SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show is best known for getting Japanese talent directly from Japan to Australia. As part of this year’s SMASH! event, Japanese voice actor ATSUSHI ABE was invited to SMASH! for his first Australian appearance. As expected, Atsushi’s appearance certainly did not disappoint.
For those who don’t know, Abe-san is best known for his role as Kamijou Touma in A Certain Magical Index, Kukai Soma in Shugo Chara, Moritaka Mashiro in Bakuman, Takashi Kosuda in B Gata H Kei, Koichi Sakakibara in Another, and Kokonotsu Shikada in Dagashi Kashi.
Although we only know Atsushi as Inojin Yamanaka from Boruto, we personally enjoyed this panel. Being the extremely humble voice actor he is, we managed to learn a great deal about his voice-acting work in a short period of time.
Since we love sharing animation goodness, check out random extracts from the panel below. Enjoy!
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Host: The Japanese manga and anime industry has a huge market overseas. Does the popularity of international Japanese pop-culture surprise you?
Atsushi: Yes, I am very surprised. It is all thanks to the fans supporting their favourite titles — I can feel everyone’s love for manga/anime in this room!
Host: What is your most interesting experience at these conventions?
Atsushi: I’ve noticed that cosplay is big overseas. The quality here at this convention is very high. You’re all beautiful.
Host: Did you have a dream that you wanted to pursue when you were young?
Atsushi: Voice actor… Dreams come true! [the audience went *Awwww*]
Host: Do you feel that you still have dreams you want to pursue?
Atsushi: I would like to go travelling and visit more people.
Host: As a child, you wanted to be a voice actor. When did you start learning the trade to become voice actor?
Atsushi: It was sometime in high school and I began training in drama classes.
Host: Can you share any funny or interesting experiences while working on Bakuman? Was it interesting to do an anime about drawing manga?
Atsushi: Bakuman is based on a Jump. Thanks to Bakuman title, I was able to visit the Editor’s office which was pretty interesting.
Host: Did it help you imagine what it would be like to create manga?
Atsushi: That kind of experience is precious to me and it helped me a lot. Just like today with me being here, I know it will help me in some way in the future.
Host: Bakuman shows an insight into the manga and anime industry — do you have any advice for those who want to join the industry?
Atsushi: I think the strength that you get from liking something will give you great power. Don’t hesitate to follow what you like.
Host: So a Certain Magical Index is based on the light novel series. Did you read the novels before working on the anime? And did you learn anything from the novels that helped you with this role?
Atsushi: Yes, I did read the novels beforehand. Usually if someone has a question, they usually come to me. [audience laughs] They call me the ‘Toaru Sensei’.
Host: So Season 2 aired in 2011 and Season 3 aired between 2017-2018, were there any challenges in voicing your character after six years?
Atsushi: If I think about it, from Season 1 to Season 3, when I did the voice dubbing, surprisingly, I was okay. Something that I found interesting was that one of the stars that worked on the show was originally 14 years old, and after 10 years, she was 24. She was like, “I used to watch your work and now we are working together now!”.
Host: Did your voice change at all during those ten years?
Atsushi: No change! [audience laughs]
Host: You must look after it!
Atsushi: [shakes head] [audience laughs]
Host: So what do you think about card games? Do you play them as a child?
Atsushi: I like card games, especially during high school. In terms of the Vanguard card games, I always play with my work colleagues in the studio.
Host: How does it feel to voice a popular card game character?
Atsushi: It makes me happy to be involved with such a popular series. Because of the series’ popularity, it makes me happy that it allows me to go to conventions like SMASH!.
Host: So we know that you like to play Vanguard yourself. Do you have a favourite deck?
Atsushi: There is a really cute mermaid deck that I like [laughs].
Host: What was it like working on Yowamushi Pedal?
Atsushi: It was fun. My colleagues and I actually went to bike shops to find the same bicycles that our characters were riding.
Host: How do you prepare yourself for certain scenes?
Atsushi: For me, rather than the skills that is required, I go with my emotions. I find that brings better results.
Host: Which emotion is the best for you? Happiness? Anger? Sadness?
Atsushi: When I play calm and steady, it is like I am playing myself.
Host: You’ve played so many characters but is there a particular type of character that you’ve had a lot of fun with?
Atsushi: In terms of what roles I’ve found interesting… is dog roles. I’m always finding ways on how to voice dogs. There was a time when I went into the studio, and I found out that it was going to be a female dog, and I’m like, “How am I supposed to differentiate this?”[audience laughs].
Host: Out of the many roles of your career, which role is your most favourite and why?
Atsushi: It is a difficult question as all characters are amazing. I’ve had to audition for these roles, and then I get selected for these roles. All these characters are precious to me. But I must say, Kamijou Touma is my most favourite because that was the first audition that I got chosen for.
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