Great success in the era of home recording, distribution, DTM and "with Corona"! A long interview with Kotori Koiwai, a voice actor and multi-creator who is drawing attention in the remote work era.
June 28, 2020 10:000
Voice actor interview
Great success in the era of home recording, distribution, DTM and “with Corona”! Voice actor & multi-creator Kotori Koiwai long interview attracting attention in the remote work era
Around the time when the period of self-restraint from going out continued, and various restrictions began to emerge in the world of animation and games, such as voice recording. A whisper among writers and editors in the area was, “Isn’t this the time of Kotori Koiwai?”
Speaking of Mr. Koiwai, he is a popular voice actor known for his role as Renge Miyauchi in “Non Non Biyori”, Tomoka Tenkubashi in “Idolmaster Million Live! Theater Days”, and Kigurumi Harōkitei in “Joshiraku”, as well as MIDI and DTM. He has a deep knowledge of music, writes, composes, and arranges himself, and is also a collector of earphones and headphones. It’s only surprising that she has a professional-quality my studio in her home.
In April 2020, Mr. Koiwai released his 1st photo book “Earphones / Headphones Kotori Zukan” (Ichijinsha), which he did almost all the productions for her photography. In addition, the crowdfunding of the earphone “KPro01” that she develops and produces with Owltech has recorded support of over 160 million yen, and there is no doubt that she is one of the voice actors who are attracting the most attention now.
This time around, we asked him to talk a lot about how popular voice actors are spending their time now, and about Kotori Koiwai, a unique and attractive person’s manufacturing stance.
Recent voice actor circumstances
──This time, we will interview you remotely. Is remote coverage increasing?
Koiwai: Well, since the period of refraining from going out, the number of remote interviews for magazines and TV has increased. I also do the work of making commercials, but I usually do them at home.
──As a voice actor, I have more opportunities to hear Mr. Koiwai’s topics, such as the release of his first self-authored photo book “Earphones and Headphones Kotori Zukan” and the great success of crowdfunding of the original earphone “KPro01”. Also, the good news continues, such as the decision to broadcast “Non Nonbi Yori Nonstop (TV Anime 3rd Season)”.
Koiwai: That’s right. The stories that are out in the world are those that started to be prepared almost before that. It’s a difficult time now, and I hope this situation will be settled as soon as possible, but I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to do various things.
──I hear that it has a big influence on animation production, especially dubbing and recording, but what about from the voice actor’s point of view?
Koiwai (as of the end of May) It’s a long vacation period when normal animation recording is not possible. The anime “Princess Connect! Re: Dive”, which I’m currently appearing in a cool broadcast work, had no direct effect on dubbing. I think that the works that have a big influence are the works after the July period, but I think that after the self-restraint period is lifted, I think that I will recover it by devising various things.
──Is the recording of games stopped?
Koiwai: In my case, I also record and send it remotely.
──I was surprised that you recorded the audio of the game on your own.
Koiwai: Sometimes you do the work that you can do by yourself, such as the voice and narration of the game.
──Are many voice actors doing such efforts now? It was
Koiwai: I can only say that you have such a story (laughs). However, since various voice actors have asked me to consult with microphones and recording at home, I think they are doing something individually. As far as I can, I will make a suggestion, “Isn’t this good?” According to the person’s environment.
Kotori Koiwai 1st Photobook “Earphones / Headphones Kotori Encyclopedia”
──The number of programs delivered remotely has also increased. In “MILLION STARS Special Live Streaming-Handmade Thank You!-” Of “THE IDOLM @ STER Million Live! Theater Days”, there was a new attempt such as nearly 20 voice actors participating in the program by chat.
Koiwai: It was a lot of fun! Participating in a program via chat is a rare experience, isn’t it? Usually, when someone speaks, the people around them often listen. That’s why it was really interesting to be able to talk at the same time as everyone likes.
