Movie Premiere Commemoration! Aida Rikako x Aihara Hiroyuki Special 1-on-1
Finally, 「Eiga Kuma no Gakkou: Pattisier Jackie to Ohisama no Sweets」 will premiere on 8/25. At this time, we present to you a special one-on-one between the sciptwriter for this work Aihara Hiroyuki-san and Aida Rikako-san, the voice of Jackie.
Aihara : So today, just before the movie premiere, I have the pleasure of conducting an interview with Aida Rikako-san who played the role of Jackie.
Aida : I’ll do my best!
Aihara : To start, what kind of kid were you in your childhood, Aida-san?
Aida : When I was little, or rather even now it’s still the case but, I was an extremely shy chilld.
Aihara : Do you have any siblings?
Aida : I don’t, no. I’m an only child.
Aihara : I see. What would you do for fun when you were little? Being an only child, do I take it to mean you did solitary stuff for the most part?
Aida : Pretty much. Stuff like origami and cat’s cradle 1. I liked (origami) so much that my dream for the future was to be a person who folds origami for a living (xD)
Aihara : That’s quite a rare dream to have (xD). So not a whole lot of moving around and stuff?
Aida : I wasn’t really good at physical stuff, and I was slow with my feet too.
Aihara : Were you the type that wanted to catch a fever the day before the sports festival?
Aida : I did have feelings of wanting to try it out, but I’m the “my body just can’t keep up”-type (xD)
Aihara : How are you with singing then?
Aida : I’ve liked singing even from when I was little. I really loved SMAP 2; so much that I’d sing along with them in front of the TV.
Aihara : You loved to sing from then on, which ties in to how you are now huh?
What sort of person is your mom? 「Kuma no Gakkou」 has quite a lot of fans that are mothers you know?
Aida : She was pretty strict. Also overprotective. I’m her only daughter so I suppose going that far is to be expected. She also had me on a curfew you see. When I was little, she told me to go straight home when school ended, which resulted in me being a TV-child — I have such vivid memories of going home and watching TV straight after (xD)
Aihara : What sort of stuff did you end up watching?
Aida : From dramas to anime re-braodcasts; I pretty much watched anything really.
Aihara : During that time what show did you like most?
Aida : I loved Sailor Moon!
Aihara : Everyone dies at the end of Sailor Moon — did you know that? (xD)
Aida : It leaves quite the impression, right~? It made me cry.
Aihara : I had heard you had spent some time living overseas but, where would that have been if you don’t mind my asking?
Aida : Los Angeles.
Aihara : That’s pretty cool. About how old were you at the time?
Aida : I was there from my 2nd year in primary school up to my 5th year.
Aihara : How was life over there? I once got to go there too but the impression I got leaves much to be desired. Was it like, “man it’s scary” or..?
Aida : It depends on the place really (xD) There was a point where I couldn’t talk at all when I was there, and everyday when I went to school I’d have a dictionary on-hand at all times.
Aihara : From what you’ve said previously it appears you have a rather introverted personality so were you okay at the time?
Aida : Living overseas changed some parts of my personality I think.
Aihara : “They’re not gonna understand me otherwise so might as well!”, like that?
Aida : Yes, I just had to take that leap one way or another. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t have been able to live a normal life, and I think over there I got much stronger.
Aihara : I too mustered up courage when I decided I would take up language studies abroad at San Francisco but, I quit even before that (xD)
Aida : Ehh, how come?
Aihara : Given my personality, the moment I feel sad about being there I’ll just end up going home, so I thought it was impossible for me.
In the three years that you were there, Aida-san, you too learned the language yourself did you not?
Aida : I did, yes. I was fairly fluent at the time 3. Up till the last moment I never wanted to go back home.
Aihara : I take it you had a lot of friends over there?
Aida : Yes. Even now I still have friends that I interact with from different parts of the world. They come see me whenever we do an event overseas.
Aihara : When you were little, did you read picture books by any chance?
Aida : I’d read fairytales and stuff.
The likes of Alice (in Wonderland) and Hansel and Gretel.
Aihara : Your work this time around happens to involve picture books, so how do you find it so far?
Aida : From the start it was a literary piece that’s been showed love by a lot of poeple, and it’s suprising even simply coming across Jackie in different sorts of places.
Aihara : After it was decided (that you would play the part), have you since read the picture book/s?
Aida : I read a signed (copy of) the picture book that had been given to me.
Aihara : What sort of impression did it leave on you?
Aida : The Jackie that I read in the picture book and the Jackie that moves in the anime gave off different impressions so it was a rather refreshing sight. ‘It has this sort of side too..’ like that
Aihara : Exactly. As opposed to picture books where you’re unable to see cute facial expressions for example, you can here.
This time, where movements and expressions are hard to express in picture books, there was a fixation to give shape to the cuteness found in even a single illustrated page. The “picture book” Jackie is cute in its own right but, the Jackie “in me” which will be seen this time in the movie is really close to that. (Jackie) is already estbalished as an incredibly mischievous character, which in anime, will be given life by its being able to move.
