[Event] Hand Shakers Special Event ~It’s an Emergency! Everyone’s Become Hand Shakers!~

Date: 2017/7/9 @ 2:30pm, 6pm
Guests: Saito Soma, Morohoshi Sumire, Kayano Ai, Ishikawa Kaito, Kakuma Ai, OxT
Event Report: https://www.animatetimes.com/news/details.php?id=1502084677

Saito-san came on stage first, greeting the audience energetically. Following him was Morohoshi-san, Kayano-san, Ishikawa-san, and Kakuma-san. For everyone besides Saito-san, it was their first time at a Hand Shakers event.

After they each introduced their characters, the Tazuna & Koyori’s Room corner began, where the five of them discuss the given theme.

The first talk theme was “your co-actors’ habits.” It was revealed that Kayano-san’s schedule conflicted with the recordings, so her lines were often recorded separately. She commented that today was the first time she was able to greet Morohoshi-san. Ishikawa-san said “You might find out each others’ habits by the end of today’s event!”

When Ishikawa-san was asked what his habit was, he gave a straight answer of “Whenever something happens, I go to Saito Soma for help.” Saito-san retorted with an embarrassed “Don’t ask me!”

The next theme was “things you find yourself doing.” Saito-san answered “going for walks,” and Ishikawa-san retorted with “Ew, that’s so plain…!” Apparently, Saito-san has a rule where he refuses to look at the GPS when he’s taking a walk. “The other day, I walked for around three hours, and my legs were so sore I thought I was going to die. I took a taxi home.”

Kayano-san asked “What do you think about when you’re walking?” and Saito-san’s answer was “Nothing.” Kayano-san spoke for the audience when she said “I shouldn’t have asked…”

Ishikawa-san remarked, “Something I find myself doing… would have to be acting,” and was met with voices of understanding. The corner ended on a clean note.

The next corner was Koyori-chan’s Guardian Certification Exam. This one involved finding out which of the cast members understood Koyori-chan the most. For the given topic, the cast would predict what answer Morohoshi-san would give, and the winner would receive a certificate of recognition as Koyori-chan’s guardian.

The topic was “What should Koyori learn next after cooking?” After the thinking time, Ishikawa-san’s answer was “singing,” because it’s the next step in expressing one’s feelings.

Next was Kayano-san’s answer, “indoor tanning.” Her reason was “Koyori-chan’s skin is too pale, so she looks a bit unhealthy. I think it’d be better if she had a summer tan.”

Saito-san’s answer was “Brazilian (Portuguese).” It was so unexpected that Morohoshi-san burst out laughing.

The answer to the question was Kayano-san’s “indoor tanning.” Even though they’d met for the first time today, Morohoshi-san and Kayano-san were in sync. Morohoshi-san was surprised that Kayano-san thought the same thing as her, and gave her a firm handshake, fitting for the series.

Naturally, Kayano-san was named Koyori-chan’s guardian and received the certificate.

Next was a game corner emceed by Kakuma-san: Hand Shaker Battle! In Wako. Kakuma-san got the audience hyped up by saying “Please forget the peaceful time we’ve had so far! It’s time to battle!”

In this corner, the cast was split into two teams and faced each other in three challenges. The teams were:

Tazuna Team: Saito Soma, Ishikawa Kaito
Koyori Team: Morohoshi Sumire, Kayano Ai

After the teams were announced, Kakuma-san asked “What do you think about when you hear Hand Shakers?” and Ishikawa-san answered “Handshakes…?”, to which Kakuma-san gave an enthusiastic “Yes!”

During the game, the team members would have their hands joined together with an elastic…! Saito-san and Ishikawa-san protested, but Kakuma-san forced them to obey.

The first challenge was Hand Sensor! The cast members would place their hands on top of a box and “sense” what was inside. They were given a time limit where they could ask the audience questions, and guess based on the reactions. They weren’t allowed to discuss among themselves and had to give their answers at the same time. The team would get 50 points for one person correct and 100 for both correct.

First up was the Tazuna team. The audience cheered as they tied their hands together. The subject they were given was “screwdriver.”