──In the program, there was a project called “Handmade Thank You!” In which the cast members sang “Thank You!” In the table. Among them, Mr. Koiwai seemed to use the collaboration model of Pioneer’s digital music player “XDP-20” and “Million Live!” Instead of a microphone.
Koiwai: Well noticed (laughs). It’s a loving collaboration item, and I thought this DAP (digital audio player) was really good, so I thought I should sing “Thank You!” At home.
──The normal “XDP-20” does not have a recording function, right?
Koiwai: Yes, that project was “Let’s record remotely, everyone”, so recording is usually done on the iPad (laughs). Only the sound was played from the XDP-20. I usually sing with a microphone at live concerts, so I feel uncomfortable if I’m freehand. So it feels like I had it instead of a microphone.
──I see! That program was a job, but do you privately interact with other actors and friends online?
Koiwai: You’ve never done an online drinking party, haven’t you? I sometimes interact with voice chat while playing games, but that was normal before this situation happened.
──I sometimes hear the story that “voice actors’ voices can be heard clearly even in voice chat.”
Koiwai: The other day, Choucho Kiritani appeared on a radio program called “Kotori no Oto” remotely, but after all the voice actor has a good tongue, so I really felt that the sound was good.
When I was a kid, I used to collect pinecones.
──Mr. Koiwai is known for her multi-skills centered on acoustics, but I would like to ask you about her roots. What kind of child was Mr. Koiwai as an entrance?
Koiwai: Was it a childhood? Well, I was always picking up pinecones!
──Is it like a collection?
Koiwai Yes. I thought that there are various types and shapes of pinecones, and then I wanted to collect them. But one day, I stopped thinking, “Oh, this isn’t enough to collect” (laughs). When I think about it now, it may have been my hobby.
──As an episode, you have a strong sense of “Non Non Biyori”.
Koiwai: It may be like Renge Miyauchi (renge Miyauchi played by Mr. Koiwai) (laughs). I still like to collect headphones, so the roots of my collection habit may be pinecone.
──I think that many of Mr. Koiwai’s growing interests are related to “sound.” Please tell me the reason.
Koiwai: When I was a student, I was in the brass band club. She was mainly euphonium, but she liked to borrow from her friends and touch various instruments. It was the anime “Pokemon” that inspired her various interests. This is also the reason why I became a voice actor, but Pikachu of “Pokemon” does not speak human language, but I thought that it was amazing to convey the meaning and emotions of what I was saying. .. So I think she first wanted to be a voice actor, and from there she became interested in sound as well.
──What made you interested in DTM?
Koiwai: At first, I wanted to practice with equipment close to the studio in order to become a voice actor. For that purpose, she prepared a microphone, a personal computer, and music production software called “Cubase”. After that, if you have a production environment, why don’t you try composing? I thought it was the start.
──Besides around the sound, you are taking on various interesting challenges such as becoming a member of MENSA (an international group that includes IQ owners of the top 2% of the total population) and getting a diving license.
Koiwai: I think you are interested in various things. I wish I could do various things in my short life. But for me, the story of MENSA was the same as the story of “I ate rice. I ate shumai”, so I was surprised that everyone was surprised.
I am a “model that can be used for free”
──I would like to ask you about the photo book “Earphones / Headphones Kotori Encyclopedia”. First of all, Mr. Koiwai, who is known as a collector of headphones and earphones, what is the item that taught you the fun and depth of such equipment?
Koiwai: That is the white headphone “K701” on the cover of the photo book (“Earphones / Headphones Kotori Zukan”). That was a pair of headphones that I bought in the early days, so I have a lot of love for it.
──How many earphones do you currently have?
Koiwai: I haven’t counted it recently, but I think it’s between 80 and 100. As expected, not all of them can be used normally, so some of them are beautifully decorated.
──This photobook was also a place for such equipment to play an active role.
Koiwai: Exactly. Everyone is cute and everyone sounds good so I want to show you! Because I had the opportunity to make a photo book, I am happy to introduce my cute pets.
──Please tell us the concept of such a photobook.
