Category Archives: Shimono Hiro

#145 – Isekai Shokudo Guest Note 4P: Shimono Hiro x Ueda Reina

Part 4 of the Isekai Shokudo Guest Note series features Shimono Hiro (Sirius Alfade) & Ueda Reina (Adelheid).

The highlight scenes of episode 3 as recommended by the 2

Q: Please tell us your thoughts looking back on episode 3.

Shimono: The dishes seem really delicious and it made me feel like eating meat sauce [pasta] and a parfait. I look forward to seeing what kind of items turn up on the menu in the future. I’m not around for all the episodes so I hope to get to appear more from now on! (laughs)

Ueda: It was just pure bliss…. I was happy to see how [they] made such important memories and found something to love – it was such a wonderful story that made me hungry, yet satisfied my heart.

Q: What were your favourite scenes or highlights from episode 3?

Shimono: When Sirius discovers the secret of Alfade Company and points it out to Thomas – a sudden shadow is cast over Thomas. To be honest nothing bad actually happens but the sinister feeling of that scene is a personal favourite of mine.

Ueda: I’ve got to go with the scene where I order the chocolate parfait and it arrives at my table. When I imagine myself as Adelheid, who can’t bear to eat that fluffy-as-clouds chocolate parfait, I just…got really excited.

Q: What are your impressions of the series after reading the original novels, and now that you’re actually acting in the anime?

Shimono: It’s nice to see such a worldview…where reality and fantasy blend together. I’ve always liked playing RPGs myself so I’d love to visit such a restaurant if it existed for real. Obviously I’m curious about the food but even more so in the individuals who patronize the place.

Ueda: I developed a fondness for chocolate parfaits…or I should say, I just wanted to eat it! That’s the kind of grand food reporting it turned out to be. Reading the script is a lot of fun, I get really hungry.

Q: What are your impressions of the character you play?

Shimono: Sirius is a normal young man…honestly he seems more of a boy, yet he possesses sharp insight. He spots the connection between his grandfather and this restaurant from another world, and his ability to analyse dishes is amazing…! You wouldn’t normally be analysing your pasta that much when you’re eating it. That’s why I tried to put more emphasis on his passion for the food rather than on his personality for my performance.

Ueda: She is the princess you’d expect her to be. She’s soft-spoken and is the type of woman who owns more than she knows what to do with. She may appear reserved but she has an unbridled curiosity about her which is part of what makes her attractive.

Q: What do you think of Master?

Shimono: He may seem a bit cagey but he is a good man. It’s quite strange though, that a person who can make so many different dishes that can touch so many people, is the owner of such an ordinary restaurant. Also…I wonder how old he is.

Ueda: He’s gentle and warm, befitting of the owner of such an establishment. He has the composure of a culinary expert!

Favourite sweets; the best noodle dishes

Q: Adelheid was impressed by eating the chocolate parfait – do you have any favourite sweets, or any sweets you’re currently hooked on?

Shimono: I quite like soft-serve ice cream and I’ll buy some if I come across it. I’ve also developed a fondness for Japanese sweets lately. Daifuku, dango – stuff like that. On the other hand I’m not really into things with fresh cream…my age is showing (laughs)

Ueda: I like Japanese sweets. Especially dango, ahh…. Soy sauce, mitarashi, sesame, red bean paste…the variations are endless, I love them all.

Q: The Alfade family specializes in selling pasta – what do you think is the best noodle dish of them all?

Shimono: It’s hard to choose…. Pasta, Chinese-style noodles and Japanese-style noodles all have their own good points. I’d make my pick depending on how I felt that day so there’s no way I could choose the ‘best’. I do think though, that udon has many easy variations so in that sense, udon might be the ‘best’ for me.

Ueda: Hmm, maybe cold noodles….no matter how full I already am, I still feel like I want to and could eat it – that’s cold noodle dishes. I’d like to try out different cold noodle dishes so that I can make comparisons; build up a Cold Noodles guidebook in my head.

Q: In alternate worlds, there is a strange door that leads to Nekoya – if you were to open a door to arrive at some other place, where would you like it to lead to?

Shimono: It’s tempting to use the door to instantly move between work and home but if I really had the choice to go wherever I wanted once a week, even if for just an hour, I’d like to visit famous scenic spots around the world. I’ve been thinking lately that it would be better for me to go to places I wouldn’t normally have the chance to.

Ueda: My parents’ home. If I could slash the travelling time between (here and) my hometown in Toyama prefecture to zero… I’d get to see their faces everyday…! Toyama has lots of delicious foods such as Japanese glass shrimp [shiro-ebi] and winter yellowtail [kan-buri]. I want to eat them..

The gentle atmosphere in the recording studio that gives you peace of mind

Q: Like in the series, what dish, if any, would you like to adopt as your nickname?

Shimono: I’ve been eating sushi quite a lot recently. Whenever my body craves fish, or when I’m think about what I want to eat – the answer I tend to come up with is sushi. Especially flounder/fluke cured in kelp [hirame no kombujime].. my age is showing (laughs)

Ueda: Tomato…would be an ingredient. Chilled tomato….? I love tomatoes. I want to be called Tomato.

Q: What’s the atmosphere like during recording?

Shimono: The cast list is magnificent – it’s amazing to get to meet people I don’t usually have the opportunity to! We went to a dinner party after recording was completed and at that time, I learned just how the passionate the staff members were about this series, wanting each and every character to have a solid personality of his or her own, which is why the casting went the way it did.

