Ryota Suzuki speaks in a calm tone that is pleasant to listen to. If you think about it, the appearance of laughing happily with “Hahaha!” A person with a mysterious charm, with a mixture of sex appeal and shyness. It was also connected to his ideal image of an actor.
What kind of year was 2021? Suzuki: The narration for the morning information program “Asa-chan!”, which I was in charge of for half a year from the end of March, is particularly impressive. It was a valuable experience because I think it would be impossible for my age and career to enter the studio and read the manuscript every day from Monday to Friday after 4 o’clock in the morning. In addition, it was a year that I was able to energetically work on animation works and song content.
In “Pirate Princess,” you play the important role of Yukimura, a young man who protects the main character, Fena. Suzuki: I’ve played cool characters like Yukimura, who doesn’t really show his emotions, a few times. That was the part that was decisively different from the past. Yukimura seems to only see Fena from the beginning to the end of the story (laughs), because he is a pure and earnest story. Even though he has strong feelings, he has to act. It was very difficult to get through that part but being able to take on the challenge of a new type of role was a great experience.
The character surrounding Fena and Yukimura is also unique. Suzuki: At first, I didn’t know much about the story, partly because it was an original work and recorded in a format similar to Presco. Even so, everyone used the character setting materials as clues to add ad-libs. Witnessing the playfulness of great seniors such as Hiroaki Hirata-san (role of Otto) and Manabu Muraji (role of Salman), I was surprised and impressed by their high level.
You played Red in your first starring work, “Banished from The Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in The Countryside.” Suzuki: Even though Red is the main character, he’s not the type to grow through the story. If anything, he was a calm, mature character who could see things from a bird’s-eye view, so it was easy for me to work with him. This is because I often feel that my acting lacks freshness.
Is it fresh? Is it the atmosphere that the newcomers can bring out? Suzuki: I can’t do that kind of thing anymore, so I feel like it’s easier to work with a character like Red, whose personality has been completed to some extent from the beginning, rather than a character who’s grown up. This is probably due to the quality of my voice, and since I was a newcomer, I have often been given the opportunity to play supporting roles. Originally, I think it would be ideal to play the main character first and then experience the supporting roles, but the way I stepped up was a little different from the people around me.
Supporting characters have different personalities, so you can train them. Suzuki: I agree. I have always wanted to be an actor like a chameleon, so I’m grateful that I was able to add colour to the work as a supporting character from the beginning. However, when I played the leading role this time, I found many things that I couldn’t see or understand unless I stood at the centre of the work, so it was great to be able to play the lead role at this time.
With that background in mind, what are your current strengths? Suzuki: As for the basics, I take pride in being able to compete with people in the same career and generation. Since I produce a voice, it is easy to control the voice. It goes without saying that the role is to speak with all one’s might, but even the role of squeezing the voice is to be able to speak stably so that what is being said can be conveyed. Also, I tend to watch comedy shows and variety shows on a regular basis, so I steal various tricks from those shows and use them as my weapons.
Isn’t there also a projectile that you cultivated in a supporting role? Suzuki: Maybe so. As long as you have a good understanding of the character and are able to express it well, I think it doesn’t have to be straightforward. You can use projectiles, or you can play with lines. When I look at people like Hirata-san and Muraharu-san in “Umi no Oujou,” and Kenjirou Tsuda-san (who plays Kurokawa), who I worked with in “Sabikui Bisco,” I realized that they are established as characters. I feel the individuality of that person that no one else has. I want that kind of individuality, and I feel like I’ve been searching for it a long time.
The TV program “Sabikui Bisco,” which you just mentioned, will start airing in January, and you will play the main character, Bisco Akaboshi. Suzuki: Although it is based on a light novel, it feels like a shounen manga. I had a strong desire to play Bisco, but… it was a time when I was quite smouldering because my mental health was declining due to the corona virus, and I had a hard time passing the audition. To be honest, I even thought, “If I don’t get accepted by Bisco, I might have to think about whether I should continue in this industry.” Under such circumstances, I received the news that I had passed the exam, so it became a work that I have a strong attachment to.
By meeting the role of Bisco, you were able to take another step forward. Suzuki: I really think so. Also, after playing Bisco, I feel that the characters look a little different. Bisco is an impulsive character. I have a base of 3 years as an active member of the Broadcasting Committee, so when I see the lines written in the script, I want to convey them as written information before my emotions. But in Bisco there are a lot of lines that can’t be done with that kind of technology, and you have to act impulsively, so I feel like I’ve become able to capture the lines emotionally.
After 20 years of various thoughts, what kind of year do you want to have next? Suzuki: I have no choice but to do my best without changing my job (laughs), but I would like to enrich my private life a little more. I want to enrich my humanity by touching various things, not just staying at home and giving input.
What kind of input do you have in your family? Suzuki: I see more and more live-action movies because recent anime works require more natural acting. I especially like Yuki Yamada’s plays. It’s not the “projectile weapon” I mentioned earlier, but he has a unique personality. His voice is also distinctive and attractive, and the way he gets into the role is amazing and persuasive. He is an actor that I would like to refer to.
Column: Happy Holidays
When I go back to my parents’ house on New Year’s Day, it is a customary event for my relatives to get together and eat sukiyaki. In addition, my grandfather peeled crabs, and my grandmother and aunt cooked delicious New Year dishes. I’m really looking forward to New Year’s because the food is extravagant (laughs).