Pic of Ito wearing a maid outfit in the Pretty Rhythm arcade game. She’s really cute with long hair like that. 2nd pic is from the 3DS game.
Coincidentally, Komatsu Mikako voiced the main character in a lot of my favorite shows of these past years: Mouretsu Pirates, Pretty Rhythm, and Gundam Build Fighters. She was also shortly in Sengoku Collection as Ittousai and was really fun.
1: Let’s start by talking about the audition
I first took the audition to voice Naru chan. Then I was told to try doing the one for Ito chan too. At that time, they asked me if I ever had any complex. I told them that I used to hate my voice, but now it’s less and less like that because I could become a voice actor, and then I was asked to try voicing Ito in a gender neutral voice. Soon after that I was told that it was decided I’d voice her.
2: How does it feels voicing Ito?
She’s much more cool and taciturn than what I first imagined, but she’s actually a girl with a lot of passion. She was born in the Heisei era but her way of speaking is Showa era like, and she says things like “nanjyanaiyo!”, she has kind of a Kimottama Kaasan side to her lol. She’s got a gap personality. When the staff told me about how “she looses her cool easily, and then her feelings comes out without restriction”, was when I started feeling I could touch Ito chan.
(According to jp wikipedia, Kimottama Kaasan/肝っ玉母さん, meaning a mother with guts or something like that, is a very popular 117 ep drama that aired on TBS from 1968 to 1972. If I got it right, it’s about a fat looking mom owning a soba restaurant and the shenanigans around it. I don’t know much about dramas and haven’t see many. I remember watching stuff like the adaptations of GTO(the one from 98), You’re Under Arrest and Sailor Moon. They’re all pretty fun and good. The Hana Yori Dango live action is pretty funny as well though I think I didn’t watch it all. I heard the Ouran High School Host Club live action is really good too. The last adaptation I watched is El Palacio’s live action. I still haven’t finished it though. I think it aired like… 3 years ago? Adaptations aside, I watched Kekkon Dekinai Otoko, I really love that drama. Abe Hiroshi is my favorite Japanese actor(the only one I know) It’s been almost 9 years since it aired. Time goes so fast. There’s also an older drama I’m interested in, I remember seeing it in an episode of SmapxSmap, in the corner where they show kids things from older generations. It was about a teacher with long black hair who would put his students on the right path with slaps and stuff, and then they would cry together etc. By googling stuff like “GTO ancestor drama” I found this drama called “Yuhigaoka no Soridaijin”, but I don’t remember if it was that one or not. I think it could have been “Necchuu Jidai from 1978 too”. If someone knows about an old drama that sounds like this description and can tell me the name It’ll be cool. I really want to watch it)
3: Is it hard to voice a girl like that with so many mood changes?
There’s no problems for when I need to speak naturally, but for scenes where she suddenly loses her temper, sound director san told me “You need to sound more angry”. The level of anger I needed to sound like was about 2 steps above from what I imagined. She’s a girl who really uses a lot of energy when snapping. It’s the kind of anger where I also needed to make my own feelings explode or it wouldn’t come out. That was difficult.
4: So there’s different ways of voicing anger?
Ito chan grew up with her father and got influenced by him, so I was asked to act as much angry as how her father would be. That time when Ito chan’s father gets angry at her, I asked Kondo Takashi san if he could do it once before to show me, so I could use it for reference. That’s why it’s pretty scary when she snaps lol. I once heard that “men gets angry from their stomach while women gets angry from their head” and I thought “ah so that’s it”. Of course, Ito chan is a girl, but I think that because she lives with her father, her way of getting angry is masculine.
5: How about the acting you had to do in order to show Ito slowly falling in love with Kouji?
When the first dubbing session was over, I was told that Ito chan would end up going out with Kouji kun, but that Ito chan is a girl that rejects others, so she would try to ignore Kouji kun at first but get more and more interested in him, she’s like a tsundere lol. I wanted to accentuate the fact that she’s rejecting how the negative feelings she first felt for Kouji turned into love.
6: Like when she goes like « don’t touch my song you bastard ! »
She didn’t like how Kouji got more and more into her song, but she was also wondering why he’s doing it. That’s why even though she was rejecting him, she still got interested in him.
7: When speaking of Kouji, one of the most impressive scenes about him is definitely the kiss scene in front of the fountain. What did you think about it?
It was a really impressive scene. With the fireworks, it’s like those ideal situations I imagined when I was a child. But now that I’m an adult, it makes me laugh. There’s no way the fireworks would go doon! at that exact timing lol. Thanks to the very easy to understand direction, I was able to make Ito chan express feelings which she usually hides.
8: By the way did you know there would be a kiss scene ?
To think there was a kiss scene! I think it was my first time acting one. Such flirting at 10 in the morning. I’m envious!! lol. They were really cute when they went back to everyone and they asked them “did something happen?”.
(Not surprising it was her first since these days romantic comedies have no romance and aren’t funny, though I don’t think she played in some of those, that’s just a general comment. Though it’s not grim. There’s still shows like Pretty Rhythm, shoujos or other shows in general that still have actual romance. It’s just that most romantic comedies aren’t romantic comedies anymore. I think I like shoujo and fictional romance since it’s stuff I don’t do IRL. Dating irl, having a girlfirend etc, always found it stupid and only brings trouble )
9: What do you think of people like Kouji kun
Well… Kouji kun is especially sensitive, to me, it’s a little scary how it feels he might go away if something happens. He’s nice and always considers others’ feelings before his. But I’m not good at handling people like him who hide their true feelings and distance themselves like that.
