Hospitality with warm dishes in the cold winter. Kentarou Kumagai who plays Hideo Akuno from “The Idolmaster SideM” and Theo Cornaro “Grancrest Senki” that started in January, appear in this magazine’s gravure for the first time! Wearing an apron in the kitchen. It seems that he will stand and make lunch.
In today’s shoot, you took on the challenge of a cooking gravure, but do you usually cook, Kumagai-san? Kumagai: Since I started living on my own, I’ve made curry less often, since I can make it ahead of time! My brother and I shared the household chores and occasionally cooked simple meals. I think it’s fun to cook even if you don’t get many chances to do so. Maybe it’s because I’m doing it by eye, but I don’t have a good sense of seasoning (laughs).
It’s been 5 years since you moved to Tokyo from Okinawa, Kumagai-san. What made you want to become a voice actor? Kumagai: When I was in junior high school, I happened to watch a music program with Mamoru Miyano’s MV. I thought, “This person’s songs are wonderful,” and that’s how I got to know Miyano-sans’s as an artist. Later I was watching TV at home, “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” was being broadcast. I found Miyano-san’s name in the credits, and that’s when I first learned about the profession of voice actor. From there, it didn’t take long for me to think, “I want to be a voice actor!” What I want to be in the future has changed, but if I were a voice actor, I think I would be able to do all the jobs I wanted to do through the role (laughs). After that, I researched about voice actors, read the lines from the manga and tried to play them myself.
It was good, wasn’t it? After that, you made your dream come true and debuted as a voice actor in 2015. Kumagai:This is just a selfish opinion of mine, but for me, a “dream” is a situation where I don’t know how to achieve it, and once I see a path to that dream, the dream becomes a goal. I think it will change. So, the dream I envisioned when I was in junior high school was achieved. Now that my goal has changed, and I’ve been able to do voice work little by little, I’m able to dream again. Do your best to turn that dream into a goal and achieve your goal. I kept repeating it. I think it’s good.
In that case, what are your current dreams and goals? Kumagai: My dream is to be active for the rest of my life. I want to be in touch with voice work and play until I die. My goal is to increase the number of works that I can be involved in as a regular. Because I was able to experience the importance and difficulty of an anonymous role, I was able to live deeper in the work as a character. It’s good.
From here, I would like to as you about your performances. In “Idolmaster SideM”, former civil servant unit “Frame”, you play Hideo Akuno. Kumagai: During the audition, I was given the opportunity to play multiple characters, but Hideo Akuno was the one that I felt most comfortable with. But I was overwhelmed because there were so many people auditioning. I felt like I didn’t get many reactions during my turn, and I was also not good at singing, so I went home feeling depressed that way. So, when I got the news that I got the role, I was more surprised than happy (laughs). When I received the recording script, I finally felt that I was going to play Hideo. Hideo is the character I have known for the longest time, and it was also the first character I auditioned for, so I have a very strong attachment to him, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with him in the future. In the 3rd live tour starting in February, the level is higher than last time. I want you to see the appearance at the top. I want to make sure that all of the producers who came to see the performance were the best they’ve ever seen.
What do you value when playing the role of Omi Fushimi in the app game “A3!”? Kumagai: Omi is the mother of the Autumn Troupe, which he belongs to, and the “Mankai Company,” he is a character with a faint temperament. I act while thinking that it is good. Also, I am conscious of the backbone that is mentioned in the story. Actually, when I first saw Omi’s illustrations and materials, I thought, “Is it okay for me?” I think that many people imagine Omi to have a low voice, partly because of his rather good physique, but my own voice is neither low nor high. So, I was worried that I might not be able to express the character of Fushimi Omi, who is not close to his natural voice, but a lower and more core voice, and I remember thinking about several patterns for the voice during the first recording. This is the same for any role, but I want you to feel that character is speaking, not Kentarou Kumagai. I want to erase myself and play a role. So, I think it would be great if you could say that you didn’t realize that Kumagai was in charge of the voice.
Furthermore, in the anime, “Grancrest Senki” that started in January, you’re in charge of the main character, Theo Cornaro! Kumagai: I was a little embarrassed when I read Ryo Mizuno-sensei’s work for the first time when I went to the audition. As I read, I thought to myself that I might be able to grow with him. So, now I’m very happy to be able to play Theo.
The day before the dubbing for the first episode, I was so nervous that I couldn’t sleep at all (laughs). At the drinking table, when I told Sakurai-san that I would like to join him in “Grancrest Senki”, I spilled out all my nervousness and anxiety. Then he said, “Just do what you can, and you’ll be fine.” And when I actually met him at the site, he smiled and said, “You’ve started.” That made me think, “I have to do it anyway!”
2018 was when the relationship with wonderful works began. This year’s goal was “Live!” It was written on coloured paper, what do you think?” Kumagai: I want to spend the good health, and I want the characters I play to be livelier. What if I could live in the work as the characters instead of Kentarou Kumagai? I would like to do a play again this year and live with the characters myself.
Kumagai-san chose the outfit for the gravure in the kitchen full of warm sunlight. He said that his clothes were completely black, but he was also dressed in bright colours.
When photographing food, he deftly cuts vegetables with his skilful knife and picks up raw carrots, saying, “I like vegetables.” He loves white rice and vegetables and prefers to meat. Since he’s tall, they took care of the composition of the photo, such as stooping down so that his head would not be obscured by the range hood on top of the stove, and the shooting went smoothly.
Warm cream stew, delicious bread and fresh salad. “It’s delicious!” said Kumagai-san. In the interview, Kumagai-san talked a lot about himself and his play. In the winter, he wanted to eat mandarin oranges under the kotatsu, which he couldn’t do in Okinawa.