OSHI NO KO’s Takeo Otsuka Talks About Voicing Aqua

©Aka Akasaka x Mengo Yokoyari/Shueisha, “OSHI NO KO” Partners

TV anime OSHI NO KO is at a turning point with Aqua finding a potential lead. In our continued weekly behind-the-scenes interview, this week will feature our second voice cast member. Takeo Otsuka, the voice of Aqua, talked with Anime Trending about his role and insights. 

Were you familiar with OSHI NO KO before you were asked to perform as Aqua?

Takeo Otsuka: Yes. I think it was soon after the manga series started. I came across one of those “read chapter 1 for free” manga booklets. One of those booklets happened to be chapter 1 for OSHI NO KO. That was my first contact with the series. That aroused my interest even before the auditions and anime adaptation announcement. I had been reading the manga volumes.


What was your first impression when you saw the script for the anime series?

It was already a surprise that the first episode is 90 minutes long, as that’s about the length of a typical anime movie. But that conveyed just how much the staff was serious about this series.

When I read the script, it was just like the original manga. But they added stage production that would further draw out the charm of the manga. So, I really felt from reading the script that this really will be a great series.


For OSHI NO KO, there was an audition to decide which voice actor would get the role. How did you prepare for the audition?

I braced myself a bit because this was an audition for the anime. After all, I knew about the series beforehand, so I thought, “Oh, it’s finally going to become an anime.” As someone who does acting that has an audition process, it’s really depressing when you’re not chosen for a series you really like.

So, I really felt like “Oh, that time has come.” (laughs) A part of me really felt like that. But in the end, I had been reading the OSHI NO KO manga, so I went from there with my own version of Aqua.

Well, there was Gorou before the reincarnation and then Aqua’s childhood years. The 90 minutes of the first anime episode is the foundation that leads to the Aqua that I play. I felt that I had to really pick up on all of that even from the audition phase. 

©Aka Akasaka x Mengo Yokoyari/Shueisha, “OSHI NO KO” Partners

Were you initially aiming to be Aqua?

In the very first stage of the audition, I was asked to play Gorou, young Aqua, and the grown-up Aqua that I now play. I took the audition as if all three were one role. When I was called back, they asked me to try out for the grown-up Aqua. And from there, I concentrated on just him.


You said you read the manga a lot of times. How many times did you read the manga in auditioning the role?

To be honest, to the point where the lines requested in the audition were scenes I read over and over already. So, when I received the lines to read for the interview, the scenes were already in my head, so I thought, “Oh, it’s this scene.”


Towards the end of Episode 1, Ruby calls Aqua “oniichan” as in like the older brother, and kind of showing that strong relationship throughout the childhood. How is it showing these kinds of time-skip in your acting, especially with how Aqua has taken this role of being the older, protective brother?

In the end of the first episode, both Ruby and Aqua had things that happened to them. And the paths they went down really got split up, so to say. But the path Ruby wants to go down is one that Aqua really doesn’t want her to go down. He understands how she feels and understands how alluring it is.

They didn’t know each other’s previous lives and were complete strangers, so they had a slightly distorted relationship. But over the long years they’ve spent together, I’m sure a sibling bond has formed between them. And Gorou, who resides within Aqua, was an adult to begin with. So in the aspect of taking care of others, it likely was a natural progression for him to do so more than Ruby.

As they spent their days together as equals, if one had to be the leader it would likely be Aqua, so to say. I think a relationship of that nature was gradually built up over time. 

©Aka Akasaka x Mengo Yokoyari/Shueisha, “OSHI NO KO” Partners

What does a typical voice acting session look like for OSHI NO KO?

Though the series puts Aqua’s revenge as one of the main pillars, it has lighthearted banter and lots of amusing, funny scenes. I think everyone was having a lot of fun acting out those scenes, and in the end, this show has a lot of dialogue.

And that’s not just Aqua, but others including Kana especially have a lot of lines. Megumi Han-san was really worried about it. But from my point of view, it’s like, “Oh, it’s simply amazing.” Watching Han-san makes me feel like she’s the only one that can pull off Kana Arima.

And everyone, not just the cast but all the staff as well, really love this title. So I feel like everyone is looking in the same direction as they work on this series. The original manga authors really do drop by when they can as well, so the recording sessions are very reassuring.


How was the collaboration and voice acting session like with Yurie Igoma-san, the voice of Ruby?

You already interviewed her, right?

Yes, we have.

I think you were able to feel it, but she’s always so energetic and powerful. I really think whenever Igoma-san is at a recording session, it really brightens up the atmosphere. This is my first time acting together with her, but when I first heard her voice, it just sank right into my heart. I felt that we would be naturally able to act out Aqua and Ruby as great siblings. 


©Aka Akasaka x Mengo Yokoyari/Shueisha, “OSHI NO KO” Partners

Were you able to get the chance to talk to the manga authors for any advice on how Aqua should sound or act?

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Akasaka-sensei as well as Mengo Yokoyari-sensei. But there wasn’t anything, in particular, they told me they wanted me to do. Thankfully enough, they had said something along the lines of “It’s really perfect, so don’t worry about anything and keep acting.”

I can say this for the previous recordings as well, but it’s not often that I get much of any direction. It actually makes me feel a bit uneasy. But I take that as a sign to keep believing that my acting is fitting in with what they want, so I keep acting with confidence.


Were there any lines that stuck out with you when you were reading through the scripts?

For Aqua, it’s episode 2 in the anime, but when he’s talking to Ruby about idols. There’s that scene where he says, “You know, I don’t mind if you dream of being an idol, but don’t have illusions about being an idol.”

That was something Director Gotanda said in episode 1. And so, after all those years, Aqua says it again. Well, after that incident, the emotional weight from Aqua saying the same thing is quite something. It’s not that it was special where I gave it special treatment when acting, but during the recording session, I acted out the line thinking it was very heavy emotionally.

©Aka Akasaka x Mengo Yokoyari/Shueisha, “OSHI NO KO” Partners

Any final comments to both fans in Japan and international fans?

When I’m recording for this series, I felt that it will definitely be an interesting show. And I’m sure those that watched episode 1 are already aware, but an amazing staff and cast have gathered to put everything into creating an amazing series.

Those that have already read the manga can enjoy the series, and in case you haven’t read the manga yet, as you keep watching the OSHI NO KO anime series, it makes me feel really jealous that you can enjoy the show without knowing what will happen.

So please keep watching. I guarantee that this will be an interesting series to watch. I hope you will continue to enjoy OSHI NO KO.

Special thanks to Takeo Otsuka and KADOKAWA for the opportunity. OSHI NO KO is now streaming on HiDive and other platforms. Yen Press is publishing the manga in English.

For additional information on OSHI NO KO, check out the official EN Twitter account @oshinoko_global.

Interview Interpreter: Adele San

Translator: Rika Chen 

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