The new trending project which has the same Theatre actresses standing on stage being the voice actresses for the anime. We asked Koyama Momoyo who plays Aijo Karen and Mimori Suzuko who plays Kagura Hikari their thoughts on the anime.
Aijo Karen (CV: Koyama Momoyo) is a student in the 99th graduating class of Seisho Music Academy. She’s a girl with a powerful voice, always bright and lively. Despite having trouble with early morning lessons she still keeps a positive attitude and tries her best!
Kagura Hikari (CV: Mimori Suzuko) was studying abroad at an acting school in England but recently came back home and transferred to Seisho Music Academy. She has a cold exterior and doesn’t let her emotions show too much.
Even though they’re friends they’re also rivals!?
A battle royale between Stage girls!
—At the beginning, what was your first impression when you were told you wouldn’t only be acting on stage but also be voicing the characters for the anime?
Koyama: Until then I had only worked and focused on theatre plays so I was only halfway through studying to become a voice actress. I was very happy to hear that I could do both but at the same time also became a bit uncertain and wondered if everything would be okay.
Mimori: At that moment I thought that that was precisely what made it and defined it as an actual “2.5D Musical”. I’m very excited to see how we can make it feel as much of a 2.5D project as it is from now on.
—The story has a quiet a charged atmosphere and turbulent feeling to it because the setting has the girls on stage having to fight each other in a “Battle Royale” to become the “Top Star”.
Koyama: Since it’s supposed to be a Revue I thought there would be a lot of sudden singing and dancing but the moment I heard that it’d be about fighting between friends it occurred to me that it would be a really refreshing take on the genre. To have friends fight against each other instead of working together to defeat or face a bigger enemy as it should normally be...
Mimori: In the real world only the Actors and Voice Actors that pass the audition are the ones to land a role, so I really understand the concept of being both friends and rivals. However, there is also the fact that you never know who is going to pass or who is going to fail and in a sense you can also feel the brutality of the whole thing. The fact that we will show something that is not only beautiful and bright in the form of that “Battle Royale” is something new to look forward to.
—Starting with Karen’s blade, the Anime characters carrying real weapons is also quite interesting.
Koyama: The fact that the characters carry weapons meant that we would obviously have to do it too; I had no idea what would become of that. Each weapon is different, you can actually check them out in the official website, which has the trailer video, and using those weapons we will also do one-on-one fights….
There’s still sword fighting training to start from now and I wonder how that will go.
Mimori: The outfits have a “princely” air to them and are very cool so I also think the fighting scenes will look amazing in them. This play will be full of girls so in my opinion there will be some cuteness and elegance to it, however I think it also incorporates that special type of coolness that can only be achieved by girls.
—By the way, do you have any previous experience with sword fighting in a play?
Mimori: I have never done it before so I’m very excited about it. Since I’ve never come across it before I feel like it came to me in the end.
Koyama: I’ve got experience with action scenes but I have actually never wielded a sword before. That’s why I’ve got no clue about how one’s standing pose should be or how to hold it either. I can’t even imagine how that would go.
Mimori: It sounds tough. Nevertheless, it also means everyone wants to do their best and become cooler because of that.
—So the first big reveal for the stage costumes was during the exhibition held on the “Milky Holmes & Bushiroad 10th Anniversary and SIF 4th anniversary event right?
Koyama: We were finally able to wear the same costume as the characters, I was really happy about that.
Mimori: The outfits are very cute but the skirt is just too short. Fighting while wearing it makes me feel a bit uneasy (laughs).
Koyama: Yeah, the skirt length is quite something.
Mimori: Yeah. Also, there is a mysterious character accessory attached to Hikari’s hip and I’m puzzled by what it could be.
Koyama: It’s really cute, isn’t it?
Mimori: I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a cat, or a bear… There’s no doubt that it’s some kind of small animal but as of now I’ve only heard that it’s “just attached to the costume”.
Koyama: The colors and designs of the cape and the costume for Hikari and Karen are supposed to be opposites so I would like everyone to notice that too!
—What are your thoughts on your character?
