Continuing on with our 50-question series of interviews for female seiyuu, this time we have decided to translate #23, Touyama Nao!
You probably would have heard her name here and there, but just a refresher on her roles, her roles so far include Aiba Mui from Mahou Sensou, Atarashi Ako from Saki: Achiga-hen -Episode of Side-A-, Kirisaki Chitoge in Nisekoi, Kujou Karen from Kiniro Mosaic and of course, her first main role, Nakagawa Kanon from The World God Only Knows.
Well then, with that out of the way, let’s begin~
1. Please tell us why you decided to become a seiyuu.
I was very touched by the storyline of Fullmetal Alchemist after watching it! Furthermore, I could not believe the male main character was voiced by a lady! I have always liked acting and singing to begin with, so I have since taken a huge interest in moving people’s hearts through my voice!
2. What was your first anime role?
My first role was Misa, for the OVA Hiyokoi. For televised anime, my first roles were Sugatame Tiger in SSTAR DRIVER: Takuto of The Radiance and Nakagawa Kanon in The World God Only Knows, both of which aired together in the same season.
3. Among the many roles you have done so far, is there any character which leaves behind a particularly strong impression?
That would be Nakagawa Kanon-chan from Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai. My first main role, my first recording, my first concert… I have gone through all sorts of experiences and feelings together with Kanon-chan. There is something which I can enjoy only with Kanon-chan, the passionate staff who support her, and the fans who cheer her on.
4. Please tell us some of the ways in which the characters you are voicing now are similar to yourself.
I am similar to all of them in small ways (laughs). Or rather, I have a tendency to become like the characters when I am voicing them. As such, my personality might change depending on the situation! Ah but…I voice many characters who cannot cook well, could they have been attracted to me…?
5. Please tell us one of the scenes which left behind a strong impression while in the middle of recording.
It was while I was voicing in the drama CD Fuse: Kemono to Hagane no Ryoukiroku as Dousetsu. In the last scene, there were no instructions given to “hyperventilate”, but I did, and coincidentally the scene turned out to require that. This made me think from the bottom of my heart if this was one of those coincidences where things just happened to click together.
6. Please tell us about any incidents of failure or memorable conversations while in the recording studio.
It was during a great scene, where my stomach rumbled really loudly. It caused the person voicing at that time to be unable to continue with the script. That person smiled at me so I was somewhat relieved. However, I would rather be the one voicing then — it was a very terrible and embarrassing mistake!
7. Do you have a fellow seiyuu who you look up to as a rival or target?
Yes, I do. However…that’s a secret!
8. What do you think you would have become if you had not become a seiyuu?
I think I would have become a teacher! The subject I teach would be English or World History. When I was in high school, my friends would be pleased when I helped them with the things they did not understand. That made me very happy! I love making wordplays involving world history.
9. What has been the toughest part about being a seiyuu?
It is being too stressed and having a bad appetite. From the time I have started going to seiyuu training school, I have been unable to eat before my lessons. In the past, I would be unable to eat the bento from backstage before an event. However, now I would go “Oh, that’s such a waste~” with a gluttonous spirit… Well, I am stocking up on my energy reserves!
10. On the other hand, what has been the most satisfying part about being a seiyuu?
It is something which would have been unbelievable to me just a while ago. Anime was something I had been living for. Now, it is my turn to produce anime, for someone else to live for. That is something incredible and unbelievable to me.
11. Do you love singing? Up till now, what is the strongest impression you have about singing?
To me, singing is something which is an irreplaceable part of me. Nakagawa Kanon’s “Aruiteikumon” is rather memorable. While this song was an image song for Kanon, from the first time I have seen the lyrics, I feel that this has been a song which describes Kanon-chan’s and my progress throughout these four years. This song is for Kanon-chan, me and everyone.
12. In the radio programs you have been in, were there any things sent in that left behind an impression?
The letters I have been receiving in the “Dream Message” section of my radio “Touyama Nao’s Dream Stage” (now in the middle of broadcast) have all been wonderful! The listeners have sent in letters which include things like their personal mottos, as well as their feelings of appreciation. These letters are filled with their irreplaceable words which make me go “Wow!” in awe all the time.
13. During an act, is there anything which you take particular note about?
That’s a difficult question but… that would have to be keep things interesting, in all senses. I constantly strive to provide my audiences with feelings such as those which make them go “I want to listen to this!” and “So it’s finally here!”. That is the ideal I am aiming for!
14. What is the role in which you are most proficient in?
Every one (of my characters) is different so it is hard to say! But, if I had to say, it would have to be characters with traits like “well-endowed” and “unable to cook” (laughs). There is no reason behind that though!
15. Please tell us your goals and dreams as a seiyuu.
My dream is just to continue with my work as a seiyuu forever, that’s all. Before that, I will strive to become a trustworthy voice actress who will make not only the staff, but also the audience think “If it’s her it’ll all be fine!” when my name is mentioned.
