Kentarou Kumagai (Voice Newtype Vol. 77 2020)

熊谷 健太郎

Happy, depressed, but he’s still going to do it. For Kentarou Kumagai, the job of being a voice actor seems like a fateful relationship. Seriously, what is he thinking about now? the more I listen to it, the more interesting it becomes.

How did you spend your time during the stay-at home period? Kumagai: I spent a lot more time at home, so I read manga and books for the first time in a while. It was before the recording of “Ikebukuro West Gate Park,” so I reread the original work and read the long series. If you think about it, don’t dare to think about anything, try to make time. Try not to think too much while touching stories and entertainment. Even so, as time passed, the stress of not being able to act grew, I was spending my time thinking that I want to go out to the set and act as soon as possible.

Did you have any new beginning during this time? Kumagai: I bought an ab roller. I like exercising, but it became difficult for me to play sports. But I felt that my physical strength was declining, so I used the abdominal muscle roller to do sit-ups, and then resumed squats. I still continue to exercise at home.

Winter starts in October. You will play Omi Fushimi, it will be the story of the Autumn Troupe of which you’re a member of. Kumagai: Animated three years after is started as an app game. What I felt when I played Omi again in the anime was that his kindness was a casual kindness. I don’t try to force it on you. People around me call me “Oka-san”, and I’m conscious of being considerate and kind, but if I go too far, I will no longer be a retainer. During the recording of the anime, I became aware of the exquisite sense of distance that Omi does unconsciously so as not to make the other person feel uncomfortable.

I’m looking forward to the hard-boiled atmosphere unique to the Autumn Troupe. Kumagai: For those of you who have been working with game apps since the early days, I think you will be able to hold your love. When I read the anime scenario again, I was also warmed by the distance between the members. (At first, Banri Settsu was a character that didn’t get hot, like, “I can’t afford to do this.” You know, don’t you?

In the anime “Ikebukuro West Gate Park” starting in October, you will play the main character Makoto. How did you feel when the decision was made? Kumagai: After the audition, I was very happy when I was contacted that I had been selected for the role of Makoto. When I got the news on the phone, I even said to myself, “Okay!” The original novel is really loved by many people and it is a wonderful work that is still in progress. The popular drama version still has many fans. Since it is such a work, there is a lot of pressure.

What kind of character is Makoto? Kumagai: He is kind and will not refuse if asked. He usually works at his parents’ Majima fruit and vegetable store, and someone shows up with a problem. Surrounding him are many outstanding figures such as Takashi, the king of the G Boys, and Kyoichi of the Red Angels. Compared to that, I think Makoto is a normal person, but I think he is also not normal. What I personally think is amazing that he never gives up. He never stops thinking. Whenever he faces a problem, he is always thinking of a solution. He has excellent communication skills and is very personable. Of course, there are some bad points, but even that is lovely. It’s not cool or perfect. It is very difficult to act.

It sounds like you’re thinking a lot while acting. Kumagai: If you don’t think about it anyway, you can’t do anything. Not all emotions are written in the script. There were many moments when I thought too much and got stuck and couldn’t get out of it. On the other hand, not thinking about it is also wrong. There are places where you do it by intuition, and places where you think about it. I would like to be able to control it more subconsciously. Thankfully, it is a worksite with many challenges every time.

It’s a work that can get good assignments. Kumagai: That’s right. Every time I go, there are walls and problems arise. I’m very grateful to be able to feel that while talking as the main character. I think it’s a feeling that can only be experienced now.

In addition, you have continued to appear in popular works such as “The God of High School,” and “Fugou Keiji: Balance Unlimited”, and “Get Up! Get Live!” Kumagai: In “Get Up! Get Live”, I play a young man who aspires to become a comedian. The more you do it, the more you want it. So far, I’ve actually done a live skit without a scipt, and I’ve also been able to do a radio program with Youhei Azakami-san, who plays Ren Kitami, my partner. We started bumping into each other. Even when we’re matching ideas, I’ve come to be able to say that I want to do this, and that this part should be done this way. So, there are moments when the air gets tangy. But I don’t feel any discomfort. That’s how I finished my training, and when I say goodbye, I feel refreshed.

It seems like a really funny combination. Kumagai: It’s a relationship. It’s just like you said. Even so, when I look at the works that have been broadcast recently, I think that the types f roles are wonderfully different (laughs). Han Daewi of “God of High School” isn’t the type to show strong emotions, but he’s actually passionate and care about his friends, and the reason he fights in the first place is because of his best friend. On the other hand, Shinnosuke Kamei, “Fugou Keiji: Balance Unlimited”, is a detective who does not have much enthusiasm for his work. When I interacted with Kato (Haru) played by Mamoru Miyano-san, I was even given the direction, “With a feeling of no respect.” A frivolous man who treats even seniors roughly, I think it’s really a blessing to be able to work with such diverse characters. I believe that all these things are due to relationships with other people.

What are your thoughts on theatre now? Kumagai: Everyone says, “There is no right answer in acting,” and I don’t think it’s possible to simply talk about good or bad. But I want to get better. There are times when I think, “Am I trying to do well like that?” I still don’t have an answer for that. If you have the technology, you can expand the range of things you can do, but I think it would be wrong to rely on technology alone. I don’t feel that my skills have improved, but I have to be better than when I debuted. However, I sometimes think that I was acting better in my first year.

Sounds like a Zen question. Kumagai: I’ve said similar in an interview before, but at that time my worries weren’t clear. I’m a negative person, but since that time I’ve been blessed with more connections, and I’ve been able to entrust my voice to various works. Every time I touch on a part of the character’s life, I’m troubled by this and that. People around me sometimes gave me advice, saying, “What I’m worrying about right now is what I need to do in order to take the next step. The road may suddenly open up, so it’s okay to keep worrying about it now.” In the past, worrying itself made me uneasy, but now I strangely don’t feel scared of worrying. Be positive and be negative, I’ve become that kind of person (laughs).

Column: Little happiness

I really like leather products such as the gloves and leather shoes used in grass baseball. I feel happy when I’m innocently polishing leather. I also enjoy the time spent cleaning things I love, and the sense of accomplishments I get when I finish polishing them is irresistible.


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