Ueda: Like in Nekoya itself, Suwabe-san and Uesaka-san kindly welcome us [guest cast members] – that is the kind of place it is. The two of them create such a cosy space that you can easily record in, with peace of mind.

Q: Please tell us about the charms and highlights of this series.

Shimono: The charm-point of this series lies of course, in the delicious food, but I am also curious about the kind of races that will appear in coming episodes. A variety of characters will make their appearance and boast about their favourite dishes – that is something worth seeing. Look forward to it!

Ueda: The food that appears in every episode looks so tasty. The power of the visuals and the sound help to draw out the maximum level of lusciousness [from the food] – that is the charm of this series. There will be plenty of ‘foodporn’ moments in the future so please look forward to it!

Q: Please leave a message for the fans as well as for those who have yet to come across the series.

Shimono: This restaurant in another world, where various races taste and tell of the deliciousness of various food and beverages. I would appreciate it if you could check out the developments that await you in the series in the future. And…I’d be happy if Sirius appears more often.

Ueda: The obsession each character has towards food is frightening! Do please, seek out your favourite menu items in this warm, gentle and stylish restaurant. And please do not watch the show if you’re hungry!


Shingeki no Kyojin cast Q&A

An interview with the main cast of the Attack on Titan series, following the completion of recording for the 3DS game Shingeki no Kyojin: Shichi kara no Dasshutsu, released on 11 May by Koei. It is the first adventure game for the series with an original story – Seko Koji is supervising the story with visuals by Wit Studio and partial voice-acting by the anime cast.

6 Questions
1. Thoughts on completing recording
2. Recommended points, impressive scenes or things to look out for from what you recorded
3. Surprisingly different sides of the characters that you saw, or lines that left an impression
4. People or things you’d consider your ‘partner’, any stories that made you feel ‘connected’ to other people
5. 2017 is looking to be exciting with the release of this game & season 2 of the anime. What do you want to achieve or accomplish this year?
6. A message for the fans

Kaji Yuki [Eren Yeager]

1. Thoughts – As it’s an adventure game this time out, I wondered ‘Oh, I might not have to fight so much this time!’ and as I looked over the script I thought to myself ‘Hmm! I might not even have to shout that much any more!’ …but now that recording’s over, my throat is shot… ah, I’d forgotten that this guy [Eren] is a weirdo with a loud voice… (laughs)

2. Recommended scenes – In any case it’s a spinoff story this time, so the presence of a protagonist who’s a member of the 104th Training Corps is memorable. This time you’ll get to see a lot more of expressions Eren normally doesn’t show his colleagues as he’s basically operating with just another person [the protagonist] alongside him. Getting to play an Eren like that somehow gets me buzzing as well (laughs)

3. Different sides – You’ll get to see stills of members of Levi’s squad doing low-level work side by side…that sub-episode about them cleaning up was very impressive (laughs). As always, the Captain is beautifully obsessed with cleanliness.

4. Partners & stories – The bond between the Shingeki no Kyojin members really is quite strong. Not just the cast but also among the staff as well, the director and sound director included – we have built a solid relationship. That is why the studio was like a battlefield.

5. Aims for 2017 – Body building! I want to climb Mount Fuji!

6. Message – It’s an ‘escape adventure’ this time, so I think you’ll be able to feel a different type of excitement compared to previous Shingeki games. Be the protagonist & team-mate of Eren & the 104th Training Corps, join forces with a variety of different characters and escape from your predicament! Look forward to it!

Ishikawa Yui [Mikasa Ackerman]

1. Thoughts – With the game this time being a completely original story and added to the fact that it’s been a while since I’ve recorded anything Shingeki-related, I felt a bit nervous as I was rehearsing at home over whether I could voice Mikasa properly. But when I turned up at the studio on the day of recording and was shown the packaging and in-game illustrations, the images came rushing back – although it’s a spinoff, I was able to perform as the usual Mikasa! After all, Eren is always life to Mikasa…!

2. Recommended scenes – Amongst the various Shingeki-related collaborations we’ve seen so far, there haven’t been too many where we get to guide the users, converse with so many characters or even have proper one-on-one talks with the users. Especially for Mikasa who isn’t the type of character who freely opens her heart; to see her development as the trust builds up between [the user & Mikasa as] partners was unusual to see. Thus I think you’ll get to see sides of her that you don’t normally do. I’d like you to pay attention to that!

3. Different sides – Rather than leaving an impression, this is more something that I’m personally interested in…in the game, the user will select a character and within their storyline, attempt to escape. The script I received contains only the scenes that Mikasa appears in so I’m really curious about what the other characters are like! For example, we have Connie who’s an idiot but always manages to calms things down and it makes me wonder if he can actually cooperate well with the [user’s] protagonist to escape safely… and so on. I’m definitely curious about the characters that rarely act solo!

4. Partners – My script[s]. They’re an actor’s “partner”!

5. Aims for 2017 – To ride a horse. And to get a general medical check-up.

6. Message – Having ‘you’ as a partner, you’ll get to see different sides of various characters that have never been seen before! It’s a game that can be enjoyed by anyone, whether you’re a guy or a girl. By all means, make Mikasa your partner and play around with the world of Shingeki no Kyojin!

