One of the biggest names in anime right now is Mimori Suzuko, a Japanese seiyuu (voice actress) and singer who provides the voice for several well loved characters including Sherlock Shellingford from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Himawari Furutani from YuruYuri, Umi Sonoda from Love Live! and Kourin Tatsunagi from Cardfight!! Vanguard. Called “Mimorin” by her fans, she was a special guest at Anime Festival Asia 2015 in Singapore (AFASG15), a Japanese pop culture event which took place Nov. 27th – 29th.
Singapore is Mimorin’s self-professed second home. Having been to Singapore more than a few times in the past to promote various projects as a member of groups such as “Milky Holmes” and “μ’s” from Love Live, this year’s event marks her first appearance there as a solo artist. She took to the main stage of the I Love Anisong concert on Day 2 of the event to perform some of her hit songs in front of a packed and energetic crowd. To wrap up her set, she sang her latest single, Light for Knight, which debuted on 2015.10.21 and hit #6 on the Oricon Weekly Ranking in Japan. We’re happy to bring you a report on the exclusive media interview that was held in the afternoon before her concert. It was conducted through a translator, so content has been edited for clarity and flow. Enjoy!
You’ve just released your 5th single, Light for Knight. Could you tell us a bit about it? What would you do if you could become a knight for a day?
Mimori: If I became a knight? Well, since I’m a girl, I don’t particularly want to become a knight! Or rather, I’d prefer it if a knight appeared in front of me one day! But if I really did become one, I’d probably go find some cute girls in trouble to save.
As for my 5th single, Light for Knight– up until now, I’ve had a lot of cute, girly songs. This time however, it’s a really cool and suave song! I’d really like my fans to listen to and appreciate the contrast between the two types of genres.
Congratulations on the recent release of your Fun!Fun!Fantasic Funfair! 2nd Live Concert BD/DVD. What would you like to do for your next solo concert?
Mimori: So this time around, Fun!Fun!Fantasic Funfair! was really more like a “show performance” than a concert. I sing, dance, and do voice acting as a seiyuu, and this time I was able to express all of those sides of me. For the next time, I’d like to do something similar, but perhaps with a different theme. Some sort of musical perhaps, or another kind of show. Something that only I can do.
How do you feel about performing in groups versus performing solo. Are there any differences?
Mimori: When I’m performing in a group, there are many members on stage, so everyone helps each other out and supports each other, and we all sing together. So I really feel like I need to try my best and not let anyone down. I’m not particularly good at the talking segments of performances, so I’m really grateful for the support there!
When performing solo, there’s no one to rely on but myself, so I really have to be strong and keep it all together. But on the other hand, I get to monopolize all the attention from the fans, so I can do anything I want and it’s really fun!
Could you tell us about your experience playing the role of Umi Sonoda in Love Live?
Mimori: Well, I’ve already been doing the role for about 6 years, so as the years pass by, I feel like Umi-chan and I are merging together into one person.
“Shipping” (pairing up of characters) is a big thing in the Love Live community worldwide. Since you voice Umi, who do you “ship” her with?
Mimori: Hmm… μ’s is made up of 9 members, which is an odd number, so someone will definitely get left out. But Umi is the kind of character who can enjoy the solitude, enjoy being alone. Well, if I really have to choose somebody… I’d choose Honoka.
When she’s together with Honoka, she can revert back to how she was as a young child. Despite growing up together and becoming high-schoolers their interaction together hasn’t really changed. She can really be at ease with her. So yes, I’d choose Honoka.
Since you voice the female character Kourin, in the Cardfight!! Vanguard anime series, how do you feel about voicing a female character in a traditionally male dominated genre?
Mimori: Rather than thinking about whether a show is targeted at girls or boys, I think more about a character itself, and ask myself what kind of character they are. Kourin is quite a cool and mysterious girl. Although the anime is dominated by male characters, it’d be great if the fans could also look out for and appreciate the coolness and mysteriousness of Kourin too.
You’re not just a seiyuu, you’re also performing in the Cardfight!! Vanguard stage play. How do you feel about the differences between voice acting work and stage acting?
Mimori: The fact that they’re both “acting” doesn’t change, but when I’m doing my roles as a seiyuu, I really try to breathe extra life into the characters through my voice. As for the stage play for Cardfight!! Vanguard, it’s in January so it’s something up and coming to work towards, but the main difference is that I have to try to use my whole entire self, no holds barred, to bring out the character.
If you hadn’t become a seiyuu or actor, what would you be doing now?
Mimori: If I weren’t a seiyuu, dancer, musical actress, or a singer, I feel like I would have become an English teacher. I actually majored in English in university, so with that I would have continued on with my studies, graduated, and someday become an English Teacher.
Who’s your favorite musical artist, and is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
Mimori: I’ve loved lead singer Yuki from Judy and Mary ever since I was a child. She’s really cute! (Although she’s over 40 years old now!) I really look up to her. She is someone irreplaceable, and I want to become someone like her! As for collaboration– Yuki is like a god, someone I can’t touch, so I don’t think I could collaborate with her. But I’d like to do something perhaps out of the ordinary, like a collaboration with an orchestra! My songs have a lot of orchestral influence, using string instruments and such in the backing, so if I could do something together with a world famous orchestra, like an opera for example, I think that’d be great.
You have a special CD, Happy Happy Christmas coming out next month. Could you share some information about the single itself?
Mimori: Well, it’s the first Christmas song I’ve actually gotten to sing, so I’m really excited about it. If my fans could link it to Christmas, like, whenever it’s Christmas, it’s time for Mimori Suzuko’s Happy Happy Christmas, that would be great. And so with that feeling, I placed that meaning into the single. And it really fits into the atmosphere of Christmas, so I hope that my fans can give it lots of support not only in Japan but also in Singapore.
Do you have any Christmas wishes for your fans? For yourself?
Mimori: It’s not exactly Christmas, but on the 31st of December, I’ll be performing with μ’s on the famous New Year’s Eve TV show Kohaku Uta Gassen, which is a New Year’s staple in Japan. So I really hope that it is a successful performance! And also in the coming year, I hope for success not just as a member of μ’s but also in my solo career– that it will continue to flourish as well. I’d like to wish all this to Santa Claus!
Thank you so much for your time!
There you have it folks! Hope you enjoyed that interview with the ever-talented Mimori Suzuko. Thanks for reading!…. now go and check out some of the work of this truly multitalented artist (if you haven’t done so already).