... animate times: WAVE!! ft. junichi toki ...

original interview

Interviewer: In the last interview, I asked the same question to "3 Oarai-gumi," but how would you describe the characters you play in one word?

Yusuke Shirai: Hmm, I think [analysis nerd] suits his gender, or his style, so much, as he analyzes those things as data. So, the word "analysis nerd" is really perfect!

Junichi Toki: When Uta becomes an "analysis nerd," Naoya Kido is a "Miruru nerd."¹

Yusuke: No doubt!

All: (laughs)

Toki: I think [being a Miruru nerd] is something that is integral to his being. For Naoya, being a nerd is an important aspect.

Interviewer: Speaking of which, today's outfits are also the same colors from the show!

Toki: That's right. Many of the clothes Naoya wears incorporate pink & mint colors.
The surfboard also shows Naoya's character. He's conscious of not only being a nerd, but also making sure he's seen by other people.
He's not just a nerd who's thinking about his own appearence to other people, it doesn't define him. I think it's important to him, because that's something that has layers. [?]
Even during the show, there's an important episode with Naoya, it talks about how important the existence of Miru is to him. Being a Miruru nerd really tells everything there is to know.
...... I think it takes courage to go to the sea with that surfboard. (laughs)

Interviewer: Because the design itself is overwhelmed with Miruru......!

Toki: It's also cool that he doesn't feel embarrassed about it. My friend also uses the so-called "pain board"² as a snowboard.
But I've never seen it on a surfboard, so it would be funny if there were more like this.

Interviewer: If you had the opportunity to make a surfboard, what kind of design would you like to have?

Yusuke: I'll make it green³ for time being.

Toki: (laughs) Which green to make!

Yusuke: Firstly, It is difficult to design once you decide the color.

Toki: It is difficult, isn't it?

Yusuke: I think that white and green compliment each other very well, so I think I'll base the design on that.

Interviewer: I have a feeling that it will be a wonderful surfboard!

Yusuke: It sounds fun to design your own original board.

Toki: In Hawaii, you can put stickers on it, and make it easily at a fairly reasonable price. I think Nobu [Nobuhiko Okamoto] and others did that.

Yusuke: That's right! I would like to make an original board together someday.

Toki: I want to try it!

Yusuke: But, in the end, I have to bring it home (laughs).

Toki: I don't mean to just decorate it, but just decorating makes it presentable. Just leaning it against the entrance, or living room, and looking at it, makes it a good art piece.

Yusuke: I want to put a surfboard behind my set-up for Youtube...! Actually, going surfing on that board, it looks really fun!

Toki: It's good to have multiple uses for it.

Interviewer: What kind of design does Toki want?

Toki: I don't think I'll make a surfboard like Naoya's (laughs).

All: (laughs)

Toki: But, if you like that design [it's okay]! Even when I'm working on a Mini 4WD or a plastic model, I paint it in my own original color, so I think I'm pretty particular about it.
I love navy and the tricolor of the British flag, so I would make it with that color.

Interviewer: It's also very fashionable and nice!

Yusuke: I get that!

Toki: (Looking at Yusuke) You make clothes, right? It's really fun to think about design.

Yusuke: It's so much fun! It's as fun as thinking about card games. [Who says that...]

Toki: Certainly (laughs). That kind of fun seems to be constant.

Interviewer: Tell us your impressions of the characters your castmate plays.

Yusuke: I really understand Naoya's feelings. I'm from a rural area too, Nagano doesn't broadcast any anime. When I was there, there was almost no late-night anime. I felt that there were extremely few, and they were old.
I like anime, but I couldn't watch it until you could rent it on DVD or video. The Internet wasn't really a thing there, so I can really sympathize with Naoya.
When I came to Tokyo, I was impressed by "This anime is being broadcasted!" and "I'm watching every night at midnight!"

Toki: Did you come to Tokyo only for high school?

