but [a seiyuu]’s job is to breathe life [into a character]. To bring a character to the fore, to make him or her as attractive as possible…it is that kind of work.
I want her to be happy
Q: What sort of future developments are you looking forward to for Renge?
A: I would like for her to be hooked up with Kaito-sempai, for them to get married. It’s a fact that Renge-chan has ‘til now, only gone through pitiful experiences. That is why I wish for Renge-chan to be truly happy.