Golden Wind Anime Interviews (December 2018)
A series of interviews released alongside the Blu-Ray boxes of the Golden Wind Anime with the Japanese voice actors and production staff. The first interview was released on December 19, 2019 and other interviews followed with the subsequent Blu-Ray box releases.
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.
Casting interview with Yuichi Nakamura, Bruno Bucciarati's voice actor. (source collector Blu-ray booklet, translated by Nabu)
How did you envision the original series?
When I began to read Weekly Shonen Jump in primary school, the series was already being published. I believe we were at the third part. I was very young, so it was still too difficult for my age. Simply on an artistic level, we are more drawn towards series with simpler and clearer lines, which were easier to understand, contrary to JoJo's detailed style. The story was also difficult to follow each week. I didn't take an interest in it at the time. Then when I was in high school, I saw the manga volumes at a friend's house. I began to read them and had a lot of fun. That day, I thought to myself that it was a series aimed at a readership that was a bit older than the main demography of Shonen Jump. Throughout the first, second, and third parts, the point of view becomes more and more mature. The first two parts are shonen-like, as we have more standard battles. But starting with the third part, things become subtler. At this moment, I understood why the series had absolute fans. It had a style that couldn't be found anywhere else, a way to show things, a story, and a unique setting. I am convinced that like me, many people didn't get hooked because they had begun to read JoJo too young. To those people, I would advise them to go back to it once they are adults.
In this series, you voice Bruno Bucciarati.
To be honest, I had gone through some auditions for the previous series. For the first two parts, I had sent a demo tape and had been selected to give an audition at the studio. Sadly, I fell ill the day of the casting audition and I couldn't go. I had been asked to audition for the third part too, but my schedule didn't allow it. I was disappointed, but I told myself that it was an ironic twist of fate. After all these missed calls, I have been proposed Bucciarati's role. I have read all the JoJo volumes that have been published at this time. My favorite parts are the third and the fifth. Moreover, Bucciarati is my favorite character in the fifth part. I was already very happy to be able to voice him at an audition without worrying about the result. It is why I gave it all my soul.
What did you feel when you learned you had been cast ?
I am not someone who will absolutely request a character because I love them. In the interest of the series, I sincerely prefer that a character has the voice that fits them the most. While I adore Bucciarati, I didn't feel I fit the character the best. During the casting audition, I hadn't received signals at any point that I would get the role. So, when I got the good news, I first calmly thought about how I would take on the role when the recording sessions began. I didn't want to slack off, even more so because I love this work. I wasn't sure that the basic image I had of Bucciarati would be the right one.
In that case, what was your approach to the role for Bucciarati?
Bucciarati is a character who evolves and his image changes a lot between the start and the end of the series. I had trouble knowing what I should take from the series to inspire myself and play the part. When I first discovered him in the manga, I thought he was a victim. Then we quickly learn that he is in fact a leader. In the second half of the story, he is more composed and supports Giorno and his team. So should I change my way of playing in each part, or should I build from the Bucciarati at the end of the series? After thinking it over, I stayed on my first impression. If I saw him as a victim at the beginning of the manga, then I had to voice him as such. It is how I built my way of playing. The fact that he's a righteous, sincere, and charismatic leader will come out little by little along the way.
On the one hand, I am sure that Bucciarati himself has never lived through a battle as intense as the one he is going to live through. In episodes 5 to 8, Bucciarati is just starting to ask questions about the Boss's identity. He begins to doubt, but he isn't ready to change. I even believe that he didn't think that there could be other Stand users outside of his organization. It is visible in the way he panics when he fights Giorno in the second episode. His experience and fights allow Bucciarati to become a more composed person and take the time to analyze his foe before battling them.
Are there similarities between you and Bucciarati? If so, what are they?
In my opinion, we are totally different (laughs). When I was asked to audition for the role, it was a real dilemma for me because although I love Bucciarati, I didn't feel I was the most qualified to interpret him. It is certainly because we don't have practically anything in common. On the other hand, it is also an advantage because it allows me to observe with an objective eye to analyze his personality better.
Once you were at the studio, have you discovered a new charm about the series?
What I will say counts for the entire work. Every character is built well. They each have their own personality, their own way of living, and their own determination. What I like about this work is that everybody has their own charisma. Anyway, what makes the charm of this fifth part are the fights, which are more built around cunningness and intelligence rather than brute force. As soon as the fight with Zucchero, you don't know what's going to happen. In either the manga or the animated series, I think it is fun to try to resolve this type of mystery. The only power that we can call a direct one is Mista's, I think. Mista is very strong, but what would happen to him without his gun (laughs)? Would Sex Pistols function if Mista threw pebbles with his hand?
There are famous scenes with Bucciarati, such as the one when he tastes Giorno's sweat and finds out it tastes like a liar, or when he discovers that there are two yachts. Do you prepare yourself more when you have to record these famous lines?
About the famous lines, the recording team had warned me about the fact that the fans would surely be waiting for them, but I was told not to overdo it; you have to make it memorable while staying natural. The problem is to know which part in particular is famous. When you look at the manga, these can be lines that are highlighted and put in a big bubble, as well as short sentences that are difficult to see at first glance. If one insists too much on the famous lines in an episode that lasts less than half an hour, it becomes tedious to listen to. When, for instance, there are two or three famous lines in as many lines of text, we make tests at the studio by insisting on the lines or by insisting on the whole paragraph... Ultimately, the most important thing is highlighting what we want to convey. Without this, the sentence becomes imbalanced and loses its meaning. Although it's not obvious, there are many dialogues where several famous lines follow each other. When you read it in the manga, it flows well, but it isn't nice to the ears when you record it with the sound.
The lines don't have the same impact between the manga and the animated series?
Let's take Giorno's battle cry, for example, who repeatedly shouts "muda." In the manga, you turn the page, you see one speech bubble with the word "muda" written eight times, and you tell yourself that he's saying it many times. However, in the series, this same battle cry lasts two or three seconds. So it's much more challenging to have the same impact. You realize the differences between media in moments like these.
If you could use Sticky Fingers's power, what would you do?
It would allow me to make shortcuts, like a door that allows me to go anywhere I want. Or like Bucciarati, who uses it to go up and down, when I'm too lazy to go to the toilets, I could make a zipper that I could hang on to and which would bring me directly to the toilets like on roller blades (laughs). I would just have to say "Close!" In addition, with the speed at which a zipper moves, it opens up a lot of possibilities.
In the battle against Zucchero, you see that his head is detached from his body. So, Sticky Fingers' power allows him to separate the head from the body without killing. With this power, I could leave my head in the living room while my body could go somewhere else. It opens up even more possibilities (laughs).
Yes, it does make one dream (laughs). Well then, to conclude, do you have a message to the fans reading this?
Throughout the series, I discover more and more how unique JoJo is. Some of the characteristics show that it is made to be adapted into an anime, but other things are really difficult to adapt. The whole voice and directing crew is trying things out and progressing forward to get the best final result. It is why this series is an accomplishment, in my opinion. Of course, no episode is left aside, but sometimes the team is willing to sacrifice themselves to make this or that episode perfect. This is also the "passion" for JoJo. The people who work on the series are all fans of the original manga. I think that you won't be disappointed with the work done. I am sure that among those who have bought the box set, a lot plan on binge-watching JoJo (laughs). So please stay loyal to the series.
Interview with three of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind's producers, Takamitsu Sueyoshi from Shueisha, Nobutaka Kasama from David Production, and Hiroyuki Omori from Warner Bros. Japan (translated by Nabu).
As you are all producers, could you describe your respective roles to us?
Omori: For my part, I am close to the project's creation, from the beginning of adapting Golden Wind into an animated series. I think about at which period the anime will release, I discuss it with Shueisha, who is responsible for the original work, and then I establish the schedule with Mr. Kasama.
Sueyoshi: I am a producer at the level of the original work. I receive Omori's requests about the anime adaptation, which I analyze from the point of view of the author, Hirohiko Araki. Given that the original work is still being published, my mission is to make sure everything fits perfectly together.
Kasama: As for me, I am an animation producer. I am thus the closest to the content itself as responsibility goes. For the Golden Wind series, I first received a detailed adaptation proposal, from which I assembled a production team, developed a precise schedule, and launched the creation of the script, design, and storyboard. Therefore, my role is to manage the team of the series.
Tell us about the start of the project. How were the discussions between producers for the anime adaptation of Golden Wind?
Omori: In the entire work of JoJo, the recurring theme is that of human relations. However, each part of the manga has a totally different style. At the start, we must define together which aspect of the story the author, Hirohiko Araki, wanted to highlight the most during said part. We share our points of view and put our thoughts together.
Kasama: Since Warner Bros. Japan and Shueisha were already on the project since the third part, their teams know very well that with each new season of JoJo, the places, characters, and themes change. I was asked to review everything from the start with each new part. We thus had to think about what was the main attraction of the fifth part, Golden Wind.
And what is this main attraction?
Omori: Araki said it himself: it is the life of young people who have nowhere to go and their melancholia. This part shows us youngsters who go forwards despite the difficulties they have faced in life. However, the characters themselves don't complain about the lives they've had. It is more a feeling of melancholy felt by the spectator. For me, it is this aspect that represents the main color of Golden Wind. However, not all the characters are saints. Giorno and his friends, as well as their enemies, they're all gangsters. We are talking about evil vs. evil. It is not a Manichean story during which justice triumphs over evil. That said, although it represents evil too, Bucciarati's team doesn't forgive someone who attacks the weak or children. Giorno gives a perspective of rebellion to Bucciarati against a Boss that he disapproves of. In a way, it is him that guides them in the right direction.
Sueyoshi: In the project file, there were the words "expand the series even further". It is an important matter.
Omori: Since Golden Wind speaks about the mafia in Italy, we have this image of boys with flair, and I think that the content is very masculine in the spirit of the second part. In the second part too, we see Joseph and Caesar who are very laid back and macho in Italy. As the first two arcs were the first to be adapted into an animated series, the audience's reaction had been very good. In memory of this reception, I wanted this new part to live through the same success. In addition, because of my profession, my objective is to sell DVDs and Blu-rays. I must give it the best image possible (laughs), and by extension to attract more viewers than before. But that is the case everywhere in the world, not just Japan.
