"SELECTION PROJECT" Ruri Arai & Yuka Iwahashi Put the uneasy feelings of knowing the contents of the final examination on the acting as it is

Special Feature / Column November 26, 2021 (Friday) 20:00
“SELECTION PROJECT” Ruri Arai & Yuka Iwahashi Put the uneasy feelings of knowing the contents of the final examination on the acting as it is
An original TV anime “SELECTION PROJECT” (abbreviated as “SELECTION PROJECT”) with the theme of idols, auditions, and reality shows. Nine girls who have passed the regional qualifying rounds all over the country live together, and only the winners can debut as idols in an audition battle.
Ruri Arai, who plays the role of Nagisa Ima, who is a representative candidate for the Shikoku area and is good at self-producing, and Iwahashi, who plays the role of Ao Yodogawa, a former land girl who is a representative candidate for the China area. We talked to Yuka after her appearance on the 8th “Anime Hack TV” (delivered on November 6, 2021). (Interview / Composition: Kotaro Gosho / Anime Hack Editorial Department)
――How was your appearance on “Anime Hack TV”?
Arai: I was relieved that the appearance was over. When I first heard about the appearance, I was nervous, “Well, is it okay with me!”, But MC Tokui (Aozora) brought out the story very much, and the charm of “Celepro” I think I was able to properly convey my impressions of playing Nagisaki.
Iwahashi: I was reassured to hear that you were with Mr. Arai. Of the nine people, I’m getting along well as a member of the same unit, so I’m nervous but feel at ease. In the actual performance, Mr. Soramaru (nicknamed Mr. Tokui) really warmly wrapped me up.
Anyway, today I thought it would be great if I could tell everyone about the “Celepro” recommendation. I hope everyone will be interested in this appearance today.
――Please tell us the story when you auditioned. Mr. Arai was told in the program that he didn’t feel any response during the studio audition.
Arai: The studio audition was like a rehearsal, with one test, and then a little direction, and then the actual performance. In that production, I squeezed the lines as much as I could in the middle of the script. At that time, sound director Takeshi Takadera kindly said, “Let’s do it again.” But at that time, I was so nervous that I said “Hai” and said, “Ruri Arai, now. I tried to re-record it from the beginning of the script, saying “The role of Unagi Saki” (laughs). Mr. Takadera rushed in, saying, “Oh, I’ll do it from there.” At that time, I didn’t feel any response at all, but looking back, I think it was good that there was a failure.
――How did you capture the character Nagisa Shibuya at the time of the audition?
Arai: After reading the audition lines, I wondered if Nagisaki was a girl with a bit of a sarcasm. I think that everybody has a little black emotion in their hearts, so when I tried to play with those emotions in my own way during the test, “I’m fine with a little more ordinary child.” I received the direction. There, I realized that Nagisa-chan is usually a good girl, and because she is a good girl, there are some parts that she will collide with while working hard. It may have been a good point to be able to play a play that reflects the direction in the actual performance.
――Mr. Iwahashi, do you remember about the audition?
Arai: I want to hear (strongly). I’m very interested (laughs).
Iwahashi: (laughs). At the time of the tape audition, I was also in charge of Aio and another person, Mako Toma from Fukuoka.
――Mr. Iwahashi himself is from Fukuoka.
Iwahashi: Yes. I felt that I could speak Hakata dialect and that I was close to him because I was a local. I did it from the beginning in the studio audition, but in the test it seems that I did too much Hakata dialect, and I received a direction saying “It’s a little scary” and I suppressed it in the actual production. In the scene where Mako gets angry in episode 5, she thinks she’s saying it normally, but I think it sounds a little tight to people who don’t use Hakata dialect.
Aio, who did it after that, wasn’t particularly told that he wanted me to do this, and it was the end of the test and the actual production, so I was wondering if this was a bad idea …
Arai: After I’m done. I thought, “Oh, I fell.” Didn’t you respond?
Iwahashi: There wasn’t. Before auditioning, Mr. Takadera, the sound director, showed me a storyboard saying, “It’s done like this now.” I remember that the painting was really cute and I strongly thought “I want to be involved in this work!” When I was shown it.
――How was your first impression of the first meeting after the roles were decided?
Arai: The impression of Yukashi (nicknamed Mr. Iwahashi) was not much different from what it is now, and it felt like a bright and gentle older sister. I wanted to make friends from the first impression with the first impression.
Iwahashi: (Happily) I thought that way. I thought Rutchan (nicknamed Mr. Arai) was a cheerful and pretty child, and I was convinced when I heard that he was the role of Nagisaki. She had the same impression as when she met Rutchan in a good way, and she had a gentle aura that looked around like Nagisaki and gently lay down if something happened. I’m glad that all 9 members were this member.
Arai: It’s become a story that makes me cry …
Iwahashi: When asked about the members, I couldn’t help but say, “Everyone is a really good girl!”, And I feel like “where is the position?” (Laughs).
