Animate Times, February 23, 2017. See the original post here
Sayaka Kanda’s longing for voice actor work — thoughts she shared in our interview about Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love
Japan is the pride of the world in terms of its stellar number of anime works, one of which is certainly Space Battleship Yamato. Yamato is considered a masterpiece, and the first chapter of the latest work, Yamato 2202, will be released February 25.
New developments, new characters, and a new cast all attract attention. Particularly noteworthy in the casting of Sayaka Kanda as Teresa. What kind of performance will she bring after having been involved in many prestigious anime works, including Frozen?
Animate Times got the chance to interview Ms. Kanda. She talked about her anxiety at the voice recording, which gave us a glimpse of her passion for this new challenge.
Interview by Yu Ishibashi
Daisuke Ono lent a word of support
Interviewer: This is a work that has been loved by fans for many years. How was your appearance decided?
Kanda: I knew of Yamato of course, since it was a historical work from before I was born. Moreover, Teresa is a very important character…I shuddered to hear how important she was when I listened to the other cast members. (Laughs) I had a lot of anxiety at the beginning. “Is this going to all right…?”
Interviewer: The voice actors who appear are quite prestigious. Were you surprised to be co-starring with any of the actors this time?
Kanda: It wasn’t surprising, but I was nervous to be performing with Daisuke Ono in the lead role of Susumu Kodai. I had the chance to talk with Mr. Ono once at the Voice Actor Awards, and he said, “I’ll see you on site someday, Ms. Kanda.”
(Footnote: At the Ninth annual Voice Actor Awards in 2015, Ono won the award for best actor in a lead role and Ms. Kanda won the corresponding award for best actress.)
Kanda: I answered, “Yes! I will definitely work hard!” When we came to co-star together he asked “Do you remember that?” and I was very nervous. But since Teresa isn’t involved in the story much at the early stage, it’s not like I can say, “I worked with Mr. Ono!” (Laughs) As time goes by, my chances to participate at the recording site will increase, and I’d like to report that I will be definitively performing with Mr. Ono.
Teresa is divinity, a performance of subtraction
Interviewer: What kind of image do you have of Yamato?
Kanda: When I was young I would participate as a dancer with adult staff members and when everyone launched on tour, Space Battleship Yamato was enthusiastically sung in karaoke. That’s a strong image for me. It gives me a personal image of the men in the generation above mine.
Interviewer: It seems like a more adult work.
Kanda: That’s right. Since it was broadcast in the 1970s, it was literally before I was born…
Interviewer: Since this is such a historical work, I would think there is considerable pressure.
Kanda: There is, there is! Teresa is a character who is difficult to explain in a word, and it’s an important role to be the trigger that gets Yamato‘s crew to act. She has a kind of divinity, so I thought I had to have the persuasive power of a deity. I still think very much about how to perform in the presence of all those dignified voice actors.
Interviewer: What are you careful about while performing?
Kanda: The voice of Teresa in the Yamato TV series is very calm and has an adult-like image. She looks like a very beautiful girl, and I don’t imagine that I’ll be doing much in the way of being energetic. When I asked the staff on-site about her image they said, “The character is a goddess, but a human being can’t be a god. However, the moment you speak I’d like you to show some divinity that is somewhat different from the other characters.”
During the short recording time I thought, “What is divinity?” Teresa keeps sending out her earnest wishes into space, is it a desperate feeling…? The answer I arrived at was the feeling of “Please!” but if I put in too much feeling all at once, it becomes too human. So I told the staff, “I’ll speak indifferently.” It was very much a performance of subtraction.
Interviewer: A performance of subtraction?
Kanda: That’s right. There wasn’t much movement, so I’m acting pretty close to my natural voice.
Voice actors are really amazing
Interviewer: You are known, of course, for Anna from Frozen, but you’ve also been active as a voice actor in other works, such as the role of Miyako Shinomiya in Unlimited Fafnir. What is voice acting work like for you?
