Featured photo taken by Faith Orcino.

Miho Okazaki, voice actress of Rimuru from “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime” sat down with members of the press to discuss her career during Crunchyroll Expo 2019.

Q: Your Biography said you wanted to be a voice actress since you were young. Was there a catalyst or something that inspired you to pursue this career?
Miho Okazaki (via translator): I was in badminton club in junior high but I was very shy. I wasn’t very good at making friends but the people I befriended were into things like anime music and anime. So that was when I was introduced to that world and found out about this path about being a voice actress.

My Question: Were you interested in the isekai genre before getting into the role for “Slime”?
MO: Actually didn’t know about this genre at all. So when I was introduced to it through “Slime”, I found it very interestingly this whole thing about being reincarnated into another world is very fantasy-esque and it is very cool. And I’m very interested in it now but I didn’t know about it.

Q: Rimuru speaks differently whenever he’s a slime or human form. How challenging is it whenever you’re shifting between the two voices?
MO: In the slime form, the Rimuru character is more relaxed. So whereas in human form, it’s more like a lord of an entire country. So internally I switch between a relaxed mode for the slime character. And then when I am in that human form, it turns me into a lord, someone with authority and power. Like a business front and a relaxed front.
Q: Is there one that she prefers?
MO: “Slime.”

Q: “Slime has an impressive and immense cast. What was your studio experience like?
MO: I was very nervous but I guess I’m the kind of person who doesn’t show it even when I am nervous so I was able to communicate really well with all my seniors there and they were able to give me a lot of advice. I actually haven’t had a studio like that prior to this show so it’s very good experience for me.

Q: What made you audition for the role?
MO: I was simply given the opportunity to audition for it so I decided to take on the audition and studied and practiced the act.

Q: We heard that you like karaoke. What is your go-to song whenever you karaoke and why?
MO: “Part Of Your World”. I really love  Disney so one of my go-to songs is “Part Of Your World” from “The Little Mermaid“. So I would sing that but I also enjoy singing both the opening and endings for “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime”. So I actually sing those as well.

Q: What manga would you like to see become adapted into anime and what role would you portray in those as well?
MO: That’s a very tough question. Oftentimes I’m reading manga and if I find it interesting, it’s already being announced [with] a full cast. So I feel like the process of manga to anime is becoming accelerated. But there is one particular genre show I would want to do  and that’s the prime time show where it starts airing around 7pmish. Basically shows that kids would watch that are nationally claimed as supposed to in the anime world. So I would love to have the opportunity in the future to play a lead role in an anime at those times.

Q: Have there been unique challenges to voicing Rimuru who is a slime and a salaryman reincarnated as a slime?
MO: Certainly been difficult because [its] very cute slime character appearance but internally, the slime has had a life that’s 37 years old– 37 years of life as this man. So the challenge was to definitely to get that cute voice out when at the same time making sure that there’s experience, years of experience and you know middle-ageness behind the voice.

Q: Your career as a voice actress is in its early stages. I was wondering what kind of goals do you have, like something you would like to accomplish?
MO: I said earlier about the genre of anime that I eventually want to do, which was [the] shows kids would watch. One in particular as an example would be “Doraemon”. I loved “Doraemon”. I loved watching it growing up so I want to really voice a character that kids would love and the “Slime” show kids also love that [as] well. So I’m kinda already doing it which is awesome.

Q: So both the show “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime” and your character Rimuru are incredibly popular. What was your initial impression when the show began airing and all the excitement around the show, especially your character?
MO: I was certainly happy but I think the number one thing [I] was feeling [was] that I felt was relief. It’s a– there’s a lot of fans for the original work  and there’s a lot of hype for the show. And when there’s great response from the anime, I was incredibly happy when fans are watching the anime and giving me the comments. I feel very relieved that they are able to enjoy the anime on top of the original work they’ve already enjoyed.

Q: One of the first roles your fans might know you from is Miku Nishio from “Music Girls” and you also took part in the idol group of the same. So Do you look into singing as part of your career future? Is that something you plan on doing?
MO: If I’m definitely good enough, then it would be great. Through doing Miku, I was able to get experience for singing as a character and genuinely enjoyed singing since as you know I enjoy karaoke. If there are definitely any opportunities in the future where I can sing as a character again then that would be great.

