The Pioneer release of Eikoden, the third Fushigi Yuugi OAV, includes a full colour, twenty-six page booklet featuring information about Fushigi Yuugi in general as well as a series of interviews with the folks behind the scenes. One of the interviews is with Tomokazu Seki (Chichiri) and Nobutoshi Kanna (Tasuki). I typed up the interview for those of you who want an easy reference or don't have access to Eikoden. Enjoy!
"So, how does it feel to be performing these roles again? They're both supposed to be 10 years older now."
SEKI - I haven't lost the character that much. Chichiri and I have had a fairly long relationship, so I'm pretty familiar with how to play him at this point. Although I should say that I was worried before I started playing him, since I thought "Based on how I played him before, how do I make him seem older?" Once I'm in character with everyone else, the atmosphere of the story helps and it all just sort of works out, so it ends up being pretty fun. (TURNS TO Kanna) How was it for you?"
KANNA - You know, when I finaly got to yell "Rekka Shinen!" after all this time and everyone was saying "Wow, nostalgia trip," I felt really glad. Tasuki's hair and costume are different now, and on first glance he seems to be a bit of a different character. With the style of his hair and costume and those iron fans from before, I could play him the way I always did, but now... Well, he is what is is, so it all came pretty naturally to me.
SEKI - You know, I didn't really think much about them being 10 years older. I originally played the part older than Chichiri's actual age, so I didn't have to change the performance particularly.
KANNA - I didn't really dwell on it, either. True, Tasuki's now closer to my actual age, so I can play him a little more naturally. But I was trying to maintain the elements that make him Tasuki, so I decided it was best not to over think the performance. Although if they go and make him younger, my voice won't match him anymore. (LAUGHS)
SEKI - Boy, isn't THAT a kick in the ass. (LAUGHS)
KANNA - Too true. After this, they may not want me to do that thick Osakan acent anymore, but it's so mixed in with my normal way of speaking that I'll have to get Junko Noda (Who plays Mayo in the series) to help me out with that.
"How are your characters similar to you? How are they different?"
SEKI - I'm not like him at all. Completely different in every way. I'm not nearly as philisophical in so many ways or as great a person.
KANNA - Well, let's see... I think I'm as full of life as he is. And as short-tempered, although that may be because I'm getting old. (LAUGHS) Although, in that respect, I think I have a bit more patience than he does. And, unlike him, I don't come from Osaka.
SEKI - But, neither does Tasuki, right? (LAUGH) He speaks with a "Tasuki" accent.
KANNA - Right. I don't speak with the Tasuki accent unless I force myself to. I also don't have his chivalrous spirit. I think he's a really cool character. The thing is, I can't really get away from the Tasuki role. For this role, I've taken on his physical and mental sides. Saying something like "I am not Tasuki" is sorta useless at this point.
SEKI - I'm still a little torn about it, myself...
KANNA - But Chichiri's different. If he's not you, Seki, then say it.
SEKI - Yeah, I know, but... The thing is, this role is sort of a pain in the ass. It's tough for me...
KANNA - Don't say that! Don't even joke about it! People will start calling you "tight" or "severe" if you say that! (LAUGHS)
"Please tell me about the highlights of this production."
SEKI - I think the biggest highlight is getting to see new pictures of everyone moving around and telling a new story. I think the fans are going to see how the Gaiden stories turn out and want to see more.
KANNA - I personally think that the title "Fushigi Yugi" is a highight in itself now. While there have been several series made already, there are a lot of stories which haven't been brought to the screen yet, and I think that's a "highlight" that holds a lot of appeal still. The world presented in the comics and novels is so deep and rich that I think there's a real desire to see more screen productions which will expand on all that. When I say that a "Fushigi Yugi" title is a highlight in itself, what I want to say is that I feel it's a production that I really want to work on. Boy, don't I sound more mature about all this... (LAUGHS)
SEKI - Well, we also get some really juicy scenes to work with. With Chichiri and Tasuki in this one, too. (LAUGHS)
KANNA - Yeah, we're in every episode in this one.
SEKI - This doesn't usually happen to us. We usually either play backup or supporting roles in these things.
KANNA - Except, the truth is that Chichiri is the most powerful one, so he can usually do anything.
SEKI - Yeah, he is pretty useful to have around. Chichiri and Tasuki have the strongest attacks to offer.
"Any ad-libs in this one?"
KANNA - Oh, we're ALWAYS making those. (BOTH LAUGH)
SEKI - Because we blow our lines so easily. (LAUGHS)
KANNA - I think the funniest ones came during my first exchange with Tomoko Kawakami, who plays Chiriko! That recording session was conducted on pure reflex.
SEKI - Oh, we're getting into talking about sports now. (LAUGHS)
KANNA - We cried and laughed so naturally. It was really wonderful.
"Do you have a message to the fans of 'Fushigi Yugi'?"
SEKI - I want to thank everyone who has been so looking forward to "Fushigi Yugi." Since there are still a few of the Suzaku Seven who have yet to appear, as the old team is gradually regathered, I think the fans will be left feeling satisfied in the end. We may be doing more productions after "Eternal Light." There are more Gaiden stories to tell, so I hope the fans will look foward to those as well.
KANNA - Everyone, I want to say I really appreciate all your support. If you find this "Fushigi Yuugi" production appealing, you've got the right idea! I think the fans are going to really love how this story develops and expand the world of "The Universe of the Four Gods." Look forward to some great stuff. Adios!