[Interview] PASH! 2020/6 Edition – Saito Soma & Shimazaki Nobunaga – The Frustrating and Realistic Glimmer of Youth

Published: 2020/5/9

Saito Soma (Inui Kazuomi in Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare)
Shimazaki Nobunaga (Yamamoto Rio in Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare)

Suzuki Marika (Ichihara Yuna in Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare)

They thought they’d been given the opposite roles

Q: First, what are your impressions after reading the scenario?

Nobunaga: All of the characters felt very human; it was interesting how it constantly made you think “Yeah, people are like this” or “People like this do exist.” Sakisaka-sensei’s manga must’ve become this popular because many people could relate to the realistic characters. Since it depicts youth drama in addition to the romance, I wanted to be involved ever since the audition.

Soma: First of all, I think the title is wonderful. It contains the work’s essence, and the work itself does a really good job of depicting when things aren’t going well. Taking one step forward and two steps back, thinking you conveyed your feelings but it didn’t get across… but, the real world we live in is one where we’re constantly repeating that forward and back cycle. It really makes you feel “This is what real life is like.” My own teenage years aside, I thought it was wonderful how this work reminds me that my current self is also in this situation.

Q: What did you think when you found out you’d been cast as Rio and Kazuomi?

Nobunaga: Both of us auditioned for both characters, and when the results came in, they first told us the names of the cast we’d be working with. They told me “You’re with Soma-kun.”

Soma: I was told “You’re with Shimazaki-san.”

Nobunaga: When I heard that, I figured that Soma-kun was Rio, and I was Kazuomi.

Soma: I also went “Nobunaga-san is Kazuomi, huh? Makes sense~!” *laughs* And then they said “It’s the other way around.”

Nobunaga: Wasn’t it surprising?!

Soma: That was my first impression.

Q: It was an unusual casting for you two, right?

Nobunaga: I assumed that Soma-kun was more of a Rio, but when we actually did it, his Kazuomi was a perfect fit.

Soma: I trusted in their decision, and when we did the recording, it was interesting how well it worked.

Q: Indeed. How did the recording go?

Nobunaga: We talked about how the casting was unexpected, but actually, I can relate more to Rio. Rio ponders things but ends up acting based on emotion, and I’m the same way. Both Soma-kun and I are the type to think before acting, but after falling into that thought loop, my desire to take action will win out in the end, while Soma-kun is the type that places importance on his thoughts. In that sense, I think Kazuomi does resemble Soma-kun.

Soma: At first, Kazuomi comes off as really open and friendly, but he gets stiffer from overthinking things and ends up not being able to do anything. When I read the original manga, I thought that Kazuomi was difficult to grasp, but the film depicts his state of mind in a clearer way, so I was able to synchronize with him during the recording.

Q: What scenes were memorable for you?

Nobunaga: The scene where Rio realizes his feelings at the culture festival. Even though the girl he likes is right beside him, he runs off to make sure he follows the proper order.

Soma: It’s just like him not to confess there.

Nobunaga: Exactly! And for the confession scene afterwards, he was all worn out from running around, and I loved how his dedication took precedence. It’s one of the things I’ve always wanted to act out, so I had a lot of fun doing it.

Soma: The final scene with Akari was memorable, but I also thought Suzuki Marika-san’s acting when Yuna says “I like you Rio-kun, so reject me” was wonderful. I was touched by Yuna’s integrity.

Q: Thank you. Lastly, please give a message for the readers looking forward to the film.

Soma: I hope this film will reach a wide range of people, whether they’re currently in this springtime of life themselves, or will be entering it soon. I think that people our age will also find it touching and reminiscent of the past.

Nobunaga: Yeah, I think it’ll be a touching film regardless of what your current situation is. It’ll make you feel optimistic, so please give it a watch.

Yuna or Akari: Which is your type?

Nobunaga: For me, it’d be Yuna-chan. Now that I’m an adult, Yuna-chan looks radiant because she has what I don’t. Perhaps having such an honest person with me would influence me and bring back my pure feelings. Of course, Akari-chan is honest too, but I like the “inexperience” in Yuna-chan’s honesty.

Soma: Akari is more of my type, but I agree with Nobunaga-san that Yuna-chan’s pure honesty is lovely. Personally, I find myself oddly attracted to Akari’s clumsiness in how she thinks too hard about doing her best and ends up not being able to act. I think it’ll be exciting when that clumsiness is cleared away and we get to see the real her, and I want to see that happen, so I suppose I’m in the Akari camp.