Kanda: Naturally, the anime we see is completed including the performance of voice actors. It just sounds normal when you listen, but we think and perform far more than what is heard. There’s a big different between listening and performing. I think that’s the most remarkable part of this kind of work. That’s why it is the occupation I most longed for, and I think it’s the hardest.
Interviewer: When performing, have you ever thought, “This is completely different from what I imagined”?
Kanda: I usually perform by myself, and in those cases there were many moments where I thought, “I’m becoming a voice of anime.” But when I started to mix with pros who have been voice acting for a long time, it became a voice in a separate space all my own. I could hear my voice rising alone. From there I came to wonder, “What does it mean to become familiar with your own voice?” and I got a little advice from an actor I was acquainted with when doing an anime tie-in song for Trustrick.
Interviewer: How do you become familiar with your own voice? Have you found the answer?
Kanda: According to what I heard…it just seems to become familiar one day. Suddenly. You start to think, “something’s a little different” or “this sound falls off a little” or “my voice is getting too small.” It is said that the time will come when you get familiar and revise the technical points.
I also seem to try and imitate the performance of a favorite voice actor. I understand what I like about them and incorporate that element. I asked various people and they said everyone does it.
Interviewer: I see…
Kanda: Since I’m recording with the other cast members this time, I came to be familiar with the sense of my voice rising. But I think that’s different from what others think. That’s why I keep challenging myself.
Interviewer: When you recorded with everyone this time, was there a moment when you thought, “The performance of this voice actor is amazing!”?
Kanda: No, not just one of them. Everyone is amazing. I can see outer space just listening to them. (Laughs) Performing various scenes with just your voice and making people feel what the character feels is something I understand in my head, but it’s quite difficult when you try it. Voice actors are really amazing.
I want the non-real-time generation to see it!
Interviewer: Did the image of Yamato change for you after appearing in 2202?
Kanda: The image has changed simply because I came to properly understand the content of the work. Also, I felt great when my appearance in 2202 was decided and all the people in my office were happy! Of course, everyone is older than me. I was pleased to feel “Yamato is decided!?” (Laughs) I understood that it was a great work. There aren’t many works that get everyone equally excited, are there?
Kanda: It’s still an active work with remakes being made. Its image as a strong work has increased.
Interviewer: 2202 is touching on parts that weren’t told before, and I think that will make the image of the work stronger as well. Do you have the same expectations?
Kanda: That’s right. When I participate in such a work, I always think most about how to please the fans. The core fans, the cast, and the staff become one and think, “All right, come on!” and “This series is the best!” If I can give the fans goosebumps, that would be the best outcome, wouldn’t it?
Interviewer: Other than the fans, who would you like to see 2202?
Kanda: That would be the non-real-time generation. [Those who didn’t watch the original in real time.] Of course, some will say, “I miss it” or “I’m looking forward to it” but I want the person who thinks, “This seems like something difficult” to see it. When I saw it for the first time, I kept replaying the video because it felt like, “what am I seeing…? Ah, the missile came from there!” (Laughs)
Kanda: It’s a lot of fun when you come to understand that. I would like those younger than me who say, “I’ve heard of Yamato but haven’t seen it” to see it by all means. It has a pattern that matches the modern age, so it seems that the production team wants to open the door for Yamato. I think that should help, too.
Interviewer: Various kinds of “love” seem to be the theme, so your expectations should be conveyed. Of course, there’s a scene of Kodai and Yuki flirting, so I wonder if this could unexpectedly be recommend to women…
Kanda: That’s right. (Laughs) This became a topic at the recording site. Kenji Akabane, who has the role of Yasuo Nanbu, said, “I’ve been itching for this for a long time!” (Laughs) Everyone who has been doing the series for a long time has such a family feeling, and I envy the transcendence.
Interviewer: That’s for sure. (Laughs)
Kanda: I want to do my best to get there! The catch phrase is, “This love will shatter the cosmos” and I think it gets you wondering, “Which love is it?” and “Which love are you pointing to?” It’s sure to inflate the wonder for the fans, and I want to enjoy it while imagining, “Which story is this remaking?”