The pair asked various questions like “Is it food? Is it a machine? Is it round?” and the audience would clap for “yes” or shake their heads for “no.” Ishikawa-san asked “Do you have any intention of helping me win…?” and there was a roar of applause.

The final question was “Do you use it to fix machines?” Everyone was confident that they’d get it right, but Saito-san’s answer was “spanner” and Ishikawa-san’s answer was “wrench.” They came close, but sadly not close enough.

Next, the Koyori team’s subject was “parfait.” They narrowed down the questions faster than the Tazuna team, with questions like “Is it food? Is it sweet? Is it something I’d like?” After the question time, Morohoshi-san answered “parfait” and Kayano-san answered “ice cream.” They didn’t both get it right, but they secured 50 points.

The next battle was Jumbo Runner. Each person would wear a jumbo hand glove and carry a giant takoyaki ball from one end of the stage to the other. The teams would go at the same time, and whichever got there first would gain 100 points.

The Tazuna team was eager to make up for their previous loss, but were given a handicap requiring them to tie their feet together too. Saito-san reluctantly went to do it, but had a hard time managing it. Ishikawa-san retorted “Why are you so clumsy?!” without hesitation. The audience cheered again at this rare sight of the two.

When the race began, the Tazuna team got the head start. Just when you thought they’d reach the goal first, they had a fall! During this predictable state of affairs, the Koyori team won yet again.

The final match was Step Shaker. Each team was given three shakers with pedometers attached. They were given one minute to shake them all at the same time, and the resulting numbers would convert directly into points.

The Tazuna team made an intense display of their shaking, and for some reason you could hear their feet stomping. They used their entire bodies to shake the pedometers, while the Koyori team simply shook the pedometers smartly. Their strategy worked and they won, making them three for three.

After the battle, Saito-san and Ishikawa-san were drenched with sweat. Ishikawa-san seemed frustrated, saying “We’re sweating this much from all the effort we put in, and look where we ended up. Why did we shake the pedometers like that…”

Kayano-san was happy, saying “That was fun! It doesn’t feel like this is my first time meeting Morohoshi-san. The guardian certification must’ve been effective!”

After the game corner was the Hand Shakers Original Recitation Drama. It was a completely original story taking place after the events of the TV series. Ishikawa-san lamented having to do a recitation while out of breath, but performed perfectly when the drama began.

The story “Skygod Riverside” was about Tazuna and Koyori going to a summer festival. Koyori got lost in the crowd, a development resembling Episode 5 of the series. The two run into other characters as they look for each other.

The drama was a treat for fans, including things that weren’t in the TV series like a conversation between Koyori and Mayumi. What was most memorable was a scene where Mayumi gropes Riri’s chest. Kakuma-san tugged her script up and down as she acted, and Kayano-san shrieked in time to the movements.

There was also a scene where Morohoshi-san and Kakuma-san said their lines in Makihara and Nagaoka’s tone of voices respectively, sending the audience into bouts of laughter.

Lastly, the cast members and the audience concluded the story together with an “Osaka clap” to fit the series’ setting. Ishikawa-san gave simple instructions, and it was a success.

For the live performance corner, OxT’s Oishi Masayoshi and Tom-H@ck came on stage. When the music began, the audience stood up and waved their penlights. A guitar battle broke out in the middle of the opening theme, driving the audience wild.

Finally, the voice actors came back on stage. A stage play adaptation of the series was announced too.

Ishikawa-san: “This series is about partners, so we can’t say it’s over when our partners aren’t here. For me it’d be Uesaka Sumire-san, but I want to have an event with everyone together. Please continue to support the series.”

Kayano-san: “I want to talk with all of the Hand Shakers next time. It’d also be fun to sing my character song duet with Masaru (CV: Murase Ayumu)!”

Saito-san: “I’m dying to come on stage as a team again! Thank you for today!”

