[Interview] Animate Times – Omikuji Yon Kyoudai Cast Interview

Published: 2020/5/22
Original URL: https://www.animatetimes.com/news/details.php?id=1587624437

Features:
Hatano Wataru (Shuu in Omikuji Yon Kyoudai)
Saito Soma (Ayame in Omikuji Yon Kyoudai)
Nishiyama Koutaro (Aoba in Omikuji Yon Kyoudai)
Takeuchi Shunsuke (Shiki in Omikuji Yon Kyoudai)
Komada Wataru (Ogata Kouichi in Omikuji Yon Kyoudai: Fuyu no Tantei wa Roast Beef ga Osuki)

Mentioned:
Genda Tessyo

※This interview was to commemorate the series’ first-ever BD/DVD release, their Fuyu no Tantei wa Roast Beef ga Osuki event.


Omikuji Yon Kyoudai gained new potential with their first-ever guest member☆

Q: First, please tell us your impressions of the Omikuji Yon Kyoudai: Fuyu no Tantei wa Roast Beef ga Osuki reading theatre that was held last winter.

Hatano: Rather than a normal reading theatre, this one felt like a new form of entertainment. It was on a large-scale stage, so we had to run around a lot.

Kawajiri Keita-san’s script had me laughing just from reading it, and it took each of the actors’ characteristics into play. It was a reading theatre where I really had no idea what would come forth.

Omikuji Yon Kyoudai was originally only the four of us, but by inviting Komada-kun as our first guest, I feel like the series has taken a new step forward.

Takeuchi: This was the second reading theatre we did, the first being Haru wa Omusubi!. I wondered how it’d turn out, but we had Wataru-san as a guest and the script took on a different flavour, so it felt like a new wave of dialogues was born. It showed that Omikuji Yon Kyoudai had room for such new developments.

I wanted to act both the comedic and the heartwarming parts with everything I had, to figure out how to make it the most entertaining, for the sake of the next installment as well.

Saito: I really got tired from laughing so much *laughs*. As they said, I really felt like I’ve grown through these good brothers, good series, and good characters.

Our guest, Koma-chan was a key character in this reading theatre, and if you were to ask me to name an alternative actor for him, no one else comes to mind at all.

We created this stage with this amazing cast, and it was a wonderful event that gave me high hopes for the future of the four brothers… but, it was seriously exhausting. *laughs*

Ayame’s parts were long. I’d keep flipping and flipping the pages, but it’d still be on Ayame.

Komada: Don’t be like that. If we removed any more lines, it wouldn’t be interesting anymore.

Saito: I want to take this opportunity to state that I had the fewest ad libs. *laughs*

Hatano: Who had the most?

Saito: *immediately answers* It was you, Hatano-san.

All: *laughs*

Saito: You were doing that rigid dancing while the lights dimmed, and the evening session had a lot of ad libs, right?

Nishiyama: His movements were visually way more active than everyone else’s. *laughs*

Hatano: Before it began, Kawajiri-san said “The stage transition there is a bit long, so feel free to play around.” So I really did it, only to see that no one else was moving!

All: *laughs*

Hatano: It was so embarrassing!

Saito: It was so funny *laughs*

Q: What were your impressions, Nishiyama-san?

Nishiyama: Both sessions were held on the same day, but it felt like the day and evening sessions were quite different in tone. This was because after the day session, during the break we discussed changes we wanted to make based on the audience’s reactions. I think it was a day of utmost concentration for all of us.

Komada: Like Koutaro-kun said, the audience reactions between the day and evening sessions would make you think they were different shows. All of the cast members made things more entertaining, and it was a lot of fun.

I was participating as the series’ first guest, so I was really excited about that already. During rehearsal, I absorbed as much as I could of the four characters they’d been developing all this time, and went into the performance wanting to simply enjoy the atmosphere.

The gap formed from the powered-up characters is hilarious!

Q: In the after-talk, you talked about how this event was the culmination of what came before it. Regarding what you have in common with the characters you play, has anything changed since your first impression of them?

Saito: I don’t think I have anything (in common). *laughs*

Nishiyama: My first impression of Aoba was that he was the most cheerful and energetic of the four brothers. I also thought he’d be shy around people outside their family, but it turned out that he was unreserved towards Ogata-san in this reading theatre. I realized that he can treat everyone in the same cheerful way.

Komada: Just like you, right? You’re a milder version. *laughs*

Takeuchi: We make new discoveries each time we act as them, so I think every character has gaps like that.

Saito: I think they got deeper with this performance, like their facial expressions that are contrary to their lines. Like how Shuu-nii never fails to find the camera when he poses. The camerawork was excellent too.

Hatano: Shuu had a lot of lines that were directed towards the audience, so I guess it seemed that way. *laughs*

Takeuchi: From this video footage, I think you’ll understand what it means when we say “reading theatre isn’t only about reading.” 81 Produce should use this as teaching material in their training school!

All: *laughs*

Saito: Shiki also sang a lot more than usual.

Takeuchi: He was supposed to just be a karaoke enthusiast at first…

Hatano: It was like the technique of a wandering minstrel. Takeuchi-kun can sing about any theme.

Q: He had singing scenes with a variety of titles, right? I wondered if Shiki’s songs had lyrics and composition behind them.

Takeuchi: This is embarrassing to talk about. *laughs*

Saito: You should say it!

Takeuchi: It’s… Shiki’s mental state *nervous*. I’d prefer to leave it to people’s imagination, so I’m still not going to comment.

Saito: The fortunes are a matter of chance, after all. We don’t know what we’ll get until we pull them. On the other hand, that helped us grow.

Takeuchi: Indeed *laughs*. All of the characters have been powering up.

Saito: *immediately* Ayame was the same as always, though.

Hatano: He’s definitely powering up!

Saito: It felt like the script gave him the “entertainer” position. I didn’t expect there to be a red light overlaid on my face on the live camera… It shocked me again when I saw it in the footage *laughs*. Everyone broke character when it happened.

Hatano: That was something only you could do. *laughs*

Q: In the after-talk, Hatano-san said something along the lines of, “Did Shuu always like girls this much?”

Hatano: In the very first recording, I emphasized the character’s personality strongly, but was directed to keep him as an elegant young man, so that he wouldn’t come across as a philanderer. I’ve been maintaining that since then, but this time, the script made it seem like his pent-up thoughts exploded. So, I boldly went all-in.

But no matter what we saw of him here, that was only one side of his character. He has various sides to him, like how he cares for his brothers. It’s just that this performance made it clear that he loves girls more than he loves food. *laughs*

Saito: There was the part about green peppers too.

Hatano: “Girl pepper” was Aoba’s line.

Nishiyama: It was completely as written in the script.

Q: I see! I thought it was an ad lib. I’d like to compare with the script to see how much of it was ad-libbed.

Hatano: The part where I suddenly got excited about urban legends was completely my own ad lib. *laughs*

Komada: We naturally poked fun at it during the commentary, but Hatano-san was intent on expressing his love for urban legends. He went a long time without looking at the script.

Nishiyama: It was entertaining because it was purely ad-libbed.

Q: For the series’ first guest, Komada-san, what was your first impression of your character, and do you have anything in common with him?

Komada: My role was split into Kouichi and Kouji, who are complete opposites. Kouichi is calm and open-hearted, the type you’d expect to live in the western-style house that the story took place in. Meanwhile, Kouji is oppressive. Even though it was a dual role, it wasn’t particularly difficult to work with emotion-wise. Although, speaking in a mild tone followed by a sudden loud outburst was such a contrast that I’d have to hold back my laughter each time. I think it would’ve made the audience chuckle too, but personally… my attitude wasn’t as rough as Kouji nor as mild as Kouichi, so I was like a third person that was an average of the two.

All: *laughs*

Nishiyama: A third person that grew up watching Kouichi and Kouji, right?

Komada: Having both power and gentleness… That makes it sound like a good thing. Well, let’s leave it at that. *laughs*

Since it’s a video, the silent scenes are noteworthy too!

Q: You talked about the good camerawork as well. Unlike recordings for anime and whatnot where you stand in front of the mic, this reading theatre was like a stage play with visuals and props. What were your personal highlights, or things that can only be enjoyed because of the visuals?

Nishiyama: Everyone was aware that they could be seen at any moment, so I think it’d be interesting to observe our facial expressions. It was really neat how the footage switched between all of the different cameras showing us.

Komada: Since it’s a reading theatre, we naturally acted out the core lines faithfully, and mixed in some small, fun deviations in the non-important parts. Since there was a live camera, it was a unique reading theatre with many scenes that would make the viewers laugh unexpectedly. I think being able to enjoy that is the best thing about this BD/DVD release.

Saito: We were acting without being able to see what kind of footage was being shown to the audience, so when I watched the footage for this disc release, it made me want to draw attention to the silent parts, too. Since this reading theatre had movement involved, we were able to create “entertainment between the lines,” so the parts without dialogue actually seemed funnier. Komada-san in particular made great facial expressions this time… They really were wonderful. *laughs*

Takeuchi: Komada-san’s face was always there during the close-ups.

Hatano: Koutaro’s close-ups were also nice… and funny. *laughs*

Nishiyama: It didn’t feel like there were that many during the first half (which I commentated)…

Komada: No, there was definitely at least one *laughs*. It wasn’t just the two of us, though.

Nishiyama: Yeah, everyone was great! Koma-chan was good at finding the camera. He looked straight at it, as if he knew it was going to be released on disc. A lot of the things I didn’t know at the time because of the wide stage became clear thanks to this release.

Hatano: Everyone was competing with ad libs, so even the parts I did know greatly exceeded my expectations. The cameramen captured great moments, like when we weren’t speaking and turned to the side to hold back our laughter. Even though it’s in video form, it feels like you’re watching it live.

Hatano-san, the senpai who breaks through the sense of security with ad libs, and Takeuchi-san, totally the cute, spoiled youngest sibling♪

Q: By the way, was there anything you noticed about each other due to being senpais and kouhais at the same agency?

Saito: We were all friends to begin with, but when we’re on stage, it’s not about senpais/kouhais or being from the same agency—we’re all equal as “actors.” I always genuinely think, “Wow, they’re really good.”

For example, Hatano-san has an unwavering sense of stability, and even when the rest of us go off-track with ad libs, he’ll always bring us back to the main story. Or so we thought, but then he took the initiative to force ad libs in, making the rest of us go “Oh, fine!” “We’ll do it too, then.”

Takeuchi: It was like we were given the green light. *laughs*

Komada: Among all the chatter, in the end Hatano-san was enjoying himself the most. He also added things without telling us, making us laugh too. *laughs*

Nishiyama: He came out of nowhere. Despite that, Hatano-san’s presence kept the scene together. If he weren’t there, we’d get even more off-track, so I think he showed us the “logic” of acting.

Saito: On the other hand, Shun-chan laughed too much *laughs*. If you look closely, he’s hiding his laughter behind his hair.

Takeuchi: I really want people to watch the footage *laughs*. I couldn’t hold back my laughter, so I was trying to minimize risk and ended up looking down at my script the whole time.

Saito: That makes you like the youngest sibling; it’s cute.

Hatano: Right, when we see Takeuchi-kun during recordings, he seems like this cool, mighty character with a deep voice, but in this series he has the innocence of the youngest child. Seeing him suddenly smile brightly makes my chest tighten.

Nishiyama: In a way, it’s like his age is showing, and it feels like everyone’s doting on him.

Komada: Rather than the cool aura he gives off during work—please write “in a super low voice” here and make it bold—it constantly felt like he was approaching me like “(in a super low voice) Komada-saaan!” and I thought something like that was only possible because of this particular work.

All of us are from the same agency, we see each other regularly at various jobs, and we’ve known each other for a long time too, so we can relax around each other.

We also spent time making suggestions (including ad libs), and on the day of the show, rather than “It’s time for the real show!”, it felt more like “We finally get to do this.” I think Takeuchi showed that kind of cuteness.

What did the cast think was great about Saito-san, Komada-san, and Nishiyama-san?