Kasama: I must add that in the original work, Golden Wind goes with a shift in the type of readership. Starting with the fifth part, the clothes are fashionable, which is for me another one of the series' draws. Be it in Japan or overseas, in the anime conventions, the cosplays of JoJo are more drawn from the fifth and sixth parts.
It is true that starting with Golden Wind, fashion takes a more important place. Let's talk about the direction team: for this part, you have opted for a system with three directors, a general director who supervises the series and two directors. What was the purpose of this?
Kasama: We wanted young talents (laughs). This time, we called upon Naokatsu Tsuda to supervise the series, accompanied by the director Yasuhiro Kimura and Hideya Takahashi, so that everyone brings their personal touch. Tsuda is very good when it comes to pacing. Takahashi excels in emotions like during the dramatic scene about Giorno's youth in the second episode. As for Kimura, his strong point is dynamic and explosive images, such as the teasers or the opening. In JoJo, you find a bit of everything, from psychological battles to car chases. Since each episode has its own particularity, we had to have a diverse team to get the best out of everyone.
Mr. Omori, Mr Sueyoshi, what is your opinion on the question?
Omori: I also had the idea of building up a team of youngsters. I'm not saying that I wasn't satisfied with the work so far. It was just a For me, having Tsuda as a director supported by veterans like Kenichi Suzuki reminds me a bit of the duo Jonathan Joestar and Zeppeli. The veterans receive the energy and the enthusiasm of the youth, and the youngsters receive the knowledge and the experience of the veterans. So, effectively, it is beautiful to see two generations far away working hand in hand, but it's also a challenge when going forwards. By the way, it is a bit like the theme of this series: to go forward no matter the risks. That's the spirt in which we have put together the current team.
Sueyoshi: For my part, I am taking over as a producer from the person in charge since the first series. It is certainly because Shueisha wanted to bring a new point of view. I told myself that it was for the same reason that two new directors had joined the team. In my point of view, it is comforting to see two new directors arrive at the same time new members are joining the team around JoJo.
Nonetheless, Coda, who has been singing the opening of JoJo for a long time, is still participating in this part.
Omori: Since in my view we were going on the theme of a return to roots, I wanted to find the duo of Toshiyuki Omori and Coda from the first series. There was also the possibility to call Kohei Tanaka, but since he was also present on the third part, it wasn't a proper return to roots. We discussed together about the choice of the composer and we agreed on Omori and Ms. Neko Oikawa, with whom he had already worked with.
What kind of song did you order?
Omori: I wanted something that would evoke a run at breakneck speed, passion and violence. I had Bucciarati's team racing forward though obstacles in mind. I mentioned that I wanted to give this feeling of going forwards despite the difficult circumstances.
Did the people in charge of the original work's publication give their opinion on the song?
Sueyoshi: Omori had made me a list of key words for the lyrics and since it suited the image I had in mind, I didn't ask for more except for a stylish song. The result has matched my expectations. I also cried the first time I heard it! Let's not forget the visuals of the opening. I love the moment where Aerosmith rolls on Narancia's arms. I never get tired of this part.
Omori: Everybody has their favorite part. Mine is the one with Abbacchio in the hourglass, as well as the scene where the colors on Narancia change progressively. I had already fallen in love with the scene after having seen the edited story-board.
Now tell us about the recording team.
Kasama: As is the case in each season, the key is to find voices that correspond perfectly to the characters. Who can interpret the tough characters of the manga as perfectly as possible? We discussed about it with the sound director Yoshikazu Iwanami, the producers, and the directors for a long time. I think that we've gathered an excellent recording team.
How is it that the Ono family name keeps coming up for the main character?
Kasama: It is purely coincidence.
Omori: During the auditions for JoJo, we were only thinking about the roles and the characters. In some series, you can ask for a voice actor who can sing or anything else but it's not the case for JoJo; only the acting counts. By the way, we tell them in advance that the rest has no importance. For this, the casting director Daiki Shirakawa is peerless.
Indeed, Mr. Kensho Ono, who is voicing Giorno, has told us that he has been asked to repeat Giorno's battle cry as many times as possible and that it has been very hard.
Kasama: During the auditions, we ask the voice actors to do scenes where they must raise their voice, scenes where there is a lot of text, emotional scenes, often which are much longer than what we effectively find in more ordinary series.
Omori: The work of a voice actor demands to have a lot of endurance. By the way, the more experienced ones take up sports, proving that this practice has its worth.
Sueyoshi: The other day, Kensho Ono and Yuichi Nakamura (Bucciarati's voice actor) brought a machine that made breathing difficult. It made us laugh because it looked like the Ripple mask from the second part.
How does the production of the series happen?
Omori: It's always a pleasure to see an episode finished. Secondly, when one makes an animated series, companies give different objectives and missions to their employees. Sometimes you can get into conflicts but in this series, everybody is advancing in the same direction. There is a real common spirit that unites us. It is surely the inspiration from the original work. When I read the second part of the manga for the script of the TV adaptation, I bawled during Caesar's death while I was still in my office (laughs). That's how I understood that the scene had to be tear jerking. We then wrote a dramatic opera piece just for the ending of the episode. This is the strength of the original work.
Sueyoshi: Me too, I take a lot of pleasure in working on this series. Sometimes there are difficult moments, but we forgot them once you see the final result. I am very grateful towards the opening credits team in particular, as well as the voice actors.
Kasama: What characterizes JoJo is that between each department, we share our ideas and our knowledge. For instance, if we are told "I would like this Stand power to be rendered in this or that art style", then we put it into practice. When we say it like this, one could believe that we're having fun experimenting in animation, but from another point of view, this can create disorder and bring the series down. We've had a lot of luck until now because these experiments work every time and are even associated with JoJo. It's like we're blessed by the gods (laughs). It is a privilege for those working in the animation industry to find a series like JoJo, in which you give it your all, body and soul.
Do you give yourself some challenges, like this introduction scene from the first episode? Do you get feedback from the author of the original work when it comes to adding scenes that were absent from the manga?
Sueyoshi: Indeed, we do ask for Araki's opinion but I believe that he's always followed us.
Kasama: To narrate how Bucciarati and his team are in their current positions, we wanted to tell their origin stories in more details than in the manga. We had asked the writers' team, who has been present since the first season and is composed of Yasuko Kobayashi, Shinichi Inotsume, Kazyuki Fudeyasu and Shogo Yasukawa, to work on it and then we asked Araki's opinion.
Sueyoshi: The new part is directly after the fourth part without any pause between the two. That's why in the manga, we directly start with Koichi without really having an overview of Giorno's situation. Thanks to the modifications that we brought to the animated series, everything becomes more clear.
Kasama: We can thank the writer Kobayashi for her writing talent and her cross-referencing of information. The bread crumbs of information that are spread throughout the original publication of the manga which were done to keep the reader in the mood have been reorganized as to not disorient the audience who will discover the story with the anime. The scenario is beautiful and its content is dazzling (laughs). Ever since the first season, we had been talking about adapting the "JoJo" that the readers had in their hearts to the screen. Many think that the animated version is faithful to the manga but we don't simply follow the order of the story. We try to transmit the emotions that we had while reading the manga as well as the moment that left an impression on us. Kobayashi's basic concept of admirably building her script was to make sure that people love Giorno. To do so, we had to be methodical in the order of the scenes compared to the original wok. It is a masterpiece.
Omori: On the other hand, precision is sometimes necessary when it comes to some minute details. For instance, the number of "muda"s that Giorno says, which corresponds to the number in the bubbles of the manga. Because it's said too fast, we slow down the sound track to count them. If it matches then we keep the tape (laughs).
Kasama: It is also fun to put in some references to the different parts from the series. In the first episode of the fifth part, we see a photo on Jotaro's desk and it corresponds to one that was taken way back in the twenty-fifth episode of the third arc. We reutilize our material. In the manga, the scene with the photo doesn't appear in the third part. However, Tsuda and I remembered about this photo on Jotaro's desk which was in the fifth part. At the time, we had consequently decided to include it to the series while telling ourselves that we would reuse it for the fifth part's adaptation. And after several years, mission accomplished (laughs). It is a work with really passionate fans, so we make sure to introduce these kinds of references whenever possible.
To conclude, a message for those who will read this interview?
Omori: The story is quite lengthy, but I think that you will be on the edge of your seat the whole way. Moreover, I would tell you to watch the series several times, because you will surely notice new details.
Sueyoshi: We have talked about the original work a lot, but if you discover JoJo with this animated series and if you appreciate it, you should also read the manga. You will then be able to compare the manga to the anime and see the differences and even be surprised by some of the choices made to adapt the series, which are the fruits of Kasama's efforts. In brief, the manga and the anime have a lot of things to entertain you.
Kasama: Each arc of JoJo has its fans. To adapt the fifth part, the members of the team are from the generation that has known this part when it was published during middle or high school, and this knowledge shows in the series. Everybody is very honored to participate in this project that adapts a work that has marked them in their very soul. It is a work with which they have lived through their adolescence and I hope that you will take as much pleasure in watching it until the end as I had producing it.
Production interview with Yasuko Kobayashi, screenwriter for the animated series. (source collector Blu-ray booklet, translated by Nabu)
You have been in charge of the series' structure since the first season. In your opinion, what is the main charm of Golden Wind?
In my opinion, it is because the heroes are gangsters. Until now, JoJo's heroes were all on the good side of justice, especially in the preceding series, Diamond is Unbreakable, which insists on the hero Josuke Higashikata's will to protect his town. So when you suddenly begin a season whose hero is a mafioso, it leaves a strong impression. Sure, there was a pause between the broadcast of the two series, but not for the manga, where its publication continued from week to week. Let's not forget that Giorno is Dio's son. It's a part that contrasts with the rest of the series.
Indeed, it is true that this part is very different from the others. In that case, what do you think is the charm of JoJo as a whole?