16. Please give a word of advice to the people aspiring to be seiyuu.
This might not be limited to just seiyuu but, if you really like something, you should not be thinking whether it is suited for you or not. Just that, in order not to indulge in your dreams, please work hard and do yourself proud, all while keeping a cool head. I will work towards seeing you in the recording studio some day!
17. Apart from the works you have been involved in, are there any other anime which you frequently watch?
CLANNAD! I love the anime adaptation a lot too but, it was the first series which I remember buying the drama CD of! The girls are cute and the dialogues are great; I’ve cried over and over again listening to them. Whenever I reminisce about the series I end up watching it again. CLANNAD is life…!
18. Adding on to the previous question, what would be the role you would like to play (i.e. the role you yearn for)?
That would be Kyou-chan! She looks like a person who is fun to hang out with, and she is a kind girl who always cares for her younger sister. And the way she hesitates and flusters during important times, despite normally being firm and confident, makes her look really cute.
19. As a viewer, what kind of anime do you like?
During my high school days I watched close to 10 series so anything is good with me. I am now watching anime with deep themes; those that make me think hard about them. After watching, I think with a firm tone “I’ve gained something!”, and feel like talking about it to someone else!
20. How were you like as a child?
It was only until middle school did I really begin to understand what was going around me so……(?) I cannot really remember how I was like as a child, but I think I must have been really cheery! Now, when I ask my mom about it she would say that I was a child who, other than when eating or sleeping, was always talking!
21. Please tell us the television programmes you frequently watch.
I like Matsuko & Ariyoshi no Ikari Shintou (Matsuko & Ariyoshi’s Angry New Party) and Doumoto Kyoudai (The Doumoto Brothers)! But I do not really sit down and watch television, so from time to time when I leave the television on I would feel “Lucky~”!
22. Please tell us the book which you like the most.
That would be Fullmetal Alchemist. It is the first volume I have ever bought! It is absolutely a life-changing work so I have always been treasuring it. I prefer to read it with a feeling of freshness, so I try not to re-read it very much.
23. Please tell us the game which you like the most.
Recently, I have been introduced to this game called “LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum”. It is cute and interesting, so I have been obsessing myself with it…… But, I did not use to play many games when I was small, so I naturally am bad at games that require fast reflexes (laughs).
24. Please tell us the movie which you like the most.
That would be The Girl that Leapt Through Time. The optimistic feelings, mixed together with feelings of emptiness in the chest makes for a very mysterious feeling in the end… The story is so sad that I don’t think I will be able to watch it alone any more……
25. Please tell us the music which you like the most.
My favorite song is a song from Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, called “The Name of Life”. This song from (Joe) Hisaishi is wonderful, mysterious and beautiful, I have been listening to it over and over again. I like the piano solo version in particular!
26. Please tell us your personal motto.
“An effort that does not produce any result is merely an excuse.”
This is a rather harsh statement so there might be times where it stings hard. However, worrying about the type of effort I have to put in in order to produce a result also gives me a chance to think hard about the issue at hand so……this is a very important phrase!
27. Please tell us about any sporting experience that you have.
I have been dancing for about 10 years. I do jazz dancing, and sometimes hip-hop too! I cannot do other sports at all; I’m so bad at ball sports that I wish I was born differently!
28. Please tell us about the songs that you usually sing at karaoke.
In the past I used to sing anisongs, character songs and seiyuu songs all the time! But sometimes I would go overboard; there have also been times where I’ve been barred from entering the karaoke (laughs). I only know how to sing the hooks for J-Pop so, I have to sing together with someone!
29. Please tell us about the food that you like.
Dried sardines, cuttlefish and Korean seaweed! Whenever I feel unenergetic and such, I always treat myself to these things~ Recently I have found out about spicy cuttlefish. I have been raving about it for so much that the people around me have started buying them as well (laughs).
30. Please tell us about about the food that you don’t like.
I like eating shijimi clams and Manila clams, but I just cannot stand oysters… I like eating different kinds of seaweed, but I just cannot stand Mozuku seaweed… To pinpoint what I like or dislike is pretty easy but there is no general or specific rule to the things I dislike!
31. Please tell us about a shop you frequent regularly.
It has to be Nakau (なか卯)! The seasonal limited edition chicken shio udon was really delicious! I wonder if they will be back again……Some day, I want to sing the “Na-ka-u!!” song that is being played in the store♪
32. Do you have any favorite snacks?
Unfortunately, since dried sardines and cuttlefish have a strong smell to them, I rarely eat them outside of home. Instead, I often eat rice crackers in the studio! I am quite fond of salad-flavored and shrimp-flavored rice crackers~
33. Do you drink alcohol? If so, what are your favorite varieties?
If there is a drinking session, I will drink~ I like umeshu on the rocks (iced plum wine)! By the way, I won’t share it. I get drunk right away when I drink on an empty stomach but usually I can take 3 cups without any problem!
34. What did you do on your latest day off?
I slept a lot, and cleaned up the house after I woke up! Up till now, I haven’t really thought “Hey, let’s go out and have as much fun as we like!”, but since last year I have been gradually making an effort to go out more~ Friends are important!
