She voices Akaii Meganee, Kaname, Hye In, Sonata before she goes russian femme fatale, Stan(Juné’s penguin) and the notKaname girl at the beginning of RL episode 44. Lastly she’s also the narrator in AD, the one doing the jikai youkoku narration in AD, and the “the girls shine” etc narration at the beginning of episodes 1-10 of AD. Without counting transformations or plot related clones etc, I wonder if that’s the record of most characters voiced by a same person in the same show. Or at least record of most main characters voiced in the same show. (4 with Akaii Meganee, Sonata, Kaname and Hye In)
She seems like a nice person, would be friends with her. And she has nice taste and understands how good Pretty Rhythm is. Or maybe she just knows how to make herself seem nice during interviews without sounding fake.
This book was released the 31st of July 2014, so a bit after PriPara started.
My own comments are under parenthesis
Let’s start with talking about Kaname
Itou Kanae: Kaname only appears in the second half of AD, so she’s kind of a special character. Director Hishida told me once that she was written with me in mind, which made me wonder if I seem that wild and free to the eyes of others lol. My first impressions of Kaname chan was that of a very mysterious character, since she doesn’t show a lot of facial expressions, so I tried to act her as a quiet docile girl. But then, turns out she’s a bit stupid, and the direction turns out to be stupid too, and it made me think “do I look that stupid?” lol. It’s an original anime, so we learn more facts about the characters as the story goes on.
(She means stupid in a positive way, Kaname is stupid fun)
Itou Kanae: So at first, a lot of my acting of her was just by feeling. And then in DMF, when girls younger than her get introduced, Kaname chan starts to have an onee chan side to her. She’s always cheerful and give them advice, and she can even talk about her heavy past easily. Even though she carries a heavy past, she doesn’t think too much about it and doesn’t languish over it or complain, I think that’s her charm. In contrary, Hye In is the kind of girl who’s always tormenting herself thinking too much over things lol.
(Anohana spoilers highlight to view: Most of the time in real life, people who have it the hardest don’t complain, and people who have it the easiest complain the most. I’m not one of those who cried watching Anohana thinking it was a deep moving anime, but one of the things I really liked about it is that it showed this very well with Poppo. Not sure if it was intentional since Okada Mari usually loves overblown drama, Hanasaku Iroha sucked because of that, but Poppo’s the only one who doesn’t have an muh Menma breakdown, until the very end, while he’s pretty much the only one actually responsible for her death and who must have an actual unbearable feeling of guilt over it, since he actually saw her drown and didn’t call an adult)
How did it feel voicing both Kaname and Sonata before she starts wearing the sunglasses?
Itou Kanae: At first I was voicing Sonata san, the person who jumped the legendary Aurora Rising, I voice her until the time when she reappears in the present with Kaname, where then I pass the baton to Kuwashima Houko san. There’s flashback scenes where I voice both Sonata and Kaname talking to each other, it was a very mysterious feeling voicing them. Back when I voiced Sonata doing the Aurora Rising in episode 1 and other flashbacks, I didn’t know yet she would have such a deep past, how she lost her memories, her heart was broken etc, when her painful past was revealed I was surprised too. That’s why it was very difficult to voice her. The director wouldn’t tell us the story in detail too, I remember one time he told me “there will be serious stuff next week” lol
(IIRC while the show makes it look like that, so it’s not like she’s completely wrong, Sonata actually didn’t lose her memories, she was just thinking her happiness was fake because she believed the Aurora Rising shows you illusions.)
Is there anything that left an impression on you regarding how Kaname forms a trio with Serenon ?
Itou Kanae: Serenon do manzai, and are an existence defined by their combination. But I think Kaname is a girl with a lot of power to destroy established rules like these. Kaname is like “waaaa” and is someone who can easily mix with people. So acting Kaname as she gets in Serenon was very easy.
Serenon also have the role of gag characters, when Kaname joins them, they do the angel and demon image thing, making their rival aura go up too.
Itou Kanae: That’s right, I think their trio is so cool!! The clothes with the angel and demon motif where so cuuute too. Their songs are so cuute too. And when Kaname does Prism Shows, her expressions changes, like, she gives off that feeling that she’s a genius, she different than usual and so cool!
(I think I’ve already said how Serenon are great because how they’re fun but also do rival stuff and aren’t just there for comedy relief etc and are a perfect example of how you’re not forced to make comedy relief character only do comedy and not have a plot too)
How was the recording for Kaname’s song ?
