梶裕貴 & 下野紘
Please tell us how you felt when the production of “Attack on Titan: The Final Season” was decided. Kaji: Since it is a work with an original work, I knew that the story would be turbulent towards the end, but when I heard the words “The Final Season” again, I felt a deep emotion of “It’s finally here”, but I still felt somewhat lonely. There is also “Attack on Titan” is like a life work, and I will continue to play the role of Eren for the rest of my life. There was a part of me that thought it was something that I could do, for some reason it was strange (laughs). But it ends with countless episodes. In the future, even if there is a timing to play him in a different form, I am really sad when I think that the countdown has already started regarding the number of times, I will play Eren Yeager in the main story.
Shimono: I never thought that I would be involved for so long. When I was recording the first TV series, I had the opportunity to meet Hajime Isayama-san, and at that time all the cast members were asked to talk about things like, “Will I survive?” When I asked, “How about Connie?”, the sensei said, “Is it Connie?” Hmmm… (laughs). I thougth this would go away soon, but Connie has survived in this cruel world for a long time, and at the same time, I’m like Kaji-kun, and Attack on Titan continues. I thought I was going to go, so I thought that I had come this far, but it was already over. There is also the idea of doing it.
Kaji: Connie once asked the sensei, “Actually, there was also a blueprint for a development where you would lose your life at an earlier timing. So, I feel that one of the major reasons why he was able to continue to live and fight as a companion was that Shimono-san played Connie in the anime. I can’t say I’m afraid to let you create a story together, but I would be very happy if I could be involved in the construction of the story in any way.
From the start of Season 1 until Season 3, has there been any change in your impression of the characters you’ve worked with? Kaji: I don’t think the basics have changed, but during a life-and-death battle, I was made to realize my own position and environment to the point where I hated it… I think there was a change in that. I think what he felt when he saw the ocean at the end of Season 3 was probably the biggest change he’s ever had. In that sense, I think that the Eren of The Final Season, who will be drawn from now on, will have a completely different impression and character.
Shimono: Clearly, there was a completely different atmosphere from what Eren had been up until now. I really think that Ellen is the only one who feels something different from the perception of the sea that Connie and the others perceive. At first, Connie didn’t really think about putting himself in an extreme situation, he just wanted to get ahead, but little by little, he seems to be growing as a soldier… There is…
I get the impression that Connie has less comedic scenes compared to his early days.
Shimono: Speaking of which, the biggest factor is his mother, or rather, even though I don’t think I’ve changed that much from the Connie that I felt from around that time, I’ve come to feel that there’s a different way of looking at it. But it’s not just Connie, it’s the same with Eren, and I think everyone in the 104th class is changing. In the sea scene at the end of Season 3, which was also mentioned in the story just now, Eren said, “Will you be free if you kill all the enemies over there?” I wonder what will happen next.
Kaji: Even after knowing that the odds were nothing but miraculous, I think there was a part of Eren who was hoping for a future where everyone was happy and peaceful. That’s right. But… after a tumultuous time, when he finally arrives at the sea he’s dreamed of, he realized the true feelings he had once again. Perhaps, in the final episode of Season 3, the part the I thought I wanted to “close my eyes” or “I want to think in a good direction” was eliminated. Literally, Eren will live to “kill all the enemies on the other side of sea” from now on.
As for how I will deal with Eren in the future, there are things that I can’t even imagine, but I have been mentally prepared for many years to play him like that. I was able to do it, so I think that all I must do is bring my mental state to that point. Well, that’s very difficult, and I think it’s dangerous to always have that kind of feeling (laugh).
To play Eren is to sharpen your soul. Kaji: That’s right. Well, I also want to shave… I guess I want to be shaved (laughs). I think it’s interesting for an actor to be able to experience emotions that you don’t usually have, or things that you don’t want to show even if you think about it. Existence.
Shimono: It’s kind of a detox effect (laughs).
Maybe. It’s not like you’re out of gas. Shimono: It’s tiring and exhausting, but it’s not like there’s something refreshing about it.
