GEORGETOWN, PENANG – We met with japanese voice actress Asakawa Yuu recently at Danny Choo’s Culture Japan Con that was held at Straits Quay Convention Centre here. She attended the event as one of the guests of honor and we were lucky to spend some time to chat with her.

More after the jump

Asakawa Yuu is a voice actress with a long history in the business. She has been voicing anime characters since 1995 and was the voice behind iconic characters such as Aoyama Motoko (Love Hina), Sakaki (Azumanga Daioh), Osakabe Itoko (School Rumble), Jura (Vandread), Rider (Fate/Stay Night). She has also lent her voice to Krypton Future Media’s voice synthesizer Vocaloid as Megurine Luka.

Having been in the industry for 18 years, she has been through quite a number of challenging situations when voicing anime. She mentioned that in Carnival Phantasm she had to peform Rider’s character as a tsukkomi in a very fast-paced dialogue while still maintaining Rider’s cool and calm composure. When asked, Asakawa mentioned that she has many seniors voice actors whom she looks up to, but the one she respects the most is Masako Nozawa, noting her ability to voice Son Goku, Gohan, Goten AND Pan – one person, one story, four different characters, voices and personality.

We also learned that Asakawa is very interested to work with senior voice actor Yamadera Koichi, as she deeply respect Yamadera’s performance as Donald Duck, Stitch and many other anime characters. Throughout the interview, Asakawa Yuu spoke very fluent English, a quality which has opened doors to many opportunities in her career – the most notable of which was to provide the voice sample for Kypton’s Vocaloid software.

Work with Vocaloid, Asakawa mentioned that Krypton was looking for a more adult female voice, as opposed to a teenage voice used by Hatsune Miku (sampled from fellow voice actress Fujita Saki’s voice). Krypton was also developing Megurine Luka to be used with English vocalisation, and Asakawa Yuu was recommended by her agency thanks to her ability to converse in English.

“It’s very different from the usual voice-acting work,” says Asakawa Yuu, on sampling her voice for Megurine Luka. “Normally, I would receive a character document, read her profile and script and imagine the character in my head. But Megurine Luka is not a character – I just provided my voice. What I get is a bunch of ‘spells’ and I have to pronounce each letter, like A-I-U-E-O so it was really weird.”

Asakawa Yuu stated that her favorite role so far has been Rider from Type-Moon’s Fate franchise. “First of all, I like her color combination, black and purple! She’s also so mysterious, she wears a mask and her backstory is not very happy,” she adds. “She’s a very poor Servant. I have to work for her stupid Master, right? Normally during battle scenes, usually we have to do attack calls like, HIYAH, TOH, YAHH, and stuff. But Rider is a very quiet character, so she doesn’t have to say anything when she fights so I just sit there quietly. She’s easy to do, that’s why I like her so much!”

We discussed the re-release of the Fate Stay Night visual novel which featured full-voice acting where Asakawa reprises her role as Rider in all the routes of the game. Upon learning that in one of the story routes that Rider defeats Saber, she confesses that she was quite happy about it. She admits to be very proud to have voiced Rider, but when we asked if she could beat Maridah (who is guest cosplayer at CJC and was cosplaying as Saber) in fight, Asakawa comments that she would probably lose because she couldn’t bring herself to hit someone as pretty as Maridah.

Throughout CJC, Asakawa Yuu responds to questions from fans during a stage panel as well as generously giving them autographs. We genuinely hope Ms. Asakawa enjoyed her brief visit to Malaysia and tell your fellow voice-actors to come meet their fans here as well!