[Event] Hand Shakers: Festival & Carnival

Date: 2017/3/19 @ 12pm, 3:30pm
Event: Osaka Nipponbashi Street Festa 2017
Guests: Kanazawa Hiromitsu (Director), Saito Soma, Uesaka Sumire, OxT, Komatsu Mikako (2nd session only)
Event Reports Sourced: https://www.animatetimes.com/news/details.php?id=1490605106 https://note.com/shuhei_sa/n/n65114bf568a9 https://note.com/shuhei_sa/n/n446e0d79acca

The event consisted of a cast talk, live performance of the OP theme, an advance screening of Episode 11, as well as a surprise screening of the Episode 13 OVA.

Messages were received from all guests, but only Soma’s will be translated here:

“Thank you for coming to today’s event! For the previous advance screening (November 2016), I arrived in Osaka the day before and got to eat kushikatsu, but this time I arrived on the day of. I think this was the earliest I’ve ever woken up in my life haha. This was my third time in Osaka, and two of those times were for Hand Shakers events, so thank you Hand Shakers!

A cour is long, but it goes by so fast. Three months ago I was thinking “It’s finally beginning~”, but all of the crazy developments happened, and in Episode 9, Koyori was finally able to speak. After watching over her growth for so long, I was all “SHE SPOKEEEEE!!!” with the excitement of a certain hamburger shop’s commercials *laughs*. So this is what it feels like to be a guardian *laughs*. I’m glad that Tazuna and Koyori are “meshing” more than ever before.

In today’s event, we screened Episode 11, which explained Makihara and Nagaoka’s past. The story is finally reaching its climax, and the final episode is upon us. Please look forward to what awaits Tazuna and Koyori at the end of the battle.

…I don’t want to call Episode 12 the final episode. The broadcast of Tazuna and Koyori’s story will be ending for now, but their lives will go on, and Episode 12 gives hope for their future. So, please don’t think of it as the final episode, and enjoy it as Episode 12.

I hope this series will continue on in various forms. That way, I’ll be able to use it as an excuse to come back to Osaka and eat horumon-yaki! *laughs*”

A Sumipe fan compiled a detailed event report, and I’ll list the Soma highlights here:

  • Soma apparently eats taiyaki from the tail side first.
  • During the audition, the voice actors were not shown character visuals. The director was surprised by Soma’s performance, because it was in perfect sync with Tazuna. The staff chose him unanimously. In the second session, Soma responded by saying “Osaka’s a great place, huh~?!” “Please keep praising me. I’m the type that grows from praise.”
  • Since it was an original work, they wanted everyone to create it together. The cast was also included in developing the characters.
  • When Soma watched Episode 1, Tazuna looked cuter than what he expected, but he certainly wasn’t weak.
  • In Episode 9 when Koyori finally speaks, Soma remarks that Morohoshi-san must’ve been happy to be able to use her vocal cords more. When he was talking to her at first, she said “Koyori doesn’t speak” and his reaction was “Huh?” According to the director, for the audition they used lines from after Koyori becomes able to speak. He apologizes for not telling the voice actors at the time that she wouldn’t be speaking at the start of the series.
  • Soma points out Koyori’s enthusiastic breaths when playing Precious Memories, and says that he was happy to be able to exchange words with her.
  • Tazuna’s “mesh” catchphrase was a result of the staff thinking it’d be nice if each character had their own keywords. “Mesh” was chosen for Tazuna because of the dual reference: his Nimrode being gears, and “hand holding” which corresponds to forming a new relationship and synchronizing feelings.
  • Soma: “There was a line about ‘meshing’ at the audition. They didn’t provide any supporting materials at all, so I didn’t know what it meant, but saying things we don’t understand in a cool way is an important skill for us voice actors.” (Audience laughs)
  • Regarding the scene in Episode 2 where Tazuna and Koyori go into the bath together, Soma said the director instructed him to make the monologue more passionate.
  • Soma imitates Hayate a few times during the talk, and says he couldn’t understand him (and apologizes to Kaito).
  • Many of the main cast were around the same age, but there were also respected veterans in the older range. Soma says “There was pressure. They wouldn’t show me what the character looked like, and my partner doesn’t even speak.” (Audience laughs)
  • Soma drinks from his water, and the audience laughs (the writer didn’t see what he did to prompt that, but I imagine it was some kind of funny motion). Sumipe doesn’t know what’s going on and asks “What’re you doing? Shoplifting?” causing the audience to burst out laughing. Soma: “In those few seconds?!”
  • Sumipe asks everyone to buy the blu-ray box, and Soma says “Please buy spare copies too.” Sumipe: “A businessman, I see… What do you use spare copies for?” Soma: “You know, one to appreciate, one to store…” Sumipe: “Do you use them for year-end gifts?” (Audience laughs) Soma: “The recipient will know how good it is *laughs*.”
  • Soma: “The scene where Tazuna and Hayate are talking about bicycles was on a separate script that was around 5 pages long. But on the broadcast version, you couldn’t hear it at all.”
  • Soma and Komatsu Mikako both did some background chatter as well.
  • When talking about the hotel collab, Soma introduces the room’s features and:
    • (Session 1)
      Soma: “This… is amazing. When you enter the room, it’s like, BAM! Sky Tree! BAM! Character art!”
    • (Session 2)
      Soma: “This… is amazing.”
      Oishi: “…How so?”
      Soma: “…Huh?”
      Oishi: “How is it amazing?
      Soma: “Well… when you enter the room…”
      Soma+Sumipe: “BAM! Sky Tree! BAM! Character art!”
      (Audience roars with laughter)
      Oishi: “If you enter the room and the Sky Tree goes BAM!, doesn’t that mean there was an accident?”

