Otakon 2014
Saori Hayami Q&A

by Eric Stimson,

Saori Hayami, the voice actress behind Miyuki Shiba (The irregular at magic high school), Ayase Aragaki (Oreimo 2), Sachi (Sword Art Online), Tsuruko Tsurumi (anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day) and Yotsugi Ononoki (Monogatari Series Second Season), had an audience Q&A panel at Otakon this year.

Note: This is not an exact transcript, as audio recording was prohibited, but the answers are preserved as closely as possible.

Are there any memories or interesting stories while you were recording any of your titles?

Each show had a different experience. They ranged from punching out guys and screaming “YOU'RE A PERVERT!!!” to more tear-jerking roles.

You've played a very powerful pilot (Aila in Gundam Build Fighters). If you could pilot any mobile suit, which would it be?

Aila doesn't actually pilot her own mobile suit on her own will. Later in the story, she starts to show her own capabilities. But I've never been in one, so I can't tell.

What anime did you watch as a child that made you want to take up voice acting?

I actually started out dubbing live-action. My grandmother was a big fan of Audrey Hepburn, particularly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, so when I found out there were jobs dubbing foreign films, I took up voice acting. I did grow up watching Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura.

Which is your favorite character out of the roles you've played?

(flustered) Aaaaah, I can't decide! This is hard!

You sang a song in English for 13 minutes (for The World God Only Knows). Did you have any trouble preparing for that?

Recording songs usually takes about 3-5 hours. This song took two separate sessions, but otherwise it didn't feel that different. I had an English coach to help me, so it was O.K. I also like English songs.

How does relating to a character make you voice them better?

I think I've been typecast as a tsundere ever since playing Ayase, so I haven't played many different characters.

What life experiences do you draw from to elicit emotion?

Almost everything! I drew on a lot of happy memories from high school to play Wako (Star Driver), for instance.

What is your favorite song? Are there any you listen to for fun?

Yes. I like Ayase's song – but that may be because it was playing on repeat in my hotel a few hours ago, so it's stuck in my head!

What is your favorite movie and animated movie?

I like The Great Passage for its choice placement of words and Sister Act 2 because I starred in a musical version of it in high school. I also have a soft spot for Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower, since it was my debut anime role.

Do you have any interesting stories about Yuichi Nakamura, your coworker?

While I have a wide gap between the character types I play, Nakamura seems the same no matter what character he plays. I can't always tell what he's thinking. I'd really like to get inside his head someday.

Have you ever gone to Chichibu (the setting for anohana)?

Yes. The cast (or sometimes just the three women) have reunions there every summer.

Have you seen Love Live?

One of my old classmates hit me up once for a ticket for her younger brother, but I haven't seen it.

Who is your favorite voice actor to work with?

I can't decide! But my role model is Asako Ikeda, Audrey Hepburn's dubbed voice actress. I was cast with her just once, and I really respected her. She made a point of greeting every cast member.

Are you a fujoshi?


What is your favorite food?

My mom's specialty: boiled gyouza (potstickers).

How was your high school life?

I joined the choir competition club and participated in the athletics committee, so I was very busy.

Which god in Kamigami no Asobi would you choose?


Which of your characters is closest to yourself?

Sawa (Tari Tari).

Which of the male characters in your shows would you choose?

I'm not sure… but Katsuragi (The World God Only Knows) would rank the lowest, because he plays too many video games and wouldn't be good at conversation.

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