See what Asami Seto and Rina Hidaka had to say about their roles!
This piece was originally published on WebNewtype and is republished on Crunchyroll News with permission from KADOKAWA.
©2019 Aneko Yusagi, KADOKAWA/Shield Hero production committee
The Rising of the Shield Hero is a currently airing popular TV anime series. Here we’ll be presenting an interview with Asami Seto, who voices Raphtalia, and Rina Hidaka, who voices Filo. In the first part we’ll talk to the voice actors about the story up until the turning point that occurs in Episode 4 and about the appeal of Raphtalia’s character.
Let’s look back at the beginning of the first half of the series, I’d like to ask specifically about the story as it revolves around Raphtalia. First, what were your impressions of Episode 1?
Hidaka: Filo doesn’t appear in those episodes, so I think I looked at it the same way as the viewers thinking, “So this is how Naofumi’s personality was from the beginning,” and “Wow, Myne is awful!”
Seto: You just can’t help but feel sorry for Naofumi.
Hidaka: I was really surprised by Myne and the other heroes, it’s rare for characters to be that infuriating (laughs).
Seto: Yeah, it makes your heart hurt because Naofumi was just looking forward to adventuring in this other world; why does he have to have so many awful things happen to him like this?
Hidaka: In my line of work I get to be involved with a lot of different anime, but there are very few where you’re surrounded by enemies to such a degree. However, there is the word “rising” in the title of the anime, so I look forward to seeing how Naofumi will prove himself to everyone.
Raphtalia appears at the end of Episode 1 and in Episode 2 she becomes Naofumi’s partner and we get to see her maturing.
Seto: At first Raphtalia is such a young girl and it wasn’t the type of role that I do very often, so when it finally came time to watch it on air I felt kind of embarrassed (laughs). But I was relieved after the staff told me that the show was receiving positive feedback.
Hidaka: Raphtalia was so cute! By the time I entered postrecording she’d already grown up into this cool, reliable old sister figure, so seeing her injured, weak and experiencing trauma was very sad but also a totally different experience.
Seto: That’s true, in Episode 2 Raphtalia has a lot of scenes where she’s scared, and I wondered to myself why does this girl have to go through such awful things?
Hidaka: But for all she suffered, it just made her look that much cuter when she started eating her kids’ meal and wiggling her tail.
Seto: I love that scene! Not just Raphtalia, Naofumi is great in that scene too. He doesn’t just feed her, he also gives her a ball too, it made me feel like despite the fact that his heart is dark and closed off, he still has kindness left and it gave me hope for their future.
Actually, in the script of the scene where she’s eating the kids’ meal there were stage directions that said, “Say it very cutely.” It was where Raphtalia was asked, “Does it taste good?” And she answers back, “Yes!”
Hidaka: This series really raises the bar, doesn’t it?
Seto: I remember feeling an incredible amount of pressure.
Was there anything in particular you had in mind when you were acting as the outwardly grown-up Raphtalia?
Seto: When she matures and her relationship with Naofumi deepens, she has this particularly overbearing motherlike quality that comes out. At first Naofumi was the one saving her all the time, but now she’s the one prioritizing him over herself. I wanted to make sure and maintain that motherly aspect.
Once she matures, her and Naofumi grow really close to one another, don’t they?
Seto: Of course she still has those scars and moments of anxiety left from when she was younger, but her feelings of love and loyalty toward Naofumi steadily grow stronger. That isn’t distinctly expressed in the character’s lines, so I hoped to demonstrate her level of affection and attachment by being conscious of the distance between them and the pacing of their conversations.
Hidaka: You’re really amazing, Seto-chan. The same goes for Kaito Ishikawa as well, but when words like “Yes” appear in the script you don’t just act them as-is, you personally ask the staff and make your own proposals like, “What’s the character’s intention as they’re saying this line?” “Can I try doing it this way?” Seeing both of you do that was very inspiring for me.
On that note, was there something that particularly stood out to you in your interactions with the staff?
Hidaka: Raphtalia’s reaction toward Naofumi, right?
Seto: That’s right! After Naofumi says something to her Raphtalia reacts with an “?” and I couldn’t figure out if she was responding that way because she understood what he meant, or if she was responding that way because she didn’t.
Hidaka: For the most part actors just take those lines for granted and perform them. Seto-chan, however, would suddenly ask, “Is Raphtalia reacting this way because she understands?” The director’s answer was something we would’ve never even have thought of, so we were glad she asked.
Seto: Ultimately, Naofumi used words that don’t exist in this other world, so I did Raphtalia’s reaction in a way that was like, “What is Naofumi saying?”
