Birthday Wishes 2020

[Stream] Uchitama?! 3rd Street Correspondence in Aniplex 48-Hour TV

Broadcast: 2020/3/22 @ 5:30pm JST
Original URL: (no longer available)
Original Name: うちタマ?! 3丁目通信 in アニプレックス48時間テレビ
Guests: Saito Soma (MC), Ono Kensho, Uchida Yuma

This was a half-hour segment of Aniplex’s 48-hour stream that replaced their planned stage event at AnimeJapan 2020 (which was cancelled due to COVID-19).

Choice Quotes

Q: What’s your nostalgic “taste of home”?

Soma: The fried chicken in lunch boxes, like the family-size ones we’d bring to school sports events. Specifically the way it’s already gotten cold, so it isn’t crunchy anymore–that’s the best. There’s this karaage flour I always use, and whenever I eat it I immediately get transported back to that time.

Q: What is your weakness?

Yuma: Do you even have any weaknesses?
Soma: I have nothing but weaknesses
Kensho: Mornings.
*everyone lamenting about mornings*
Soma: Are you the type that’ll keep sleeping for a long time if you fall back asleep?
Kensho: Yep
Soma: Saaame…
Soma: I used to wake up early, but as the years passed I got worse
Yuma: I wake up super early… like, at 3am
Kensho: Huh?
Soma: What lolol
Soma: Doesn’t that mean you haven’t gone to sleep yet?
Yuma: I used to have a habit of going to sleep at 8pm, and then waking up at 2-3am to play games
Kensho: What kind of lifestyle is that?!
Yuma: I’d get yelled at if I played at night, so I’d go to sleep early so that I could wake up early and play
Soma: What a clever kid

(More weakness talk)
Soma: I’m bad with heights… as well as holding thin objects *picks up pen* because my hands naturally shake, same with when I’m holding up scripts. What else… I feel like I have nothing but weaknesses… maybe I was born on the wrong planet lol
Soma: Oh and ALLERGIES, it’s so bad right now… I seriously wanna cry

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

Broadcast: 2020/3/18 @ 9:30pm JST
Original URL: (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

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:

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] Weekly TV Guide 2020/3/13 Edition – Koisuru Voice! #37 – Saito Soma & Ono Kensho

Released: 2020/3/4

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

Ono Kensho (Pochi in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)

Kaji Yuki (Nora in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)
Eguchi Takuya

Q: What are you the most curious about right now?

Soma: I want to know the secrets of the world! Although, since they’re secrets, knowing them might be dangerous… *laughs* But I really am interested in the things hidden behind the world’s history!

Kensho: I want to know the “cat language” and “dog language” used by cats and dogs. I wonder what cats and dogs are saying when they make those sounds!

Soma: Being in Uchitama?! really makes you wonder, right?

Kensho: Yes! I used to have a cat, but since I was too busy, I regretfully had to leave it in my family’s care. There’s three cats, so I wish I could understand what they were saying. If I could, then I’m sure we could build a deeper connection!

Soma: The most memorable parts of Uchitama?! for me were Pochi’s “The Weakest Guy on Third Street” story from episode 3, and episode 6’s rap battle with Tama and Bull among others.

Kensho: Pochi was so cute in episode 3, wanting to become a strong man!

Soma: Pochi’s a worrier and a weakling, and he’s self-conscious about that. So he wants to become stronger and cooler, and those sensitive feelings of his are cute. Although I don’t think he realizes himself that he’s cute. …Now that I think about it, I don’t think there are any episodes that are actually centred around Tama.

Kensho: You’re right! Tama’s the one who makes Pochi and the others have to deal with things *laughs* That’s one of the good things about him.

Soma: There are a lot of elements packed into this show, and as we were acting out the characters, everyone grew to love Uchitama?! more and more. The cast gets fired up about it, and the atmosphere in the recording studio is really nice.

Kensho: The cast is made up of people who see each other all the time, after all.

Soma: The recording sessions are chaos. Everyone leaps at the opportunity to start something *laughs* It’s exciting!

Kensho: Kaji-san, who voices the stoic stray cat Nora, gets teased for being cool.

Soma: Yeah, because he’s cool *laughs*

Kensho: He’s perfect!

Soma: The studio itself has an extremely healing atmosphere, not just the contents of the show. The word “healing” comes in different types, like crying, relaxing, or laughing, but these recordings are the type where you can’t stop smiling. For some works, you get better results if there’s a serious mood in the studio, but Uchitama?! is about healing, so it was a perfect match. Kensho-san and I have deepened our bonds more through it, so I want to go eat something delicious with him when we have time. There’s actually a curry place he told me about a long time ago that I still go to often.