Arai: It’s a work that attracts a lot of girls, and I’m really happy to be involved in “Celepro” by getting along with each and every one of them.
――In episode 4, “Rush! Crash! Splash!”, The spot hits the unit “Splasoda °” to which Mr. Arai and Mr. Iwahashi belong, and (Hamaguri) Hiromi and Mr. Arai play Nagisaki violently. There was a dispute, and there was one act that Aio and (Yagi) Nodoka, who played Mr. Iwahashi, followed.
Arai: I think the scene where Nagisaki, who collided with Hiromi, talks with Aio in her room just before that is a very important scene, and she thinks that it actually changed her feelings the most. I did. She wasn’t reminded of Nagisaki’s position as an idol when she heard about Aio-chan’s track and field and what made her aim to become an idol. Kana. So, in that scene, I was really worried about how to express the flow of emotions, and she was very nervous when she was playing.
Iwahashi: That’s right. Aio started from the point where he was tired of reaching her goal once in the land world. She had nothing like a core compared to the children around her who thought, “She will definitely accept it,” and at the beginning of episode 4, she couldn’t keep up with the heat of Hiromi and Nagisaki. I think there was. As a junior of her, she gradually changed from the idea that “you shouldn’t pull the legs of your seniors” to the feeling that “these four people will accept it”, and in episode 4, Aio-chan I think it’s a very mature time.
――When the atmosphere got worse, Nodoka recommended sweets around you and followed you.
Iwahashi: I’m more of a Nodoka-chan type, and I’m not good at squeaking spaces. Therefore, when I look at Nodoka, I want to cheer him on, saying, “I understand. Do your best!”
Nodoka is also a girl who came here with the desire to convey many of the good points of Hokkaido. Sound director Takadera also said that Aio and Nodoka aren’t that hot in a good way, or that everyone is in a position to do their best. I wonder if it was possible to go to a higher level because of the combination of these two people, Hiromi and Nagisaki, who had a passionate feeling. After seeing episode 4, I realized again that the members of “Splasoda °” are gathered in a really good balance.
Arai: At the end of episode 3, when you’re watching the performance of “Suzu ☆ Rena,” there is a scene where Aio and Nodoka are shocked and give words. The reason they were two was that they hadn’t experienced dancing or singing. I think that it is because of these two people that they have the kindness of being turned around by the followers, which also leads to the good balance of “Splasoda °”.
――During the program, it was said that there was a comment from sound director Mr. Takadera, “I like it,” on the topic of direction about Nagisaki. What kind of exchange did such a statement come out?
Arai: Nagisaki is always thinking about how she is viewed and how she will be liked by the cheers, so for some people she says, “Nagisaki, you’re not aiming too much.” There is a scene that seems to me. That aspect of Nagisa is a manifestation of her strong desire to be an idol, and she has a desire, so she said, “I like being human (laughs).”
Iwahashi: That’s the good thing about Nagisaki.
–So that’s it. It was a word of praise.
Arai: Yes (laughs). If you could say that, I was thinking of doing it with all my might. So I have a little feeling of what to do if Nagisaki is disliked, but as long as there are cheers who support her absurdity, I will try my best. I think there is a part where I and Nagisaki’s feelings communicate with each other.
Iwahashi: There is a line in Nagisaki that Aio says, “As expected, Nagisaki-senpai has a brilliant idea.” It was a bit of a mess. When I received the direction, “Aio is natural, so please go straight to it,” I remembered thinking that was the case. I really like Nagisaki’s absurdity, and I praise her seniors for that kind of thing. It’s like “Senior, it’s true!” (Laughs). It was a scene that made me feel that the relationship between the two had deepened.
――On the air, in order to decide the seven selected members who will face the final judging, the development that reminds us of the true value of the reality show that we vote for the two dropouts by ourselves is continuing.
Arai: I was surprised that we didn’t know that there was such a development that we had to decide who to drop by ourselves. Maybe Nagisaki will also leave.
Iwahashi: Before the final screening began, Sound Director Takadera explained to me, but it took me a while to understand that. When I first heard it, the director’s words passed through my head, and when I heard the story again, I finally knew what had happened … It was so shocking. I was worried about what would happen in the future.
Arai: You’re worried.
Iwahashi: At that time, I think everyone had the same feelings as the characters. I think there are some children who want to accept each other because they like each other through communal living, and some children who are wondering what it is like, and some people are excited to see it. However, we had the same feeling at the time of dubbing.
Arai: When I played, I was hoping that I could keep the uneasy feeling that I felt, “What will happen to these children?” I think that even breath-only acting can reflect the heavy feeling that we actually felt.
Iwahashi: At the end of the game, I thought, “I want you to see the next episode soon!” Everyone, please wait for the rest of the story.
* Please also watch “Tokui Aozora Anime Hack TV # 08” with guest appearances by Ruri Arai and Yuka Iwahashi.



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