Yusuke: It was when I was 18, since I had just graduated. So, I really understand Naoya's feelings. However, using surfing as an outlet for that is another thing, it's amazing (laughs).

All: (laughs)

Yusuke: I would've surfed for that! It's hard, so I feel like Naoya is really proactive.

Toki: There are many things I can relate to with Uta. There are people who think things more logically, and people who think things more emotionally. There are more than just those types of people, I think.
When Uta wonders "Why would this happen?" before and after doing things, it's similar to wondering "What is the reason?"
It's a feeling I can relate to partially, but after that I like to think "Why did that happen?" When I decide to surf, I think I most likely be like Uta.
I went surfing in Miyazaki once around September of last year, but when I tried it I was told that the manager took a video of me surfing. I checked the video ... I was doing that [contemplating, overthinking].
So, I think Uta is the most similar to me in that cast.

Interviewer: The second chapter is set in Shonan. Tell us the highlights and best scenes!

Yusuke: Each episode of the Shonan team is authentically depicted, and Uta has such a scene. You may be worried about their circumstances they're in, but the moral of the stories are how to overcome them!
He was so preoccupied about thinking analytically, but I think in the second chapter is where he starts to change his thinking,
Also, since the past exchanges between Kosuke and Uta are also shown, it is a story that shows what couldn't be understood in the drama CD.

Toki: What I really like about this work is that it's directed towards the youth. The relationships between the members, like the innocent conversations they have, come very naturally to me.
Although they are rivals, there's a lot hints that they're also acquaintances, such as friendly conversation. I really like it. This atmosphere is present from beginning to end.

Interviewer: The scene where they get injured and rest together is nostalgic.

Toki: That's right. I remember that. Also, when it comes to resting up, corgis. There are corgis! [Why does he randomly mention this...]

Yusuke: Eh?!

Toki: The people who voice them are older, but they are very cute. There's a story regarding these dogs, so please watch out for that...!

Yusuke: Seriously! Mr. Mogami, who plays the corgi, Masaki's pet dog, was very particular about it. When he learned he had to do dubbing after research, he thought. "I have to learn!"

Interviewer: Also, the second chapter begins when Masaki arrives in Shonan. What kind of person did you think Masaki was, from your character's perspectives?

Yusuke: He's like the sun, very bright and very vibrant. As a result of that, he's sociable, and his positive attitude infects everyone.
Above all, I can tell he really likes surfing, which is really important. I think that attitude can be used in things other than just surfing. Masaki is a really positive person.

Toki: I also think that Masaki is like the sun. However, he's not the "strongest."
The strongest person is obviously Fuke Rindo, but of course Masaki has talent and potential. But Rindo has tremendous talent, and as soon as he started surfing, he soared to the top. [?]
Masaki tried hard many, many times, and when the other members saw him doing his best, they thought, "Let's do our best!" and "I can't lose!"
I think that the dynamic between the members is wonderful because they're clumsy in a good way, but rather than standing out, it means they're more personable. I think they're all really like the sun.
Masaki is a wonderful character, because I don't think that there's many people who can relate to others so honestly.

Interviewer: He plays a very bright, cute, and unhateable character.

Toki: Also, it's very hard for Maeno [Masaki's CV] to play such a character these days.

Yusuke: Yeah, yeah. It's hard to find.

Toki: In that sense, I feel like I was able to participate in a really good project.

Interviewer: Have you ever been obsessed with anything, to the level of the characters "obsessed with the charm of surfing?"

Yusuke: I always play soccer. I'm more of spectator, but I'm crazy about it. I sometimes play futsal, but when I watch sports, I'm in awe. Besides soccer, I also watch golf and tennis games, so I think all sports are good.

Toki: I may agree with Yusuke. I used to play tennis in club, but when it comes time to play, I just watch.
I've been exercising since I was a kid, so if I don't exercise regularly, I get moody. I practice kendo at the dojo near my parents' house.

Yusuke: It's Naoki Hanzawa!

Toki: Really!? I haven't watched the drama yet, since I can't remember to record things.

