Shirai Yusuke (Amemura Ramuda in Hypnosis Mic)
Saito Soma (Yumeno Gentaro in Hypnosis Mic)
Nozuyama Yukihiro (Arisugawa Dice in Hypnosis Mic)
※There were also interviews with the composers/lyricists/anime production staff and cast comments from the other divisions, but only Soma-relevant mentions will be translated here.
The human expressions peeking out from Shibuya’s deep chasm
—How was the impact of finally seeing Hypnosis Mic in animated form?
Shirai: Since it’s not just the hypnosis speakers that are shown, but also the damage they inflict on their opponents, it gives a sense of realism. It was a refreshing surprise to see how much of a “battle series” it was all along.
Saito: It’s made using an additive approach, with flashy enemies and flashy effects. Also, by adding visuals to the already-cool battles, it made me understand how rich the characters’ facial expressions were.
Nozuyama: The story is easy to understand too, so I think the anime will be a way to reach a broader audience, like elementary schoolers.
Shirai: Shibuya Division in particular is colourful, so you can recommend them to young children too.
Saito: The target age demographics are expanding *laughs*. But I guess it’s true that Shibuya Division’s catchiness makes them easy to get into. The anime has both radical innovation and traditional passion.
Shirai: Shibuya’s the only division that didn’t have a battle in Episode 1, though. They were rapping to make money. *laughs*
Saito: Well, Shibuya Division’s always been talking about money since the drama track from the very first CD.
—What did you feel in each episode with regards to your characters?
Nozuyama: As they’ve pointed out *laughs*, Dice truly never changes, or rather, it seems like he’s always borrowing money. I think the anime also conveys that he’s a “lovable idiot”—a troublemaker and the life of the party.
Shirai: Dice is an honest, good guy.
Nozuyama: Right! It’s great how he always gives his all! Seeing him animated made me think, “Dice really does love Ramuda and Gentaro.”
Saito: Similarly, Gentaro still randomly changes his personal pronoun and tone of speech in the middle of conversations, but I was also asked to tone it down from the drama tracks. In the anime, Ramuda and Dice are the energetic types, while Gentaro is a balancer who takes a step back and watches them. Personally, I feel that Gentaro’s aesthetics involve a love for pointlessness, so there are quite a few times where I add lines that aren’t in the script. It might be fun to think about where those are.
Nozuyama: Dice always falls for Gentaro’s lies, but in Episode 5’s ghost frenzy, even Ramuda got teased.
Shirai: It was surprising that Ramuda would be so afraid of ghosts. At first I thought he was pretending, but I was told to voice him as if it were serious, so the rap also has a fearful nuance.
Saito: It was true, huh?
Shirai: It’s hard to believe because of his “Black Ramuda” side. More of his true nature gets revealed with each drama track, and the anime compresses that, showing us several different expressions in a short period of time. He might not be very leader-like compared to the other divisions, but he was the one who chose Gentaro and Dice as his members. I think that their existences are what makes Ramuda a leader.
—How did you interpret the ending theme, “Kizuna -SHIBUYA ver.-“?
Shirai: It felt like there was a lot more of the echoing “kizuna, na” than the other divisions had.
Saito: Does saying “kizuna” a lot make it feel like “Shibuya-mi” (Shibuya-ness)?
Nozuyama: Huh? “Shibu-yami” (Shibu-darkness)?!
Shirai: It turned into darkness *laughs*. What I wanted to say is that Shibuya Division is a group of individualistic people, who originally had the weakest “kizuna” (bonds) of all the divisions. But that’s exactly why when you hear the word repeated so much and relate it to the drama tracks… it makes you think.
Saito: The really energetic calls you hear might be me *laughs*. I recorded some aggressive ones for the background, but after hearing what Shirai-kun just said, I wondered if it might’ve been because the “bonds” that Gentaro feels on the inside came out in the form of powerful sounds.
Nozuyama: It was tofubeats-san who wrote the song, an artist who has a lot of chill, emotional, sleepy songs—a style I’ve always liked. I thought it was perfect for Shibuya Division to sing. The fact that “Kizuna” rhymes with “Shibuya” already makes us different from the other divisions!
—What do you think Fling Posse’s strengths are?
Shirai: They’re all free and uncontrolled, but you can really perceive their humanness. I bet they’re the division that keeps you in the most suspense about how they’re going to turn out.
