Saito Soma (Tama in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Ono Kensho (Pochi in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Hatano Wataru (Gon in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
“Come out, my cute voice! Please, be cute!”
Q: What did you think when you found out that the characters from Tama & Friends ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~ were going to be anthropomorphized in the anime?
Kensho: I thought it was going to be cute, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine what kind of show it’d be *laughs*
Soma: Anthropomorphized works are common these days, but using a pre-existing series with a rich history seemed like an interesting challenge. That said, it’s not like Tama and Pochi are acting like humans–they’re simply performing cat and dog actions in human form. For example, Tama is true to his instincts, and will quickly lose interest in something and move on to the next thing, even if it was him that suggested it in the first place *laughs* Even if he looks like a person, he doesn’t watch what he says like we do, so I thought it’d be better not to base my acting on a human perspective. So, ever since the audition, I’ve been speaking as a cat.
Kensho: Yeah, that makes sense. Like Soma-kun said, the actions and dialogues written in the script were all from a cat or dog perspective. So, I also acted my lines intuitively without any implications.
Soma: I think that’s the interesting thing about Uchitama?!. If you watched Episode 1, I’m sure you would’ve felt it too.
Q: Is it difficult to speak without implications?
Soma: It’s not easy, but it’s actually very simple. It’s like, if they say they’re happy then they’re happy; if they say they’re scared then they’re scared. We didn’t have to manipulate our voices for that extra layer, so instead, our mindset during the recording was, “I need my high voice to come out today!” *laughs*
Kensho: “Come out, my cute voice!”
Soma: “Please, be cute!”
Kensho: That was the only thing *laughs*
Q: I see *laughs* How was the recording for Episode 1?
Kensho: At first, I thought it was going to be a cute, relaxing story about cats and dogs playing together. But when I got the script, my reaction was “Holy crap, this is surreal. What is this?! This is hilarious!” And the whole cast was messing around more than I expected, so I suddenly got really excited *laughs*
Soma: Everyone thought the same thing. We wondered how far we could go with the gags, and the staff asked us to bring out the big guns, so we went all-out *laughs* The main theme was supposed to be “healing,” but there’re different kinds of healing, so it was fine. It was mischievous in a good way–did it make you go “Huh? Is that kid okay?”
Soma: Tama and Pochi are the “cute” representatives, but that doesn’t mean they’re solely dedicated to being cute. And Beh… Beh is… Where the heck did he get pulled out from? *laughs*
Kensho: He’s truly amazing.
Soma: The production side also said that Beh greatly exceeded their expectations.
Kensho: Was he not what they expected?
Soma: It’s more like, we were astonished by Beh’s role in Episode 2, but his character itself hadn’t been solidified at the time.
Kensho: I see, so they powered him up this time. Beh is dangerous… He defies all logic *laughs*
Q: Are you a fan of Beh?
Soma: Yes. I like all of the characters of course, but Beh had the most impact. At the recording studio, everyone was like, “That’s what they meant by ‘eccentric’?!” I wonder what the viewers will think…
Kensho: I think they’ll be lost for words *laughs* Episode 2 gets straight to the craziness.
Soma: Part B is a must-watch. I think watching that will tell you what the true essence of Uchitama?! is.
Kensho: It’s got everything, after all.
Soma: By the way, Gon and Kuro are pretty eccentric in Part B too *laughs* Gon’s in that older brother position, and he explains things in a different way from Nora, but he speaks in Kansai dialect. His voice actor Hatano-san is from Nagano, and his script is crammed with intonation markings for Kansai dialect. I thought it was really cool how Hatano-san had those thorough preparations.
Kensho: Aside from the mysterious Beh, I also like Tora’s owner, Tomekichi. His way of speaking is really entertaining and has a good flavour to it.
Soma: Indeed *laughs*
Uchitama is Third Street’s multi-protagonist story
Q: What were your impressions of Episode 1?
Kensho: All of the voice actors had to voice their cat/dog versions in addition to their human versions, so it was interesting seeing everyone’s different approaches. The task was sprung on us without warning, so I couldn’t prepare in advance. Please understand how hard I had to try.
Soma: Everyone did their best. Honestly, I thought Takeshi-kun had it hard, but it made me think, “Wait, what about Tama?!” *laughs*
Kensho: Are you sure this is Tama’s story and not Takeshi-kun’s? *laughs*
Soma: The title is Uchitama, but it’s actually a multi-protagonist story revolving around everyone on Third Street. There are many parts that Tama doesn’t appear in.
Kensho: Indeed. There are also times when you don’t know where Pochi is either.
Soma: So, please look forward to Episode 2 and beyond.
Q: Nora’s presence stood out quite a bit in Episode 1, huh?
Kensho: Nora exists between the pets and humans that live on Third Street. It was through him that the anime depicted the dangers of a cat sneaking under the car hood, thus giving the social message that cats aren’t just cute and playful–there are dangers involved as well. Hopefully, it encourages people to knock on their car hoods in the winter.
Q: If you could transform into a dog or cat, what would you do?
Kensho: I’d like to live freely as a stray cat, although I think it would be hard to secure food and deal with enemy animals. I wonder what it’d be like to go to a populated place and have people calling me cute? That sounds like it’d feel really good *laughs*
Soma: I’d want to be a cat too, because they say that cats can see things that people can’t. I want to see what the world looks like from a cat’s point of view. I also want to be owned by a wealthy family and live in luxury.
Q: Can you give us a message for the readers who are looking forward to Episode 2 and beyond?
Kensho: I think a lot of people will find it different from what they were expecting, but there are a lot of stories in Episode 2 and beyond that are must-watches, so please look forward to them. It’s not exactly foreshadowing, but look forward to Bull’s interesting development from the seed planted in Episode 1.
Soma: It’s hard to summarize Uchitama?! in a single genre, but Episode 1 contained several parts that showed various sides of the characters, so I hope the viewers felt refreshed by it. At the very least, we voice actors are laughing and giving it our all every week, and I hope our fun atmosphere came through. It’s way too crazy, and I honestly have no idea where it’ll end up!
Kensho: The producer said it could keep going for 10 years.
Soma: It’s possible *laughs* Please continue to support Uchitama?! forever.