Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Anime Expo 2010 Surprise! Toradora! Q & A With Horie & Kitamura!


Pardon the suddenness. This post was initially not on any plan of any kind, but upon getting the tip that two of the principal roles of a favorite recent show of mine were to actually be a part of a Saturday morning panel, there simply was no way I could resist the opportunity. Especially when one of these performers has been a personal favorite of mine for well over a decade now.

That's right, not only was the Toradora! panel hosted by anime distribution babes, NIS America going to feature a cool preview of a surprise close to my own heart, but to have two of the show's core triumvirate of stars in attendance! The thought of not being able to catch seiyuu superstar, Yui Horie at a panel a day before broke my heart, so you better believe I listened when informed that she would be at the Toradora! panel alongside co-star, Eri Kitamura. For those unfaimilar yet with the series & characters, I highly recommend catching this series as soon as possible because for my money, this is one of the few new releases that screams owning. NIS's Premium Edition sets for the series are second to none in packaging and extras. The series itself is a brilliant take on the classic high school coming of age story, armed with some of the best characterization the medium has to offer today. And in the roles of loopy-hyper crush Minori Kushieda & the at-times nebulous beauty queen Ami Kawashima, both Horie and Kitamura aquitted themselves as true troopers and open souls.

With the show's producer, Takahiro Yamanaka in tow, the duo took part in a Q & A session featuring questions that were entered on a sheet of paper that was at the NIS America booth in the exhibit hall over the previous two days. With questions ranging from the typical "What made you want to be a voice actor?" to some erm..interesting ones "Which character would you have like to have played in the show if not the one you took?", the festivities were great fun, and made most interesting because I suddenly realized that...despite the fact that photography and video was strictly prohibited in the large Concourse Hall(which was near to full upon our estimation- we were three rows from the actors), they didn't say the same for audio recorders!

So without any futher delay, here's part one of my audio (with notation for your assistance- I know my recorder isn't the best. Didn't I say this was wasn't planned?)

Let the service begin! The recording begins as Kitamura is asked about, what else? What inspired her to become a voice actress..

(please forgive our annoying voices in this edit. Over the course of the Q & A, I realize this and begin toning myself down. My fanboyishness rears its ugly head from time to time. Working on it!)

[00:35 - 01:05] Horie-san explains her original inspiration on the form of a blue-haired Lovely Angel! (upon us reciprocating her mention of the show, she then proceeded to applaud with her hands out to Kiyo and I. Classic. We seemed to be among the few who responded to her enthisuasm for the show as she mentioned it. So that was a big fan/artist moment for us.)

[01:35 - 04:26] Kitamura & Horie are asked to provide advice to those interested in becoming a VA.(the Emcee accidentally begins to ask another question before everyone catches him, allowing Horie to add her two cents)

"I can do it, I can do it, I can do it!"

[05:35 - 07:39 ] The stars are asked if they ever wished to play another character in Toradora! And if so who? And could they do an impersonation for the audience? The answer is pretty noisy and hilarious for all in the house...Horie's is especially noteworthy.(WARNING: Squawking ahead.)

[08:07 - 10:30] Discussing the biggest challenges of playing Kawashima & Kushieda respectively. It is revealed here that much like TV here, it pays to cast against type with voice actors. The switch between both actresses and their temperaments works beautifully in this show. Truly liberating for both of them for sure.

Just taking a break to say that I especially loved Horie-san's translator. His demeanor never wavered, and his ability to handle even the more frenetic responses of our stars was fantastic.

Now onto the last half!

[00:00 - 00:20] Horie-san's translator conveys her liberated feeling at playing such a hyper, carefree character. (seriously, this character almost steals the show. And only doesn't because of such great writing and performances all around.)

[00:42 - 03:03] Asked about what is perhaps the most fun part of working on Toradora! Again, this plays on the fact that both ladies are playing characters that allow the two to let loose in ways that previous jobs had not. Kitamura in reality seems to be the more hyper type, as Horie-san seems more collected. Either way, great listening.

[04:08 - 05:15] Okay, this one dates me. But the pair are asked if there were seiyuu they still would love to work with in the future. And if so who? Their answers made me smile ear to ear.

[06:03 - 06:29] Now we're totally going Toradora! fanchild here. Two two are asked to chat with each other in character. (The poor translators.)

[07:20 - 08:10] Saying, Thank You!

[08:50 - END] Last question: Saying, "I love Anime Expo" in character voice. Anime Expo Dai suki!

Of course, no cheesy recording or commentary could match the feeling that was filling the room that morning. My only wish is to have been able to get actual photos. An amazing little function, and a sweet way to usher in a new name in quality for anime in the US. Here's to more in the future.

For more coverage with Horie-san, please check out Anime Diet for a live-blog of her panel the day before. And also for more coverage of Anime Expo 2010!

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