Itou Kanae: I tried singing in a cute way fitting Kaname’s image. Then again it isn’t that much of a genki genki song either, so I tried to put in a bit of painful feelings in too. For Kaname it’s a serious song lol. Compared to the atmosphere when the song first appears, it have some pretty positive lyrics. That’s why when you hear it in DMF it feels even more fitting.
Kaname changes a lot in DMF compared to AD.
Itou Kanae: Probably because it takes place three years later. The reason she wears glasses is because after starting living in Japan, she watched too much anime and her eyesight worsened. I was surprised when I first heard that there was such a meaning behind her glasses. I thought the reason was some kidn of inside joke, like “she put on Meganee!” lol. When she performs, she removes them and is the same Kaname chan as usual. Years passed but Kaname’s life is still the same, she’s carefree. I don’t know why she wants bananas that much though…
(Huh? Did she forget that scene when Sonata gives her one the first time they met, explaining why she likes them so much? Or maybe she’s talking about how that banana innuendo scene with Serenon at the start of DMF 16 was a bit too much. It was hilarious though.)
Is there anything that left an impression on you when voicing Kaname ?
Itou Kanae: The scenes showing Kaname chan getting accustomed to the warmth of family life, it was a bit painful but I’m very happy for her. Like when she eats with Rizumu and everyone at the end of AD. I’m really happy that Kaname managed to find a mama and a family. Kaname chan is 12 years old (in AD) but because her growing environment was different, she feels more adult, and her way of thinking is different. Her character is dark&deep, but she has no selfishness at all and she’s a gentle and lovely child.
What do you think of the story in AD ?
Itou Kanae: I think it’s a very complicated story. Gradually the adult’s drama gets in. It’s very impressive and worth seeing, but I wonder if kids can understand everything… We used to have discussions like that a lot during the recording sessions. The ending too was something no one could have expected at the beginning, but everyone ends up happy, I was very relieved.
(Source I don’t watch Symphogear but Chris’s various clothes in the show are kinda cute.
If you don’t get the joke, each character’s name is also the next character’s family name. Kurisu Kaname Madoka.)
You also voice one of the main characters, Hye In in DMF. Were there times when it was confusing?
Itou Kanae: I was told from the start that Kaname wouldn’t appear a lot, so I first concentrated on voicing Hye In. Kaname stands as a rival in the middle though. There’s an episode where Serenon with K and PURETY compete against each other, with Kaname and Hye In’s main jumps happening back to back. They’re jump scenes, so in accordance with them spending themselves, I also put in a lot of energy. During the test in particular, I did them both at the same time, Hayami Risa san(Kyouko) who was behind me told me “Kanae are you emotionally unstable?” lol.
(I guess she means test as in before the final take of the recording. Also, they don’t have interviews in any of the three books, so it’s not like I know, but it was probably tiring in a similar way for Yonezawa Madoka who did both Serena and Jae Eun, and Akesaka Satomi who did both Kanon and Chae Kyoung.)
(It’s true the beginning of DMF went differently from what they planned, like how they couldn’t make the second cour take place in Korea. But according to her, Kaname not having a lot of screentime was decided from the start. So it’s not like her screentime got stolen. I once read on /ai/ that Kaname didn’t have a lot of screentime in DMF because of “stupid episodes like the mecha race” or something, and I admit that made me pretty butthurt since it’s one of my favorite episodes. It’s true the show could have been even masterpiece-er if Kaname got more screentime though.)
(As a side note, when randomly rewatching scenes, I noticed that episode 18 actually takes place in Korea, except you don’t notice it as they’re at a hotel owned by Chae Kyoung’s zaibatsu, so they didn’t have to draw landmarks famous buildings and such.)
According to Shishido Rumi san(Juné), you’re the best person to ask about anything jumps related.
Itou Kanae: Really? It’s not like I have done all the jumps, and while I’ve done jumps many times when recording for the arcade game, I didn’t have visuals of the arcade game to look at.
(She says that because in the very first version of the Pretty Rhythm arcade game she was voicing Rizumu. More about this further below)
The director and Shishido san both told me that if there’s something I don’t understand I should ask you.
Itou Kanae: Actually, there’s a girl with us who’s a specialist of the jumps in the anime, and she gives the cast advice on the jumps, like the timing to shout their names. For example in the previous series, there was a time when Asumi Kana san asked her for advice, saying “for Aira’s jumps I know it feels like this, but there’s jumps that have really long names and I don’t know how to shout them with the right timing”
(Itou Kanae is the seiyuu the most involved with Pretty Rhythm though, so I guess it’s normal to think she knows a lot about it, and judging from this interview she does. She’s just modest about it.)
Hye In is a serious type. Do you think you resemble Hye In or Kaname more ?
