The story of To Your Eternity follows Fushi, a divine creature who gradually comes to understand humanity through his journey and experiences. This progression is portrayed through subtleties, not just in the dialogue and animation, but also in the ambiance in the sound direction and voice acting. ANN spoke to Fushi voice actor Reiji Kawashima and sound director Takeshi Takadera to learn about how the anime’s sound came together.
(for Kawashima) What drew you to the To Your Eternity anime project? Were you familiar with Yoshitoki Ōima‘s manga before auditioning?
After the first and second round of auditions, I was chosen to play the role of Fushi. I read the original manga when I auditioned. I’ve loved Yoshitoki Ōima sensei’s previous work, A Silent Voice so much that I’ve watched it many times and even tweeted about it, so I was very excited to audition for his next work and was very happy when I got the role.
What challenges or surprises have come from voicing a character like Fushi, who is neither mortal nor human?
The non-human aspect of Fushi is expressed in a tone of voice and speech that is slightly different from the normal tone of voice in the anime world so that the audience can sense that he is a bit different from the humans in the work. However, the non-human Fushi gradually acquires more human characteristics, and in order to express his growth, I find it difficult to find the right balance between making his emotions more like those of the real world and acting more like a human than anyone else.
What are your favorite aspects of Fushi’s character?
Because he’s met kind-hearted people, he’s grown into a kind-hearted human… I love that innocence. If the people he met were different, Fushi’s character might have been completely different!
What feeling or message do you hope fans will receive as they watch Fushi’s journey in To Your Eternity?
I believe that deliberately experiencing not only things that make you feel good,but also experiences that you would normally want to cover your eyes from, can have a very positive effect on stimulating yourself to improve your life. I hope that the audience will be able to feel what Fushi feels on his journey.
If you had Fushi’s power to transform into anything, and you could add two or three new forms to change into whenever you wanted, what would they be?
I want to see the world from a woman’s point of view, or as a bird, or as a fishcruising the seas. I think that if I can see things on this earth that I don’t know about from different perspectives, I will be able to think in a more wonderful and diverse way.
(For Takadera) How would you describe the style, or “identity”, that you have created for the To Your Eternity‘s sound?
I asked the team to make sure that the sound we created would also work as a finished piece of music, even if it was just a soundtrack. There were no soundtracks that were just played behind the dialogue. All the songs were impressive and wonderful to listen to on their own.
What were most important qualities you have looked for in casting the role of Fushi and directing Reiji Kawashima‘s performance?
Fushi is a young boy and could have been played by a female voice actress, so we had a variety of people auditioned for the role, both male and female. Among them, I felt that Kawashima-san’s voice was the most suitable for Fushi (the young boy) because it was natural and clear.
Are there any special methods you have used to shape To Your Eternity‘s key effects, such as the different voices for Fushi’s forms, the sound of Nokkers, or the narration from the Beholder?
The wolf, the bear, and the mole were all voiced by Kawashima-san though we added some effects. When he was playing the role of an animal, I asked him to use a specific vocal chord for it. Because of this, I believe that we were able to create a good ambience in the scenes.
Is there any sequence from what we’ve seen so far that was especially challenging or satisfying to work on?
That would be the climax of episode 12, when Gugu and Rean kissed.
Depending on how you look at it, it can be a very sad scene, but I used beautiful and cheerful music. I wanted the audience to feel that it was the most beautiful scene of two people finally understanding each other, rather than feeling sad. I edited the song and used it, and I felt that it worked well because I was able to apply the best parts of the song to the scene.
Is there anything you’d like fans to pay special attention to as they continue to watch the show?
I would be grateful if they could just watch it without thinking too much and cherish their feelings that naturally come to them.