35. If you had a weeklong break, what would you do?
I would visit my grandparents back in my hometown, or shut myself in the library. My grandparents would come over to Tokyo to visit from time to time, but I have not been able to visit them all these years (tears). And, I would like to study for a while! But I am bad at reading, so when I read books I start to fall asleep……However, if there is a long break I should be able to read at least a bit!
36. Is there a hobby that you have been hooked on recently?
I wouldn’t really call it a hobby but, I have been doing nail art! But it is not as professional as the ones from nail salons; it is only a beige-colored nail polish applied quickly by myself (laughs). “Doing such flashy things isn’t really like me”, was what I was thinking even as I was trying to pay attention to the tip of my nail.
37. Please tell us about your current qualifications.
I have a Level 1 cert in the English Proficiency Test and a Level 2 cert in the Kanji Proficiency Test. There is also an oral component for the English Proficiency Test. I become rather flustered when I got asked “What are your thoughts about sumo wrestling?”. I replied with “That, is something which is difficult to answer even in Japanese”, and in the end managed to pass the test with a smile (laughs).
38. What are the things you would like to challenge yourself to do over the next 10 years?
To continue working as a seiyuu in the years to come, to remain as myself even in times of hardship, and to live life properly!
39. What type of men do you like?
Men who normally have scary expressions but become kind and gentle when they are alone with you! But that’s just one of my delusions (laughs). The most important things are, a sincere attitude and a respectable quality that never wavers!
40. Which part of the opposite gender’s body catches your eye the most?
The arms……? But, it’s not like I pay particular attention to that! I get the slight heartthrobs when men roll up their sleeves, revealing their muscles. Also, I think a bigger build would be better. I would like to play piggyback and the like on that!
41. Out of the things you have bought recently, please tell us the most expensive one.
As a combined celebration for Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, I brought my parents to a traditional Japanese restaurant in Ginza. It takes quite a lot of effort to secure a reservation from that restaurant but it was the first time treating my parents so I tried my best! It was great that they were happy in the end!
42. What do you want the most right now?
A good memory! Since young, whenever I spaced out, it would take quite some time for me to recall my thoughts. Also, when my dreams get too surreal, there are times when I jumble up the events in my dreams with the ones in reality, so I would like to get back to reality better!
43. If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring one item, what would it be?
My mother! There shouldn’t be any specific definitions for “item” (laughs)! If I bring along my mother, I can discuss anything with her. She is also a very smart person so I think I can be assured if I am with her. We might be able to survive longer too! In the words of everyone, “It’s this one chance.”!
44. If you could spend 1 million yen freely, how would you spend it?
I would save it as funds for retirement. After looking through a profile sheet that was popular during my elementary school days, I wrote “Funds for retirement” as the answer to a question similar to this one. I thought “This kid is no good……”, in spite of myself. But still, I would save it as funds for retirement.
45. If you have a habit that you do daily, please tell us about it.
I drink coffee after I wake up in the morning! I drink hot tea or herbal tea at the recording studio! I drink Yakult or apple juice at night!
46. Please say something for your fans.
Thank you for reading this 50-question interview, question by question up to this point! Thanks to you all, I have been able to tide over many things. Things will continue to change but, I will work hard in order to progress! I look forward to working with everyone!
47. Do you remember your first meeting with the previous guest, Taneda Risa?
I met her while we were both recording for a drama CD. She was sitting next to me in the recording. My first impression of her was “She’s a beauty!”. Even though I wanted to fix my gaze on her, I couldn’t do so as she was seated beside me, so there was that feeling of regret there (laughs). I had no idea she would be such an interesting person (laughs), and on top of that I had no idea that we would become such good friends! I’m really happy about that~
48. (A question from Taneda Risa) What’s that one thing that you crave to eat the most right now? (*ﾟ▽ﾟ*) Let’s go eat that together the next time?
WICKED, from Shiki Theatre Company! Ah, you were talking about food. Let’s see then, WICKED! Ehhh? This is a musical. WI-WI, WICKED!! Ah, Tane-chan, let’s go watch this together……!
49. Please tell us about the other seiyuu that you are close to.
I love the members of Rhodanthe*, that is where I belong! I am close to Minase Inori, we are in the middle of making plans to hang out together. I have always been trusting and depending on Hikasa Youko and Kanae Ito, they are my beloved seniors!
50. Please mention one thing which you would like to ask our next seiyuu guest (Tanaka Manami).
I love your cute voice, Manamin~ Even though you are such an angel, you utter some interesting things from time to time which make everyone laugh. I love that part of you too! With that, do you have any role which you would like to play from now on? Manami, forever best friend!!
We have come to the end of the interview! This time round the interview was significantly longer than the rest, so it took longer to translate everything (sorry!). I’m quite confident of the translation and have proofread it quite a few times, but there might still be mistakes I have overlooked. If you spot any, please do let me know! The original source for the interview can be found here.
Now that we’re done with Naobou’s interview, we should be translating #2, Murakawa Rie’s interview next. Hopefully we can clear that within a week for that one!