A one-day reading performance based on the popular manga “Hirayasumi,” featuring voice actors Kaji Yuki and Koga Aoi, was specially live streamed on Thermos’ YouTube channel “Doppuri Thermos Channel” on March 26.
“Hirayasumi” is a manga serialized in “Weekly Big Comic Spirits” by Shinzo Keigo, which ranked third in the “Manga Manga Taisho 2022” announced on March 28. Set in Asagaya, Tokyo, the story unfolds as 29-year-old freelancer Ikuta Hiroto begins living with his 18-year-old cousin Natsumi-chan, who moved to Tokyo from Yamagata, in a one-story house given to him by an old lady in the neighborhood.
In the reading performance, Kaji plays as Hiroto, a carefree free spirit who somehow attracts people with problems, and Koga plays as Natsumi-chan, a shy but confident girl. The splendid cast gave a passionate performance; Actress and voice actress Washio Machiko also specially joined as an old lady (Wada Hanae).
When the streaming began on the day with an introduction by MC Yuuki Kana, Kaji, Koga, and Washio appeared on stage against the backdrop of a large screen inside the veranda set. Kaji, who also appeared in the online reading play “Muchu sa, Kimi ni.” in 2021, said, “This is a live reading on our new YouTube channel ‘Doppuri Thermos Channel’. I’m very happy to be able to perform in such a wonderful atmosphere.”
Before the live reading, Kaji said, “The warmth and humanity is the good thing of this work. I hope you can just relax and enjoy the performance without thinking about anything difficult today.” Koga added, “Nacchan (Natsumi-chan) is going through a difficult and frustrating time, and I hope I can show you how she tries her best to live amidst various conflicts. I will enjoy it!” Washio commented, “I hope that through the reading play, people will feel that it is wonderful to treat others with kindness and compassion.” After each of them expressed their enthusiasm, the reading performance began.
The reading was performed while the original manga was projected on a screen on the set of the veranda. The reading began with a shot of Hiroto, played by Kaji, followed by the old lady, played by Washio. The story progressed with a pleasant, fast-paced dialogue between the laid-back, calm Hiroto and the slightly sharp-edged old lady. After that, Nacchan, played by Koga, appeared and the story is shifted on focusing on the interactions between Hiroto and Naccha. The storyline was not limited to the reading, as the audience was treated to a live reading of the story with the movement of the cast around the set space on the veranda, and by the facial expressions that changed from one scene to the next.
Viewers who watched the performance commented, “The atmosphere of the three of them is wonderful,” “Kaji’s voice is gentle and warm,” and “Even though it is a reading performance, the sound effects and facial expressions make the audience more immersed in the worldview.”
Koga commented on the reading performance, “I hope that something warm and fuzzy was created for everyone who saw it. It was a really happy time,” and Washio commented, “I loved the time I was able to live as the old lady in this space, and I had a good time.”
Finally, Kaji said, “Personally, I was honored to be able to co-star with Washio-san, whom I have admired as an actor. I was also able to finally get to work with Koga-san in this play. Everything I experienced was valuable. It was so much fun that it had to end today, which is a shame. I hope to play Hiroto again someday,” in closing.
The archive of the reading performance is available on the YouTube channel “Doppuri Thermos Channel” until April 30.