INTERVIEW: Assault Lily with Haruki Iwata (Yoshimura Thi Mai)

Anime Trending had the opportunity to interview voice actress Haruki Iwata at CharaExpo USA 2019 last December.  Haruki commented on her role in the upcoming Assault Lily anime and its associated stage play. 

Many fans, particularly English-speaking fans, may not know much about the Assault Lily franchise. Can you tell us a little about what to expect from it, and what to be excited for?

Haruki Iwata: First of all, Assault Lily is about cute girls wielding very unique weapons. They’re battling huge enemies (literally called “HUGE”) who have invaded the Earth. The girls are supposed to be saving the world from these monsters, and they battle it out with them.

They’re not just cute. The story is very interesting because you get to see the girls go through the struggles of trying to deal with a lot of different things other than the monsters, and you get to see them growing up throughout the series.

While these anime and stage play projects are new, Assault Lily has existed in the form of dolls and novels for a few years already. Were you very familiar with the franchise when you joined?

I knew of the Assault Lily stage plays that already existed. I was not involved, but I had seen it before, and I was very honored to be part of the project as a Lily myself. Of course there were a lot of doll fans who knew about Assault Lily already, so I want to do it justice for those fans and give it my all to bring this story to them.

The Assault Lily stage play, League of Gardens, is premiering next month. Can you tell us a little about your character, Yoshimura・Thi・Mai?

My character, Mai, is definitely a very positive character compared to a lot of the team.  The Hitotsuyanagi Tai, or “the legion” as we call it. We support each other very much, and my character pulls the other team members through trials and tribulations. Another character, Yuyu, and I are both second-years in the legion. We both support the team together, and it’s going to be interesting to see how that kind of relationship works. Within the Hitotsuyanagi legion, there are a lot of team members who have had very traumatic experiences, and come from a lot of different pasts that haunt them. I’m hoping that my character will be able to bring some light and positivity to those characters.

For the stage play, one thing that’s very interesting is that the anime Voice Actresses will be performing on stage as the same characters. As the cast both in the anime and on the stage, we are able to wield these unique weapons, and that’s going to be very interesting on the stage especially. It’s going to be a very powerful performance with us putting our lives on the line, as the story is pretty heavy. We portray these powerful yet beautiful characters.  I think that’s going to be something very exciting for a lot of the fans.

Speaking of both the anime and the stage play having the same cast, there are nine characters revealed so far. How would you like to see this cast grow as a group as the franchise develops?

Yes, that’s correct. There’s nine of us all together that make the team, the legion. I like to think of it as nine making one, so all nine of us make one team. It’s very important that we cooperate during the battles. That is a key aspect: teamwork is definitely something that’s important to all of us. 

This is within the story, of course, but if you think about it through the stage and through the anime, we also evolve as cast members together.

Fans may already be familiar with other stage plays you’ve been a part of. How are you approaching this stage differently from when you first started acting?

Hmm, that’s difficult. I have done a lot of stage plays, and with each character I grew as an actress. With Assault Lily as well, I really want to keep growing together with the character. I am looking forward to what kinds of evolutions I will go through.

The stage is always something that’s created with other people.  It’s a group effort. There are some first-timers joining the Assault Lily cast, and as an experienced stage actress I look forward to being able to support these newcomers into the group. At the same time, I feel that they can also support me, and that new experience is going to be very exciting for me as well. I want the project to keep growing with all of us.

Is there anything else you would like to tell prospective fans of Assault Lily before the anime and the stage play debut?

This project has just started,, but I really hope that fans will watch the moments together with us as the project grows. I’m really excited to see how that goes, and I look forward to everybody seeing how these Lilies will grow as characters and come to love them along the way. I really hope that everybody can have a lot of fun from the multiple angles we are taking with this project: from dolls, to the anime series, to the stage play, and to the game.

Lastly, how do you feel after bringing Assault Lily to CharaExpo, and already seeing a positive response when the project is still so new?

I’m really honored to bring that project information to overseas fans. I was really happy to see a lot of people wanting to know more about Assault Lily today at the stage show! I’m really honored to be able to bring the title overseas to an event like this, and to see that fans are supporting it already. I hope that everybody will have a lot of fun with the different projects that we’re doing for Assault Lily.

Special thanks to Bushiroad for the interview opportunity.

The stage play, Assault Lily: League of Gardens debuted in Japan in January 2020. The anime, Assault Lily BOUQUET, animated by Studio SHAFT, is set to air in the summer of 2020.

Interview conducted with Gamepress

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