One of the most prolific voice actresses for the past decade, Horie Yui (17) has garnered a reputation for being the sweet next door neighbour image, especially with her more recent characters: the cute Millhiore F. Biscotti in Dog Days, the affable Kaga Koko in Golden Time, not forgetting her alter-ego, the virtual idol Miss Monochrome. Lovingly called “Hocchan” by her fans, her breakthrough role as Narusegawa Naru in Love Hina threw open the doors of her fledgling career which has now widened to starring roles in games as well, most recently being Satonaka Chie in Persona 4 and Nepgear in Hyperdimensional Neptunia mk2. Not only does she have starring roles in anime and games, but she also boasts one of the longest-running radio shows with her weekly edition of Horie Yui’s Angel Egg (堀江由衣の天使のたまご).
In addition to her seiyuu role, she has been a long-time singer as well, with her first album debuting in the same year she had her big break (2000), followed by a duet stint with Tamura Yukari and later forming Aice5. Her success has been predominantly been in her solo career, with albums and singles constantly appearing on the Oricon Top 10, along with her unique live tours and finally appearing on the grand stage of Animelo Summer Live in 2009.
Here in Singapore for the first time for Anime Festival Asia, she has brought along her entourage of back dancers to perform a stunning preview of her storyline-based live performance that will be held in March 2015 – 堀江由衣をめぐる冒険Ⅴ～狙われた学園祭～ in collaboration of her newest album World End Garden, which will be out soon.
You’ve already voiced several different kinds of characters. Are there any other kinds of characters you would like to voice for?
I hope I will be able to voice for a detective character someday because I really like detective anime like “Detective Conan”. Hopefully one day I will be able to voice a character like that properly. If there are female detectives, it would be great. (laugh)
Among all the characters that you have voiced for, which do you think is most similar to you?
Haruka from Kanamemo is an avid drinker and is often found drunk and also self proclaimed pedophile for young girls. She’s somewhat of a straightforward and somewhat sloppy of a person.
What made you start working as a seiyuu?
There was a seiyuu company which organised a competition. They said that those who passed this competition could join the company for free and can also become a seiyuu for free. Because of that, I thought about it and went ahead to participate.
Comparing between the current state in the seiyuu industry and the past, do you think there would be any difference if you joined now and not before?
Basically for seiyuu companies, there would be a request or competition to recruit seiyuu. Since the time I joined, it has been pretty much the same, so in my opinion, I don’t think there is much difference, but the opportunities for those who want to become seiyuus have greatly increased. Nowdays, there are more opportunities compared to the time when I first joined. There are more seiyuu companies and also recruitment competitions now.
Is there a time when you have to voice two different characters with very different personalities in a day? If there is can you give us some examples?
It is usually like that as most of the time there are 5 places I have to go. For anime dubbing, everyday is different. There are specific roles assigned to us each day of the week. For example, for Monday, after I finished voicing for a character called Lulu from Fairytail, I would go and voice for another character called Kisara from Black Bullet. This scenario where I have to voice for multiple characters with different personalities often happens. As for game characters, there are also cases where I have to dub for 5 characters with different personalities in the same game.
Of all the characters which you have voiced for, which one is the toughest throughout your whole seiyuu career?
I voiced for a high school boy character called Riki Naoe in Little Busters. Usually voicing male characters are more difficult for me because I don’t have the experience. I put in a lot of effort and worked very hard for this character.
How did you learn to voice for male characters?
The most important thing is to have a visual image on the character as well as the script. I read a book and the book said, guys and girls are totally different and it is impossible to understand each other deeply as our thinking as well as biological identity is different too. As understanding a male character is quite impossible for me, I slowly add in some elements which I think would be suitable and slowly improve.
During Yui-san’s concert yesterday, there was a story about a girl confessing her love to the boy she likes. Have you confessed to any guy you like yet?
This is a secret (laugh) Actually, next year in Japan, there will be a concert like no other in the world. It is something like the one I presented in Singapore. It will be in a form of drama. Maybe you have seen in online before but I still hope, people in Singapore will be able to see the performance.
As this is your first time holding a concert here in Singapore, what is your impression on this country?
This is the first time ever that I’ve performed in other countries away from Japan. Even though I was very nervous at first, but Singapore’s warm welcome gave me strength and courage. For the fans who came to watch Team Horie perform in Singapore, I would like all of you to be a part of Team Horie and sing along together. I was really thankful at the reaction everyone showed during Team Horie’s performance. Here, I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to all the other staff and stage crew members for making this performance such a wonderful one. A big thank you to everyone for being such a wonderful audience and watching me till the end.
Your performances are usually like a story or drama. Where did you get such an idea from?