[Event] Hand Shakers: Sunshine City Prince Hotel Collaboration Opening

Date: 2017/1/17
Guest: Saito Soma
Event Reports Sourced: https://www.animatetimes.com/news/details.php?id=1484812288 https://mantan-web.jp/article/20170117dog00m200018000c.html

※This was a private event with Soma going over the concept room.

The concept room had 18 life-sized/chibi designs of the characters, items decorating the whole room, original goods, and an original drink. It also had an exclusive Tazuna welcome voice.

At the debut event, Soma was moved, saying “I’ve never been to such a luxurious room before! There’s so much work put into it, and you can see the Sky Tree from the window.” He also commented that the living room area represents the normal world, while the bedroom area represents Ziggurat.

As for the exclusive welcome voice, he said “It was my first time being welcomed by a character I voiced myself, so it feels strange *laughs*. But I recorded it with sincerity.” “You can see Tazuna-kun’s considerateness as well as his cute side. It’s embarrassing to say this myself, but I hope you’ll enjoy it.”

To commemorate the concept room, Soma autographed the fabric panel in the living room area. There are actually two other “secret” Soma autographs hidden elsewhere in the room.

According to Soma, one of these secret autographs is located somewhere that he associates with Osaka, albeit based on his shallow knowledge of the city. The other is written on the character that made his heart race the most during the show.

He also talked about the show itself and the recording sessions. He said “When I saw the visuals for Tazuna, I thought he was going to be a cute type, but he was more proactive, confident, and lively than I expected. In the shouting scenes, I prioritize conveying his feelings directly rather than trying to sound cool.” When asked about what he has in common with Tazuna, he said “I think boys can likely relate to how he gets absorbed in tinkering with machines, ignoring everything around him. I like reading, and there were times when I’d start reading a book, and before I knew it, it’d be closing time for the library or cafe. Or I’d go for a walk and start reading a book in the park during the day, and then the sun starts setting… I think we resemble each other that way.”

“In this show, there are other pairs besides Tazuna-kun and Koyori-chan who have various different abilities, and their battles and emotions will be depicted in Episode 2 and beyond. Please look forward to them.”

[Interview] Otomedia 2017/2 Edition – Hand Shakers

Released: 2017/1/10

“It’s a wonderful boy-meets-girl story”

Q: Please tell us what you were particularly attentive to when voicing Tazuna.

Tazuna-kun looks like a cute boy on the outside, but on the inside he loves tinkering with machines, and once he’s gotten absorbed in it he loses sight of his surroundings. I think that boyishness of his is appealing. In order to demonstrate that as much as possible, I strive to voice him in a lively and relaxed manner.

Q: Do you have any interesting stories from the recording sessions?

