Digimon Adventure LAST EVOLUTION Kizuna movie pamphlet interviews — Mayu Matsuoka

Digimon Adventure LAST EVOLUTION Kizuna‘s theatrical screening had a corresponding informational pamphlet sold on-site, which contained informational and art assets and a large number of cast and staff interviews.

(Mayu Matsuoka | Natsuki Hanae and Chika Sakamoto | Other voice actor messages | Creator group talk | Scriptwriter Akatsuki Yamatoya | BGM composer Harumi Fuuki | Music artists Ayumi Miyazaki and AiM | Producer Yousuke Kinoshita)

This post is a translation of the included interview with Mayu Matsuoka, voice actress for Menoa Bellucci.

Profile: Actress. Born on June 16, 1995. From Tokyo. Attracted attention as an Oha Girl on TV Tokyo’s Ohast, and is active in a wide range of genres, such as movies and variety TV shows. Her major roles include Aki Shibata in Shoplifters, Aya Eiden in Listen to the Universe, Sonoko Imamura in One Night, and Akane in Birthday Wonderland.

–Please tell us about your feelings when it was decided that you would be in this movie.
Matsuoka: I got a call from my manager, and the moment I heard “well, the Digimon series is…”, this shocked and excited scream of “gyaaaaaaah!” came out of my mouth. I enjoyed watching Digimon from kindergarten to elementary school. And so, unbelievably, the day had come when I was going to be in Digimon Adventure! The day when I would be participating in it! When I heard that, I was full of so many truly happy feelings.

–You watched Digimon Adventure as it was airing, so did you have a favorite character or an episode that was particularly memorable to you?
Matsuoka: I fell in love with Yamato-kun! He’s such a nice boy. Back then, when I was in kindergarten, there was this boy that I thought was really dreamy, but I was in love with both Yamato-kun and that boy at the same time (laughs). Whenever Yamato did something major during an episode, my feelings for Yamato-kun would flare up, but then when that boy at kindergarten would do nice things for me I’d think, “Huh? He’s even better than Yamato-kun…” It was like my first experience of having my heart wavering (laughs). In this movie, Yamato-kun’s become an adult, and his voice has gotten so smooth, so my heart kept pounding during the recording. Also, back then, I really wanted to be a girl like Sora-chan, so for this movie, we got to see how Sora-chan was doing as an adult, and I was really happy.

–Please tell us what your impressions were when you first read the script.
Matsuoka: I worried about whether I should be given such an important role, but when I took it I came to understand “Menoa”‘s characater, and resolved to challenge the role with all of my body and soul. Menoa is very energetic and cheerful, and the audience perks up by seeing her, but she actually has a very sad past, and in the second half, her actual feelings become more clear. She’s a lady with mysterious aspects to her, so I felt that I need to preserve the importance of the little things. Also, the director’s feelings were overflowing out of the script, and he had very clear directions of “please do it this way” written in it. From there, I was able to consult with the director while recording, and it really helped me.
Menoa carries the feelings of the absurdity and the frustration around the things you lose when you grow up from a child to an adult, and the pain of not being able to hold onto them, and I felt how those were thoughts common to everyone. I wasn’t able to become a Chosen Child, and I’ve never been able to get anywhere near having a Digimon partner, but I was certain of how near of an existence a Digimon partner must be. Menoa brought a huge sense of reality into myself, and I thought of her as being like the mouthpiece for her own feelings.

–Was there a line that left a particularly deep impression on you?
Matsuoka: When Menoa gets backed into a corner and starts repeating “why, why?”, you can see that universal feeling within her, that it’s wonderful to keep having the “heart of a child”, and yet you feel that it’s so painful to live. Menoa feels the same way, and you might feel the same way even during your daily life, and what you might think would be a good thing for others may not actually be, and instead you’ll hurt people and be hurt in return. In particular, during the scene where Menoa talks about her true feelings, it felt like she was explaining even my own, and I played that part trying out different ways of doing it.

–When you were watching the original Digimon Adventure as it aired, please tell us about anything you used it to connect to how you “played” your role now.
Matsuoka: During a climax point for the TV series, Angewomon’s hair got pulled and she started getting swung around, and at the time, it was super shocking for me. She started shrieking “gyaaaaaah!” in a really painful voice, and I, as a child, was going “uwah!” in shock. I’ve been watching all sorts of anime since then, but I think Digimon Adventure was the first one to shock me that much. I have deep respect for Digimon Adventure, a series that, in all sense of the story and production, didn’t hold back when it came to shocking children. So when we got to the second part, I was also thinking of the kids that would be watching, focused on those parts where “it’s supposed to sound painful here” so that I could get that across, and didn’t hold back.

–Now that you’ve done another voice acting role1, please tell us what it has in common with live-action acting, and what you do for each.
Matsuoka: When I did my first job as a voice actress, I was constantly consulting with Kouichi Yamadera-san2. I appeared together with Yamadera-san when I was an Oha Girl on the TV progam Ohast3, and I’ve always had respect for him ever since then. Whenever I was doing voice acting work, things like “what would Yama-chan do here?” and “what would Yama-chan think here?” He’s like a teacher to me, to the point that once we’d finished recording for this movie, I immediately sent him a message.
I used to think that voice acting and live-action acting were two very different jobs, but Yamadera-san told me, “to ‘play something’ is all tied to the same root. The means of output might be different, but they’re all ‘playing’ something.” So no matter what I do voice work for, I think of it like “please value the importance of your role.” I do this in the same way I value the importance of my live-action roles, and now, I’ve come to understand it’s like a message of “please understand this person within the animation.”

Translator's notes
  1. Matsuoka is primarily known for her work in live-action acting, so her role as Menoa is one of her very few (as of this writing) voice acting roles. []
  2. Kouichi Yamadera = A prominent actor, voice actor, and singer. Matsuoka is probably referring to Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel, where she and Yamadera appeared as Kimia and Alva respectively. []
  3. Ohast (おはスタ) = A TV Tokyo long-running children’s TV show, its name being short for “ohayou studio” (“Good Morning Studio”). Regular members of the program, who shuffle by day of the week, include “Oha Girls”, 12-15-year-old girls whose lineup have changed over the years of the program’s airing. Matsuoka served as an Oha Girl from 2008 to 2010, during which time Yamadera was an MC for the show under the name “Yama-chan”. As a point of trivia, since 2016, Natsuki Hanae (the voice actor for Taichi in this movie) himself has served as an MC for the show, under the name “Hana-chan”. []

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *