[Interview] TV Guide (Web) – Koisuru Voice! – Saito Soma in Yuukoku no Moriarty

Published: 2020/11/18
Original URL: https://www.tvguide.or.jp/column/column-497769/

Saito Soma (William James Moriarty in Yuukoku no Moriarty)

Sato Takuya (Albert James Moriarty in Yuukoku no Moriarty)
Kobayashi Chiaki (Louis James Moriarty in Yuukoku no Moriarty)
Uemura Yuto (Fred Porlock in Yuukoku no Moriarty)
Terasoma Masaki (Argleton in Yuukoku no Moriarty)
Furukawa Makoto (Sherlock Holmes in Yuukoku no Moriarty)

—I heard that you were a fan of the original manga to begin with.

One of my hobbies is going to the bookstore and buying books based on their covers. When I saw volume 1 of the manga with William on the cover, I bought it, thinking “This looks interesting.” I also love the crime suspense genre, so when I read it, I thought “This is interesting!”

—The role of William was auditioned for, right?

When it comes to auditions, there are times when you just can’t win. Personally, I try not to expect too much. The more you want to play a role, the more frustrating it is when you lose… although it does make you stronger for the next one. For this series, since I liked the manga, it made me want to voice William even more. I actually overheard the screening process, and as the candidates got whittled down, I heard that I was still in the running and got excited *laughs*. In the end I was fortunate enough to get the role, and I was truly happy about it.

—What is your impression of the Sherlock Holmes series that Professor Moriarty comes from?

I definitely can’t say I like it the way that Sherlockians (passionate Sherlock Holmes fans) do, but I’ve read some books from the series. As for Professor Moriarty, I’m a big fan of Ohtsuki Kenji, who’s the vocalist of the band Kinniku Shoujo-tai. One of their songs, “Peten,” has a lyric that goes “Atop Reichenbach Falls” (the location where Holmes and Moriarty faced off), and that influences my impression of Professor Moriarty. Trying to control a city with one’s individual strength makes for a very intriguing perspective as a reader. Yuukoku no Moriarty’s William is a fresh take that shows respect for the Sherlock Holmes series. He’s really cool and a good match for the present era.

—William’s brothers are voiced by talented actors too—Albert James Moriarty, the older brother, is voiced by Sato Takuya-san, and Louis James Moriarty, the younger brother, is voiced by Kobayashi Chiaki-san. What did you think when you heard who you’d be starring with?

When I’m reading manga, sometimes I think, “This character seems like they’d probably be voiced by this person,” and sometimes I don’t. In the case of Yuukoku no Moriarty, I enjoyed reading the series without thinking too much about potential casts. When the cast was revealed, I thought, “They’re all first-rate…!”

Also, everyone gets their information so quickly. When I met Yuto-kun at another studio, he said “I look forward to working with you!” but I didn’t know yet that he was going to voice Fred Porlock *laughs*. I respect these cast members as both actors and people, so I’m really looking forward to what we’ll create in the upcoming dialogues.

—How is the recording atmosphere?

I’ve known Sato-san, who voices Albert, for a very long time. As for Chiaki-kun who voices Louis, recently we’ve been working together quite often. How do I put this… it really feels like having an older and younger brother. Both of them are very kind and calm, so our breaks have a relaxed atmosphere. At the episode 1 recording, I got a full grasp of how Albert and Louis were going to be, which was impressive. It started off with a scene of the three brothers talking, and it felt completely natural. I had a feeling that we were going to make a great trio, and that made me really happy.

Also, the guests are too amazing! In episode 1, Terasoma-san voiced the antagonist. I was floored by how he expressed so much with every breath in his ad libs. Battling incredible senpais with my reliable brothers was unbelievably fun.

—Furukawa Makoto-san voices Sherlock Holmes, who engages in battles of wits with William.

I’ve worked with Furukawa-san in a variety of places, but I think this is the first time our characters are facing off in this way. Furukawa-san is extremely skilled too, so I’m looking forward to it!

—Were there any directions regarding your acting?

There’s a line that goes, “I, crime consultant William James Moriarty, accept your request.” It was part of the audition too, and he’ll be saying it throughout the series. I thought it could go two ways: emphasizing it as a catchphrase, or keeping it in William’s gentlemanly tone. First I tried emphasizing it, but the sound director, Hata Shouji-san, said “It’s an important line, but sound-wise you don’t have to make it stand out too much.” I think we’ll continue to make these detailed balance adjustments as the recordings proceed. But besides that, I don’t really get told “Do it like this.” Instead, I analyze William’s thoughts myself and discuss them. I think I’ll be able to create something good that way.

—Lastly, what are you looking forward to in this series?