Koiwai: The headphones and earphones in the catalog are crisp and cool, and I think it’s like a picture of a publicity material in human terms. When I looked at the photo book, I thought it would be nice to see a natural appearance that is different from such a slightly stiff photo, so the daily appearance of earphones and headphones and my daily appearance of wearing them. I wish I could deliver it.
──I think it was very nice to see Mr. Koiwai’s own intentions from every photo. As an impression of the whole photobook, I feel that there were quite a few photos that I felt that this would not normally be posted.
Koiwai: I’m a person who thinks that’s fine for makeup. I think that a photo with no makeup that shows pores is usually exposed to light or processed, but on the contrary, I want to keep that kind of thing as much as possible.
──As for the photobook, basically “all” Mr. Koiwai is doing it.
Koiwai: I left the design and the work after delivering the photos to the publisher, but I do all the work up to that point myself.
──How did the story of the photobook come out in the first place?
Koiwai: I’ve always wanted to publish a photobook, and I was talking about it in various places. It feels like Ichijinsha, who knew that, told me about it. At first, I wanted to publish a photo book of earphones and headphones. But it feels like I should try to take a picture.
──From the beginning, the main thing was on the equipment side! What kind of team did the shooting work on?
Koiwai: Basically, I make all the plans. I decided for myself what kind of headphones and earphones to use in what place, checked the schedule with the office, and held the studio. At the time of shooting, it was basic to work with Make and the manager.
──How do you actually shoot?
Koiwai: First of all, I decided the place and angle of view to shoot, then I moved and had the manager or make-up press the shutter to shoot. Anyway, it is a tactic to shoot a lot and choose a good one from them.
──The photos taken closer to you on the plane with under-eye light had an impact, including the connection with the next page.
Koiwai: I wonder if that was a picture taken on the way back from a Korean event.
──You shot all over the country in spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Koiwai: Well, 2019 was a year for me to try events all over the country, so when I went to Hokkaido for an event, I took pictures at various places. It was a thankful experience.
──Are there any shooting points that left an impression on you?
Koiwai: There is an underwater shoot, but that’s February. It’s so cold! The shooting was done with great effort, and the managers also worked hard to shoot, so it was like a club activity.
Kotori Koiwai 1st Photobook “Earphones / Headphones Kotori Encyclopedia”
── Prepare a waterproof case for the camera and waterproof earphones.
Koiwai: That’s right. Rather than preparing it because I was shooting underwater, I wanted to show how I was using waterproof earphones, so I shot underwater (laughs).
──The photo of the earphone “Push Truly Wireless Earbuds” and the color of the kimono was very impressive. Do you feel that you are also aware of earphones and headphones as part of fashion?
Koiwai: That’s right. When I got on the train before, I saw a person using a completely wireless earphone in a kimono, and I thought it was very good, and I was able to do something I wanted to do someday. The earphones were in Wakatake color, so I took a picture where there was bamboo.
──In terms of color, the picture on the next page, where only the red of the headphones appears in monochrome, is also very vivid and cool.
Koiwai: Many people say that the photo is impressive, and it seems that 1MORE’s headphones (MK801-RD) are selling mysteriously. For the moving pictures, I took a series of shots of the place where I had my hair moved by Mr. Make.
──What kind of equipment do you use for shooting?
Koiwai: The camera is Sony’s “α6500”, which is a personal item that I have been using for some time. The lenses are Sony’s “SEL35F14Z”, “SELP1650”, and Carl Zeiss’s “Batis 2/25”.
──Is the decisive factor in choosing the α6500 the image stabilization in the 5-axis body?
Koiwai: After all, many professionals use Canon’s full-size cameras, so I was wondering if I should do that. Even so, I chose the Sony α6500 because it was able to shoot 4K video and the image stabilization was effective.
──Speaking of SEL35F14Z, it is a Zeiss single focus lens with Distagon, and I feel very particular about it.
Koiwai: At first, I used a 35mm lens (a focal length close to that of a standard 50mm lens when converted to full size), but there was a shooting location where the angle of view was really tight, so I needed to use Batis. It feels like I bought 2/25.
