Playstation interview with Madoka Yonezawa and Hitomi Nabatame

[Dengeki PlayStation] A story that grows more painful as it goes: an interview with the voice actors of White Album 2’s two main heroines

Hello, and good evening. This is Negitoron from Dengeki PlayStation. Following our interview with Aquaplus president Naoya Shimokawa, and our joint interview with scenario writer Fumiaki Maruto and key artist Takeshi Nakamura, we now interview Madoka Yonezawa-san and Hitomi Nabatame-san, who voice the two heroines appearing in Introductory Chapter!

After performing in a work of this volume, what stories will they recount from the auditioning and recording process? What are their thoughts on the characters and their costars? Let us give you a glimpse of the passion of the voice actors’ camp, not to be outdone by the Aquaplus staff members.

  • Characters that came into view during auditions

—Your two roles were decided by audition. Do you have any anecdotes to share about that?

Madoka Yonezawa-san: I auditioned for Setsuna, and the audition included a song. The first thing I was told by the director was to use my own voice, and I performed her not as a “moe”-type character but as a girl who could exist in reality. Actually, I tried playing Kazusa as well, but they had me stop in the middle of that one, and I thought, well, this probably isn’t Kazusa. (laughs)

Hitomi Nabatame-san: In my case, I joined in the middle of the auditions. I wasn’t planning to participate in it at first, but then a member of the staff at the place where I was doing some other work said, “Why don’t you try auditioning for WA2?” and that gave me my opportunity.

That’s how I wound up auditioning for Kazusa, but before the audition, I didn’t understand all that much about Kazusa’s personality or feelings. Then I read the audition manuscript, and even though it was for a simple conversation, I could see her depth showing and hiding itself throughout. I assumed that after I’d read the entire scenario, I would understand why she was talking about something like that, but I still wasn’t seeing it. On the other hand, that very fact meant that I could interpret her however I liked while I was playing her, which was a lot of fun.

Actually, I was suddenly asked whether I might try out for Setsuna as well, and there was a song for that one, so I have a vivid memory of hurriedly listening to the song and singing it. But for some reason, when I play Setsuna, she just turns into Yuma. (*1) (laughs)

Also, this one wasn’t a tape audition, but rather a studio audition, in which we performed in front of the staff, and I’m glad about that. If it were a tape audition, then if the character I was picturing differed from that the staff were picturing, that would probably be the end of it. But in the studio, you can keep what the other side has told you in mind while you’re performing. I love that kind of exchange, and that also made my WA2 audition a lot of fun.

One other thing—I personally have been voice acting for a long time, and that tends to lead to a sort of solidification in parts played, but they wanted natural acting for WA2, and starting at the audition stage, I found myself with a very strong feeling that I wanted to spend a long time with this character.

*1: Yuma Tonami, the character portrayed by Nabatame-san in ToHeart 2. An unconventional heroine who challenges the protagonist, Takaaki, at every opportunity, but always loses and then disappears with a parting threat.

—You were given illustrations to look at when you tackled your auditions. What were your first impressions of Setsuna and Kazusa?

Yonezawa: I thought Setsuna seemed like a very pure girl who was raised in an upright way.  Of course, she is actually quite strong, but I couldn’t tell that from the picture.

Nabatame: Seeing the two of them next to each other, I got a “hero and villain” sort of impression. Kazusa has this very cool look, and her awkwardness is pretty obvious, but when you put her right next to Setsuna, she really looks like the bad guy. (laughs) It had been explained to me that this was a double-heroine game, but I thought, “Doesn’t Kazusa seem kind of pitiful?”

—When you were playing the parts, did you find any points where you could sympathize?

Yonezawa: I can sympathize with how Setsuna’s family is number one in her life. She’s always thinking of them, her father treasures her even though he’s strict, her mother gently wraps her up in love, her little brother is a bit annoying but still cares about his big sister… I also love my family, and we always celebrate anniversaries and things together, so I can relate to her on that point.

—Yonezawa-san, I’ve heard that you enjoy singing, and often do “solitary karaoke.”

Yonezawa: Yes, I love to sing, so when I heard that Setsuna’s audition involved a song, I threw myself into practicing it. As far as solitary karaoke goes, I can do it for three hours straight with no problem.

Nabatame: I’m awkward, just like Kazusa. (laughs)

Yonezawa: What? Really? (laughs)

Nabatame: I feel like we have similar ways of thinking that keep us from being completely open, too. While I was playing her, I found myself looking at her with a sort of familial affection, like, “You can’t just keep talking like that all the time.”

  • Feelings about the protagonist, Haruki

—The main character, Haruki, becomes a point of focus for the two girls. What do you think are the points wherein his charm lies?

Nabatame: He always tells them exactly what they want to hear, with extraordinary timing. I think that part of him holds a big attraction.

Yonezawa: And it’s not like he’s calculating the perfect timing to speak up, either. He just does it naturally, which is pretty amazing.

Nabatame: That must be what makes him popular.

Yonezawa: Though, it also makes him that much easier to hate. (laughs)

Nabatame: Right, right. (laughs) Haruki is the kind of character that you can’t praise openly.

Yonezawa: I know that that’s a flaw, but I find myself drawn to him anyway. His lack of ulterior motives and his overly helpful nature probably make it easy for girls to open their hearts to him.

Nabatame: What would you do if you met a man like Haruki in real life?

Yonezawa: I would probably be weak to a type like Haruki. I might be freaking out as the distance gradually closed between us, but then, before I knew it, we’d be getting along well. (laughs)

Nabatame: I can see that. Haruki isn’t the kind who’s pushy when it comes to romance, but he is pushy with his way of getting close to someone, so you might suddenly find a place for him to belong with you. In that sense, he might be the type you would fall for first.

Yonezawa: But he seems like he isn’t actually thinking of you at all. Since Setsuna is the school idol, I feel like everyone has always looked at her with ulterior motives. That’s why she fell for Haruki, because there had never been anyone like him before. Come to think of it, Nabatame-san, it seems like lately you’ve been bearing more hatred for the one playing Haruki than for Haruki himself. (laughs)

Nabatame: Yes, yes. “Damn you, Takahiro Mizushima (*2)!” (laughs)

Yonezawa: But Takahiro-san just says Haruki-kun’s lines. He’s not really Haruki.

Nabatame: Here’s the thing. When Mizushima-san talked to me, he would always tell me that, out of the heroines, he liked Kazusa. But the other day, while we were eating with the staff, I heard him say “I think Setsuna is better than Kazusa” from the other side of the room. After telling me so many times that he liked Kazusa… Ever since then, I’ve been bitter at Mizushima-san. (laughs)

Yonezawa: That’s awful! Maybe he’s been playing the part so much that Haruki-kun has possessed him. (laughs)

*2: The voice actor who portrays the main character of the game, Haruki Kitahara. His first name is read “Takahiro,” but his fellow voice actors often call him “Daichuu.” Known for roles such as Rolo from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.

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