Takeuchi: But when it comes to cuteness, it has to be Ayame…

Saito: …*peers at Takeuchi-san* Do you really think so? Look into my eyes and say that without hiding behind your bangs. *laughs*

Takeuchi: *laughs* Ayame really was amazing this time! Even during the picture drama recordings, Ayame’s always opening new doors. In response to that, Soma-san always “opens the doors for real,” not halfway.

Saito: Ayame was originally more normal, and had the impression of the second son that balances everyone out. Why did he end up like this? *laughs*

All: *laughs*

Takeuchi: But since you open the door all the way, it became convincing. The script was amazing too.

Saito: Yeah, I was generally acting according to the script.

Komada: Soma and I debuted around the same time and I know him well, so when I see the way he interposes lines during funny scenes and presents himself to the camera, I think “Well done.” *laughs*

Nishiyama: Soma made me laugh just from the picture. I think he also has the power to move us back on track when the conversation gets derailed.

Hatano: Honestly, starting from the rehearsal I thought each and every one of them was amazing. When I got the script, I initially imagined the stage and how it’d go, but when we actually did it, it greatly exceeded my expectations. And our guest, Komada-kun was excellent too.

Takeuchi: He has a sharp mind and a sense of humour.

Saito: During the evening session, Kouji evaluated the brothers’ costumes and adjusted them one-by-one, and that was all Koma-chan’s ad-libbing. The four of us did our own ad lib comments, and it was amazing how nothing missed its mark. It would’ve been impossible without considerable determination beforehand. I thought, “This guy’s amazing!”

Komada: I suggested it after the day session. Since the four of them were posing, I figured the audience would want to see more of it, and I did too. Plus, it’s hard to put on the costume on stage without a mirror, so I thought I could straighten out their costumes while everyone else was enjoying their poses. Even though I suggested it, I didn’t actually think about what I was going to say, so I gave my honest impressions on the spot. *laughs*

Nishiyama: You did it so well; it was hilarious. *laughs*

Komada: That was my highlight of the day. The “Well done, Komada!” scene.

Hatano: It was incredible! Koutaro was crazy, too. I wondered what was going on with his mental state.

Takeuchi: My personal highlight was Nishiyama-san’s bow during the curtain call. Normally you have your hands at your sides when you bow, but Nishiyama-san alone had them in front, like he was reaching down.

All: *laughs*

Hatano: It turned into a diving posture. *laughs*

Takeuchi: It looks like the start of a match, so we’ll need the judges to take a look at it.

Hatano: With instant replay.

Saito: In slow-motion.

Komada: I think he did it on purpose. *laughs*

Nishiyama: I wasn’t! It’d be insane to do that on purpose by myself. *laughs*

Takeuchi: Nishiyama Koutaro-san really is different. He’s a genius. I don’t think I’m the only one who thought that, so please chime in. *laughs*

Komada: His bow was just one example of how it feels like he claims things for himself.

Saito: I think it happened because he wanted to make people smile. The video footage tells it all, so please pay attention to Nishiyama-san.

Nishiyama: *laughs* I don’t mind at all if you watch me!

The setting for the next show…?

Q: This is something you’ll have to check in the footage. So, the next reading theatre is planned for autumn. Are there any situations you’d like to try, or things you want to challenge?

Hatano: Autumn has a lot of possibilities, huh?

Takeuchi: It’s said that autumn is the best season for reading, too. When you think of autumn, you think of the arts, and when you think of the arts, you think of singing…

Saito: Can we make mascots again like we did for the first show? Then again, a monster was created back then.

Nishiyama: What about the food? We’ve had onigiri and roast beef, so for a taste of autumn, how about fruit?

Komada: That’s good, and baked sweet potatoes. We’ll have a veteran from 81 Produce sing the baked sweet potato song, like Genda (Tessyo)-san, and it’ll be like “You can’t pass by the food cart without stopping!”

Q: That sounds like it’d become an amazing reading theatre. *laughs*

Nishiyama: The original concept we heard for this series was that it was seeking to be bright and fun. Omikuji Yon Kyoudai is something that’s comforting no matter when you watch it, so I want to continue having fun with it.

Hatano: Indeed.

Takeuchi: Oh, how about another set of four brothers?

Saito: Themed after cards, like diamond, spade, et cetera?

Hatano: They come from America, and the oldest son is Genda Tessyo-san.

Saito: That sounds interesting. “YOU guys call yourself the fortune BROTHERS, but you don’t pull fortunes very often, huh? HAHA”

All: *laughs*

Back to the original intent, and look forward to Omikuji Yon Kyoudai’s future developments!

Q: I’m excited to see how much of this gets implemented *laughs*. Lastly, please give a message for the fans looking forward to the BD/DVD.

Komada: Since it’s the first disc release, the selling point is that if you wanted to see it again or couldn’t come on that day: “Don’t worry. Everything is shown.” *laughs*

The making-of also shows a little bit of our planning before the show, so you can get a candid view of how it was put together.

Omikuji Yon Kyoudai is bound to keep doing new things, so I really hope I’ll have the opportunity to participate again.

Please enjoy the BD/DVD from various perspectives!

Nishiyama: This is the first time our reading theatre is being released on BD/DVD, so those who came to the event will be able to see it more thoroughly, and those who couldn’t make it can expand on their enjoyment of the picture dramas.

This time, we had Koma-chan as a powerful helper, and I think we were able to put on a bright, fun show. I hope we can act with Koma-chan again, so please watch the BD/DVD a lot and show your support.

Takeuchi: Please enjoy the audio commentary on the BD/DVD too.

Also, Omikuji Yon Kyoudai began with the voiced fortunes on the website, so I’ll be happy if this reading theatre encourages everyone to pull their daily fortunes again.

“Don’t forget your initial intent.” I want to continue trying to create those opportunities.

Saito: Indeed. I’d forgotten because this time we were making roast beef and having a Christmas party. *laughs*

This series has gone on for about four years, and it’s uncommon to have the chance to voice a single series or character for so long. I hope we can continue doing this forever at a relaxed pace.

This time we had Komada-kun too, and despite all that was said, the four of us were able to let loose (in an extremely good way) and have fun while putting all our effort into the show.

Thankfully, the next show is already confirmed, although there are still things we don’t know, like what it’ll be about and what Omikuji Yon Kyoudai’s next developments will be.

It’s probably going to be an autumn full of laughs, huh…?

All: *laughs*

Hatano: It might be ultra serious for all we know. *laughs*

Saito: That’s possible. You don’t know what fortune you’ll get until you draw it, so I hope we get a “very lucky” story.

Please continue to support Omikuji Yon Kyoudai!

Hatano: Omikuji Yon Kyoudai began as voice content that was enjoyed through the website. When we had our first reading theatre, Omikuji Yon Kyoudai: Haru wa Omusubi!, I thought “This might be the first and last time,” but thanks to each and every one of the audience’s support, we were able to perform again, which I’m thankful for.

This series teaches me how it’s important to do your very best every time. There’s entertainment that can only be created during those instants, and I hope we can continue to work together creating that.

Please look forward to the BD/DVD and the next reading theatre!

※This interview was conducted before the COVID-19 state of emergency was declared.

[Interview] PASH! 2020/5 Edition – IDOLiSH7 Second BEAT! – TRIGGER Special Interview

Released: 2020/4/10

Featured:
Saito Soma (Kujou Tenn in IDOLiSH7)

※This was presented as three separate interviews with each of the TRIGGER members. Only Soma’s interview is translated here, as well as Soma mentions from the other interviews.

Mentioned:
Hatano Wataru (Yaotome Gaku in IDOLiSH7)
Sato Takuya (Tsunashi Ryuunosuke in IDOLiSH7)
Masuda Toshiki (Izumi Iori in IDOLiSH7)


Tenn strives for perfection

Q: How did you feel when Season 2 was announced?

Soma: Rather than being excited like “Phew, it’s happening!”, it was more of a natural acceptance, like “The time has finally come.” In the mobile game’s story, the second arc and beyond has the idols’ relationships and surrounding circumstances becoming more complex. I was personally hoping to see it in anime form, so I was very happy about the Season 2 announcement as both an actor and a fan.

Q: Did you talk about the announcement with the other cast members?

Soma: I have a lot of chances to see them at various recordings, so we definitely brought it up. We mostly talked about our favourite scenes and the scenes we were looking forward to. In IDOLiSH7, the characters face many setbacks and obstructions… Honestly, the story is heart-wrenching to read at times, but watching them overcome their trials and grow stronger makes me feel like I’m being given a push on the back. Although it’s not quite the same as them, we’re performers too, so we get excited talking about the scenes that struck home.

Q: What did you think of the completed Episode 1?

Soma: I first watched it at the “IDOLiSH7 Fan Meeting vol.5 Welcome! Ai na Night!!” event. The story was great, but I also noticed that there was a lot of thought put into the details. There was a lot of meaningful direction, not just in the characters’ expressions and lines of sight, but also in the sound effects and blocking. The information was also dense, and Episode 1 felt like it was an hour long. Anyway, there was also foreshadowing scattered throughout, so whether you’ve read the game story or not, don’t blink or you’ll miss something.

Also, I have a personal theory that there must be someone in the staff who wants to make Iori cuter *laughs*. He was cute enough to make me think that. He looks cool at first glance, but he pouts when he’s angry and smiles when he’s happy. It’s a normal thing as far as humans go, but when you’re only looking at them as idols, you tend to forget the finer behaviour that adds depth to the work. But of course, everyone else is cute too!

Q: Was there any memorable direction during the recording?

Soma: At the end of Season 1, Tenn acknowledges his younger brother Riku as an idol, so during the test run for Season 2, I approached it with Tenn’s love towards his brother rather than the strictness of a professional. However, I was told to be strict. In the game, Tenn’s attitude towards Riku has changed a lot, so it was hard to rewind those feelings. But rather than tracing my past performance, I strived to express him in a way that could only be done in anime.

Another memorable instruction was in a later episode, when Tenn gets into an argument with Iori. Even though Masuda-san spoke in a relatively mild, comedic tone, I was asked to make Tenn’s tongue-clicking “dead serious.”

Also, there’s a scene where Tenn sighs after a conversation with Riku. For that, I was told “Please express Tenn’s conflicted feelings after saying harsh words while actually being concerned about Riku, with only a sigh.” It was difficult to get the balance right, but I like that delicate, clumsy side of him.

Q: I see. So, Tenn’s way of breathing is a must-check in Season 2. What else should we keep an eye out for?

Soma: Tenn is TRIGGER’s center, and such a perfect idol that people call him a modern-day angel. He spares no effort in giving the audience the greatest time of their lives. His high degree of professionalism results in him being harsh on both himself and others. In Season 2, I get the feeling that they’re intentionally emphasizing that stoic-ness of his. While watching, if you try to imagine why he’s saying harsh words and taking a cold attitude, and what feelings are hidden behind them, you might be able to sense what’s going on inside him. I believe that the person known as Kujou Tenn has a lot of charm packed in there. Please pay attention to his complicated relationship with Riku, who’s his twin brother as well as a rival competing with him to reach greater heights.

Q: What is Kujou Tenn to you?

Soma: In short, he’s someone I respect a lot. When Tenn says something harsh, there’s always a reason behind it. He says it because it’s necessary to say it. Tenn acts as a helpful warning to me, making me question whether I’m worthy of being the one responsible for his weighty words.

It shows in his attitude towards Riku too—since Tenn is stoic, he has an extreme side to him as well. While he appears perfect, there are times when I think he’s actually someone who’s striving towards perfection. That side of him is really precious, and I’m sure he’s going to keep improving in the future, so I want to improve alongside him too.

Q: You’ve participated in several IDOLiSH7 events so far. Which ones were the most memorable for you?

Soma: It’d have to be the concerts. For the 2nd Live “REUNION,” we went through a lot of ideas trying to figure out how we could make it even better than the 1st Live “Road to Infinity.” The direction intent behind the set list was clear, and I remember discussing and rehearsing with Hatano-san and Sato-san countless times. After the concert was over, I felt a sense of accomplishment, as well as the desire to put on an even more expressive performance as Kujou Tenn next time.

Q: Lastly, please give a message for the readers who are looking forward to IDOLiSH7 Second BEAT!