──So, do you feel that you mainly use SEL35F14Z?
Koiwai: Well, it’s a lens that gives the most beautiful bokeh.
──When I watched the broadcast programs after the release, I felt that it was a photo book with a lot of hobbies and tastes, including the fact that Mr. Koiwai likes no makeup girls. I thought it was a little interesting to express myself as a subject, expressing her taste and fetishism from such a third-party perspective.
Koiwai: I’ve lived that way for a long time, and recently I’ve begun to realize that it seems to be a little strange. It feels like I’m maneuvering an entity with a body and voice called “Kotori Koiwai” as if I were riding a robot. For me, I’m just a model that I can use for free. I think that I am living while thinking that the outside and the inside are different. By the way, I like this body (laughs).
──This is true for both photo books and earphones “KPro01”, but Mr. Koiwai is not very business-minded, or is she really making what she wants and wants to make? I feel it.
Koiwai: I think it would cost a lot of money to have a professional photographer take this photobook. That’s why I want to do everything I can and deliver the highest quality products at the lowest possible price.
Kotori Koiwai 1st Photobook “Earphones / Headphones Kotori Encyclopedia”
Activities on YouTube are also expressions of my “like”
── Recently, Mr. Koiwai is also active on YouTube. It seems that you also shoot and edit the video yourself.
Koiwai: Yes, I made my studio about a year ago, so I recorded it there, edited it myself, and uploaded it.
──It’s a strange question, but why do all the voice actors do ASMR videos (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, videos with tingling sounds)?
Koiwai: I wonder why … I myself originally liked ASMR videos. I like things that are quite fetishistic. I like something that makes me feel a little nervous, so I wonder if ASMR was right for it.
──The Neumann dummy head microphone “KU100” used in ASMR videos is not very personally used, isn’t it?
Koiwai: That was kindly borrowed from the president of FitEar. FitEar is a company that has a large market share in live ear monitors (custom-made professional earphones with a high degree of sealing). There used to be an interesting event at FitEar’s event where I whispered to a dummy head microphone and the audience listened to it with earphones. So when I was talking about “dummy head mic, I like it”, the president of FitEar lent me “because even if I have it, the treasure is rotten.”
──Is your first connection with FitEar a live such as “The Idolmaster Million Live!”?
Koiwai: It was a completely different relationship from FitEar, and after that I started using FitEar’s earphones even at live concerts, so the order is actually the opposite (laughs).
──How about actually playing ASMR video using a dummy head microphone?
Koiwai: Originally, I often listened to the sounds of scissors and earpicks, but after all, many people who watch my videos ask for something with a voice. That’s why I’ve been doing a live whisper for an hour recently, and it’s been well received.
──I tried it, but the story was interesting and I listened to it until the end.
Koiwai: I’m grateful for that too (laughs), and the people who see it are divided into those who sleep and those who watch until the end. Some people got to know me from YouTube, and I’m very happy to hear that the sound quality is good.
──Is the sound quality of “KU100” different?
Koiwai: Of course, Mike, and I think it’s big that there is a soundproof room. Since there is no environmental sound, it is difficult for noise to get on even if you lift the sound to your heart’s content. However, I haven’t got my ASMR technology yet, so some people say that my earpicks are too strong (laughs). It’s rather clumsy and I want to practice.
──I think it is Mr. Koiwai’s unique activity to provide BGM not only for his own videos but also for reading projects.
Koiwai: Everyone is doing wonderful things such as reading aloud, so I thought that I could do as much as I could, so I made it.
── Thank you. From various stories, I think I was able to learn a part of Mr. Koiwai’s charm. Finally, do you have a message for your fans?
Koiwai: I am engaged in activities that pursue my own “likes”. I hope you enjoy it together, so I hope you enjoy YouTube’s ASMR videos and photobooks. I would like to tell you about audio and other recommendations from now on, so thank you!
(Interview / text / Kiri Nakazato)