――How did you feel after first reading the script?
In the beginning, I scanned through my lines and the story to understand the Vivy universe, but I was shocked when I read some of the instructions in the script. I got worried about what would happen in Episode 6…so when we had a break during the recording, I asked Ms. Tanezaki, “Will I (Grace) have a happy ending?” and she was silent…
――Please describe your first impression of your character, Grace. What was it like actually playing this character?
When I saw the illustrations, I thought that she looked kind. In Episode 5, she appeared in the beginning (and at the end, though she didn't have any lines), but her words didn't show very much emotion, so I couldn't gauge her personality. When I saw her scenes with Dr. Saeki in Episode 6, I realized how affectionate she was…so it was very painful to see all the agony she had to go through.
―― Was there anything you were especially conscious of when you were voicing Grace, or were there any challenges?
I had to play Grace, Grace's replica, and Grace as the Mother Computer, so I had difficulty figuring out where to focus my emotions. I was thinking about whether I should keep all my character's emotions subdued, or whether I should let them show in the dialogue. I also couldn't stop thinking about what it could mean for an AI to really have a soul, so I was simulating all these different approaches in my head right until we started recording.
―― What were your thoughts on the character of Dr. Saeki? Did you exchange any ideas with Kensho Ono, who played Saeki?
Saeki is such a sincere person, which made his experiences all the more painful to watch. When I put myself in his shoes, I could relate to why he fell in love with Grace, and why he decided to stop her, so it made me wonder if there was any other way he could’ve been saved. The day before our recording session for Episode 6, Mr. Ono announced that he was getting married, so I was like “Oh my God!”
――Can you tell us about anything memorable that happened during the recording?
Due to the pandemic, in the booth there were curtains between Ms. Tanezaki, Mr. Ono, and myself. Mr. Fukuyama was in a separate booth and we recorded at the same time. But all I could hear was Matsumoto's voice, so it made me feel like I was really inside the world of Vivy while we were recording.
―― What is your impression of watching the show? Tell us what your favorite scenes were, and if you found any lines that were particularly memorable.
I loved the scene when Estella and Elizabeth were singing together. Estella sung in a bright and calm voice with Elizabeth singing by her side, while you could see the beauty of outer space. That scene was cruel and beautiful at the same time, and it was memorable because it made me think about the background of these two characters, as well as how foolish humans can be.
―― 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?
The unpredictable story, the beautiful music, and the beautifully drawn animation are all highlights for me. There are so many great things about this show, but the fact that it is so emotionally moving is the biggest draw. My emotions are such a mess after I watch the show every week.
―― What were your thoughts on the relationship of Grace, Elizabeth, and Ophelia, who are sister AIs? Are there any instances you can share of interactions you had with the other voice actors?
While I was watching the show, I thought that the sister AIs actually resemble the voice actors they are being played by. Yoko, who plays Estella, is like a big sister to me, and she always lifts me up with kind words when I'm having a hard time. Rina, who plays Ophelia, is like a little sister to me, and she's so cute and hardworking. I like to drink beer while watching TV shows about horse racing on my days off, so I'm probably the least similar to my character…
―― Finally, how about a message for our viewers?
I'm glued to the TV each week to watch the show, and each episode is so full of surprises and emotional twists and turns. I'm curious to know about Kakitani's goals, whether or not Toak will be eradicated, what will happen to Vivy and Matsumoto’s relationship, and how the world will change one hundred years later. I don't know anything about the ending, so there are so many things I want to know about. I'm looking forward to watching the show until the end while looking back on what happened in past episodes. I hope that everyone will have fun making their own observations about the show and supporting Vivy until the end!