Soma: First off, thank you for supporting us thus far. TRIGGER and IDOLiSH7 have a perfect rival relationship, teaching and learning from each other at the same time, and now Re:vale is joining in as the reliable big brothers. I think you’ll find the anime even deeper if you pay attention to not just the characters’ words, but also their expressions, tones of voice, and the camerawork. I’ll also be looking forward to the broadcast every week, so let’s enjoy it together until the end. Please continue to support IDOLiSH7.


Q: Out of all the TRIGGER songs that have been released so far, which one stands out to you the most?

Soma: When we were recording “Leopard Eyes,” we were instructed to prioritize sexiness, so we did. When I heard the finished version afterwards, I felt as though I’d gained a better understanding of Kujou Tenn. When I’m singing as Tenn, I change my singing style and enunciation depending on the song, but even now, I still use “Leopard Eyes” as my baseline.


Mentions

  • Satotaku: “Due to scheduling, it was difficult to record at the same time as Hatano-kun and Saito-kun. But even under those circumstances, I’d think ‘Those two would definitely voice it this way,’ and I’m sure they were doing the same. The trust and respect for each other that we’ve built up over the years resembles TRIGGER. On the other hand, when I do get to see them, I’m happy from the bottom of my heart. The moment I open the studio door and see their faces, I go into TRIGGER mode.”

[Stream] Uchitama?! 3rd Street Correspondence: March Edition

Broadcast: 2020/3/18 @ 9:30pm JST
Original URL: https://live.nicovideo.jp/watch/lv324424552 (no longer available)
Original Name: うちタマ?! 3丁目通信 3月号
Guests: Saito Soma, Hatano Wataru (MC), Terasaki Yuka


Choice Quotes

(Talking about how Nora got his name)
Hatano: I have a cat too, and the name is very important; it’s like the first gift you give them. My cat’s name is Mugi
Tera-chan: It has to be 2 syllables, right? (referencing an episode where the characters talk about how pet names have to be 2 syllables)
Soma: Don’t say it “has to”… There’s no Tama restriction here lol (the way he phrased it could also be interpreted as ‘ball bondage’)
Soma: Wait, that phrasing was kinda… lol
*everyone dying*
Hatano: What’s wrong, master of Tama restrictions?!
Soma: This isn’t that kind of show!

(Talking about Episode 9 (Aibo))
Tera-chan: I wasn’t in this episode!
Hatano/Soma: Oh!
Tera-chan: What about the other owners? Maybe Kuramochi-kun’s mom?
*Everyone thinking*
Soma: *towards staff* Hey… can you guys not look away? We’re asking YOU GUYS you know

(Still talking about Aibo)
Soma: The modern Aibo is amazing; it’s practically alive
Hatano: They brought a real one to the studio!
Tera-chan: Wow!
Soma: We were all playing with it like “Wheeee!” *beckoning motion*
Hatano: Everyone turned into kids lol
Soma: Yuma-kun was having a lot of fun, *Yuma voice* “You’re so cute”
Tera-chan: I can imagine it *laughs*

(Talking about Episode 10)
Tera-chan: Tama and Tora had that shiritori scene, right? If they followed the script, it’d fit into the scene length, but for some reason they wouldn’t follow the script??
Soma: Wait wait wait
Soma: *points at camera* SHIRAI!
Soma: It’s Shirai’s fault!
Hatano: He forced it on you?
Soma: Yes! It’s always his fault! ALWAYS!
Tera-chan: You started playing shiritori for real
Hatano: I was amazed that you were ad libbing shiritori
Tera-chan: But in the end it was too long for the scene LOL, and both the test run and the real take failed and had to be redone
Soma: Yeah, they were like “Look, just follow the script ok” and we apologized

(Talking about Episode 11)
Hatano: Tomorrow is finally the last episode
Soma: The last episode? Uchitama is… ending? It is?
Tera-chan: I’m sure it isn’t over
Soma: It could continue on forever
Soma: You know, I got proof the other day from the producer, he said “It’s called the last episode, but it’s not really the last episode” because you could watch any episode and it could be the last episode
Soma: Which means… it could go on forever, right? *looks at staff* Right?
Soma: *reads staff’s sign* LOL they wrote “we’re counting on you”, well, we want it to continue too
Tera-chan: Maybe if the DVDs sell like hotcakes *laughs*
Hatano: Soma-san can we get a word from you

“We’re counting on you” *money sign*

Tera-chan: So pragmatic LOL

(Still talking about the last episode)
Soma: I can’t say much about it, but when I read the script, I thought “DAMMIT! This is too reckless!”

3rd Street’s Ultimate Questions (They answer 2-choice questions and see if their answers match)

Q: Someone you meet for the first time keeps getting your name slightly wrong. What do you do?
A1 (Tama): Subtly correct them
A2 (Gon): Leave it be

Soma: The person who wrote this question probably has experience with that…

Gon / Tama / Gon

Hatano: I don’t have the courage to correct them…
Tera-chan: Same…
Hatano: One time someone misread my first name as “Sho” and I just became Sho-san for the whole day…
Hatano: Also, when I was younger, I guess I resembled this celebrity named Koizumi Kotaro, and one time when we were doing an outdoor shoot, an elderly couple thought I was him and came to root for me, and I didn’t want to crush their dreams so I thanked them for their support…

Soma: I’d prefer to correct them early on; it feels like there’d be less ill will between both of us that way. I’m bad at remembering names, so if I make a mistake I’d want to know early on so I can fix it.

Q: If you go out to eat with a group, and one of the shared platters has one French fry left, what do you do?
A1 (Tama): Don’t think, just eat
A2 (Gon): Watch and wait, assuming someone else will eat it

Gon / Gon / Tama

Hatano: So you’ll eat it without thinking anything?
Tera-chan: Ok it’s not that I don’t think; I do have a reason for it! Isn’t it annoying when the plate stays there the whole time with only one thing on it?
Hatano: Oh I see, so the person who eats it has that sense of justice…
Soma/Tera-chan: *burst out laughing* Justice???

Hatano: When I think about “what if someone really wants this”, I can’t take it because I’m afraid they’ll be sad if they can’t have it…
Tera-chan: I see, well you can just order it again
Hatano: Ohhhhhhhhhh

Soma: Well, I have the same opinion as Hatano-san, but also, I think there are a lot of people who’ll refrain from taking the last one, and I don’t want to be the person who eats it
Hatano: What?
Soma: Everyone is being considerate and waiting for someone to take it, so if I ate it that would make me the impudent one… So, I think Hatano-san picked Gon out of kindness, but in my case I’m just being pretentious
Hatano/Tera-chan: LOL
Soma: I just want to look good 🙂

Premium Corner: More Ultimate Questions

Q: When picking up a new hobby, which would you do?
A1 (Tama): Start with the superficial by buying high-quality equipment
A2 (Gon): Start with moderate-quality equipment, because you might not stick with it for long

Soma: This is seriously an ultimate question… the stream might end while I’m still thinking

Tama / Gon / Tama

Hatano: Yeah, I tend to start big… although sometimes I do get bored and quit
Tera-chan: I know! And then it’s like, what do I do with this stuff now…
Hatano: When you have good equipment, it motivates you more, so I end up just buying it… but Soma’s more grounded, huh?
Soma: Oh, no, I just get bored really fast, and I know myself well enough to say “Hold on Soma, you’re just going to get bored of it anyway”
Soma: But after the initial hype cools down, if I feel the passion again then I know it’s real, and I’ll switch to Tama

Q: What do you do if there’s somewhere you want to go for the first time?
A1 (Tama): Invite someone and go
A2 (Gon): Go by yourself first, then invite someone along the next time you go

Soma: What if I don’t invite anyone ever?
Hatano: That’s not an option
Soma: Can’t the options be Tama, Gon, Soma?
Hatano: No, the assumption is that you’re bringing someone
Soma:

Tera-chan: This is a hard one!
Hatano: Yeah, it really is
Soma: This is an instant decision for me.
Hatano/Tera-chan: Really?! Wow…
Tera-chan: It depends on the place…
Hatano: Yeah…
*Soma just nodding by himself*

Gon / Gon / Gon

Soma: So everyone would go by themselves first, then
Tera-chan: Yeah, like when I went to New York by myself. It was fun so I want to bring someone with me next time
Hatano: You went to New York by yourself?!
Soma: I was thinking of like, an izakaya or something, so that goes way above what I was expecting

Soma: Whenever Hatano-san takes us somewhere, they’re always really nice places, like he never chooses a dud. Us kouhais are really thankful for that, but maybe he was scouting them out in advance… (He was)

Hatano: Are you like that too, Soma?
Soma: Uh, I just… don’t want to go with anyone lol
Soma: I chose by process of elimination…
Hatano: So you’re still in the Soma camp
Soma: Yeah, it’s actually like this:

Soma: But on the other hand, I’m happy if someone else invites me
Tera-chan: Oh, so being invited is ok?
Soma: Yeah I’ll go “WOOF!” right away
Tera-chan: Oh, so you become a dog when you’re led on
Soma: LOL those are powerful words, it’s like I don’t know what it means but I still get it

Tera-chan: There’s a really fun story about dogs and cats. They say that when humans take care of their pets, by feeding them and changing their litter and stuff, dogs will think “Why are they so good to me? They must be God” but cats will think “They’re doing so much for me; maybe I’m a god” (spoken femininely)
Tera-chan: It makes sense, right?
Hatano: Yep, anyone who lives with a cat will agree
Soma: *nods* I’m a god
Hatano: Hahaha Soma thinks he’s a god
Soma: *repeating the feminine phrasing* Maybe I’m a god– *breaks down laughing before he finishes the sentence*
Soma: …Save me
*laughter continues as they close off the stream*


Bonus: Post-stream photos from Hatano and Tera-chan’s Twitters

Bonus #2:

https://note.com/yuukihonda/n/n15ab3c370fbd

A blog post from Soma’s stylist, Honda Yuuki, about the outfits worn by Soma and Hatano for this stream. (I won’t be translating it, because he doesn’t allow reposting/alterations of his content)

[Interview] GIRLS CONTINUE Vol.1 – Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~

(Article was anime visuals/screenshots only, so I won’t be scanning it.)

Released: 2020/2/25

Features:
Saito Soma (Tama in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)

Mentioned:
Kurosawa Tomoyo (Koma in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Hanazawa Kana (Momo in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Uchida Yuma (Beh in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Shirai Yusuke (Tora in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Hatano Wataru (Gon in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Ono Kensho (Pochi in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Maeno Tomoaki (Bull in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Yashiro Taku (Waka in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Nanami Hiroki (Kai in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)


Q: After voicing Okamoto Tama thus far, what do you feel is this anime’s appeal?

When we were recording Episode 1, we were told, “The theme of this anime is ‘bringing healing and relaxation.'” When I was taking the audition, I also had the impression that it was going to be a relaxing show about the daily lives of the cute characters from Tama & Friends. And of course, it does have that straightforward kind of healing, but it’s more than just that. It also healing in the form of extremely wild scenarios that make you laugh in a way different from regular comedy. It has a wide range of appeals that don’t fit in the peaceful slice-of-life genre.

Q: What did you take into consideration when voicing Tama?

I feel that a crucial aspect is how I depict him living by his cat-like instincts. What makes him catlike and cute is his lack of consistency, like how he suddenly leaps towards anything that catches his interest. I acted while considering what he would be feeling and thinking.

Q: Like how in Episode 1, he goes to a stranger’s house and eats their food.

Episode 1 really made me feel, “He’s in human form, but he’s still a cat.” As you mentioned, he’ll trespass on someone’s property and eat their food, or hear a sound and ditch Pochi. Those aspects are what make him catlike, and you can really feel that he’s whimsical (in a good way). Since he’s a cat, I naturally have to bring out traits that I don’t possess, so it was fun to voice him.

Actually, the recording sessions themselves were a lot of fun. Everyone was really friendly, and it truly felt like “Third Street” there. Kurosawa-san was just like Koma with everyone doting on her, and Hanazawa-san was like an older sister watching over us. Yuma-kun and Shirai-kun were having fun too. Our camaraderie was there from the very first episode.

Q: You’ve worked with many of these voice actors before. Did you talk to them about the project beforehand?

