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Interview with Yūko Miyamura - SMASH 2010

The following is the second in a set of interviews conducted last August with the special guests of the Sydney Anime and Manga Show 2010. With Tiffany Grant, Yūko Miyamura and Matt Greenfield in attendance for Brisbane and Melbourne Supanova 2011 we felt that you might enjoy these interviews. So to continue, we have Yūko Miyamura!

ANN.au: Thank you for letting us interview you today. You've done a fair bit of gaming work--Alicia in Tails Concerto, Street Fighter Alpha, Kingdom Hearts--and you've also done Asuka, Kazuha in Conan and Dragon Ball Z. You've even showed up in TV shows! If you have a preference for any one of these, which one would you choose?
Yūko Miyamura: What I think is most important is teamwork, and the passion and heart that you put into a certain work. If I find a work that has all these criteria, I'll want to prioritize or concentrate on it.

ANN.au: In regards to Evangelion 2.0, you voice act Asuka. How would you describe her?
Yūko Miyamura: In the TV series of Evangelion, Asuka was more an unfortunate character. In the movie, I wanted her to be happy. In 2.0, Asuka encounters a terrible event but I hope she can overcome that and reach happiness this time. I believe that she can!

ANN.au: You're hoping that she'll fare better this time around--do you think she will?
Yūko Miyamura: [laughter] Only the director knows! He hasn't told anybody yet.

ANN.au: If Shinji Ikari showed up today, and said, "I would change any one thing in the world for you," what would you ask for?
Yūko Miyamura: I wonder... Maybe I want him to change himself into a brighter, easy-going boy.

ANN.au: You're also acting as Klarissa in Uni. Would you like to tell us about this game and the character?
Yūko Miyamura: I've cancelled many works from Japan, but this work I've accepted. The staff of Uni are very passionate. The character is an international student from Germany and she's tsundere, but when I act her out, she is completely different to Asuka.

ANN.au: Moving on to voice acting--when you are asked to act a character, does the director tell you "you have to sound like this" or does the director give you room to move?
Yūko Miyamura: It depends! It depends on the director and the way they want to do things.

ANN.au: Have there ever been situations in voice acting where you've laughed?
Yūko Miyamura: Many!

ANN.au: Any interesting stories you can share?
Yūko Miyamura: The voice actor of Luffy in One Piece, Mayumi Tanaka, is very cheeky and mischievous. During a break, she would grab the script of other voice actors and would write over it. The other voice actors think that it's from the directors and say it as written. Sometimes what she writes is a bit indecent! She's very funny.

ANN.au: Do you have any role types that you prefer to act out?
Yūko Miyamura: I like to act out characters with many different personalities. I don't have a preference.

ANN.au: Have you ever looked back on your voice acting and gone, 'Maybe I shouldn't have done that'?
Yūko Miyamura: At one point in time, I thought to myself that I would never act as Asuka again.

ANN.au: Really?
Yūko Miyamura: For a very long time, I wanted to erase Evangelion.

ANN.au: Was Evangelion really that hard to work on?
Yūko Miyamura: It was very hard.

ANN.au: That's kind of scary.
Yūko Miyamura: [laughter]

ANN.au: Considering how popular Evangelion is, do you have Japanese fans flying to Australia or the US and trying to find you because you are Asuka? Do they go over the line?
Yūko Miyamura: In the past there was a time when I had a stalker and I have had many scary incidents. Recently, there haven't been many stalker-like fans, but there have been people who have followed me to a Hawaiian convention and SMASH, and they're more friends and family than they are fans. They know me more than my husband now.

ANN.au: What direction do you think anime in Japan is taking? Do you like where it is going?
Yūko Miyamura: It's a difficult question, but I've always thought about this. For four years I've been a sound director, and the sound director can't give an opinion on the story. Sometimes I wonder if the stories are appropriate for children. I would like this age to revive many themes of old anime, easily understood themes like friendship and love--I would like to see shows with these themes to come back.

ANN.au: As a quick overview, what does sound directing involve?
Yūko Miyamura: For animation, there are usually two directors, visual and audio. The audio director puts music to the animation, supervises the voice acting and orders songs.

ANN.au: Has Tiffany Grant asked for your autograph?
Yūko Miyamura: I think I've already given it to her!

ANN.au: To wrap up, is there anything you would like to say to fans in Australia and the US?
Yūko Miyamura: To those fans who watch anime when Japanese isn't their first language... I find many who have watched anime are very good at Japanese. When I see these people, I think that anime really has power to change things. I hope that anime can be used for world peace.

ANN.au: Thank you very much.
Yūko Miyamura: [English] Thank you very much!

We would like to take time to thank the Sydney Anime and Manga Show for arranging this interview, Yūko Miyamura for participating in the interview and Georgia Blair for transcribing and editing.

All images ©khara

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