– Welcome to America! Is it your first time here? How do you like it so far?
Yes, it’s sort of my first time here! I have been to Hawaii before, but not the mainland. And San Jose is exactly how I imagined it to be, which is a big city with many buildings and people! I love how there is still so much nature here. I’m from Sendai, Miyagi, and Sendai is also a big city filled with nature, so San Jose reminded me of my hometown.
– What is your impression of Fanime so far?
Before Fanime, I had only been to anime events in Asia such as Taiwan and Singapore. Now that I’m at an anime convention in the U.S., I can see that many people here also love anime, manga, and cosplay. It made me so happy to see that so many people in America love anime culture as well.
I feel like there are more cosplayers at Fanime compared to the anime events that I have attended in Asia before. There is also such a large variety of cosplay genres, including old series, the latest anime, and even Marvel Heroes. I had fun seeing everyone’s cosplays.
– What was your favorite cosplay at Fanime so far?
There were so many, but I think I would say Pipimi from Pop Team Epic and Tsumugi from Idolish7! I was so impressed that many people were already cosplaying characters from the previous and current seasons.
– You’re very well known as Ritsu Tainaka from K-On! Ritsu is very different compared to the characters that you often play. What were your first thoughts when you got chosen to play Ritsu?
To put it simply, I was very surprised! I originally auditioned for Mugi and Mio, but the staff asked me to also try Ritsu, so I did. Later on, my manager told me that I got a role for K-On! I was so excited to find out whether I would get to play Mugi or Mio, but it turned out to be Ritsu! I thought, “no way!” I didn’t know why I got this role. Ritsu was definitely a character I have never challenged before, so I tried my best with everything I had.
Even today, K-On! is still a series that is loved by many people in the world. Thanks to everyone’s support, we have more opportunities to try new things such as having concerts at big venues, or even trying different instruments for the first time! I’m so happy to have been able to work with Ritsu for a long time!
– As you just mentioned, you had concerts as Hokago Tea Time. Was it your first time playing the drums?
Yes, it was!
– How often did you practice before the concert?
Once a week, I had drum lessons with my instructor for 3-4 hours. I don’t know how many sticks I had to break, but we still felt like that wasn’t enough, so the entire cast rented a music studio on our own for more practice. I didn’t have a drum set at home, so I would practice on a cushion while listening to the songs.
When I first started, I didn’t think that I would be able to play the drums at all. I know how to play the Electone, and since you have to use both hands and legs for the Electone, my manager told me that I would be able to play the drums, too. That made me feel like I could do it! It was such a great experience.
– You have released several CDs as both Satomi Sato and other characters. What do you care about the most when you sing as yourself and also as a character?
When I sing as a character, I erase the elements of Satomi Sato. When I sing as myself, I sing however I want! For example, when I sing as Ritsu, I don’t use falsetto so that it sounds more straightforward. I want listeners to imagine the characters singing, so I always try my best to sound like the character.
– This year, you played Pipimi in Pop Team Epic! episode 4 with Yoko Hikasa, who played Popuko. How was recording with Yoko again? Did you enjoy voicing Pipimi?
At first I didn’t even know what I was going to do, but my partner Yoko was already a big fan of this series, so we bought all of the Pop Team Epic LINE stamps, and we kept sending them to each other!
The author Bukubu Okawa also came to our recording, and he told us to do whatever we wanted to do!
– So there were no specific instructions by the author or director?
Not at all! I felt that “doing whatever we wanted” was one of the hardest instructions I have ever received… When I watched our episode on TV and then watched our senpai’s episodes, I regretted what I did and wished that I had done way more! All of the people who joined the Pop Team Epic cast said the same thing, too! It was such a revolutionary anime…
– What was your favorite childhood anime?
Saint Tail, Sailor Moon, Slam Dunk, Nu~Be~, Yu Yu Hakusho, Crayon Shin-chan, Slayers and many more…! Oh, and I really loved The Twelve Kingdoms! The main character is played by my senpai, Aya Hisakawa, from our agency. The original novel was written by Fuyumi Ono. I watched the anime and bought the original novels, and I was really into it!
– What does Kawaii, Kakkoii, and Sugoi mean to you?
For me, Pomeranian dogs are super kawaii. Idolish7 is very kakkoii! And all of my senpai voice actors including Ryotaro Okiayu are so sugoi! I’m very honored that I have so many senpai voice actors that I can look up to, and I want to become like them one day.
– Can you give a message to your fans in America?
It is my first time to come to America, and I’m very happy that I was invited to Fanime Con! Please continue to love and enjoy Japanese anime, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again! Thank you!
Official Website: https://www.aoni.co.jp/search/sato-satomi.html
Official Website: https://www.fanime.com