If I ran into them at other recording sessions, then we’d of course acknowledge it. Hatano-san is my senpai from the same agency so he’d often talk to me about how it was going to be a struggle speaking Kansai dialect for his character. But, I think everyone talked more after the recordings began. We talked a lot about how Uchitama?! wasn’t what we were expecting *laughs* but also that that was what made it really interesting. As the recording progressed, we’d talk about the past episodes we enjoyed.

Q: I’m sure the viewers also thought it betrayed their expectations in a good way.

Oftentimes when we read an anime script and think “This is clearly comedy,” the voice director will actually ask us not to make it too comical. But for Uchitama?!, we were told at Episode 1 that it was okay to make it funny, and I think we were all just like, “Oh, okay.” After that, in Episode 2 when Kuro and Gon were talking about breasts while Beh was playing tag with an otherworldly creature in the background, we realized, “Oh, it’s this kind of show,” and everyone had a lot more fun with it. *laughs*

Q: Indeed, Episode 2’s “Peace” section was shocking.

Even the recording session became kind of incomprehensible *laughs*. First off, the amount of laughter during the test run wasn’t something we normally see. Even though it’s just a test run, people generally try not to make any noise besides the dialogue. But here, we’d burst out laughing.

Q: What kinds of things did you laugh at?

They explained to us that Kuro and Gon’s conversation would be the main focus of the recording, and Beh’s whole part would be recorded separately, so he should step back from the mic. Despite that, Yuma-kun stood proudly in front of the mic and started the test run with a super loud voice. We had no idea what was going on and burst out laughing. That carefreeness of his does resemble Beh. *laughs*

Q: It sounds like there were many instances of the cast challenging themselves to express their characteristics during the test runs.

The sound director, Koizumi Kisuke-san seemed to be enjoying it. Sound directors each have their own direction styles, and Kisuke-san is the type who first asks to show him how we want to do it. It’s a lot of responsibility on us, but it gives us the opportunity to experiment. So, during Episode 1 it really felt like we were the ones creating it together. It was great. After the test run, Kisuke-san came into our booth and asks, “Hey uh, how much of that was serious?”

Q: Hahahaha.

We’d gone overboard with the ad-libbing, to the point where he couldn’t tell how much of it we were actually planning to do in the real thing. Were we serious about it, or were we just experimenting with different approaches because it was the test run? No one knew anymore *laughs*. That added to the humour of the show, and the recording sessions were a lot of fun.

Q: It sounds like you were raising hands to volunteer to do the next ad lib.

The mood at the recording sessions was absolutely great, and I’m sure it’s reflected in the anime’s mood too. I wish we could show you what it was like somehow. Maybe they could release a blooper reel as a bonus CD, or we could do a dramalogue at an event.

Especially in Episode 1, that scene when Tama trespasses into someone’s yard and eats their food and goes “Yummy!”–in the real recording I said it cutely, but during the test run it was completely in the realm of “There’s something wrong with this guy” *laughs*. The rest of the cast actually liked it, but I surmised that it probably wasn’t going to fly, and said it cutely instead *laughs*. ((Soma demonstrated what it sounded like during the January stream.))

Uchitama?! is full of serious-minded voice actors, so even though they play around during the test run, they usually perform their role properly for the real recording. That means there are a lot of takes that no one else has heard besides us. Personally, I wish we could show you that recording atmosphere in some way.

Q: It sounds like there were a lot of ad libs. What kinds of things did you add for Tama?

Actually, Tama doesn’t have room for ad-libbing. If I play around too much with Tama’s acting, it gets jumbled up with the other characters and the central axis moves out of place. So for Tama, instead of inserting ad libs, I make a point out of him “not thinking of himself as cute” and often shift my acting in that direction. I’ll say things in an unexpectedly non-cute way, or follow the script but in a tone that probably isn’t what the script intended. I want to create a gap where “his uncuteness is cute.”

So, I use a lot of strange voices too. Not to the point of being a joke, but still within the range of being funny. I try to add elements that aren’t purely one-sided to cuteness, but I don’t do anything super crazy. In that sense, I’m jealous of Beh who has so much freedom to play around with. *laughs*

Q: Even though you can’t play around too much with Tama, were there any scenes when you experienced Uchitama?!’s unique style through him?

The most memorable one was from the drama CD we recorded after doing Episode 1. It’s going to be included with Volume 1 of the Blu-ray/DVD release, and the contents are just way out there.

For example, there’s a scene about coughing up hairballs. On that day, I happened to run into the sound director when I stopped by the convenience store. I asked, “For today’s hairball scene, you want it in a sort of stylized, cute way, right?” and he said “Yeah, that’s right!” But, during the rehearsal I messed around with it anyway, voice actor’s nature and all. I made a crazy sound like “Kaaa! Puh!” *laughs* No one said anything, but during the real recording when I did a clean, cute version instead, the staff said “Why didn’t you do it the messy way you did before?” *laughs* I thought to myself, “Weren’t you guys the ones who said to make it cute and uplifting?!” *laughs*

In the end, I had to redo it the way I did during the test run, and I had a premonition that perhaps Uchitama?! wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. Sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed in Episode 2.

Q: I’m excited to hear what it ended up sounding like.

I think the anime will have aired up to Episode 7 by the time that volume is released, and if you’ve watched that far, you’ll probably be able to accept it by then. But just know that I had to record that after only knowing Episode 1. I did it nervously, confused as to why it was okay *laughs*. Please listen to it.

Q: When people buy the volume, is there anything you’d like them to pay attention to when they watch the accompanying episodes again?

Uchitama?! has a lot of scenes where multiple conversations are going on at once. Beh’s often in the background, and if you look carefully, sometimes he’s doing something crazy, and sometimes he’s not doing anything at all. Personally, I’d like you to pay attention to him. I feel a sort of horror aesthetic from him, and that’s because Yuma-kun is superb. When Beh’s staring at something, he’ll suddenly bring out a voice that makes me wonder where on Earth he got it from. Maybe Yuma-kun is also secretly connected to an alternate dimension like Beh’s bandage is…

Q: Hahahaha. Moving on, can you tell us about Tama’s character song “Hidamari wo Sagashite” that you sung for the ED?

When I sung it, I wanted it to be an upbeat, relaxing song that conveys Tama’s simple-minded cuteness. But this song was actually really hard! The range of notes was so wide. The verse was really low, but the chorus was really high. Plus, the key was originally even higher, but I said I couldn’t reach that key in Tama’s voice, so they lowered it for me. Consequently, the verse became too low, and I couldn’t make it sound like Tama. This anime is great on the music side, but I think they demanded a lot from us. *laughs*

Q: Were there any other difficult songs?

The final episode has a song that we all sang together, and it was difficult to align the key because there were both male and female vocals. Also, considering the cast, it’d be impossible for the characters’ voices to all match the key perfectly.

For example, if the character’s voice was very low and the song went to a very high note, it’d be difficult to sing that part with emotion. In that sense, I think we all struggled to sing that song together. Please look forward to hearing it.

Q: It sounds like you faced several trials. What do you think you gained from participating in this series?

This time, both Ono Kensho-san and I are using voices much higher pitched than our natural voices. I’m the type that produces high tones by tightening my vocal cords, but Kensho-san’s the reverse, producing Pochi’s high pitched voice by relaxing his throat and using a technique resembling falsetto. I learned that his way of doing it sounded softer and really cute. When you tighten your vocal cords for high tones, it produces a sharp, strong sound, but if you relax them, it sounds cuter. So, I stole Kensho-san’s voice acting skill for myself.

Also, Bull has a lot of scenes that said “ad-lib the rest,” and Maeno-san’s the type who can perfectly output what he’s got. Not only that, but his ad-libbing even fits perfectly in the cut. There are many people in the cast who are extremely skilled in their approaches to their roles, so I’m constantly learning new things.

Q: It sounds like a great place to work. Still, learning about these different ways of producing high pitched voices makes me realize how amazing the professionals are.

When you speak in a low tone, there’s a high overtone included at the same time, and you can skim that upper layer and make it ring out stronger. That was Kensho-san’s approach, and seeing it was enlightening. But in the end, I thought the contrast between Tama’s sharp voice and Pochi’s soft voice was very fitting for their relationship.

Also, there were a lot of scenes with Tama and Pochi talking to each other, and the timing of Kensho-san’s “Huh?” lines were so in sync with me that sometimes I lost track of who was talking. So, we usually didn’t have to go through several retakes. It’s not like we pre-planned it or anything either, so I could really feel the synergy between Tama and Pochi, which was great. By letting my voice out based on intuition rather than logical thinking, sometimes our timings would happen to match up, and I felt that was very much like Tama and Pochi themselves.

Q: I’m looking forward to seeing more great dialogues in the next episodes. Lastly, please give a message for everyone looking forward to the rest of Uchitama?!.

Uchitama?! will continue in this way… but, I expect more and more guest characters to visit. One of the great things about this series is that even though they can already come up with plenty of entertaining stories with the Third Street crew alone, we get to see even more expressions when the guest characters come in. So, please look forward to the guest collaborations in each episode. And before that, please make sure to watch Episode 8! *laughs* I think you’ll find that Uchitama?! has the potential to be even more. Also, the style of the series means that it can continue for a second and third season, so please watch until the very last episode. I’m sure we’ll be able to meet the Third Street residents again if you buy the home video releases, so please give us your support!

Soma’s Favourite #1
From Episode 2: “Peace”
Story: One day, Kuro and Gon are lying on the river bank and reflecting on Third Street’s peacefulness. Meanwhile, Beh is chasing a butterfly, and the bandage on his cheek peels off…

Soma’s Comment: The scenarios in Episode 1 had a “wait and see” feeling to them; there were a few parts that were a bit tricky, but the content was relaxing. However, Episode 2 is where Uchitama?!’s true direction starts to become apparent. Beh’s multidimensional game of tag is one of my favourite scenes!
“My Name is Bull”
Story: Bull has just moved to Third Street, and he’s practicing his introduction so that the other animals will respect and fear him. Kuramochi-kun takes him out on a walk, and they go to Third Street’s animal oasis: Cafe Tulip. There, he has a fateful encounter.

Soma’s Comment: It was a very fitting scene for an insert song. Even though it was a comedic scene, it gave me a strange, almost heart-rending feeling. As a viewer, I wanted to feel sorry for poor Bull, but at the same time I wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness of the scene. The mixed emotions it created left an impression on me.
Soma’s Favorite #2
From Episode 3: “The Weakest Guy on Third Street”
Story: One day, Kuro and Gon spot Pochi being glum in the park. When they ask what’s wrong, he says that he’s depressed because he couldn’t show off in their tournament to see who the strongest animal on Third Street was. Gon tells Pochi about the legendary delinquent wolf.

Soma’s Comment: Wasn’t the Pochi episode adorable~? Kensho-san’s always saying that “cuteness can be created,” but when I asked how, he said “Determination! I have to believe that I am cute!” *laughs* In this episode, there’s a scene where Pochi makes a very un-cute noise, and Kensho-san said he learned it by finding a “weird dog and cat noise compilation” on a video site. The result was superb, and I could really sense his professionalism.
Soma’s Favorite #3
From Episode 6: “Battle of Dogs and Cats”
Story: The Third Street Crazy Cats are an intimidating force that keep the peace on Third Street. But one day, Bull falls to major injuries, and explains that their territory is being targeted by the Seventh Street Young Kings, led by Waka the husky.

Soma’s Comment: First, I wondered why they suddenly broke out into rap *laughs*. For Tama, I just prioritized rapping cutely. There was a guide provided, but I think everyone changed the flow themselves, so each character’s rap showed originality.

Yashiro Taku-san (who voiced Waka) was really funny. His voice was thicker and stronger than what I was imagining while reading the script. I thought he was going to use a lighter voice, so the unexpected aggressiveness turned it into a serious rap battle for me, no laughing allowed.

Shirai-san wanted to rap too, but was sadly rejected. Yuma-kun threw a product name into his ad-libbing and it was absolutely hilarious, but wasn’t allowed. This episode’s recording was a lot of fun too. *laughs*
Soma’s Favorite #4
From Episode 7: “Cat Cafe Violet”
Story: Momo sighs, looking at the empty seats in Cafe Tulip. When she finds out that the reason why customers aren’t coming anymore is because of a cat cafe that opened in the neighbouring town, she springs out the door to investigate. The other Third Street animals chase after her, and Nora guides them to the cat cafe, where they find…

Soma’s Comment: Kai is so handsome! Nanami Hiroki-san’s voice was a great match for this beautiful, androgynous character, and I could feel the compassion radiating from his acting. All of us were wondering how he could express that kind of coolness. Nora’s unintentional attitude was cute too.

