On day one of TiCA 2023, also known as the Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival, a three-day event celebrating anime and manga in Taiwan, the voice actors for Lycoris Recoil appeared on Stage A at the request of the animation agency Muse Communication.
The voice actresses Chika Anzai who plays Chisato Nishikigi, and Shion Wakayama who plays Takina Inoue came to the scene to share their experiences with animation dubbing, and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and talk to the fans. Throughout their time on stage, the two even interacted with each other like how Chisato and Takina would, and it made for an incredibly cute and fun time!
▼ Shion Wakayama (Left) and Chika Anzai (Right)
▍ Looking back at the Lycoris Recoil Chika Anzai x Shion Wakayama Talk Stage
After the two showed up on stage they were appropriately showered with praise and cheers from the over 200 fans that showed up to see the pair in person. The two even greeted everyone with some simple Chinese which shocked and really and really got the fans going.
Neither of them was expecting such enthusiasm from the fans and they said this is the first time they’ve ever gone overseas to participate in an event for Lycoris Recoil. Wakayama especially said she wanted to leave some good memories behind, but said that the event’s just started and already she’s having a good time.
Since it was the pair’s first time in Taiwan, they’d already gone around tasting many of the local delicacies the city had to offer before the event. Anzai talked about how much she loved the sesame buns, though Wakayama said she didn’t have a chance to try them and was pretty jealous.
If you want to learn more about the pair’s food adventure, they mentioned they might talk about it in their next webcast, so stay tuned!
After that, the topic went back to Lycoris Recoil. The two talked about what they love about Chisato and Takina and shared their favorite scenes. Anzai’s favorite scene came from episode 8, and when talking about it she also couldn’t help but mention the “uniquely shaped” parfait that shows up in that episode. Anzai even tried to make a gesture to “that word” but Wakayama then emphasized that it was in fact a “Hot Chocolate Parfait”. She also said that if a collab cafe was ever opened it’d make for a tasty dish, though it certainly wouldn’t be easy to make.
Then the pair were asked what they thought made Chisato and Takina so cute, then after a bit of a long pause both of them answered straightly “their face”. Anzai also added that Chisato can be both beautiful and cute at the same time. Unexpectedly she once again wanted to say “that word” again related to the chocolate parfait before Wakayama shouted “Is it really okay to teach the people in Taiwan this kind of Japanese?” Which brought back memories of the scene in episode 8 when Chisato and Takina were teaching the foreigners Japanese.
As for the other characters, they said they both like Majima quite a bit even though he’s a hostile character in the show. His leadership and charisma draw people to him, and they said that Yoshitsugu Matsuoka does an excellent job of portraying Majima.
The host then asked the pair if they ad-libbed any scenes in Lycoris Recoil. Anzai said that she came up with some of the lines that she thought would be more interesting, and improvised a bunch of them during dubbing. More often than not though she said the process of improv lines came about because of the atmosphere between Chisato and Takina. Wakayama then said she also came up with some impromptu lines after getting influenced by Anzai.
A question then came up asking what special ability the pair would want if they were taken in by the Alan Institute. Wakayama said she’d like the superhuman parkour ability that the characters have, and Anzai actually didn’t know what Parkour was. After learning about what it was, Anzai laughed a bit and Wakayama retorted “What’s so funny?”
However, when the host said maybe parkour could help Wakayama get over her fear of heights, she said she suddenly just remembered it was one of her problems, which caused everyone to laugh again.
When asked if there was anything they’d trust Chisato and others to do, Wakayama said errands would be pretty appropriate, prompting Anzai to ask her again what she meant by errands, only to find out by errands she meant “running errands like delivering Uber Eats”.
Anzai responded to the previous questions and said that rather than any special ability, she wanted the same spirit that Chisato had to not be overwhelmed with a full schedule, and that she would rather actually want to train with Chisato and Takina. Though she imaged that training with Takina would be far more efficient, and Chisato would be cheering from the sidelines.
