The broadcast of the Great Challenge Saga season of the TV anime series “Baki” is finally in the midst of a campaign. At this time, Shimazaki Nobunaga, who is playing “Baki”, talks about his feelings about “Baki” and memories of the recording sessions as the veteran of the team.

TV anime series “Baki” is based on the fighting manga series “Baki” that depicts the battles between various fighters, focusing on fierce death battles between the youngest champion of the underground arena, Hanma Baki, and his father, Hanma Yujiro, who is known as “the strongest creature on earth.”
The “Great Challenge Saga” that is currently being broadcast is a second season to the “Most Evil Death Row Convicts Saga”.

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Shimazaki Nobunaga, role of Hanma Baki

–Please tell us your candid feelings when the “Baki” Great Challenge Saga had been decided to be released.

The previous season ended in a situation where Hanma Baki gets poisoned, so I kept thinking that it can not end like this, but in a world when you never know when an anime will continue or not, I'm happy that Great Challenge Saga has been decided to be released thanks to all support and response from the fans.
It seems that many people get into “Baki” from the anime, and the feeling of
being supported by so many fans is amazing.

–How did you feel when you heard that all the episodes of the anime will be pre-released on Netflix before they are broadcast on TV?

There were a lot of reactions around me, and I received many responses, saying “I watched Baki”, and “It so interesting!”
Many people have watched it all at once, or watched 2-days of streaming, and, certainly, even I, doesn't matter if it's anime, manga, or novels – I want to watch it all at once, so this announcement felt like satisfaction (laughs).

It's fun to watch a new series every week, but I think that being able to watch as much as you want inthe place you want is a good thing in our present time.
Especially since “Baki” is a particularly vigorousand fierce work, I think that it has great pull-in power that makes you want to run through all of itat once.

— Many veterans have also appeared in Great Challenge Saga, so please tell us any memorable things about the recording sessions.

I've never seen such a scene before (laughs).
I thought that it was a pleasure to work with such a great cast and except for a few moments, I was impressed by the work on recording with everyone.

Now, there are a lot of long-time veterans in “Baki” who can be called founders, so it seems like a sort of reunion (laughs).
At other scenes, the most veteran becomes junior, and it's really fun just to see how they get lively and havefun.

–Were you nervous about something, Shimazaki-san?
Most people who had worked on “Baki” are veterans, but there were few new faces.
With Ootsuka Akio, who played the role of Hanma Uijiro, Baki's father, we also worked together on “A Moment to Remember”, we ate together and talked about various things.
Since many friends had been in the cast, I feel I had an edge.
That's why I wasn't too nervous, I thought that I'm lucky to play in such a good environment.

–There are many memorable moments and dialogues in Great Challenge Saga, but which one do you think of scenes or conversations impressed you most while dubbing?

There are many of them, but if we talk about Great Challenge Saga, I would say Retsu Kaiou is someone who impressed me a lot.
Although Retsu's appeal was explored in Most Evil Death Row Convicts Saga well, I think in Great Challenge Saga where he is more tsundere-type, he isfinally grown-up (laughs).
Retsu's charm explodes the most when he eatstogether with Baki, and Baki said, “You're a good person”, and Retsu replied, “Just eat”, he blushed after Baki's words, “Delicious!” (laughs).
He's a great warrior, but his human side is also wonderful. I think he's cute for such a muscular man.

–This work was focused on a “Greatest crisis”, but what was the greatest crisis in your life, Shimazaki-san?

In 2013, when I won Best Rookie Actor Award at the 7th Seiyu Awards, I overslept a radio program dedicated to “Nobunaga won Best Rookie Actor Award. Congratulations”, where Ishikawa Hideo-san, my senior from the same office, was the main host, and I and 4 other newbies were assistant hosts.

I woke up when my manager was calling on the intercom, and he was panicked…
It was a first when my manager woke me up coming to my house, and when I took a look at the clock, it was about time for the recording to finish.
I remember how Ishikawa-san said, “Good morning”, on the phone.

Right after receiving a Rookie award, I felt so bad. I kept saying, “It's not like that. I haven't done it on purpose. I'm sorry”.
It was really traumatic because it happened only because of me.
I don't want to experience it again.

–All episodes have already be streamed on Netflix, and it is right in the middle of the TV broadcast. Please give a message to the fans.

As I said before, watching the entire season on Netflix fits “Baki” well, but watching it every week, waiting for new series is nice too.
I think it's fun to wait every week for such work, and you just can't stop watching it.
I hope you will enjoy this TV anime series broadcast.

If you can't wait and you haven't read the original, please read the manga, it will erase your desires, and you can calmly enjoy new anime series every week.
But even if this wouldn't help, you can always watch it on Netflix (laughs). I think this anime has a lot of options, and you can choose the best way for you to enjoy the Great Challenge Saga.
Watch it until the end with no regrets, watch it happily, and I'm sure you will want to see what's coming after Great Challenge Saga. Please enjoy it!

(C) Itagaki Keisuke (Akita Shoten)/Baki Production Committee