[Stream] Uchitama?! 3rd Street Correspondence: January Edition

Broadcast: 2020/1/29 @ 9pm JST
Original URL: https://live.nicovideo.jp/watch/lv323443554 (no longer available)
Original Name: うちタマ?! 3丁目通信 1月号
Guests: Saito Soma (MC), Hatano Wataru (MC), Umehara Yuuichirou, Maeno Tomoaki


Choice Quotes

(Cast is talking about Episode 2)
Hatano: So like, before the real recording, we do a test run, and most voice actors will use that time to perform their dialogues for the director to hear, right? That’s the point of the test run, right?
Everyone: Yeah (already starting to laugh)
Hatano: So normally the people ad libbing in the background will stand back from the mic and keep the volume down, right? They’ll be louder in the real recording, but during the test run they don’t want to get in the way. But like… Beh (Uchida Yuma) was SO into it.
Ume-chan: He was such a nuisance that we couldn’t hear our own conversation…
Hatano: He kept going “Wait~! Wait~!” and we couldn’t hear anything else
Soma: But it’s hard to stay smiling like that the whole time, and even though he was suffering, he still wouldn’t stop
Maeno: His heart is so strong
Hatano: He has that actor’s determination, going all-out during the test run… well, it was annoying though
Soma: LOL
Ume-chan: But then during the real recording, Beh was recorded separately, so during our conversation it felt like something was missing
Hatano: Yeah! It felt wrong because I got used to that background noise…

(Still talking about Episode 2)
Soma: When we recorded Episode 1, their initial description was that it was a healing anime, so I kept that in mind. Then I got the script for Episode 2, looked at it, and went “Huh? ‘Healing’ is a really broad term…”

(Talking about the chaotic test runs)
Soma: In Episode 1, it starts with Tama and Pochi going on a walk, and Tama gets distracted, goes into someone’s yard, eats their food, and goes “YUMMM!” (said in a really weird way)
Everyone: *bursts out laughing*
Ume-chan: That’s what it sounded like during the test run
Soma: Yeah and that was kind of… They were like “What do you think this is?”
Hatano: We all knew the director well, but even that director went to Soma right after the test run like “What’re you going to do for the real recording…?” He wasn’t sure if you were serious LOL
Soma: As the episodes progressed, the test runs got to the point where he’d check first to see how serious we were
Maeno: Like “you’re not actually going to do this, right?”
Hatano: He was concerned LOL

(Corner where they practice taking photos with “pets” (Uchitama plushies) following themes drawn at random)

Soma: *unfolds paper* WHY IS THIS SO LONG?! “Theme: a 2-shot with the owner that has cuteness appeal. While you’re at it, making eye contact with the camera will make it great for social media. Since you live together, put your faces together and make it a nice scene full of love. It can be either a selfie or a normal photo.”

(Testing the camera. Unintentional theme: “Beauty and the Beast”)
(Soma’s photo. “When you live together, your faces become similar”)

Ume-chan: *pulls from the box* “Theme: Playing with his owner. Photos of owners and pets playing without looking at the camera are popular online too. It’s just a stuffed animal today, but please play with it somehow.”
Everyone: LOL
Ume-chan: Does this mean someone has to take the picture for me?
Soma: Or you could be the director
Hatano: You can have someone model for you
Soma: You could also have someone be your pet
Hatano: Wow… Saito-sensei is really something
Soma: Oh but it says to use a stuffed animal
Hatano: We’re actors though, so we can become stuffed animals

(Cameraman Soma)
(Ume-chan’s photo with “pet” Maeno)

Maeno: *pulls from box* “Theme: Cuteness appeal on top of the owner’s lap. A playing or sleeping scene will have explosive cuteness. Take a photo of the pet on your lap from your own point of view. It’ll be even better if it has a daily life feel to it.”

Ume-chan: It doesn’t say “stuffed animal”…
(Hmm…)
Maeno: Well then… I have three pets, you know?
Everyone: *nervous laughter*
Maeno: Oh hey, there’s exactly three of you! What a miracle!

(Maeno’s three adorable pets, Yuu-chan, Wata-chan, and So-chan)

Premium Corner: Do you know our Tama? (Hatano, Ume-chan, and Maeno have to guess how Soma would answer the questions)

Soma: Let’s start with a beginner level question, that anyone who knows Soma would know

Q: What comes to mind when you think of a place that’s easy to get lost in?

Soma: You see, our Soma gets lost pretty easily

Soma: *writes his answer* When you think of Soma, it’s gotta be here
Ume-chan: Huh? There’s a place like that?
Soma: I’m pretty confident in this one… *laughs*
Ume-chan: Confident? What does that mean??
Soma: I think you’ll probably get it right

Hatano: Wave Pool
Ume-chan: Shinjuku Station (East Exit)
Maeno: Tokyo Station Exit

Hatano: My thought process was completely different
Soma: What a clean 2-vs-1… Umehara-san and Maeno-san picked stations, and yeah it’s easy to get lost there. They’re pretty much correct
Hatano: Mine’s correct too, right?! A wave pool
Everyone: What…
Hatano: When you look at the videos, sometimes you can only see people’s heads above the water! You can get lost there
Soma: Uh, anyway… allow me to present the correct answer:

“Bookstore”

Everyone: What?! How???
Soma: I like going to the bookstore, and everything catches my eye, and I end up wandering deeper inside
Maeno: This is beginner level?!
Hatano: In a way, my thought process was the closest!!!

Q: When thinking of house pets, there’s cats, dogs, and _____. What’s the third animal that comes to mind? (A pet that Soma would own)

Maeno: Do you like animals?
Soma: I’m not good with them… ah yeah, I might pick something unconventional
Soma: *writes answer* Wait, am I allowed to write this?
Everyone: Huh? Is that what’s going on? Because it’s a premium stream?
Ume-chan: I was kind of avoiding that kind of thing though
Maeno: I’m avoiding it too, please don’t misunderstand my answer
Soma: Wait, I’m not avoiding anything though… ok then I’ll write something that does avoid that
Hatano: Seriously??
Soma: Oh, but the answer is essentially the same thing
Everyone: Wha…

Hatano: Axolotl
Ume-chan: String (slang for gigolo)
Maeno: Pig

Soma: What……
*staff laughing in background*
Soma: All of you are weird
Everyone: No we’re not!
Hatano: LOL pig
Maeno: Pigs are clean animals! So I thought it’d suit him… Don’t interpret it as something weird!!!
Soma: Okay yeah, pigs are pretty cute
Hatano: So you meant an actual pig LOL

Hatano: Okay so what about the middle one…
Ume-chan: I figured he’d have a string
Hatano: You mean like a regular old string?
Ume-chan: Yeah, of course, definitely
Soma: I don’t think you can run from this anymore Umehara-san
Hatano: What’re his friends going to think when he introduces a string as his pet?!

Maeno: Okay so Hatano-san…
Hatano: I put axolotl
Soma: I get it though, they ARE cute

“R__mba”

Hatano: Oh, THAT’S what you meant…
Soma: I think Umehara-san was actually the closest LOL but Maeno-san was right in terms of keeping things clean, and the axolotl has a cute form too, so you were all right

Q: Describe Uchitama?! in a single kanji.

Everyone: This is a tough one…

Soma: Hmm… well, it’s probably this, but I don’t know if I can write that kanji…
Everyone: The kanji?!
Hatano: Can you not pick a difficult kanji 🙁
Soma: Okay well, let’s make it acceptable to write the kanji in hiragana

Soma: *writes his answer* Is this kanji right…? *shows it to staff to ask if it’s right*

Hatano: Fun
Ume-chan: Healing
Maeno: Love

Maeno: It’s a series packed with love, and we put so much love into it, so I thought Soma-kun would definitely write “love”
Soma: Thank you

Ume-chan: Is this kanji right?
Hatano: I’m impressed you were able to write that!
Soma: Indeed, Uchitama is a healing show

Hatano: The recording sessions were so fun, after all. We never stopped laughing

Soma: Well… first, let’s look at my answer:

“Happiness”

Soma: Soooo, everyone was right! We all pretty much thought the same thing 🙂

[Interview] PASH! 2020/2 Edition – Uchitama?! – Saito Soma x Ono Kensho

(Article was anime visuals/screenshots only, so I won’t be scanning it.)

Released: 2020/1/10

Features:
Saito Soma (Tama in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Ono Kensho (Pochi in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)

Mentioned:
Hatano Wataru (Gon in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)


“Come out, my cute voice! Please, be cute!”

Q: What did you think when you found out that the characters from Tama & Friends ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~ were going to be anthropomorphized in the anime?

Kensho: I thought it was going to be cute, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine what kind of show it’d be *laughs*

Soma: Anthropomorphized works are common these days, but using a pre-existing series with a rich history seemed like an interesting challenge. That said, it’s not like Tama and Pochi are acting like humans–they’re simply performing cat and dog actions in human form. For example, Tama is true to his instincts, and will quickly lose interest in something and move on to the next thing, even if it was him that suggested it in the first place *laughs* Even if he looks like a person, he doesn’t watch what he says like we do, so I thought it’d be better not to base my acting on a human perspective. So, ever since the audition, I’ve been speaking as a cat.

Kensho: Yeah, that makes sense. Like Soma-kun said, the actions and dialogues written in the script were all from a cat or dog perspective. So, I also acted my lines intuitively without any implications.

Soma: I think that’s the interesting thing about Uchitama?!. If you watched Episode 1, I’m sure you would’ve felt it too.

Q: Is it difficult to speak without implications?

Soma: It’s not easy, but it’s actually very simple. It’s like, if they say they’re happy then they’re happy; if they say they’re scared then they’re scared. We didn’t have to manipulate our voices for that extra layer, so instead, our mindset during the recording was, “I need my high voice to come out today!” *laughs*

Kensho: “Come out, my cute voice!”

Soma: “Please, be cute!”

Kensho: That was the only thing *laughs*

Q: I see *laughs* How was the recording for Episode 1?

Kensho: At first, I thought it was going to be a cute, relaxing story about cats and dogs playing together. But when I got the script, my reaction was “Holy crap, this is surreal. What is this?! This is hilarious!” And the whole cast was messing around more than I expected, so I suddenly got really excited *laughs*

Soma: Everyone thought the same thing. We wondered how far we could go with the gags, and the staff asked us to bring out the big guns, so we went all-out *laughs* The main theme was supposed to be “healing,” but there’re different kinds of healing, so it was fine. It was mischievous in a good way–did it make you go “Huh? Is that kid okay?”

Kensho: Yeah!

Soma: Tama and Pochi are the “cute” representatives, but that doesn’t mean they’re solely dedicated to being cute. And Beh… Beh is… Where the heck did he get pulled out from? *laughs*

Kensho: He’s truly amazing.

Soma: The production side also said that Beh greatly exceeded their expectations.

Kensho: Was he not what they expected?

Soma: It’s more like, we were astonished by Beh’s role in Episode 2, but his character itself hadn’t been solidified at the time.

Kensho: I see, so they powered him up this time. Beh is dangerous… He defies all logic *laughs*

Q: Are you a fan of Beh?

Soma: Yes. I like all of the characters of course, but Beh had the most impact. At the recording studio, everyone was like, “That’s what they meant by ‘eccentric’?!” I wonder what the viewers will think…

Kensho: I think they’ll be lost for words *laughs* Episode 2 gets straight to the craziness.

Soma: Part B is a must-watch. I think watching that will tell you what the true essence of Uchitama?! is.

Kensho: It’s got everything, after all.

Soma: By the way, Gon and Kuro are pretty eccentric in Part B too *laughs* Gon’s in that older brother position, and he explains things in a different way from Nora, but he speaks in Kansai dialect. His voice actor Hatano-san is from Nagano, and his script is crammed with intonation markings for Kansai dialect. I thought it was really cool how Hatano-san had those thorough preparations.