I think it is Mr. Araki's unique style, who makes it so all the story arcs are tied together. Mr. Araki refines and perfects his work little by little. Although there is obviously an evolution over the course of the years, I find that the author's original touch persists and makes up JoJo's charm.
To screenwrite this new series, did you receive instructions about the producers and directors' wishes?
More than simply telling me their wishes, we began by discussing together about what we would do. We are a team who has been working together for a long time already. We go forward by exchanging and sharing our points of view.
For this series, Mr. Naokatsu Tsuda, who was director until now, became a series supervisor and has teamed up with two other directors, Mr. Yasuhiro Kimura and Mr. Hideya Takahashi. Did it make any difference for the structure of the series?
Nothing really obvious in any case. Each of us gives their opinion when we meet together and Mr. Kimura as well as Mr. Takahashi both seem to be calm and level-headed people in my opinion. They take care not to get swept up by their passion for JoJo and have an objective look on the series. Just to be clear, I'm not saying that Mr. Tsuda isn't a level-headed person (laughs). Sometimes, when you love the original work too much, it may not always have good consequences on the adaptation into an animated series. For JoJo, the entirety of the team is a fan of the original series but everyone keeps in mind that they must consider the animated adaptation first. This is our strength.
The producers and directors went to Italy to scout locations. Did it bring changes to the script?
In general, the script of the animated series follows the original work closely. The main objective of the location scouting was more to observe the places and to transcribe the local mood onto the screen. The scouting has been very useful from an artistic point of view.
The screenwriting team, comprised of Mr. Shinichi Inotsume, Mr. Kazuyuki Fudeyasu, Mr. Shogo Yasukawa and yourself, hasn't changed compared to the original series. How do you split the work among yourselves?
We understand each other without exchanging any words (laughs). We know our respective areas of expertise, for instance we know that Mr. Fudeyasu is good with fast-paced episodes. We know by instinct which episode will go to who, "this episode is for Inotsume, that one is for Yasukawa". That said, we are versatile and thus the first who finishes their work takes the next episode. On the other side, if one has trouble finishing an episode, they receive help from the others. During our meetings, the episodes have generally already been distributed but it doesn't stop us from giving our opinions about the script of the episodes that don't concern us.
So we're talking about a team acting in unison?
Exactly. We've been working together since the adaptation of the first part. The series was broadcasted for the 25th anniversary of JoJo's serialization. And today, we got through 30 years of publication. It is crazy how time flies!
You spoke about having difficulties with some episodes. Could you give us an example?
Yes, the fight on the Lagoon for example. It is a fight that happens entirely on a yacht. We were afraid that when it would be adapted into an animated form, it would become a bit boring. Even if we wanted to shorten it, there were no scenes that we could take away. Some would have asked themselves what is the power of this Stand, how it works, etc... (laughs) We had a lot of discussions with the production team in order to maintain continuity in the course of events before they embarked on the yacht.
Zucchero's attack is one of the most complicated mysteries in the series. Was it difficult to adapt this scene for the script of the series?
I think it was also difficult for the production team who had to draw and animate the fight. But for the script, I have often hesitated on the way to give scenic cues. During the fight, Bucciarati and his men are always on the move in the boat. When we had to draw the storyboard, it would have been very complicated to tie between the two. So, I had to adjust the sequence and clearly describe it in the script. Once an episode is finished, it all goes so fast that everything seems natural, but believe me, there was an enormous amount of work beforehand. I watched the episode on TV and you clearly see the outstanding production work. I was very impressed.
So let's thank the production team for this exciting and stressful fight. Abbacchio's flashback in episode 6 was also very impressive. The order of the episodes about the characters' past has been completely shaken up compared to the original manga. Who introduced this idea?
I think it was me who suggested it as I worked on the structure of the series. By presenting the characters' pasts rather early, it allowed the audience to understand them better. When I put the idea forward, it was still very vague, I only asked if we could show the characters' pasts, without going into details.
In the episode containing Abbacchio's past, we see how Bucciarati recruited him to his team, a scene which was absent from the manga. In episode ten and twelve, we get to see the Hitman Team's past followed by Fugo's past, both of which are much more fleshed out. The anime has several of these original scenes. How were they directed?
When writing an original flashback scene, you have to first ask for Mr. Araki's consent and then determine if it's possible given the circumstances. For example, in Fugo's case, his past is described in the spin-off novel "Purple Haze Feedback". We asked Mr. Araki whether we could base his backstory in the anime on this story or if it was better to write something new. Based on the conversations we have with him, we discuss the possibility with the anime production team, and then ask Mr. Araki to check one last time. Some original scenes were planned at the start of the writing process, while others were conceived by the production directors over the course of a few meetings. Other times it was decided during the production or editing process of an episode. This sequence of adding an original scene eventually comes together to form a completed whole. The chief director, Mr. Tsuda, as well as all the staff members are JoJo fans. This allows them to add elements to the story while keeping in mind what comes next and the subsequent resolutions. An example of this in episode five when Bucciarati rents a yacht. We had talked about whether to add this detail in order to foreshadow the fight against Zucchero and Soft Machine and the strategy he would employ.
Did you discover new points of views through Mr. Tsuda and the rest of the team who are fans of JoJo?
There are parts of the manga where you think to yourself that Mr. Araki must have written them without knowing what would happen next. But we received advice to make sure they would fit well with the whole story. It was notably the case with the hierarchy within the Hitman Team as well as their story. That's where you realize that the production team has read the original work taking note of the most minute details.
What aspects demanded the most efforts or gave you the most trouble in this new season?
As I said earlier, it is by going through and linking the different parts that JoJo becomes more and more complete as a work. On the other hand, the adaptation into an animated series becomes more and more complicated... JoJo's main draw is to be Mr. Araki's work. Had it not been him at the helm, it wouldn't have the same flavor. There are many things that work well in the manga but which would become bland once adapted into an anime. For Golden Wind, if you only consider the plot, you could make it into a single movie. And yet, the manga doesn't just draw out its content but it is very dense and detailed. We have the impression you can't adapt this intense flavor into the animated series. The contemporary trend is to have pace. If we had to faithfully reproduce the manga's density into the anime, the audience would have been bored by the lengthy scenes. On the other hand, for the fans of Mr. Araki's work, every line and every word pronounced by the characters are sacred. When you talk about it with the staff, there is inevitably someone to tell you that this or that can't be cut. There is also the problem of the episode's length, as well as the point of view of the fans who would be disappointed if one specific line or facial expression didn't appear on the screen.
One episode is about 30 minutes long, during which you must include a climactic scene. The more passionate you are about JoJo, the more difficult it is to select the scenes and the lines...
Indeed, since there are scenes or lines that you adore, you want to include them at all cost. The problem is that in barely one minute and a half of anime, you can find yourself with three or four climaxes in the manga. Thus, you have to harmonize them. We often play with the end of a manga chapter which is used as an appetizer for the next chapter.
I told you the other time that while our team is made of JoJo fans, they knew how to keep an objective point of view for the adaptation into an animated series. Nonetheless, the meetings become tense when it comes to cut down some scenes or lines. There are often exchanges like "This line is indispensable!", "Yes, but it will break the anime's pace."
However, I am more from the generation of Baoh the Visitor', from the same author, and not from the JoJo generation. It allows me to take a step back from JoJo and to focus on the work at hand, which in my opinion gives me an ideal position in the creation team. On one hand, having someone like me who can take a step back, and on the other hand having the absolute JoJo fans, I think that the balance is perfect.
By the way, who is your favorite Golden Wind character?
It is very difficult for me to answer because all the characters are complete and well designed. From an ability point of view, I would sway towards Sticky Fingers. I don't know where the author got such an idea.
It's true that Mr. Araki has a lot of imagination to come up with a character who doesn't just destroy when it strikes but can also reattach the pieces and uses zippers to unravel and remake things.
An inspiration like this can only be graphic. In any case, the visual impact is powerful. To see a body cut into pieces through zippers stays in your mind. But Sticky Fingers is not the only Stand to have an atypical power in this part. Some Stands are intelligent, others can speak. When you read the manga, sometimes you ask yourself whether the lines come from the Stand or the user. Mr. Fudeyasu must have had all the difficulties in the world figuring out which of the Sex Pistols was speaking in episode 7 and 8 (laughs).
To conclude, do you have a message for the fans who will read these lines?
I want to thank them for having obtained this box set, in this era when people often only collect the first volume of the series that come out (laughs). These are surely passionate JoJo fans. In any case, if they have this box in their possession, it is that they have judged that this anime is worth buying, which sincerely moves me. I think that we have done a very good work with this adaptation. I hope that you will follow it and support it until the end.
Cast interview with Daiki Yamashita, Narancia Ghirga's voice actor. (source collector Blu-ray booklet, translated by Nabu)
How did you envision the original series?
I discovered JoJo when I was in primary school, if I remember correctly. I think it was with the sixth arc, Stone Ocean. My first impression wasn't really good, because I was terrified by one particularly bloody scene. Unlike other manga published in Shonen Jump, JoJo is very detailed, sometimes with realistic drawings, so to be honest, I didn't have much interest in it when I was young. Then between the age of 18 and 20, I stumbled upon the manga's third part in a hair salon. Given the popularity of the series, I began to read it. And then I found it awesome. It is a bit like the food you can't eat as a child but that we love once we're adults (laughs). I couldn't read everything at the hair salon, so I went to a friend who was a JoJo fan to ask him to lend me his volumes (laughs). I read the third part first in one go, then he told me to begin with the start. The anime began broadcasting afterwards. I told myself how this or that scene would render on screen. At the end, everything is very close to the manga, I was awestruck. It was at this moment that I told myself that the whole team behind this work was surely made of fans. I watched the whole series from the first to the fourth part.
You voice Narancia Ghirga in this part.
To be honest, I had already auditioned for the fourth part. Unfortunately, I hadn't been selected at the time. But I kept being hopeful to one day act as a character from this series.
