[Interview] Animage 2020/11 Edition – Yuukoku no Moriarty – William Is a Man of Determination

(Anime visuals only; no scans)

Released: 2020/10/10

Saito Soma (William James Moriarty in Yuukoku no Moriarty)

Ishigami Shizuka (Young William in Yuukoku no Moriarty)
Nao Toyama (Young Louis in Yuukoku no Moriarty)
Furukawa Makoto (Sherlock Holmes in Yuukoku no Moriarty)

Since you can’t get a grasp on him, it makes you want to learn more about him

—Saito-san, since you’re known as an avid reader, have you read Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series?

Yes. However, I’ve only read two or three of the books. The first one I read was A Study in Scarlet.

It’s a famous story that appears in Yuukoku no Moriarty too. What did you think of it?

I read it as an adult, and from an adult’s perspective, I thought it was an incredibly thrilling work of entertainment. The pacing felt good, and I liked that Holmes’s invincibility let me feel at ease while I read. It has the universal storytelling ability of a work that’s been loved for ages, and I consider the story to have entertainment value. I recommend that people who like Yuukoku no Moriarty try out Sherlock Holmes as well.

What’s your impression of Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes?

The illustration from the book would have to be the most prominent image. I think it highlights his warped nature. He has fairly eccentric sensibilities. His actions resemble William and his brothers in a way, but his feel stranger and more mysterious. Plus, he only comes up in six or so of the short stories, right?

He’s famous as Holmes’s rival, but he actually doesn’t appear that often.

He’s depicted as being bottomless, and it was never made clear just how deep his evilness ran—but I think that’s exactly why works like Yuukoku no Moriarty came to exist. The character makes you want to know more about him—to expand on his story.

What’s your impression of the setting, England after the Industrial Revolution?

It feels like the last era that had both scientific values and magical beliefs. This period is depicted often in fiction, and it’s an easy one to use for steampunk works. One time when I was filming a music video, I gathered pictures from around this time period and asked the staff to use them as a reference. It’s only a single era of human history, but as a genre, it has a great sense of adventure.

I heard that you’d read the original manga even before you got this role.

I saw it in a bookstore and thought it had a really stylish and cool cover, so I bought it based off of that. The story focused on William the crime consultant, who was turning London into a city of crime to achieve a certain goal. It was a sort of antihero or picaresque story. I was interested to see what happened next, so I binged the rest of the series. That’s how powerful it was. Its greatest appeal was the many talented, brilliant characters deceiving and being deceived, outwitting each other, and making sophisticated plans.

What do you think of William’s hidden side as a crime consultant?

He has his own vision, but I’m sure that he wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for the time period. It was 19th century London that compelled him to do it. If he were born in a different era, I think he would’ve picked a job that would contribute to society in a different way.

So he felt obligated to help the people around him.

That said, crimes are still wrong… Although as a reader, I thought the way he used his ingenuity to execute perfect crimes was really appealing as entertainment *strained laugh*. I think that William is prepared to face judgement himself one day.

Please tell us about your approach to the audition and how you felt when you got the role.

I liked the original work to begin with and William appealed to me, so I wanted to pass the audition no matter what it took. However, I didn’t do anything special; I just strove to accurately portray the image I had of him from the original work. I felt that I was able to do so for the self-tape audition, but I actually couldn’t really get a feel for him during the studio audition later. Fortunately I was still able to get the role, so I was extremely happy.

When you’re voicing him, what kinds of traits do you keep in mind?

He acts cold and calculating in some scenes but soft in others. He also takes his university teaching very seriously. He’s depicted as a character with many faces, so he isn’t completely committed to any one character type. I think his most alluring trait is that you can’t get a good grasp on him, which makes you want to learn more about him.

It appears that the recording is done up to Episode 4. What was it like voicing him in the actual show?

It’s still only the opening act, and I think William is intentionally being depicted in a way that makes it hard to see his true feelings and thoughts. The brothers do have an objective, of course, and I hope that their inner thoughts will be revealed more as the show progresses. It still feels like you can’t see how deep they go, and that sense of intrigue is wonderful.

What are your impressions of the older brother Albert and the younger brother Louis?

My first impression of Albert was that he was more than what meets the eye—his craftiness was what made him cool. He’s an adult who fully trusts William and works behind the scenes. I think those who read the childhood story from the first chapter of the manga will understand what I mean when I say that William and Albert are partners in crime. They’re comrades that can truly trust each other. Meanwhile, I think that William’s true younger brother, Louis, is someone he wants to keep clean. William’s feelings towards Albert and Louis are quite different. I got the sense that he considers himself Louis’s guardian.