Kensho: Wait, really?!

Soma: They serve something slightly different from the typical curry rice, and I got addicted to it. Even today, I’m gradually craving it more and more *laughs* It’s like a conditioned reflex now. When I see Kensho-san, I think “curry” *laughs*

Kensho: When it comes to curry, wouldn’t it be Takuya-kun?

Soma: I think Takuya-san has forgotten about curry recently! *laughs*

Kensho: Indeed, I don’t think he’s said anything about curry lately *laughs*

Soma: Lastly, I think we should talk about our future goals. For me, in addition to seiyuu work, I also have a musical artist career, and I released an album at the end of last year. Next, I want to try making songs that go in a direction I’ve never done before. For example, something really peaceful with a dark mood like Radiohead…

Kensho: I see!

Soma: Or maybe go all the way with the peacefulness to something like Sigur Rós. I want to try it just once–a song that makes listeners think “What happened to Saito Soma?”

Kensho: Lately, I’ve been addicted to watching the pianist Kikuchi Ryota on YouTube. He plays CM songs and period drama themes in a really cool way. So, I’ve been thinking it’d be nice if I could learn to play piano too.

Soma: Piano is a type of performance too!

Kensho: That said, there’s too many things I want to do right now, so I don’t think I have the time. For now, I’ll continue to polish my expression skills as both a voice actor and a stage actor.

Bonus photo from Weekly TV Guide’s Twitter:

[Interview] Weekly TV Guide 2020/3/6 Edition – Koisuru Voice! #36 – Saito Soma & Ono Kensho

Released: 2020/2/26

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

Ono Kensho (Pochi in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)

Hanae Natsuki

Q: How would you two spend a day off together?

Kensho: I’d want to go to a refreshing hot spring!

Soma: Yes!

Kensho: I like to socialize in the nude *laughs* Well, saying that might lead to misunderstandings…

Soma: Yeah, that might be dangerous *laughs*

Kensho: Yeah *laughs* But I do like having long conversations without wearing anything. I often go to the sauna with Hanae-kun too.

Soma: I want to go too! I love saunas. Hot springs are good, but a bathhouse would work too. It sounds relaxing and satisfying.

Kensho: It’s a place you wouldn’t really go to alone, so I want to go together and be healed!

Soma: In Uchitama?!, my character Tama and Kensho-san’s character Pochi are usually in their anthropomorphized forms, but sometimes they’re in their animal forms instead, when human characters are in the same scene. During the audition, they didn’t tell me that there was going to be a cat/dog mode.

Kensho: I didn’t have to do the cat/dog mode at the audition either.

Soma: I heard that they originally considered having the cat/dog mode voiced by other voice actors, but…

Kensho: During the recording for episode 1, the staff said “Can you try it just once?” and when we did, they said “Oh, so you can do it!”

Soma: I thought the cat/dog mode would only be around at first, and then the rest of the show would be the human mode. But it turned out that the cat/dog mode showed up a lot *laughs*

Kensho: They didn’t speak human language, but simply going “woof” wasn’t good enough either…

Soma: Yeah, we weren’t allowed to say “meow” or “woof.” The voice director said that saying those would make it sound like a person talking. I haven’t had many opportunities to interact with cats and dogs in my life, so before the recording session, I researched videos online.

Kensho: I looked up dog sounds on YouTube too.

Soma: When I watched the videos, I found out that cats actually don’t say “meow.” But that said, it’s not 100% important for anime to conform to real life, so I had to think about where to draw the line. Having a sense of realism was more important than being true to reality, so…

Kensho: In episode 3, there’s a scene where Pochi makes a really weird sound. So, I searched “dog making weird sound” and practiced by looping the weirdest one I could find.

Soma: It was so weird *laughs*

Kensho: I was going “auauau” *laughs* The viewers only get to see the Pochi that’s on screen, so I always try to act my lines in a way I won’t regret.

Soma: Tama and Pochi are often together, so I had a lot of scenes in common with Kensho-san. What really made me glad that Pochi was Kensho-san was…

Kensho: I was glad that it was Soma-kun who had to go through the pain of producing high voices with me.

Soma: I was thinking the same thing! *laughs*

Kensho: Out of all of the male characters in this show, the ones responsible for being “cute” are Tama and Pochi, so they have high-pitched voices. But high voices are actually extremely delicate. It’s hard to maintain it every time. So, I’m always thinking “Soma-kun and I are in this together.”

Soma: Yeah, the two of us had to produce that cuteness together *laughs* I really love it when Kensho-san’s voice sounds like a bass overtone. Pochi’s high voice is so cute!