Yusuke: Naoki Hanzawa also goes to the dojo and does kendo when he feels uneasy.

Toki: Really! That's me! I can't see it unless I relate to it. I don't like to get angry every week, because then I'd get angry at work (laughs).

All: (laughs)

Yusuke: I really want to see it.

Toki: [?]

Yusuke: Ehh?! What if you can see it with spoilers?

Toki: That's right! I don't get angry, even if I get spoiled.

Interviewer: I personally want to see it without spoilers, so that idea is perfect...

Yusuke: It's a bit of a spoiler to see... (laughs)

Toki: Of course, I understand that, so I'll never leak it, but I don't like being spoiled maliciously (laughs).

Interviewer: I think surfing is a sport that you rarely have a chance to see. Tell us the impression of surfing you had that changed during this project.

Yusuke: Before dubbing, I experience surfing, and what I felt at the time was that it was very in tune with nature.
I like nature, so when I feel the waves and sea, my heart is very refreshed. When I surf, I think I feel quite calm.

Toki: The same is true for me. Naoya is a so-called "otaku surfer," but my friends are actually otaku surfers!

Yusuke: Ehh?!

Toki: I was the manager of a trading card shop, and not a regular surfer. I'd go to Hawaii once a year, and when I was in college, I got up at 4:05 in the morning and went to Shonan by car to catch some waves. [?]

Yusuke: Amazing! That's authentic!

Toki: And during lunch break, I would play card games (laughs). I had friends nearby, so I thought that many kinds of people were surfing.
When surfing in Miyazaki, as Yusuke said, I realized that when I was playing sports that were in tune with nature, I feel calm.
There may be an stereotype that people who surf = chara, but it's more like "expanding your mind."
It's a sport that deals with nature, so people who surf don't feel locked in. When I first got into the waves in Miyazaki, not only the instructor, but strangers nearby, were impressed with me.

Interviewer: That's a wonderful story!

Toki: Since I'm working with nature, I feel as though my mind is more open and easygoing. The atmosphere between people who surf is very good. I thought it was just a hobby, not a lifelong thing.
However, it would be nice to have that one instance, where after surfing, everyone would have rice and drink, telling them, "This wave was good," and then sleeping soundly at night. [?]

Interviewer: I feel like to understand the story, you really only need that one experience. Did you feel like you "expanded your mind" the more you surfed?

Toki: Yes. I feel more calm, and not angry at all.

Yusuke: I always get angry right away (laughs).

Toki: (laughs)

Interviewer: Did Yusuke "expand his mind" as well?

Yusuke: I may be a little bit different when it comes to that, but I like nature and don't get so angry usually... but when I'm surfing I say "I can't do this all the time."
A long time ago, when I first went to the sea as an adult, it was very comfortable to go to the sea in Shonan and just float by myself. I was just floating ghtere for about 30 or 40 minutes.
It left a strong impression, and I think that sort of natural activity suits me quite well.

Toki: Camping is also good, isn't it?

Yusuke: That's right. I like mountain activities, like camping and mountain climbing, and I think it's good to be able to feel in tune with yourself after being in contact with nature.

Toki: It feels great to wait for the waves.

Yusuke: Yes! It's time to float and wait!

Toki: When I wait for a good wave and say "This is the one!" it feels great to prepare for it.
There, I talk with people near me who I've never even met before. It's a really good communication tool.
Of course, you can always be alone, and as Yusuke said, you can feel the power of nature.

Interviewer: It has its own merit separate from just floating.

Toki: Yes. They're both good.

Yusuke: That's right! I think [surfing] feels more integrated with nature than just floating. Surfing is riding on the waves themselves, so it's more of a stress releaser.

Toki: Yeah, yeah. I think that just waiting for the waves will release, though.

Interviewer: Ehh?!

Toki: I feel more secure with the surfboard, rather than just floating by myself.

Yusuke: Ohh!