When I was informed to audition for Narancia's role in the fifth part, I was over the moon. I was so afraid to get swept up by the admiration I had for the world of JoJo that I had stage fright (laughs). I thought that if people saw that I liked this series too much, I would be mistaken as an ephemeral "fan boy". Thus, I followed the script and stayed natural during the audition. I only remember being exhausted after giving it my 100% or even 120%. So I won't hide that I was really happy when I was told I got the part.
Narancia is the kind of character you get attached to more and more as the story progresses. It is probably the case for any character but particularly for this one. In his first scene, you discover a dumb kid (laughs), with his endearing side highlighted. I personally love this side of the character, which I am careful to respect when I interpret him.
How did the recording session go?
For our first scene in the fifth episode, Mr. Enoki and I had been maybe too implicated in our roles as Narancia and Fugo. The staff told us to relax a bit (laughs). But little by little, I became imbued with the world of JoJo's fifth part, with the atmosphere of the recording studio, and it was just before the fight against Formaggio that I found my footing.
In the fifth episode, you see Narancia having math lessons. You then guess that he didn't have a full education during his childhood. Then you understand what happened to him in the eleventh episode. After living through these difficult moments, Bucciarati's words touched him at the bottom of his soul. It is then that he decided to give everything for this man who yelled at him for his own good. Narancia is a righteous boy and I think that he is the most loyal of Bucciarati's men. He is someone who works hard to satisfy his loyalty. It is notably visible during his fight against Formaggio. This is why he's so cunning when it comes to battle. Even though he's so bad at math (laughs), when he must fight or follow Bucciarati's orders, he's the coolest among everyone. I sincerely hope I have been able to show this side of the character with my interpretation. In any case, I invested myself a lot.
It's true that he is an endearing character with his childish side but he also has an acute fighting sense. This is what makes Narancia's charm.
Exactly. And the core at the center between these two sides of his personality is Bucciarati, to whom I think Narancia is a bit too attached to. It shows his lack maturity and it is what makes the character's charm.
Are there any particularities unique to acting in JoJo?
Yes, the style of speaking which is close to the way thugs speak. We do everything to respect the original work. There is also a balance between the characters which makes it so we record almost everything together, which makes the work easier. The passion in the acting is something alive. During a fight scene, the acting is entirely different depending on the performance of the opponent. When you look at the level of the others' acting, you think to yourself that you can go further. I don't know if it isn't more about competition than collaboration, but still this way we have of working together in the studio is very important.
During the fight against Formaggio, we really get the impression there is a duel of voice actors between you and Mr. Fukushima.
Yes, it was about who would shout the loudest (laughs). While recording JoJo in the studio, we give it everything from our very first attempts, as if we wanted to kill our foe (laughs). Jun Fukushima is my senior and is affiliated with the same agency as me, so I didn't want to let myself get crushed.
At the time the episode got broadcasted, we also felt all of the staff's commitment. The drawings, the direction and everything else. At the moment of the recording, we don't know what the soundtrack will be, what the sound effects will be, we don't see at all what will be the final result. Even us voice actors discover it only when the episode gets broadcasted. For my part, I had goosebumps. Especially at the moment the flames went from red to purple as well as the piano part just after hitting him. It was simply brilliant. Let's not forget the impressive camera effect which gives the impression the scene has been filmed with a drone. I look forward to watching the following episodes now. As a fan, this episode really shocked me. I was exhausted only after watching it (laughs). All the more when I tell myself that I played in this episode, I was so swept up in it that I would forget to breathe.
Yes, it is true it is an exhausting episode to watch.
The fight is really fast-paced. Myself having played in that episode, I have found that the exchange between adversaries were fast and then the monologues follow really quickly, it's an unending pace. I hope it will be something that will have excited the audience, making them say "OK, so there's no time to breathe here".
Are there similarities between you and Narancia? If so, what are they?
I suck at mental math.
You didn't hesitate for a second (laughs).
In everything involving numbers, I also get stuck on simple calculations (laughs). I think that I can still do better than Narancia... In any case I am bad at anything involving mathematical demonstrations. When I see the quizzes with the boxes to check, I can't understand a thing. When I didn't know what to write, I would write "2". I had a little game and tried to see how many "2"s I could fit in one box (laugh).
If you could use Aerosmith's powers, what would you do with it?
I love Aerosmith and think it is very cool but I think that you couldn't use it in this era. A radar that allows you to spot living beings through their breath, it's like making a reconnaissance flight in an espionage mission. For starters, it's illegal. It is an ability that would be more useful to detectives or spies, so I would have to reconvert my career, which is impossible.
It could be useful to spot traffic jams and find a better itinerary?
A lot of navigation systems already do this (laughs). Frankly, for me it would just be a gadget, a remote controlled plane. Or else I would have to get into hunting. Then I could use it. I could track deers, or spot bears to avoid attacks. It is useful to find preys or enemies.
Thanks for your answers. To conclude, do you have a message for the fans that will read this?
I hope that those who will buy this box set will also buy the rest to see how much the team has invested themselves in the series. The fight against Formaggio only represents a small part of the story but I hope that this adventure will have touched you and that you will take pleasure in comparing the animated series to the manga. The anime offers a new method of expression and allows to flesh out some parts. When you will watch the series in DVD or Blu-ray, you will perhaps discover something new. I personally also felt the great work of the production team when I watched the episodes on TV. I hope that you will realize their commitment to the series. Then, about the story itself, we are dealing with teenagers who are about twenty years old who are fighting valiantly for a cause. It is an encouragement to help us live bravely too. I wish that you could see them enjoy life and that the energy that they will give you will help you in your day to day lives. Thank you all.
Interview with Daiki Shirakawa, casting assistant (source, GW Booklet, translation, Nabu)
Mr. Shirakawa, can you tell us what is the job of a casting assistant?
In the majority of anime, a sound producer is called to manage the administrative side around the casting. But sometimes it is necessary to employ an extra casting director. For instance, we often contact a manager who has a robust relationship of trust with the production studio, or someone who has a particular affinity with the original work. About JoJo, I don't know what kind of judgement was passed onto me, but I had worked before with David Production and Warner, and I had said at the time that I really liked JoJo. That's probably why I got offered this role.
It is difficult to define what a casting assistant is since it can wildly differ between series. I am not able to tell you in a definitive fashion what a casting assistant does. It is mainly the sound director or even the production committee who makes decisions about the casting. But with the presence of a casting assistant, the sound director can focus on the recording, on the soundtrack, on the sound effects, and delegate the management of the casting to the assistant. That was the case for JoJo, where the sound director Mr. Yoshikazu Iwanami, had decided to focus on the technical aspect of the sound creation and it is me who manages the administrative side around the casting process with the agreement of the members of the production committee. Although that doesn't mean that Mr. Iwanami doesn't listen to the actors' auditions or that I am the sole decision maker.
In a way it is you who directs the selection of the cast?
I do not truly direct, let's say that I manage this part. Nowadays, almost all the series have a production committee. You don't take decisions alone anymore. I collect the opinions of the committee members, gather them, give mine, and we decide together. It is like presiding an assembly.
I see. For JoJo, how does the casting process go? Are there instructions that are specific to the work?
For the main characters, we begin with an initial selection process through demo tapes. Then, we ask them to come perform several trials in the studio before we make a choice. For the secondary characters for which we don't have auditions, it is the directors, the sound director, and the committee members who define an image of the character and suggest names. I gather the opinions and I seek someone who could match their expectations. We then have another meeting to make a decision.
But there isn't any special treatment with JoJo. It is more or less the same as the other series. We decided depending on the demo tapes and in-studio auditions. For instance, we never ask the voice actors whether they like JoJo (laughs). Everything hinges on one's ability to embody a character. Nowadays, voice actors do a lot of different things. For instance, they must participate in events or conventions or know how to sing. But for JoJo, we don't ask them anything like this. We just look at their profile and listen to their performance. I would even go as far as saying that we select them by their resume.
For Golden Wind, we started with selecting Trish, Bucciarati's team, and the Boss. Among them, the first two roles to have been assigned were the main characters of the story, Giorno and Bucciarati. I know that there are several points of view on the part but the story hinges on Giorno and Bucciarati. The committee's view was that if we didn't show the relationship between those two characters, then it would be difficult to have a good picture of the whole team.
For the third part, I heard that it was Ms. Reiko Suzuki, Enya Geil's voice actor, who had been chosen first. But this time you follow the order of importance of the characters.
Enya Geil was somewhat of a special case (laughs). For Stardust Crusaders, the first auditions were for Jotaro and his companions, Enya Geil, Hol Horse, Anne the runaway girl, and Holy, Jotaro's mother. While the roles were being discussed, everyone was unanimous about Enya Geil's voice actress. It is why she was chosen first (laughs).
For the fifth part, the team's balance hinges on Giorno and Bucciarati and that is why we had to decide them before anyone else. After many discussions with the committee, I think I remember that it was Bucciarati who was chosen first. Then immediately after we agreed on Kensho Ono to act as Giorno.
I suppose that afterwards, you based yourself on those two characters to choose Bucciarati's men?
Indeed. We then started to piece together Bucciarati's team immediately after the two characters. That said, they were selected in the blink of an eye. We had numerous difficulties though, we had several actors who were equally as good so it had been very difficult to choose.
Did you select Bucciarati's men depending on their personality?
A lot of people think that during an audition, we just see if the voice matches a character. In fact, more than the voice, what we are looking for is if the voice actor's acting is convincing. It was all the more important in that case since we needed a balance between the members of the team.
In my point of view, Bucciarati is younger than Abbacchio and Mista but he has the charisma of a leader. Besides him, we have Giorno who is younger than Bucciarati but who has the aura of a star and possesses an explosive power. It is why I wanted a voice actor from the previous generation to interpret Abbacchio. Then, I was envisioning an actor who would be slightly older than Bucciarati's to interpret Mista. On the contrary, we needed younger actors to interpret Fugo and Narancia. However, Fugo would be more educated than Narancia, who would be scary when he would get angry although it had to be justified. It is a delicate balance. Then, we had chosen the actors depending on their acting compared to Giorno and Bucciarati so that they would make a team. I exaggerated when I said that we didn't take the characters into account to find a matching voice, but it is true that the balance between the characters was a more important point of consideration than the choice of the cast. In fact, we do it like this ever since the start of the series and I think this method is used for many other series.
