Anime Expo this year was definitely one to remember with over 95,000 attendees once again, and the convention upping their game with Anisong World Matsuri, and numerous high profile international guests.
This year, I had the pleasure of interviewing another great guest of PonyCan USA, Miss Chika Anzai. From her first role voicing an older sister who can change into a dog to solve problems in Animal Detective Kiruminzuu, to Chaika the Coffin Princess, Mary in Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, and more recently the talented trumpet player Reina Kousaka in the hit series, Sound! Euphonium, her presence is definitely becoming known with several big roles to her name, especially within just the past few years. She can be heard as Asuha Chigusa in the recent Qualidea Code and Touko Ichinose in Taboo Tattoo, and will reprise her role this fall as the voice of Reina once again in Season 2 of Sound! Euphonium.
This interview was done at Anime Expo on July 2, 2016.
SP: Thank you, Miss Anzai, for taking the time to sit down for this interview with me.
CA: Thank you.
SP: My first question is about your visit here to North America. I understand that you were recently a guest at Anime North in Canada. Anime Expo, in this case, is your first visit to the US if I’m not mistaken. How has the experience been so far with meeting the fans?
CA: I’m really having a lot of fun here. It’s almost like I’m in a movie being here.
SP: A question I asked of your fellow actor last year, I wanted to go ahead and ask you as well. Tell us a little bit about your first voice acting role and do you have a little story about it?
CA: So my first role was Nagisa Mikogami in Animal Detective Kiruminzuu. I was really happy being able to play this role in this series. My character has the ability to transform into a dog in order to solve problems, and it was fun to be able to act as a dog. For part of the role, I bought some books about different types of dogs to help with the character. I feel that being a voice actress in this case really allowed me to bring out that aspect of the character, which otherwise I would not have been able to do.
SP: My next question is about one of Pony Canyon’s titles, Sound! Euphonium. At the beginning of the series, we meet both Reina and Kumiko after they hear the results of their group’s performance. Reina clearly is very upset about the results of the concert that they had just done. In your opinion, do you feel that Reina feels some sort of resentment towards Kumiko before they meet again or is it more just disappointment about their performance?
CA: So when it came to the concert, I feel that it wasn’t necessarily that she was upset about the concert itself, but more about everyone else. She was very serious about it whereas everyone else, maybe they weren’t as much as she was. She wasn’t actually angry at Kumiko, though her words may have set off some of her feelings of frustration. She may have been thinking to herself that she felt she could’ve done more.
SP: This next question is again about Sound! Euphonium. Is there a specific scene or episode that stands out in your opinion or is very important to you?
CA: Hmm… I would have to say the scene in the mountain where she and Reina are talking with each other.
SP: What do you feel is important about that scene?
CA: Reina in the series we notice is not really focusing on communicating with other people, as she wants to be seen as a talented and dedicated trumpet player, which is what she’s focusing on in her life. But in that particular scene, we see her as someone who is talking as a normal girl and being more personal. In this case, being more personal with Kumiko.
SP: My next question is about the series, Chaika the Coffin Princess, in which you play the title character. Chaika when we first meet her, we notice that she’s someone who has a certain mission that she’s focused on, but at the same time, not completely aware of the world around her. How do you feel that Chaika changes and develops as a character throughout the series in your own words?
CA: So throughout the series, as she’s traveling around with Toru and Akari, at first she is as you mentioned very focused on her purpose, her mission and helping others as we see through the 1st Season of the series. In the 2nd Season, her focus begins to shift towards protecting others until the end, when she decides that she wants to protect someone who is important to her.
SP: Two more questions: As I understand, you are voicing a new character in the upcoming series, Qualidea Code. Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about your character, Asuha Chigusa?
CA: (laughs) So the story of Qualidea Code is about an after war setting, but there are still the enemies in existence called the “Unknown” that are attacking the 3 major cities, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. All of them have gathered together in order to fight the “Unknown”. My character you could say is a typical high school girl in Japan. She comes from the city of Chiba, but is also the top person in charge of that city. Next to her, we have her older brother, to whom she is very harsh towards, but understands how important he is. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the characters will develop throughout the course of the series.
SP: Final question: do you have a message or anything you’d like to tell the fans here in the US since you’ve had a chance to meet some of them here at Anime Expo?
CA: First of all, congratulations to Anime Expo on their 25th anniversary. It’s great seeing anime content coming from overseas to here and seeing people enjoy it and being happy about it. I hope that I can continue to be a part of that source of enjoyment for fans.
Please keep enjoying anime and I hope that I’ll get to see you all again soon!
SP: Miss Anzai, thank you so much to taking the time to do the interview today. It was a pleasure to meet you in person. I hope that you enjoy Anime Expo and that you’ll have a chance to come back to another convention here in the US in the future.
CA: Thank you very much!
Chika Anzai can be heard in the recent Qualidea Code and Taboo Tattoo, both available streaming on Crunchyroll. Chaika the Coffin Princess is available on Blu-Ray and DVD by Sentai Filmworks. Sound! Euphonium Season 1 is available on Blu-Ray and DVD by PonyCan USA.