One of the featured anime of Anime Festival Asia 2013 that was recently held in Singapore was Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan). One of the special guests was Ishikawa Yui, the voice actress behind Mikasa Ackerman. Anime Shrine had the unique opportunity to attend an exclusive press-only Q&A session with her.

1. What inspired you to be a voice actress?
I was actually an actress then, mostly for stage shows. It was by coincidence that someone involved in the anime industry came by to watch the production I featured in and asked me for an audition. That was my first job as a seiyuu and how I got started.

2. Please tell us an interesting episode during your recording.
During the recording of SnK, we have roles that die and then they start discussing about when they’d (their roles) die themselves, some say “I might be next by the coming week”. This sort of discussion happens pretty often.

3. How did you feel when you played Mikasa’s role in Shingeki?
Mikasa was the type of character that I rarely voiced, so I initially worried about whether I could carry the role well, but I’m glad that I safely ended recording her role. For SnK, all the seiyuus take their roles seriously and put a lot of concentration into recording, so as a seiyuu it was also a role where I could learn a lot from.

4. What do you feel about the difference between your actress life and voice actress life?
I think it’s the same where I give my voice to my roles, but the techniques for both stage plays and voice-over are different. For anime, we have visual scenes and we need to make sure our voice matches the scene or it’d look unnatural, so it can be pretty difficult.

5. If you had the opportunity to voice other characters in SnK, who would you like to voice? Can you try saying some of the classic lines?
Well, I’m already voicing Mikasa, so… How do I put it, I’m faithful to Mikasa. If I really have to name a role, I’d probably be interested in voicing a titan. My favourite line is “This world is cruel, and very beautiful. It was a good life”

6. Mikasa is a pretty serious role compared to previous characters you have voiced before. Did you face any difficulties while voicing Mikasa?
Well, as I mentioned just now, I’ve rarely voiced roles like hers so…Usually Mikasa is calm, but when it comes to Eren, her emotions becomes very obvious, so I have to pay careful attention on how to draw that change out with my voice.

7. Do you feel any connection to the character?
I’m also pretty shy, and I’m not good at putting my thoughts in words. I feel that I understand Mikasa from this point of view.

8. As Mikasa, you face danger with a cool head, but what scares you?
If I were to refer to recent events, it was during my flight to Singapore. I don’t like jet coasters, so whenever the plane shakes I think it’s being really noisy.

Kousaka China and her Beargguy unit from Gundam Build Fighters

9. You voiced China in Gundam Build Fighters, and this is your first role in a Gundam series. Were you familiar with Gundam before this?
Up until now, I’ve never really watched Gundam but now I’m watching the series and studying it. China is the exact opposite of Mikasa, docile, reserved and cute. There were times when recording for Shingeki and Gundam Build Fighters overlapped, and the staff would tell me that I need to be more expressive, but it’s a role I did with great fun.

10. Now that you’ve been in and seen a few episodes, is there any particular Gundam that you like?
Well, I’m still studying so I can’t name any in particular…but I think the first generation Gundam, the one piloted by Amuro Ray left a strong impression in me. China is set to pilot Beargguy, so I’d like to build a gunpla of Beargguy.

11. After voicing a cool character like Mikasa and a cute character like China, what kind of character do you prefer?
I don’t have any particular preference. Mikasa’s role is fun precisely because of the challenge in voicing her, while voicing a cute character makes me forget my usual self so it’s also fun, which is why I feel that I can’t choose one over the other.

Mikasa and Eren during their childhood.

12. Is there a scene in SnK that touches you the most?
I liked all scenes, but if I had to choose one, it would be the scene where Eren wrapped the muffler around Mikasa and told her “Let’s go back to our home”. It was the scene where Mikasa first felt salvation, so I have special feelings for it.

13. What was your first impression when you received the script for Shingeki?
Before that, I read the original story. I feel that the cruel world view is tightly packed into the story, and even though Mikasa is only in her teen years, I think to know Shingeki you need to see everything that’s bundled in the story.

Ishikawa Yui also made an appearance on stage to answer questions from the fans and performed some lines from Shingeki no Kyojin. Shingeki no Kyojin manga is currently at volume 11 and still ongoing. The author, Isayama Hajime says the manga will end at volume 20.