Toki: It's big enough to hold one person, and it doesn't seem like a big deal. When I surfed in Miyazaki, no one was swimming and there weren't many people around me. So it truly feels like the sea: the coast in the distance, and the sky above.

Yusuke: It's all to yourself!

Toki: That's right. The more I thought that it wouldn't be like home if I went there, the more I felt that I could go to places by myself. I felt nature and the sea closer to me, it's relly fun to ride with the surfboard's ability!

Interviewer: I had the impression that it took a long time to get on the waves, so I thought I would just sleep on the surfboard.

Yusuke: (laughs) I don't think that's the case, right? It may depend on the location and condition, but...

Toki: I recommend Kyushu then. The density is 1/3 that of Shonan, and the coast is much longer. In September, the number of people swimming will decrease, and when I actually surf in Miyazaki, there are few people as well.

Yusuke: That's good!

Toki: The instructor's teaching method at the time was very good. At first, I paddle myself, but the teacher pushes me from behind, so I just have to focus on getting on the board.
He was the first teacher to only teach the fun part of surfing, so I didn't have the fear of hitting people. The wide sea and lack of people made me feel very secure.

Interviewer: Wow! I want to go......!

Toki: After surfing, I ate the popular Chicken Nanban, it was very delicious.

Yusuke: It looks delicious!

Toki: It seems that the ban on spiny lobster will be lifted again this September, so I'll eat lobster sashimi. That is also very delicious.

Interviewer: Chicken Nanban and spiny lobster......

Yusuke: So good!

Toki: We interviewed Miyazaki's world championships, visited sightseeing spots, and finally surfed, but it was a really fun project altogther.
If you're going with a friend, doing that tour will definitely make you love surfing.
By the way, the surfing instructor who taught me in Miyazaki said, "I put a person in his seventies on the board in two days."

Interviewer: That's great! Perhaps even people with no sense of movement may be able to ride the waves.

Yusuke: Certainly.

Toki: I think you can ride a hammer. [This is a metaphor I cannot be bothered with translating right now.]

Yusuke: It's just like Masaki. He is also a hammer.

Toki: We rode the waves for amateurs, but the waves that professional surfers ride at the world championships were really big and scary. There are so many different types of waves, so I think you can enjoy riding the ones that match your abilities.

Interviewer: Thank you for all the stories. Last, but not least, please tell us about the unique charm that WAVE!! has.

Yusuke: If you look at the depiction of the sea, and surfing, on the big screen, you will see how incredibly powerful it is.

Toki: There are many scenes from the surfer's point of view, so it feels very realistic.

Yusuke: Like 4DX, the sea water is bashing you! (laughs)

Toki: (laughs)

Yusuke: They say that the seats sway as if Masaki and his friends were surfing.

Toki: I'm really drunk [Not literally, mind you!] (laughs) If you can smell the shore, that would be amazing (laughs).

Yusuke: (laughs)

Toki: I don't know what will happen (laughs), but I want you to feel the realism of riding the waves in the theater.

Yusuke: [?]

Toki: The motif is the magnificent sea, and the depiction of the sea is beautifully done, so I would like to see what it looks like on the big screen. Also, the rice looked very delicious, didn't it?

Yusuke: That's right! There are quite a lot of scenes where I wanted to eat the rice.

Toki: Various kinds of rice were shown.

Yusuke: I go to many places and eat their local specialties.

Toki: I hope you pay attention to those scenes!

Interviewer: Thank you very much!

1 A character from “Magical Maid Miruru,” a fictional anime.

2 Snowboards with anime girls on them

3 Green is his favorite color, and he created the brand MIDORI to show that!

4 Powered toy car

5 2013 and 2020 Japanese drama about a banker working for the largest bank in Japan. Incredibly popular.

6 A cultural phenomena, similar to surfer dude stereotype in the US. Refer here for more information

7 Chicken dish popularized in Kyushu. Egg fried chicken topped with Nanban sauce (soy sauce, sake, ginger, etc.)