Itou Kanae: I’m envious of Kaname. I’m the type to think too much over things, so I think I’m close to Hye In. For example when I happen to write song lyrics, I sleep, then when waking up I’m like “those aren’t good after all !!” and think in circles between “it’s good” and “it’s not good”. There’s also times when I just think “well whatever”, which is close to Kaname I guess. I want to be a become a senpai like Kaname who’s able to stay bright and give advice to others like “even if things are going bad it’s fine it’s fine”. I had a lot of freedom when voicing Kaname so it was always fun. For example in scenes with other characters talking in the foreground, and Kaname going “waaaaaawaaaaaaa” making a ruckus in the background, usually the character in the unfocused plane would have to make their voice smaller, but I was always told it’s OK to voice Kaname like if the scene centered on her lol. (for example DMF 45 at 6:13)
During the second half of DMF, it feels like Hye In becomes more like a dark/evil main character.
Itou Kanae: When Hye In gets pulled in by the Prism Act gate and gets saved by her comrades. After that Aira gets taken over by darkness… So Hye In being saved by Mia and everyone strengthens the fact that she’s a character who goes forward thanks to everyone around her.
Near the end, there’s a scene about Hye In and Mia’s conflicting feelings about being friends and rivals
Itou Kanae: What I was conscious of the most, for me, is that Mia is the best friend I’ve been chasing the same dream with. So I wasn’t thinking too much of her as a rival I need to compete with. I think Hye In was thinking a bit too much about it lol.
But I think it’s because that rival is Mia, that their relationship didn’t become too entangled. Mia is the type of person who will stop whatever you throw at her. Mia is shounen like, she’s a girl who talks with her fists, so even seeing Hye In going around in circles thinking too much, she didn’t become too depressed herself and stayed cheerful overall.
(Mia is a man’s name and she’s a man!! I like Mia the most between the three main characters. Mostly because Mia is the type of girl that never shuts up and that anyone unfamiliar with anime or even just the show will find annoying, but they managed to make her un-annoying. It’s hard to explain. Kinda like how in Aikatsu, Otome at the start of her introduction episode seems like a dumb annoying girl, but they managed to make her un-annoying. Basically even if Mia is loud they managed to make her really likable. MIA GA ICHIBAN)
During the fight to be the center of the Grateful Symphonia, Hye In also used to think pessimistically of herself, thinking she doesn’t deserve to be center, what did you think ? (beginning of DMF episode 45)
Itou Kanae: I was pitying her a bit lol. I’m the type who’s okay with second place, and who will encourage people who’re more motivated than me. But there’s also times when I think I can’t afford to loose, wanting to cheer for Hye In telling her she needs to seize her dreams in life. She’s a girl who thinks too much about things in a weird way after all, she needs a push like that.
When Grateful Symphonia starts, everyone says « the girls sparkle » etc, which you used to say at the beginning of episodes 1-10 of AD
Itou Kanae: Actually I got into the Pretty Rhythm anime because they just called me telling me « Itou san, please do the narration and Akaii Meganee in the anime ». Then I was also asked to voice Sonata too. And then Kaname too. So at the beginning of Grateful Symphonia, when they say “everything started from here” instead of the last line from the AD narration “it’s a girls story with dancing fashion and a bit of love and it starts now”, it really feels like everything started from that, in a sense.
(According to the JP Wikipedia page, the first Pretty Rhythm thing was the arcade game “Pretty Rhythm Miniskirt” released the 15th of july 2010, The same month, the first manga by Asabuki Mari started as well. In the very first version of “Miniskirt” the only characters were Rizumu, Serena and Kanon, which is why in the early design section of this guidebook, Rizumu look the same as in the anime, they just picked her and Serenon from the game. Funny anecdote: only Rizumu was playable at first, and you needed to buy the memory pass and clear the game to unlock Serena and Kanon.)
(Akaii Megenee was also already present in Miniskirt as the shop attendant of Prism Stone. This means Akaii Meganee has been controlling the Pretty Rhythm multiverse from the start. She was already voiced by Itou Kanae. It’s only when AD started and that the Aurora Dream arcade game version was released that Hara Sayuri started voicing Rizumu.)
Akaii Meganee is full of secrets, how did you voice her?(Akaii Meganee is true final boss of the PR/PP multiverse)
Itou Kanae: Meganee’s role is to help little girls change their clothes, to explain fashion points to them and make them sparkle. She’s an existence that has always been involved with Prism Shows, so she knows a lot of things. At a certain point I was told that Meganee is an AI and I was surprised, but after thinking about it, I can agree with it. (I would love to know more about this. Was she was told that regarding the Akaii Meganees in PriPara or hte ones in Pretty Rhythm? Because I don’t think the one in Pretty Rhythm is an AI.)
