Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Interview with Ayahi Takagaki from CUT Magazine August 2015 issue
Chris Yukine is a character who isn't very good at conveying her feelings with words, so she is always putting on a brave face. However, it's because of this that her true feelings come flowing out from her songs. Ayahi Takagaki brings the role to life with a glowing expression on her face. We asked her to talk with us about her experiences and the bonds she's formed since working on the series from the beginning.
Ayahi: When season 3 started up the first thing we did was have a meeting with the director and staff and it was oddly very emotional for me (laugh). The recording sessions for Symphogear are very unique and at first it was difficult for me to figure out how much of the songs should be affected by the character's actions and how much of them should be conveyed through proper singing. The balance of those flavors, so to speak, was achieved successfully through lots of trial and error between me and the staff. We all took that step collectively and being involved in a project that brings so many people together like that was very emotional, and so at that meeting it brought back a lot of memories.
And Chris accompanied you through all of that, so how do you identify with her now?
Ayahi: Well my feelings toward Chris have ended up becoming just like a parent's. She doesn't know how to rely on others and when I see that I worry about her. She grew up through a painful childhood so I've always wanted her to finally find some happiness. When I read the script and she started saying things like "Thank you" and "I'm counting on you" or inviting her friends to stay at her place, and so on, I was just so glad (laugh). At first she didn't have anyone that she could say those kinds of things to and she was crying in back alleyways getting drenched in rain (laugh), so now I just feel like patting her on the head and saying "good job, you made it."
That change in her was presented throughout her character songs as well.
Ayahi: I personally think that character songs are a very special part of Japan's anime culture. They can include things that couldn't be in the main story, or emotions that the character can only convey through singing. If you listen to them they are an essential supplement to the story itself. Even when I read the lyrics for the first time, I gained a deeper understanding of Chris as a person. Particularly in Symphogear the music is such an essentially part of the series, which is one of the strong points that makes it so appealing. So it's not just simply "singing" but rather it's "acting" while singing, because the character's personality comes through the song just like a monologue. Of course there are times when I think a very certain technique is necessary to achieve that, but it's not something I can do as myself, but rather it comes to life thanks to Chris. As myself there are certain sounds that I can't make, but Chris can take me to her musical castle and through her vocal chords I can make the songs happen.
What is something you gained from your work on Symphogear?
Ayahi: Passion. Recently during recording I got so hot I felt like steam was going to come out of my head. Recording sessions where you get covered in sweat like that are pretty rare (laugh). I'm getting the chance to experience real heated and passionate emotions thanks to Symphogear. Actually, after season 2 we changed recording studios and the new studio prepared all new equipment specifically for the Symphogear GX sessions. They said it was so "we could create an ideal environment to better record the mixture of singing and acting." It's just such a wonderful place to work that I feel I have to give it my best 100% of the time.