We go interview seiyuu who catch the eye of our editors, seiyuu we have our eyes on, about their first jobs, up to their private time, and other things that we’ve noticed, and combine them with professionally-taken pictures for our popular project, the “Seiyuu Picture Book”.
For this 162nd chapter, we have Komatsu Shohei, who plays Idolmaster Side M’s Kizaki Ren, and DAYS’ Satou Hideaki, among other roles.
Komatsu-san, you became a seiyuu through your experience with stages; how did you start getting into plays?
Komatsu: As a member of the theatre club in high school, I joined a prefectural tournament in my hometown of Fukuoka, but I missed getting the grand prize, and that was when I thought I wanted to continue acting. As I was being handed the consolation prize, I thought I wanted to try for the top prize another time, so I went to the Kyushu tournament.
Why did you join the theatre club?
Komatsu: Somehow…my father’s a karate black belter, and I also did karate since I was in elementary – I’d strike at the sandbag we had in our garden – all that I’d done up to middle school graduation was related to martial arts, so I said that come high school, I’d like to try doing something I want to do. At first I was too shy to go onstage, so I’d been in charge of stage backgrounds. But, since there was so few male actors, I’d also done acting on the side, and it reached a point where I started thinking taking part in plays was fun.
So it’s because of you losing in that tournament that the current Komatsu-san is here.
Komatsu: During that time, it was then that I realized just how seriously I had come to take acting. But because I was in a high school that focused on getting its students into university, I had to stop taking part in club activities after my second year. For the sake of continuing acting, I tried out saying “I’ll drop out of school!” and running away from home (lol)
You ran away!?
Komatsu: My father was against my plans, so I took a night bus going to Tokyo, and up until I reached Kokura Station, I didn’t take any calls from my parents. But since I took a phone call from my sister, somehow or another my family managed to chase me to Kokura. When I saw my mother crying, of course I ended up thinking that I was horrible for making her cry. In the end they told me it was okay even if I didn’t go to college, as long as I finished high school, and I’d taken up part-time jobs in order to save up money so I could go to Tokyo.
Something straight out of a drama, wasn’t it. After all that, did your dad accept your choice?
Komatsu: Right now, they’re cheering me on. While I’m still far from getting the chance to be a lead actor, when they saw the live viewing at Fukuoka for the last Idolmaster Side M concert, he said something like “If that was me, I’d have done more. I’ll teach you how to kick.”
When I was still at my parents’ house, I’d taken up roles as an extra, but even then, if I didn’t take my morning prepwork seriously, my dad would get mad and I’d hear him say, “If you wanna do this, take it seriously!” I don’t think he’s given me his approval yet, but I think he at least recognizes that I am taking this seriously.
You’d been engrossed with the stage to such an extent – what do you think are its charms?
Komatsu: It’s probably because the stage is the only place where you can set yourself free of inhibitions, while still staying true to your real nature. Of course I’d caught the chuunibyou illness on my second year of middle school (lol) It came to the extent that my friends grew worried, and quickly stopped talking to me. I’d noticed that as I entered high school, so I kept to myself, didn’t talk much, stopped expressing myself.
So it was all thanks to your chuunibyou growing worse…!?
Komatsu: Well, it’s not just because of that (lol), I think that I just normally don’t bring my feelings to the surface. I won’t be able to make it onstage if I don’t push my comfort zone to the point of overdoing it, and isn’t that the fun of being onstage?
In the beginning you belonged to the group called HIROZ. What kind of stages did you do?
Komatsu: Since I’d thought of going onstage, from the start I looked for a place whose main points were “action” and “performances”, and as part of that special troupe I’d been assigned to Kagawa prefecture; for around two years, every day, from morning ’til night, we’d do shows in the amusement park. As the stuntmen in hero shows, the main MCs on cruise attractions, as gourmet reporters, and the like. At the time, I was praised by people who told me “Your voice lingers in our ears.” I accepted that evaluation, and thought that, if I were to use [my voice] as ammo, wouldn’t it be better if I honed and weaponized it, so I set my sight on being a seiyuu.
And after that, you applied for the Seiyuu Awards’ Newcomer Discovery Audition.
Komatsu: I was around 23 when I left Kagawa for Tokyo – if I’d gone into a vocational school then, the risk would’ve been too high. So I self-studied with my voice, and as I searched for a company, I got accepted into auditions. I got rejected the first time around, and the second time I got into an internet training school named “Koebu”, and thankfully, during that year I was able to garner the most amount of votes. I wonder if that was the effect of me being able to do action and doing a high kick right there and then (lol)
Starting 2016, you became the voice for Idolmaster Side M’s Kizaki Ren. A carnivorous character, isn’t he.