Kensho: I’d be tuning my voice before the recording session *laughs*

Soma: Kensho-san’s voice really suits Pochi, and he feels like the cutest character in Uchitama?! to me. When I asked him how he produced that high voice, his answer was… *laughs*

Kensho: Spirit! *laughs* I get fired up when I tell myself, “Cuteness can be created!” Also, for the dog mode, I usually imagine a small dog. They’re cute, after all.

Soma: The recording sessions usually start in the morning, so when I wake up I go “How high and cute can I make my voice today?” and check *laughs*

Kensho: Soma-kun’s Tama is “naturally cute.” How do I put this… it’s organic.

Soma: Organic! *laughs*

Kensho: Tama is cute, but also prone to getting into trouble like a reckless boy, making him truly cat-like. I’m the opposite of organic though; I’m processed food *laughs*

Soma: “Organic” is good! I want to start using “That was an organic performance” when complimenting people *laughs*

Bonus photo from Weekly TV Guide’s Twitter:

[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

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

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.

[Interview] Weekly TV Guide 2020/2/28 Edition – Koisuru Voice! #35 – Saito Soma & Ono Kensho

Released: 2020/2/19

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

Ono Kensho (Pochi in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)

Q: Would each of you say the other is more like a cat or a dog?

Soma: Kensho-san looks more like a dog, but on the inside he’s more like a cat.

Kensho: You might be right!

Soma: I’m a fan of Kensho-san’s smile, and lately we’ve had a lot of opportunities to talk to each other, so I see his side profile a lot and… *laughs*

Kensho: You said something about liking the skeletal structure?

Soma: Yeah, your side profile is cool, and the shape of your teeth too. When you smile, it gives the impression of a little dog. But, the way you carefully manage your disposition is more like a cat.

Kensho: Soma-kun has a cat-like face, and since his hobbies are reading and movies, it’s easy to imagine him having a cat beside him.

Soma: So you’re saying that even if I had a cat sitting beside me, I’d be doing my own things…

Kensho: That just makes you even more cat-like!

Soma: When I first heard about Uchitama?!, they said it was about anthropomorphized versions of the characters from the old series Tama & Friends ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~ and I thought it was a very bold project! I didn’t yet know what kinds of dogs and cats would be there, or what the world would be like…

Kensho: I didn’t know the specifics either, but when I got the role of Pochi, I thought, “Whoa!” because it meant I’d be playing a character that was already well-known for a long time.

Soma: Indeed.

Kensho: Then, both the original characters and the anthropomorphized versions were really cute, so I knew it was going to be a comfort anime. The producer also explained that they wanted it to be a show that women could come home to after a tiring day at work, settling in with a drink and letting themselves be healed.

Soma: When I auditioned for Tama, I was only given simple descriptions like “gets lost easily” and “brimming with curiosity,” so I didn’t do anything unconventional and simply expressed what I thought. I ended up being chosen for the role, so to me, Tama and the other animals feel like they’re coming alive from that “acting how you feel” sense.

Kensho: My character, Pochi, is a dog prone to worrying. On the other hand, Soma-kun’s Tama is a worrisome character that’s prone to wandering off to who-knows-where, and it’s that contrast that makes us feel like partners. Tama’s always dragging Pochi into his messes, but Pochi doesn’t hate him. It’s like, “Well, it’s Tama after all…” *laughs*

Soma: That was especially true in the first part of episode 1. Pochi found food, and while he was asking, “Whose is this?”, Tama was already chowing down *laughs*

Kensho: It’s Tama after all; he doesn’t mind what anyone does. Tama has a lot of lovable traits, so it makes sense that his name would be in the title.

Soma: I’ve been in the recording studio with Kensho-san a lot more these days…

Kensho: We’ve been co-starring in a lot of works lately!

Soma: I’m really happy about it. Kensho-san is a big senpai to me, but he’s really friendly. But, I can still rely on him to be a mentor when I need it. I’m really thankful to have him, because his presence is reassuring.

Kensho: Really? *laughs*

Soma: Yes. I’m the type that reads a book off in the corner, so when a happy-go-lucky person like Kensho-san says “It’ll be okay!”, it makes me think “Yeah, maybe it will!” That’s what I like about Kensho-san.

Kensho: Up until now, I didn’t get to be in the studio with Soma-kun much.

Soma: There was a period of time when Kensho-san and I kept auditioning for the same roles, and it’d always go to him. I like Kensho-san’s acting, and trying out for the same roles motivated me to try harder.

