Inoue-style moe ahead, be warned.
Scans for translating were provided by a kind anon. Thank you! And thank you again! Photos added now that our own copy arrived.
Disclaimer: not a professional translator, doing this for fun, etc. Standard fantranslation rules apply.
Q: What was your first impression of Keith (Sky High)?
Inoue: I played him for the first time during the auditions. I remember wondering back then why he always repeats “Thank you!”. (laughs) The sound director, Kimura, told me that for now I should just focus on making him sound refreshing and lively, so I did just that. I knew close to nothing about my role back then.
Q: Don’t they show you the pictures of the character you play during the auditions?
Inoue: Yes, I got the materials before the audition, but I thought he was just a blonde “good boy” kind of a hero. But when I started playing him during the real thing, this “freshness” the director mentioned before was slowly wearing out, to be replaced with this feel of an enthusiastic young man. Now that I look at episodes 1 and 2, I feel that something is not quite right about Keith (laughs). The longer I played him, the better I understood him. “So he’s this kind of person, huh?”
Q: “This kind of person”?
Inoue: Well, if this was a normal role and I tried to say something the way he does, I’d probably get scolded! He really is something.
Q: How do you feel about the world and the story of Tiger&Bunny?
Inoue: At first we only knew that this is a hero story, set in this fictional city called Sternbild. We didn’t know the characters would sport logos of real companies, or that they work for a Hero TV that streams their work live. That’s why when we first saw the video for the first episode, it left a huge impression on me. “Wow, this is so interesting!” kinda feeling.
Q: Among Sky High’s sponsors, there is Ustream, right? (The other one is Tamashii Nations.)
Inoue: Yeah. From the very first episode, Tiger&Bunny was streamed on Ustream, I watched it every week, too. Thanks to Twitter, the fans could share their impressions in real time, so it was very exciting.
Q: Aside from the sponsor logos, what was your impression of Sky High’s design?
Inoue: I thought he was very cool, his suit reminded me of these Western armors. To be honest, I thought he was the coolest looking hero. (laughs) He looks so smart, and his clothes flutter and stuff. Very heroic.
Q: He has a mask and a thruster on his back, his whole design has that retro feel to it.
Inoue: Just like the Poseidon Line that was appearing here and there from the very first episode.
Q: So how about his looks?
Inoue: People told me he looks a bit like a certain popular actor… Well, he’s cool so I don’t mind! (laughs) He’s got this cool side to him, but it’s different from Barnaby’s. On the inside, he’s a bit like the heroes from old movies, I think.
Q: What did you feel during the recording for the first episode?
Inoue: I was so nervous, I didn’t sleep at all the day before, talk about nice memories. (laughs) I mean, there were so many popular seiyuus involved. I was trying so hard to fit in. (laughs)
Q: In the recording booth, you get to choose when you sit, right.
Inoue: Yeah, something like that. At first, without thinking much about it, I sat at the very end and somehow ended up sitting there for the rest of the recordings. (laughs)
Q: Even though you’re the King of Heroes in the show?
Inoue: Yep! (laughs) But from the second cour, I’m the “former” KoH – but since Barnaby resigned near the end of the show, I bet I came back to power!
Q: Let’s look back at the first cour, what episode left the biggest impression on you?
Inoue: From the first cour, that would be episode 5. It’s the one on Barnaby’s Birthday Party. It’s the moment when you just go “Oh, so Keith is this kind of guy”! At first I thought he’s a cool and reliable person, so inside I was like, “Noooo, don’t overlap with Barnaby!” With this episode I finally understood who I was going to play. (laughs) I think there were people who thought at first that they might find Sky High annoying, but I think their impression on him changed with this episode.
Q: So episode 5 was the turning point?
Inoue: Yes. I thought, “Oh, so I’m not going the same route Morita-san goes!” (laughs) And of course, it’s the episode when SKYYYY HIIIIIIGH! was born.
Q: The thing you scream when he uses his power, yes? Who came up with that?
Inoue: In the text, there was only something like “Haaa!”, but director Satou told me to scream “Skyyy Hiiiigh!”. When I asked why would he scream his name, he told me there would be a scene involving it in the future, so he wants to introduce it before that happens. That’s how I started screaming “Skyyy Hiiiigh!” in the show.
Q: So there wasn’t anything like that in the scenario itself?
Inoue: Nope. I was so confused the first time I had to do this. (laughs) “Why in the world is he screaming his name?”
Q: Well, yeah, that isn’t exactly normal.
Inoue: So it became something like Sky High’s adlib. Tsuda-san (Kenjirou) also wanted to insert something when he attacks enemies with fire, but in the end his ideas weren’t used in the show. (laughs) Sky High’s ad-lib usually pass though.
Q: Because his character is different.
Inoue: But from the second cour, Tsuda-san’s “Fiiiiire something” made it into the scenario. It’s so great they actually pick up our crazy lines and add them to the real thing.
Q: Every hero doesn’t appear very often, but their personalities are so different and interesting.
