――How did you feel after first reading the script?
When I first read the script, I didn't know the details of Episodes 1 and 2 yet, so I had fun deciphering and imagining the story. I could really feel the love that the writers and staff poured into creating Vivy and Matsumoto, so it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
――Please describe your first impression of your character, Estella. What was it like actually playing this character?
Beth criticizes Estella for being an “honor student” and says that she's spoiled, which I think is true. When somebody asks Estella a question, she always gives them a textbook answer, so in that sense she's kind of like an honor student. I believe that a truly kind person is someone whose actions and words are in the best interests of others.
―― Was there anything you were especially conscious of when you were voicing Estella, or were there any challenges?
Since I was playing an AI, I put a lot of thought into whether or not to make my breaths audible, or how loud the breaths should be, and how to express amazement, sighs, or crying. If an AI was to have a soul, I don't think it would reside in the heart, but I have no idea where it could be exactly… In the flashback scene where she speaks with the owner, the owner is very kind to her, so I purposely incorporated more humanity into my acting.
――Tell us what you liked about the character you played, and what you could relate to.
When Beth says to Estella, “If we can't cry, let's at least smile,” Estella holds back her tears and smiles. That facial expression to me is the essence of Estella… It was more than just being fond of my character, I felt that I cared for her and wanted to give her a hug.
―― What were your thoughts on the character of Elizabeth? Did you exchange any ideas with Yumi Uchiyama, who played Elizabeth?
Elizabeth and Estella are sisters, but they are like twins with two halves of the same soul. When they were being experimented on, Estella had only heard Elizabeth’s voice, but when they meet for the first time in Episode 4, they are able to recognize each other instantly, which I think transcends the fact that they are AIs. The first task they have to do together is made possible because they both understand how to operate the control system of the space hotel. So they are two individuals working as a unit. For Estella, no one can take the place of Beth and vice versa. When I spoke with Yumi Uchiyama, we were like, “What's the meaning behind the line, ‘I'll turn you into a calculator!’” (Laughs)
――Can you tell us about anything memorable that happened during the recording?
The series is like an omnibus of short stories, so I don’t know anything about the stories other than Episodes 3 and 4. As soon as the series started airing, I started watching as a viewer and fan, and I'm always excited to find out what is going to happen in the next episode. When I meet the other actors on radio shows, they give me hints about the other episodes, so I've been having a lot of fun thinking and imagining where the story is going to go. This show has been making me think every day about what it means to be human.
―― What is your impression from watching the show? Tell us what your favorite scenes were, and if you found any lines that were particularly memorable.
I spoke about this on the radio and elsewhere, but I think this show is all about the physical interactions among AI, as well as between humans and AI. In Episode 4, Vivy headbutts Beth, which restores Beth's old memories. Normally, the act of placing one’s forehead on another's is to show love, like when a mother does it to her child to show affection. There’s also the scene when Beth and Estella hold hands for the first time and meet their tragic fate… When these characters come into contact with each other physically, there is something important being shared that can't be communicated through words.
―― What should we keep an eye on in Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song-, and what are the highlights we can look forward to in the upcoming episodes?
I'm wondering how much history will change after Vivy meets Estella, Grace, and Ophelia at each of the Singularity Points… I'm afraid I can only give you my personal opinion after watching up to Episode 7, but I'm wondering what truth Vivy will discover in the end, and what it will all mean? I suspect that there will be a new discovery regarding Vivy and Matsumoto's relationship. The series is chock-full of highlights, so if there are any that stand out, I want people to tell me about them! I wonder what the viewers feel about the show?
―― Finally, how about a message for our viewers?
In life, we experience being part of a family, getting married, and we witness birth and death. Whether you're human or an AI, you can't live alone in this world. In relationships, love can transform into hate, or there might be someone that tries to control the relationship. That's where distortions start to occur, and someone you love may end up feeling hurt. But we still can't stop interacting with each other… What a dilemma! Some people might say that life is suffering, while others may say that life is beautiful, and it's okay for everyone to have a different opinion. I'm hoping that I can witness, along with the viewers, how Vivy will live her life as an AI and what she will discover.