In fact, Bucciarati and Abbacchio are the same age and Mista is younger than the both of them, but what you meant to say is that you think about the characters depending on their relations?
Exactly. The balance in a cast doesn't really take the characters' real ages into account, but more how we read them in the original work. There is no universal method. However, during the committee meetings, we exchange our opinions about the relationships between the characters, as I told you earlier. It is possible because Mr. Araki's work is grandiose. At the end, we have gathered a team of actors who seems ideal to me.
What about Trish?
Trish as well is a character who is subject to interpretation but for our part, we were already going for someone young. For starters because the character is young, but mostly because she needed protection. We wanted someone young but also someone tough. On one hand, I was telling myself that we shouldn't make her too strong, as we would diverge from the character. Trish has the look of someone strong, but she is only 15. Her life is in danger because of a father she never knew, and at the beginning she is somewhat resigned. The one we have chosen to interpret Trish, Sayaka Senbongi, has a soft and gentle voice but she is able to act with great power. It is certainly this aspect that pleased the committee.
You were talking about a balance within Bucciarati's team, but what about their main rivals, the Hitman Team?
After being done with Team Bucciarati, Diavolo and Doppio's casting, we gradually transitioned towards the Hitman Team. The flash-back scene reuniting the team in the 10th episode was already in the script so we were discussing it in our meetings. But we stayed rather true to our first impressions about the balance of the team.
There were characters who were mainstays among the assassins. Did you begin with someone just like Giorno and Bucciarati?
No, contrary to Bucciarati's team, the members of the Hitman Team were decided simultaneously. With the exception of the 10th episode, the Hitman Team is almost never gathered together. I think that the first roles to have been given were Melone, Formaggio, and Ghiaccio. For Melone and Ghiaccio, we needed two eccentric characters so Junji Majima and Nobuhiko Okamoto almost immediately clicked during the auditions. Likewise for Formaggio, thanks to Jun Fukushima's superb performance during the auditions. I think that the battle between Formaggio and Narancia was really intense and really well played. That said, during the auditions already, he had given us an intense and hotblooded performance. Chronologically speaking, Formaggio is the first member of the Hitman Team to stand against Team Bucciarati. He is very important because the rest lays on his shoulder, and I think that we had an exceptional interpretation for the character.
Did you also take into account a balance between the Hitman Team and Bucciarati's team?
Yes, of course, the assassins had to be able to cause trouble for Bucciarati and his men. I would even say that they must give the impression that they could beat them. Among them, Risotto is the highest in the hierarchy, he had to have some majesty emanating from him. Risotto's voice actor, Mr. Shinshu Fuji, works a lot on dubbing western movies. I thought that having someone like him to voice a character with Risotto's presence and appearance would be perfect to gather the team.
Those who took the most time were Prosciutto and Pesci, two characters beloved by the JoJo fans. We really wanted to keep this mentor and disciple relationship. The definitive choice for Tatsuhisa Suzuki to play the mentor (Prosciutto) and Subaru Kimura to play the disciple (Pesci) is the ideal balance that we were looking for.
Then for Illuso, whose power is to drag his foes into a mirror world, we had to have someone able to interpret his prideful soul. He isn't a character who attacks frontally but more in an indirect manner. I think he is very difficult to interpret. To find a voice actor able to combine these two aspects of his personality, I was thinking about an older person and Ken Narita was exactly the person we needed.
At this point, many characters have made their appearance. Is there someone who impressed you more than the others?
Personally, I really like the scene where Pericolo tells Giorno that he can call him by his name (laughs). The clever thing is that he doesn't say "call me however you like", he obliges him to call him by his name, which creates a kind of pressure as if we were dealing with a dangerous character.
But, I remember that the supervisor Mr. Tsuda wanted a classy voice for Polpo. I think that this instruction was taking his Stand Black Sabbath into account since like the previous seasons, it is the same actor who voice acts for the Stand and its user. I thought to myself that it would be cool to have a cool voice for Polpo. Hideo Ishikawa was a very good choice. His habit of rolling the "r"s and his vivacious interpretation of Polpo make the character very interesting.
As for Sale, who fights Mista, I thought that he could perfectly have been a main character and I simply wanted someone cool. Likewise for Zucchero, physically speaking he's not someone you'd call a pretty boy (laughs). But since I wanted him to be a duo with Sale, I wanted someone who could harmonize with Sale's acting along with a light touch of stupidity if possible. I know that they don't often appear together on screen but from a story perspective, they make a really good duo. We had to keep this balance and so we found ourselves with two actors from the same agency, Mr. Kaito Ishikawa and Mr. Shinya Takahashi.
You mentioned liking JoJo, so in your opinion, what is the main charm of Golden Wind?
It was more or less the case in the previous parts, but I think that here, the team spirit is very important. There are some similarities with the third part, although the travel aspect was very present in that case. The third part is a kind of a road movie whereas in the fifth part the travel aspect is more in the background compared to the team spirit. Of course I think about Bucciarati and his men but also about the Hitman Team which is a close-knit and obstinate team. In any case, that's what was drawing me in when I read the manga. That's also why I wanted the team spirit in the casting team to be as strong as it was between the characters. Also, I think that Golden Wind makes a great leap forward on a fashion level.
To conclude, tell us who is your favorite character or Stand in Golden Wind.
My favorite character in this part is Trish. I think that she marvelously combines strength and weakness. It is too soon to unveil what happens next in the series, but we will soon discover this aspect in the oncoming episodes. I am also very attached to Fugo. He easily gets angry and can be frightening, but he's the most educated in the team. As for Stands, my favorite has to do with Trish but I can't talk about it yet (laughs). But I also like Sticky Fingers a lot. Only a man like Araki could succeed in creating such an incredible power based on zippers.
Interview with Junya Enoki, Pannacotta Fugo's voice actor. (source GW booklet, translation nabu)
How did you envision the original series?
The publication had already started when I was a child. My first impression was that of a work that many people were appreciating for a long time. Around the first time I read the manga, I first felt fear. I was still in primary school. The intensity of the art overwhelmed me. I thought to myself that it was perhaps a little bit too complicated for me.
I learned that you had discovered the manga with the sixth part.
Exactly. Starting with the introductory scene of the manga, the main character, Jolyne Cujoh, speaks about an obscene event that happened inside prison. I remember having been very frightened (laughs). Then when I read the manga again as an adult, I realized that this historical work was already trying things that even manga today wouldn't dare to do. For instance, the concept of Stands or also the Ripple. It is a work in which the author of the manga, Mr. Hirohiko Araki, deploys the entirety of his genius.
What do you think about the fifth part, Golden Wind?
I had the image of barbaric and violent fights in the previous parts but with Golden Wind, we entered into something much more classy. More than a simple battle between the will to win of each character, here they also seek to vanquish their foes with their brains. And I also like the Italian atmosphere of the locations of the story.
You voice act as Fugo in this fifth part. Could you tell us about the audition?
If I remember correctly, I had to act out excerpts from his first appearance in the restaurant, as well as his fight against Illuso. The casting team had told me to interpret the Fugo who is usually calm, and the Fugo who snaps. I had to shout a fair bit and I remember going home with a really sore throat (laughs). From the waiting room, I could hear the other voice actors who were going before me yell. Even as soon as the audition stage, the atmosphere was already fiery. When I learned that I got the part, I was very happy to be able to take part in a series which is appreciated by so many people. But on the other hand, I felt a lot of pressure because I didn't want to disappoint the fans.
What has been your approach to acting as Fugo?
I read the manga to get a sense of his behavior. To know why he suddenly snaps without apparent reason or on the contrary, why he's usually so calm. I had to analyze his dialogue to strengthen my acting. However, I do not like to know too much in advance what will happen next. I read the chapters depending on the recording schedule. I know that Fugo will leave the group later in the series, but if I read the whole part, I worry about anticipating and deviating from the character at some point. So I read the script and discuss about it with various members of the staff.
Isn't it difficult to find a reason to Fugo's sudden bouts of angers? How did you tackle this?
I think Fugo is primarily someone who's psychologically unstable. Even when he has a normal conversation with someone, at his core, he's always ready to explode. This is why he snaps at the slightest annoyance, even the most insignificant one. However, when Trish wipes her hands on his jacket in the ninth episode, you see that he's holding himself back as much as possible to not lose control in front of the Boss's daughter. It proves that he has a reasonable side in him when the situation calls for it. Besides, had he angered the Boss, it would have been the last thing he'd had done in his life. Fugo is an intelligent man who knows how to stay in his place.
I see. Speaking about the example of the jacket scene, can I ask you what do you think about the original scenes where Fugo gets angry?
I am simply happy that these original scenes have been written in. Since Fugo leaves the story before the end of the part and he has only one fight, the one against Illuso, adding original scenes for Fugo certainly helps him get a place in the audience's heart, which fills me with joy.
In the 12th episode, we discover Fugo's past.
This is also an original scene. What his professor had done to him wasn't explicitly said. To act as the young Fugo, I used a higher-pitched voice. Then I also made it possible to let his explosive side come out.
Are you also voice acting his Stand, Purple Haze?
Yes, I suppose that sound effects were added to my voice, but I still made sure to respect the original work's lines and adapted my tone to stay true to the manga and please the audience watching the series. I tried to use the voice the audience probably had in mind. The shouts I do when Purple Haze strikes, for example, as well as his other lines were diminished with the addition of the soundtrack, but he speaks a lot. During the recording, we first recorded Fugo's part and then we got to Purple Haze. It had been very challenging. But thanks to those efforts, the character finally had his big scene.
Do you have any similarities with Fugo?
Perhaps that like him, in my heart I am always ready to explode.
I beg your pardon?
There's a storm permanently brewing in me, like a ferocious beast. My reasoning allows me to stay in control though, which is better when living in society.
Still about Fugo, we can note the strawberry motif on his tie and his shoes. What do you think about those strawberries?
