Masumoto Takuya interview (second half) “It’d make me happy to grow old with the live-action actor I dub for.”
This is our interview with Masumoto Takuya-san, who is part of the currently-airing TV anime TRICKSTER (Katsuta Masaharu), as well as Idolm@ster Side M (Shingen Seiji), HappinessCharge Pretty Cure! (Saiark), and is also active in the dubbing scene in [foreign movies like] Pride (Mark). In this second part, we will talk about works that gave him opportunities, what he aims for as a voice actor, and more private matters.
The words “I want to sing a character song” which I said as a joke are becoming reality.
Going from the training school to the path of a stageplay actor, Masumoto-san said his seiyuu career started from when he joined Ken Pro’s national seiyuu audition. Out of all his works, what was the one that left the most impression?
Amongst the various roles you’ve portrayed, is there any one production that stirred up something within yourself?
Masumoto Takuya (for short, Masumoto): I think it was the time when I tried my best to also come up with a young-sounding voice for my role in Magi as Doron. Seeing a role with a name made me go “there it is!!” but I wasn’t able to respond well to the acoustics director’s requests…and I felt that I couldn’t pass that if I went on just as how I always was. Specifically, I’d felt boxed in by the visuals. Doron had his eyes hidden by his bangs and had jagged teeth; he seemed like he was written as a villain, so I played him with a rowdy feel to it. But it seems that I didn’t get it right, no matter how many times we did a retake. Although I have my original tone of voice, I realized that my believing that that was enough when it comes to productions was no good.
That’s what everyone says, isn’t it.
Masumoto: (Even though the character looked gloomy,) He was surprisingly ordinary, and if you look at him through the production you’d see that there was a good balance to him. Of course it all boils down to interactions between people – if I just went off on my own, then I think it would’ve been no good.
After going through such experiences, would you say your biggest role is, of course, Shingen Seiji from Idolm@ster Side M?
Masumoto: That’s right. The first audition I won was Shingen Seiji’s. I’d failed lead role auditions, and I’ve been chosen to voice for other characters instead, but it was my first time winning over a role.
Once you’d gotten a role to yourself, did it change anything about your point of view or consciousness?
Masumoto: Right now, I feel the hardships of embodying someone who everyone imagines. I’d also gotten to do radio work, and there are many opportunities for me to think about how to portray the feel of my character. I’d never portrayed a character to such a level of immersion, so, once more, I’d felt that portraying a main role was amazing.
You talked about radio, but recently, seiyuu activities have been diversifying. For example, how much did you ever think about the possibilities of singing and the like?
Masumoto: I didn’t think about that at all. While this may be saying too much, two years ago, the agency asked me “what are your goals for this year?” and I jokingly replied “I want to sing a character song.” And then I won the role of Shingen Seiji (lol) At the time I said that, I was honestly just playing to the crowd, but at the time I’d actually had no actual feelings (towards singing). But, now that I’ve been given the honor of being into singing activities like this, it’s been really fun. I know that it’s difficult to get opportunities like this, so I just think that I’ll have fun with them.
There are many people who want to sing from the start, so I think having people like Masumoto-san around [who don’t particularly want to sing] are interesting.
Masumoto: Since I was a kid, I’d tended to come up with reasons for things after doing them a lot. “It became interesting the more I tried it out, so I’m going this way.” From the start I’d never had visions of what I “wanted to be”; the things I “try out for now” have led me this far (lol)
Regarding any special points in productions – are there things you always keep in mind?
Masumoto: If it’s regarding dubbing, you have to “feel how the actor on the other side breathes.” It’s related to how you get words in and how your conversational partner replies; your momentum is limited because the actor [onscreen] is doing his own thing. Rather than carrying out lines normally, I try to say them in a higher tone, because as I work I’m conscious of how they breathe. And as I mentioned earlier, on the other hand, since anime has no such limitations (compared to dubbing), it’s much harder to imagine how [the character] breathes, so I think it’s something I have to work at from now on.
So it depends on whether you’re going into dubbing or anime, doesn’t it.
Masumoto: That’s right. On the other hand there are people who have much more anime roles, and I’d seen that it seems to be that they think dubbing is harder, because there are limitations in how they act [that aren’t there when they voice-act for anime]. But, of course it’s hard to talk about points to consider when working (wry smile) I just have my opinions on things depending on whether I like them or not, so honestly, I can just say “do it as you like.”
Depending on how someone hears that, it may seem like bad advice, but somehow I think that’s the truth.
Masumoto: In dubbing there are certain limitations you have to keep in mind, so how I work is just right for that. Anime has too much flexibility and it makes me uneasy.
As you gradually keep on doing dubbing, would you want to be told “if it’s this actor it has to be Masumoto Takuya [dubbing him]” by the senpai you admire someday?
Masumoto: I guess that’s right. I’d be happy if I get that so-called “official [dubber] role”, and I think it’d make me happy to grow old with the live-action actor I dub for.
And then a scene when that [foreign] live-action actor would come to Japan, and you’d meet the person you’ve been dubbing over for many years, and them telling you “I’m glad it was you” would be good, wouldn’t it.
Masumoto: I think that’s what I really aim for, as a voice actor.
“Kinoko” and “Takenoko” just keep fighting.
Finally, we got to hear about some private things too, like how he normally spends his days off and what his hobbies are. Although he’d already talked about liking Java sparrows, the names of his Java sparrows are surprising…
Please tell us about your hobbies, and how you usually spend your days off.
Masumoto: Because I like eating, I go to eat things that I normally can’t make at home by myself. I especially like eating ramen, so on days off I go to this ramen shop that’s far from the train station, by bicycle.
What ramen shop do you like?
Masumoto: [The one I like] is a family business. But it’s not just limited to days off – since I go to studios in various places, I also look for any shops nearby.
Normally, do you go out to eat with other seiyuu?
Masumoto: When we’re [working] together, I’d go with the two from the same Idolm@ster Side M unit as me (Kumagai Kentaro and Hama Kento).
Aside from going out to eat, your Twitter profile lists that you “love Java sparrows,” doesn’t it.
Masumoto: I have two of them. The boy is “Takenoko-chan” and the girl is “Kinoko-chan” (lol) But, those two get along ridiculously horribly, and they just keep on fighting. They don’t get along at all…
It’s because you gave them names that’d lead to fights (lol)
Masumoto: They really do fight over the littlest things (lol) They grab each other by the beaks and swing around. Because of that, I had to buy two birdcages, and my narrow room became narrower and narrower. So, on my days off, I also look after the Java sparrows (lol)
Lastly, please tell us what you look forward to in the future.
Masumoto: All this time, I’ve gotten this far by not refusing anything that came my way. From here on out, I’ll keep working hard – especially concerning anime, which I want to get more roles in. I’d like to become active in various other activities like singing and stuff, so I’ll be in your care.
Masumoto-san is the kind of person best characterized by his calm, cool voice. As he himself said, his tone of voice is low, not at all like the voice of the usual hot-blooded hero-type protagonist role in productions. However, personally, I’d like to hear him in the role of a cool, baritone-voiced person who supports the protagonist, or in the role of narration, where I’d get to listen to his calm narrative tone.
Also, his emotions towards dubbing are strong – what left an impression with me was the “brand power” which only dubbing voice actors seem to have, and it amazed me. While experiencing various things along the way, someday I’d like to see him at the stage of his life when people recognize him as “Masumoto-san, who [exclusively] dubs over this foreign actor.”
All things considered, like I thought when I was listening to his stories about Java sparrows…names really are important!
Article: Chiba Kenichi
Photographer: Takenaka Tomoya
Hair/Makeup: Nagaki Mizuho
- The “I feel the hardships of embodying someone who everyone imagines” bit is most probably referring to the part that Seiji was already an in-game character for a while before Massan was cast as his voice actor.
- The same question he says he was asked “two years ago” is the one listed in Voice Newtype’s “New Male Seiyuu Catalogue 2015” – the last question was “what are your goals this 2015?” and Massan’s answer was “I want to be part of a production where I could sing a character song!”
- Fun fact: Seiji IS getting a solo character song, as part of the Original Pieces 06 album.
- The names of Massan’s Java sparrows are Kinoko (mushroom) and Takenoko (bamboo shoot), which…normally don’t seem hostile, but I remembered two specific brands of chocolate-covered biscuits: Kinoko no Yama (Mushroom Mountain) and Takenoko no Sato (Bamboo Shoot Village). Both produced by Meiji, and apparently favoring one over the other is a Thing in Japanese culture – discourse between the two ‘factions’ is such that they begin to badmouth the other despite them practically being the exact same thing…probably not the best pair of names to give to a couple of birds who might have probably been intended to be each other’s mate.
- Please do no redistribute this translation anywhere without credit and permission.
- Thanks for reading!