The recording sessions were rather difficult. Everyone’s acting was so funny that it was hard to keep Tazuna-kun from getting strung along by them *laughs*. Even if I thought something was hilarious as Saito Soma, as Tazuna-kun I had to take it seriously. Also, during the battle scenes, there are emotional exchanges that only happen when you’re clashing with each other, and I think that was fully depicted for each team.

Q: Who’s your personal favourite character, and why?

Hmm, I’m not sure *laughs*. Hayate-kun, Masaru-kun, Hibiki-san, well, basically all of the male characters are incredibly unique, and it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. I think it’d have to be Makihara-sensei, though. Why does he love shumai…? There are also a lot of charming female characters, but I’d like you to appreciate the way Riri handles her tarot cards.

Q: The theme for this issue of the magazine is Valentine’s Day. Which character in this series do you think would enjoy Valentine’s Day the most?

That’s a tough one… Since Kodama-san’s an idol, she’d probably be the busiest because of work, but maybe she enjoys it privately…? Thinking along those lines, Makihara-sensei probably gets more chocolate from his students than you’d expect. And he probably eats them with shumai *laughs*. Hayate-kun seems like the type to smile and go “Huh?! Is this okay?! I don’t deserve this!” if someone gives him chocolate.

Q: What’s your favourite chocolate food, Saito-san?

I usually don’t eat much chocolate, but if everyone’s going to a cafe between jobs or something, I typically order cheesecake or chocolate cake. It’s very rare, though… *laughs*. Also, it’s not really a thing, but chocolate tastes good with whiskey.

Q: Thank you. Lastly, please give a message for the readers regarding Tazuna’s future activities.

A lone boy meets a mysterious girl, and they grow through the battles they encounter. That’s the kind of wonderful boy-meets-girl story this is. Please enjoy the gorgeous backgrounds, stunning battle scenes, stylish music, and extremely animated characters! Thank you for supporting Hand Shakers!

[Interview] Animate Times – Hand Shakers

Original Article: https://www.animatetimes.com/news/details.php?id=1482383611
Published: 2016/12/23

Saito Soma (Takatsuki Tazuna in Hand Shakers)

Morohoshi Sumire (Akutagawa Koyori in Hand Shakers)

※This interview was conducted after the Advance Screening event but not published until after the rest of the road show.

Prioritizing life-sized boyishness

Q: First, can you tell us about the character you voiced, Takatsuki Tazuna?

Soma: Tazuna-kun looks like a cute kid on the outside, but on the inside he has a manly side to his personality. He doesn’t just cutely go with the flow; he has a strong conviction and a good protagonist aura. But in addition to that, he likes tinkering with machinery and gets lost in his own world when he touches a machine, which is cute. He might be similar to boys who like plastic models… that’s what enthusiastic boys are like *laughs*. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with making dirt balls, so voicing him feels nostalgic. *laughs*

Q: Is there anything you have to be careful about when voicing him?

Soma: He doesn’t try to show off too much. As a character, he has a cool side, but he’s not trying to be cool when he does those things; he’s simply tackling the events he faces in the way that’s natural for him. In order to bring out the life-sized boy named Takatsuki Tazuna, I prioritize his own nature and take care not to insert my own “hero” image.

Q: What’s your impression of Tazuna’s partner, Koyori?

Soma: Tazuna-kun has a younger sister. You’ll find out when you watch Episode 1 in January, but something happened with that sister in the past. It’s hinted that Koyori-chan resembles that sister, so Tazuna-kun thinks of her as someone special, not just an ordinary partner. They also have that unique circumstance where they have to keep holding hands. I think that the relationship between Tazuna-kun and Koyori-chan will become the essence of this series, so I hope you’ll pay attention to how things progress for them!

Q: If you were a teenager and fell into the same situation where you have to keep holding a girl’s hand, what would you do?

Soma: Let’s see… There’s a scene where Tazuna-kun and Koyori-chan go into the bath together, and I’m impressed he was able to go in *laughs*. It would’ve been absolutely impossible for me as a teenager *laughs*. I also don’t think I’d be able to keep holding hands like that in front of my younger sisters *laughs*. It would’ve been too embarrassing… But Tazuna-kun’s lucky that it’s Koyori-chan and not Makihara-sensei or someone *laughs*. When I think about what would happen if he had to keep holding hands with Makihara-sensei…

Q: That’s a scary thought… Now then, Episodes 1 to 4 have already been shown at the special pre-screenings. What are the highlights of Tazuna and Koyori’s interactions in the first four episodes?

