Kengo Kawanishi, who is known for voicing Muichiro Tokito in Demon Slayer, Gen Asagiri in Dr. Stone and Smiley in Tokyo Revengers, talked about ways to survive in the anime voice acting industry in a recent interview that he gave.
Among the other things that he mentioned, there is one tip that particularly stands out and can be seen by many as controversial; which is – staying away from the original work of an adaptation.
Usually, voice actors get themselves acquainted with the original work so that they can understand the nuances of the characters they are voicing and add more depth to their acting. However, Kawanishi was against this.
“The original work is the original work, and the anime is the anime,” the voice actor said.
He then went on recollect an instance where he was voicing a character from a work he loved.
“I once had a chance to work with an animated film that I loved the original work, but there was a gap between the director’s direction and mine in a certain scene in that film. I had read about the character in the original work, and I was stubborn about not expressing the character in this way,” Kawanishi said.
“As we went through a series of retakes, it was difficult for me to sort things out. Afterwards, I watched the on-air performance, and I felt that my performance was half-hearted,” the voice actor added.
According to Kawanishi, animation is a team effort and the director, who has the entire anime planned out, calls the shots. In such a situation it would also be bad to give a performance that is based on the original work and not on the director’s instructions.
A voice actor just can’t go up and say “This is what I want!” And hence, it is important for the artists to not get too attached to the original, or obtain too much information from the original.
Talking about his own strategy to survive in the industry, Kawanishi said that he strategically considers what he wants to do, what he can do, and what is required of him, and refines his skills.
For instance, when he first started working as a voice actor, Kawanishi wished to voice characters who were hot-blooded. However, he later realized that his voice was not suited to that type of characters, forcing him to adapt and evolve.
“I play many characters that are a little quirky or mysterious, and I think that is why many people know me. So now I am focusing on that direction and trying to improve myself,” Kawanishi said.
He further added that while he looked up to senior voice actors to learn new stuffs, he made sure to add his own spice to it.
“The textbook for acting is senior voice actors. My stance is that I don’t just learn from them, but also make a conscious effort to add my own spice to it,” he said in the interview.
Kawanishi also added that he was very influenced by the performances of voice actors he saw during his school days and that he would like to incorporate the performances of these people some day.
“I am very much influenced by the performances of the voice actors of the animated films I have seen during my school days. I would like to incorporate the performances of many people, but I am particularly influenced by Tomokazu Seki and Akira Ishida, who is famous for his role as Kotaro Katsura in Gintama.”
Kawanishi is a Japanese voice actor who is currently represented by Mausu Promotion. He was formerly affiliated with Office Kaoru and got his first voice acting role in 2006.
He then went on to bag roles in March Comes In Like A Lion as protagonist Rei Kiriyama, Fire Force, Fruits Basket, That Time I Got Reincarnated As Slime, Dr. Stone, Tokyo Revengers and Demon Slayer.
Source: News Post Seven