Aoi Ichikawa will turn 30 on his birthday on October 2nd, a few days after the release date of this magazine, and the final episode of the TV anime “Sonny Boy” will come to an end. About 5 years after his debut, Ichikawa-san, who has been steadily building his career, talked about his real feelings at the end of his 20s.
“Sonny Boy” is your second lead role. What is the difference from when you first starred, such as your attitude as chairman? Ichikawa: At the time of “Just Because,” I didn’t know what to do because it was just after my debut. I feel like I was able to do it without worrying. But I didn’t really feel like I was the chairperson. By recording with a small number of people with whom I have a conversation, the other people are also fixed, so I feel that I will create this work with those people.
Things to keep in mind when playing, etc. Ichikawa: Shingo Natsume-san wants you to do it naturally. I received an order from the director not to read too much into the script. After that, I thought, don’t think too much. Normally, when I receive a script, I would read it in and check it, but with this work, I was conscious of not overthinking it as much as possible.
That sounds difficult. I agree. Ichikawa: I tried not to think about it, but since it was an original work that I didn’t know what was going to happen, I had questions. However, Nagara was a child who was obedient to what he was given and has a strong attitude of accepting, so while I was in the same position as him, I acted by accepting what I was given as it was.
The final broadcast will be around the same time as the release of this magazine. Ichikawa: What I learned about the ending, I thought, “Are you serious?” (laughs). I think that various impressions are born depending on the people who see it. I think there were a lot of impressions up until the final episode, but I’m sure there will be many different interpretations even after watching it. I wonder… I’m looking forward to everyone’s impressions from now on.
How did you feel when you finished recording? Ichikawa: It was strangely sunny. People can live by doing it. I think there are a lot of things in life that can’t be done. I’m having fun, but other people don’t think I’m having fun. But in the end, playing Nagara made me realize that I shouldn’t be bound by other people’s evaluations, and that I should value my own judgement. It’s a feeling that’s hard to put into words, but I feel like it’s made my life a little easier.
In your experiences so far, do you feel that you have grown or changed? Ichikawa: I feel like I’m less nervous and have more time to enjoy myself. While having fun, I was able to have a kind of play where I tried to approach things in a certain way. I still get nervous when I’m on site for the first time, but I’m no longer dominated by nervousness.
Then, on the contrary, what do you keep in mind so as not to change? Ichikawa: It means that you should cherish each and every role you’ve been given. No matter what role I play, there is a process in which the character has lived, and I think that it is there, so I always think that I should not be negligent.
It’s hard to face each other politely when it comes to characters with little information. Ichikawa: I think it’s difficult to understand anything. I don’t know if even my family understands me properly, and I think that only I can understand myself. That’s why I don’t want to be the one who decides what the character is like, and I try to think about what kind of side he has. Right now, I enjoy playing while imagining a number of different scenes and searching for the parts that are most convincing to me and the parts that I feel comfortable with.
You turn 30 on your birthday this year. Ichikawa: My 30-year-old friends tell me to come quickly, but I’m not looking forward to it at all (laughs). In my mind, I had an image of a more mature adult. I’ve lived a rather uneventful life, so I’m worried about whether I’ll be able to turn 30 at this rate. But when I turn 30, those ties will disappear, and it will be easier. Everyone says it will.
I would like to confirm for myself if this is true. Ichikawa: As we approach October 2nd, I’m excited to see what kind of feelings will be born (laughs).
What do you wish you had done in your 20s? Ichikawa: It’s “muscle training.” All you must do is train your body properly. I think this every year, but I never do it.
In an interview with the site KIKI (January 2020), you said that you started muscle training…? Ichikawa: I started out, but after that it took off, and this year in particular was a year where I didn’t push myself too hard. Basically, I tend to lead a lazy life, and at some point I’ll watch my sugar intake or do muscle training, but after a month or so, I’ll say, “I did my best,” and quit. It is repeated with high frequency (laughs).
So, you can’t lose your passion for theatre? Ichikawa: It’s partly because I ended up getting a job, but I guess you can’t really get serious about things other than acting.
Then, what is the charm of theatre that makes you take it seriously? Ichikawa: What’s so appealing… I don’t like myself very much, do I? I didn’t really like my face, personality, or my voice, but when I acted, I was able to forget myself, and I feel that being able to be someone other than myself was a charm. In the course of doing this work, I received more and more compliments on my voice, so little by little I came to like it.
Do you have an ideal 30-year-old image? Ichikawa: It’s a dream that won’t come true because I can only grow a moustache that looks like downy hair. As far as acting is concerned, I would like to try a role or a job that I have never played before. I also want to do planetarium narration and audio guides for exhibitions. I love planetariums because I can be alone, I can relax, and I also like looking at the stars. I think it would be fun if the narration was done. I’ve heard that voice actors are often used for voice guidance, so I’d be happy if I could give it a try when I’ve gotten a little bit better.
Please give a message to your fans. Ichikawa: Thank you for your continued support. Since last year, I have had the opportunity to read aloud, and the number of letters I have received has increased. I’m very grateful that you are willing to spare time for me, even though I have to be careful about travelling due to the corona crisis. It’s the same with radio and my work and being able to feel something about what I’ve expressed and receiving feedback gives me vitality. I can only repay you with a play, but I will do my best to repay you, so please support me as much as you can.
Column: Recommended movies for long autumn nights: Crayon Shin-chan The Glorious Yakiniku Road that calls the storm
Since it’s autumn, the autumn of appetite, “Yakinikurodo.” I like all “Crayon Shin-chan,” but this work is attractive because it shakes off the jokes. I tend to think about dark things at night, so I hope you can sleep with a laugh while watching the movie.