Who came into your mind when you think of “Ishida Akira”?

If you’re an anime fan, you’ll think of the one who can easily change his voice from different characters at different ages….
If you’re a comedy fan, you’ll think of the one cheerful and light -hearted person with a full white attire…..

Only for the fact that both of their name are the same, comes a collaboration project between VA・Akira Ishida(彰) and Comedian・Akira Ishida(明), known as the 『W Ishida Live Reading「USHIROMUKI」』.
Performed in Tokyo and Osaka back in May this year.

Although they have the same name, they come from completely different fields of expertise. Let’s take a look on how they performed back before the DVD/Blu-ray release.
And we have another theme behind main which is getting along with the more. It’s like a battle of confessions, revealing and addressing each weak points as they go deeper into the topic, even if they were acquainted with each other. Now then, have the distance between them shrunk….?
[Interview・Compiler=Hitomi Okumura/Pictures= HitomiKamata]

■Is this really a fan letter for NONSTYLE ? The melancholy of Akira Ishida(石田明)

―― Are both of you conscious of the fact that you both have the same name before this interview?

Akira(明): I’ve known about him for quite some time now. I’ve even been told 「Huh…, so you’re called Ishida Akira. Pretty cocky aren’t you.」before. Because the kanji writing of my name is “Akira(明)” I was also told 「If so then its fine.」

Akira(彰): What dose it mean “its fine” haha.

Akira(明): Well, he probably believe when the guy think of “Akira Ishida” thinking of Akira(彰). But I would’ve thought 「What part of Ishida Akira is cocky!」haha.
After that, don’t know if it was because I have an acquaintance (Yuusuke Inoue) with the kanji “Inoue(井上)” as part of his name or something, someone mistakenly sent a fan letter to me that was addressed to NONSTYLE with 「To Ishida Akira and Kazuhiko Inoue (石田彰, 井上和彦様)」 written on it.(Laughs)
(※Kazuhiko Inoue……Voiced Kekashi from『NARUTO』、Nyanko Sensei from 『Natsume Yuujinchou』。Worked a lot with Akira Ishida(彰) in 『Natsume Yuujinchou』)

Akira(彰): Ahaha.

Akira(明): We were so confused saying「Is this really for us?」haha. But when I heard about this project I was really overjoyed. I answered 「I want to do it, I want to do it!」immediately.

――Mr.Akira Ishida(彰) you seem to like comedy a lot, what were your impressions of the Mr.Akira Ishida(明) on TV?

Akira(彰): Well, I thought he is a hard worker.

Akira(明): This is embarrassing!

――Why did you think he was a hard worker?

Akira(彰): Don’t you think its incredible to do stand-up comedies on the streets just to train. I believe those kinds of person will definitely achieve something, or else it would be strange.

I was really glad deep inside about his win at at M-1 Grand Prix(2008) and picking on my name. I though that “Ishida Akira is such a common name!” at the time because I met someone with the same name for the first time.

――The title 『USHIROMUKI』 supposedly came from something that both of you have in common. How do you think it was decided?

Akira(彰): I had been asked “What do you think of yourself?” before my rehearsal started. I thought about it for a while, and thought I’m actually quite the scaredy cat. I hesitate at times when I actually need to move forward, I don’t like to try new things. So to describe myself with one word it would probably be 「Facing Back (USHIROMUKI)」, and Ishida(明) said 「I’m the same as well」.
I honestly thought the title of the show was 「Is it OK to be this negative?」 haha

Akira(明): People recently began to use the word 「Positive」more often but I’m not really that fond of it. There are people who are working really hard around the ones who talks about the word “positive”. But there are also people who are pushing themselves too hard.

In fact, I believe I’m the cautious type of person that would try to find every possible path on a heavily broken stone bridge.
I believe that’s what the 『USHIROMUKI』 feels like to me.

――The thing you both have in common is the 「Shyness」you as you guys said before. When you interacted during rehearsal, have you ever thought 「This person is really shy」?

Akira(彰): I was aware that 「I can’t look into his eyes」…..haha

Akira(明): We really can’t see eye to eye(Laughs). Even if we do, its just a few quick glances.

