• Taeya

[Eng TL] Maeshima Ami Interview - VOICE BRODY Vol.5

Once leader of an idol group Maeshima Ami.

Currently actively aiming to be the "Perfect Idol",

Chasing after many things by herself,

She was changed by the existence of Maruyama Aya

Even though a "worthless junk", because of the loved Aya-chan being there

She can now run toward those dreams that did not come true


That time, the dream I let go, Aya-chan fulfilled for me

---- Being on stage as a character, are there any differences compared to being on stage as idol era Maeshima Ami?

Maeshima: From when I was 12 to 19 years old, for about 7 years, I was doing idol activities. When doing a LIVE as a group, you can't be about yourself, you have to think about the whole group to put on a good performance. It's a completely different feeling. When appearing as a character, standing on the stage as her, what facial expressions to do, what words to say, what kind of performance to put on, these are the things to think about. I am not out there as Maeshima Ami myself, I have to face Aya-chan honestly, being part of her life, I want to stand before those that support us.

---- Though you say you aren't yourself out there, inevitably, there are some things that will be seen together with Maeshima-san's own history. Held in February, "BanG Dream! 7thLIVE", when you stood at Nippon Budokan, was there any deep emotions?

Maeshima: When I was in a group, we had a LIVE once at Nippon Budokan, after that, it was my goal to stand up there once more, but I couldn't achieve that.... I graduated with the thought that I won't be able to sing or dance in front of people again. But I got another chance, as I got to do a LIVE out there as Aya-chan. Plus, it was the same pink as the member's colour back then (lol). Aya-chan was an idol in training, she was really in a hurry to make her debut until finally she got the chance with Pastel*Palettes. Like that, Aya-chan fulfilled for me a dream I couldn't fulfill myself. Standing at Budokan for the first time in 6 was amazing. I was suddenly at a lost for words (lol). On the cake like stage, singing lyrics of not giving up and wanting to shine again for "Mouichido Luminous", I almost started crying. I endured, thinking of how Aya-chan would definitely not cry, it was an unforgettable moment. The love for the character, the appreciation, the strength of my thought for the work, is really deepening. Even though I have been in various other roles, I think I can say that there have been no better role than Aya-chan.

---- Up to that level of emotional attachment, huh?

Maeshima: I've had a little experience being a guest seiyuu, but the first real role I got to play was for Bandori. I always really liked seiyuus, watched a lot of anime, listen to radio too, and go to recitals and events and such. Because there is a respect, with me joining, I felt I have to carry a sense of responsibility and preparedness, or else I think it would be rude of me. So I studied hard, and went to lessons. At least, I did my research. For the first game recording, it was too emotional, and I recorded my voice while crying (lol). Pastel*Palettes is a group that the agency assembled together, it was in a state of meeting each other for the first time. It was working hard to be able to be ideal idols, but ended up being "doing our best without giving up" while crying, is how it felt (lol). Even though that was from two and a half years ago, the feelings haven't change. From here after, I think in order for Aya-chan to shine, I have to work even harder.

---- From back when you were an idol, "I want it to be like this", "it has to be like this", that kind of ideals, the attitude of wanting to push forward, has it always not changed?

Maeshima: It hasn't changed (lol). The other day, talking with someone, about how pros for a steady performance, they use an eighth of their power to show 100% of the stage. But, for Maeshima Ami, I said I use 120% of my power to do 150% of the LIVE (lol). That was truly how I thought. While I've been wanting to be a pro, it's been like this for 10 years. But I have been thinking about how I can go about it in a more gentle way (lol). Speaking of Bandori, there are a lot of wonderful senpais like Katou Emiri and Kanemoto Hisako. Every time when we are in events together, I want to be a more gentle person like them, when acting I am thinking I want to be more flexible too......But I am probably not as stiff as when I was in a group back then. These 2~3 years did have some changes I think. Back then, I even attended company meetings on regarding the group.

---- Meetings?

Maeshima: I done a lot of meetings, thinking about what we can do on that stage, saying "have to have this", "have to have that" with enthusiasm working as like the leader. Right now, I think giving back to those that support us is the most important thing. It's not "have to have this", but rather it's "what happiness and joy to have this", I am in the process of learning to think this way.