Inoue Marina [Armin Arlert]

1. Thoughts – I am happy that I managed to confidently act out the story of Armin and the player(s). Shingeki no Kyojin recordings are always battles, but it was an absolute bloodbath this time around (laughs). Armin’s storyline has a lot of exposition and observations so I feel like I needed a lot more concentration than I normally would.

2. Recommended scenes – Armin is a character who has shown a tremendous range of growth throughout the series so I am always careful to consider what stage he is currently at when voicing the role; this time, I imagined him at a point after Eren has fixed the hole. I think the story will give a glimpse into the direction in which Armin grows going forward. There are times when it may get painful thinking about Armin but the ending was one that made you think that it might be the catalyst for his future.

3. Different sides – I never thought we would get such fanservice-y scenes for each character. However, I was disappointed to discover that the Captain [Levi] who is normally so fond of his tea would be on ‘that’ side instead of ‘our’ side. Is it because he is an adult?

4. Partners & stories – I (arbitrarily) think that the Shingeki members are bound together by bonds similar to those formed by comrades who have survived life-or-death battles together. I believe this confidence will remain unchanging in the future.

5. Aims for 2017 – From spring 2017, the long-awaited second season of Shingeki no Kyojin begins. My biggest aim is to be able to go all out in voicing Armin. Also, I need to go for a medical check-up.

6. Message – The Shingeki no Kyojin franchise has seen many action games up until now but this time, it’s a simulation game so I too am really looking forward to enjoying the storylines of each character. I hope that all of you would play through each path as well. With Season 2 of the anime, we look forward to your support going forward!

Ono Daisuke [Erwin Smith]

1. Thoughts – I said my lines while imagining the tension and heat levels that were present during the anime recording sessions. I’m dreadfully exhausted.

2. Recommended scenes – As a leader, I did put quite a lot of spirit into my instructions and words of command.

3. Different sides – I think the vast amount of information found within is precisely what makes the game such a pleasure. The more you play the game and appreciate those little details, the more new charms you will find in Shingeki.

4. Partners & stories – I just took part in the Shingeki-collaboration real escape game the other day. I could feel the bond between the cast then.

5. Aims for 2017 – Of course I want to have a ‘big hit’. To be able to contribute to that, all I can do is to give my best as an actor.

6. Message – Advance, into a new world of Shingeki no Kyojin!

Kamiya Hiroshi [Levi Ackerman]

1. Thoughts – I was wondering how it would turn out since I have a lot more dialogue here than in the anime, so I am relieved to complete recording without any problems!

2. Recommended scenes – There are familiar scenes and there are scenes that are closer to being gag-like but no matter what, Levi remains as serious as ever so please pay attention to them!

3. Different sides – In the scenes where conversation is being held with the original characters, the content of the dialogue changes a bit depending on the strength of the ‘bond’. However, Levi has such a difficult personality to comprehend that it’s hard to tell the difference!

4. Partners & stories – I do feel the bond between the cast when we’re all in the studio, working towards the same direction to improve the quality of the work! That is the kind of title Shingeki no Kyojin is!

5. Aims for 2017 – For 2017, I’ll be more careful with my health and give my best, more than ever!

6. Message – Please continue to support Shingeki no Kyojin from now on!

Park Romi [Hanji Zoe]

1. Thoughts – The volume of content is…amazing. Let me say that one more time. The volume of content is…amazing.

2. Recommended scenes – What I want you to pay attention to… On the contrary, how would you players like to pay attention to Hanji? That’s what I want you to pay attention to (laughs)

3. Different sides – Hanji appears to only be looking at the Titans but it was truly interesting to see how her comrades are reflected in her eyes.

4. Partners – My beloved daughters (pet dogs) Saran and Mian are awaiting my return so no matter what, I will overcome that battle field!

5. Aims for 2017 – I just want to travel around the power spots and store up energy!

6. Message – Thanks for your continued support. We’re gonna scale up the Shingeki no Kyojin world more and more! Don’t dare take your eyes off Hanji’s “research”!

Taniyama Kishow [Jean Kirstein]

1. Thoughts – I’m stepping into the Titan world after a long absence. It was pretty damn intense.

2. Recommended scenes – I put quite a bit of effort into the scene where Mikasa strangles and nearly drops [Jean] (laughs).

3. Different sides – I think Jean does show growth throughout the story. That makes me glad.

4. Partners & stories – Whenever I feel like things are going really badly, there’ll always be someone who comes along to lend me a hand. That’s what life is like for me at the moment.

5. Aims for 2017 – Move house, a new smartphone, travel overseas.

6. Message – Look forward to it!

Shimono Hiro [Connie Springer]

1. Thoughts – Up until now there have been various projects involving the Shingeki no Kyojin license but few opportunities for Connie to talk as much as he does in this particular work – it felt really fresh and I enjoyed it.

2. Recommended scenes – Basically there are many new discoveries. Memories of family – there are many things that are depicted well. You’ll see many scenes like that so please be sure to pay attention.

3. Different sides – This time you get to see a lot of scenes involving daily life that we’ve not really seen before so it was truly refreshing to see various aspects of the characters, Connie included. It made me feel a little bit joyful.

4. Stories – Recently, a person* in charge of the music of a certain anime work that I auditioned for (& won a role in) turned out to be the composer working on my solo artist activities. I didn’t know that beforehand but when I found out later, I felt like it was a fateful bond between us.