Akira(彰): There is only time during a certain scene on the stage where we looked straight into each others eyes, it was really intense. Even though we met several times during rehearsal, the story also gives out a lighthearted atmosphere, I even thought 「It’s definitely a good thing to look into the others eyes」 but after doing it in reality…! (Laughs)

Akira(明): From the audience’s point of view, It might only be a short scene below 5 seconds, but to us its like an eternity. However despite being shy towards each other, we made some progress knowing each other step by step. Finally we became quite close to each other!

――But still can’t look into each other’s eyes right?

■What type of shyness? Both of their self-analysis!

――Speaking of shyness, there are several types. Can you please explain what type of shyness you have by giving a self-analysis?

Akira(明): For me, It is easy to talk with types of people who will never meet again at standing bar. But when I talk to people who will be involved in my future life, I become extremely cautious.
That’s why when I was talking to a celebrity i got very nervous and became very shy. I would think 「I’m being tested!」. My scores weren’t really that high, so to not lose any points i keep my mouth shut. Just like how I was back in high school.

Akira(彰): In my case…, recently I thought it might be a little different genre from shyness. Unlike Ishida(明)’s 「To try and be cautious when talking to people involved in your life to not lose any more points」, its a pain to try and maintain and prevent any score reduction, that’s why I’ve shut out myself right from the very beginning.

Akira(明): Shut Out (Laughs).

Akira(彰): That’s what I believe recently, I don’t think I’m shy, for example like an eccentric old man living in a house filled with trash….(Laughs). Anyways, an annoyance to others, and when people say 「Clean it all up」he would say 「No, this is all I need!」.
I’m sure when it comes to myself, I’m chasing myself away. After being spoiled by people from the right time, you can’t accomplish anything anymore.

Akira(明): A situation where your past gradually piled up, and you can no longer shake it off anymore (Laughs).

Akira(彰): Fans might not mind about it. For example, the kind of person that praises your pet dog 「Very Cute!」, won’t he run away if he gets bitten by a stray dog? The kind of people that overcomes that would definitely be someone special like Mutsu Gorou (Masanori Hata).
i don’t really like the idea of describing myself as a pet animal (Bitter Laugh), but I’m sure there are people who would enjoy having me as their pets (Laughs).

Akira(明): Mr.Akira Ishida(彰) was actually not told by someone to say that, in fact its his own confession(Laughs).

――That’s exactly why we have you two put together, I think there’s a meaning to leading the show to success. In reality, what are your reactions?

Akira(明): Show huh, I would definitely want to be a living thing.

Akira(彰): Mhm, its also important to let the customers ride.

Akira(明): i finally understood a lot of things after coming up stage, things like 「If i match this line with the music, it would be very satisfying!」, and became very enthusiastic about it.
Although the show started off in Tokyo and ends in Osaka, the me from the start was definitely different from the me at the end. Ive noticed it, adapted to it, and went with the flow till the end(Laughs).

Akira(彰): Ahaha(Laughs).

Akira(明): In the end, I’ve learned some small tricks like mixing some of my own tones onto my lines, like having small sighs.

Akira(彰): You’re not supposed to sigh like that. When it comes to pleasing the audience, the pleasantness from synchronizing with the music and the amplitude of your emotions are very important. I believe to match in order to match is the way to go.

Akira(明): Because all i ever did are stand-up comedies, to step inside an unknown territory is a really interesting experience. When i was given the role, i was told to 「Match your lines with the music」something like that, but out of the 31 performances i only managed to do it twice(Laughs).
Because I’m the type that can’t really decide anything, this time I feel like Im getting really ahead of myself.

――Mr.Akira Ishida(彰), how experienced are you in recitations, how was Mr.Akira Ishida(明)’s recitation this time?

Akira(彰): I just accidentally thought, 「Ishida(明)’s lines sure are easy to receive!」. Unlike Ishida(明)’s way of matching the lines with the music, the noise around me can’t really enter my ears while on stage. However, the lights and music definitely pass through, Ishida(明)’s sense of unity have definitely reached me.

Akira(明): I’m glad. Akira(彰)’s recitation was definitely most impressive. When you were reciting alone, I thought 「Those sure are some difficult lines」, but when you recite it, you made it seem very easy. It felt as if you’ve managed to pull out my next feelings in a sense, I can tell you’ve worked really hard.
When it comes to the second half of the performance, it gradually becomes more of an objective, like 「This is where I have to let loose and express more of my feelings!」from what I understand. In fact, Akira(彰) changes every time, it was really fascinating.