I don’t know which stories from the manga are going to be adapted yet, but I’m particularly interested in the ones where everyone executes a plan together. I’m also interested in finding out who voices Bonde! Each story feels as grand and fast-paced as a movie, and they’re all worthwhile watches, so please look forward to them!

[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!

[Stream] Kitsutsuki Tantei Dokoro – Full Cast Assemble!? SP

Broadcast: 2020/3/21 @ 6pm
Original URL: Unavailable (exclusive to Fami-geki Neo subscribers)
Original Name: TVアニメ「啄木鳥探偵處」放送記念・全員集合!?SP
Guests: Asanuma Shintaro, Sakurai Takahiro, Tsuda Kenjiro, Ono Kensho, Saito Soma, Umehara Yuuichirou, Furukawa Makoto, Hayashi Yukiya

This stream was later uploaded officially to YouTube:

  • The stream began with a screening of the first half of Episode 1, then cast introductions. They then took turns pulling questions for everyone to answer. (For the sake of my free time, this summary will be centered around Soma.)

  • When it’s Soma’s turn to draw a question, Sakurai asks him to show them his “somami” (Soma taste) and Tsudaken asks if somami is green (sure enough, it’s a green gachapon capsule). Soma makes a show out of picking it up and Ume-chan goes “It’s not that heavy” and everyone laughs. Soma finally picks up the capsule and starts rolling it in his hands (“He’s doting on it!”) and after some laughs and snarky comments, Soma says “I don’t know what my direction is anymore!”

  • The question itself was “Is there another character besides your own that you’d like to play?” and Soma’s answer was Akutagawa (and everyone ends up making a chuuni pose for the camera).

  • Another question is “If you were going to have another profession in addition to being a voice actor, what would it be?” and Soma of course mentions that before he went into voice acting, he wanted to be an author. Everyone encourages him and says he can pull it off now. As for the genre, he says he wants to write a traveler’s journal, where he writes about a place he visits (and of course the alcohol there). He wants to go somewhere lush with nature, and Tsudaken suggests Alaska, which Soma laughingly agrees would have a lot to write about.

  • When talking about the voice direction, Sakurai comments that sometimes the sound director uses examples that he doesn’t understand but Soma does (because he reads a lot of books), and Sakurai thinks “Dammit, this guy” when that happens. Soma says that the sound director (who he calls Shimizu-sensei) often goes “You know what this means, right Saito-kun?” for other series too, so every time when Soma’s checking the script, it feels like preparing for a question and answer session, because he expects to be asked about certain things. He also says he gets to learn about a lot of things through Kitsutsuki.

  • When asked if they think they have anything in common with their characters, Soma says yes, because of the way Isamu looks at things with a cynical attitude. When everyone’s interested in something, Isamu thinks “It’s no big deal”, and Soma says he used to be similar in the past, back when he was really interested in pursuing literature. So, when he voices Isamu, he gets a complicated feeling in his chest as if he’s looking at his past self.

  • The next question is “If you were to become a poet, what would your pen name be?” and everyone turns to Soma who wants to become a novelist. The question says poet, but they say a novelist pen name is fine too. Soma says he admires cool names like the author Mushanokoji, but would also like something like “kuchinashi” (no mouth). Using words, but without a mouth. Everyone latches onto it and Soma goes “This is embarrassing, hurry up and move on to the next person!”

  • “If you were a detective and had to pick someone from the guests here to be your partner in solving in a case, who would it be?” Ume-chan names Soma because of his vast knowledge, (Tsudaken calls him kuchinashi again) but Soma says he’s bad at solving mysteries and is terrible at mystery-solving board games. It’s like everything he knows is coagulated inside him, so he needs to be able to think flexibly. His answer to the question is Takahiro-san, but apparently he’s no good at mystery-solving either.

  • Tsudaken continues to call Soma kuchinashi, much to his embarrassment, wanting it to become an established name (#kuchinashi). Soma says that would be way too painful, and says to the camera “Don’t you dare put it on Wikipedia!”

  • For the giveaway at the end, they have to come up with a keyword and Ume-chan suggests “kuchinashi,” much to Soma’s chagrin. Soma’s given the marker and Asanuma says he can write his latest song’s title as the keyword (“They’re not going to allow that!”) and that he can name his next song “kuchinashi.” Tsudaken tells him to write his own fetish, and Asanuma says to write something he’d be happy to see trending on Twitter. They try to come up with something that would benefit the series, but whenever they try to think of what was exciting during the stream, they can only remember kuchinashi, so Soma gives up and writes kuchinashi. Tsudaken remarks on how this is Soma’s first time signing with his pen name, and everyone applauds (Soma is dying of embarrassment at this point and hides behind the sign).

  • At the very end, the sound director Shimizu comes in with sake for everyone, and when he’s pouring Soma’s cup, he points at him and says “You’re a drinker, right?” and Soma laughs it off and asks for just a little.