Last up, our main pairing – hero Zero Two (Tomatsu Haruka) & heroine Hiro (Uemura Yūto)…just kidding…well not really. All the other partnerships’ interviews are formatted Heroine x Hero (ie Ichinose Kana/Ichigo x Umehara Yūichirō/Gorō) except for Uemura Yūto x Tomatsu Haruka…so make of that what you will!
Impression of each other’s voice as heard through the characters
Q: The series has finally started airing – what are your impressions of each other’s voices?
Uemura: I did not know what kind of aura Zero Two would have until episode 1 began. Once we started exchanging words, I could hear that even though Zero Two is meant to be the heroine who’s cool, there’s an side of her that’s like an animal and yet, she’s also innocent. Position-wise, I did think that you might see her as the older sister type.
But in all honesty, Zero Two’s a tough one to handle and during recording, [everyone] with Director Nishigori included as well, we were thinking a lot about the various ways her lines could possibly be read. That is why she’s such a mysterious character, and I believe Tomatsu-can expressed that air of mystery and incomprehensible nature of hers very well; all I could do was follow after her, filled with the same feelings of confusion as Hiro.
Q: So you’ll confidently become the heroine? (laughs)
Uemura: I entrusted myself to her (laughs). Acting-wise, she was pulling me along as well – I relied on her a lot.
Zero Two: Thank you! (blushes)
Q: I hear Tomatsu-san’s acting comes with a side of extreme body movements?
Uemura: Yes it does! Tomatsu-san, you move about a lot, don’t you?
Tomatsu: Director Nishigori mentioned that to me as well (gesticulates, reproducing what happened in the studio)
Uemura: From the time of that hotpot party, Tomatsu-san’s movements have become a key talking point (laughs). When I don’t have any lines, I’ll just sit back and watch Tomatsu-san move about and it’s all I can do to stop myself from laughing.
Tomatsu: It’s interesting to observe all that in a calm manner, isn’t it?
Q: You just recreated a scene from the studio – where you face the monitor and pretend to punch it.
Tomatsu: I actually do it for real. It’s just another Tomatsu kinda thing (laughs). Of course, it depends on the role at hand but I tend to do the same thing my character is doing, unconsciously. When she runs, I run; if she gets pumped up during battle & it’s like she’s tearing out her limbs, I’m probably doing the same – it’s not like I’m purposely setting out to do that though. I’m not really aware of what I’m doing so I get told ‘You were amazing today’ quite a bit. But it seems I just about manage to prevent myself from making any sound as I’m moving about.
Q: I’m worried about whether you might end up straying too far from the mic.
Tomatsu: I’ll leave my face there while the rest of my body moves around. My face is the fulcrum on which [my body] turns (laughs)
Q: On the other hand, how do you, as Zero Two, see Hiro?
Tomatsu: The series starts off with our respective monologues , and when I heard Hiro’s voice I thought, ‘Oh, that’s Hiro!’ – it fitted in right away. When I heard Hiro’s kindness and innocence in Uemura-kun’s voice, it sent a shiver down my spine.
Zero Two had her eye on Hiro from the moment they met, and you could say that I related to her feelings. With just one word she ends up declaring “I like you!” and I was able to grasp those emotions, which meant I had no problem in engaging Hiro. So I think that I was being supported [by Uemura] as well. Her character runs wild all the time and sometimes, she barely even listens to what other people say; I do believe that the gentleness of Hiro’s voice enveloped her and saved her.
Uemura: I’m happy to hear that. Happy, but embarrassed (blushes)
Talking about Hiro’s lack of response to Ichigo’s kiss!
Q: Looking back on episodes 1-3, what were the memorable scenes for you?
Uemura: Obviously, the parts where I get toyed around with by Zero Two are memorable, but I do like how you can see the relationships between the Children becoming clearer from episode 2 onward. I interact with Ichigo quite a lot, so I guess the 2nd episode with Ichigo? That ‘I don’t feel anything…’ when she kisses him though!
Tomatsu: He was such a jerk (laughs)
Uemura: He was horrible! Definitely horrible! Hiro can be like that sometimes. He charges ahead without thinking about anybody else’s feelings – I guess he’s a bit insensitive. Ichigo’s a childhood friend, an irreplaceable presence since they became close to each other; while Gorō’s also a close friend who understands him, and that becomes a key point in the future…but that part in the 2nd episode where we see them trying to figure out what a kiss means – I do think it’s important.
