Thursday, January 31, 2008

Koshimizu Ami on Playing Horo in Spice & Wolf

In an interview on, Koshimizu Ami talks about playing Horo in the new anime Spice & Wolf. Horo is a wolf-goddess who is several hundred years old but has assumed the form of a 15-year-old girl and is traveling around a medieval countryside with a young trader called Lawrence.

In my opinion, Amisuke is doing a brilliant job. If she continues at this high level, and the anime remains as entertaining as it is so far, this could become a career-defining role. You can tell from the interview that the way she is playing the character is no accident. She has thought about it in just the right ways.

Here is a translation of the interview:

Mainichi: What kind of character is Horo?
Koshimizu Ami: She looks about 15 but is actually hundreds of years old, and uses her knowledge and experience when she and Lawrence are working together. But because she has lived so long she holds deep in her heart an "I don't want to be alone any more" loneliness, and your first impression of her is that her behavior is quite childish. Retaining that youthful feeling in an adult role made it quite difficult.

What was your approach to the role?
It was a real task to get across the feeling of being the elder in the scenes where Horo is leading Lawrence around by the nose. I was quite worried about it -- in a good way. Until now, my roles have mainly been around my own age, so it was my first experience of something like this. Because the feeling is so rich and captivating, even in the most cheerful parts of the script I never forgot the loneliness. How to play the combination of appearing child-like while really being several hundred years old is something over which I do battle with the script in every episode.

Horo uses oiran kotoba ("courtesan speech")
Using old-fashioned courtesan speech, with words like wacchi ("I") and nushi ("thou"), was hard. I studied it from movies and TV dramas. If you overdo it, it becomes too much just like dialect. It's important to find a balance. Although I'm getting used to it, I still feel as if I'm learning.

Do you have a message for the fans?
As someone who has come to love the novels and is absorbed in the role, I feel the pressure that I must not fail this thing I love. And this is a popular work whose many fans all have their image of Horo. As a voice actor, I just can't destroy the image that people have. So for an actor it's a role that is worth attacking with my whole being. Please watch the show.


kurogane said...

Oh yes. Amisuke's voicing of Horo is top-notch. To think that this was from the girl who played Tenma (a character I really hated).

I really love how she makes her oiran accent sounds so natural. I've never heard a genuine one though, so I can't judge it for real.

As for the part where she comments about the "loneliness" that Horo has... yes, she has truly managed to infuse that in to Horo.

Really, it's second best voice acting of the Winter season, with the first going to Kaori Nazuka.

hashihime said...

@kurogane -- Kamosan is great as Hiromi, but I think Ayahime is also great as Noe. With Amisuke, those are the top three this season -- in some order or other -- for me, so far. I've never heard oiran speech elsewhere, either. Don't watch enough historical dorama, I guess, lol.

TJ said...

Thanks, Hashihime. It was a treat to read.

I do like her as she is, but wouldn't mind it if she were a bit closer to Horo in personality and brains :)


hashihime said...

@tj -- Lol. I don't want to get anyone mad at me, but I have to say that in my experience, the best actors are often not the smartest or deepest people -- and yet they can simulate those qualities in the characters they play. Acting is a miraculous talent.