Kensho: It’s something that inevitably happens when your voice types are similar. But Soma-kun has many things that I don’t.

Soma: When we’re at the recording studio together, it means we’re playing different roles from each other, so I do see that there are parts where we aren’t similar, and Kensho-san’s originality comes through. It’s especially noticeable when our characters are talking to each other, and it’s a lot of fun!

Kensho: Our inner selves are actually completely different from each other, so we naturally build up a rapport while acting out our dialogues. It’s really exciting.

Soma: Oh, but when Pochi and Tama are talking at the same time, my ad-libs often coincide with Kensho-san’s. For example, how long we draw out the “Whaaat?!” reactions…

Kensho: It happens naturally. I guess we just match that way.

Soma: That’s one of the things I find really interesting when we’re acting.

Bonus photo from Weekly TV Guide’s Twitter:

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

Broadcast: 2020/1/29 @ 9pm JST
Original URL: (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”…
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:


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


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:


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

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

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.

[Interview] Anime Hack – Saito Soma & Ono Kensho – The Quest for Cuteness in Uchitama?!

Original Article:
Published: 2020/1/8

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

Ono Kensho (Pochi in Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~)

The animal characters from Tama & Friends ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~ (1983) have been anthropomorphized! The anime Uchitama?! ~Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?~ begins airing on January 9, and depicts the everyday lives of the friends of Third Street. The characters’ human forms are as cute as the original series, but when we spoke to Saito Soma (who plays the cat Tama) and Ono Kensho (who plays the dog Pochi), we found out that there was a lot of hardship behind the cuteness! How do they produce cuteness, and what does Saito have to say about Ono’s “cutest” voice? They also spoke about Uchitama?!’s “aggressiveness,” and how it’s not just cute and fluffy.

How are the human forms of Tama & Friends acted?

Q: Both the original animal forms and the humanized forms appear in this work (they appear as animals in front of humans, and their anthropomorphized forms when the humans aren’t around). Did the cast voice the animal forms as well?

Soma: Actually, for the audition, I only voiced the anthropomorphized Tama. But when I opened the script for Episode 1 and saw that the cat-form Tama was speaking first, I thought “Huh?! …What?” *laughs* Then, at the recording, they said “Everyone try it just once first,” and from then on, it was us voicing them.

Kensho: Everyone was surprised. I think a lot of us thought we’d only have to do it that one time.

Q: Do you make realistic noises for the animal forms?

Soma: At first I thought it’d be mascot-like onomatopoeias, but they said no.

Kensho: It had to be realistic animal sounds.

Soma: They asked us not to make sounds like humans, so we had to draw a clear line between dialogue lines and animal sounds.

Q: What about the reverse? How animal-like did you make the human forms?

Soma: Instead of the fact that they were a cat or a dog, we focused more on their individual personalities.

Kensho: Yeah, I don’t think I was particularly conscious of Pochi being a dog. When Pochi talks about their owners, I go “Oh right! He’s a dog.” *laughs*

Soma: The effect the animals have is that, Pochi’s actions and dialogues follow a logical train of thought, while Tama’s are instinctive. When Tama’s talking to Pochi and hears a bell ring, he’ll go “Over there!” and run off. I thought it’d be good to bring out that “instinctive” nature in my acting.

Kensho: What I was conscious of was “space.” Also… if I had to do a retake, it was always a matter of “cute” or “not cute” *laughs*

With a strong heart and vocal cords… you can create cuteness?

Q: “Cuteness” is an important factor of this anime, but it seems like it’d be difficult to portray an animal’s pure, unintentional cuteness. What did you have to keep in mind?

Soma: This is a question… for Kensho-san! *laughs*

Kensho: You can create it! Cuteness can be created *laughs* …There’s no choice but to see it through to the end. If you lose heart, it’s over. The moment you think “What am I doing?”, you’ve lost *laughs*

Soma: *uncontrollable laughter*

Kensho: It’s the polar opposite of my usual self, so I can’t try to force a connection. So, I set my usual self aside and focus on maximizing the cute… and drive myself into a corner *laughs* It really works up a sweat.

Soma: I know! I was sweating so much.

Kensho: “Does this sound cute to me?” That’s all I had to go off of, so I kept telling myself “I am cute. I am cute!”

Q: So it starts with feeling. Did you have any technical tricks?

Kensho: *while deliberating* Technique? …Take care of your vocal cords! And prepare the day before *laughs*

Soma: *laughs* He’s right, though. Both of us are using a much higher key than our natural voices, so it’s hard to do detailed intonations.

Kensho: That’s why it’s important to maintain our vocal cords. That might be what I was the most conscious of.

