INTERVIEW: Seiichirouu Yamashita at Anime Expo 2023 Speaks About Being Shadow/Cid Kagenou and The Start of The Eminence in Shadow Season 2

At Anime Expo, Anime Trending was given the wonderful opportunity to interview Seiichirouu Yamashita for his role as the main protagonist, Cid Kagenou, also known as Shadow, in The Eminence in Shadow Season 2. The Eminence in Shadow is an isekai series where a high school boy, intent on becoming an anti-hero that operates in the shadows, finds himself the perfect opportunity to fulfill his dreams by dying and reincarnating in a new world. Telling a series of elaborate lies, he positions himself into his ideal anti-hero role – not knowing that every lie he tells is actually true in this new, magical world.

In anticipation of the second season airing this fall, Anime Trending is happy to bring you this interview and hope you will enjoy Seiichirouu Yamashita’s answers as much as we did.

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Seiichirouu Yamashita at Anime Expo Source: https://twitter.com/Shadowgarden_PR/status/1675537133178863619

First of all, thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to interview you. We are very, very excited. Our entire organization is actually a huge fan of the anime itself.

Seiichirou Yamashita: Thank you. Thank you so much.

So the first question we’ll have today is what’s the most enjoyable aspect of playing such an incredibly strong and lucky character?

So any strong opponent that Shadow has, he just goes into any fight with confidence and swagger, and it’s just so satisfying to act as Shadow. And what’s interesting is I never record any breath sounds. Usually, there’s like HAAAA or HRRRR for fight scenes and that sort of thing, but he doesn’t even do that. So I don’t do any of those voices because he’s just so confident.

And when I’m acting in the booth, oftentimes the enemy characters are played by all of these well-known voice actors in Japan who are like my seniors. They’re all grunting and making sounds and everything, and I just stand there silently, you know, ultimately confident. And so it’s kind of funny that I do nothing in those situations and also kind of odd that I do that. So it’s an interesting experience.

Well, on that note of Cid being so strong, do you think Cid has any notable flaws or weaknesses?

I think it’s interesting that the things that he says sort of turn the story in different directions. And that’s also what’s so interesting about this show, I think, and fun because it’s harder to predict.

I think he has this lack of responsibility when he speaks, and he has absolutely no interest in others. Literally no interest. And so that’s both his strength and his weakness.

It’s not just like a weakness per se, but even now, I can’t really apply my normal logic to the way that he thinks. So he’s kind of a character on his own, all on his own.

Cid is known for having many sides to himself. You can even see it as him having multiple personalities, yet he’s still the same person. How do you prepare for a character like Cid, who has many different ways to present himself?

This [anime] is really a comedy, and so there’s there are serious moments and there are really funny moments. But as a comedy, when I prepare, I really think about how to make Cid funny. And often, there’ll be moments where I think, “Okay, that was taking it way too far,” and [other production members will] be like, “Okay, that was great.”

It’s really all about the feeling of who he is and maintaining that momentum as a character and putting that energy out there. We use a lot of improv actually, which is a challenge, but also, I really just think about, “How can I make this as funny as it can be?” And then those ideas also become part of Cid. So Cid is this character that really is kind of limitless in that way. So, yeah that’s how those ideas get brought in. It’s always impressive to me.

Compared to the other roles you’ve had, what makes acting as Cid different?

When I think about any role any character, rather I think about how they are similar to me. Like, “Oh, I felt this emotion before,” or that sort of thing.

So that’s always interesting. But what’s interesting with Cid is that it’s like he’s almost inhuman. I find myself thinking, “What’s your deal?” Because he is just so out there. He’s attractive yet very puzzling. Usually, it’s about finding these commonalities, but in this case, it’s really just getting to know a very different, hard-to-relate-to person. So he’s very unique in that way, and I don’t think there will ever be another character like him.

What’s your favorite line of dialogue you’ve said as Cid? If you have one.

So after it aired, you know the “I am atomic” line became such a buzz. And so even when I would travel overseas, sometimes people would be like, “Aren’t you the atomic guy?” and stuff like that. It became kind of what we would call, I guess, a power word.

So, “I am atomic.” It’s really short. However, it leaves a lasting impression. I was doing all sorts of different versions of it, and there was a whisper version as well. So that line has definitely helped me in many situations.

Cid, as a whole, doesn’t change a lot in personality throughout season one. Are you expecting him to change in season two, and if so, in what way?

I think in season one, there’s nothing that really changed in terms of his charm and all of that. But there are small changes, I think, in his behavior, like he just does his thing, and he does what he wants, but he, as a result, starts to interact more with [other] people. You can kind of sense that he might have a little bit of gratitude or a little bit of guilt about something just from very subtle actions, and I think in season two, you’re going to see more of that, and you’re going to see that he’s a real person as well.

We look forward to that. The Eminence in Shadow has a large cast and is hinted to be growing larger in season two. Do you have any memories or stories you can share about working with them for the series?

As members of the Shadow Garden in season one, I think we all really learned what our roles were, and we really got it. And in season two, the acting really has powered up. In other words, there were many times when other actors would do things that made me laugh while I was acting, and that has increased in season two. So as Shadow, I have to be this really serious person. So in those situations, the acting of others almost made me laugh, or I had to really work hard to like, hold down the laughter, and that was happening a lot more than in season one. Like this –

[Yamashita covers his mouth, imitating how he would be holding back his laughter, then drops his hand, gets a serious look on his face, and instantly acts as Cid]

It’s like a switch, going from trying to hold back the laughter to Shadow. So you have that to look forward to.

You are currently nominated for best voice acting performance by a voice actor for the Anime Trending awards for your performance, as Cid/Shadow, how does it feel to be nominated for your performance as the character?

What! I wish I knew earlier. No one told me.

Has this been going on every year, the Anime Trending Awards?

It has.

Oh my god. How many people were nominated?

There will be 10 for voice actresses and 10 for voice actors.

This is my first time hearing of this, and I’m very surprised. I’m so happy, I’m overjoyed.

It will be decided at the end of the year through a large awards voting campaign. So you could win.

I would love for that to be a reality. 

You have a chance.

It is so touching to see how everyone was reacting in the world premiere earlier. Everybody really got the funny moments and everything. So it’s great to see that beyond borders, it’s been such a success and understood. It’s great that it’s the audiences that select [the winner]. 

You will be the first to know if you win.

Please interview me if I do.

We absolutely will.

Our last question is — any final words for the fans who are excited to see the return of the Eminence in Shadow season 2?

This is such a rare opportunity to speak here in the US, and it’s really all thanks to the fans. I’m honored and so grateful that there’s such a huge response. And in season 2, which is coming up, you can enjoy it even more if you rewatch season one. 

The video game, Master of Garden, also is a really fun game that gives you a glimpse into another side of the world of Cid and of Eminence in Shadow. I can’t say a lot about season two now, but I can say that it definitely will surprise you. I can’t wait for everyone to see it, and I’d love to hear what everyone thinks of it. So thank you so much for this time to interview. Thank you.

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The Eminence in Shadow Season 2 is currently airing on HIDIVE.

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