――By the way, Mr.Akira Ishida(明) had Mr.Inoue as a partner right, how would you like to partner up with Mr.Akira Ishida(彰)?

Akira(彰): I think a stand-up comedian and a reciter does completely different things. Both have different goals too.

Akira(明): Although both Akira(彰) and Inoue have a similar voice range, it feels like Inoue only tries to voice his lines. Only maintaining a certain degree of emotion, never crossing over more than needed. That’s why he can do a tsukomi.
Though, Ishida(彰)’s voice have a wide range, and can easily manipulate his voice allowing him to several voice variation and strength, 「He can do a lot more other things if he’s that capable!」I thought.

Akira(彰): Thank you very much. Though I’m a little uncomfortable(Laughs).

■Next time, a stand-up recitation plan? What are the common things between recitation and stand-up comedy.

――During planning, although you both seem to have chosen 「Recitation」, what would you want to do if you have an oppurtunity to do anything?

Akira(明): Anything i want to do?

Akira(彰): Its not part of the script though, i was wondering is there a limit to what can be done. We can’t do a stage, stand-up comedy would also definitely be impossible. There are nothing else other than a recitation.

Akira(明): Ahahaha. How about a “stand-up recitation” then?

Akira(彰): Will it even work?

Akira(明): I too have never done it before so i have no idea(Laughs). Aren’t we just having a conversation right now. It would be a waste to just have it remain a recitation. If we put down our script books and maintain as it is it’ll be like a show.

――According to Mr.Akira Ishida(明), what do you think recitation and stand-up have in common?

Akira(明): Hmm…., it feels really similar to this 『USHIROMUKI』. Its the same as trying to reach a certain point by conveying a certain message to others, with only a difference of whether its comedic or not. Until Ishida(彰)’s tension wears off or went up, i’ll put myself down as it is part of the stand-up comedy.

The arguing scene was especially fun. I stepped up my engine and ate up Ishida(彰)’s lines.

――Mr.Akira Ishida(彰), you were moving a lot more than usual recitation during the performance weren’t you. Do you have any opinions regarding that matter?

Akira(彰): Speaking of my usual live readings, I would simulate the scenario in my head, to maintain a light yet simple while escaping the line of sight movements.
Because I need to match with microphone, I need to be as if I’m one with the stage. There is the influence of the role, this time I try to go with the mood and be as exaggerated as possible. I was never told to 「tone it down」by the producer anyways so(Laughs). As a result of never being told to do so, it became a habit.

Akira(明): I’m inexperienced in live readings itself and I was like 「How do you even do it?」, at the end of the first day I was told by the photographer 「Mr.Akira Ishida(明) you stare at the script too much, look at the front more often, we can’t take any shots otherwise! try to learn from Mr.Akira Ishida(彰)!」
That’s why i tried to imitate Akira(彰) afterwards but….I failed miserably(Bitter Laugh).

Akira(彰): Well of course. I also had some bitter experiences in the past. During rehearsal I was performing while looking at the script, but when it comes to the real performance, I went with the audience’s flow and made a huge mistake after looking away from the script.

Akira(明): Is that true!? Something like that even happens to someone like Mr.Ishida(彰).

Akira(彰): Well of course(Laughs).

――It would be interesting to watch the DVD after knowing such an episode happened. Looking back, can you please tell me the interesting points regarding the line 「I want you to look over here.」that you’ve said.

Akira(彰): I don’t know how deep the audience have read into it, but after looking back I have moments that like「Don’t be impatient here」….. If they noticed it then it can’t be helped, looking for tough moments like can also be quite fun itself. Wonder will it end with「I saw something good」 after 2 or 3 more times to finish me off(Laughs).

Akira(明): Probably around that much(Laughs). For the ones that have seen it more than 3 times, they would probably be able to enjoy it with only the audio without the imagery.

Akira(彰): Ahahahaha!

Akira(明): I don’t think anyone would be that interested! Only watch it 3 times!

◆W Ishida Live Reading「USHIROMUKI」Package Information◆

<Recording Contents>
Recorded on May 12th in Tokyo

<Special Recording>
Stage announcement interview(Audio only comment cut version)
Recorded May 12 curtain call for both Matinee and Soiree

<First press edition exclusive benefits>
Reduced script print + special sleeve case

■ Body price: 5,093¥(Tax excluded)