Daisuke Ono (Voice Animage Plus January 2018)

小野 大輔

For Ono-san, this will be the first tie-up with the opening song, but what was the process behind the decision? Ono: After it was decided that I would be playing the role of Keigo Saikawa in “Gakuen Babysitters”, I was asked if I would like to sing the OP song. It’s a very warm and wonderful story, so even though I’m happy just to be able to appear in it, I was nervous about whether it would be okay for me to sing the song that symbolized the OP. Actually, I’ve been saying “I want to sing a OP song” for a long time, and it really came true.

What was your impression when you first heard the song? Ono: It was full of kindness and warmth, and I thought it was a happy song. It was the same feeling I had when I read the original manga, and I was moved by that. For me, the opening songs are the ones that immediately made me think of the work when I hear it and bring back the excitement I felt when I saw the work. I felt that this song was exactly like that.

Did you have any requests for the song? Ono: I asked the golden duo of composer Takuya Watanabe-san and lyricist Aki Hata-san, who have been working on my music for a long time, to produce this song. I had faith that they would definitely make a song that closely followed the work. That’s why I didn’t make any specific requests, and the songs that came out as a result far exceeded my expectations.

What was the recording like? Ono: I felt very happy when singing. There’s a part at the beginning that says, “I’m happy when you smile.” That’s why I felt that this is a song about “Gakuen Babysitters”, and at the same time, it’s a song about me. I was conscious of singing so that I could get close to the song. It was smooth as a whole, but I recorded it by repeating retakes quite carefully until I was satisfied.

The MV also has a very warm atmosphere with the puppets. Ono: The first plan was that I was the cameraman. It was about becoming a singer and filming someone’s happiness. I thought that was good too, but I wanted the MV to be close to the work. At the time, the director gave me a hint of an idea, “Bring me a video of baby who stopped crying.” I got the idea from that, and it took the form of co-starring with puppets. At the filming site, everything you see is already a gentle world! The backgrounds are not drawn but made of soft materials such as velour. Moreover, the production of the puppets was handled by a different artist than the background production, but I heard that such an extravagant request is rare. In addition, the professional puppeteering team is in charge, and the emotions are beautifully expressed with just the movements. When I looked at the puppets on display, they were just dolls, but as soon as they started moving them, they came to life. It was performed with the feeling of being at home.

Did you have a script for your performance with the puppets? Ono: That’s all it’s about. There are explanations such as, “In such a situation, this kind of person will appear,” but you don’t know what kind of play you will do until you try it. However, the puppeteer manipulates the puppet while saying lines in such a low voice that it cannot be heard within the surroundings. The lines are also ad-libs that the puppeteer thought up for the scene, but it seems that the puppet’s performance can be more emotional if they say it out loud. So, there are scenes when I tried to speak out. Even though I was allowed to operate the puppet for a little while, my left hand felt like it was going to cramp (laughs). I really had an experience that I can’t do anywhere else.

The jacket has a mysterious impression. Ono: This is also a slightly new challenge. At first glance, it looks like they are filming on a flat surface, but actually I am lying on the floor and filming from directly above. It’s a technique often used when taking pictures of babies, so it’s linked to the work as well. Rather than sending out a plan that I decided to “want to do myself”, the staff responded with all their might to “Isn’t it possible to do this?” I was really happy that it was such an amazing thing.

What kind of song is the coupling “Take Nigh Safari?” Ono: I don’t know how to explain this (laughs). As a first step, I wanted to make a song like the song played on NHK’s Minna no Uta. Even if it’s a coupling song, I think it’s good to have a song that is somehow connected to the work, something that children will enjoy. That’s how this song came up. Actually, the original title was “Maji Pane” (laughs). But even though it’s an unprecedented melody, it’s also a song that’s an extension of the dance songs I’ve sung up until now. Also, all of the characters in “Gakuen Babysitters” have animal names, and this song also uses animals as motifs, so there’s a subtle link between them. It has many meanings, but when you listen to it, you don’t really understand it. It’s fun.

The Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka tour will start form the end of June. This is your first time on tour, but will you be challenging yourself to new things on stage? Ono: At the last Budokan solo live, I was finally able to be positive about singing under my own name. From there, I feel that the things I can express are expanding. Now, I feel like I can do anything that I can confidently say, “This is Daisuke Ono’s live performance.” It was unthinkable when I started my career as an artist, but at the Budokan live there were songs that overflowed from the set list and I couldn’t sing them. So, on the tour, I’m sure I’ll sing songs that I never even thought of. Nothing has been decided yet, but I would be happy if you could look forward to it.


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