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Kaguya-sama: Love is War Voice Actress Aoi Koga

by Lynzee Loveridge,

As the voice of the titular Kaguya Shinomiya, Aoi Koga uses her voice to embody every side of the character. From her child-like excitement while waiting for a text to her devastating demeanor when she encounters a romantic challenger, voicing Kaguya requires vocal elasticity. ANN spoke with Koga about her character's multi-faceted personality and Kaguya's relationship with her important friend, Hayasaka.

There are many different sides to Kaguya, what part of her personality is the most relatable to you?

Aoi Koga: It might be a little different from how I relate to her but… I really empathize her adorable and pure side where she just wanted to be a normal girl. In the beginning, she couldn't show how she truly felt in her heart, but through meeting the members of the student council, she starts to open up and become more expressive.

In season 3, we get to see Kaguya's feminine side and I found that very endearing. It made me think maybe I could be friends with this Kaguya. (laugh)

Kaguya's different sides also have different voices, were any of them particularly difficult to master?

The most difficult part was episode 1 of season 1, where there was a lot of inner monologues.

I haven't had a role where there were this many inner monologues and having to distinguish her thoughts versus her outward demeanor. So I feel like voicing Kaguya has been a valuable training experience as a voice actor. Furthermore, within Kaguya are many versions of “Kaguya” and making sure each side was properly represented can be difficult, so I made sure to take great care of that while acting.

Over the last three seasons, what moment made you laugh the most? What moment was the most emotionally moving?

During recording sessions, I found myself constantly holding back from bursting out into laughter. In Japan, everyone is in the recording booth together and we rehearse before we actually start recording. During these rehearsals, we'd hear what each of us had in mind for the scene. Since that is the first time we get to hear our castmate's interpretation – like “oh, that's how you're approaching it” – I can't help but let out a small chuckle during the comedic scenes. On top of that, everyone tends to ad-lib, so I can't let my guard down because every moment is hilarious. Something that stands out to me the most is Mr. Aoyama as the Narrator. He gave me a new perspective on how to approach a scene like “I guess you can play around that much with the narration”.

Typically, narrations do not affect the story, but in Kaguya-sama the narration often kicks things off. I think it's because Mr. Aoyama's narration sets the tone for the world, we actors can give our all during recording and the audience is able to immerse themselves into story.

It's so funny how Mr. Aoyama chimes in with ad-libs wherever we are in the scene. On top of that, I find his approach so cool, so it has left a lasting impression on me. As a result, everyone else started ad-libbing, and for that, I gained a lot from Mr. Aoyama's narration. He has inspired me to be a voice actor like him.

While it's difficult to pinpoint one moving moment, I'd have to say the first time I saw the show broadcast on TV. At the time of recording, the animation is not complete and elements like the background music or special effects are not included. Seeing the finished work was the first time I learned “so this is how this part is” and “this is how they incorporated the music”, and I was quite moved. Like “Ah! It's all perfectly tied together.” You can't visualize how everything gets edited when you're recording, so I always discover something new every time I watch the finished product.

Kaguya and Hayasaka have a unique friendship. Can you share your feelings about their relationship with one another?

I think Hayasaka is not only the closest person to Kaguya, but also kind of like a big sister to her. Hayasaka being there played a huge role in Kaguya being able to get along with the other members of the student council. As someone who had to constantly repress what she wanted to do, having someone close by that she could talk to about her true feelings is, I feel, a lifeline for Kaguya. I'm getting a little teary-eyed as I talk about this. (laughs) Hayasaka is such an important presence and… I always get so emotional when I talk about Hayasaka. (Ms. Koga smiles as her eyes begin to water)


Their relationship is so close that it's become something Kaguya has lost sight of and taken for granted, and there are times when Kaguya completely disregards Hayasaka's feelings. For example, in the rap scene from episode 5 in season 3, Hayasaka reveals how she really feels to Kaguya, and Kaguya realizes what Hayasaka has been going through. I found that to be such a genuine, true-to-life moment.

Sometimes, you don't appreciate the most important people in your life until they are gone. There are things you never understood until you are made aware. I think having someone that makes you realize these things is such a blessing, so I find their relationship to be very special.

In the season finale, Kaguya and Miyuki finally go on a date together at the school cultural festival. Do you have memories of the cultural festival from your time in school? What kind of performance/event did your class create?

I was in the music club, so I spent a lot of time in the club room practicing songs with everyone. I had a lot of fun performing on stage in the auditorium or on the school grounds! People in my class would come to watch us perform, so I have very fond memories of a fulfilling high school experience. I couldn't participate in what my class was planning for the festival, but I would swing by during my break. One year, my class was doing a haunted house and it looked like so much fun and I really wanted to participate. (laugh) They made the classroom very dark by using black trash bags and it seemed like a lot of fun. Other than that, we set up a shop selling baked goods or yakisoba.

Do you have any message for the overseas fans viewing Anime News Network?

Hello everyone! This is Aoi Koga, the Japanese voice of Kaguya Shinomiya. I don't often have the opportunity to interact with everyone overseas, so I am very happy that I get to talk to you. In Japan, I get messages from people overseas that they love Kaguya-sama, and I am so lucky to experience the love people all over the world have for the show. Just as much as you love us, everyone on the production side also loves you all very much. It would bring me so much joy if you all continued to support Kaguya-sama.

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