Soma: Koyori-chan is a tough role to play… She can’t speak. But her voice actor, Morohoshi Sumire-san, makes incredible use of varied breathing to act her out. When Koyori-chan’s bond with Tazuna-kun grows, she experiences changes, and Morohoshi-san’s breathing changes as well. Morohoshi-san is amazing for being able to depict her that cutely with only breathing! Episode 4 is a great example, so please watch it. *laughs*

Q: What was the most memorable scene for you in Episode 1?

Soma: For the Episode 1 recording, the visuals were mostly complete, and they were really striking. The background art of Osaka where the series takes place and the individual movements of the gears during the battle scene made me impressed by how high quality the visuals were from the very beginning. Aside from the battle scene, I was also amazed by the stylish BGM. Also, this is a fine detail, but the background characters also had their own lines, and you can hear what they’re talking about if you listen closely. I think it’s fun, so please try it. You can feel how thorough all of the staff are in fleshing out this world.

Q: Nowadays, it’s rare for the animation to be complete at the time of recording. Does that make it easier to act?

Soma: Detailed visuals give you more information to work with in addition to what’s in the script, so in that sense, it’s easier.

Q: As mentioned earlier, this series takes place in Osaka. How has your experience in Osaka been?

Soma: I’ve been to Osaka before, but this is my second time coming here for an event. I haven’t been able to do much sightseeing, so I’d like to try doing the typical stuff. Going to restaurants with delicious skewers, eating snacks like takoyaki, and so on. I spotted Kani Douraku (a seafood restaurant chain) while I was commuting, but I didn’t get off at that stop, so *laughs*. Hand Shakers is going to start airing soon, so I hope I’ll have an opportunity to take my time exploring Osaka!

Q: Lastly, please give a message for the fans who are looking forward to the series.

Soma: A few PVs have been released and the characters have been revealed, so I think everyone has high expectations now. It’s an original work with an extremely intricate, unpredictable plot, so I hope you’ll look forward to it. I also hope you’ll be excited to see what adventures and developments await Tazuna-kun and Koyori-chan in their boy-meets-girl story. The beautiful visuals, intense battle scenes, and stylish music will surely make it a joy to watch every week, so please look forward to it! Thank you!

[Interview] Seiyuu Men vol.5 – Saito Soma – Hand Shakers

Released: 2016/12/16

Saito Soma (Takatsuki Tazuna in Hand Shakers)

Morohoshi Sumire (Akutagawa Koyori in Hand Shakers)
Sugita Tomokazu (Hibiki in Hand Shakers)
Ishikawa Kaito (Hayate in Hand Shakers)

A series that reaches the heart

Q: First, please tell us your impression of the work.

When I first took the audition, there wasn’t any character art or supporting material provided, and the script they had us read was relatively short. It was an unusual audition where they asked us to directly translate the image we got from reading the text to our acting. My approach was to do it the way I felt was interesting.

However, at the time of the audition, I didn’t know that the show was going to be about partners, or that the story would involve joining hands with Koyori to fight. And in actuality, it felt like many aspects of the work would change as the big picture became clearer and I discussed it with the other voice actors. So, when I was informed that I’d received the role after the audition, I was both happy and excited to see who the rest of the cast was.

Q: What kind of character do you think Tazuna is?

Tazuna likes tinkering with machines, and gets absorbed in it to the point where he forgets his surroundings. When I was in elementary school, I’d also get absorbed in arts and crafts, and break time would be over before I knew it… That happened a lot, so I hoped to be able to transfer that devotion to my role.

Q: What do you pay attention to when costarring with Morohoshi Sumire-san, who voices Tazuna’s partner Koyori?

I can’t say too much yet, but Koyori is a girl with a lot on her shoulders. She also doesn’t have the appearance of a normal girl her age, and she has a mysterious aura. On that note, Tazuna is a normal boy, in a good way *laughs*. For example, he has a pure side and gets nervous around girls.