[*note: that person would be Takahashi Ryo, who composed Shimono’s first single Running High and also wrote the music for the ACCA anime as well as being part of ONE III NOTES]

5. Aims for 2017 – Obviously I want to work my hardest for Shingeki no Kyojin this year but since it appears that I will have increasing opportunities to do live concerts when compared to last year, I’m hoping that I’ll pull them off well too. Gonna give my best both for my acting and my singing!!

6. Message – Shingeki no Kyojin will have an exciting 2017 with various projects including the anime. I’d be glad if you could please give Shingeki no Kyojin: Shichi kara no Dasshutsu a play so that you’ll learn more about the various characters and grow to love them even more! Thank you!!

Kobayashi Yu [Sasha Blouse]

1. Thoughts – I am very pleased to have the opportunity to voice Sasha once again. This time, the game has an original story so we have a Sasha that we’ve never seen before and that also allowed me to experience a similar [new] impression. I was really pleased to get to meet that side of my beloved Sasha for the first time ever. At the same time, I took great pleasure in seeing parts of Sasha’s identity blow up so nicely. One thing that can’t be left out when talking about Sasha is “food”. She’s hard at it this time too, and you can see that [obsession] delivered in a couple of variations here. She’s someone whose comically charming side shines through but at the same time she can also be diligent and serious, which makes her a picture-perfect character. I’ll always brace myself when I’m voicing a multi-faceted, charming character like Sasha, handling her carefully to the best of my ability. Thankfully, Sasha plays an active role this time so I am deeply grateful not just as the actor behind the character but also as one of Sasha’s fans. Thank you!

2. Recommended scenes – There are many, but amongst them is a a scene containing a lecture about hunting that I found very impressive. Through that scene I got to see a shining Sasha, demonstrating her cherished way of life as a native of a hunting village. When teaching [others] how to use a bow, Sasha uses a uniquely genius method of teaching. It’s lovely to feel how ‘Sasha-like’ her masterfully wild intuitions are. Seeing the others’ reactions to those lectures gives you a glimpse into the ‘richness’ of each of their characters and it makes me smile.

3.Different sides – The butler & maid café was shocking to me. I’m glad to see that everyone had such such a great time, particularly as they are constantly living in danger. Each character has a distinct personality; it’s a lot of fun and one of the things to look out for. This time around we get to see Sasha experiencing a ‘suspension bridge effect’ like the maidens I admire plus she gets to wear maid clothes as well, showing various expressions for the first time ever. I was deeply impressed by these new charms that Sasha shows and it fills me with excitement.

4. Partners & stories – The time spent together with all of the staff and cast who I am under the care of is important & represents irreplaceable moments for me; I can feel the bond between us.

5. Aims for 2017 – I apologize for having the same goal every year, but I will continue to devote my strength and all I have to every single day in 2017.

6. Message – Thank you to everyone who is looking forward to the game’s release. This is an original story where you, the player, becomes the hero and advances together with the characters as your partner – what a most exciting and tasteful work it is. There is also human drama and moving scenes to be found amidst the fear and urgency of the mighty Titans. While going back-to-back with the crises of life, there remain heartwarming episodes that will make you smile here and there, so you can enjoy the game from that angle as well. I would be happy if you could immerse yourself in the world found within this game. Thank you.

Hosoya Yoshimasa [Reiner Braun]

1. Thoughts – As it’s an original story, I had to spend quite a bit of time taking stock of the situation at hand. I’m happy to have finished recording without incident.

2. Recommended scenes – Maybe the cats… The scene where the cat comes out… objectively speaking, it might be the kind of scene that provokes laughter.

3. Different sides – I still think the cat left the biggest impression. Since it’s an original story, I think it’s fun to see these ‘alternate’ tales, completely separate from the main plot.

4. Stories – When I met up with a friend from my elementary school days for the first time in about a year, he said ‘Long time no see’ to me and we both felt uncomfortable hearing those words. I thought, ‘Ah, so we’re both living our lives feeling the same sort of emotions’.

5. Aims for 2017 – Season 2 will be starting soon. I hope that I can take what I learn from encountering people through my work, to do more as a person. After all, you only live once. I want to enrich myself.

6. Message – It’s a clichéd one but… ‘Dedicate your hearts!’

Hashizume Tomohisa [Bertolt Hoover]

1. Thoughts – It’s been a while since I’ve gone all out in voicing Bertolt. It’s an adventure game so the scenarios are quite detailed so now I get to understand and connect his feelings with the events of seasons 1 & 2 of the anime! And while thinking of that, I realize that season 2 is finally starting soon.

2. Recommended scenes – He always goes together with Reiner so it’s unusual to see him depicted in such a way this time around. From the beginning to the end of the scenario, I would like you to feel the changes and subtlety of his feelings towards the protagonist.

3. Different sides – The title is ‘Escape from Certain Death’ so obviously the content of the main storyline is quite serious but you’ll also get to enjoy sub-stories that are unique to the game; they’ll make you go ‘Eh!? This character or that character does something like that!?’

4. Partners & stories – I’d say buddy but he’s more like a big senior to me; after mentioning that ‘this is the first time I’m taking part in such an event’ during the Shingeki Festival, Kamiya [Hiroshi]-san was a great help to me on stage and came to my rescue when I got stuck during the talk parts. When I felt uneasy about [us] having to take turns to speak individually, I turned to see Kamiya-san’s face on my left and felt relieved.

5. Aims for 2017 – Bodybuilding on a casual level. I did a bit in summer and managed to put on quite a bit [of muscle] but by winter they had evolved into something that wasn’t muscle, so I’d like to take on the challenge again. I’ll try to build more muscle by taking part in active things like bouldering, cycling and so on.