Hidaka: It’s still the same line but the feelings going into it are different, and I thought to myself, “Seto is as amazing as ever!”
Seto: The staff have to keep an eye on a bunch of different characters, whereas we basically only have to deal with one of them. In which case, I think it’s natural that the staff wouldn’t realize some aspects, so I think it’s important for us to respect each other as we exchange opinions during the creation of the series.
Alright then, so how was the climax in the first part during Episodes 3 and 4?
Seto: I was happy to see Raphtalia grow so much more than she did at first, but as you know from Episode 4, Naofumi didn’t actually realize she had matured until then and that was shocking. It made me realize just how much he’d closed his heart off.
Hidaka: I was surprised at the way Raphtalia matured. Not just her outer appearance, but emotionally she’d become stronger too. I was happy to see that such a frail girl had become so strong-willed.
Seto: But there is one mistake I’ve noticed. I meant to voice Raphtalia as being frail, but right from the start she had this unwavering quality to her, more so than I intended.
Hidaka: Personally, it looked very well-balanced to me. It was true that after Naofumi took her into his care she was immediately terrified all the time, but I think from the beginning she was distinct and had this latent potential to be a very strong-willed girl, so it actually felt natural to me.
Seto: I’m so happy to hear that! It’s true that when her father was holding her on his lap, telling her the story of the Shield Hero, she readily expressed her own feelings. That aspect of her personality might be connected to her motherliness (laughs).
How was the duel in episode 4?
Seto: Ugh… Motoyasu.
Hidaka: Yeah, it was absolutely awful!
Seto: Because he believed everything that Myne said.
Hidaka: At least realize that Myne was using magic!
(laughs) You both seem to have really hated it.
Seto: I’m going to be frank and just come out and say it, it got under my skin (laughs). Ren and Itsuki acknowledged the cheating, but Motoyasu couldn’t completely bring himself to believe it.
Hidaka: I thought he seemed like such a child.
Seto: I could understand if he was still in his teens, but Motoyasu was the oldest at 21 years-old. It made me think, “Okay, now you” (laughs).
Hidaka: It was really unfortunate (laughs). The character’s doing this because he has a strong sense of justice, so it’s not like he wants to show contempt for anyone, he’s not a bad person. As a result, there’s this staggering sense of disappointment!
Seto: But gradually even the unfortunate aspects of Motoyasu start to grow on you.
Hidaka: Right! There are parts of him that you start to find adorable.
Seto: That’s why [Makoto Takahashi] looked so cute during postrecording when he was acting out his character.
Hidaka: He was trying his utmost to become his character.
Seto-san, you sing the insert song in Episode 4 called Falling Through Starlight, yes?
Seto: I was so happy that they used the song for such an emotional scene. Although it was played for a pretty long time at a fairly loud volume, so it was a little embarrassing for me.
Hidaka: It was amazing!
Seto: It’s not a character song, but the emotions I put into the song were meant to be representative of Raphtalia’s feelings.
Hidaka: It’s incredible that you were able to sing English lyrics so masterfully.
Seto: I’ve never really challenged myself to sing English songs before, and I heard it was going to be used in a really pivotal scene, so I wanted to be as accurate as possible. That’s why, before we went into recording, I made requests and had them give me extra practice and rehearsal days. On top of that, I had someone who could speak English give me a lecture before we started the recording. On the day of recording we had the song’s creator, Kevin [Penkin], on Skype giving me direction, so I was able to go into it completely prepared.
Hidaka: The music in this series is incredible, the opening theme song and ending theme song included, so I’d love for viewers to give it a listen.
In the next part of this interview we’ll talk about Filo and the events that happen from Episode 5 onward!
Interview / Article by Daisuke Iwakura
- TV Anime The Rising of the Shield Hero
Staff: Original - Yusagi Aneko (MF Books The Rising of the Shield Hero / Published by KADOKAWA) / Original Artist - Seira Minami / Director - Takao Abo / Series Composition - Keigo Koyanagi / Character Design & Chief Animation Director - Masahiro Suwa / Animation Production - Cinema Citrus / Cast - Kaito Ishikawa as Naofumi Iwatani / Asami Seto as Raphtalia / Rina Hidaka as Filo / Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Ren Amaki / Makoto Takahashi as Motoyasu Kitamura / Yoshitaka Yamaya as Itsuki Kawasumi / Maaya Uchida as Melty
Buy the Original Light Novel of The Rising of the Shield Hero at the Crunchyroll Store.
See the original article at WebNewtype.