I am not really into strawberries. Perhaps a strawberry-flavored ice cream from time to time. But I don't know where the inspiration for Fugo's clothing style comes from. Does he like strawberries? Although they are supposed to keep a low profile, why is he wearing clothes full of holes? These holes weren't there when he was young, so did they appear over time? Or is it a representation of his soul which is being unveiled bit by bit? I would be surprised if that was the case (laughs). We will never know but it's funny.
Now, could you talk about your favorite scenes? Or a scene with another actor that impressed you?
The fights against the members of the Hitman Team are all memorable. For the battle between Fugo and Illuso, we were yelling constantly. It came to the point that Illuso's voice actor, Mr. Ken Narita, had said that it was taxing. But when I told him that it was hard for me too, I remember that he answered: "But you're young, it'll be OK!" (laughs). But I have to confess that it was funny to hear Illuso shout during the broadcasting of the episode on TV. It was exactly the image that we had in mind when reading the manga. There is also the spaghetti scene with Narancia, a scene beloved by the fans. I made sure to play it in the studio in the exact way I had in my mind when I read the manga. Apparently, it really pleased Daiki Yamashita, Narancia's voice actor.
Indeed, Mr. Yamashita told us in a previous interview that he's eagerly waiting for the recording of the 11th episode.
I know, he also told me (laughs). It only increased the pressure I felt already. I had thought a lot about the way I would tackle this and I was well prepared. I asked myself why he would say that, how loud he would say it and with what intonation. Plus, although he asks for permission to give Narancia spaghetti, he's already made up his mind. I deduced that no matter what the staff of the restaurant or Bucciarati would say, he would give spaghetti to Narancia. I remember having analyzed this scene in detail and thinking to myself that I had to speak loudly. I hope that the audience will appreciate this bit.
What is your favorite Stand?
I really like Sex Pistols's fighting style. In a world where Stands exist, to fight with a revolver may seem disadvantageous but to be able to change the trajectory of the bullets with a Stand means modifying his weapon with a Stand power, which changes everything. It is a power that works on many enemies. In the 7th episode, it allows Mista to hit Sale's leg, giving him the advantage. I also like the fact that Kosuke Toriumi, Mista's voice actor, voices the Sex Pistols. I am really aware every time they enter the scene.
If you had Purple Haze's power, what would you do with it?
That's a complicated question... Apparently Purple Haze's virus is capable of evolving. Perhaps you could use it in hospitals to create a serum able to fight off any pathogen? In my opinion, Purple Haze is only useful for killing or saving people. He must be used for the good of the community. The ideal would be to ally with Giorno to make new serums.
In our everyday lives, it could be used to exterminate pest insects.
But it would also destroy the surrounding vegetation... unless you could create pellets that the insects would eat (laughs). In any case, it could be useful to society.
Thank you for answering our questions. To conclude, do you have a message for the fans who will read this?
I want to thank from the bottom of my heart those who have acquired this box set. Do not hesitate to watch Fugo's great episode, the 13th one. I hope that you will appreciate the efforts that I made to give life to Purple Haze. After this episode, things will change rapidly. In episodes 14 to 16, the very popular Prosciutto will enter the scene. It's time to admire the bravery of the Hitman Team. Thanks for everything and continue to support the series.
Tatsuhisa Suzuki (Prosciutto's voice actor) X Subaru Kimura (Pesci's voice actor)
How did each of you envision the original series?
Suzuki: I was in my last primary school years when the Golden Wind part was published. For me, it was a shonen for adults. There was a lot of text, a plot that was rather dramatic, for a kid my age it was rather difficult to grasp. But this dramatic side is what makes JoJo's charm. When you are a child, you don't have all the keys to understand, you just find this or that Stand cool, it doesn't go further than that.
Kimura: I'm a bit to say it, but in fact I read JoJo for the first time for the auditions. Of course I knew the series but only by name. But once I dived into it, I was hooked immediately. Like my colleague says, it is a mature work. It is all the more true for the fight with Prosciutto and Pesci, notably in how the speak.
Suzuki: Yes. Particularly for people like us whose job is to wield words, when you interpret those characters, you feel the power of things said in an indirect manner. When we play a role, we must understand each and every word of our lines and also keep up the rhythm. It is when you say it out loud that you realise the real worth of those speeches. It was something new for me. I was really surprised when I thought to myself that these words were published when I was only a schoolboy.
You both play Prosciutto and Pesci. How did it go?
Suzuki: Me and Subaru immediately clicked with each other without even having talked to each other before (laughs). We formed a dynamic duo right from the start.
Kimura: That's true we were quite a pair.
Suzuki: The first time that we acted together, I had already my "Prosciutto's puzzle pieces", which fitted perfectly with Subaru's "Pesci's puzzle pieces". We then only had to build a harmonious frame together. But the majority of the pieces were already in place.
Kimura: If I can say so myself, it was really easy to adapt to my "big brother". I had in me the linchpin of Pesci's evolution since I read the manga. At the start, Pesci lacks confidence and Prosciutto calls him "mammoni". Prosciutto's words are stuck in his heart without him being unable to understand them immediately, but little by little, he grasps their meaning until he awakens and steps into the fight. In fact, he discovers over time the meaning of Prosciutto's teachings. Pesci exists thanks to Prosciutto, it is Prosciutto who's guided him along the way.
You appear for the first time in the tenth episode, during the hitman team's flashback.
Suzuki: Yes, it was truly an honor to have this scene to develop the characters' profile, although I was really surprised to start with an original scene (laughs). JoJo is a work that has many die hard fans. The production team must constantly feel an enormous pressure and yet they plunge into new challenges that prove their strength and their will. I thank the team to have presented the hitman team united like this. And I learned that the fans were pleased with this part. Knowing this and having participated in this, it gives us a lot of confidence. I am proud to have been part of the hitman team.
Kimura: For me it was like passing through two auditions. The first audition, thanks to which I got the part, then our first appearance is a second audition that I have in front of the audience. I can't tell you how much pressure I felt. In any case, I am glad I managed to pass the second one with success.
What do you pay attention to when you play your characters? Does the recording team give you indications?
Suzuki: The first instruction from the recording team was to respect our text to the letter. If we thought that there was a mistake according to the manga, we could always correct the script. So, I checked the text first.
Kimura: Exactly, that's what we were told (laughs).
Suzuki: The problem is that to keep up the pace with Prosciutto's long lines, I had to slur my words. If for example in the manga there are two lines with the same meaning, in the script, I asked if I had to use the first of the second one, or if there was a line that mixed the two. We have discussed multiple times about choosing lines.
It is true that if you want to stay true to the original work, sometimes there are lines that really look like each other except for some nuance between the two.
Suzuki: Exactly. Let's not forget the direction or the editing that can be different from the manga. In the animated series, the movements must have continuite. It is of the utmost importance to respect the original work, yes, but with an adaptation into a series, it isn't enough. In most cases, what's drawn in the manga isn't enough for the screen. But with some modifications, you can create a perfect link between the original work and its adaptation. You just have to know how to do it. In concrete terms, sometimes in the manga some speech bubbles are drawn in an aggressive manner but when you only take the sentences in sequence, there is no more aggressiveness. The question is then to know how to render this aggressiveness on screen through the words with reorganizing the speech or the dialog. For this, you must first think about the meaning of the words used in the manga and to take the direction of the series into account. Then the voice actor plays on the nuances. It is all these aspects put together that create the finale result.
What about Pesci?
Kimura: Pesci is a character that listens to the only person that speaks to him head to head, Prosciutto, while grasping little by little the meaning of his words. So my acting was mainly based on Pesci's reactions to his mentor's words. If Prosciutto calls Pesci, I can only say "Yes? What? What is it?" (laughs). Pesci reacts to each of Prosciutto's actions. He follows him like a shadow. He doesn't entirely understand what he says but tries to follow his instructions. He's often completely wrong, but sometimes Prosciutto congratulates him on a job well done, which makes him happy. Pesci evolves around the actions of his role model, Prosciutto.
You say you didn't see each other before the recording to discuss about your roles, but you still respond to each other tit for tat.
Suzuki: It's true. Prosciutto has always felt Pesci's hidden potential. I thus told myself that he had to engrave his word in Pesci's heart so that we understand Prosciutto's real strength. When for example he repeats to Pesci: "When we think about offing someone, its mean that it has already been done!", before shooting three bullets in Mista's head, he means "Watch, that's how we do it, it is up to you to learn from it". I adds the action to his words so that Pesci understands the meaning of his words. It is what makes Prosciutto's personality. When I was in front of the microphone, I focused first on transmitting those words to Pesci.
Kimura: And I received everything clearly!
Let's say you could use The Grateful Dead and Beach Boy's powers, what would you do?
Suzuki: That's a difficult question! If I said I wanted to make all my colleagues grow old, it would make me look bad (laughs).
Kimura: You mean turn the young and most solicited voice actors into old guys (laughs)?
Suzuki: That would be horrible. The thing that would grow old the fastest would be my self-love (laughs). Seriously though, I would like to help solve environment problem. To put back into order the ecosystem, to make infertile soil grow old several years to make them able to produce life again. Of course it wouldn't be the ideal solution to every problem and some people would probably have a grudge against me. It would be a blessing in disguise.
Kimura: That would be awesome: I will sound ridiculous besides such a project but in fact... I recently took up fishing.
Kimura: I go to the sea to fish for sea perch. With Beach Boy's power, I would immediately spot the fishes. Then, when a fish comes close to my line, I would catch it in the blink of an eye. It would bite the hook and could not let go.
Suzuki: The other fishermen would have a hell of a grudge against you.
Kimura: I would not stop fishing up big fishes, I would look suspicious (laughs).
Suzuki: Let's not forget fishing competitions. You'd take all the trophies.
Kimura: Cool, I could live from fishing!
Suzuki: That's a really impressive goal in life (laughs).
Thanks for having answered our questions. To conclude, which scenes from your episodes would you tell the fans who will read these lines to watch?
Suzuki: The fighting scenes! It's brilliant to watch the characters from the manga in motion when they fight. As an actor, we only participate in the "audio" part of the series but you must also admire the work of the animators and the rest of the team on this work. The animation is fluid, the action is fast-paced, just like in the manga but in a different way. You discover a new approach to the original work. I hope that the series will globally please you.