6. Message – Finally, Season 2 is here! It makes me happy just to think that I’ll be able to get into the studio and voice him alongside the rest of the cast. I’ve had the chance to be involved with the franchise in various ways following Season 1 and it’s made me even more excited. The wait has been long enough so please hold on a bit more and look forward to it!

Mikami Shiori [Krista Lenz]

1. Thoughts – As it is an original story there were many new discoveries to be made and I was able to record with a fresh feeling. There were scenes I had never seen before so I had a lot of fun acting.

2. Recommended scenes – The scene where [Krista and] Ymir talk about their respective childhoods got me. I’d be glad if you make sure not to miss how important Ymir’s presence is to Krista, and how Krista continues to grow throughout everything that happens.

3. Different sides – I like the scenes where Connie and Sasha are helping everyone with their studies. It warms me up inside, thinking & wishing that such peaceful times would last forever.

4. Partners & stories – The other guys who always listen to my stories are both my buddies and my comrades. Fujita Saki-san, who voices Ymir, has been very supportive all this while so it is now my turn to become stronger so I can support [her] in return…!

5. Aims for 2017 – Since I’ve always held a driving license, I hope I can get used to driving around in the city center to a point where I can tell people that my hobby is going for drives.

6. Message – There are plenty of charming stories packed in here. I’d be happy if you could choose Ymir and Krista to be your partners so that you can enjoy their story. Thank you!

Fujita Saki [Ymir]

1. Thoughts – Whenever you enter the world of Titans, you need to have a certain amount of preparation for it and what you’ll get out of it is similar to the sense of accomplishment and elation from running a full marathon – it was the same feeling this time. As players you will enter such a world and try to survive together [with us] so being Ymir, I’m able to show a lot of different expressions as well.

2. Recommended scenes – I do want [you] to successfully escape! I work together with Krista so there may be dialogue that the player feels sounds a bit harsh but I hope that you’ll be able to grasp the clumsy tenderness behind her words!

3. Different sides – The butler & maid café. Make sure you check it out. What outfit will Ymir be wearing? Look forward to it!

4. Partners & stories – There are so many that it’s hard for me to single any one out. In Shingeki no Kyojin recordings the staff and cast go all out in making the show together and you can really feel that bond there. Each and every person perseveres and holds on, taking on the challenge of the job with their absolute might; everyone helping to create the story’s worldview. With such an atmosphere you don’t even need to say a word to be able to feel [the strength of] that bond on your skin.

5. Aims for 2017 – I want to get into the habit of exercising, even if only a little bit. (laughs) Go me.

6. Message – Jump into the world of Shingeki no Kyojin through this game that is scheduled to be released on May 11th. If you could also watch the TV anime broadcast at the same time, you’ll be able to feel like you have signed up for the Survey Corps yourself! Please continue to support the increasingly exciting Shingeki no Kyojin!

#140 – ACCA 13: Shimono Hiro & Tsuda Kenjiro

One of my favourite shows from the past winter season was the adaptation of Ono Natsume’s ACCA 13 manga. I was greatly impressed by the way the series’ plot develops (or ‘foreshadowing’ as Shimono puts it), as well as the amazing voice acting talent on display. I hadn’t liked any of Shimono Hiro’s roles since RahXephon!

This interview features the lead pairing of Shimono Hiro (Jean Otus) and Tsuda Kenjiro (Nino) talking about ‘smart masculinity’.

[Interview: Ishibashi Yu]

It looks cool but it’s hot – a quietly burning story

Q: First of all, tell us what kind of series ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept is?

Shimono: The conspiratorial tone forms the axis of the story, and you will see a variety of individualistic male characters, from elegant men to young guys, play a role in the show. You can perceive the stylishness of this series from the visuals and the music, but the usage of foreshadowing and the story’s tendency to move in unpredictable directions makes it something that you’ll want to see over and over again.

Tsuda: I think people who’ve watched the earlier episodes might have an impression of the show as being ‘stylish and trendy’. Towards the conclusion however, turmoil begins to rear its head within the plot and the way the story develops is intriguing. Don’t look down on this anime with disdain thinking that it’s only about its ‘atmosphere’!

Q: You’re 100% right! At first glance it seems like a trendy, atmospheric anime but it turns out to be quite different.

Shimono: That’s true. As the show progresses you’ll find yourself increasingly going ‘Hmm?’; by the end you’ll feel the sudden onslaught of truths being uncovered. You’ll look back on certain parts and think, ‘so that was what was going on there!?’

Tsuda: It feels even truer now that we’re moving towards the conclusion of recording as well. Of course it does seem like a cool series with cool characters, but when you lift the lid up you’ll find that there are fiery parts within as well.

Shimono: Yeah yeah. It has a quietly burning kind of feel to it.

Q: How are you viewing your characters as you progress further through recordings?

Shimono: In the early stages I thought Jean was cool and unshakeable, with a mature impression given the fact that it was hard to read his mind. But as the plot progressed I found that Jean was not the type of person who would act of his own accord. That is exactly why he gets caught up in an array of incidents and by the time he’s realized it, he’s already forced into a crazy position. To be honest, as Nino describes in the anime, Jean is the type to ‘get tangled up’ in things and this is something you’ll see more and more of as we move into the second half of the series.