---- Have you learn anything when you were in the role?

Maeshima: I have. From portraying Aya-chan, I learned her charm from her (lol). The change from "I can't do it", "I am bad at it" to being able to accept myself. Aya-chan fumbles her MCs, or mess up her lines in production, but I myself am a firm person, the perfectionist type of person. Though nowadays, it's natural to be seeing people mess up. I actually was just dumb and noticed it after I quit being an idol (lol). Through Aya-chan, I now know that it's okay for these kinds of things to come out. I often tripped over at places where there's nothing there, but back in the days, I was a serious person, so I hid it and couldn't admit it. With a serious face I thought it was embarrassing, but now I can just say things like "I fell down!". Life has gotten easier.....This has turned into a really deep conversation (lol). But it really is like this. This has gotten me wanting to crying now. But when I was in my teens I never cried a single drop of tear (lol).

---- Not even one drop! That's amazing

Maeshima: Now, if I fall, I cry right away, and there are lots of things that I can't do, I can say that out loud now, because of all the people around me giving me help. Even though I play as Maruyama Aya-chan, in reality I am more similar to Shirasagi Chisato-chan. Turning pro from a young age, and in the pursuit for perfection. As an entertainer, and as an idol, things that can't be done, but "I have to do it" is a stance that I can really sympathize with. For Chisato-chan, Aya-chan brings in love, and it's what results in the soft and relaxed relationship between them. It's even gotten me to be more relaxed.

---- Through the role, the perfect idol acquired humaneness

Maeshima: It really is the case. I think Bandori has really changed my life. Through the characters, I got to look at a lot of amazing scenery. I feel with both the character and myself , there is double the feelings. Each time there are activities, I really have respect for the profession of a seiyuu, I can feel how amazing the anime content is.

---- For going on stage, do you have anything you prepare?

Maeshima: The thing I think about most is probably the MC. And I think about the in between song chants. Coming to see the LIVE, listening to your favourite songs live, seeing the performance, I think this is a wonderful thing. The sound that you can only hear live at that moment, and being able to listen to the talking for the first time there as well is very wonderful I think. Because of that, I have to think about what I want to say.

---- From listening to the conversation, it seems that all of Maeshima-san's experiences connect to now.

Maeshima: I didn't think my life would turn out like this, it's a shock for me too. Those that support me now do look back at the time I was an idol. And those that have been watching me since my idol days continue to warmly give their support. Even more emotional is the teacher I had back when I was in a group also worked on the dances for PasuPare.

---- That's a really nice story

Maeshima: Every thing started with the song "Shuwarin☆Drea~ming", meeting the teacher for the dance choreo. She said, "I didn't think I would be doing choreography for Amita again", and it left me feeling deeply emotional. I thought that each time I meet with sensei I have to work my hardest.

---- Right now, is there anything that worry you?

Maeshima: Acting. What I learned from the stage, and from voice acting, the difference confuses me even now . Honestly saying, at first, I thought I got the "Isn't that kid not great?" for my voice. And it felt very frustrating, so I studied with the single thought that I want to make my characters shine. But still I got some ways to go. For the game, you go into the booth to record by yourself, but in the voicing rooms there are 4 mics in this big room, with a dozen people there. Though when recording myself, I have to talk all by myself the whole time. That's really nerve wracking. Almost like Budokan (lol). Craftsmanship takes high power output in order to produce the best result. After I record, there were many times I go home crying. The stage acting and voice acting must stand together, I want to establish myself even better.

---- Lastly, regarding the theatrical release of "BanG Dream! FILM LIVE", after watching, please tell us honestly what your impressions are?

Maeshima: The quality is not subpar! I am impressed that we are in a time where this kind of thing can be done. I did the motion capture for it, and seeing the character danced the way I danced was deeply moving. Aya-chan's facial expressions were very rich, doing winks as well. Looking more like a pro idol than myself (lol). Because of spoilers, I can't say too much, but in my opinion, in the interlude in "Kyuu~mai* flower", Hina-chan was the best, I hope you can see it.


Feel free to indicate any mistakes as I am still learning Japanese.

I translated from my own copy. If you want to see the original text and more pictures, consider buying the magazine.