The story of the anime shows itself. Considering the reboot of the series in mind, ANN sat down to talk about what made their long careers as seiyu so rewarding and enriching.
That’s forty years since Urusei Yatsura came out. Would you agree that would impact as much as it did?
Furukawa: So before we start, we will do nothing. When I was first recording, I read that manga and I thought it was really nice. But it wasn’t really possible it would become a gigantic title after all these years.
How do you feel when your time on Urusei Yatsura made you a seiyu?
Furukawa: I was working on many different things, like mecha anime where charactership is characterized by good-looking characters and everything. In this case, I really felt that Ataru is very pretty, but maybe more to that, by doing something that is interesting. And I believe that has improved my insight into what I could do with voice acting.
Are you interested in seeing Hiroshi Kamiya play Ataru in the reboot?
Furukawa: Kaimya-san is like my kohei at the same time. He’s a powerful voice actor. I hope the Ataru that Kamiya-san would do will be great.
I’ve seen that you’ve voiced Terry Gilliam and the Japanese dub of Monty Python. Did this show you make a sound of Urusei Yatsura?
Furukawa: I don’t really think that. [Gilliam] didn’t have too many lines, so I was doing this for anime instead of doing that for an actual person. And it was really different. In that sense, I think that rather than the experience of taking these characters off, I got more experience as my older colleagues would recite many longer lines and shorter lines more clearly than GIlliams – and how they dealt with it.
Can you tell Ataru through any way? How does the character and his reception develop over the years?
Furukawa: Under different circumstances Urusei Yatsura could proceed with a lot of different directions. Ataru has a lot of depth in terms of how he would be done. I think because there is a lot of difference in the nature of the movie being done depending upon the theme of the film, the whole movie could be done differently.
As your husband, you’ve been involved in anime for a long time, and that is one of the most famous films of your generation, Naru, in Sailor Moon. How does it feel to know that Sailor Moon has gone classic and that it still finds new audiences around the world?
What a cute boy! Having just begun recording for Moon’s Sailor, we didn’t really expect that Japanese anime would move in the world, but instead of on the whole planet. At first, Sailor Moon was supposed not to continue as long as it did. They were saying that there would be three Sailor Guardians as opposed to five, and we didn’t expect the cast to grow so much. Also, I was very surprised every time its gone over as well as it did. And since the fans of the U.S. welcomed us, I’d be more thrilled to have got to be able to come to you in these states. I was really surprised and humbled.
How do you feel that your tenure on Sailor Moon seasoned you as a seiyu?
Kakinuma: At the beginning Naru was very energetic, but she fell in love with her every week. So of course Usagi would have to rescue her. And that I think helped me understand the tension that would be needed to act a kind of character like she might have.
We spent many years teaching kids how to voice an act. What did you try to do?
Kakinuma: Okay, it started as a school that the company is a specific company to Aoni Production, so it came to me and said, Do you want to take part in this? I think my stage experience played into how to teach children emotional expression.
I know that teachers need to teach the children, but if you’ve learned anything about yourselves, how do you teach?
Kakinuma: They are a high school age group, around 18 – 20. But that doesn’t really change the fact that it’s how, as far as I’ve learned, we lead by example as teachers. We had to focus on our own strengths and to get an outside feel for our own survival. So every time I think about how to act out and express myself, I think about it, and that directly drives back to the voices I can do. The cycle is almost over here.
As part of the Power of Voice Project, both of you gave young children voice acting lessons. How did you get it?
Furukawa: On the school level there usually a big difference between education for those with disabilities and education for those who have little children. That is particularly because they did not only teach subjects with visual difficulties, but also partially or completely blind. The word disability in Japanese is also a bad word for a person, so it’s not simply a completely negative trait. We want to help them find different possibilities for people with special characteristics that they could have given up on. This was something that initially started at the government level and then then arrived and now we are at the third year of this project. I can certainly see where the government was trying to go, because we saw people blind as able to seek a path they have previously abandoned and so we hope it would provide new opportunities to people.
Why would you advise anyone to give any a voice-show of the future, what would it be like?
Furukawa: Technical elements are very important, but focus first and foremost on human resources. To become a voice actor with a wide scale of voices, it first must be a social, interesting, human-stuffing person with a human personality.