When I’m recording with Morohoshi-san, she’s extremely skilled at building the atmosphere between the two characters. This time, there was a part where Tazuna and Koyori react to something at the same time, and I was amazed at how perfectly it went. I’m always noticing Morohoshi-san’s detailed skillfulness.

But, since my character Tazuna is the one leading Koyori along, I pay the most attention to how he perceives Koyori.

Q: What was challenging during the recording?

First, for the Episode 1 recording, the visuals were already complete, and I was stunned by the unique presentation. Especially for the long, uninterrupted cuts in the battle scene, we weren’t sure how much we should leave to the animation and where we should insert our own breaths… We discussed those kinds of things in fine detail with the staff.

This series also has unique elocution. I was constantly contemplating how to digest the essence of what the director put in the script and reflect it onto my role in a way that felt natural. Of course, Hand Shakers has its own style, so I wanted to preserve the expressions that would be hooks for the viewers, while using a natural enunciation for the parts I wanted to be heard smoothly. When lines have distinct elocution, slight changes in tone or pronunciation can change the nuance greatly, so that was a challenge.

Q: It sounds like it’d be difficult to get the balance right. What kinds of things did the sound director say?

For Episode 1’s recording, I received direction regarding the work and the character’s nature. That said, during the audition and the test run, I took a natural approach to Tazuna’s voice, and was told by the directors that they wanted to make this series a boy-meets-girl story. He certainly does have a cute appearance, so I switched to a more young-sounding voice. However, I wanted to portray him as a young man with a surprisingly strong conviction, rather than a cute and timid boy.

Q: What were the recording sessions like?

Tazuna isn’t the type of character that I can freely play around with, which isn’t a bad thing, but the other cast members ad-lib like crazy *laughs*. Sugita Tomokazu-san and Ishikawa Kaito-kun went particularly off the rails, and just listening to them almost made me laugh out loud. It felt like the actors were further developing the characters through ad libs, and it was truly interesting to think about how I would’ve transformed the characters if it were me in their place.

Q: In this series, each duo has their own characteristics. Were there any moments during the recording where you felt unique characteristics from the pairings?

The pair that Tazuna and Koyori fight first had me wondering, “What are these two normally like?” *laughs* Please look forward to seeing it when the show airs.

I also thought it was interesting how even though each pair’s members are involved with each other in both the real world and the fighting world, they don’t really declare themselves friends or lovers. That means that when they say they “like” each other, there’s different ways of interpreting that, and I think that makes it fun for the viewers to figure out.

Also, direction-wise, there’s a scene where a character is throwing a tantrum, then suddenly in the next cut they’re pulling a tarot card with a super serious face *laughs*. I think a lot of viewers enjoy that kind of scene, so it’ll be a success if they’re charmed by the show’s eccentricities.

Q: In that sense, it tests the voice cast’s capability.

Some of us are leveraging that distinctive direction in our acting, while others are blending their acting into the work. As a result, the recording sessions are a show of the actors’ natures. Each voice actor has their own approach to their role, and it’s been educational.

Q: The characters in the show are fighting to make their wish come true. Do you have a wish you want to be granted right now?

The Hand Shakers use their emotions to fight, but for us, I think what we need in order to keep fighting is good health *laughs*. In order to put on our best performance at recordings, it’s important to manage our health, and lately I’ve been doing various things to reexamine my physical condition. But at any rate, my body is stiff. So, if I had to make a wish… I’d want to be able to touch my toes.

Q: *laughs* Maintaining your health is difficult because you have to pay attention to all sorts of little things.

I find myself researching things like… how healthy intestines secrete more serotonin *laughs*. But what matters is putting it into practice daily, rather than theoretical knowledge. For now, I’m trying my best on my own instead of relying on God. *laughs*

Q: What do you place importance on when acting in this series?

It’s not easy, but I think it’d be “living honestly.” It’s something I value both as Tazuna and as Saito Soma. Also, my trust and gratitude towards my co-actors and the staff. Working together with the director and the rest of the staff to create the series, and fighting together with my co-actors on the recording battleground without showing off. When acting, there are times when things will get heated, but it’s always important to strike a balance between instinct and reason, because going 100% in either direction isn’t going to work.