Actually, sometimes I am quite upset about this too. For example for yesterday’s concert, we planned to do a High School-themed performance. I have many songs I want to sing but somehow, I must follow the theme. So usually I would select some songs and then think of what elements I want to add inside and slowly, everything that is added would be plotted to become a story. Because of the elements I want to add into the songs, sometimes there are a lot of randomness and aimless stuff. (laugh)
Why was there a pink bear during the concert?
Because in Tokyu Hands, the bears are all pink. Although there are bears which are blue but the bears inside Hands are all pink. (laugh)
In your opinion, which do you think is special in your performance yesterday? For example speaking in English.
For yesterday’s performance, if the audience can understand the meaning of the story then I think it is good for me and I feel happy too. Because this is my first time performing overseas so I thought about the audience capability of understanding a foreign language. Therefore, I try my very best to use English for my performance but I think maybe more people will understand my Japanese instead?
How was my English performance yesterday? Really Okay? (laugh)
After this performance, I realise that the audience can understand Japanese quite well, so the next time if I got a chance to perform here again, I won’t hesitate to perform in Japanese anymore. For yesterday’s performance, I used a scissor lift for my appearance.
This machine is rare in Singapore but we got the staffs to help us get all the props including the stage presentations. We also asked the staff to help us prepare a ‘school like’ environment including getting tables and chairs. At the end, I realised that the tables and chairs are a bit different from the ones in Japan. Is this really Singapore school’s tables and chairs? Do you miss your school life as well as the environment? I really want to thank all the staff for helping us prepare all the stuff. You guys had really helped us a lot.
For the sake of recording your music album, you went all the way to England. How was it over there?
During my trip to England, one of the staff who was working for my album participated in a demonstration activity. A demonstrator who was standing beside him saw his enthusiasm and thought he was part of the demonstration so he hand him the Slogan board for him to carry along. (laugh)
Will there be a PV included in the upcoming album?
This time there is no PV but there will be an exclusive mini album.
How many music videos will be in it?
The one releasing with the album doesn’t include a music video but maybe after this, I will be releasing a collection.
Which song in the album do you have the deepest impression of?
Yesterday’s performance first song “ Stand Up” ! This song is actually a mobile game opening song. Previously there were no plans to include this song into any albums. But this time, the song is added into the CD so I am very happy.
Will you be having a World Tour anytime soon?
Actually I also want to organize a World Tour but my concert uses a lot of manpower. If there is any country that would invite us all to go, we would be most honoured to go and perform fo everyone. For example, this time’s performance which is based on a school theme, we have already used around 20 people for just the students in one class to give out the feel that it is really in school. All these people are really necessary when performing the concert and the amount of people in the team is always increasing. Therefore it is a bit difficult for all to travel to a certain place at once. But if there is any country that is willing to invite us, we will definitely go.
Is there anything special about the new album?
This time album’s title is ‘World End Garden’ and inside there is an animation opening theme entitled “Golden Time”. The song “The World’s End” is made as the centerpiece song of the album suiting the title. In the song, it gives the impression on how it would be like if the world is at its end.
Is there a difference photoshooting in England compared to recording in Japan?
Of course there is a vast difference between Japan and England. The landscape in both countries are also very different. I was born in Japan. If I were to be born in England, I thought, my life would be a total different one from now. I wouldn’t have my current job and wouldn’t be able to think of these places. Thinking about this makes me somehow rather nervous and excited at the same time. It is really a very meaningful trip for me.
Yui-san had worked and collaborated with several artists as well as seiyuus. If you were to form your own music team, who would you want to be a part of your team?
I personally really love to work as a team. But even though I enjoy working as a team, no one wants to invite me to join their team. But if there is a chance for me to create a team, I would like to invite Aice5’s Akemi Kanda because she is a friend of mine. (laugh)
Can you tell us a little something about the way you address Angela’s guitarist Katsu?
Probably it was because when I voiced for Sakuya from the anime “Sister Princess” , I would address my elder brother as “Oni-sama”. So Katsu probably know of the series and got influence by it. He told me to address him as “Katsu-Oni-sama” when I see him. So then, one time for real, I really call him Katsu-Oni-sama”. That time was actually because of his request.
Do you have any message for your fans?
I am really happy that I was able to perform in Singapore. Also I am happy at the response of my fans and audience. If there is a chance, I hope to be able to have more appearance in Singapore. I would like to perform more in Singapore. Please continue to support me. If my fans over here can persist on wanting Yui Horie to come back, I am sure AFA will also take action. (laughs)
That’s all we have for Yui Horie, stay tuned for more from Ani-Culture.net !