Kimura: Although I may appear self-centered, I'd like you to pay attention to Pesci's evolution, through his vocabulary, his expressions and his relation with his mentor, between his first appearance and the moment when he realises, through his heart and not words, Prosciutto's determination. This is a whole process to observe. The line I love which is for me the start of his evolution is in the tenth episode when he says that coffee makes his tummy all rumbly. This same Pesci, who's ordering a glass of milk and is being mocked by his teammates, finally becomes the Pesci that we discover at the end, thanks to Prosciutto's teaching which touches his spirit.
Suzuki: This scene also has touched me. Prosciutto is half-dead, but it is a bit like a reward for his work.
Kimura: I am happy that you also think like this. Since the coffee scene, you note an incredible evolution until his awakening to his nature as a gangster, then when he's ready to crush the turtle with Bucciarati's team inside.
Kosuke Toriumi, Guido Mista's voice actor.
How did you envision the original work?
I was in middle school when the manga was published for the first time. I had a subscription to the weekly Shonen Jump at the time, so I read everything from the first chapter. Although it is difficult to put the fight scenes to screen, I think that this work is drawn with a lot of seriousness in its details. Even the characters who appear for only only episode have a past and a complete profile. I think that the author Mr. Hirohiko Araki, has his own universe, but the more the arcs that follow each other and pile up, the impression one has of the work changes. I notably think of in the third part whose tone is completely different from the first two parts. Having read the manga in middle and high school, then having read it again as an adult, I notice that we understand more of the work when you are adult. When I was young, I understood what I could grasp and I did feel that it was a complicated work, but with you comprehension capacity increasing with age, you take more pleasure once you're adult. For instance, how the dialogues are built: as an adolescent, you read it in your head and sometimes you ask yourself what's the meaning. But today, when I play the character and say his lines out loud, they take on another entirely different meaning. I understand more the meaning of these lines, the characters takes life like a real human being. There are many important lines in this work that only take their full meaning when you pronounce them out loud.
In this work you play the role of Mista. How did the auditions go?
For the first part of the audition on demo tape, I had auditioned for the roles of Mista and Abbacchio. At that start, I only had those two characters but to make my stamp, I also wished to audition for Bucciarati's part (laughs). Then for the studio audition, I've been asked to play bits of the fight between Mista and Sale and from the last episode of the story, among others. What had surprised me is that Sex Pistols was also present in the script but nobody told me if I had to play them or not (laughs). To be sure, I chose to play them and even then, nobody told me if I had to continue or if it wasn't needed. At the time, I thought that it was probably normal to play them. Then I played a normal conversation scene, and then I've been told that I was making Mista sound too intelligent (laughs). There, I still didn't know what to do. It wasn't the interpretation that I wanted to do. Mista has several aspects, I even think that he's the character who has the most in this series. It is very difficult to know which part of the character I had to highlight. Once the recording process has started, Mista finds himself in several different situations as the story progresses, but it's more difficult during the audition because we only have excerpts without much context. There's Mista the cheerful guy who's lighting the mood, Mista who's focused, calm and nerves of steel, or Mista who's smart and without hesitation, but there's also the hot-blooded Mista. You have to follow the character and it isn't always simple.
After you got the part, how did you approach the character? Did you wish to highlight his "mood-maker" side? Or rather is smart gangster side?
To tell the truth, I didn't think about it. There are of course original scenes, but most of the time, I was following the original work and I copied the expressions he took. The drawings were detailed enough to see the facial expression during the recording sessions. Thus, I used them as guides. And if I make a mistake, the director corrects me.
By the way, which instructions about the direction marked you the most?
In fact, we weren't given a lot of instruction, at least not for Team Bucciarati. All the more since we have dubbed more than half of the series. But at the start we didn't have many instructions. By the way, if we'd been selected through the casting process, it is probably for this reason. I remember some, but they didn't concern me. I remember well the instructions given for Melone's part (played by Junji Majima), it was very direct: "Make him even more perverted!" (laughs).
(Laughs) After having played through several episodes, did your image of Mista change?
No, not really. Mista has several personas depending on the situation and he's very stylish when he fights, that was the impression I already had of him. But there is a difference between the first time I read the manga and now: at the time, I didn't realise Mista was so cool laughs). I don't want to brag, but when I reread the manga, I thought he was so cool. I understood late what kind of character he was. I also noticed that he often ended in a bad state and often after having been hit with his own bullets (laughs).
In the fourteenth episode, when Mista attacks Pesci, we rediscover thanks to the series how scary and cool he can be.
Indeed, that's typically his gangster side that appears in this scene. Another one of his strong points is that he can be extremely cool, meaning at the opposite of the image we have of him.
Are there similarities between you and Mista?
Not really, no, I'm far from being as cool as him (laughs). Our only similarity is that we are both boys. Mista is a really strong person. He has a strong pillar standing at the heart of his soul. Even though we don't live in the same world, it must be really great to have his aptitude for keeping being optimistic, no matter the situation. So no, we aren't alike, but I would like to be like him. Ah yes ! We do have something in common : our voice! (laughs)
In the series, you not only play Mista but also Sec Pistols. You told us you played these characters during the audition. Did your interpretation change over time?
I don't really know (laughs). In the script of the casting, the six characters were present. At the beginning, I had given them each a function in the team. Number 1 was the leader, Number 2 was the group's clown, there was the daredevil, the wimpy one... I had little notes on the script. But today, I don't need them. Their first appearance had really impressed upon me. I must confess that I was envious of those who only had one Stand to voice (laughs), but as soon as I saw them, I found them adorable. When they walk with their little legs, or when they swim in the 19th episode. We even see them in episode 14 (laughs). They bring a touch of freshness in the most cruel scenes. Without denaturing the scene, when I see them, I feel better. The fact that they are animated reinforce their image as cute little beings.
Yes, it's true that they are adorable! But for you, it mustn't be easy every day. Did you already have to play seven characters in another series?
No, it's the first time. At my beginnings, I occasionally had to participate in crowd noise, but never seven characters at the same time. But in good conditions, it isn't as difficult as it looks. I only had a bit of trouble making a high-pitched voice during the pollen season... But since I voice each of Mista's lines beforehand, I am already warmed-up. Nonetheless, I take great care of my throat for the recording. Mostly for the episodes where they talk a lot because I know I have a lot of work ahead (laughs).
Which scene impressed you the most until now?
Of course, all the episode that are in this booklet (episode 17 to 20). Otherwise, I love the torture dance in the seventh episode. The way they torture their enemy is horrible but the dance sweeps away the cruelty. It's a stylish torture, if I may say so myself (laughs). I was even really surprised when I saw the final result on TV. I also have in mind the scene against Sale during which Mista shows his potential for the first time. It is there that we discover his gangster persona, since until now he was more the fun guy of the team. Besides, I think it is the one true Mista duel with an enemy, whom he fights from start to end (laughs).
If you could use Sex Pistols' power, what would you do?
It is a Stand mean to assassinate people, Mista himself says it... Knowing this, it has no use as long as I live in Japan. So, I would choose to leave peacefully with these little people. They can appear without having to be shot with a revolver. It is nice to have now six new members in the family. I would prepare salami for their meal. I could eat with them while enjoying a good bottle (laughs).
Here is a rather nice project (laughs). To conclude, do you have a message for those who will buy the box set and read these lines?
The Episodes 17 to 20 represent in a way the climax of the first part. Originally, Golden Wind has a story that deserves to be followed. But these episodes set the stage for something bigger that's coming. These episode must them make you want to watch the rest. Enjoy the box and watch them several times. You'll see, you won't be disappointed by the rest of the series. Thanks to everyone!
- Yoshikazu Iwanami (sound director)
- Takayuki Yamaguchi (mix)
- Yasumasa Koyama (sound effects)
To begin, could you describe us what are your respective roles?
Iwanami: When you talk about sound in a video work, it includes the dialogues, the music and the sound effects. Each part is managed separately. For the dialogues there are the voice actors. For the music we have Yugo Kanno. It is Mr. Koyama who manages the sound effects. As sound director, my role is to integrate these three elements to the direction with the director.
Yamaguchi: Mixing means to record the dub and to synchronize the voices over the edited images, to mix the music and to add the effects depending on Mr. Iwanami's instructions and to integrate the sounds. At the end, I harmonize the sound tracks.
Koyama: As the manager of the sound effects, I work to create all the sounds other than the voices and the music tracks. I receive Mr. Yamaguchi's mix tape and I add various sounds, for instance the Stand sound effects that I mix with the rest.
Iwanami: To summarize, we have someone who mixes the voices and the music tracks, another one who creates the sound effects, we take it all back and we look at what we should change or not to finalise the work. When we work all three together, I begin by started the soundtrack. Mr. Yamaguchi works on the mixing and gives the baby back to Mr. Koyama.
Very good, so JoJo's sound is the result of your cooperation. For the fourth part, the producers had asked you something chic and pop. What were the instruction for this fifth part?
Iwanami: This time they wanted something chic. All the more because we are dealing with the great team of beautiful men. We thus preemptively discussed with the producers to know how to highlight them.
Yamaguchi: I remember they insisted on the team spirit (laughs).
Iwanami: We also had to take the location of the story into account. We had to have an Italian touch.
Team and Italy, then. Indeed, these are two primordial concepts in Golden Wind. But how do you represent them through sound?
Iwanami: About the music, contrary to the previous series, we have created an Italian atmosphere in the day to day scenes with melodies with an accordeon for instance.
Yamaguchi: For the team spirit, their was a special "Team" soundtrack. We use it often for the scenes with a strong impact, for instance, rather than using the themes of individual characters. I know that Mr. Iwanami paid special attention to it.
Iwanami: In this season, the scenes where the main team confronts the enemy are even more impressive than in the previous seasons. In the other series, there often was a central pillar, but this team, it is a group of pillars. On the other hand, it is the series where "JoJo" is showcased the least.
This is how you create the atmosphere of the series. Let's talk about a particular element among the three that you talked about at the start of the interview: the music. What were the exchange with the composer Mr. Kanno?