Kensho: Aside from the mysterious Beh, I also like Tora’s owner, Tomekichi. His way of speaking is really entertaining and has a good flavour to it.

Soma: Indeed *laughs*

Uchitama is Third Street’s multi-protagonist story

Q: What were your impressions of Episode 1?

Kensho: All of the voice actors had to voice their cat/dog versions in addition to their human versions, so it was interesting seeing everyone’s different approaches. The task was sprung on us without warning, so I couldn’t prepare in advance. Please understand how hard I had to try.

Soma: Everyone did their best. Honestly, I thought Takeshi-kun had it hard, but it made me think, “Wait, what about Tama?!” *laughs*

Kensho: Are you sure this is Tama’s story and not Takeshi-kun’s? *laughs*

Soma: The title is Uchitama, but it’s actually a multi-protagonist story revolving around everyone on Third Street. There are many parts that Tama doesn’t appear in.

Kensho: Indeed. There are also times when you don’t know where Pochi is either.

Soma: So, please look forward to Episode 2 and beyond.

Q: Nora’s presence stood out quite a bit in Episode 1, huh?

Kensho: Nora exists between the pets and humans that live on Third Street. It was through him that the anime depicted the dangers of a cat sneaking under the car hood, thus giving the social message that cats aren’t just cute and playful–there are dangers involved as well. Hopefully, it encourages people to knock on their car hoods in the winter.

Q: If you could transform into a dog or cat, what would you do?

Kensho: I’d like to live freely as a stray cat, although I think it would be hard to secure food and deal with enemy animals. I wonder what it’d be like to go to a populated place and have people calling me cute? That sounds like it’d feel really good *laughs*

Soma: I’d want to be a cat too, because they say that cats can see things that people can’t. I want to see what the world looks like from a cat’s point of view. I also want to be owned by a wealthy family and live in luxury.

Q: Can you give us a message for the readers who are looking forward to Episode 2 and beyond?

Kensho: I think a lot of people will find it different from what they were expecting, but there are a lot of stories in Episode 2 and beyond that are must-watches, so please look forward to them. It’s not exactly foreshadowing, but look forward to Bull’s interesting development from the seed planted in Episode 1.

Soma: It’s hard to summarize Uchitama?! in a single genre, but Episode 1 contained several parts that showed various sides of the characters, so I hope the viewers felt refreshed by it. At the very least, we voice actors are laughing and giving it our all every week, and I hope our fun atmosphere came through. It’s way too crazy, and I honestly have no idea where it’ll end up!

Kensho: The producer said it could keep going for 10 years.

Soma: It’s possible *laughs* Please continue to support Uchitama?! forever.

[Stream] Uchitama?! 3rd Street Correspondence: Christmas Special

Broadcast: 2019/12/24 @ 9pm JST
Original URL: https://live.nicovideo.jp/watch/lv323313275 (no longer available)
Original Name: うちタマ?! 3丁目通信 クリスマス特別号
Guests: Saito Soma, Ono Kensho, Shirai Yusuke, Uchida Yuma, Hatano Wataru (MC)


Choice Quotes

(Cast is drinking drinks based on their characters)
Soma: There’s something solid in here!
Everyone else: What?
Soma: *takes another sip* Oh, never mind, there isn’t.
Everyone else: ???
Soma: Sorry, I lied.
Everyone else: Why???

(Cast is talking about Tama)
Kensho: The PV was way too cute
Yuma: (softly) Yeah…
Kensho: (softly) Yeah…
Soma: Why are you whispering among yourselves?
Hatano: But it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he’s so cute, it’s like the role was created so that Saito Soma could play it
Soma: Well, that’s just how it is sometimes… *makes cat pose*
Everyone else: AAAAAAA welp, Merry Christmas!
Hatano: Presents for everyone!

(Announcing the next stream)
Hatano: Another stream has been announced for next month! *lists off details*
Hatano: As for the content… Saito-kun, if you would
Soma: Uh…….. *laughs*
Everyone else: What’s wrong?
Soma: Um… well you see, today’s program is a live special, right?
Hatano: Yes, it’s a live stream
Soma: Today’s is a “live special,” and the second one is a “special”
Shiraimu: …Oh, so…
Soma: Are you ready? Can I say it?
Soma: It’s… already been pre-recorded
*Everyone laughs*

(Opinion Survey corner where they hold up the name of who they think matches the topic the most)

Q1: Who here do you think is the most cat-like?
Soma: Shirai (he lives freely at his own pace)
Kensho: Saito (he’s cat-like; he even looks like a cat (awkward laughing from Soma) and when you’re talking to him, you wonder what mood he’s in, like a cat that’ll approach you one day and ignore you the next. also the way he hides his neck *points out Soma’s turtleneck sweater*)
Shiraimu: Saito (they didn’t talk much when they first met, but after getting to know each other better they got closer in a flash, also he has the aura of a cat)
Yuma: Shirai (he doesn’t get influenced by his surroundings and he sticks with his preferences, like how he always wears green)

Q2: Who here would be the most likely to bite their owner?
Soma: Ono (rather than the angry kind of bite, a playful bite *Kensho makes biting motions*)
Kensho: *Blank* (everyone is nice)
Shiraimu: Saito (Saito Soma will play-bite you, he seems like he’d be good at getting people to spoil him *Soma makes biting motions that gradually turn into head-banging*)
Yuma: Uchida (uhh yeah, playful bites *makes biting motions and weird faces at the same time*)

(Lost Item challenge where they pick topics and time limits from a box, then draw them within the time limit for the others to guess)

Shiraimu (Time limit: 15 seconds)
Correct answer: Dog doing a handshake

Soma (Time limit: 20 seconds)
Correct answer: Cat tower (Soma didn’t really know what it looked like and was shocked they got it right)

Yuma (Time limit: 10 seconds)
Correct answer: Pizza (they were thrown off for a while, thinking it must be related to dogs/cats)

Kensho (Time limit: 3 seconds)
Correct answer: Cat toy (“3 seconds was plenty!”)

Bonus Round: Hatano (Time limit: 15 seconds)
Correct answer: Mapo tofu (they all answered at the same time, and everyone said something different, so they discussed it and tried again, but different answers came out again, and finally on the third try they got it right)

Other Notes

  • Soma’s Santa hat is the only fluffy one
  • Soma mentioned that he often goes out to eat with Yuma, and went with Shiraimu before too

[Interview] Livedoor News – From Subculture Boy to Actor: What Colour is Saito Soma’s World?

Original Article: https://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/17211623/
Published: 2019/10/15

Features:
Saito Soma (Tama in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)

Mentioned:
Ono Kensho (Pochi in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Kaji Yuki (Nora in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Uchida Yuma (Beh in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Maeno Tomoaki (Bull in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Shirai Yusuke (Tora in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Hatano Wataru (Gon in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Nakajima Yoshiki
Nakao Ryusei


Saito Soma is a popular voice actor, known for roles such as Kujou Tenn from IDOLiSH7, Tsurumaru Kuninaga from Touken Ranbu, and Yumeno Gentarou from Hypnosis Mic.

He’s demonstrated his many talents over the years, beginning a music career in 2017 and releasing his first essay collection in 2018.

Coming upon his 10th year as a voice actor, he says, “There’s the ‘Saito Soma’ in quotation marks, and then there’s the normal Saito Soma. By linking the two well, I’ll be able to express myself in even more ways. I think I’ll make that my personal theme for the future.”

The image others want to see from him versus his natural self. Perhaps it’s because of that gap that he has such a wide range of expression. While reflecting on how the voice acting industry has changed him, we ask him where he is now.

“It’s cute seeing a cat’s instinctive actions performed in human form!”

The Tama & Friends ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~ franchise began with character goods in 1983, and became loved through all sorts of media forms, ranging from manga and school exercises to picture books and anime.

The new anime Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~ casts popular voice actors to familiar characters like Tama, Pochi, and Tora. We interviewed Saito Soma, who will be voicing the protagonist, Okamoto Tama.

Q: How did you feel when you got the role?

Various works these days are based off of anthropomorphization, but I was surprised that the beloved franchise Tama & Friends would become one of them. I had no idea what the anime setting would be like, so I was genuinely excited to find out.

Q: It seems that Episode 1’s recording has concluded. (This interview was conducted in August.) Did you voice your role as a cat or as a human?

It was completely as a cat. In their world, only their outer appearance is the humanized form.

I think the most unique trait of this anime adaptation is that it makes use of both the humanized forms and the actual animal forms. For Tama, the humans see him as a cat, but when he’s talking to Pochi or his other friends, they see each other in the human forms.

So, it’s important for me to keep in mind that he doesn’t follow the logical thought patterns of humans. He lives through his natural instincts as a cat.

For example, when a cat hears something, its natural reaction is to go towards the source of the sound, and that’s depicted as-is, to make it more realistic. I think that depicting those cat actions with a human form is a fun experiment.

Q: So, what did you keep in mind when voicing Tama?

Instead of acting more cutely than necessary, I think it’s closer to a cat’s natural appeal to express that cuteness in ways other than my voice.

For example, in Episode 1, Tama gets lost with Pochi (CV: Ono Kensho), but despite being lost, he still goes “I’m hungry~” and eats the food at someone else’s house without asking *laughs*

Tama doesn’t try to act cute; it’s a result of his natural actions. Hopefully, the viewers will think, “Oh, you were hungry so it’s not your fault. There there.”

Q: What about becoming more cat-like?

We voice the parts when they’re in their animal forms too, but real cats don’t actually say “meow,” right? So, I prepared in advance by watching videos.

However, when it comes to animation, I’ve never thought that it was important to be true to real life. What’s more important is having “a sense” of realism.

I strive to not adopt too many real world elements, so that my own imagination won’t be inhibited.

“When I voiced the child form, Shirai Yusuke said ‘That was good, I guess?'”

Q: What was the recording session like?

It was extremely peaceful. Many of us had co-starred often before, so the atmosphere felt comfortable right from the get-go.

The cat that Kaji (Yuki)-san voices, Nora, is an intelligent and cool character, and Kaji-san went all-in on voicing him that way… but his acting was so perfect that everyone would tease him for it *laughs* Kaji-san responded to our teasing in a hilarious way, and sometimes he’d tease me and (Uchida) Yuma-kun (voice of Beh) too *laughs*

Q: Who was teasing Kaji-san–

*interjects* It was Maeno (Tomoaki)-san (voice of Bull) *laughs*

Q: And who was teasing you?

I guess it’d be Shirai (Yusuke)-kun (voice of Tora). When I voiced Tama’s child form, he said, “That was good, I guess?” *laughs*

Aside from him, there were other people like Yuma-kun, Kaji-san, and Hatano (Wataru)-san (voice of Gon) who would also crack jokes at every opportunity, and I think this harmonious recording setting will bring about good results.

Q: You have the lead role, but what was your position during recording?

While the title is Uchitama?!, it’s definitely not a Tama-centric show. It depicts the lives of the Third Street inhabitants from various angles, and the cast includes many veteran senpais, so I didn’t have to get overly fired up.

If I have to say, I guess when we’re recording separate character lines, the first to speak is often Tama. I experiment with how cute and entertaining I can go, and pass the baton to the next person.

Q: I know it’s only been one episode, but what was the input from the director?

As of now, nothing at all *laughs* The audition for this show was done by sending in voice samples, so I guess what I submitted was close to what the staff wanted.

Tama shows what he’s feeling right away, so instead of overthinking it, I felt that it’d be better to feel what he’s feeling and output it directly.

It’s an ambitious project, and I think the best part of putting it together will be seeing how far beyond people’s expectations we can take it (in a good way). The creation team is still making sure to keep Tama’s character flexible.

I think it’s great when we, as actors, incorporate our presentation ideas, developing the characters and the work as a whole with each recording session.

“The type that withdraws from excessive human interaction”

Q: Now then, if you were a cat, what kind of cat do you think you’d be?

A Somali cat… Actually, there’s a guy named Nakajima Yoshiki at my agency (81 Produce), and he told me to say Somali *laughs* “Your names are similar, so it’d be good, right?” Apparently, Somalis have a clear voice, like a ringing bell.

Q: How would you like to be raised?