Meganee also appears as the manager of Prism Stone in PriPara
Itou Kanae: Yes… but there was like 5 Meganee in the script !! The one in the shop, at the entrance of PriPara world, the one on TV, the one at reception desk…
Are they voiced by different people ?
Itou Kanae: I was asked to voice them all actually. They want it to feel like it’s totally the same person, but no ones notices it, and make people think eh? How come? Is she the same? Etc
There’s also Suwabe Junichi san playing Akaii Meganii in PriPara
Itou Kanae: He didn’t appear in the anime yet, but he’s already in the PriPara arcade game. However Meganii actually only appears if you put in money. Meanwhile Akaii Meganee is the “0 yen person” who appears when the game is on idle. So people around me started saying “Akaii Meganee is a cheap woman” lol. In order for Akaii Meganii to appear you need to put in at least 200 yen. And if no one puts money in, I’m just repeating all the time “Put some money in okay!” lol. So I’m more like Meganii’s assistant in the game lol.
(Who dares call Akaii Meganee a cheap woman, I’ll punch them. IIRC one play of the PriPara arcade game is 100 yen, so I guess if you only put in 100 yen Akaii Meganee will be your host and if you put in more than 200 it’ll be Akaii Meganii. In Dream Theather mode which they added when PriPara s2 started, it’s 200yen per play though. Maybe the new mode they’ll add in 2016 will be 300 yen. The price goes up every year. Like Japan Expo’s entrance fee.)
As someone who participated in every Pretty Rhythm show and now PriPara, can you tell us if there’s any difference in atmosphere in the staff etc between the shows ?
Itou Kanae: Well for the first two years I was with the same persons all the time, so of course when Rainbow Live started and they all left, the atmosphere in the studio became completely different. We stayed together from AD to DMF, so I was getting along with the staff really well, especially Hayamizu Risa san who voiced Asechi shachou. We once all went to hunt strawberries, we also once did a Pretty Rhythm like picnic as an end of year party. We all got along really well. (She either says that they did a picnic AND an end of year party, or that the end of year party was a picnic, not sure which is it.)
Itou Kanae: In Rainbow Live, Meganee doesn’t appear that much, so I don’t really know how the atmosphere at the studio was (According to the RL seiyuu interviews like Serizawa Yuu’s they all got along, but her interview seemed pretty fake at times so she probably sugarcoated it).
Itou Kanae: Now PriPara just begun, so the atmosphere is still a bit stiff. A lot of the girls (all the Iris girls actually, except Serizawa Yuu whoose first role was An) are doing seiyuu work for the first time, so there’s an atmosphere of me and the others teaching them and looking over them as their senpai.
(Tfw Akaii Meganee is forever alone in the staff room and doomed to part with her friends and meet new people each new series. PriPara started for a while now, so I bet that while the Iris girls called her senpai and stuff and first, now they probably stay together in their own group, and never talk with her besides おはよ and おつかれさま. Then they talk behind her back and call her an old hag and bully her.)
As someone who’s always been involved with the series, what kind of show do you think Pretty Rhythm is ?
Itou Kanae: I think it’s a show that little girls watch very excitedly. Even I am charmed and think it’s nice when I see the characters dancing on screen. PriPara has that new ticket to clip system, and I really want one that doesn’t clip so I can keep it! The main girls(Iris) all had those tickets, and were showing them off to their senpais in the studio. I remember at the first recording session I went to, for the arcade game, the first time I saw Prism Stones, I thought I definitely need to collect them and was very excited. Thinking about how the characters in the anime sing and dance and everyone wants to be like them. And how Meganee is a person that helps them do that. Counting from the game, it’s been like already five years since I’m doing it? I think it’s rare these days to be involved with a show for this long and I’m happy. While the main characters are changing, the girls all have rich personalities and seeing them I think I’ll really never get bored. As we’re talking like that I unconsciously changed into Meganee mode lol(as in she’s happy seeing girls with hopes and dreams so she can mercilessly crush them later when she reveals she’s the true final boss)
Itou Kanae: That’s why I want to keep helping them and keep looking over them. Meganee talks a lot in the arcade game, so if you’re interested please sit down and look.
(A nice way of saying “please put some coins in”, like how singers say “please listen to our single”, meaning “buy it”. I should look on Niconico if there’s a compilation video of all of Akaii Meganee’s lines in all the different versions of the Pretty Rhythm and PriPara arcade games)