Yoshiki Nakajima, who plays Tanaka Naru, from the anime “Wave!!! ~ Surfing Yappe!!~”, which depicts four people who are passionate about surfing. From his thoughts on the work to his own youthful memories. I heard a lot of stories.
“Wave!!! ~ Surfing Yappe!!~” will be released soon. Nakajima-san is playing Tanaka Naru, a childhood friend of the main character Masaki Hinaoka. Nakajima: I first met Naru at the time of the audition, so I have been with him for more than two years. I will do it. All the characters in the work have a strong personality. For example, Akitsuki Shou looks like a prince, and Kosuke has an easy-to-understand character like a hot-blooded sportsman, but Naru doesn’t have much of it, and he still remembers how to play it. Especially, the first anime is depicting junior high school days. There are a lot of unpleasant words and actions. It’s purely smart, and it’s also affected by the home environment, but because there are childish characters like Masaki nearby, that’s even more so.
Was there anything you kept in mind when playing Naru? Nakajima: Not only the main characters, but also the sub-characters have quite strong personalities, so at first, I was thinking of making them natural so that they wouldn’t stand out strangely. I thought that Naru, who has a lot of appearances, wouldn’t be buried, but there were many scenes where he sings while playing the ukulele, and on the contrary, he stands out. As a result, it became very comical (laughs).
Did Nakajima-san come up with the melody for the ukulele? Nakajima: I’m thinking on the spot. In the beginning, I was recording by myself, so I was free to do it, but when I joined everyone, it was awkward (laughs). Also, the English-speaking scene was difficult. In response, to the director’s request, “Anyway, I want you to speak fluently.” (laughs) Daiki Hamano-san, who had experience of doing a homestay abroad, came to the scene, and I managed to speak before Hamano-san’s permission. I think that Naru had a lot of things that were imposed on him that weren’t in that kind of play. I’ve been a voice for 10 years, and it’s the first time I’ve sweated so much in front of the microphone (laughs). However, the characters have a lot of depth, and it feels like Naru’s ukulele is always playing throughout the story. I think it became a good essence that symbolizes the work “WAVE!!”
Do you have discussions with the production team and the director when making a role? Nakajima: There was nothing in particular, but I personally paid attention to the conversation between Naru and Masaki. The two responds with strong words. I was careful not to make the exchanges that only junior high school students can do because they have known each other for such a long time not become simple swear words. When Naru is alone with Masaki and Shou, he stands in a position where he gently pushes everyone’s back, so I’m conscious of that.
It’s a difficult role to balance. Nakajima: That’s right. I think Naru is doing it on purpose. He thought, “If I say this to Masaki, he’ll find it amusing,” and I think he’s acting in anticipation of how Shou will intervene and say, “Okay.” So, I exaggerated some parts. Also, this work is characterized by a slow tempo, which is unusual for modern animation. It seems that the intention of the production was to value the sound of the waves flowing during the conversation and the expression, and there was actually a director who said, “It’s okay to speak slowly.” I hope that everyone will be able to feel the relaxed flow.
Is it all memorable? First time surfing in Enoshima, do you have any surfing experience? Nakajima: There is. Yusuke Shirai-san and Jin Ogasawara-san and I had a plan to go surfing together. That was two years ago. It was about mid-September, in Enoshima, a little chilly and cloudy with a little rain. The photo from that time was used at the production presentation, and I remember that everyone said, “It’s far away, isn’t it?” (laughs)
That was a difficult location. (laughs) Nakajima: After that, the performers went to various locations, and it was all clear skies. When Ogasawara-kun and Shunichi Toki-san went to Miyazaki, Toki-san sent a lot of photos saying, “It’s really nice weather,” and Tomaoki Maeno-san and Nobuhiko Okamoto-san went to Hawaii. Even when I was there, both seemed to be having a lot of fun talking about souvenirs. It’s completely different from my time! (smile)
I hope the next location will be sunny (laughs). By the way, did you stand on the board during your first surf? Nakajima: I stood up. According to the instructor, 80% of men can stand on the same day. It seems that the important thing is the muscle strength when standing up from the board. That’s why, in the case of women, the beginning was tough.
Is it an art to do surfing as a hobby on this occasion? Nakajima: I keep telling people that I really want to do it, but I can’t do it alone, and it’s difficult in the current social situation. But I want to surf with everyone someday. In connection with this work, which is a youth ensemble drama that forms the current self.
Nakajima-san, please tell us what you devoted yourself to when you were a student. Nakajima: It left a strong impression on me that we all created a stage for our graduation work at college. The lecturer said, “Students will never gather to create something. Once you become a professional, you will have to create a play as a professional, so do your best.” I think it was just like that. Some people quit acting because their dream of becoming a professional did not come true, and some people got married and had children and couldn’t find time, so it was a very good experience.
Nakajima-san sometimes wrote the script himself. Nakajima: I even wrote a script. If you ask someone to do it, it costs money, and above all, there is a part of “Because we do it ourselves.” When I was a student, I followed my teacher around and taught them everything about direction and sound, so I was told, “I want someone who can direct,” and I sometimes imitated the director…. I hated interfering with senior’s plays, but it was also a good experience.
Finally, please tell us about the highlights of the first chapter of the anime. Nakajima: Set in the sea of Oarai, Masaki’s passion for surfing is depicted. I don’t I could go to the beach this summer, so I would be happy if you could feel the summer even a little. Also, when you go to the sea, you want to take a bath, don’t you? There is a lot of exposed skin in this work as well. Oh, there is not even a single nasty thing (laughs). I don’t think there has ever been a work that depicts surfing so well, so please look forward to it.