Q: Certainly, it feels like Jean is allowing himself to go with the flow.

Shimono: However, Jean doesn’t allow himself to get swept away by the currents and instead, he has a firm grasp of who he is at his core even as he comes into contact with various different people. On the surface, he seems like he’s being manipulated by different parties but Jean is in truth, choosing his own path and moving forward. Because he does not verbalize [his thoughts], it makes it appear as if he is being washed away. If you watch the show to its conclusion, I believe you will see for yourself how he is thinking about things in order to draw out the answers.

Tsuda: That’s right. You watch those scenes where Jean looks like he’s merely getting tangled up in stuff happening around him, but when he pulls off that final bold action at the end, you’ll be shivering.

Q: And we have Nino who’s buddies with Jean and with whom he shares many meals. Tsuda-san, how do you feel about playing such a role?

Tsuda: From the start I’d been playing Nino and Crow, the two sides of this enigmatic character. There were many things I did not comprehend, from why he remains silent to the motives behind his actions. As the plot progressed, I learned the truth and I could see the depth of his character being expressed ever clearer.

Q: I see. It seems he shares some similarities with Jean…

Tsuda: That’s right. Like Jean, Nino doesn’t say much but you can tell by his actions that he has a sustained, strong will. He’s not just a cool guy though – Nino has this huge swell of emotions lurking inside him. You could say that Jean and Nino both possess coolness and strength, but in totally different ways. And because of these differing strengths, they are able to combine them to balance each other out.

Shimono: I do feel that they complement each other well. I don’t think either of them has completely grown up yet.

Tsuda: They’re pretty clumsy. The two of them can’t really get along well with other people (laughs)

Masculinity – it’s not something that is created; it’s something that is built up

Q: Now then, let us move into the main theme of this interview. Who and where in the series, did you feel were characters and scenes that displayed ‘smart masculinity’?

Shimono: The character who I feel is cooler in the anime than when I was reading the original manga is ACCA Inspection Division head Owl (CV: Ueda Yoji). He’s in many ways, a smart character. He pretends to show his poor managerial skills but is actually subtly displaying his concern for Lotta. I think it’s wonderful that he can show a girl much younger than him how smart, caring & mature he is, added to the fact that he’s actually able to take action. Especially in episode 9*, he was cool!

*avoiding posting spoilers, but it was a passionate discussion about what Owl did. Please look forward to his actions in the episode airing March 7 onwards!

Tsuda: Speaking of adults, how about the 5 Chiefs*. We’ve never actually seen them at work (laughs)

Shimono: Oh yeah! (laughs)

*Grossular (CV: Suwabe Junichi), Lilium (CV: Yusa Koji), Spade (CV: Okawa Toru), Pastis (CV: Midorikawa Hikaru), Payne (CV: Yasumoto Hiroki) voice the 5 Chiefs of ACCA

Tsuda: You only see them relaxing in the common room or café, holding elegant meetings (laughs). But in fact, they are a super elite group selected from each district and I believe they would’ve demonstrated great determination and shown distinction to climb to that level. I don’t actually feel that kind of effort coming from them at all but I’m sure that they’re all doing a great deal of work away from that meeting room. I can feel that coolness and smartness about them.

Q: They may be smart and cool, but as Chiefs they exude a unique aura.

Tsuda: Seeing such people fills you with resolve as well. As the Dowa Kingdom is made up of a group of districts each with their own ways of thinking, as well as different cultures and customs, you get the impression that it is a gathering of people with leadership qualities close to those of the president and prime minister.

Shimono: I feel like these 5 are the type of people who work while watching their people keenly.

Also, the King (Falke II, CV: Nakao Ryusei) is amazing, isn’t he? Most kings wouldn’t bother doing their rounds around town so casually. He keeps a watchful eye on his citizen’s lives, trying to live together with them without building any walls in between.

Tsuda: His aide Qualm (CV: Ishizuka Unsho) is also exceptional!

Shimono: Oh yeah, he’s really cool!

Tsuda: Yeap. Looking at the series as a whole, it’s filled with a never-ending lineup of cool people, isn’t it?

Shimono: Watching the anime, I feel like this sense of masculinity is not something you could create but rather, it’s something that you build up. I realized that it is possible to equip oneself with good character, goodwill and strength.

Tsuda: The adults who appear in the series may be elegant, cool and smart but I do think that the younger ones do possess such potential themselves. If they continue progressing as they are, they too will become cool adults.

Shimono: I think ACCA HQ deputy Pochard (CV: Goto Hiroki)’s a good guy too (laughs).

Tsuda: Ahahaha. Pochard is filled with Ono Natsume-sensei’s love after all. His name is cool!

Shimono: Oh yeah! His name is good (laughs). He may not be the smartest tool in the box, but his enthusiasm for his job is wonderful.

Tsuda: The leaders of each district of ACCA tend to be younger but still have a sense of responsibility, and I find them all quite eccentric yet interesting. Amongst them, I’m quite fond of ACCA’s Rokkusu branch supervisor Sandpiper. He’s a bit flashy but still a solid guy and it’d be great to have someone like that around (laughs)

Shimono: I don’t know if you’d call them smart, but I find myself drawn to the guys from the Hare district.

Tsuda: Each district has its own colour, which is why I think you can enjoy all of them in their own way.

A man should not say too much…?

Q: ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept is filled with charming characters, but what exactly do you think engenders the ‘coolness’ that these characters exude?

