Japanese original published on Yahoo News, 27 July 2021.
Original title: Voice actress Kanako Takatsuki “used Google Translate” for lyrics of new song, not good at English. Interviewer: Kazuki Matsuda, Yorozoo News.
Voice actress and singer Kanako Takatsuki, who is releasing her second single “Subversive” on 11 August, recently gave an interview to Yorozoo News. She spoke out on the challenges of the songwriting process, her hidden desire to “destroy” and her passionate feelings on anison [anime song] singers, something she dreamed of being.
Takatsuki made her solo debut in October last year with her first single “Anti world.” Like with that song, she also wrote the lyrics for her new song, but according to her the process was laborious and ended up taking even longer than last time. “Because ‘Subversive’ is a dancable song with a bit of Western flavor, at some points Japanese simply wouldn’t fit the atmosphere of the song. So, I wanted to put some English into the lyrics, but I can’t speak English that well…” she says with a bitter smile. “Feeling around for the right words while having to translate everything at the same time was pretty tough. I used Google Translate,” she says bluntly, smiling. “I struggled with how to use those words and such, it felt like a puzzle,” she reminisces.
A distinctive feature of the new song is the rap part, rare in anime songs. This was the first time Takatsuki tried her hand at creating a rap flow. “While writing the lyrics, I remember thinking about things like, ‘I have to put in rhymes!’ I’m just imitating others, though,” she says while smiling mischievously.
Because it relates to the title “Subversive,” I ask Takatsuki what she would like to destroy now, and she has to think about it for a while. Suddenly, she speaks as if remembering something. “I saw a dream where I destroyed things today! I saw a dream where I was betrayed by others, so my heart warped and I started breaking vases and such that I found by the roadside and screaming. I’m not really the type to break things even if I get angry, but perhaps, just perhaps there’s a desire to destroy things deep within me…” she recounts, smiling at times.
Takatsuki’s feelings towards anime, which she had always liked, surged when she was in middle school in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. She tells that there was a time when she did not go to school, instead staying cooped up at home and watching anime. “My first obsession was ‘The Prince of Tennis.’ My favorite character is Hyōtei Academy’s Yūshi Oshitari-kun,” she says, loosening up.
What made her want to become an anison singer was a part-time job she did in Osaka when she was in high school. “When I worked at the anison café, I was singing and listening to anime songs on the daily. There, my eyes were opened to how great anisons were, and my dream was born,” she says with a smile. Guests would be presented with a list of anime songs she can sing and pick a song, and she would perform it. Takatsuki’s song list at the time reached as high as 1,500 songs. “Sometimes guests told me about old anime that I hadn’t known before, or I received CDs and learnt some songs from them… I’d just sing regardless of what era the songs were from.” Songs from Macross F, K-On and the Gundam series were apparently common requests.
Takatsuki has been confirmed as a performer on the third day of one of Japan’s largest anison events, Animelo Summer Live (28 to 30 August at Saitama Super Arena), which she had considered a goal for herself. “Even if it’s just for a moment, I want to feel the height of the realization of my dreams,” she says, showing her enthusiasm. Even though she has experienced standing on that same stage as a member of the school idol group Aqours from the anime Love Live! Sunshine!! where she also has a voice role, this will be the first time she participates as a solo artist. When asked whether she might be nervous, Takatsuki responds calmly, “I think my happiness at finally getting to meet everyone wins out.” Since debuting as a solo artist during the coronavirus pandemic, she has had no concerts with a live audience and has not been able to let her fans hear her “live singing” directly. “The content is also important, but I’m really looking forward to just seeing everyone’s faces,” she says, eyes sparkling.
When asked what her ideal image of an anison singer is, Takatsuki elaborates a viewpoint based on her own experience of being an otaku. “Even as just a single otaku, I’m happy when I feel that someone’s songs exceed my expectations every time. I’d like to embody that kind of ‘admiration’ within my heart,” she emphasizes.
Takatsuki is preparing for her first fan meeting in September and her first solo concert in October. “Starting from here, I want to again make my anison singer dreams come true one after the other. Even if you’re new or not familiar with anime, I hope you can support me as a girl who’s kind of trying her best,” she says, her expression turning a bit more serious.