Unforgettable characters to talk about before the final. If there are people who want to watch “Attack on Titan” before the final season, where should they start watching? Kaji: There is a re-edited version of Season 1-3 called Attack on Titan: Chronicle, so I think the best thing to do is watch it. I think there is… (laughs). I would like you to take your time and carefully look at this place. Otherwise, I think it would be difficult for you to read the continuation while empathizing in the truest sense of the word.
Shimono: Because there is no end. It’s already a lot of important points!
When you watch “Attack on Titan: Chronicle”, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it unfolds. But, especially in the early episodes, it’s actually a short time… or rather, it’s because I’ve been drawing battles in a few days. We watched them once a week for a total of six months, but for them it was nothing more than a series of moments. Of course, it will be tough for that amount, and I think it’s a work that feels that tiredness. I’d like people to watch it when they want that feeling of “I’m alive!”
Shimono: In terms of having people enjoying the world of “Attack on Titan” even more, I think it would be good if they could feel how they survived under such harsh conditions. From there, you can see how much they have grown, so I think it would be good for those who are just starting to watch it from the beginning. There are scenes that I think are scary, but there are various human dramas that aren’t limited to that, so I’d like people to see that as well.
Many characters have lived and died so far, but if there was a character that left a particularly strong impression on you, who would it be? Kaji: Speaking of something new in my memory, Erwin and Bertholdt were fierce. As for Erwin, if I were to give a specific example, it would be endless… I think he was a person who really seemed to be the leader, and who should be the leader. Of course, it’s a work of fiction, and he’s a creative character, but beyond that, he’s a character that has persuasiveness, a resolution, and a sense of presence that the real-life person himself truly respects. From Eren’s point of view, Bertholdt is a traitor… But as I got to know the drama, I realized that he was fighting his own goals and wishes. After it collided, both of them lost a very big existence. It makes you think. Just by looking at it, one legitimate belief can be seen as both righteous and evil. At the end of such a battle, Armin survived as well. I think it was a character with a considerable impact, including the play.
Shimono: There are so many memorable characters that it’s hard to choose, but the one that still shocks me is Marco… After all, while there was still an atmosphere of things to come, and although the gruesome truth was drawn later, the way it was first shown was that he really died on the spot. Perhaps, if he had lived, he would have been able to understand and elucidate many things faster, and the story would have progressed in a different way… of course. As a friend, I feel sorry for him. Because I thought that the probability of survival would definitely be higher than Connie. That’s why it’s such a big shock. In that sense, I think he’s one of those unforgettable characters.
Speaking of Kaji-san and Shimono-san’s duo, who I want you to see to the end, is the previously broadcasted “Attack on Titan Radio – Kaji and Shimono’s advance!” It reminds me of Denpa Corps, but was it easy for the two of you to do a radio show together? Kaji: Shimono-san and I have been doing radio together since I was a newcomer, so I felt a sense of security. Shimono: I thought that I would be allowed to do things freely, and I felt at ease, but I wondered what would happen with The Final Season. It seems that it is difficult to talk other than have serious talk. Well, it’s always been a work with that kind of atmosphere (laughs). What will become of this radio? At this stage, I don’t even know what kind of atmosphere it will be, and it’s hard to do a playful corner.
Kaji: On the contrary, I want to ask listeners what they want to hear. If you ask me if it’s just a radio for the work “Attack on Titan” and me and Shimono-san just talk happily, I don’t think so. Because, even if there’s a radio in the future, I would like to do a program that will not change and will value the work more than anything else.
Finally, please tell us about your enthusiasm for The Final Season. Shimono: I think that The Final Season will actually come to an end, but what kind of story will it be? Up until now, there have been times when things were a little different from the original, and there were things like staging, so I don’t know what the final outcome will be, but I will cherish the character, Connie, who has been fighting alongside me all this time. But I hope you can see it through to the end.
Kaji: The broadcast of The Final Season is finally approaching. At this stage, it’s just before the post-recording starts, so… Honestly, I don’t even know what I’m going to do. While I think it’s scary, I’m still excited. As a word, it becomes quite strong, and there are parts where I can’t say whether the nuance is correct or not. I hope that you will watch this “Attack on Titan” work to the end and keep it firmly in your heart.