Iwanami: You must know that we don't give any instructions about the music genre. The only directive is "Music for this or that character. For more details, see the manga!" (laughs). In the fifth part, almost all of the enemy Stand users have their own theme. The more enemies there are, the greater the risk of setting into a routine is. So it is important that we understand that when a new enemy arrives. I know that we asked a lot of Mr. Kanno, but thanks to the wide range of res that he concocted for each Stand, the entire work takes on a new dimension. And above all, I love the themes written by Mr. Kanno. He has a gift for creating catchy melodies every time. He is really someone you can count on.
Personally, the score when the sun dawns at the end of the fight against Ghiaccio really gave me goosebumps.
Koyama: Yes, even the episode director Mr. Takahashi was happy to hear the theme where he hoped he'd hear it (laughs).
So, it is Mr. Iwanami who decides which track to use and Mr. Yamaguchi who adapts. In this series when plot twists come one after the other, it must be difficult to find the right tracks depending on each situation?
Iwanami: It is so tedious! (laughs)
Yamaguchi: Nonetheless, Mr. Kanno gives us tracks that are easy to handle. If we explain to him that we're going from a scene about this character to a scene about that character, even if the two scenes are distinct from each other, he manages to concoct melodies that can link up with each other without us noticing it. It notably plays on the rhythm and the pitch. Sometimes we need the music to stop before the climax. He also allows us to have tracks that we can mix together to make one, which isn't common in Japanese animation. Mr. Kanno is really an excellent composer.
Iwanami: During a discussion with Mr. Kanno, he explained to me that he made it so we could understand when we could cut and when we couldn't.
Yamaguchi: It is true that his instructions are clear. There are bits that we can't delete, others that we can cut in several places, enabling us to keep a score while shortening it. The tracks are often 8 bars long, or 16 for the longest ones, which isn't so long at the end. For instance in the episodes 22 and 23, qui perhaps the ones where we manipulated the tracks the most in all of the fifth part.
Iwanami: Yes, because we only find ourselves with two enemies and two totally different powers. We alternate rapidly between two themes depending on the character and the action.
Yamaguchi: Moreover, even between allies, there's the one who speaks and the one who stays quiet. Nothing is left to chance.
The audience can judge that. Let's talk about the sound effects. So, you add the sound effects after the voices and the score?
Koyama: Exactly. Mr. Iwanami presents the detailed tracks, Mr. Yamaguchi uses them as references to edit the score and the voices, which I use as a guide to add the sound effects behind. Working in that order allows us to fit in the son and the score together more easily.
Iwanami: If we handled all the tasks simultaneously, we'd end up with repetitive sounds, there would be conflicts between the different tracks and so on... It would be a real mess as far as the work is concerned. We couldn't understand each other. But if you know in advance what will happen, it's simpler. We have instructions for instance where the music should be at the forefront or where the music is present but the sound effects should be more audible. You hear it very well during the mixing process.
You often use surprising sounds for the Stands, for instance the sound of a VHS tape when Moody Blues is activated. Where do these ideas come from?
Koyama: For this particular case, it randomly came to me as I was listening to music. In the original work, there is no information about any VHS tape sound. I love the manga so I try to stay true to it as much as possible. But we mustn't forget that this arc has been published a long time ago and that without some updates, the series would sound too old.
Iwanami: At the same time, audio tapes can't be found nowadays.
Koyama: Precisely, it is done to give a retro aspect to it.
Iwanami: OK I see. So the loop is closed.
Koyama: Another element about Moody Blues, it is its ears that look like an old telephone handset. Thus the use of a phone tone. In fact, Mr. Kanno also use sound effects linked to the Stand powers in his tracks. His musical scores often give me inspiration for the sound effects. Some tracks are almost created out of sound effects. So sometimes I have the impression that there's nothing left for me to do (laughs).
Iwanami: There is also that Stand that makes people grow old. The track at that moment includes sound effects that reinforce the anxiety of growing old. Normally, it's the reverse, you use the music to give relief (laughs).
Koyama: You are talking about The Grateful Dead. The music is based on high-pitched noises. I had to add low-pitched sound effects to balance things out. As I said, I come to forget my primary job (laughs).
The music inspires you often, does it not?
Koyama: Mostly in the fifth part because of these complex Stands. But in my case, working on JoJo is more of a passion than a job (laughs). When I used to read the work, I would imagine which sounds would fit the best. Now that I can work, I always try to see if there aren't any ways to do better. I invest myself in all the works on which I have the occasion to work, but for JoJo in particular, I try to create sounds that nobody would have thought of.
What kind of instructions does Mr. Iwanami give you?
Koyama: Mr. Iwanami never told me in advance what kind of sound he would like. By the way, it is better because it would be too constraining.
Iwanami: Giving too many instruction stifles creativity and gives a bland result. We work together as professionals, everyone knows his job. I know that Mr. Koyama will bring his own personal touch. We three collaborated thousand of times, we understand each other without saying anything.
Let's go to the last element, the dialogues. Mr Iwanami, what instructions do you give to the voice actors?
Iwanami: Each dubbing session for JoJo is a trial, but I think that the actors take pleasure in it. The intensity of the acting and of the voices are at another level compared to the usual production. Simply put, it is as if everybody was shouting all the time. The mood on set is sports-like. And our job is to capture the most accomplished takes in the service of the series. We have a short amount of time to make it. The main skill you need to dub is the know how to anticipate the rise in tension to make the best take possible. When everybody is warmed-up, there is no point giving precise instructions. We ask the actors to be as intense as possible (laughs).
Yamaguchi: Me too, when I attend the recording session, I realise that you don't do things subtly, you make the ground shake. Of course the voice actors are experienced and have skill, but the passion that they put into it is necessary to JoJo. You must know that they usually end the sessions all sweaty (laughs).
Iwanami: Especially for the enemies entering the scene when they fight against Bucciarati's team. They must give it their all from the start. I ask myself if the enemy Stands's actor don't happen to feel more pressure than the others.
Yamaguchi: I remember that Mr. Ken Narita, Illuso's interpret, felt surprised after the first test take (laughs).
Do you remember things that went particularly well?
Koyama: For me, I think that the fight against Ghiaccio is the best since reading the manga. I think that the sound effects of White Album Gently Weeps are excellent. As soon as I was told about adapting the fifth part into anime, I thought a lot about how we'd dub Gently Weeps. Otherwise, I am also very satisfied about the activation sound of King Crimson. In the two previous parts, I had more or less a sound for the Stands in mind. This time, while trying to following the same line, I wanted to insert more discreet sounds. Thus, even without noticing it, the spectators feel the same discordant feeling as the characters.
It is very subtle... What about you, Mr. Iwanami and Yamaguchi?
Iwanami: Since it is my job, I am forced to tell you that for me, everything went well. On JoJo in particular, which is a work where the fans already have a clear and precise picture inmnd. There will always be people that oppose what we present. There are so many fans and as many diverse takes... Some make up their own image, and what we must do is to make them accept what we suggest. It is almost like a power balance. The older the work, the more immutable the picture the fans have of the work is. It is very hard to make them accept something else. Each episode, each scene, each shot, I ask myself if I succeeded, I'm never sure of anything. It is how I work so I can't tell you if a part in particular went better than the others.
Yamaguchi: I do agree. If I am asked what went well, I answer "everything". The mixing consists in harmonizing sounds. We record the sounds, we make it so the dialogues can be understood by the audience, in the intense moments, we put the music that is needed without forgetting the importance of the sound effects. If something doesn't go well, it means I haven't done my job (laughs). If however, I had to choose, I am rather satisfied about the voices of Sex Pistols, who are cute voices while keep the base voice of Mr. Toriumi. When I work on JoJo, I aim to not tinker too much with the sound. JoJo is a fast-paced series in which the sounds gives off a lot of information. If you change the voices of the characters too much, people may not understand what is being said. That is why I avoid changing too much, thus I keep a sort of audio balance.
Iwanami: You are right when you say that you shouldn't overdo it, it is the essential. We have great voice actors who manage to replicate the intensity of the lines. It would be a shame to waste such talent. It is why Mr. Yamaguchi seeks to find the best balance.
Yamaguchi: That is true. It is also why I try not to be too creative. In my position, I cannot highlight myself too much.
Thanks to your work, we can enjoy an excellent series, with pleasant dialogues, music and sounds that support the work. Let's change subject and tell me which are your favorite Stands.
Yamaguchi: Pesci's Beach Boy. It's the best for pranking and laying traps for people. But I always wanted to have Harvest, a Stand from the fourth part, by my side.
Yamaguchi: To bring me money, of course. I'm a greedy man, you know (laughs).
(Laughs). And you, Mr. Iwanami, what is your favorite Stand?
Iwanami: For now, there is no Stand that I'm particularly drawn to... You must know that I say how I feel out loud on a daily basis, when I'm tired, or when I want to go home, for instance. And since people hear my sometimes, I say "Don't pay attention, it is my Stand who's speaking, he's called Monologue". I often use it (laughs).
I see, your Stand says out loud what you have in mind (laughs).
Iwanami: However, it has no combat ability or any power (laughs).
Yamaguchi: It's only a Stand that drags its user down (laughs).
Thank you all three. To conclude, do you have a message for the fans who will read those lines?
Koyama: Well... I love JoJo!
Yamaguchi: That's exactly what he said to Mr. Araki (laughs)
Iwanami: Allegedly because he was nervous...
Koyama: I'm not ashamed to say it, I am happy for being alive just because I could have the chance to meet Mr. Araki! It's a dream like any other!
Yamaguchi: (Laughs). Many viewers already know the story though the manga. But I want to warn you, you will cry in the incoming episodes. Stay until the end.
Iwanami: For me, Jojo is a life's work. I really want to work on the sixth part so please, encourage us by supporting the fifth.
Yamaguchi: (Laughs) On the Blu-rays, you can enjoy the 2.1 sound which is practically identical to the one used in the studio. I hope that you will like it.
Iwanami: With good loudspeakers or headphones, it takes on its full dimension.