Q: I’m getting a better picture of Ono-san’s way of “creating cuteness.” Saito-san, what do you think the secret to his cute acting is?

Soma: At the recording sessions for Uchitama?!, I learned more ways of expressing high tones from Kensho-san. In our dialogues together, I realized how the different methods change how the voice is heard, and it feels easier to produce that voice than it did at the start. To be more specific, I’d been forcefully producing that high voice, but it seems like sometimes Kensho-san relaxes and his key drifts higher?

Kensho: Yeah.

Soma: That’s it! I think that way sounds the cutest. It’s really cute how it floats up to the highest pitch. It requires technique though, so it’s not something you can do easily. That’s why he says you have to be determined to create cuteness.

Kensho: I create cuteness with determination *laughs*

Q: So you learned about cuteness from Ono-san *laughs* What do you pay attention to when voicing cuteness, Saito-san?

Soma: I talked about it earlier, but Tama isn’t a person, so I think it’d be cuter to bring out the personality of a cat. For example, things like following sounds and eating other people’s food when he’s hungry. The things he does instinctively without thinking are his “natural” cuteness. So, “generally doesn’t listen to what others say and is loyal to his own desires” is the base, and after that comes “how cute I can make my voice.” Hopefully, the result is something that makes people think “A cat is living in a human’s body. That’s so cute; I’m being healed.”

Q: Ono-san, what do you think of Saito-san’s cute acting?

Kensho: As he said just now, I think he’s accurately grasped the concept of “showing cuteness by exemplifying Tama’s characteristics.” That’s why Tama’s whimsicality and even the times when he’s not being cute still look cute. I think he’s challenging a “cuteness that isn’t just cute.”

Have the two of them grown closer thanks to “cuteness”?

Q: Have your impressions of each other changed through this work?

Kensho: We’ve been working together a lot lately.

Soma: Indeed.

Kensho: But previously, Soma-kun was voicing cool-type characters, so it’s refreshing to see him voicing a cute type. Plus, we’re both going through the same pain this time *laughs* So, I think it’d be nice to support each other as we go through this. We never talked about it directly, but I get the feeling that we both feel the same way.

Soma: On the other hand, I was already used to Kensho-san voicing cute roles. But this time, since it’s the first time we’re both voicing cute roles, instead of watching and thinking “That’s cute” like I used to, I think “So that kind of cuteness exists too!” and it’s very educational and motivational.

And on a personal level, we’ve been in various projects together, but in Uchitama?! we spend a lot of time working together, and I’m happy to have more opportunities to talk. We’ve been chatting about random things more often too, like things we’ve eaten recently.

Q: Ono-san said you were “going through the same pain.” Do you think your common challenge of “acting cutely” has brought you closer together?

Soma: Yes. At the recording studio, all I have to say is “How about today?” and the meaning gets across…

Kensho: “How about today?” means “How are your vocal cords today? Can you go high pitch?”

Soma: What we’re going through is the same to the point where we can hold a conversation with just that. We say it every time, too *laughs*

Kensho: Yeah *laughs*

Soma: Conversations like, “How about today?” ‘Alright I guess.’ “Let’s do our best!” *laughs*

Q: So you’re sharing the same struggle behind the cuteness.

Kensho: It actually takes a great amount of effort. But I would’ve preferred it if people didn’t find out about that *laughs*

More than just cuteness!

Q: We’ve been asking about the secret to acting cute, but what do you think Uchitama?!’s other crucial elements besides “cuteness” and “healing” are?

Kensho: I think this is an aggressive project…

Soma: Same.

Kensho: It has scenes and parodies that make you go “They went that far?!” and “What’s the meaning of this?!” I think those parts are pretty aggressive.

Soma: At first, I heard that one of the concepts was “a soothing work,” so I thought it’d be a relaxing show about the daily lives of the animals. Which is true of course, but it’s not purely relaxing slice-of-life the whole time; there are some tricks in place too. Besides, “healing” comes in various forms; laughing and staring in silence are both valid. In that sense, it has some unexpected turns. I don’t think it’s a typical slice-of-life.

Kensho: It has comedic elements too, as well as cat and dog trivia. Like how cats will think that cars are warm in the winter. I hope viewers will take in those parts as well. If you watch until episode 2 or 3, I think you’ll understand the scope.

Soma: It does meet the expectations for a “cute, healing” show, while also appealing in ways beyond that. It has various angles to its approach that all make up Uchitama?!. Anyway, you’ll understand if you watch it.

Kensho: Get to episode 3 first. At least make it to episode 3!

Soma: *laughs*