Casting interview with Kensho Ono, Giorno Giovanna's voice actor. (source collector Blu-ray booklet, translated by Nabu)
How did you envision the original series?
The publication was well underway when I was young. My big brother had all the volumes. I began to read them in middle school, but my first memory is that I didn't understand anything (laughs). I reread them later as an adult. That's when I understood what Stands were and other subtleties that you wouldn't get as an adolescent, like the subtle negotiations that come out of the relationships between characters and the evolution of the story that comes out of these relationships, going ahead at full force. It is a very profound series. The more you read it, the more the story impacts you on an emotional level. One day, I went to look at an exhibit from the author, Mr. Hirohiko Araki (the JoJo exhibition from August 22 to October 1, 2018, at Roppongi, Tokyo). When we looked at the chronology of the publication, Daiki Yamashita (Narancia's voice actor) noticed then that we weren't even born when the first part was publishing (laughs). What I mean to say is that this series is great; it has lasted for years and continues to be adapted as an anime, causing the same enthusiasm in the readers and the viewers. It was at this moment that I realized again the scale that this series had.
As you said, it is a work that one enjoys more as they reread it.
Yes, firstly because it is full of details and text. In my opinion, you always miss something when you read it for the first time. When you reread it, you always discover something else. It is a really dense series.
You voice one of the characters in this series. Can you talk to us about the auditions? Were they as intense as the series?
Indeed, JoJo gives the image of an intense and passionate series, and I presented myself at the audition in that state of mind. I was telling myself that I would have to raise my voice. It was all the more true since one of the exercises during the audition was to repeat "Muda" rapidly in quick succession for as long as possible. I suffered the most there. After my first try, they told me that my performance was OK, but I wasn't satisfied. I asked if I could redo it.
Because you knew you could do better?
After doing something once until you reach your limit, I told myself that I could go further on the second try. And I didn't want to have any regrets. I wanted to make the audition team understand that I was ready to redo it as many times as was necessary. I followed my emotions (laughs). I don't know if they had that image of me, but I think they saw I wasn't someone who would give up.
This relentlessness is surely useful when you voice a JoJo character.
In JoJo, you find a theme of a hymn for humanity. The protagonists, as well as the antagonists, have the rage to live. It is particularly true for this arc, which contains fights to the death where nobody ever gives up until the end comes in quick succession. Perhaps I managed to give this impression at the audition.
Please tell us now what was your approach about Giorno when you were told that you got the role?
Giorno is a calm and discreet boy who doesn't talk often. My aim was to clearly highlight each of his lines, getting to the bottom of things to convince who he's speaking to and ensure that he is being listened to when he spoke.
When he first appeared, I had the impression that Giorno was already a complete and achieved character. He already has ideals and an unbreakable determination, and does everything that must be done to accomplish his ambition. He's always ready to take on the challenges that wait for him. For example, when he knocks out Leaky-Eye Luca, it is an accident. However, Giorno is quick-witted and immediately understands that he risks suffering from other gang members trying to take revenge. This allows him to take advantage of his meeting with Bucciarati to come closer to his dream.
Has the image that you had of Giorno evolved with the recording sessions?
In substance, not really. His power and his relationships with the characters evolve, but apart from this, Giorno has the same will as at the start. However, in the third episode, we see him behaving much more like a teen of his age. It slightly softened the image I had of him. Personally, I had no intention to give this episode any comedic tone. I was fully invested in the dubbing, as usual. Giorno himself is not a character who cheats. Maybe it is this contrast that makes the gag (laughs). When he says, "No! It's impossible!" Giorno, who is so intelligent, looks like a bumbling fool, but that's what makes his charm.
Would you say that there are similarities between you and Giorno? For instance, when you compare your 15-year-old self to him...
No, I wasn't anything like him at age 15 (laughs). It would be scary to have a friend like him (laughs). However, if I had to find one similarity between him and me, it would be my habit to conclude any conversation by summarizing everything that has been said, particularly in a conversation between a lot of people. Apart from this one thing, I don't behave like him at all (laughs).
What did you feel when you found yourself in the studio?
I realized that I was dubbing JoJo thanks to the intonation of the words and all the terms that are specific to the series. I even unconsciously took on some verbal tics, to the point it didn't feel right if I didn't use them (laugh). Sometimes I was asking myself why this or that word didn't have the same intonation. Was that an error, or was that on purpose? I couldn't distinguish things anymore.
In fact, you were fully invested, in body and spirit, in each word of each line?
Before the recording session, we always make corrections or make notes on the script. In my case, they are notes on how to pronounce some words. But these are details that the viewer won't notice. However, even if the difference was indistinguishable, it had to appear on the script. The whole team of the series and the voice actors were attached to these nuances. But, honestly, I don't know how much the viewers perceive these subtleties. However, if I'm talking to you about this, it is because I trust in the work that we have accomplished.
Everybody on set loves JoJo from the bottom of their heart. We were seeking to transmit our love for the work while staying as close as possible to it. For instance, we counted how many times Giorno was saying "Muda." And yet this cry comes up so often that at the end, you ask yourself if it's so important to get the numbers right (laughs). It is a token of respect towards the original work, and it is what makes it charming.
Among the first four episodes, which scene left an impression on you the most?
It would be the introductory scene in the first episode, which is completely original and absent from the manga. It immediately sets the tone for Giorno's character. In this beautiful city, he's passing near young drugged kids in the alleys, and we see pickpockets. In short, he is surrounded by crime on a daily basis. In this scene, Giorno doesn't speak, and you don't see his face, but you understand that he sees what's going on and is affected by it. He loves his town but cannot do anything about it to rescue it for now, despite his will to change things. Of course, Giorno is not entirely innocent and wants to join the mafia. My takeaway from this scene is that it shows us a righteous Giorno with a strong sense of justice that he's obtained from a troubled childhood.
Then there is the scene in the fourth episode where he has a grudge against Polpo for having insulted an old janitor's life. At this moment, you understand that beyond his thirst for justice, Giorno is also capable of killing in cold blood. When he joins the mafia, he knows very well that he won't be able to go back.
If you could use Gold Experience's powers, what would you do?
Gold Experience can give life to inanimate objects, and then it evolves with its capacity to create individual pieces of a body or heal wounds. I think that it is a very powerful ability so if I had to use it... It would be to make pranks, like those you see on overseas programs like putting a fake snake on random passersby and shouting "Beware! A snake!". This Stand is made for these types of hidden camera pranks.
But it would be a real snake (laughs)!
I would create a harmless snake with cute eyes (laughs).
Thank you for this interview. To conclude, do you have any words for those who will read these lines?
Firstly, I thank them for buying this box set. In the fourth episode, Giorno's adventure is only beginning. He will now meet all of Bucciarati's team. The plot will become more and more interesting. I hope that you follow it to the end.