Tsuda: I feel all of them harbour secrets and are filled with their own gruelling thoughts. That’s why I think that you can look at this series as hardboiled [fiction] at its base. There’s this perception that hardboiled means ‘false swagger’; that there is a toughness that will never be displayed openly. I wonder if there is that kind of aesthetic to this show.

It may be that Ono-sensei was deliberately holding back on this in the manga, preferring to depict the situation with art and silhouettes as opposed to text. For example, scenes with Jean smoking or scenes where Grossular is just standing there – I feel like she was imagining a lot of things as she was drawing them. Combining art and dialogue; integrating other elements, results in something that’s stylish, does it not?

Shimono: I don’t say much, basically. Instead of intensifying one’s gaze and movements to express [oneself], I feel that it’s cooler to exude a mysterious aura that would make the other party look at you and think…well, I do believe that men shouldn’t say too much after all (laughs).

Tsuda: It’s because we talk too much (laughs).

Shimono: Yeah I just feel like talking all the time (laughs).

Tsuda: Both the manga and the anime have scenes that I would think of as being like a ‘game’. If you overlook these scenes, you might end up losing track of the flow of the storyline. Conversely, they don’t actually talk about much that is important but they do say a lot of superfluous things. When Jean and Nino go drinking, they talk about nothing at all.

Shimono: That’s right.

Tsuda: They never talk about the important stuff so to me, it’s a bit like a game, whether or not you can pick up on those things. I think that’s an aspect even the director had to hold back on.

Shimono: Especially in Jean’s case. When I got too animated with my expressions and tried to breathe in between, he’d say to me ‘can you not put [a breath] in there?’. My policy during recording was basically to refrain from breathing in & out, even as my line of sight moves or I notice things. In the manga and my scripts, there is dialogue written as ‘…..’ so I wouldn’t do anything for those parts.

Tsuda: But you really do want to breathe in.

Shimono: Maybe in that sense I’m showing ‘false swagger’ (laughs)

All: (laughter)

Shimono: We’re not being ‘smart’ now, are we? (laughs)

Nino and Jean – how much of that atmosphere are they creating themselves?

Q: The opening and ending visuals are cool.

Tsuda: In the opening animation Nino’s dad is actually reflected in his sunglasses but I honestly didn’t realize that when I first saw the footage during recordings. It could’ve gone in an easily comprehensible direction but there are parts that are just about barely hidden, through which you can feel the staff’s enthusiasm and fighting spirit.

Shimono: The ending visuals feature Lotta (CV: Yuki Aoi) dancing – who is she thinking about while she’s doing that?

Tsuda: True, we’d have no idea who!

Shimono: It doesn’t explain why she’s dancing either. It seems like she’s dancing with joy, yet there is a somewhat lonely look on her face and it’ll make you wonder ‘What the heck was that all about?’

Q: How do you actually express those ‘barely hidden’ parts?

Tsuda: Actually, the scene where the king is eating the snowball dessert* features dialogue that continues to echo in subsequent scenes. Nino’s ‘…your gracious words’ line too, has a deeper meaning to it, but I was told to say them casually. The restraint we had to show towards such aspects was what made them ‘barely hidden’ part. We’d do the recordings by trial and error, constantly communicating with the staff in the recording booths.

*From episode 7. When Jean visits the district of Dowa, there is a scene where he goes to buy a ‘snow ball’ as a souvenir for his sister Lotta and runs into the King at the shop, and they eat together.

Shimono: There are moments when you want to act something out in a straightforward manner. Especially scenes with Nino, where I am quite conscious about changing the way I express my lines in response to how Tsuda-san delivers his. Jean is someone who gets tangled up in things; a passive guy basically, so the influence of Tsuda-san’s Nino on him is strong.

Up ‘til now I have put a lot of myself into my work as an actor but this time, I strongly feel that I am the one who is being influenced. It’s like in baseball, when you’re going from being a pitcher to playing catcher. Pretty exciting, I think. Which direction is Tsuda-san going to come at me from? (laughs)

Tsuda: (laughs). For me, my dialogue partners are more or less limited to Jean, Lotta and Grossular so I was fairly conscious about ‘creating’ the atmosphere in the scenes between Jean and Nino. Their verbal exchanges did make me nervous, but I also had a lot of fun. It was like doing conversational dramas; they were interesting scenes to do.

I wish to be…a man who does not say much (lol)

Q: Lastly, what comes to mind when the both of you think of the ‘ideal male image’?

Shimono: I think I honestly wish to be…a man who does not say much at all (laughs)

Tsuda: You’re always talking though! (laughs)

All: (laugh)

Q: In your line of work, there are times when you have to show off – do you ever feel that there are things that you can’t do naturally?

Shimono: Loads (laughs). There are times when I just want to laugh at whatever it is I’m doing.

Tsuda: Yeah yeah. Sometimes you’re trying to put on airs but you end up bursting into laughter (laughs). But you know, as a man, there are times when you just have to act cool.

Shimono: By not talking too much, by being able to accept lots of things.

Tsuda: Isn’t that exactly who Jean is!

Shimono: Nah you’re praising him too much. Jean isn’t that tolerant, I think.

Tsuda: No way, he’s totally tolerant! Nino is a very suspicious guy yet Jean waits for him. Even as he’s waiting, they’ll still go for meals together. It’s a situation where he can choose to put the blame on Nino yet he waits; that makes me admire just how accepting he is. Jean’s amazing.

