Ryuichi-kun is pure and straightforward, but in a way he’s mature. When you first read the original comic, what was your impression of this work? Nishiyama: It all boils down to being “cute”, but every move made by the babies in the series made me shudder. Not only the babies, but also the adults around them are kind. I really like the world view of this work.
What kind of character is Ryuichi, played by Nishiyama-san? Also, is there anything you keep in mind when acting? Nishiyama: Ryuichi-kun is very kind and straightforward. He is a boy who thinks about the people around him, such as babies and classmates, rather than himself. When I think back to when I was a junior high school student, I couldn’t do anything like Ryuichi-kun, so I think it’s amazing. I feel that in order to be able to express Ryuichi-kun’s honesty, I had discussions with the directors while recording. I think it would be great if we could bring out more and more of Ryuichi-kun’s kind side.
What specific advice did you receive from the directors during the discussion? Nishiyama: The characters in the work as a whole have a lot of facial expressions and sometimes, they have quite comical faces. I was told that it was okay to express my emotions in such a scene, the range of technique has expanded.
By the way, what kind of person was Nishiyama-san as a child? Nishiyama: Up until elementary school, I was a very attention-seeking child. I was a child who wanted to play a role that was extremely forward. When I became a junior high school student and a high school student, I calmed down a little. I belonged to the basketball club, so I went to club activities as soon as class was over.
You had something in common with Ryuichi-kun in that his life is centred around club activities. Nishiyama: It may be so. In episode 3, there was an episode about a physical education class, and the teachers who appeared there were also considerate and understanding, and I felt once again that this is a really wonderful school.
There were times when I recorded it while holding back my tears because it was full of scenes that really touched me. In addition, what is your impression of the episodes that have been broadcast so far. Nishiyama: There are many, but I was particularly drawn to the end of the first episode when Koutarou cries and hugs him. From the moment I received the rehearsal VTR, I was captivated by the expressions in that scene. Even in the actual production, Nozomi Furuki’s acting as Koutarou was so amazing that I almost burst into tears while recording.
This work has a bright impression as a whole, but there are many scenes that come to mind. In the recording of such a story, how did you feel? Nishiyama: There was an episode about going to the zoo in episode, but I was really impressed between the Kamitani brothers. The relationship between the Kashima and the Kamitani brothers are completely different, but I felt that both are correct, and I thought it was very interesting to see the atmosphere of each family.
Nishiyama-san, you have an older sister and brother. Nishiyama: I’m the youngest, but my older sister and brother are far apart in age, and we didn’t go to elementary school together. I don’t remember any fights at all, and even though we were at odds, it was like I was in a bad mood, and I was spoiled. I loved my siblings a lot, and was even happy when I received hand-me-downs, “Give me!” (laughs)
If Nishiyama-san could have a younger brother or sister, which one would you prefer? Nishiyama: I think it would be really fun to have a younger brother like Koutarou. Koutarou is a character who doesn’t show much emotion for a child, but he has a lot of thoughts and feelings.
Many characters appear in this work, but who’s your favourite character? Nishiyama: All the characters are really unique, and I love them, but if I had to choose one, it would be the chairwoman. When I first heard Tomoko Miyadera-san’s voice on the drama CD, I was amazed at how dignified she was… However, even though her tone is harsh, there is warmth in it, and you can clearly feel it’s due to love. She has a big and fluffy head, so she’s a character that has an impact on her appearance, but when Miyadera-san’s acting is added to that, I’m already thinking, “What a lovely chairwoman?” Once you see her, I think she is a character that no one can forget.
I want to cherish it for myself, a work that heals everyone. As unit “Hyorotto Danshi” with Yuichirou Umehara, you sand the ED song of this work. What kind of song is it? Nishiyama: The ED “Oshiete yo” is a very cute and sparkling pop song. During the recording, while consulting with the director, I was able to sing brightly with a smile that matched the atmosphere of the song. In the anime’s ED, babies to the song, and I would be happy if everyone could dance along. A video of me and Ume-chan’s “choreography course” has also been released on the official website, so please watch it and memorize it!
I’m looking forward to the future development of the TV anime “Gakuen Babysitters”, but could you tell us your recommended points again? Nishiyama: I think it’s a place that anyone can enjoy, regardless of age and gender. It is packed with elements what will soothe the fatigue of daily life, and sometimes the smiles and words and actions of children will surprise you, so I hope many people will watch it. For me, it’s my first time starring in a lead role, so I want to cherish this work, and I’d be happy if you could support me a lot.
Lastly, please tell us about your resolution for 2018, Nishiyama-san. Nishiyama: Yes, I would like to make it “healing”. Starting with “Gakuen Babysitters”, I want to be able to bring comfort to everyone through my works.
By the way, Nishiyama-san, when do you feel healing? Nishiyama: Maybe when I’m relaxing in the bath, it’s hard to find time to spend together, but I think it would be great if I could go to a hot spring.
From the TV anime “Gakuen Babysittes” comes Koutarou Nishiyama, who plays the main character Ryuichi Kashima. The character played by Nishiyama-san is a member of the “babysitter club” who struggles with babies in the nursery room of the school. Then, the cameraman held the camera at a lower position than usual, saying, “Let’s take a picture of Nishiyama-san from the perspective of a small child!” The shooting site was buzzing with the cameraman using baby talk to create a different atmosphere (laughs). In the midst of all this, Nishiyama-san smiled and said, “Come on, come on.”
Also, during this shoot, the children played freely with cards, building blocks, and board games. Nishiyama-san made cute motifs such as yachts and lighthouses, even though he was worried about the placement of the building blocks, saying, “It’s surprisingly difficult…” At the end, he shouted, “Wow!”