The long-awaited new Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam THE WITCH FROM MERCURY. Suletta Mercury (Kana Ichinose) is the main character in this anime, piloting the Gundam Aerial. This anime is set in a time when many companies have expanded into space and established a huge economic zone. The story begins when Suletta is admitted to the pilot department of the Astiacia High and Vocational Academy from the remote land of Mercury. In the second part, we interview Ichinose, who plays Suletta, about what she does to pursue her role and how she approaches her work.
The relationship between Amuro and Captain Ramba Ral was wonderful!
-What was your impression of the Gundam series up to now?
Actually, I only started watching the Gundam series properly after I was asked to be involved in this work. Until then, I had the image that “Gundam” was only for boys, but when I started watching it, I found that it was a work that made me think very deeply about battles, with women also riding in cool mobile suits. Even when they are enemies, there is romance in Gundam. For example, the scene in Mobile Suit Gundam where Amuro and Captain Ramba Ral meet in a bar and exchange words was wonderful. Because they would have been enemies on the battlefield, I thought that if they had been friends under different circumstances, they might have built a very good relationship, and it made me feel sad.
-That’s for sure….
Until now, I didn’t have a chance to know the contents of Gundam in depth, but when I actually watched it, I got emotionally involved because the focus was on the enemy as well, and it was frustrating. They have to fight because of orders from the top, but they also feel a mission against it, and I thought a lot about the conflicts of each and the meaning of fighting.
-In Mobile Suit Gundam, you have voice actors who are currently known as legends in the world of voice acting, don’t you? What did you think of their performances?
It is presumptuous of me to speak of the older generation, but I thought they were really great. I would say that their performances were full of flavor and humanity. As time goes by, the direction of the animation and the way of acting gradually changed, but I really liked it because it had a flavor that was unique to that time.
Miorine’s presence comes through smoothly in Lynn’s voice
-Can you tell us about your relationship with your classmate Miorine Rembran, with whom you build a special relationship with Suletta?
I feel that Miorine has a stronger power balance between the two of them. Suletta is always angry with Miorine (laugh). But although Suletta is scared of being angry, she never backs down. She is a girl who can say I don’t like it to Miorine even if she is afraid to say so. The balance between the two of them is surprisingly good, and I think it’s an interesting combination. And importantly, Miorine’s father is an enemy of Suletta’s.
If she finds out about this fact, I also wonder what will happen to their relationship if she finds out about that fact.
-What aspect of Lynn’s voice acting as Miorine attracted you to her?
This work was the first time I exchanged lines with Lynn, and when I first heard her lines, I was surprised at how natural she plays the role. It was natural, but I also felt as if Miorine’s own words were coming through, which made it easy for both Suletta and me to play the role, and I was inspired by our work together.
-I am looking forward to seeing how the chemical reaction between the two of us will be sublimated in the work.
Thank you, all the other co-stars are also very natural in their acting. I think fans will be able to feel the realism of the characters and a sense of closeness with them.
-What do you enjoy about working as a voice actor, including the recording of this work?
Right now, I enjoy and can’t wait to play Suletta. The more I get to know her, the more I love her, and I am always curious to see how the story continues each time. Every day, I want to go to the recording as soon as possible, even if it is only for a second. As a voice actor, I enjoy acting, and I find it very rewarding.
-While it is fun, what are some of the challenges you face?
Well…while it is fun, it is also hard work every day (laugh). I’m clumsy, so it takes me a long time to prepare, and twice as long as others to check the script and my voice. Sometimes I have to cut down on sleep. It’s a lot of work, but I don’t think that is bad, and when I feel like I’m going to be like that, I just do my best (laugh).
Cherish the play as a real thing.
-Listening to you, I see that you have a voice actor in yourself, a director, and also a viewpoint as one of the fans.
Really! That’s the first time I’ve been told that (laugh). But on the other hand, there is a bad side to over-checking. The more I check my voice too much, the more my realistic sense of my voice fades away, and there is a possibility that my voice performance will become scheduled harmony.
In the first place, a play is a real thing, isn’t it? That’s why I’ve recently been trying to be conscious of checking my voice moderately. By settling somewhere between a thorough check and not too much checking, I feel that I can create a sense of unity by allowing myself the luxury of being able to listen carefully to my co-star’s performance. It’s like the play is never interrupted. It is very enjoyable to have such a moment when I am acting.
It depends on the emotional inflection of the character in the next scene I am going to perform, but I try to find the right balance and stop practicing when I feel that if I practice my voice too much, the performance will probably be the same in the actual performance.
I always experience weightlessness in my imagination (laugh).
-The Witch from Mercury is an anime set in outer space. Is there anything Ms Ichinose would like to do in space?
I would like to meet aliens! I am of the school of thought that aliens exist, so I would like to find a UFO when I go to space (laugh). I would also like to experience pure weightlessness.
I think I would understand more about the environment in which Suletta and her group live if I experience weightlessness. I think it would be fun to experience how they drink juice in space, how they brush their teeth, and so on.
-Isn’t there a part of you that plays Suletta in Gundam and simulates the universe?
In my image, yes. I always experience weightlessness in my imagination, always riding the Aeriel (Gundam) (laugh).
-(laugh). What kind of anime work do you think The Witch of Mercury will be for you now?
Gundam is a very big work and I am under a lot of pressure to play the main character, of course, but THE WITCH FROM MERCURY is really interesting anyway. I hope that as many people as possible who watch it will find it interesting, and I also hope that I will grow as a person by playing Suletta.
She is a character that to me looks like something I have played before, but I have never played before, so I play her every day with an awareness of how I can make her more like Suletta and express the interest of the story. I hope that through the story, I can make it more appealing and deliver it to you all.
Thank you for watching. See you soon.