Saito: Since they’re ephemeral, like momentary glimmers, it makes me want to watch each and every one of those moments. Not much of their journey is told, but I believe that on their road to unity, their feelings have changed more than what they show outwardly.
Nozuyama: The “Shibuya darkness” that came up earlier is another one of their appeals, right?
Saito: The chill, emotional, sleepy “Shibuya darkness,” right? *laughs* All of the divisions are fun to speculate about, but since Shibuya’s members were so scattered at first, you fall deeper into them as more and more unexpected things come to light.
—Were there moments during the recordings when you felt your “bonds”?
Shirai: We’ve been working together for a long time and we trust each other, so the recordings go smoothly as long as I don’t do weird things to make them laugh.
Nozuyama: Ramuda goes from white to black, and Gentaro switches to old-fashioned speak or a woman’s voice. When they do ad libs there, we can’t help but laugh. When they don’t ad lib there, we naturally smile at each other with our eyes only, and I can feel our cultivated bonds there.
Saito: Shibuya Division rarely shows sentimentality, and similarly, we don’t really say publicly that we’re close friends. It’s kind of embarrassing, and it’s like it’s okay as long as we know it for ourselves. In that sense, I think it might be close to a familial relationship. When they’re making use of their strengths, I can feel safer than ever as long as I’m with them.
Nozuyama: Also, compared to other divisions that think, “We don’t want to lose,” we share the mindset of, “How can we make Shibuya Division better?”
Shirai: Yeah! That’s absolutely right.
—In Episode 10, sparks flew between you and Shinjuku Division’s “Matenro.” What do we have to look forward to next?
Shirai: Ramuda’s words were scathing, but he and Jakurai have a history between them. Those who only know him from the anime probably had their impression change, but for me, I had fun voicing him, thinking, “Yeah, yeah! This is Ramuda!”
Saito: Gentaro also went into a “battle mode” compared to his usual self. Returning attacks together is what makes battles so great.
Shirai: I don’t know how much Gentaro and Dice guessed of what Ramuda was trying to do, but their desire to play fair and square really got across to him, so everyone got impassioned. It was a good episode. Well, I didn’t really understand what “My luck is worth 100,000 luckies!” was supposed to mean. *laughs*
Nozuyama: What?! But that was Dice’s time to shine!
Shirai: Even just through the anime’s insert raps, Shibuya Division got to show a lot of their different sides. There are also anime-original plot developments, so please also look forward to seeing what Shibuya Division does while the rest of the battle goes on!
- Yuki “T-Groove” Takahashi (“SHIBUYA GHOST NIGHT” compose/arrange) on the recording: “It was difficult to schedule because I was busy, but somehow I managed to be present for Saito Soma-kun’s recording. He’s truly amazing. With just a bit of rehearsal, he was able to do the recording in roughly one take—switching voices instantly on the spot! I was amazed by his range of voices, from ikebo to rough and hoarse.”
- YUMA HARA (“SHIBUYA GHOST NIGHT” compose/arrange) on the recording: “I was there for Saito Soma-kun’s recording, and he’s amazing! Before the recording, we only had a temporary vocal track where some parts were just synthesizer melody, but once he sang it, the song came alive! I was awed at that moment.”
- T-DOT (“JACKPOT!” compose/arrange/lyrics) on the recording: “Everyone’s OK takes came very quickly. I was surprised by how quickly they mustered their concentration and vocal power.”
Bonus: Unused photos & cast comment via https://kiki-voice.jp/pickup/1121
“I think that Hypmic began when a group of adults got together and excitedly went, ‘Let’s make something that hasn’t been done before!’ You can see it in the quality of every song and the room for speculation in the mysteries scattered about, and it’s become a franchise that many people have supported for a long time. It’s also fulfilling to be part of as a voice actor because it gives me a lot of new challenges that I’ve never done before, such as being a radio personality while in-character. Recently, all of the divisions have been singing songs that aren’t limited by their original style. In particular, Shibuya Division’s range of styles expanded after we sang ‘Stella.’ I also enjoyed the wide variety of insert songs in the anime. I’m sure the Hypmic team will continue to bring us exciting, new ideas, and we cast members will also keep doing our best to be, in Nozuyama-kun’s words, a ‘chill, emotional, sleepy’ team with ‘Shibuya darkness’… the context is in Newtype magazine. *laughs*”