[INTERVIEW] Ryotaro Okiayu at FanimeCon 2018

– Welcome to California! Is this your first time here?

I actually have been to Yaoi Con with Hidenobu Kiuchi in 2010. It was held in San Francisco, so this is my second time visiting Northern California.

– Did you go sightseeing around here? Where did you go?

Yes, I went to the Facebook and Apple HQ’s!

– Did you have a chance to walk around Fanime? What is your impression about Fanime so far?

I went to check out Artist Alley! And I watched attendees as they enjoyed the convention. I took some photos and videos as well.

– Have you seen anyone cosplaying any of the characters you have voiced?

Not really… I saw many people cosplaying Saber from the Fate series, but I didn’t see anyone doing my character. I also did a voice in Food Wars!, so I took a photo of some Food Wars! Cosplayers.

Yesterday I also filmed attendees gathering around the stage for a while at the opening ceremonies!

– It’s been around 28 years since you debuted! What was the most challenging job that you’ve done as a voice actor?

Hmm… When I first debuted I did not get many roles. In my early years I was not as confident in my voice acting skills because I didn’t pass many auditions and had trouble getting jobs. But now that I think about it, I was very lucky that it didn’t take too long for me to start getting more parts.

– But I feel like it didn’t take long for you to start playing main characters after your debut! I grew up watching many characters voiced by you when I was little!

Oh, I was really active as a voice actor on TV back when you were little, so maybe that’s why.

I started this job when I was 20 years old. I was around 23 when I played Yuu Matsuura from Marmalade Boy. But for the first 3 years I had a really hard time becoming successful. I even had another part time job on the side.

– Lately live action movies based on manga have been very popular! You played Yuu Matsuura from Marmalade Boy, and a live action movie for that series just got released last month. I saw that you went to see the film. How was it?

Yes, there are so many live action films and dramas lately. I’m just a voice actor in the anime, not an author or creator, so I was very happy that more people would have a chance to get to know about this awesome series. Thanks to the movie’s release, the Marmalade Boy anime got popular again too.

– I get the impression that you often play a cool guy because of your sexy and attractive voice. Is there any character that you would like to challenge in the near future?

Haha, not really. I get to play attractive characters once in a while. As for the characters that I want to challenge in the future… I think I can still play similar characters that I used to do before, but the roles have been passing to the younger generations. I think I now have to aim for the characters that are usually voiced by Jouji Nakata or Rikiya Koyama. I guess I have to go steal my senpai’s roles. haha

My voice’s natural characteristics may be important, but at the same time I would like to take up the challenge of voicing characters where I could sound like a completely different person.

– What do you think you would have done for work if you hadn’t become a voice actor?

Hmmm, I don’t have any licenses, so I don’t know what else I can be… Oh, but I did want to become a nursery school teacher before.

– So you must love kids!

I do! I love playing with kids, but they don’t love me back for some reason. haha

– I noticed that you often update your social media! Both your Twitter and Instagram names are @chikichikiko. What does this mean? How did you come up with this name?

Hahaha. I think it all started when I wrote my last name, Okiayu in Kanji, and someone on an online game misread my name. He said my kanji “Oki” looked like “Chiki,” and so that is how my user name was made up.

– What is Kawaii Kakkoii and Sugoi to you?

Rilakkuma is very kawaii. haha And I was in a stage play recently, so I think theatrical combat is very kakkoii and sugoi! Actually the stage play itself is kawaii, kakkoii and sugoi!

– Can you give a message to your fans in America?

I have been able to do voice acting thanks to everyone who has been supporting me, so I would like to repay them by working on different amazing series. I will continue to work hard as a voice actor, so I hope I can come back here as a guest again. Thank you!


Hell Teacher Nu~Be~

©Sho Makura・Takeshi Okano/Shueisha・Toei Animation

Mr. Okiayu also told me to spread the word about one of his most famous works, Hell Teacher Nu~Be~ several times during the interview. Hell Teacher Nu~Be~ is my personal favorite shonen manga of all time, and Mr. Okiayu voiced the main character Nu~Be~ in the anime series.

Hell Teacher Nu~Be~ is a horror comedy manga written by Sho Makura and drawn by Takeshi Okano that was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1993-1999. The main story follows an elementary school teacher Meisuke Nueno (Nu~Be~) who fights against yokai, demons, ghosts, and other villains to protect his beloved students and friends. He fights them using his Demon Hand where a powerful demon is sealed within.

This manga is not just about yokai or action and/or sexy scenes, but it also teaches you about the psychological growth as a person through yokai and ghosts encounters, educational theories, moral ideology, sociology and logic in a such a way that allows even youngest readers the ability to understand such concepts.

To me, Nu~Be~ is like a Jack in the Box. The genre of the manga may be horror comedy, but there are a variety of topics (including romance, human drama and mystery) so that anyone, despite of their taste or generation, can all enjoy this series. This series is also the first manga that I’ve ever cried while reading, simply because the relationship between Nu~Be~ and his students is so wonderful. It makes me feel like I wish I had such an amazing teacher like him in my childhood.

If you want to get into a classic shonen manga or anime, I highly recommend Hell Teacher Nu~Be~!

 

Ryotaro Okiayu

Official Website: https://www.aoni.co.jp/search/okiayu-ryotaro.html

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chikichikiko

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chikichikiko/

 

FanimeCon

Official Website: https://www.fanime.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FanimeCon/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FanimeCon

 

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