You may know him as a Class-B hero who is often looked down by his superiors. But really, he is probably the strongest hero in the Hero Association. Best known for defeating his villains with one punch, he is none other than Saitama himself. And luckily for us, CtrlGeekPod recently sat down with voice actor Makoto Furukawa at Madman Anime Festival to talk about his role as Saitama, and the One-Punch Man series. Check out our interview below!
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CGP: Welcome to Madfest, Furukawa-san! One-Punch Man was one of the biggest shows of 2015. What are your thoughts on the series?
Furukawa: Since being involved with the series back in 2015, it has been amazing to see how One-Punch Man has become a global phenomenon with fans from across the world. It is evident that fans are having fun with the series, and because of this, this enables us to be part of a ‘dream’ in creating a larger community. I am absolutely honoured to be part of the series. To be cheered on and getting feedback from everyone … it has been a great experience.
CGP: Why do you think fans are so fascinated by a series like One-Punch Man?
Furukawa: One of the main things about One-Punch Man is that the series is very easy to understand. When people watch it, they quickly become engrossed in the series. It’s a very simple concept: the hero always defeat evil.
We’ve got a main character, Saitama, who has unlimited powers and is able to beat all his enemies with one punch. I think that concept alone creates some sort of impact on viewers. Another thing about One-Punch Man is that there are many different characters in the series besides Saitama. Not only is there interaction between the characters in the battles, but we’re also talking about how every character is very lively and different in their own ways. And of course, the battle scenes are always a huge spectacle for the audience.
CGP: Saitama often goes from goofy mode to being a cool hero. How do you prepare for this role?
Furukawa: With Saitama’s character, he is pretty much black and white. That’s what makes it entertaining for his fans. Saitama has a goofy mode — except I wouldn’t call it ‘goofy’ mode… I call it ‘relaxed’ mode. And then Saitama has a cool mode that makes him a hero.
I don’t really prepare for the role in a certain way, however, I made the decision to do two concise personalities. When I do Saitama’s ‘relaxed’ mode, I think to myself, “What am I normally like when I relax?” “How would I react in this battle scene if I’m relaxed?” So when Saitama hits that ‘goofy’ mode, I immediately implement that ‘relax’ mode for Saitama.
CGP: One-Punch Man has a lot of intense action scenes. Was it challenging to do the voice-acting for many of these scenes?
Furukawa: Personally, the battle scenes are not that difficult for me. However, the battle scenes would have been difficult work for the people who actually drew the scenes, and for those involved in creating these battle scenes.
In regards to Saitama, he doesn’t have much of a reaction in these battle scenes. In normal action scenes, you would usually hear the hero or villain growl when they’re doing a punch or a kick. Saitama doesn’t do this. When the battle scenes are playing on the screen in front of me, I usually stare blank into the screen and concentrate on how little energy I can put into these scenes. After all, you need to do it in a way that doesn’t show Saitama is punching hard in that scene.
Unfortunately, for the many times that I want to scream in various battle scenes, I simply can’t because we don’t want to show the audience Saitama’s limits as a hero. So you can imagine when I first voiced Saitama, I was slightly frustrated by this instruction, if anything, it was a rather difficult concept to adjust to.
CGP: What was it like to work with Kaito Ishikawa (voice actor of Genos)? Are you two anything like your characters?
Furukawa: Yes, we are very similar to our characters. Kaito is a type of voice actor who likes to plan things in advance, and think deeply about the role that he is about to do. He might come into the office one day and go, “So in this scene, Genos would be doing this and that, so therefore I should act like this”. Just by how he acts, Ishikawa is theoretical with the way he acts so he is very similar to Genos’s character.
On the other hand, I am definitely not the theoretical type. When I receive the script, I don’t break it down theoretically. I try to feel the phrase and act the lines accordingly. As a character, Saitama is rather instinctive as he goes with the flow. This makes the whole process of acting Saitama quite easy.
CGP: If you could be a superhero for a day — what would be your nickname, and what kind of powers would you have?
Furukawa: I’d call myself … Warp Man! I’d like to have the ability to go through anything such as walls.
CGP: Thank you Furukawa-san for this interview. It has been great pleasure talking to you.
Furukawa: Thank you very much!
Special thanks to Madman Entertainment for arranging this interview with voice actor Makoto Furukawa!