More Golden Kamuy: this time we get a short interview with the voice behind the weirdo that kicked off Season 2 – Uchida Yūma, CV of young taxidermist Edogai Yasaku.
Q: Tell us your impressions upon reading the original manga.
A: At first I thought that this was mainly a gourmet-based, ‘food porn anime’. People would just sit around eating delicious meals, saying ‘Hinna hinna’ (laughs). However, after reading the manga and seeing its depiction of the incredible thought processes behind these characters that were waging a war over tattooed human skins, I was very much impressed by the depth of its human drama. Despite this backdrop it’s not endlessly heavy; there are also lots of relaxing scenes where they’re eating food deliciously and the presence of these 2 elements allows you to enjoy the contrasting sides of human lives – it’s one of the series charms for sure.
Q: What was your first impression of Edogai as a character?
A: He was incredibly quirky (laughs). Before I learned about the character in detail, the image I had of him was somewhat coloured by my initial impression of the manga – I thought he was just a normal young man. But as I started reading the story, I realized that he was completely different from what I had imagined. The way he gets so absorbed in taxidermy makes him detached from reality, plus there are scenes where he suddenly bursts out in an explosion of emotions – that was what prompted me to think ‘this guy’s insanely dangerous’ (laughs). You thought he was just having a normal conversation with his mom and it turns out he’s talking to a stuffed doll. That’s just shocking. On the other hand, the reasons why he turned out this way are explained properly, so I wanted to embrace the things that are engraved in his heart throughout my performance.
Q: Was there anything that you were particularly conscious about when it came to voicing Edogai?
A: These may be superficial words, but I’d say that that most people’s eyes tend to turn towards his over-the-top character but they don’t often see what’s hidden inside – a hunger for human affection and people who will acknowledge him for who he is; which are very pure desires at heart. It does feel like he hasn’t ever gotten too deeply involved with other people in his life which is why, when he connects with someone, having that person recognizing him as being ‘wonderful’ allows him to finally feel like he has found a place where he belongs. At the same time, his juvenile communication skills tend to show in his straightforward displays of joy and when he throws tantrums. I was considering whether I could express the purity of the words of a person whose body is that of an adult’s, but has the heart of a child.
Q: Did you receive any specific directions from Director Nanba (Hitoshi) or Sound Director Aketagawa (Jin)?
A: I think that they basically respected my views [on the character] that I brought. I also recall that I was fairly careful about emphasizing his awkwardness at holding conversations and how that changed over the course of his interactions with Lieutenant Tsurumi.
Q: Edogai’s encounter with Lieutenant Tsurumi changed the course of his life; what are your thoughts on working alongside Otsuka (Hōchū)-san?
A: I mean, wow! Lieutenant Tsurumi’s practically got Edogai eating out of the palm of his hand or should I say, Edogai’s completely swallowed up by the commanding presence of Lieutenant Tsurumi but yet, he’s able to make him feel completely at ease. So I was thinking that I should just surrender myself to the flow and ride on the waves of each and every word that came of Lieutenant Tsurumi’s mouth.
Q: Do you think that you found a new side to your acting that you’d not previously been aware of?
A: I’ve never had the chance to play a character with such a wide range of emotions like Edogai before so I had fun with the part. I was glad that I was able to play such a role – the good-natured aspects of his character included.
Q: What’s the mood in the recording studio like?
A: I’s filled with experienced actors so it’s amazing to watch how everyone clicks into gear when it’s show-time. The mood is normally quite pleasant but once we actually started recording and everyone moves into position, you can feel how the studio turns into a well-oiled, compact machine at the snap of a finger. As the series itself contains fairly deep and heavy elements, the quick switch between moods in the studio is rather remarkable.
Q: Were there any memorable stories from your time in the studio?
A: I talked a lot with Takemoto (Eiji)-san, who voices Seargent Tsukishima. We had a lot of fun chatting about silly things like how we both liked spicy foods, stuff like that (laughs)
Q: Lastly, please leave your impressions and a message of appreciation to the fans.
A: Edogai-kun is a really expansive character – you think he’s just messing about at first but he turns out to be dead serious; I think that purity is what makes him endearing. He openly says the kind of things that normal adults wouldn’t dream of; the kind of emotional switch that Edogai-kun has inside him is what made the role so refreshing and fun to play. I’m sure viewers too will be surprised by the rapid developments; how he suddenly appears and then meets his maker by the following episode (laughs).
Q: This series does have a penchant for introducing dangerous characters, have them inflict painful scars over the course of a couple of episodes, and then dispose of them. Edogai’s one of them too, it seems.
A: That’s right. So in that sense, I’m really excited about seeing how my performance is perceived. I hope that everyone will remember the craziness of this guy who crowns the premiere of Season 2 and at the same time, continue enjoying the broadcast of this anime until the end.