Yoshitaka Yamaya appeared in many works and events this year as well. The appearance of always devoting himself to the character warms the hearts of those who see it. Looking back on many activities in 2019, we asked him to talk about his expectations for the new year.
This year is already over, and what a year it was. Yamaya: Looking back, I feel that I was given the opportunity to do many things this year. As I get older, I feel like a year is getting short and shorter (laughs). It will be released in January next year, but “Digimon Adventure Last Evolution Kizuna” was a big work for me. I was very happy just thinking that I might be able to appear in the work that I was obsessed with when I was a child after taking the audition. When I was asked to do so, the pressure was so great that I almost ran away (laughs). Partly because it’s a big project, but also because I’ve never played a role previously played by someone else. I inherited the role of Iori Hida from Megumi Urawa-san, a great senior. That great senior is playing a partner Digimon next to me. Of course, she was definitely reliable, and she was a very kind person, and she pulled me along.
So, did you receive any instruction to play the grown-up Iori? Yamaya: Do, I didn’t. During the post-recording, Director Taguchi-san and everyone in the production team told me, “Don’t forget the feeling you had during the audition. Since the audition was for everyone to face “Digimon” once again, interpret it, and submit it, I trust you guys.” As the title suggests, the atmosphere was one of cherishing the bonds of those who were involved in the work.
“Hoshiai no Sora,” which is currently airing, is also a hot topic. Yamaya: I was surprised because it was completely different from what I imagined from that picture. Each of the characters has their own troubles, such as their home environment. I play the role of Yuta Asuka, who is X-gender and part of the LGBT community (sexual minority). It was very difficult for him to act because he was still a child who didn’t know where to categorize himself. The main character, Maki Katsuragi, who appears there, is the first person who understands Yuta. “Isn’t that normal? I know someone like that, too.” If you look it up on the internet, you will find that there are people just like that, but I think it was very reassuring to hear that there are people close to me. It’s not a fantasy, it’s everywhere in today’s society, but we don’t have the opportunity to know about it. I think it’s a great work that takes up such a topic.
“Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth” where you play Natsuki Sugano, was also a noteworthy work. Yamaya: The original app game is very complete. At first glance, it looks like it’s for women, but it’s fun for men too. I want to make anime with a drama taste. Everyone was enthusiastic, and when I saw the video, it really felt like a live-action mystery drama. At the post-recording site, Tomokazu Sugita-sam, who plays the role of Itsuki Aoyama, took care of all the cast and led everyone. All the actors were highly motivated, and it was a very rewarding work.
And from January, the anime “A3!”, which is also based on an app game, will start. Yamaya: It is a work that makes me feel the magnitude of Kantoku’s (fans) love. Whenever we receive a new scenario, record it, record a character song, or perform a live performance, we give it our all, but we’re always amazed by Kantoku’s enthusiasm. This work is one in which the characters grow and age. The summer troupe’s Muku Sakisaki, who I play, is originally a cute boy, but he wants to become cool and become a prince someday, so he’s learning a lot. I’m sure he’ll continue to grow as they perform more and more in the future.
You will also appear in “If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die”. It’s based on a very popular manga. Yamaya: This role I play the role of an idol otaku. Up until now, I have acted as an idol, but this is the first time I’m supporting them. At first, I thought it would be okay because there were so many things I didn’t know, but when I tried it, it turned out to be a lot of fun. Idol circumstances are so severe that it was a surprise. We were also given the roles of idols, but I felt that we were given the opportunity to do so in a very warm environment (laughs). I think it will change the way you look at idols. I’ve come to think that top idols are people who put their blood, sweat and tears into their efforts.
What kind of otaku are the acting group? Yamaya: I’m an underground idol otaku, but compared to Gachiota’s Eripiyo and Kumasa-san, I have a so-called serious love. I want to get closer to idols and hopefully date them. While the two of them devote their entire lives to being idols, Motoi’s sense is close to that of someone who isn’t an idol otaku, so I was able to perform without thinking too hard.
You are active in a wide range of fields, but do you still have the desire to be a voice actor. Yamaya: It doesn’t change. I think the ideal would be to focus on my work as a voice actor, dubbing animations and foreign works, and having my work recognized, and then enjoying other activities as well. I’m still not good at showing my face, but in this day and age, there’s nothing I can do about avoiding it. I want to make it as difficult as possible.
It’s a busy day, how do you take a breather? Yamaya: I like walking around town to see furniture and interior decoration in an unfamiliar city. I’ve also been into foreign movies and dramas for a long time. I’ve seen popular series like “Stranger Things,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Game of Thrones.” I’m currently watching the Avenger series. It’s a popular series, but I’ve never seen it before. There are too many people, and I wondered if there were too many differences in individual abilities (laughs). But I wanted to know why they were so popular, so now I’m watching each hero’s work one by one.
I would like to ask you to share your resolutions for next year for all of the fans who support you. Yamaya: In today’s world, there are so many fun things to do, and there are people who like voice actors and anime, and there are people who like me. Sometimes I wonder, “Why me?”, but people come to events, listen to radio, and find me saying, “You appeared in that work.” Just hearing those voices gives me energy. I’m not a diligent person, so I haven’t been able to post much on Twitter (laughs), but I’d like to continue to cherish opportunities to interact with fans. I hope I can tweet as much as I can next year!
Column: My Christmas!
I would like to live in a house with a decorated Christmas tree. The ideal would be a big tree like “Home Alone” with lots of presents under it. Rather than green, I’d rather have the feeling of falling snow. It would be great if I have a dog too!