Koyama: Smiles suit Karen perfectly; she’s a girl that is like the sun. In the 99th graduating class there are a lot of tsun tsun girls so I think Karen’s nonchalance is soothing or healing in a way that helps the rest of her friends.
Mimori: It’s true, Karen is indeed a girl that is just like the sun. She has something that pulls everyone together and a positive attitude that makes you feel stronger just by being next to her. From Hikari’s point of view Karen is so bright and dazzling that it is as if she cannot look directly at her. If Karen is the sun then Hikari would be the moon. Hikari has a part of her that had to live through some dark stuff, so she remembers and holds dear the promise she made to Karen when they were children. She has an air to her that feels like she still lives enslaved to her past. However that determination is also captivating about her. She’s a girl who loves Karen even now that she’s grown up too, and a girl that holds her beliefs strongly so I would be happy if everyone noticed that too.
Koyama: From what I see, Hikari-chan is a girl that shines. Her walking around with that long, silky black hair must be an amazing sight. Since she is a transfer student who has a very mysterious air to her that you can’t help but be drawn in.
Mimori: Right now we don’t even know if she’s supposed to be an ally or the bad guy. Maybe she’s even going to be the last boss?
Koyama: That’s what make her so fascinating! Also, she’s already the “Top” so there is also a possibility that she will have to fight against Karen.
Mimori: Yeah, Karen and Hikari’s thoughts on what it means to be the “Top Star” are probably different too, I think that gap will also prove to be interesting.
—From Koyama-san’s point of view, what would you think Hikari and Mimori-san have in common?
Koyama: When I first looked at Hikari-chan I thought she was supposed to be just Mimori-san herself.
Mimori: It’s nothing like that (laughs).
Koyama: I first met her when we recorded the voices for the trailer but right then I felt that what came out was the actual Hikari-chan. The same happened when we first tried on the costumes; it was like “Oh, Hikari-chan really is here”.
Mimori: I’m really happy you feel that way. However I think that the only thing I have in common with Hikari-chan is the long, black hair. I’m the type that forgets about the past quite fast and have a reputation for having a bad memory, I feel I’m an indecisive and easygoing optimist. To the point I don’t have any backups for the photos I take with my smartphone. So I think that I might be able to make some new discoveries about myself by taking the role of someone the complete opposite of me such as Hikari.
—From Mimori-san’s perspective, what is similar between Koyama-san and Karen?
Mimori: I would say her smile is just as bright. It feels as though she’s got that main heroine vibe to her, I thought so even when we first met at the recording session. From the moment she greeted me it occurred to me that she was definitely 'Karen'(laughs). [1. Karen is the name of the character she plays as, as well as sweet/cute.]
Koyama: If I had to say something that I feel I’ve got in common with Karen… it’d probably just be the fact that we both have pretty loud voices. I myself think I’ve got quite a normal voice but I’ve been told by others that I’m not very good at keeping secrets since I speak too loud. I’m also quite a negative person so I feel we’re complete opposites. I actually feel I can empathize more with Hikari.
Mimori: I actually feel like I identify more with Karen too, so it really is the other way around uh? Then when I have some trouble playing my role I’ll make sure to ask for your help Koyama-san.
—So, what kind of things do you intend to keep in mind when you play a character who has the opposite personality to your own selves?
Koyama: The way I sing, the way I dance, the poses I make don’t have to be mine but I have to keep in mind that it has to feel like it is Karen doing so. I have to try and achieve that oneness in body and spirit with her.
Mimori: It’s not only the voice, but also the dancing in which I’m playing Hikari, and for the sake of the audience that comes to see us I want them to think “Oh, it’s Hikari” and to be able to bring that essence and her presence to the stage. Since it’s a play full of girls I’m sure the backstage is going to be really fun, however I want to be careful and keep my cheerfulness under control.
—How about you enthusiasm on taking the roles of high school girls?
Mimori: I feel that the further I get from my high school days, the easier it is for me to play a high school girl. As time passes I think I glorify them more, so I think I might be able to play a beautiful Hikari.
Koyama: I didn’t really enjoy my high school days so I feel like this is a second chance to relive the springtime of my youth! The students in the 99th graduating class are rivals, however when it comes to Hikari I feel like we’re truly friends and I want to lead a fun school life this time around.