Q: So your definition of an ‘ideal man’ is someone who doesn’t say much and is accepting.

Shimono: If that was the case, then the King who can laugh and accept anything is amazing. Still, he knows when he needs to show authority, and he does.

Tsuda: The King of course, is who he is because he has his aide Qualm by his side.

Shimono: So that would also mean that there is no Jean without Nino?

Tsuda: Maybe so. Since Jean is a bit oblivious.

Shimono: That’s true. He really is very oblivious.

Tsuda: There may be things that they share in common, these two pairings of the King and his aide, and Jean and Nino.

#110 – Prince of Stride Alternative

Oh yeah I really love my ikemen sports shows – Haikyuu, Ace of Diamond and all that. ‘Stride’ is a dubious attempt at ripping off parkour but I guess I’m not too bothered as long as I get all those cuties slapping each other(‘s hands)! posted a short interview with the Honan boys and girl:
Kimura Ryohei – Yagami Riku
Okamoto Nobuhiko – Fujiwara Takeru
Hanazawa Kana – Sakurai Nana
Ono Kensho – Kohinata Hozumi
Ono Daisuke – Hasekura Heath
Shimono Hiro – Kadowaki Ayumu
Suwabe Junichi – Kuga Kyosuke
Okiayu Ryotaro – Dan Yujiro

Q: Recording for Prince of Stride is progressing steadily at this point – do let us know your thoughts about the show and any words of enthusiasm you may want to share.

Kimura: I was rather worried about having an anime made with so little story to go off, but the results have been really interesting – I have nothing but high expectations going forward.

Okamoto: The visuals in episode 1 were beautiful and the story was interesting as well; it’s a wonderful anime adaptation!! I’ll work hard to make sure that I’m not outdone by the show.

Hanazawa: We were already provided with full-colour visuals for the recording of episode 1 and I was really impressed with how cute Nana-chan was when in motion. The stride matches are so nerve-wracking and enjoyable; they send a shiver down my spine!! I’ll work hard so my acting doesn’t lose out!!

Ono K: It was awsm. Insanely fun!! The matches are just cool. Every week I just think, “it’s so great to be young!” (laughs)

Ono D: Recording for the game was done individually so it’s delightful to be able to see each other’s faces during the anime’s recording; breathing the same air and bringing our voices together. It feels like “youth” all over again.

Shimono: Deary me, I surely won’t have the chance to voice Ayumu in an anime…! I voiced Ayumu without ever thinking about the possibility of an anime, so I was in a bit of a panic! (laughs). But he’s a fun character so I enjoyed playing him!

Suwabe: I just want to get involved in a full-scale war to start as soon as possible! Oh wind, hurry up and give me a good push in the back!

Okiayu: It’s amazing that all our recordings thus far have been done with full-colour visuals! We can feel the enthusiasm of the staff members. Thus, the cast won’t lose out when it comes to passion ♪

Q: Prince of Stride Alternative is all about ‘club activities’. What would you do if you could go back to your student days?

Kimura: Go on dates while wearing my uniform.

Okamoto: Going all-out playing tag. I like the idea of hanging around chatting with the other members after club activities as well.

Hanazawa: I was in a cultural club when I was in junior high so I’d like to join a sports-related club instead. Also, I think it would’ve been great if I’d done a lot more different part-time jobs!!

Ono K: I want to join a sports club, and do it seriously! Or should I say, I want to do stride… (laughs).

Ono D: I played soccer in elementary school for 6 years but I betrayed that love for basketball in junior high. But basketball practice is tiring so I quit within 3 months. Whether it be soccer or basketball, I wish I’d put in the amount of work that someone who wanted to turn pro would. But hey, as a pro seiyuu I can still do sports seriously so I’m happy!

Shimono: I should’ve taken sports and my studies more seriously. Now that I’m older, I really do wish think I paid more attention during things like school trips and so on. Apart from that…I’d like to erase all the mistakes I made in those days.

Suwabe: Study. Languages in particular.

Okiayu: In both junior and high school I ended up quitting club activities halfway through so I’d like to persist with them until my final year!

Q: Please leave a message for the readers.

Kimura: I’ve seen how the visuals have been wonderfully made since recording started, and it’s a show that has action to bring excitement. Please enjoy the various elements including friendship, passion and relationships.

Okamoto: This is a show that moves beyond the boundaries of the typical otome game. You’ll find out just what ‘stride’ is all about so please look forward to it.

Hanazawa: I’d be glad if you could cheer on all (of the characters) who continue to grow through ‘stride’!! Please watch the show!!

Ono K: It’s really cool to see (people) taking up something so seriously. I’m watching the show as well and I feel it’s turning out to be a very good work. Please show your support for Honan Academy!

Ono D: Beautiful art, spectacular action. And their true worth is seen through the sweat and tears. Style x sports. Here lies a burning tale of youth that will appeal to both the young and old and both genders. Come together! Let the pleasant wind blow in your heart!

Shimono: PriSto is just burning hot!! Together, the cast and staff will work to bring the heat across to you! Please enjoy that heat, the exhilaration and the laughs(?)!

Suwabe: Friendship, endeavor and…. Watch as this sports youth story featuring handsome high school students unfolds. Don’t miss it!

Okiayu: You can enjoy this purely as a sports title♪Let’s live like we’re young! The receptionist at my agency lent me the game and I got so into it that I maxed out everything (laughs).
Visit the official anime website here.