Anime Expo 2005
Anime Expo - Maaya Sakamoto Focus Panel

by David Chang,
A long line that had started around 7 a.m. greeted fans hoping to view the Maaya Sakamoto panel. People started clapping and cheering as soon as Sakamoto walked past the line to enter the live programming room. The focus panel began on schedule, and was met with a warm applause when the popular voice actress and singer walked up to the table. Hosted by American voice actor Crispin Freeman, audiences got the chance to hear Sakamoto answer some of their questions.

For those readers who either missed the panel, or couldn't make it to Anime Expo, most of the questions and answers are repeated below.

Questions directed by Freeman:

Did you want to be a voice actor when you were young?

I started acting when I was 8, mostly dubbing small movies. My first anime work was at the age of 12 in an anime called Little Thing. Escaflowne, to me, was my first real work.

Was it weird being so famous at the age of 16?

No, my friends supported me and said that they watched the TV show and bought my CD.

What's the difference between theater and voice acting?

They are both so wonderful and complement each other so well. Theater refines my acting and talent for stage work, but voice acting further refines me as a person and my inner self. They go together very well.

I know you do many songs with Yoko Kanno-san. Are you two friends?

Yes, she is like a sister to me.

How was your performance in America?

Oh, it was so wonderful. There were so many people and fans! I never knew I was so popular in the States.

Acting from such a young age... how was it?

Acting at 8, I was just myself, but as I grew older, I began to put more thought into the series and my characters.

Are there any new projects you're working on now?

I have been working on the Tsubasa Chronicle closing song and the role of Tomoyo in both the TV series and movie. I am also working on a new album this year.

Questions directed by fans:

Out of all the albums your recorded, which one expresses you the best?

All of them, but my most recent album seem to express me the best, so it's my most favorite album. Then when a new album is released, that album then becomes my favorite

Regarding albums like Shonen Alice, do you plan to do work like this in the future?

Umm... maybe no...

Could you say what Lunamaria says when she takes off?

Lunamaria Hawke! Zaku! Deru wa yo!

In Gundam Seed Destiny, who is your favorite male character?

Shinn?... Kira?

What songs do you like the most out of what you've sung?

Uhh... . I can't choose... Everything? I'm sorry I can't choose.

I was wondering if you're going to do any more concerts in LA?

No, I'm sorry but I don't think that I will.

Is there any role you would like to play in the future that you would like to express?

The characters I usually play are like Hitomi or like myself, but recently I've begun to play pilot roles like Lunamaria or the pilot in GunBuster 2.

What manga are you reading these days?

I'm not currently reading much manga, but I liked Slam Dunk and I tend to like sports manga.

Who inspires your musically?

Oasis. I have lots of music, but I have watched and listened to a lot of their music.

Out of all the characters you voice acted for, who is your favorite?

It's difficult to say, but I was fond of playing Hitomi, and we were the same age when I voice acted her.

What did you think of the Korean singer of Yubiwa?

I found it to be very interesting.

Can you tell us about your part in GunBuster 2?

My part is Laura. She's quite the tomboy.

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