10: How about Hiro and the other guys?
Hiro san is a bit… lol.
I don’t know much about Coo san and his motives, he may be a good person but maybe he’ll become an enemy lol. Kazuki is honest and totally fine, but seems he has no interest in love or too thick headed to notice it lol. He’s not noticing that there’s so many girls interested in him. That’s why the one I’m attracted to is certainly Kouji kun. But he’d definitely turn me down lol.
(Hahaha that Hiro answer. That book was released after the FREEDOM, but he wasn’t completely good then so I guess she didn’t like him much. Didn’t think there was someone in the cast that didn’t like Hiro. Well he is an unlikable bastard for most of the show. That’s why I love him though. And at the end she probably liked him.
She called Kazuki just “Kazuki”. I think it’s the first time in the interviews a seiyuu doesn’t call a character with san or sama)
11: I think that because Ito’s situation is changing, the way you’re acting her is changing as well
That’s right. She doesn’t distance herself anymore when talking with someone. Until now she had a blunt way of speaking, but she’s nicer now. She gets into conversations too. That scene when Otoha chan asked her “how’s it going with Kouji san”?”and she was “eeeh stop that stop that” , it made me think “so she can do these kinds of faces too”.
12: How will you voice Ito in the future?
Ito chan is the kind of girl who can only see what’s in front of her, so I wonder… Recently I think there’s been a lots of parts where I felt linked with her, I think I’ll keep voicing her by feeling like that.
13: Is there any scene or line of dialogue that left a big impression on you?
I thought Ito chan looked super cute during the school trip, when she mailed the fountain’s picture to Kouji kun and said “it looks like you”. I was like “oh right Kouji kun’s hair does look like it” lol. I was narrow minded, while Ito chan could view her own scenery, something like that. I thought Ito chan’s maiden feelings were all condensed at that time.
14: I thought you’d mention a scene with more impact.
There’s a lot of shocking scenes in this anime lol. That’s why for Ito chan, I wish she has an happy romance, my feelings towards her are like how a parent would feel toward their child.
15: Do you think you share some personality traits with Ito?
Fundamentally I don’t think so. Maybe we share how we usually don’t act girly, and how there’s a gap when we do act girly from time to time? Usually I’m not good at “acting girly” and I’m often told “so that’s why you wear girly clothes to compensate”. Regarding love too, I was told by people around me that I’m “surprisingly unfriendly”, but surprisingly there’s times when I’m told “your appearance and personality are a bit different”. I think Ito and me have a similar gap in this sense. (As in she’s nicer than she looks/acts)
16: Did you have some resilience about singing?
Not at all. Rather, I wanted to sing. The way I voice Ito chan is very close to my natural voice, so just by thinking about her I think I can sing in a way that fits Ito chan. When I was first received the song and sang it, I was told by the staff they’re surprised since it really fits Ito chan. So I was at ease. I also had fun singing in Ito chan’s voice songs that aren’t hers in the show. This isn’t related to singing, but I myself have been playing the marinba for more than 10 years, so I was surprised when I first heard there would be marinba in this show. Plus, the person who composed the marinba for Ito chan’s performances is actually the person who taught me how to play! These kind of coincidences do happen too~, it was a shock.
17: Do you get along well with the rest of the cast?
We get along really well. I especially get along with Sakura Ayane chan(Rinne), Uchida Maaya chan(Wakana) and Yamamoto Nozomi chan (Ito and Bell’s penguins, also Cosmo) we eat lunch together every week. During work everyone is relaxed and gets along with each other, with some occasional tsukkomis lol. It’s really fun.
(Btw, I don’t write the character’s name after the seiyuu name each time because I think my readers are stupid. It’s just that it took myself more than a year to remember the seiyuu’s name in the show so I think it may be the case for others too. And even then I only know the seiyuus of the 8 main girls. I had to check who’s Yamamoto Nozomi.)
We talk about our jobs and stuff like how to take care of your throat, we also give each other advice about private things. I also talk about games with Kato Emiri san. Also, every time, I bring fried chicken, and like if she was influenced, Serizawa Yuu chan started doing it too lol.
(tfw you will never eat fried chicken with Pretty Rhythm characters. Actually if you go to paradise you could I guess. That’ s how I feel whenever I see people saying “you will never …”)
18: The show is approaching it’s end, does it makes you feel lonely?
There’s still some time left, but it’s true thinking about it is sad. But now there’s the xmas event with everyone soon and I’m excited about it, we’ll be able to sing our songs on stage for real, we were talking about what we’ll do since we can’t do Prism Jumps lol.
(book was released right before the 2013 xmas event)
19: A word to the readers to wrap things up ?
In these 3 cours all the characters have been growing, but there’s still one final stage of growth left. I’m interested as well about how each of the character’s stories will end, if it’ll end with leaps and bounds. The show had a lot of foreshadowing, and there’s things we won’t be able to be sure of until the end. Some characters had ordeals and painful times to pass, but their hearts didn’t break. It would be nice if everyone keeps rooting for them.