Interview Highlights with Kaji Yuki (Eren’s VA) & Kamiya Hiroshi (Levi’s VA) in honor of the 2nd SNK compilation movie’s release [29 June 2015]
[translation: yusenki | editing: thirstylevi]
In this interview, Kaji and Kamiya discuss intense scenes from the second compilation movie, performing their parts, their thoughts on each other’s characters, and Eren and Levi’s relationship. [translated directly from the Japanese interview]
Q: The release of second compilation movie is quite close now, how does the cast feel about it?
Kaji Yuki: For us to be covered in an interview like this and be scheduled to attend stage meet-up events makes me realize that the time to show everyone what we’ve been working on is drawing nearer. What I did for this movie included performing additional dialogues and recording new cut scenes.
Kamiya Hiroshi: I had no additional scenes to do for Levi.
Q: What are the highlights from the second movie?
Kaji: In the second compilation movie, Eren joins the SC under Levi’s wing, and from then on the main part of the battle scene takes place.
Kamiya: The first movie ended with Eren leading the path towards mankind’s first victory, and the second movie is starting with something like the “consequences” of that victory. The second movie has more of Levi’s scenes than the first one does. The first movie was about preparing to fight the titans and in the second movie the preparations are complete and the soldiers are finally dispatched outside the walls. It seems like suddenly their views of the world have been broadened.
Kaji: In my opinion, the most memorable scenes are those in which Levi’s entire squad is acting casually with each other before their grisly deaths. A few days ago, I went in for an interview at Universal Studios Japan, and at the attraction “The Real Shingeki no Kyojin” all the death scenes for Levi’s squad members were being displayed in Clone-oid form. Because the concept of their deaths was in a more physical form, I could finally grasp the “real” sensation of it. The Clone-oids were so detailed and the expression of each character felt very real, so it gives you an even sadder impression. I could feel the fear of death very strongly. If you watch the second movie, it feels like the characters have an even bigger presence than before.
Kamiya: In regards to “death,” in the past I was often told “in this scene there will be 2 or 3 people killed, so please scream in agony.” However, don’t you think that those moments when these characters were killed was when we could see true human nature? Expressing these sorts of grisly moments made me feel uncomfortable, but that’s just how I deal with performing scenes for Shingeki no Kyojin. This work [SNK] spotlights each and every character, and through the main character, Eren, a human being’s powerful will to live is expressed really well. This work is very unique; just by standing in the recording studio I felt that the characters were alive.
Q: Levi will have more scenes in the second compilation movie, so what is Kaji’s impression of Levi?
Kaji: Levi is quite overwhelming isn’t he [laughs]. Even though I’m the main character’s VA, I could really feel the intense popularity of Kamiya’s character at most stage meet-ups I attended [laughs]. The audiences said that they love Levi very much.
Kamiya: What a strange thing that is [laughs].
Kaji: Well nevertheless, I think the most noticeable part of Levi is his strength and solid presence. When I would perform my lines and even when I read the manga, I felt fear when I faced the captain! It wasn’t animosity, but the other type of fear; it felt more like “I can’t win with this person no matter what I do.”
Q: When will the time come that Eren gets praised by Levi?
Kaji: Honestly I’m not sure what Levi thinks about Eren, but I’m sure Eren will be happy if he were ever to be praised by Levi, since Levi is his superior officer. But in that regard, what is the context behind the praise? Did something happen? To me, Kamiya is a ‘senpai’ who has guided me and become my friend, but in Eren and Levi’s case the time they spend together is in a world where they’re all close to death, so it’s different from our [Kaji and Kamiya’s] relationship… I do think that some sort of bond eventually developed. I don’t think Levi would praise Eren easily, but he would eventually regard Eren as an important comrade.
Q: Kamiya, what do you think Levi’s thoughts about Eren are?
Kamiya: This is what I’ve always said: Levi is unsure about Eren’s true character. From Levi’s point of view, I think he prioritizes “survival.” However I don’t know if Eren is included within what Levi considers “survival.” He is just following Erwin’s order to take Eren under his wing. If it weren’t for Erwin’s order I don’t think Levi would do even that. It’s because Eren has an element of uncertainty to him. Since Eren has titan powers, there’s always a possibility that he might not be able to control it, so it’s safe to say that Levi would kill him off if something were to happen. But, just like what Kaji said, they’re both living in the world where death is constantly surrounding them, so the more time they spend together the more Levi will regard Eren as a comrade.
Trivia included with the interview:
- Kaji was surprised when he heard Kamiya accepted the role of Levi’s VA because Levi is not the type of character Kamiya usually performs as. But Kaji thinks that Kamiya has a presence similar to Levi’s in that he is “strong because of his gentle side” instead of the “overwhelming kind of strength” some people have.
- Kaji’s stage meet-up session was with Mikasa’s VA & Armin’s VA, and in Japan they are called the “Osanajimi Trio” (Trio of Childhood Friends).
- Kaji finds it interesting to perform Eren since he always needs to perform him with a rage-filled voice.
- Kamiya can relate to Levi’s edgy (prissy) personality since they are similar in this regard, but he still finds Levi’s emotional/emphatic side difficult to fully grasp.
- When asked to perform as a VA for SNK, Kamiya tried to visualize the dire situation of the SNK universe (living inside the walls, fighting titans, etc.) and based on that he tried to perform to match the character’s personality.
- Kamiya finds Kaji’s performance as Eren quite powerful in regards to amount of energy (rage) he uses in Eren’s voice.