"Style of the PRINCE" Guest No. 30 - Tamaru Atsushi
interview with Yuki's voice actor
Partial translation of the interview found here: Girls-Style
This translation is only of the questions about Gakuen Heaven 2. There is a lot more to the interview, but... :p
tamaru atsushi interview (gh2 portion)
The fear and pressure felt playing the lead character in Gakuen Heaven 2.
GS = Girls-Style interviewer
TA = Tamaru Atsushi
GS: Since Girls-Style is a site about games for women, please tell us about the games you've been in. Recently, Gakuen Heaven 2: Double Scramble, a new game in an old series, was released. Gakuen Heaven (see note 5) is a very popular game that everyone in the BL game world knows, but did you know about it?
TA: Well, before recording, I only knew the name... and I'd never played it...
♥ note 5 - Gakuen Heaven 2
A BL game released on PC in July 2014. PSP/Vita versions are also scheduled for release. It is a completely new game taking place seven years after “Gakuen Heaven,” a PC game that was a big hit when it was released in 2002. The game begins when the main character, Asahina Yuki, enters a school for the chosen elite and on his first day of school he is suddenly given the “mark of the Ace,” the armband worn by the student council president.
GS: I see! I would have been surprised if you had played it. (lol)
TA: Right. (lol) And so, when it was discussed with me, I accepted it with a thank you, without hesitation, and I attended the recordings without being nervous. But instead, now, after it has been released, knowing that it's the sequel to an incredibly famous work, I'm nervous. Is it ok for my character to be like that... and such. (bitter laugh)
GS: Is this your first time performing in a BL work?
TA: As for BL, I've been a minor character in drama CDs, but I haven't been in very many, and I have no experience with relationship scenes. Even “Gakuen Heaven 2” doesn't have such suggestive scenes.
GS: Back to BL, what impression did you have of it. Did you know about it?
TA: When I was in training school, I wondered what BL was, so a female classmate let me hear a drama CD she had. At first, I was perplexed by the scenes with men together, but I thought “wait a minute?” and when I listened to it over again, I realized the actors are really good at performing.
GS: By the way, who were the actors?
TA: It was Sakurai Takahiro (see note 6). I admired the incredible skill in his work and listened to it seriously. My senior is truly amazing.
♥ note 6 - Sakurai Takahiro (note: Kazuki's voice actor)
Employed by INTENTION. Some of his works are Cyborg 009, the Kyou Kara Maoh! series, Code Geass, Nise no Chigiri, and many others.
GS: Before, in other interviews, we've been told by veteran actors that when creating BL CDs, the lines for the sex scenes are not written, it's all ad-libbed by the actors.
TA: Wow, that's incredible! Even if I had a proper script, I couldn't match my breathing perfectly.... If there was a mistake, it would be hard to redo a scene like that.
GS: In BL, which requires such incredible skill, you play the main character, Asahina Yuki. What do you think of of Asahina-kun? He's the so-called cheerful redhead character.
TA: It's a type I've never played before until now. I like new challenges and anyway, he's naive, honest, and very cheerful. He's not very complicated, and a very easy to understand character, I think.
GS: The Gakuen Heaven series is a story where the main character falls in love with all the other characters, and your partner actors are Terashima Takuma (Kuya), Toriumi Kosuke (Takato), Kishio Daisuke (Joker), Morikubo Showtaro (Sonoda), Hatano Wataru (Chiba), Nojima Kenji (Arata), Eguchi Takuya (Tomo), Okamoto Nobuhiko (Yagami).... They're all very distinguished!
TA: That's right, they're all very distinguished! And there were a lot of words. For most of the recording, I went to the studio about three times a week, and it took three months to finish recording.
GS: Three times a week for three months!?
TA: Yes. The number of times I recorded was about... thirty times if I remember correctly. Since the lines increased as the game was in development, I'm not sure what the final total was, but before recording I was told it was about 24,000 words. It's the first time that I've dealt with a single character that has had so many lines, so whatever work I get from now on, I think I won't be very surprised. (lol)
GS: And Asahina-kun is in the position of being mostly uke, isn't he?
TA: For the most part, but he's also seme a few times. Towards Okamoto-san who plays Yagami Reon, he's seme. Even though Yagami's the one who seems scary. (lol)
GS: Naturally, that's a charming contradiction. (lol) Where did you have the most trouble?
TA: Since it took so long to record, I had to pay the most attention to not having the character change. On recording days, I'd do a test at the beginning, but after all, depending on the day, the voice would get higher, and it would end up changing. Keeping it uniform was hard. And despite having similar developments, the partner changed according to the route, so it was hard knowing how to react.
GS: In games, recording is done solo, so all you can do is imagine your partner actor's reaction, right?
TA: And the recording started with me, so I hadn't heard the voices of the other characters. I had the chance to hear the performances of everyone else during and I thought “oh, so this is how the conversation goes!” and it changed my awareness. To a certain extent, judging from the performances and character personalities of the cast up to now, I imagined “will it be a performance like this?”, but since there was no actual dialogue yet, I didn't want to solidify my imagining too much.
GS: It must be hard performing in a game with no partner.
TA: It is. With Okamoto-san, when I met him at another location, we talked about how Gakuen Heaven 2 is hard because it has so many words. (bitter laugh) After, I met Fukuyama Jun, who played the main character in the previous game, on location for Jewel Pet and he encouraged me saying 'do your best,' and he told me about his time during the previous game. Fukuyama-san's character, Ito Keita, appears as a teacher seven years later, so I recommend it for fans of the previous game!
GS: And it's a very popular work with a history.
TA: That's why I'm even more nervous. It's a series that influenced a generation, so it's a very high hurdle. And being a main character who's the successor to Fukuyama-san, honestly, I worry if I'll disappoint all the fans.
GS: I'd like you to give your thoughts to all the readers of the column who will play the game.
TA: ...I'm scared. (lol) But since this is a work I tackled with all my might for three months, I'll be very happy if you enjoy playing.