Neko’s Shiritori would like to present our interview with Ai Nonaka, commonly referred to as Aipon! She has voiced many roles including Kyoko from Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Fuuko from CLANNAD.
Free free to introduce yourself.
Hello my name is Ai Nonaka!
What’s your first visit to the Bay Area like?
It’s my first time in San Jose. The sky is so blue and wide. The town looks really cute with the buildings and everything, and there are purple flowers blooming which I’ve never seen in Japan before. It’s really pretty and I really like it.
What inspired you in Yu Yu Hakusho that made you decide to be a voice actor?
Kurama is my favorite character. He’s cool, he’s awesome, and has that androgynous feel to him. I wanted to voice to reflect that kind of versatility.
What differences are there voicing a character in a game compared to in an anime?
The acting part is the same but the way it is recorded is different. For anime recordings everyone in the cast is together from noon to the afternoon. Everyone gathers together in a studio with three screens, with three to four microphones in front of the screens. Then as we record in real time, our focus goes back and forth between the microphones and screens.
For games we usually record alone. We have to imagine what the character sounds like since there’s nothing prior to reference. We also have to imagine what was on earlier, and sometimes we see the final product and think perhaps we could have done something differently.
In the case of CLANNAD since we recorded separately, I didn’t know the other characters’ story routes. I only knew Fuuko’s. It was only in the anime that I learned about the backstories.
Speaking of CLANNAD, since it’s being localized in the West, what’s your thoughts about the Western audience hearing your voice from the original game?
I am so happy about it!
How is it like to act mature in some scenes and energetic in others, as seen in Meme from Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko?
So I played the mom character and the younger characters were around her. When we tried to be loud and energetic, I have to make sure not to sound like a kid too since my voice is already very childish. Other than that I had to go with whatever was going on in the plot.
I thought it would be better if there’s a big difference between being serious and the conveying the feelings of a parent. The more comedic parts where I would be energetic would fit better to my strengths. I tried to work very hard to distinguish between these.
There’s also characters with a funny side and a cool side. I like to do those characters with different sides to them such as Kyoko from Madoka. She’s usually bad but she’s actually a good girl.
Care to share one of your most amusing voice acting stories?
During Madoka’s recording it was an original work; there was no game/manga/LN during the time. We wondered that if this was a game, what kind of movements would the characters do during the time. Like Homura would flip her hair while doing actions.
It’s been known that you’ve had training in aromatherapy, do you have a favourite scent?
I have a level 1 and level 2 aromatherapy license. Level 1 is the hardest one so I have the highest one now. My birth month is in June, so I like jasmine the most.
How was it like to play characters that show range such as Fuuko to get picked on by Tomoya or beating on Sunohara?
Due to their energetic nature, the characters fit me well. When I was doing Fuuko I was instructed to be like a small rodent or animal that wasn’t used to people. So that’s why I was kind of bullied and teased by other people. There were a lot of movements and it was really fun.
If the world was going to end tomorrow, what food would you eat?
EEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHH??? I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO EAT FOR DINNER TONIGHT?!
WHAT WOULD I EAT?! …What would you eat? Nikuman? Why? Tasty?
Hmm…CURRY! If today was the last day I would eat my mom’s home-made curry!
I’m living in Tokyo right now, so I would go to Fukuoka and eat my mom’s curry with my family.
We thank Ai Nonaka and the staff at Fanime for the interview. Ai Nonaka would like people to follow her on Instagram.