Interview: Toshiyuki Morikawa, voice of D.Gray-man's Tyki Mikk

by Chih-Chieh Chang,
Editor's Note: This is a group interview, participated in by Chih-Chieh Chang for Anime News Network at the 2009 Comic Exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan.

Toshiyuki Morikawa, who played Tyki Mikk in D.Gray-man, Ryuichiro Isaka in Junjō Romantica, among many other roles, arrived at Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009 on August 15. In addition to numerous anime and radio/CD drama characters, Mr. Morikawa also dubs Japanese voices for many Hollywood stars, including Keanu Reeves in The Matrix trilogy, Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible trilogy, and Ewan Mcgregor in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

Q: Which role you've played would you consider to be the most representative of you as an actor? Why?

A: I wouldn't pick my own work; this should be done by my audience, and whichever title/role they picked would be fine to me.

Q: Are there any memorable moments in your long voice acting career?

A: Take D.Gray-man as an example: the recording sessions were very lively, for most characters were voiced by popular seiyū, which is not common in most other titles. Furthermore, we had a great time at work and in private; even after the recording of D.Gray-man was long finished, we still gather for dinners and drinks from time to time.

Q: What's your first impression of Taiwan? How do you feel about your voice acting being popular all over the world?

A: I could feel the passion of wanting me to visit Taiwan even while in Japan (laugh), so I took the first plane today before sunrise. The most memorable impression is that Taiwan is NOT much different from Japan; I could barely feel the difference if no one tells me. However, Taiwanese fans are very passionate, while in comparison Japanese fans are more reserved.

Q: Which type of character is most challenging for you in voice acting?

A: I've been working as a seiyū for 24 years so I've played virtually all basic types of characters, but I take each new role as a new challenge.

Q: We've got many, many female fans today. In addition to regular anime, you've been playing many roles for female-oriented drama CDs. What's the major difference between the two types of performance, and how did you feel when you first started voicing female-oriented drama CDs?

A: I'm very happy to see so many female fans, but I also noticed a few guys among them. At first I worried for them, fearing that they might feel uncomfortable in the overwhelming female crowds, but I was relieved when I saw them enjoying the autograph session very much. As for boys-love (BL) drama CD: you know that I've played many BL roles, and I love those titles very much, for their storytelling are often superior to those of regular anime, plus I wouldn't be able to play so many different roles without BL drama CDs. The most memorable performance was with my good friend Shinichiro Miki in Embracing Love: Cherished Spring (Haru wo Daiteita), which had two actors as male protagonists, thus in addition to playing the character we had to deliver the message of the work as well.

Q: In addition to animation and BL drama CDs, you've also dubbed many foreign films ("fukikae"). Please tell us the difference between these two types of performances.

A: In contrast to animation where most characters move nothing but the lips while talking, live-action movies have many more miniscule facial and body movements, and when dubbing live-action movies you have to convey those aspects as well, which is of course more difficult and requires more skill. Say, if I dub over the voice of Tom Cruise I have to simulate what Mr. Cruise would do and how would he do it in different scenes.

Q: Tyki Mikk in D.Gray-man has two personalities; was this character more difficult to voice? Which personality is more similar to yours?

A: I didn't take him as a complex character... basically, he was a easygoing, normal human at most times. His human/Noah dual personalities are actually quite common among each and every human being. If you ask which part of me is the most similar to Mikk... I'd say it's the voice (laugh).

Q: It is rumored that Omaera no Tamedaro! will end soon. Is that real?

A: Locations of upcoming Omaera no Tamedaro! shows have already been reserved; there will be announcements soon so please be patient. My partner Mr. Nobuyuki Hiyama was asked the same question when he visited Toronto, Canada a while ago; I wonder where and how this rumor was formed.

Q: Have you read any script that was way too embarrassing to recite?

A: There are indeed many embarrassing scripts in BL titles but I never feel too embarrassed to recite; furthermore, I've become a bit numb after reading so many scripts like that. After all, those were written by hardworking writers and/or mangaka so there's no unacceptable script.

Q: You've been called a “teioh” (emperor) in BL voice acting; how did you obtain this title and how do you think of it?

MC: Fortunately you didn't ask that at the autograph session or we'd have to call for riot controllers [audience laughs].

A: Of course I wouldn't call myself “teioh” but someone – either an editor or a letter from a reader in a manga magazine – called me “teioh” in one paragraph. I had no idea at first, but later some fans wrote me letters calling “teioh,” and people around me started calling me that as well; until then I realized “so I'm an 'emperor' now (laugh).” In fact I don't dislike this title, not to mention it can heat up the event and make everyone happy.

Q: On your blog you've mentioned you have an old wound on your neck. What's the situation with that now? Please take care.

A: Thank you for reading my blog. I had no interest in blogging and didn't write any until people around me kept pushing me to do it. It would be quite annoying if updating a blog becomes a burden, and I don't like this pressure. However, later I found it a way to review my recent personal life. The old wound on my neck was an injury from back in high school and has been recuperating continuously; I update its condition to manage my personal health. Now I feel really fine and I'd like to stay in Taiwan longer if possible.

Q: Please cheer up flood victims or use your sexy voice to encourage fans to bid on your autograph at the charity auction.

A: Japanese news has been covering the flood in headlines for the past few days; maybe it's a destiny for me to come to Taiwan at this moment, and I wish everyone could contribute to relief efforts. In fact, Japan was also hit by typhoon #9 (Etau) and earthquakes about the same time typhoon #8 (Morakot) hit Taiwan. We all live on the same planet Earth so everyone should help others; an individual may be weak, but we will endure the hardship if we collaborate and join our strength and wisdom together as one.

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