It just so happened that Anzai would regularly work out, and the host specifically asked if there Anzai could hug Wakayama and swing her around as Chisato does to Takina in Lycoris Recoil. Wakayama sternly refused as soon as she heard it because she said she was worried that Anzai would feel sad if she couldn’t do it.
On the flipside Anzai smiled and said “I don’t know, I haven’t tried!” and just to get everyone’s brain buzzing she then said, “I’ll try doing it for everyone after going back and practicing!” This caused Wakayama to grab her head in worry, then reminded Anzai if she was going to do something like that they’d have to prepare sportswear, just like in gymnastics.
The pair also talked about some behind-the-scenes stories of the anime, like what they liked about Chisato and Takina, their first impressions, thoughts on the show’s ending, etc… They also talked about what it was like working under Adachi Shingo’s supervision as the director.
Anzai reminisced about how before the two came down to Taiwan, the supervisor once told Anzai that “The fans in Taiwan are very enthusiastic”. Then near the end of the stage, she said she was very happy to see everyone liking Lycoris Recoil this much, and even took out her phone at the end of the event to record the audience and snap a photo with them just to show it to Adachi.
Wakayama then said that she paid close attention to everyone’s expressions as they talked about Lycoris Recoil, and could feel everyone’s love for the series. But she reminded everyone to not learn “strange Japanese” when she heads back to Japan.
▍ The On-Site Dubbing Session of Lycoris Recoil
In addition to the stage talk, the staff on-site also arranged a live dubbing of Lycoris Recoil and a fan-game section for fans to interact with the actresses. In particular, there were three scenes chosen from Lycoris Recoil, like when Chisato was talking to Takina in the 3rd Episode at the DA, the adorable scene when Chisato and Takina went “Sakanaaa” and “Chinanagooo”, and then one of the last scenes in Episode 12 when Takina threatens to kill Yoshimatsu for Chisato’s heart.
▼ Anzai made gestures when Wakayama was picking the fan for the games.
Each of the three scenes they acted out was filled with emotion, and each is quite important to the series in its own way. Although Anzai said it was kind of hard to do a live dubbing like this with the complete animation as it was her first time, the pair still managed to act out each scene superbly and she was moved to tears when it was all over.
Especially in the last act when Takina was screaming “The heart is getting away!” moved the audience, and Wakayama explained that it was her emotions mixed with knowing how badly Takina wanted Chisato to live, and her anger, frustration, and helplessness she felt in herself when Chisato stopped her, that ultimately let her figure out how she wanted to portray Takina at that moment.
▼ Autographed folders handed out as winners of the fan games
The aquarium dubbing bit was very fun to watch as Anzai also acted out the scene while dubbing it, which also made Wakayama want to act out the scene herself. It was incredibly cute seeing both of them do the same actions as their characters, and it definitely had much more of an audience reaction than if they just dubbed over the scene.
During the Lycoris Recoil fan participation game, there was also an opportunity for fans to get a plastic file signed by the two. The games also helped the actresses feel everyone’s love for Lycoris Recoil. Some fans even got the crowd to sing happy birthday to Shion Wakayama, whose birthday is on February 10 which surprised her and made her emotional while on stage.
▍ Joint Media Interview with Chika Anzai and Shion Wakayama
Q: How did you two feel when you heard that Taiwan would be holding a Seiyuu (voice actor)meet and greet?
Chika Anzai: I was incredibly happy. When I was in Japan I heard Taiwanese fans were super supportive of Lycoris Recoil, so I’m glad to finally meet everyone this time.
Wakayama Shion: I’ve never been to Taiwan, but because of Lycoris Recoil I’m able to come to Taiwan to meet and have such a fun time with all of the fans.
Q: Since it’s your first time in Taiwan, where did you want to go sightseeing first, or what Taiwanese dishes did you have to try?
Chika Anzai: Yesterday I finally got to try Xiaolongbao! Although you can get this in Japan, there’s nothing quite like the authentic dish, and it also made for a great memory to have dinner with the staff behind Lycoris Recoil. I also want to grab some Pineapple Cakes to take home with me to Japan!
