A clear voice that can be heard even from a distance. No matter how far you are, Yuusuke Shirai-san’s voice will reach you. Even though it’s been a long time since the shoot started, he makes the staff smile. I want to unlock the secret of positivity.
This year, for the first time, you played the role of Sentouin Rokugo, the main character of a TV anime, “Combatants will be dispatched!” It was an energetic role; how do you feel now that it’s over? Shirai: I think it depends on the work, but it’s only natural for the main character to talk so much, but when I tried it myself, I realized it again. In “Combatants will be dispatched!” Sentouin Rokugo, who I played, is a very talkative character, so there may have been some parts that felt that way. It’s basically a gag taste, so there’s a big gap between serious scenes and I think it’s a busy work with emotional swings. The role of Sentouin was very easy to play. The tone of my voice is like my normal self, so I didn’t change it too much. In addition, I personally think that a lively role with a high tension is better. It’s very easy to do.
“Idolish7” is celebrating its 6th Anniversary, and the anime is in the middle of its 3rd season. Shirai-san’s remark that “Idolish7” is a mental training anime” became a trend on social media. Shirai: Those weren’t my words, but when I was egoistic, there were several people who said that kind of nuance. I thought that I didn’t think so, and when I said it, everyone really emphasized with me. “Idolish7” has developments that you wouldn’t expect from an idol anime, so I think that’s what make this work so appealing.
You think so even when you’re acting? Shirai: In normal idol anime, you can’t strangle your opponent (laughs). But I think it’s a very realistic depiction of the fragility of human beings. We seiyuu are different from idols in some ways, but there are some things that we really sympathize with.
How did you sympathize with them? Shirai: The auction that Momo from Re:Vale did. He said, “I want everyone to see my work until is sells, but when its starts to attract attention, the opposite feeling emerges.” When I was a newcomer, I had a very strong desire to be known and to be known. When a work in which I was a mob or had a small role in was broadcast, I would be egocentric. After that, when I was able to appear in various works like this, I realized that the opinions that everyone had about me were not always positive. I think it would be a bit strange if I was told that I was a jerk for no reason, but there are a lot of things I can agree with. Some people take it that way, so it’s an opportunity for me to be more careful from now on.
“Hypnosis Mic-Division Rap” was performed the other day. It was the first time in a while that you had a live with an audience. Shirai: After all, the tension has risen. The moment the curtain rose, I could see the shining faces of the audience. Because they were wearing masks, I could only see above their eyes, but even so, I was able to directly feel their expressions of happiness for this long-awaited moment. Especially this time, there was a song for the final battle, so everyone in the cast was in high spirits.
From the seriousness of the battle, I could feel the bond between each team. Shirai: When I performed the battle song for the first time, I thought to myself, “There is such a thing…” but everyone really wanted to win. At the end, everyone was in a “Let’s all enjoy it together” mode. I think the whole song from there was a part about sharing the joy of reuniting with everyone at this moment. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of a live performance with audiences that I hadn’t seen in a long time.
The TV anime “Sasaki to Miyano” in which Shirai-san plays one of the main characters, Shuumei Sasaki, will air next year. Shirai: This is a very refreshing coming-of-age story of high school boys. The main focus is on the adolescence of high school boys, and it’s a work that delicately depicts the slightly swaying feelings within it. It’s very realistic, so I think it’s a work that anyone can enjoy. I can recommend it not only to those who like BL, but also to BL beginners. Originally, I had the chance to act in the drama CD, but during the recording, I said, “The cast will change once it’s made into an anime, won’t it?” (laughs). Then, I am very happy that the cast will continue to be cast in the anime, which is a rare event.
It is also noteworthy that the role of the opponent, Yoshikazu Miyano, is played by Souma Saitou, who is close to Shirai-san. Shirai: It’s a completely different relationship than “Hypnosis Mic,” but it’s really easy to do when the other person is Souma-san. This work reminds me of my high school days. That’s right.
Speaking of Shirai-san, you’re famous for your fondness of colours, especially green. Do you still have a fever? Shirai: Far from slowing down, it seems to be accelerating. Although it’s an inner colour, I also tried green hair colour. If my hair colour is green, my tension goes up. I’m a little nervous that one day my hair will be all green. The theme colours are different depending on the characters I play, so I managed to keep that in mind (laughs).
What are you spending your summer on? Shirai: I eat hard peaches every summer. I don’t like soft peaches, and I nibble on hard ones. My favourite is the cultivar called “Odoroki,” which is said to be very hard even after a long period of time. And this year, I’m also addicted to edamame. There was a plan to accumulate points and get gifts on the radio program, “Combatants will be dispatched!” It’s called “rokusake salt,” and it’s so delicious that it’s full of umami ingredients, and it’s enough to go with rice. I boiled edamame in salt and sprinkled it with more salt, and then ate and compared the edamame.
I think there are many people who would like to meet Shirai-san in person and get some energy. Shirai: I have fewer opportunities to meet face-to-face, but I would like to continue to deliver my appearance and voice through anime, distribution programs, YouTube, etc. I hope people will smile when they take it. I would be happy if you could take a breather and have an opportunity to laugh from the bottom of your heart.
Column: Recommended movies for long autumn nights: Sonata for good people
Set in East Berlin in 1984, “Sonata for Good People.” The main character, who pledges allegiance to the nation, installs a bugging device in the home of a writer suspected being anti-establishment to monitor his life, but the story begins to shake the main character’s heart.