Special interview with lead actress, Non, who gives life to the main character Suzu.(This interview was first published in August 2016)
Q. First of all, can you please share with us what was in your mind when you accepted the lead?
A. I was so super excited! I was so glad I felt like floating off the ground ever so softly!
Q. Why did you decide to try this film?
A. They showed me some footage, also I read the manga and I just knew it was going to be a wonderful movie! So I definitely wanted to do it.
Q. What was your reaction to the original manga?
A. I’ve never liked anything to do with war and violence so at first I honestly did not want to read anything to do with those topics. I felt war was something completely apart from everyday life, but as I read through, I realized everyday life also happened even throughout war, so next thing I know, I was enthralled and wanted to know more about it.
Q. How did you feel after the dubbing?
A. I felt like being in another world. When you act with your whole body, you feel your body moving and react naturally without thinking about it, but expressing things only with my voice was a whole different experience, and very hard too! It was really fun.
Q. What impression did you get from being in the world of animation?
A. First time I saw the picture, I broke into tears even though it still had no voices in it, in that moment I realized how challenging it should be not only to add voices but emotions into it.
Q. Could you please share with us what scenes or lines you particularly liked?
A. I like so many of them! Like when Shusaku has a quarrel with Suzu, and even though they’re angry about something totally unrelated they end up fighting about socks. Or the lines about Suzu trying to hide her bald spot, also those when Keiko helps her change clothes. Plus, Hiroshima dialect is has so many pretty and cute words!
Q. How was it to act with a Hiroshima dialect?
A. It’s really hard, heheh! There are times when you can speak regular Tokyo dialect but then you come against words that sound a bit like Kansai dialect only with an entirely different intonation making them really tough. But all in all, it was very cute, so I tried my best!
Q. What was the hardest part of the dubbing process, what did you enjoy the most?
A. At first I really wondered whether I could do it or not, but eventually I just focused on the pictures and made my breath flow along them. I really I had a lot of fun doing that, so I’m really glad I could become a voice actress as well.
Q. When playing Suzu, what kind of thing did you have to keep in mind to get into character?
A. Suzu does not directly feel aversion to war-related things all the time, but is rather constantly very conscious about how to make the best of daily life, about how to live on firmly and normally. I once saw a piece called “Home Sweet Home” at Pompidou Center and it featured gas masks in a world where war has become the norm. This movie is the exact opposite of that piece. When I read the original manga, that piece was exactly what came up to my mind and how it related to daily life. I relied on that feeling and explored it.
Q. What kind of girl do you imagine Suzu as? What do you have in common with her?
A. I felt a lot of empathy, especially with emotions bursts and with pictures. Even though Suzu is told she’s absent-minded, she’s so positive and powerful, so I identified with that as well. I would even now like to challenge myself and try to remake a kimono like Suzu does!
Q. Although Suzu lives during wartime, what fun thing would you have liked to try back then?
A. Particularly making clothes out of a kimono, also trying to save and prepare a decent meal only with wild grass. Suzu is very dedicated and actually makes it look fun to try.
Q. About the other female characters around Suzu, what do you make of them? Can you tell us your impressions or a scene that you liked?
A. I quite enjoyed her relationship with other characters, especially with Rin, I REALLY liked that. When Suzu was with Rin, I felt Suzu was really herself, she’s not trying to be a housewife or anything, she goes back to being just herself. She acts even childish and the inner Suzu pops up, I definitely liked that a lot.
Q. And how about the guys around Suzu? How did you feel about Shusaku and Tetsu for example?
A. It’s very interesting when you look at it objectively. It would appear that Suzu is actually pondering who to stay with, seeing how Shusaku send her to see Tetsu and the she gets angry at Shusaku. But she is actually being super sincere not only with her but with them, acknowledging the fact of being married and the fact of having feelings. I think that is also the Director’s point of view and I like that as well. She cherishes and gets angry very sincerely, I loved that about Suzu.
Q. What was it like to work with Director Katabuchi?
A. It was super exciting. For instance, I asked him about that part with Tetsu and he was incredibly patient to explain to me everything in detail until I was convinced. Not only that part but I constantly asked quite a lot of questions and not only did he take the time to answer everything but even added a tons of stories to help me understand every detail.
Q. “In This Corner of The World” is a movie that started production via crowdfunding, can you share with us, how do you feel about being related to a project that started like that?
A. I think it’s wonderful that everyone that supported this project is directly making it happen and it’s a huge honor to be a part of it.
Q. How did you feel when you first first Kotringo’s theme song for the movie?
A. Kotringo’s hands are what make the movie flow so freely in those sceneries. I just felt like I could even perceive the air in Kure and Hiroshima with her lovely music.
Q. Can you please send a message to everyone who is looking forward to watching the movie?
A. I think this movie makes you find out that ordinary life can make you happy no matter the circumstances. So I would love everyone to watch it with their families, those with which you enjoy those very feelings.