—Right now is there any girl from the 99th class that has caught your interest?
Mimori: When I first heard Daiba Nana’s name I thought “Banana?” and got quite a surprise. Her hair is also styled like a bunch of bananas so that really caught my eye.
Koyama: And to top it off Nana’s image color is also yellow. Personally I’m drawn in by Maya-sama. Her parent’s being a theater actor and a primadonna, and the fact that she’s supposed to be the top student in the 99th class in dancing, singing and acting. In a story that is about aiming to become the Top Star, having one who is already one is something I simply couldn’t avoid being interested in. The fact she’s called by “sama” too is something to look out for.
—Do you have any memories you can tell us about your first recording session for the anime trailer?
Mimori: Since it was my first time playing Hikari I had to repeat the same lines over and over again while looking for the Hikari inside of me.
Koyama: Up to that point I hadn’t had any experience with recording sessions so I was pretty nervous. I remember the sound director said I should raise my shoulders and take deep breaths. As a novice to anime I was a bit uneasy, but I feel like I will keep learning a lot of things from my senpais.
—As for the story, it still has many mysteries to it, but is there anything in particular you would like us to focus on?
Koyama: All of the different girls have each a different passion and feelings from each other. There are girls with a strong positive attitude, as well as girls with strong, bitter jealousy, I feel as though there will be one whose feelings you will be able to understand. If you watch the series while identifying or sympathizing with that character I feel as though you will be able to enjoy the series even more.
Mimori: Even if it’s a play full of girls there are also cool scenes, so to be able to get a peak at this unrealistic world where men are off limits is also something fun to look forward to.
—So the release for the CD has been set for the 20th of September.
Koyama: There are many catchy songs, and you can even get the CD at the theater so I would love for everyone to come listen to the songs and watch the play.
Mimori: It’s full of exciting songs so you should look forward to what kind of dance they’ll have and how we will sing them during the Live part of the play.
—The fact that the play and the Live will have a two-part structure is interesting isn’t it?
Koyama: The first act being the performance and the second act the Live means the audience can look forward to double the fun so I think of it as being something new and amazing.
Mimori: People who have barely seen plays, as well as those who have high standards for them and people who have been to many lives will come as well, so I think it is a play that even first timers will be able to understand. They can enjoy the first and second time, I would love for everyone to come see us.
—So, the Revival was quickly announced for January 2018.
Koyama: The tickets for the September play were sold out, so I feel as though we have many people interested in it. I think that there is something that can be obtained from being on stage before, so I would like to take advantage of the reactions and experiences of our audience to power up one performance at a time. And so, I will do my best to make it into something that everyone is able to enjoy.
Mimori: The September play is the moment the story is born so I would like it to be burnt into a lot of people’s memories. So the people who watch it will spread the word, and it’ll be our link to the January play. There’ll definitely be more developments to the project until January too. I personally feel there are still many things I don’t completely understand about a 2.5d play but I will push my limits and do my best while supporting each other.
On sale March 7th - 2nd Single - "Starlight Theater" - Performance and Preview!
Their new single, preceding "Principal You" (the special single) and "Star Divine" (the 1st single), is a joyful song complete with a very hyped up choreography that will surely get all the audience in the Live part of the theater off their seats and join the cute and fun hand choreography. Wave your penlights and dance together!
Announced from the final of the Revue Starlight #1 The Revival Stage last January 8th, 2018, in AiiA Theater, Shibuya. The anime adaptation of the stage play will start airing in Summer 2018. The current cast will be retained and the non-seiyuu actresses will have this anime as their debut role into becoming a seiyuu.
The franchise centers on "Starlight" — the song and dance revue troupe loved throughout the world. Karen and Hikari make a promise with each other when they're young that one day they'll stand on that stage together. Time passes, and now the girls are 16 years old. Karen is very enthusiastic about the lessons she takes every day, holding her promise close to her heart. Hikari has transferred schools and is now away from Karen. But the cogs of fate turn, and the two are destined to meet again. The girls and other "Stage Girls" will compete in a mysterious audition process to gain acceptance into the revue. — Summary from Anime News Network