Inoue: This is a show that digs deeply into the whole heroes thing, but the way it shows the individual characters is very good. You can feel the speed when the action scenes start, and the CG looks really good, too. And I love that KYYUUUUN sound my jetpack makes!
Q: Well, it was added to show that he gains speed thanks to the jetpack, right?
Inoue: At first I thought he flies thanks to his own power, so I wondered why he needs that jetpack. Turns out he probably can only float, and uses it to gain speed.
Q: But his power to control wind is very cool, because it has many uses.
Inoue: It’s very powerful, so he can use it to capture criminals, or help save people. And he cries “SKYYYY HIIIIGH” while at it! (laughs)
Q: There were some changes to the way you cry that during the show, right.
Inoue: Yeah, in episode 12 when I was fighting Jake, I got stopped at “Skyyyy” and ended up adding “Hiiiigh!” later. At that time, I myself felt like screaming his name, so by that time, using it just seemed so natural.
Q: So you got used to it completely. (laughs)
Inoue: Exactly. (laughs) Episode 12 left a giant impression on me, too. Presenting the relationship between the heroes was important during that time, and then suddenly came the fights.
Q: And Sky High was the first one to fight, too.
Inoue: Yep. And that’s why I lost. (laughs)
Q: Hahaha! Well, if you had won, the arc would have come to an end too fast.
Inoue: That’s why this show is called Tiger&Bunny! (laughs) But I got to fight with all my might, so it was fun too. I always wanted for him to get a real battle moment.
Q: After Jake’s arc the story continued into the second cour, but it was a hard time for Keith, wasn’t it?
Inoue: Up until that point, there was some aggressive Sky High action, and then there was a need to introduce that he has some negative worries, too. Acting that part felt vastly different. I learned that Keith has his own problems, too.
Q: In episode 15, Keith’s head stuck in a wall, he looked a bit like an arrow that struck a target.
Inoue: The last moment of the A-part of that episode. It was such a sad scene… It felt like he suddenly stopped being the King of Heroes.
Q: But wasn’t it worth it, since he’s the main character in episode 15?
Inoue: Of course it was. Even after the recording, they allowed me to stay after hours and re-record some lines. It was a sad but amazing story.
Q: Was there something they told you to pay attention to when you were recording episode 15?
Inoue: They wanted me to show that he’s human, and has a bit of a disgraceful side to him, too. It was important to show that in the episode. I worked really hard to show his feelings when he was sitting on the bench next to Cis.
Q: It was pretty much just a monologue.
Inoue: Yeah, it wasn’t much of a conversation. But I think he was happy that Cis just listened to him. I again used my trademark (?) ad-lib, so even though it was a serious scene, there were funny moments like “Let’s meet tomorrow. Tomorrow let’s meet.” (laughs)
Q: You can’t sit still without adding some ad-libs every week? (laughs)
Inoue: There are fans who are expecting it, so I’m a bit afraid to end my lines normally. (laughs) I was always doing my best to find places to add something of my own.
Q: Keith in episode 15 was really spectacular. He recovered pretty fast, though.
Inoue: Yeah, I started wondering if this serious story left any impression on him. (laughs) But it’s so very Keith, to dispel ill memories. Even when he was so troubled, he still was patrolling the city at night, because it was just obvious that he should protect the citizens. I think he’s a really good man.
Q: When the climax of the story came, you did your best with other heroes.
Inoue: Yup, I did my best to behave as strangely as possible. (laughs) Besides that, in the second cour, episode 22 left a big impression on me. Heroes get their memories changed by Maverick, but thanks to Kaede they turn back to normal. However, at that point Keith touches Kaede’s shoulder, she copies his power and when Barnaby arrives, she just starts to float. That moment of “Ooops he did it again” was hilarious.
Q: Story resolves itself in front of our eyes and then, the last three episodes. Any impressions?
Inoue: I never managed to predict anything, so I looked forward to see how it ends. I didn’t see Rotwang’s return coming, but what surprised me the most was Kotetsu’s “death” in episode 24. When Hirata-san got the scenario during the recording of the episode before that and started reading it, he suddenly said in this extremely lonesome voice “What, so Kotetsu dies…?” (laughs) Of course, he didn’t really die.
Q: Any thoughts on the end of the series?
Inoue: For me, the grand finale was great. But even though the Maverick part of the story got resolved, there are still things regarding Ouroboros that are left in the dark.
Q: Any predictions about what might happen in the future?
Inoue: Hm. Not only the fans, but I too wait for the continuation. Kotetsu is still working as a hero, and everyone got along so well in the recording studio! I want to play as Keith again. After the final recording session, each of us got flowers that matched our hero colors from the staff. I was so deeply moved by that!
Q: And last question. Is there a Hero other than Sky High you really like?
Inoue: Fire Emblem! I think he understands Keith best, and I like how tolerant he is. His motherly side is great, too. Even though he’s a man! (laughs) … Er, Tsuda-san, fiery sorry for saying this! And sorry again!