Hi guys, it’s Aki again! Since it’s Barnaby’s birthday, we have something for the grand celebration: an interview with his voice actor, Morita Masakazu! Japanese scans were provided by one of our lovely Twitter followers (who also requested the previous interview with Ryan!).
I decided to keep “-san” when Morita refers to Kotetsu, because, well, Morita.
Without further ado:
Q: It’s been over a year since the premiere of “The Beginning”. The second movie takes place a few months after the end of the TV series. Any things you felt especially aware of while working on it?
Morita: Not really. At the very beginning, Barnaby was a hard character for me to play…. Of course, he still is, because there are so many sides to him. His way of expressing himself changes depending on whom he’s interacting with: he acts differently when he’s alone, when he’s dealing with his official work, when he’s meeting his fans, when he’s spending time with Kotetsu-san, when he’s working with other heroes… Playing Barnaby was especially taxing in the first episodes of the show, when I had to figure out how to play all these sides of his, how to make it work. Finally, I could move to adding all the little details to the basic shape of his persona. Now that I think about it, creating Barnaby felt like a training of sorts, because I would repeat it over and over during each recording, and I felt like I managed to create a place inside me where a character known as Barnaby Brooks Jr. can live, like he’s a part of me I fully understand. That’s why I can say that nothing changed during the past year. There were no doubts or hesitation in my mind when I had to play Barnaby again – I felt there was something akin to solemnity in it.
Morita: Many months have passed since the end of the TV series, which of course lets me see things from a different perspective. The Barnaby we know now managed to deal with many things from his past, including the death of his parents and Maverick’s influence. He has yet to solve the mystery of Ouroboros, but the secret organization is no longer something that rules over his life. The most important thing to playing Barnaby now is visualizing how he’s going to lead his life after he managed to escape from his past and put an end to certain things in his heart. Dramatics-wise not that many things have changed since the last movie that aired several months ago, but Barnaby’s mental state certainly did – he had time to calm his emotions. He returned to his true self, had a chance to live peacefully for a while, and the real question is – how is he going to act when faced with new changes? I think that’s what dominated my thoughts during the recordings.
Q: You mentioned once in the “Hoshizora Sunrise” radio program that Barnaby’s psychological state was depicted to the finest details.
Morita: Every single line in “Tiger&Bunny” was difficult to play. There weren’t many dialogue parts that would directly explain the characters’ or the setting. What’s being said between the lines was really important, it reminded me of how novels are written. If you fail to read the meaning behind the script correctly, you basically end up destroying the flow of the whole conversation in the process. To avoid that, I had to play my role while being aware of every single word used to create my lines.
Q: Which parts took the most time to play during the recordings?
Morita: The Barnaby I see and the Barnaby interpreted by the staff and the director always end up being slightly different – which can be said for each and every character appearing in the show. I’m in charge of Barnaby’s voice, but not of his actions. However, the Barnaby that appears in the show is the product of everyone’s contributions, tied together by the director’s hands. In reality, you can say that the character known as Barnaby is the result of many people’s hard work. I’m in charge of a very distinctive element of his persona – his voice. And so, I believe there’s a huge responsibility weighing on my shoulders. I don’t want to make any mistakes. I want to grasp a solid image of Barnaby inside myself. That’s why I spent a lot of time discussing with everyone involved how Barnaby should be like. Of course, I did that before, too, but it was especially helpful this time, during the recordings for “The Rising”.
Q: How were the recordings? Did you get any interesting feedback?
Morita: This time the recordings took two days. The first part of them only involved the actors playing the main characters. It helped us create the base for the rest of the recordings, and I think we managed to capture many fine details during that part, too. First day… It felt like working on the TV series again, because there were so many familiar faces around me. We’ve seen each other many times during events and such, which certainly helped me relax. And of course, I already had an experience of recording for “The Beginning”, so there was less crazy excitement and more natural flow to it.
Q: Ryan’s voice actor, Nakamura Yuuichi, appeared in addition to all the familiar faces, as you put it. You said once it made you a bit nervous….
Morita: I was nervous, because it felt like he’s a transfer student appearing in a middle of a school year. I was looking forward to seeing how he’s gonna act in the studio, and to his interpretation of Ryan. Thankfully, Nakamura always takes the people around him into consideration, and I could tell he was trying not to change the already existing balance in the group. He was the total opposite of his character. (laughs) But he warmed up to us quickly.
Q: This time, Barnaby gets paired up with Ryan, a character vastly different from Kotetsu. How do you feel about it?
Morita: I think a lot of fans were shocked by this sudden change. But honestly, I’d like everyone to try and enjoy the new situation, because changes like that bring upon this strange sense of awkwardness, which makes the show even more exciting. There’s no way Barnaby would act the same way around Ryan and Kotetsu-san, so I was paying a lot of attention to how express it well. I discussed it many times with the staff, too. Actually, I think it’s the part that I feel most confident about in the new movie.
Q: What kind of a character Ryan is to you?
Morita: To be honest, there are still some parts of him I’m not sure how to judge. I think it’s mostly because it’s difficult to fully present a character like his within a limited period of time and the movie is quite short compared to the whole TV series. Also, there are many characters in the series – and each one of them is very unique – so Ryan isn’t the only character that gets his share of attention. It’s nearly impossible to show everything that’s so interesting about him. I think Nakamura already said that at some point [TL note: it’s a reference to this interview], but Ryan isn’t really that bad of a person. (laughs) Sure, he seems a bit hard to approach at first, but he does try to grasp the inner workings of Barnaby’s heart – although he is quite terrible at it – and act accordingly. I thought that’s the real Ryan right there.
Q: We’re really looking forward to see the small episodes from other characters’ lives too.
Morita: I thought they picked the right characters to shine some light upon. Also, we’ll delve into the parts of them that haven’t been shown yet. Of course, Kotetsu-san and Barnaby are still in the center of it all, but we also get to see the inner worlds of other heroes, approached from an entirely new angle and scooped up for your viewing pleasure. I think it’s something to look forward to.
Q: And last but not least, give us a message for all the PASH! readers!
Morita: There will be an event on the 12th October, called “Tiger&Bunny – The Rising – Super Prelude”. I still don’t know (as of this interview) what I’m supposed to be doing during it, so I hope both me and the fans can meet on the same ground and welcome “The Rising” and the “Super Prelude” together! After the event, all that’s left is cleaning up and preparing for welcoming the New Year, and then February comes! Everyone, keep looking forward to the movie!!