Komatsu: Within the series his dancing is good enough to be considered top-class, and he’s a martial artist. I thought it best to apply for a role that suited me. Until a little while ago I knew nothing about the seiyuu industry, so I thought that if I became a seiyuu, I wouldn’t have to show my face [to the audience]. If that was so, I thought that I’d never get to take advantage of my own strengths, such as doing action [stunts]. But because Idolmaster Side M is the kind of franchise where one could actually end up singing and dancing on stage, if I take advantage of my action experience, I think that I’d be able to do a performance that won’t lose to anyone else.
That isn’t just limited to Idolmaster Side M; even in anime and games, there are lots of action-packed scenes.
Komatsu: For example, the voice that comes out when you punch someone – I have confidence that I can play that kind of situation with a sense of presence.
Last summer, you got to take part in the release event for your CD. What kind of feelings did you have, standing on stage as an “idol” for the first time?
Komatsu: More than the passion from just going onstage, I felt the power of the franchise even more strongly. I’m getting to see this scene through the eyes of the character I portray. That’s why, in order to prevent both the world within the franchise and my character’s image from collapsing in on itself, I make a conscious effort to only show what is expected from me, even if I’d want to show more.
As part of the three-man unit THE Kogadou, are there any things you keep in mind?
Komatsu: Taiga Takeru’s seiyuu Terashima Junta-san and Enjoji Michiru’s seiyuu Hamano Daiki-san are two people who I’d been deeply entangled with since I first entered the seiyuu world. I’m really grateful to have such good senpai as them, and thanks to that I think the atmosphere within our unit has become a good one. I’ve learned a lot from them in terms of performing, so I think I’d like to give back to them through my specialties of action [stunts] and dancing, and I hope to grow with them as both a member of the unit and as a seiyuu.
It’s now your second year since becoming a seiyuu. Did you get to have more seiyuu friends?
Komatsu: Sometimes I’d get to meet some when we work for Side M together. Because there’s little time for intermingling, we’d just chat about how we’d do our best together and stuff. I started as a seiyuu pretty late, so I’m older than everyone else. In the beginning everyone talked to me using keigo, but that doesn’t feel equalizing, so I’d tell them “casual speech is fine, let’s get along better.” One time we all went out for drinks, the next time we went flower viewing (lol)
If you go to an amusement park, you might confuse everyone, after all (lol) Do you have any hobbies you do during your private time?
Komatsu: Since I don’t have any hobbies and am searching for one, I got invited by my peers to play tabletop board games together, and I’ve started to think they’re fun. And then there’s muscle training in order to keep the muscles I have now. Since I keep saying action is my specialty, I’d get embarrassed if my friends from back then would think I’ve let myself go (lol)
You do your muscle training at home?
Komatsu: No – recently, I’ve found a nice place where I could do muscle training. It’s a public park near my house, but people never go there, so at night I do sit-ups on the bench, and I practice backflips (lol)
What kinds of works do you want to appear in as a voice actor from now on?
Komatsu: The fun in being onstage is where you get to interact with people, so as long as it’s a place where I think I can move forward with my own emotions, I’d do any kind of work, whether it be in anime or dubbing. Since I usually record my lines for app games on my own, and I’ve yet to have many lines in DAYS, I hope I’d be able to take part in more roles I can apply myself to.
Any current challenges?
Komatsu: Getting my emotions across, facing nothing but a microphone, with no conversation partner or audience in sight. It’s a very basic thing, but it’s very difficult and I still struggle with it up to now. I’d like to be better at acting.
Lastly, please go ahead and give a message to our readers.
Komatsu: If you know of a seiyuu named Komatsu Shohei – it doesn’t matter how you knew me; if you’d remembered me, that’s good enough. I’m not going about this the in the usual manner – I do stunts, backflips, and all that – but if you think you’d be fine with someone unusual, then by all means, please see the franchises I’d gotten to be part of. And from now on, I’ll do my best to be someone you’d be able to like more.
- The incident he mentions in the first question (losing at the tournament) is the same one he mentions in his first interview for Nizista.
- Chuunibyou – the middle school second-year sickness; being an overly self-conscious teenager.
- Like I kept saying in the Nizista interviews, Shohei means “action” in the sense of “action stunts”, so keep that in mind!
- There are a lot – a LOT – of nuances that get lost in translation – he makes particularly deliberate word choices in some parts, but in some points the grammatical correctness wins out, and in some points the motive behind the sentence wins out. Like I keep saying, I can only promise up to “reasonable assurance” on this…
- Keigo – polite speech, used by younger kouhai on their elders.
- There is a picture of him playing what seems to be tabletop DnD with his Side M costars. He was the dragon.
- Thanks for reading! Please do not redistribute this translation anywhere without credit or permission!