Q: What would you like people to notice in the series?

The highlight would have to be the stunning visuals, not just in the battle scenes but also in the recreated Osaka scenery. It’s all gorgeous, and I think people watching the show for the first time will sense its allure from there. The unfolding story and the characters have strong personality as well. It might not appeal to everyone, though. That said, for those it does strike a chord with, I think it’ll reach their heart, so please see Tazuna and Koyori-chan’s story through to the end with your own eyes.

[Event] Hand Shakers Advance Screening: “A Road To Be Hand Shakers”

Date: 2016/11/13 @ 1:30pm
Guest: Saito Soma
Event Report: https://www.animatetimes.com/news/details.php?id=1481187680

This event was an advance screening of Episodes 1-4, but Soma’s talk corner was in between Episode 2 and 3.

Soma had little experience with events in Osaka, and hadn’t done much sightseeing there. For this event, he arrived in Osaka the day before, and he said “Yesterday I ate kushikatsu, without double dipping!” (Not double dipping kushikatsu is an informal rule in Osaka.)

Naturally, this was Soma’s first time at a Nanba Parks Cinema event, and he was surprised that the front row of the audience was basically within arm’s reach. “Can you see the screen properly from there? Is it okay?”

Soma asked what everyone thought of the first two episodes, and applause echoes throughout the theatre. He expressed his thanks and went on to give a passionate speech about the unique camerawork, how Episode 1’s animation was mostly complete at the time of recording, the impact of the battle scenes, and the stylish music.

Regarding the protagonist who he voices, Tazuna, he said “If my life suddenly changed and I had to fight and protect Koyori-chan, I wouldn’t be able to analyze the situation calmly like he does.” Regarding the pressure he feels voicing the protagonist, he said “I think it’s just a matter of directly incorporating what I’m feeling.” He doesn’t feel pressure, and instead acts energetically.

Next is the character introduction using the screen. Soma was standing in the middle of the stage, so he started moving to the side, saying “I’ll be moving~” and waving his hand. The audience exclaimed “Cute~!” “What an angel!” and Soma gave an embarrassed “Thank you.” The announcer also whispered “Isn’t he cute?” and the audience laughed.

The character introduction began with the protagonist, Tazuna. When asked for his impression of the character design, Soma said “There were no visuals during the audition, so I imagined what he’d look like from the lines and acted naturally. When I saw the completed art afterwards, I thought ‘Isn’t he cute?'” with a laugh. “He’s not just cute though, he’s also boyish in a good way, and I make sure to express that youthfulness.”

Tazuna has a habit of using the word “mesh,” and Soma is asked “What has meshed for you lately?” He answered “I finally finished all my dental work, and my teeth mesh really well now! Leave the meat to me!”

As for the teamwork between the voice actors, he said “Rather than the characters and actors meshing together, it’s more like everyone is entering their own world.” He also did an imitation of Morikubo Showtaro’s character Makihara, immediately filling the theatre with laughter.

When introducing the heroine Koyori, Soma said “She loses life force when she’s not holding hands with Tazuna. But if I were Tazuna, as a teenager I’d definitely be way too nervous to hold a girl’s hand while sleeping, bathing, and using the toilet” with an embarrassed laugh.

When introducing the shumai-loving Makihara, the topic returned to Osaka cuisine. “When I was eating kushikatsu last night, I also ate one with mozzarella cheese, and it was reaaaaaally stretchy! I couldn’t bite it off at all.” Without missing a beat, the announcer said “So you’re saying… it didn’t mesh” and everyone laughed.

The talk corner finally drew to an end. Soma said “I think it’s rare to get the opportunity to watch the first four episodes in advance, and I hope you’ll look forward to the rest of the show. There’s still a while before it goes on air, but I hope you’ll enjoy revisiting the world of Hand Shakers. Thank you!” and exited the stage, maintaining his fresh smile the whole way.

After Episodes 3 and 4 were shown, the announcer came back with some surprise announcements: the anime’s air date, the theme song’s artist and release date, and a hotel collaboration.