What was it like having dialogues with the brothers?

I knew in advance that Sato Takuya-san and Kobayashi Chiaki-san would be voicing the other brothers, so I was excited to find out how they’d be acting them out. When I heard their voices at the Episode 1 recording, they were exactly as I’d imagined, and our dialogues felt extremely cohesive. There was a sense of security—that if we keep recording together, we’ll surely form brotherly bonds of our own. I felt relieved and optimistic.

The clincher in Episode 1 is the last three words: “the perfect crime.”

Episode 1 is an anime-original story. Can you tell us about that?

I naturally thought that Episode 1 would start from their childhood, so when I received the script, I honestly thought, “Maybe this anime adaptation is going to have quite a lot of original content.” It was an orthodox introductory episode that didn’t explain the brothers’ true motive.

It didn’t show what exactly they were aiming for.

Right; that’s why I wondered if the anime would depict them as justice-minded people who were committing necessary evils. But when I read the scripts for Episode 2 and beyond, I realized, “Oh, so that’s how it is!” I think that Episode 1 made Episodes 2 and 3 more effective. In that sense, it might have a different hook for the fans of the manga.

Which scenes in Episode 1 were memorable to you? Which did you struggle with?

This isn’t limited to Episode 1, but I spent a bit of time mulling over how to say William’s catchphrase, “I, crime consultant William James Moriarty […]”. In Episode 1, I could’ve declared it forcefully in a “I’m a professional” way, or coolly while maintaining my smile. Both types seemed fitting. But, the direction I received was to say it smoothly, without making the sounds stand out too clearly. So, I went with the latter type in the end.

Another one was his line that concluded the episode: “If one removes any trace of an incident happening, then it isn’t even recognized as being an incident. In other words… the perfect crime.” Those last three words were the clincher. I think I did a good job, so I want to look forward to the broadcast.

How did you feel after reading the scripts for Episode 2 and 3?

These episodes are the starting point that cover Chapter 1 of the manga. I realized that it was an important story that needed to be shown thoroughly, to the point of splitting it into two episodes. The original story is rather cruel, so I wondered if the depictions of cruelty would be cut for the anime—but Episode 3 doesn’t pull any punches! There are restrictions to an extent, but I think that going as far as possible will make the story more compelling, so I was glad to see that. Also, young William is voiced by Ishigami Shizuka-san, and…she sounded really cool! I’m so jealous! *laughs*

The young Albert was still voiced by Sato Takuya.

Yes! But William and Louis were still prepubescent at that age. The two who voiced their young forms (Ishigami Shizuka and Toyama Nao) both did a wonderful job. It really felt like the two characters would grow up into the way they are now.

I heard that Episode 4 was recorded today.

It’s a story from the original manga, although minor details were changed. So far, Episode 4 had the most lines from William. From today’s recording, I think that I got a grasp on how he’ll be in the anime. Story-wise, the episode was the sad tale of a married couple, and the cast who played them did an amazing job! Even though I was only listening from outside the booth, their wonderful performances still tugged at my heartstrings. I’m eager to watch the completed episode.

—It appears that the original story was modified slightly to depict the wife’s frustration more clearly.

Yes, there was quite a spotlight on the couple. As a result, William was deliberately saying things that didn’t need to be put into words. I felt that the lines did a good job at portraying the contrast between the nobleman and the poor couple.

—He hasn’t appeared in the anime just yet, but could you tell us your impression of Sherlock?

He deliberately acts crude and worse than he really is, but he’s incredibly clever. It’s possible that William also senses something different in him. He’s a very unique person, so in the original manga, it feels like the tempo changes quite a bit when he appears.

—He does have quite a different aura from the three brothers.

William and his brothers are generally calm people without ups and downs *laughs*. I like the tempo of Sherlock’s conversations with John in the manga. The three brothers discuss things calmly, but Sherlock’s side is more lively. I think the anime’s rhythm will change accordingly, so I’m looking forward to that.

—I’m also looking forward to William and Sherlock’s dialogues!

It’ll be interesting to see how Furukawa Makoto-san plays Sherlock, and since I haven’t really had the chance to engage with him in this way, I’m really looking forward to it!

—Lastly, please give a message for the readers.

I’m extremely happy to able to take part in a work that I enjoyed reading. Sherlock and various other characters will be joining the fray in the episodes to come. I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of dialogues and deception there’ll be. Whether you’re a fan of the original work or starting with the anime, I hope you’ll enjoy the weekly battles of wits. Please watch the anime and get excited with us!