In a completely packed room with fans that waited hours in line, Miyuki Sawashiro held her panel on July 1, 2011 at Anime Expo 2011. Miyuki Sawashiro is a popular seiyuu (voice actress) in Japan who has voiced for many hit series including Rozen Maiden, Durarara!!, Strike Witches, Bakemonogatari, and Kimi ni Todoke. The panel was hosted by none other than famed otaku blogger Danny Choo.
Choo began the panel by riling up the audience into shouting out Sawashiro-san’s name. After a couple of ear splitting attempts, Sawashiro-san came out in a dazzling kimono that apparently took her over 30 minutes to put on. Sawashiro-san surprised the audience by greeting them in English. Sawashiro-san had previously homestayed in Pennsylvania for 2 weeks where she practiced English. She also enjoys practicing English when she visits New York to watch musicals.
In regards to what Sawashiro-san has done so far in Los Angeles, she’s only had time to visit The Getty Center and a few supermarkets where she purchased some chocolate and skincare products for her friends. Unfortunately, she hasn't found any time to buy something for herself.
Sawashiro-san then moved on to answer staff and fan submitted questions.
(Note, many of the same questions and answers can be found on the AX Live interview)
Why did you become a voice actress?
While in primary school, she read various books and realized she could become another person, which helped her decide to become a voice actress.
How did you get into the voice acting business?
When she was 13 years old, she auditioned for a role in Di Gi Charat and her debut as a seiyuu started from there.
How does one become a successful voice actor? Any advice?
Rather than actual skills, sometimes she imagines standing by the sea. She recommends people to go to the sea and feel what it is like. It can help in gaining a feel for the role. Spending some time with friends to get ideas helps as well.
Who was your favorite role to voice for?
She has done many roles and it’s difficult to pinpoint, but Maria from Arakawa under the Bridge has been very special to her. Sawashiro-san enjoyed playing as Maria, one of her more sadistic roles, because she, herself, is not sadistic.
How have you prepared for roles in the past?
There was one particular role where she had to play as a mother giving birth in Gosick. She watched a bunch of videos on Youtube about child birth.
Voice Actors Enjoyed Working With
In Arakawa under the Bridge, She enjoyed working with Maaya Sakamoto who voiced Nino in the series. She has always been listening to her music ever since Sakamoto started singing at the age of 15 and value her as senpai. During recording sessions, She would always make sure to be seen behind her.
The stage then opened up for questions from the audience
Are there any significant differences between voicing video game and anime characters?
It is completely different. In anime, the voice actors would all get together in a room. The voice actors would get a better feel of the roles through the interactions between the characters. In video games, they would record separately and have to use their imaginations. The sound effects such as punching and kicking are the most difficult to imagine.
What was it like playing the demon baby, Berubo, in Beelzebub? How was working with Katsuyuki Konishi-san like?
The baby only makes several sounds such as crying noises. (Sawashiro-san demonstrates the baby crying. Afterwards, the audience wants Danny Choo to try crying as a baby. Danny Choo attempts to cry like a baby. [The crowd laughs])
She worked with Konishi-san on Tegami Bachi Reverse. Konishi-san is a really nice and tall person. At the recording studio, he would always prepare my script and leave it on my chair.
What is it like working with Hiroshi Kamiya-san, who is a bit of a pervert?
“I don’t know if he’s really a hentai (loosely meaning pervert)… [laughs] Maybe he could be… But! He’s probably the most honest person in the industry. For series like Zoku Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei and Bakemonogatari, I felt his honesty and faithfulness. He was the only one who really prepared the group and helped lead the industry.”
Are there any difference in recording Cammy in Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter vs. Tekken?
[Blank stare] She thinks she will be in it. Maybe? [laughs]
Sawashiro-san says, “Spin Drive Smasher” in Cammy’s voice.
Do you prefer mature roles or the younger childlike roles?
She likes to play both roles. In mature roles, she plays her character as if she’s interacting with her coworkers while with younger roles, she can let go and be herself.
Sawashiro-san mentions that she did the Japanese dubbing version for Hit-Girl from the movie Kick-Ass. She really enjoyed playing that role.
What was it like voicing Celty from Durarara!!?
It was probably one of the most difficult roles because Celty doesn't have a head! She had to express a low voice tone, which she practiced a lot.
What is your favorite monster/summon from Persona 3?
She likes Elizabeth’s master, Igor [Sawashiro-san voiced as Elizabeth].
What are you currently working on?
She is currently studying more English and would like to do a few English roles.
Choo mentioned something was in his back pocket, which happened to be a signed CD of Sawashiro-san's radio talk show and songs. There were four signed copies where four lucky winners won by playing jan-ken-pon (rock-paper-scissors) against Sawashiro-san. We, staff of The-O Network, lost in the first round. Better luck next time!