Q: You’ve got to feel sorry for Gorō though.
Uemura: Of course. Gorō’s really…
Tomatsu: He’s the one you feel the most sorry for.
Uemura: [We] say that all the time don’t we? That it must be tiring to be Gorō.
Q: What about you, Tomatsu-san?
Tomatsu: I think episode 3 is where you get to see the horror of Zero Two. From Hiro’s perspective she doesn’t seem like such a bad person; though the people around him warn him, Hiro still finds himself drawn to her. But when Mitsuru rode Zero Two and ended up coming out [of battle] on his deathbed, the episode ends with a ‘Oh crap, the rumours are true!’ kind of mood, with [Zero Two] emerging in a state that invokes fear and madness. I was instructed to do that a lot, actually.
Depending on your viewpoint, she’s not actually a bad person per se – though to be fair it wouldn’t be wrong to describe her as a bad kid either. I was asked to play her with the intention of making it seem like she’s trying to break free [of something]. So I do think episode 3 ended on a chilling note.
Q: Still, it’s that kind of Zero Two that Hiro’s obsessed with, isn’t he?
Uemura: Hiro’s attraction towards her is growing, though he’s not aware of it.The feeling that he can’t survive without Zero Two around too, is getting stronger.
Q: What are the rest of the highlights?
Uemura: In episode 4, there is a scene where Hiro and Zero Two shout together – I thought it was good at showing the sense of partnership between them, so I hope you’ll see that.
Tomatsu: The highlights will keep on coming. The spotlight’s on Hiro and Zero Two’s relationship at first, but the relationships between the other Children also undergo big changes. The awakening of various emotions within the Children as they go through the process of growing up forms the main theme of the series. By placing Zero Two in the midst of these Children who grew up together, the relationships within the group may change – I hope you will watch the show whilst thinking about the world that they live in.
The more of this series you see, the more you will understand it. Hence it is important that you not miss a single episode. Everything is essential, each character gets his or her own turn in the spotlight, so don’t miss them out. It is a series that will get you thinking.
Q: I am looking forward to the relationship between Ichigo and Zero Two.
Tomatsu: Oh hmm~. They don’t get along~ (laughs). Ichigo does clash with her quite often. She snaps at her, so that explosiveness is something to look forward to. I’m thinking the viewers will be seeing it from the perspective of Ichigo and perhaps, believe that they actually get along well despite fighting. It gets really heated (laughs) There’s a scene where Ichigo lets her emotions out and that’s a highlight as well.
Q: So Tomatsu-san, you’re battling rookie Ichinose Kana-san while thinking ‘she’s cute’ at the same time.
Tomatsu: She really is cute! But when Kana-chan stands in front of the mic she switches on instantly. When she’s in her seat during break times she’ll be going ‘I’m nervous, but I want to get along well with all of you!’, but she completely turns into Ichigo the moment she performs – it makes me think, ‘Ah she’s so amazing, this is what an actress is, she can act without reservation’… (laughs)
Q: She gets used to Zero Two. She wants Hiro to clarify the situation.
Uemura: Hiro’s being Hiro, he’s trying hard in his own way but still, he has the tendency to get twisted around [Zero Two’s] little finger…
Q: You mentioned the hotpot party earlier – everyone else has brought it up as well.
Uemura: It was in Shibuya during the Halloween period so we got to see all these amazing cosplays. Tomatsu-san would be imitating [the cosplayers], and the more alcohol entered her system the more pumped up she became, and her movements followed suit. That was a talking point…I was sitting right across her and I’d never laughed so hard in my life before that.
Q: It’s probably par for the course for you isn’t it, Tomatsu-san?
Tomatsu: Yeah it’s totally normal for me! I’m usually hyper anyway, so the more excited I get the wilder my movements become and before I know it, the people around me will have started to avoid me. But it’s because Kana-chan said ‘I want to get along well with everyone!’ that those who were available decided to get together for that hotpot party, and I had a lot of fun.
I said to Kana-chan, ‘Since we have this opportunity, let’s get you to sit in the middle’ and we had the conversation revolve around Kana-chan as much as possible. It’d be great if my gesticulations help to put others at ease but if it ends up making people think ‘she’s annoying’, then I’m sorry (laughs)
Uemura: You did bring relief to my heart (laughs)
[Interview & Words: Tsukagoshi Junichi]