Thursday, January 31, 2008

Koshimizu Ami on Playing Horo in Spice & Wolf

In an interview on mainichi.jp, 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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mnemosyne -- Sex, Violence, and a Great Cast

The science fiction thriller Mnemosyne begins airing this Sunday, 3 February. An interview with cast members is studded with words like "violent," "erotic," "mysterious," and "suspense." I may not be a big fan of violence, but when it is as stylish as it seems to be in the trailer, I'll be there for the first episode, at least.

And the cast list is to die for: the series stars (l-r) Ishida Akira, Tanaka Rie, Kugimiya Rie, Noto Mamiko, and Ohara Sayaka. It is directed by Ueda Shigeru (far right), who directed Tales of Eternia and has done episodes of such shows as Fullmetal Alchemist, Fafner, Simoun, Blood+, Seirei no Moribito, and Serial Experiments Lain. It was written by Ohnogi Hiroshi, who was lead writer on Noein and Aquarion and wrote many episodes of Eureka Seven, RahXephon, Toward the Terra, and Skull Man.

A piece published on Animate TV Web describes the show as a high-quality science fiction animation that is erotic and violent. Having seen the trailer, I'd say sadistic yuri might be another description to add.

The setting is Shinjuku in the 1990s, where there are serial killings, assassinations, terrorism with living weapons, illegal experimentation, immortals, angels and gods, woven together in an atmosphere of eros and violence.

In a departure that the article says is attracting attention in the industry, the show will be broadcast in six one-hour episodes, one a month. That will give it the same total running time as a normal 12-13 episode series.

In the Animate interview, Noto Mamiko says that the characters are full-scale humans. Kugimiya Rie says that episode one was difficult to do, that she and Noto-san spent the breaks in recording discussing how to play things. Tanaka Rie says that her character may be the most sadistic she has ever seen, and that she really got into playing her. Ohara Sayaka says the action scenes are amazing, with speed and moves she hadn't seen before. Ishida Akira says that the way people can die and then become immortal angels was one of the most striking things to him.

The entire cast said how much they admired the look of the show, which is animated by Xebec (Fafner, Busou Renkin) and Genco (Zero no Tsukaima, Ikkitousen).

Rin (Noto Mamiko) is a detective trying to solve the murders and strange events that have been occurring. Mimi (Kugimiya Rie) is her assistant. Laura (Ohara Sayaka) is a hunter out to get Rin. Sayara (Tanaka Rie) is a sadistic scientist doing illegal experiments at her drug lab.

In ancient Greek mythology, Mnemosyne was a titaness, the personification of memory. By the god Zeus, she became the mother of the muses, who inspired artists. And Mnemosyne was also the name of river in the underworld. Most people drank from the River Lethe, which enabled them to forget their past lives. Initiates of a mystery religion drank from Mnemosyne, to remember.

The show is the AT-X TV channel's tenth anniversary production.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hirano Aya In New Lupin III OVA

Hirano Aya will play Yukiko in a new Lupin III OVA, Green vs. Red, which is due out in April.

This is the 40th anniversary production for the classic franchise, which includes numerous manga, TV anime, feature films, direct-to-video releases, television specials, music CDs, video games, and a musical, as well as a Hollywood movie, slated to come out in 2009.

This spring, Aya will also be in a Fist of the North Star OVA, as well as the series Zettai Karen Children.

She is currently hosting Moegaku 5, a language-learning program for kids, five days a week on TV. Starting February 1, she will co-host a weekly variety TV show about movies, called Cinema Renaissance -- Aaya City 「キネマルネッサンス あ~や城」 on Midtown TV on the web TV channel GyaO.

She is in the game Appreach Majyan (associated with Final Approach 2) of which a preview is now available for free download from Princess Soft. She is billed fifth in the cast, after Katou Emiri, Sendai Eri, Toyoguchi Megumi, and Hisakawa Aya.

She does the voice of a cat (or maybe cats) in the film Honjitsu no Nekojijyo, which comes out on DVD 22 February.

She plays Ilona in the animated part of the film Renaissance, which is now on sale in DVD.

She plays the fairy Emily in a Hello Kitty anime now on TV in Japan on Kitty's Paradise: Apple Forest - Parallel Town.

And she is host or co-host of three different current radio shows: Animelo Mix, Say Good Luck, and the radio show for the game Ramen Angel Pretty Menma, in which she is Menma.

She will appear in a Galaxy Angelune live show on 27 February. And she will have her own mini-lives for last fall's CD singles on march 1 in Osaka and March 15 in Tokyo.

And there are more versions of Suzumiya Haruhi games coming out. There was a wild rumor that she was giving up the character Haruhi, but her presence in the new games puts the lie to that. Rumors are that the second Haruhi anime series will start either this fall or next spring.

All these bits and pieces add up to a lot of work, but it is not straight anime work. Cast lists for spring anime are just appearing, so she may be in more than one show.

Her idol work continues apace, however. She is in Guam right now for some kind of photo-shoot.

The photos on her blog have suddenly become larger. She says that she has a new cellphone, and by checking the posted photos with the program Exif Reader, I can say that it is an NTT DoCoMo N905i, which features a 5mpx camera with face detection.

I found out about Exif Reader from the 2channel Aaya thread, where someone used it to show that the photos of a Christmas party she posted on Christmas Day were actually shot December 21. The poster and others came to the conclusion, from other blog posts, that she spent Christmas alone, eating Italian food. Lol. What a world is 2channel.