When I was told we were gonna make an anime for it, there had been talks about preserving the world presented by the picture books but, I whole-heartedly declined the notion. We were already doing an anime after all, so keeping it the way it was would have been uninteresting, whereas the appeal of anime is in its animation, a new Jackie, a new 「Kuma no Gakkou」 world — I felt that I wanted to create that.
In all that, we are honored to have you, Aida-san, play accept the role of Jackie. To tell you the truth Aida-san, after seeing you during the dubbing process, up till the work you’ve been doing now I feel as if your feelings (about the work) have changed a bit, but how has it been for you?
Aida : Truthfully speaking, at first I was unsure as to how to perform some parts of it but as I pushed through the dubbing process I eventually came to understand the child called Jackie.
Aihara : You were in the midst of some veteran voice actors 4 and, after having seen them on-site, was there a nervous feeling in the air for you?
Aida : I was shaking in my boots (xD)
Aihara : The dubbing in the trailers were under specific direction but, when it came down to the real thing I felt it had been done in a very earnest manner. I’ve confirmed it myself with the finish work but, I really do have a good feeling about it.
Aida : Really? Thank you very much. If you say so then, that’s a relief!
Aihara : The balance between you and Touyama-san 5 was very nice. At first your vocal qualities seemed so similar I thought you two would just fill in for one another so it was a relief seeing you guys (work) separately. Were there any difficulties or particularly fun moments for you, Aida-san?
Aida : There wasn’t really anything I’d call a difficulty but, there were some things I struggled with and the first hour or so at the start of each dub recording was the hardest one (xD)
Aihara : A little bit of “searching your character” or how do you put it.
Aida : In my head I know what I want to do but, but it was still pretty hard.
Aihara : Yeah no, but I do think that it was amazing. I’d say please try to think of it as such a bit more, and even well within the time alotted for our meeting today, I figured it won’t do to not say so now of all times. Aida-san and everyone involved was really good I thought. It’s a bit selfish of me to say these things in the sidelines though (xD)
I for one would love to see a 「Kuma no Gakkou」 movie series made, and I’m slowly warming up to the vision of a second chapter. But, that’s all in my head (xD)
Aida : Will Jackie be in it?
Aihara : Of course (xD)
Are you enthused by the idea of a series or, sort of like performing Jackie like this for Jackie fans?
Aida : There is that yeah, it’s mostly little kids that are gonna be seeing this work I think, so with that in mind I want to zip straight into the childrens’ hearts through Jackie.
Aida : It will premiere towards the tail-end of summer vacation so if you choose to spend the last moments of playing around to see 「Kuma no Gakkou」, you’ll find youself making the best of your final memories of summer. I’d be happy if you spent each and every day of the final week for it (xD) And lastly, if I happen to make a photo journal entry for this, and if you check it out on your free time, that too would me happy.
Aihara : By all means, may a ton of people be carried by their towards the theaters as they become new fans with the “new Jackie” performed by Aida Rikako, and for the many people who’ve been fans of Aida Rikako from the start, bear witness to a “new Aida Rikako” — it’s sure to be fun
「Kuma no Gakkou」 (bear school) is a popular, long-running series of picture books in Japan, spanning 15 years of acclaim.
1 cat’s cradle (or ayatori) is a game, traditionally played by little girls, wherein you use a string that’s tied at the ends (forming a loop) to make different figures.
2 SMAP, a famous boy band/male idol group in Japan
4 Some of her co-stars for this movie include Taniyama Kishou, Suzumura Kenichi, Konishi Katsuyuki, and Sakurai Takahiro. Veteran cast indeed 😮
5 ^ Touyama Nao too xD friggin’ Touyama Nao!
6 I’m almost sure this is what she meant by photo journal entry… could be wrong. She says 絵日記 (e-nikki lit. “diary with illustrations”) but it could also mean “photo journal”, which is essentially this.
I noted in my last feature translation that I had one more piece that I planned to do, but it ended up taking me a while to actually sit down and do it. I’ve had the article bookmarked since the day it was posted to be honest, but I only ever really planned to just read it on my own at the time. It wasn’t until I did the ones for the Seiyuu Animedia feature that I decided to do this interview as well since (a) it’s content that hasn’t been translated yet (as far as I’m aware), and (b) it gives me an excuse to really try and understand the whole thing xD
Well, “understand”. Something about how Aihara-san talks over the course of this interview just threw me for a loop at times. He’s too… rambly (or at least he seemed as much for a novice trasnlator such as myself). His parts when he talks about 「Kuma no Gakkou」 were definitely the trickiest to wrap my head around so go over those bits with a grain of salt.
Aside from that I think I got the rest of the lines well enough 😀 The exchange about Sailor Moon killed me (more so ’cause I myself didn’t know what happens at the end of Sailor Moon, so that was quite the revelation). Rikyako being compared to Touyama Nao to the point where someone would think they were one and the same, or were just covering for each other, is just funny to think about really
There you have it. If I do another one of these would depend if I get my hands on something to work on. I mean, I just happen to be doing Rikyako-related translations because it’s content that I regularly peruse anyways xD
We’ll see how it goes. Hope it was a good read!