I’m the type that tends to pull back from excessive human interference, so I’d prefer to only be pampered very occasionally. A moderate amount of being left alone and a moderate amount of pampering… I wouldn’t want to be taken care of like that. I have my own life, so… *laughs*

People are people, cats are cats. I believe that each has their own territory.

Q: I see. By the way, regarding your answer to the cat question, how did you and Nakajima Yoshiki-san end up talking about Somalis?

I go drinking with Yoshiki often these days. I don’t know much about cats, but he’s a cat lover, so he answered instantly. I looked up pictures and saw that they have very pretty faces, but it’s embarrassing to say that with a proud face *laughs*

Q: Do people say you’re like a cat?

Not much. Sometimes someone will say “I don’t know what you’re thinking; you’re like a cat,” but there are also people who say the opposite, that I’m like a dog. So, I guess I’m not particularly cat-like.

Q: Do you think you have the characteristics of a “cat-type boy”?

Stuff like “whimsical” might describe me, but I don’t think someone who would say “I’m a cat-type boy” would actually be a cat-type boy… right? *laughs*

Q: Are there any books that come to mind when you think of cats? What are your recommendations, being the bookworm that you are?

I like sci-fi, and cats often appear in sci-fi works. I don’t know if it’s because a cat’s perspective of the world is sci-fi-esque, but sci-fi authors from all sorts of times and places put cats in their novels.

There are three books I’d like to recommend. The first is Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. The story has nothing to do with cats, but the title relates to the game of “cat’s cradle.” It’s the first book that comes to mind when I hear the word “cat.”

The second is Robert A. Heinlein’s The Door into Summer. This one is a classic sci-fi masterpiece, and a cat appears in the story. If I recall correctly, the new translation that came out recently had the cat on the front cover too.

The third one is Akiyama Mizuhito’s Neko no Chikyuugi. It’s a light novel, but I love Akiyama-sensei’s literary style. I encourage sci-fi lovers and cat lovers to read it.

“10 years is the starting line. I want to mature more.”

Q: Next year marks your 10th year as a voice actor. Congratulations!

Thank you.

Q: You’re currently 28. When you debuted, did you have a goal to continue until you were 30?

I didn’t have a concrete goal like that, but my senpais often told me, “Keep going for 10 years. When you’ve gone for 10 years, you’ve reached the starting line.” Those words really stuck with me, and I’m nothing short of grateful for the turns of fate that allowed me to come this far.

Although I didn’t feel this way when I first debuted, right now I want to hurry up and turn 30. In life, there’s a period when youth and freshness are a strength, but ideally you should build your accomplishments and mature more. To that extent, I want to do expressions with a depth that can only be attained through years of experience… for example, by challenging a role I’ve never done before.

Q: What kind of role would that be?

Something like an older character, or an extremely powerful villain. There are a lot of things where I think, “I haven’t acted this type of character before since it wasn’t asked of me, but I’m sure I’d like it,” so I hope I run into a work that’ll allow me to output that. But in the end, our work is a collaborative effort with the creators and staff. I always value the bonds that connect us.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to challenge in your music or writing?

For music, I released my first full album (quantum stranger) in December last year. It… wasn’t quite “Season 1”, but I feel that it wrapped up cleanly. Next, I want to present music that I didn’t try in Season 1.

For example, so far I’ve been intentionally writing orthodox songs with a verse, bridge, and chorus, but I’ve always liked songs that don’t follow that pattern. An understanding of that template will allow me to break free from it, and hopefully people will accept what I have to offer. My goal is music that’s irregular but seeps into your ears and body.

Q: How about on the writing front?

I’ve thankfully been given a lot of writing work, but I’ve always wanted to write a traveler’s journal, and I want to try it if my schedule will allow for it. I even want to spend several days exploring Europe.

I also want to write fiction, but first, I want to try expressing what I see and experience with my own eyes, as an extension of the essays I’m currently writing. Year after year, I feel that traveling has become more and more important in my life, and I want to create various works based on that.

“You can’t put conditions on emotions. I want to remove the excess filters on my heart.”

Q: Have your experiences in music and writing provided feedback for your acting work?

They use different circuits, so it doesn’t quite feel like feedback.

I purposefully use music and writing to express myself differently from the voice actor Saito Soma, so I think that if I were to link the two sides, I would end up limiting my creations to an extremely narrow world. The results will be better if I don’t try to do that.

You can’t put conditions on emotions… It’s important to stop thinking things like “It’d be better to feel this way” or “I should think this way.”

There’ll be moments when I think that while acting, but for myself, composing music and writing is work where I remove those so-called excess filters on my heart. So, to me, voice acting work and creative work are two equally important wheels that I can’t function without.

Q: What about the reverse, then? Do you receive feedback from your voice acting work?

A lot. That’s also because, before I set my sights on becoming a voice actor, I already liked composing music and writing.

Working as a voice actor for so long has definitely changed my way of thinking and feeling for the better, and those changes are greatly reflected in my music and writing.

My teenage self wouldn’t have been able to write the songs I’ve released so far.

Q: I read your essay book, Kenkou de Bunkateki na Saitei Gendo no Seikatsu, but after hearing what you said, now I want to read your future essays, five or ten years from now.

Thank you. I intentionally wrote the essays in that book to be read easily and smoothly–both in literary style and content–but in the end, I think they were only read because of the existence of the “Saito Soma” in quotation marks.

On the other hand, there are so many things that the “Saito Soma” in quotation marks will never be able to express to the world, and I think that’s because I’m holding myself back… Wait, but that doesn’t mean I’m talking about anything unethical *laughs*

I feel that if I can better link the “Saito Soma” in quotation marks with the normal Saito Soma, I’ll be able to express myself in even more ways. I think I’ll make that my personal theme for the future.

“Now is the time for grounding, not pursuing ascension.”

Q: About a year ago, you spoke about the word “ascension” in interviews and whatnot, which left quite the impression.

I’ve always liked the occult and spiritual things, and “ascension” is a spiritual word referring to the soul rising to the next level.

Q: You said that “encountering this word suddenly changed [your] way of thinking; it was like [you’d] been released from [your] chains, and living became a lot easier and more enjoyable.” You also said that “when the next ascension comes, [you] want to grab onto it and accept it.” Have there been any recent developments?

Life sure is complicated. Right now, I don’t feel as “chained down” as I did during that past interview. Back then, I did feel as though life had become easier, freer. But everything has different sides to it, and now I see that there was a good side and a bad side to that state.

I think it’s probably not realistic for things to always be getting better. You take one step forward, then fall several steps back. It’s a back-and-forth cycle.

If there’ll be another moment when my heart feels set free, then that’ll happen when it happens. Right now, I’m not going to forcefully focus on pursuing ascension, because grounding (living with your feet on the ground) is important too.

Q: Did leaving that “ascended” state affect your work?

Over the years, I’ve been granted more and more opportunities to do expressive work outside of acting, such as my music and writing activities. Because of that, my thoughts are moving more and more rapidly, and there are certainly some things that I can’t create without being in an “ascended” state. For example, lyrics and melodies.

On the other hand, I’m certain that there are also expressions that also come from a “grounded” state.

Q: Not being “ascended” doesn’t mean that you’ve taken steps back, though.

Indeed, it’s not a straight path. Being able to experience things in more varied ways is important as both a voice actor and a person, so I’ve accepted that now is the time for that.

Q: Lastly, is there anything your senpais have said to you or taught you about acting that you still take to heart today?

When I was in training, I was taught by Nakao Ryusei-san, a veteran at our agency, for a year. Ryusei-san taught me detailed techniques and whatnot, but he also taught me the mental attitude to have as a person and an actor. Among that was the “wait” attitude.

For example, when you receive a script, how should you spend the days left before the recording? There’s no right answer or anything. Obviously you have to read the script and prepare, but continuing to think about it constantly is a valid approach, as is doing something completely unrelated, because sometimes hints will come to you on their own. But, you also have the option to take it easy or have sneaky thoughts.

The same goes for the recording session. How do you interpret the time when it’s not your turn? Is it simply a time when you have no lines, or should you watch your senpais’ acting and try to absorb anything you can? That one change of attitude can make that time worthwhile. It’s what he called the valuable “wait attitude.”

When you get used to work and life itself, there are times when you’ll unintentionally forget to be nervous. When that’s about to happen, I remember what Ryusei-san said and focus my mind.

Q: It’s called “wait,” but it’s actually telling you to be proactive.

Yes. I’m a bit of a contrarian, so I interpreted it in the reverse: “This isn’t standby time; it’s free time that I can use to improve myself.”

Do you lament the current situation, or do you use it to change for the better? I think it all depends on your “wait attitude,” so when painful times come, I want to value those experiences.


Bonus off-shot from Soma’s fashion stylist:

[Event] Uchitama?! Kyomaf Special Stage

Date: 2019/9/21 @ 2:20pm
Event: Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair
Guests: Saito Soma, Shirai Yusuke, Hatano Wataru (MC)


Choice Quotes

(Guests are sitting down after introductions)
Soma: *sits down and starts fumbling with the adjustable chair*
Shiraimu: *turns around just in time to see Soma lower his chair about 10cm* Huh? Don’t you think that’s too low?
Hatano/Shiraimu: What’s going on?
Soma: *silently adjusts the chair back up while still holding the mic to his mouth*
Hatano: Can you stop holding the mic up if you’re not going to say anything? It’ll make us worry lol
Soma: Hahaha
Shiraimu: Stop it with the silent jokes
Hatano: Okay so anyway, today we’ll be– wait, are you going to keep it like that?
Soma: Should I make it higher?
Hatano: It’s ok either way
Soma: I’m scared of heights so…
Shiraimu: You were singing on a tall stage just the other day!

(Talking about how they knew the original Tama & Friends series)
Shiraimu: Oh, I’ve been Friends with it ever since I was little
Soma: *to Hatano* …Can we switch seats?


This event was also covered by the VTuber Rinkulo, including a video message from Soma himself.


Bonus: Alternate versions of the top image

[Stream] Hatano Rururu #29 (Guests: Saito Soma, Nishiyama Koutaro, Takeuchi Shunsuke)

Broadcast: 2019/03/12 @ 9:30pm
Original URL: https://live.nicovideo.jp/watch/lv318900308 (no longer available)
Original Name: 【ゲスト:斉藤壮馬・西山宏太朗・武内駿輔】羽多野るるる29回
Archive:
Part 1: https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/1556168403
Part 2: https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/1556168463
(Requires channel subscription to view; expires end of April 2020)


Summary:

  • This stream was held the day before Hatano’s 37th birthday, and Soma, Tarori, and Takeuchi joined him as celebratory guests. All four of them are affiliated with 81 Produce, and they make up the cast of Omikuji Yon Kyoudai (a picture drama and readers theater series).
  • The guests showed up singing Happy Birthday to him, with Soma holding the cake. They also brought birthday presents for him. Takeuchi gave him a box of cooling eye masks (Soma comments on how the mood is becoming cold too) and wet face masks. Tarori gave him a package of coffee beans and a ceramic coffee filter. Soma gave him a fountain pen and ink set (to be specific, what appears to be a LAMY dialog, worth ~€270). The fountain pen is very futuristic (matching the theme of Hatano’s 2019 live tour) and Hatano offers Soma concert goods in exchange(?!).
  • Tarori reads out some birthday messages from listeners and Takeuchi reads out a listener mail about Omikuji Yon Kyoudai, leading to them talking about the series for a bit. Tarori calls Soma’s character the most dangerous, “because it’s Soma.”
  • The next mail asks the three guests to talk about a time when Hatano was a cool senpai to them. All of them struggle for a while, saying that there’s “too many to choose from,” and Hatano starts to worry about whether they’ll actually say anything. Soma says that some of the stories are things he wants to keep as his personal treasures.
  • Tarori tells a story about a time when he messaged Hatano on LINE asking, “Would you like to have a meal together sometime?” and Hatano replied with a short 「行こ」 (shortened “Let’s go”) and everyone bursts out laughing (Soma: “Cuuute!”).
  • Soma’s story is about a certain series they were in together as a three-person unit. They all eat yakiniku together at the end of the year, and it’s always Hatano that makes the reservation, with an amazing course for them. When the delicious marbled cuts come out, Hatano says “Go ahead and eat~” and it makes Soma like him.
  • Takeuchi’s story is about a time when he and Hatano were in the same series together, and after the recording, they happened to be going to the same studio next, and Hatano offered him a ride.
  • Next, they talk about the stuffed panda on the table and the story behind it (Tarori and Hatano got it when they went to the Phillipines).
  • The next corner is Word Wolf, a game where they all get a topic to talk about. Three of them get the same topic, and one person gets a different one. No one knows who has the different topic (it could even be themselves) so they have to keep up the conversation while trying to figure out if they’re the wolf (and if so, try to blend in with the rest of them).
  • (This… is actually kind of hard to summarize lol. I’ll try my best, but sorry if it’s hard to follow.)
  • ~Round 1~
  • Words (hover to reveal): Hatano/Soma/Takeuchi: Mask. Wolf is Tarori with Glasses.
  • Tarori says he admired it, and Takeuchi says it’s something you admire as a kid, but maybe not as an adult… Tarori: “?” Takeuchi: “?” (The confusion is already beginning)
  • Soma asks Takeuchi if he admired it, and he says yes. Soma doesn’t really understand… Tarori clarifies that he thought it was cool, and Soma agrees.
  • Tarori asks Soma what he thinks of it, and Soma said he never really thought about it as a kid, and so he didn’t admire it.
  • Hatano tentatively says “It comes in different sizes, right?” and everyone hesitantly agrees. They agree that it comes in different types. Tarori says that there are specialty stores for it and Hatano says “Yeah, I think there are,” causing Soma to go “Hatano-san?” and Hatano clarifies that he hasn’t gone to one before, that he’s just an amateur.
  • Tarori asks Hatano if he owns it, and he says yes. Tarori asks how many he has at home, and he says an uncountable amount. Soma asks Tarori if he has it, and he says yes. How many? All together, probably less than ten. Soma smiles knowingly and asks Takeuchi, and he just says “a lot,” since he doesn’t really know how many and just puts them all together. Soma remarks that it sounds like everyone has a different word, and Hatano finds it hard to believe that three of them have the same topic.
  • Hatano asks them to say what colour they associate it with, and they all say it at the same time: Hatano/Soma/Takeuchi say white, and Tarori says light blue. But, Soma and Hatano say that light blue makes sense too. Soma adds that he also has a lot of them (since he didn’t mention it before when they were talking about it).
  • The viewer poll goes Takeuchi (41%) > Tarori > Soma > Hatano. As for the members, Hatano/Soma/Takeuchi all point at Tarori, and Tarori points at Soma.
  • After revealing the results (see above), Soma says that he figured out him and Hatano, but between the other two it was hard because Takeuchi was suspicious too. Takeuchi clarifies that the definition was vague, and at first he thought it might mean superhero masks because of how Tarori started with the admiration talk.
  • They take a break from Word Wolf to do announcements. Hatano talks about his live tour stops and how some of the goods will be sold again afterwards. Soma promotes Omikuji Yon Kyoudai’s first readers theater event, which will be held the next month. Hatano announces the date for the next Rururu stream, and that ends the first half.
  • ~Round 2~
  • Words: Hatano/Soma/Takeuchi: Angel. Wolf is Tarori with Pegasus.
  • Tarori once again starts with “I admired this” and everyone laughs but agrees. Soma says it feels special, and Hatano has only seen them in drawings. They haven’t seen actual ones, but they’d encountered them through work because of the roles they’ve voiced.
  • Tarori calls it “cool” and “divine.” Soma remarks that it has wings, and everyone agrees. Takeuchi says that the number affects their strength, and Hatano says they have a sparkly image.
  • Soma asks Tarori if he’s been called one before, and Hatano asks who out of the four members seems the closest to one. Tarori says Hatano, and Soma/Takeuchi nod in understanding.
  • Tarori brings up the colour association again, and all four of them say white.
  • The viewer poll goes Tarori (50%) > Soma (32%) > Hatano/Takeuchi. Tarori remarks that while he expected himself to be doubted, Soma’s high percentage was surprising… it must be a popularity thing, or because it’s part of his nature. As for the members, Hatano points at Tarori, Soma/Tarori point at Takeuchi, and Takeuchi points at Soma. Hatano’s reasoning was that it seemed that Tarori realized he was the wolf early and was pretending to be a sheep. Takeuchi picked Soma for the same reason, and Soma picked Takeuchi because his comment about the number of wings seemed suspicious.
  • After revealing the results, Tarori said he actually didn’t realize he was the wolf, and Soma points out that that means Tarori thought Hatano was the most pegasus-like. Tarori says that it was because of the song “Pegasus Fantasy.”
  • ~Round 3~
  • They eagerly move on to the next round, and Soma asks if he can go buy beer. He also looks at the stream comments and laughs at “Nishiyama-san admires pegasuses, huh?” Hatano is impressed that Tarori was able to keep up until the end with pegasus as his word.
  • Words: Soma/Tarori/Takeuchi: Onigiri. Wolf is Hatano with Sushi.
  • Takeuchi immediately starts by asking Tarori if he admires it, and he says no. He says it has a warm, nostalgic feeling though. But even now, he still comes in contact with it around three times a week. Soma says he does around three times a week too. Hatano says he probably doesn’t as often, but he does see it a lot. Soma asks, “When you were a kid too?” and Hatano says yes. Takeuchi says he has it maybe four times a week even.
  • Soma interjects to say that the last time he ate it was yesterday. (Dramatically revealing the fact that it’s a food item.) He likes it.
  • Tarori says he ate a really unusual one the other day, that cost ¥700 for one, which was “extremely expensive.” Hatano says it has a wide range of prices, even for the same thing. (Soma starts laughing at this point, prompting the staff in the background to burst out laughing too.) Hatano goes “Wait, did I say something weird?” and everyone is still laughing, but Takeuchi asks Hatano when the last time he ate it was and he struggles to answer. Takeuchi says he ate it for lunch today, and Hatano eventually says it was about two weeks ago.
  • Soma asks Hatano, “There’s specialty shops for it, right?” and Hatano enthusiastically agrees and Soma says he wants him to take him there next time (at this point he’s clearly figured out what’s up).
  • They do the colour association again, and everyone says white.
  • Hatano looks at the stream comments and laughs at the people saying “Hatano is weak.”
  • The viewer poll goes Hatano (87.9%) > everyone else.
  • When it comes time to make their guesses, they count “1, 2” and Takeuchi accidentally says his topic (in a really strong voice) instead of pointing towards the wolf. Everyone dies laughing and Takeuchi walks out of the frame in embarrassment. Hatano says “No matter who the wolf ends up being, that’s going to be the most entertaining thing that happens today,” and Takeuchi just continues to be mortified.
  • Finally they say their actual topics (Takeuchi in a quieter voice this time). Soma accidentally says sushi for himself instead of onigiri, and goes “I can’t do this anymore!”
  • Hatano says “If you guys said black because of the seaweed, then I would’ve been all alone,” and Soma responds, “I think you were already all alone halfway through.” Soma also says that he asked Hatano to bring them to a shop next time because he already knew that Hatano’s topic was sushi.
  • ~Round 4~
  • Words: Hatano/Soma/Takeuchi: Kimono. Wolf is Tarori with Suit.
  • Soma starts by saying that ever since he started doing this work, he’s seen it a lot, and that it’s something he likes. He then asks Tarori if he admires it and Tarori says he does, but not so much when it’s on him. He doesn’t feel much connection to it; he sees it often but rarely has it himself. Soma is starting to laugh at this point, probably because he’s thinking about Somakimi, and Tarori goes “It might be over for me…”
  • Hatano says it’s “difficult” and Tarori says it requires an aesthetic sense. Takeuchi says it’s also a matter of figuring out where to start from, and Soma says you have to budget out how much the whole thing together would cost.
  • Soma points out the stream comments saying “Onigiri Yon Kyoudai” and they all laugh.
  • Everyone says they’ve used one before, and Tarori says he wore one recently. Takeuchi asks what for, and and Tarori says “That kind of time” (everyone laughs) and Tarori clarifies that it was for an event.
  • They agree that it’s not something you’d wear every day, although there are people who would.
  • For the colour association, Hatano says red, Soma says white, Tarori says navy blue, and Takeuchi hesitantly says pink.
  • The staff asks if they own it, and Takeuchi says, “I don’t… actually, I wonder if there’s one at home somewhere,” Soma says he wore one just the other day (but didn’t buy it), and Tarori says he owns it.
  • The viewer poll goes Tarori (53%) > Soma (35%) and they wonder why it’s always between Tarori and Soma. As for their guesses, Hatano/Soma point to Tarori, Tarori points to Soma, and Takeuchi points to Hatano but switches to Tarori, saying “I’m switching to this” to which Tarori responds “Who’re you calling ‘this’ >:(“
  • Tarori says he figured out early on because he had no idea what Soma was talking about at first.
  • Soma remarks that Tarori keeps drawing the wolf, so they decide to do one more round to try and see someone else as the wolf.
  • ~Round 5~
  • Words: Hatano/Tarori/Takeuchi: Dolphin. Wolf is Soma with Sea Lion.
  • Tarori starts by saying it’s a classic example of something cute.
  • Soma says it’s not really something you encounter up close, and Takeuchi adds that its size doesn’t help with that.
  • Hatano asks if they’ve seen it up close before, and everyone says yes. He then asks if they’ve touched it before, and Tarori says he did before for a program. Hatano says he’s seen it before, but hasn’t touched it. Soma says it’s hard to get close enough to touch it.
  • Soma says he’s lacking knowledge about the topic, and everyone agrees.
  • Hatano imagines it as being slippery, aerodynamic. Takeuchi says it travels in a pack, its voice can reach very far, and it has mutual understanding. The staff bursts out laughing because he’s making no sense, but Hatano says he gets what he’s saying, and Soma says they’ve achieved their own mutual understanding so it’s okay.
  • Tarori says that there’s light-up toys of it and everyone struggles to think. He says “at gift shops” and everyone goes “Ohhhhh!” Soma adds that there’s ones that make sound too.
  • Soma adds that they’re considered smart, and everyone agrees. Takeuchi says they get emotionally attached, and Soma says they communicate in ways that humans can’t understand. Hatano says there’s an occupation that involves raising them and everyone gives dubious responses.
  • The staff asks where they saw it, and everyone says the aquarium.
  • Instead of colour association, Tarori suggests they guess what sound it makes, and they laugh because they can’t tell what anything is when they all do it at the same time.
  • The viewer poll goes Soma (60%) > everyone else. Hatano wonders why, and Soma says that Tarori’s votes must’ve gone to him.
  • Their guesses: Hatano/Soma point to Takeuchi, Tarori points to Soma, and Takeuchi points to Tarori. Tarori says it felt like Soma was probing around more than the previous rounds, and making surprised expressions.
  • When the answers are revealed, Soma says it took a long time for him to realize too. He got a hunch when they were talking about its shape, and thought it might be sea lion vs seal.
  • Takeuchi asks wtf the light-up toy was, because he had no idea and was just playing along with everyone else (and thinking he might be the odd one out). Tarori says it’s a toy that glows in the dark, and Soma adds that there are ballpoint pens that go “EHEHEHE” when you press them.
  • Finally, they read another viewer mail (and apologize for spending the whole time playing the game). The mail asks for some behind-the-scenes stories from the concerts they co-performed at (Hatano/Tarori/Takeuchi for A3, Hatano/Soma for IDOLiSH7).
  • Soma says that before the concert, they talked about how they trusted each other, unlike the game they just played where they all doubted each other.
  • Tarori says that Hatano had a video of the rehearsal that they all watched, and Hatano would point out the parts he liked and it made Tarori really happy.
  • Hatano says that they were staying in neighbouring hotel rooms the night before, and Hatano was about to go to sleep when he heard a singing voice coming from somewhere. He mentioned it the next morning, thinking it was going to turn into a scary story, but Tarori said “That might’ve been me.”
  • There was a bonus video uploaded afterwards, but I forgot to grab it before it expired (it expired earlier than the actual stream did, for some reason) so… if you saved it and would like to share, it would be very appreciated 🙂