Wakayama Shion: I had a lot to eat yesterday, but I still didn’t get to try Boba Tea… And I really want to drink Boba tea… Last night I also got to try some Mango shaved ice, and even though I was shivering while eating it, it was still tasty (laughs).
Q: What did you like the most about the role (character) you played?
Chika Anzai: Can’t decide, there are too many things I loved about it!
Wakayama Shion: I feel like I share a lot of similarities to Takina so in a way it’s like I’m saying what I like about myself, and I can’t really say that (laughs). It’s kind of different that “liking”, but I really admire Takina’s straightforwardness and her inability to lie. those are things I find to be very important traits to Takina.
Q: Do you have a favorite scene from Lycoris Recoil you’d like to share?
Chika Anzai: I really can’t choose (laughs)! Hmm… although in the scene where Chisato and Takina are talking together on the bench in front of the store in episode 8, I was really impressed with the dubbing of the scene and when I saw the finished animation, I could really feel the Lycoris Recoil production team making full use of their skills and they put a lot of love and heart into it, so I really loved it!
Wakayama Shion: My favorite would be from the end of Lycoris Recoil Episode 9 when Chisato and Takina are talking to each other on a snowy night. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to perform this part before I recorded it, and I even recorded it several times but it never felt right. Only finally then I decided to talk to the supervisor about how I should perform it, and then I recorded the best version of it.
Q: What impressions did you get from your characters when you first received the script?
Chika Anzai: The auditions for the voice actors are first sent to the production team. You get to choose who you want to play and then record the lines for that character, then send it in for review. At the time I didn’t really have anyone specific I wanted to play because I just really liked the worldview of Lycoris Recoil, so to me, I wasn’t concerned with which character I played. In the end, I sent in auditions for both Chisato and Takina, and at the time I hadn’t decided who to mainly audition for, but at the time I thought Chisato would be ideal, and it’d be pretty interesting to play as her.
Afterward, the Lycoris Recoil production team chose a few people from the audition tapes for a second review, and then I got to go to the recording studio to actually audition. At the time I was chosen to play the role of Chisato. I was kind of surprised and went “Why?!” I couldn’t think of a reason at all because I’ve been so used to playing characters like Takina, so at the time I was pretty happy because I showed I was able to do more than just roles like Takina.
I didn’t know much about Chisato at the time but after getting cast, dubbed, and acted her out alongside other members, I started to learn everything interesting about her and that was my first real impression of her, anything more than that is a secret (laughs). All in all, she’s a very interesting kid!
Wakayama Shion: My first impression of Takina was that she’s an incredibly cool girl, but my impression changed immediately. During my audition, I found out that Takina’s really just a kid that only moves forward in a straight line, steadfast toward her goal. I found that very human, in a certain way.
Q: How did you two feel when you heard about the ending to Lycoris Recoil?
Chika Anzai: Awesome! Like “So this is the ending~” I was moved, as a viewer and a fan I was very curious to see how it’d end. Director Adachi wanted to make a story that a single girl couldn’t finish, and in the end, there wasn’t just one person who got their perfect ending.
Wakayama Shion: I think I felt the same way as the fans, “It’s great that Chisato survived!” I experienced Lycoris Recoil’s story as Takina, and it’s true that Chisato’s spirit is integral to the work, so it’s really good that Chisato survived. Even Majima’s still alive which is great!
Q: Finally, do you have anything you’d like to say to the Taiwanese fans of Lycoris Recoil?
Chika Anzai: Actually even when I’m in Japan we get a lot of support from the fans in Taiwan that love Lycoris Recoil, which makes me feel incredibly grateful and happy to be a part of this work. Although the venue couldn’t fit all of the fans, it’s great to see so many of you in Taiwan that love the show, and please continue to support Lycoris Recoil in the future.
Wakayama Shion: I’m really happy to be able to come to Taipei and join everyone in this event. I’d like to thank all of you for your continued support and love of Lycoris Recoil, and ask that you please continue to support the series in the future!