Interview: The Cast Of Made In Abyssby Michael Erazo,
We had the opportunity to chat with the Japanese voices of Riko, Reg and Nanachi from the smash hit adventure series Made in Abyss about how they ended up with their roles, their impressions of the characters they portray, and what some of their favorite scenes were from the show.
ANN: When you auditioned for the series, was the role you ended up with the role (or one of the roles) you auditioned for? If not, who did you actually audition for?
Miyu Tomita: I originally auditioned for Riko but I also auditioned for Reg. My performance as Riko was preferred because I could essentially be myself. Riko was just like me.
Mariya Ise: Reg was the only role I desired and I'm happy I got the part.
Shiori Izawa: For Nanachi, The studio asked around for someone most like this character. At the first audition and I tweeted how I love this story and how Nanachi is my favorite character from it.
My favorite too.
Izawa: Mr. Tsukushi (the creator of the manga) mentioned to me that I was one of the voice actresses that he admired so much and was hoping I would be Nanachi. I tried really hard to get the role after that.
When you first read the original manga, what was your impression of the role you eventually played?
Tomita: The character is 12 years old and very curious about everything. She's very cute, healthy and active. That's the first impression I got but there is also a strong girl inside of her. I learned that as I got into the character.
Ise: As you know Reg is actually a robot, not human, and on top of that he has no memory of his past. Everything he sees and experiences as soon as he opens his eyes is new and fresh. I tried to make sure that feeling of his pureness comes out as I do the voice for him. As he starts going through the Abyss with Riko whoever, he starts to take on more responsibilities, like taking care of Riko and protecting her. My mission is to get that across, including how he starts growing and realizing his power. I wanted to emphasize that well.
Izawa: When I play games or any entertainment, I always pick the characters that are healers or some sort of medic. I choose someone who can help or bring someone back to life. That's my favorite type of character so Nanachi absolutely fills that role. She's the one who helps Riko and Reg regain their power and tries to fix Reg and everything else, so I thought this was the coolest job.
Riko is a very exuberant character, but she is not defined solely by that. What was your initial take on the character beyond that, and did you find yourself having to adjust that as the series progressed?
Tomita:When I started dubbing for the first episode, it went awful and none of the material could be of any use, so I went home crying. I thought to myself“ I can't believe I couldn't even get it right on the first day.” After 12 episodes I was really trying my best, of course it was a difficult character but this was the first character I could really relate to. Now I have many offers, but I think this character and I matched and allowed me to grow alongside her. That is why I became so successful. I'm here because of Riko.
One of the most difficult scenes to watch in the series is the one where Reg tries to cut Riko's arm off after she gets poisoned. Did that scene pose an unusual challenge for you?
Tomita: Yes it was one of the most heartbreaking difficult episodes. You have no idea how long we were actually inside the studio recording that particular episode. It was very long and challenging. It seems like Riko had a newfound love and respect towards Reg after the decision of cutting her arm.
How would you characterize the way Riko sees Reg, and what have you done with your performance of Riko to reinforce that?
Ise: First of all, when they first met, Riko was just interested and curious about Reg because of how different he is. As the story goes, they go through a journey and they both realize how much they need each other. She has the knowledge while Reg has this adventurous attitude and the ability to take chances. They both became best friends and need each other to reach the goal they both share. That's how she feels about their relationship.
Is your approach to voicing a male character like Reg different from your approach to voicing a female character?
Ise: I'm not purposefully lowering the octave of my voice just to make it manly or more boyish. I'm doing it more naturally. Instead I think about the backbone of his journey. When I put myself in his state of mind, I'm able to portray him as a more attractive boy. I'm looking inside of his character, to make it sound like a boy you really want to hear from.
So you could say you fully immersed yourself into the character?
Ise: Oh Yes. Reg is special. I've been voicing many other characters but he is one of a kind because I see him as my son or child. So many of his characteristics matches mine and how pure he is. I want to preserve that so I'm exploring his pureness to the audience and hope people will remember him for that.
In your opinion, how does Reg think of Riko? How does he view their relationship in general?
Ise: The first time Reg opens his eyes, there's Riko. Like a newborn, she was the first person he sees. So in order for him to bring back his old memories, Riko is the only way to bring back those memories. She was kind of like a tool to him in a way, but this began this partnership and friendship. In the beginning they are helping eachother. They both have a common purpose. Do you remember the scene where Riko took her clothes off and embarrassed Reg?
Ise: Having seen that, Reg probably realizes the gender difference but that's about it. I see it as more than friends but there's some boundary.
Nanachi often says “Nyaa” but do you struggle with the different variations?
Izawa: It's not “Nyaa” its “Naaa.” “Nyaa” is more like a cat sound. “Naaa” is possibly more non-human. Its a little bit of all the animals in her I believe. Every time she says something she says “Naaa.” as a habit. You're right there are many variations. I have to think how I'm going to sound when Nanachi is troubled, and how that's different from being surprised? In the manga, you could only read it and the reader can't hear the variations so I asked the original writer “How do you want me to differentiate the Naaas?” He said to do as I wished and that's what I did.
So the Author gave you free range.
Izawa: Yes and it matched exactly what he was thinking it would sound like.
No difficulty thinking up variations by yourself?
Izawa: I can do this for everything!
There is a scene where Nanachi asks Reg to kill Mitty. How you view Reg, or how does Nanachi view him after he kills Mitty?
Izawa: Many people have asked me the same question about when I have to say goodbye to Mitty and how difficult it was watching your best friend die. You have to remember she was the one who asked Reg to ease her pain. She is a healer and that was the only way she knew to ease her pain. Of course it was sad but part of her said this was the right thing to do. It was a comfort for her.
So you believe she holds no resentment at all?
Izawa: I don't there's any regret or resentment about the outcome
Nanachi is a fan-favorite character in the West. In general, how have fan reactions to this character compared to previous roles you have done?
Izawa: First of all I am so happy to hear that American audiences love my voice! Nanachi is my actual voice.
I've been hearing Nanachi all this time!
Izawa: Exactly! Previously I did other characters but every time I was told my voice is different. Different In what way I'd ask. Some people say its unusual or say it's very unique in a nice way. That's how my voice was defined. Since this role, everybody knows my voice. Now everyone is telling me I have a cute voice. I've been a voice actress for so long so I ask myself what was I before then. Was I not cute? This character brought me the cuteness and recognition.
What was your favorite scene to voice?
Tomita: In the last episode, Riko says her wound is proof Reg protected her. That scene was the most touching, as you can see her relationship with Reg and you know they are going to have deeper adventures together and are going to trust each other more along the way.
Ise: My first favorite scene is when the narrator explained how Reg and Riko would be chased instead of chasing the monsters themselves when they enter from the second layer into the third layer. That narration really hit me. My second favorite scene is when Nanachi asked to kill Mitty. He is usually smiling and always said yes to everything but this time he noticed it would be the wrong answer. His mouth drops very slowly. The first time I dubbed that scene, my voice had perfect timing. Everyone, including me, was impressed.
My third favorite scene is when Riko is swimming and Reg says “For some reason I feel thirsty.” Did American audiences get that expression?
Yes I believe so.
Ise: Men will probably grasp he's nervous and didn't know what to say
Izawa: My favorite scene is the ending. When everyone is going down we ask, why do they have to keep going deeper into the Abyss? What is the purpose? They're saying you can not stop us, searching for our dream. This is the message of the whole series.
Our thanks to Sentai Filmworks and the cast of Made in Abyss for this opportunity.
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