Q: There are lots of protagonists in isekai coming to a world with superpowers and kind of form it in their own image. What do you think makes Rimuru different as an isekai protagonist? What makes him stand out?
MO: The initial impression of Rimuru is the slime. It’s not really a species that people would yearn to become. It’s one of the weakest in fact. So that’s something that is unique and even though the slime is very weak, it didn’t- one of the unique things of this character is that it didn’t start out  with disgrace. It didn’t go “I’m a slime. I’m depressed.” It started with confidence and kinda just explored and that’s something that’s really cool.

Q: With 2018 being more of a breakout year for you, how has it actually been being a new voice actor on scene and have you seeked any advice from any veteran voice actors?
MO: I’m very happy to have received this or have had the opportunity to do this show that’s basically become part of my identity. “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime” show. So I’m very happy about that.  Regarding advice from my veteran voice actors, it’s comforting to know that they also struggle sometimes to try to find a character for what they’re playing as.

Q: As we mentioned before, your career is sorta in the spotlight and you’re becoming a name on more and more people’s lists. I’m curious what’s the transition from voicing background characters to lead characters? Is there any kind of mindset you have to get into?
MO: It’s certainly different in terms of the number of lines you have. But each character, even ‘Person A’ or ‘Person B’ or main character is a character that is living in this anime world. So I don’t particularly put in extra emotion towards a protagonist as opposed to ‘Person A’, ‘Person B’.

Q: Building off of the last character, you played a lot of ‘Girl A’ or ‘Voice B’ characters. Were you ever discouraged about your career? Because it must have taken a lot of auditions to get the lead role out of all of these small roles? Was that ever discouraging?
MO: All the time. I’m certainly always worried about future roles and auditions. When I got that call that I was going to play Rimuru, it was basically out of the blue. It was certainly an exciting call but I’m always battling being worried about “Am I going to get something?” Despite that though, I wanna remain tough and continue throughout my career.

My Question: If you were to be a kind of creature in the world of “Slime”, what would it be?
MO: I want to be able to fly so a bird. Maybe, but a bird is a little weak so potentially a dragon. Dragons are powerful and they can fly so that would be nice.

Q: In the show, Rimuru has the great sage inside of him. If you had a great sage, what would you ask him?
MO: I would have it wake me up in the morning. It would certainly be great if it could tell me like, “Oh, you should sleep now so you could wake up at this time and get this amount of sleep.” Basically, essentially teach me time management.

Q: As a voice actress, do genres alter the way you deliver your performance especially since you’re interested in doing kids programming at the 7 o’clock hour?
MO: I do certainly value it. For example with “Slime”, I knew that there was going to be a lot of people of all ages of all gender watching it so I tried to create a role or character that fits that role as opposed to characters like Miku for “Music Girls”. Most of the audience would be male so I tried to create a character that is very cutesy and very favored for male audience.

Q: Is being a voice actor just like you imagined or were there any surprises?
MO: I think it’s going to be just as I imagined. But there’s definitely going to be a lot of steps to take that will be difficult so I wanna certainly continue on making all those necessary steps and have this voice actress job that I’ve always aspired to be.

Q: I was wondering what are your thoughts on anime in the West are?
MO: I’m very happy how popular it is over here. I’ve always been interested in going overseas but it takes a lot of energy to hop on a plane and fly across the ocean. Since I am able to do that right through my character and my show, it’s incredibly great and it’s great to have so many people accepting and be a fan of the show.

Q: Piggybacking on what you just said, what would you like those fans to know about you?
MO: I’m still fairly nervous when I come to these venues and we’ve been to a couple now. I’m still very shy so I want the fans to know that I’m funnier than I seem.

Q: How familiar were you with the source material for “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime” when you started voicing Rimuru?
MO: I knew about the title but since I was busy with my job, I never really had the opportunity to read about it and upcoming works that were popular such as “Slime”. But after I auditioned and found out about the role, I started reading up on the manga.

Q: As others have mentioned, your popularity has increased dramatically since you got the role as Rimuru. Were you expecting this to be such a big influential role when you first got it?
MO: I certainly had hopes that because the big name and fame of this title has, I certainly had hopes for me becoming popular potentially through this work. But it definitely was not the focal point of doing the acting. You can’t create good anime from kinda focusing on “Oh! This is for my own sake!” You know, you can’t focus on personal greed and create good works. So it’s not something that people put in as a number one priority and definitely was seen through among the entire cast, all my veteran voice actors, actresses, colleagues. They wanted to create something that was really great as opposed to “Hey, let’s get our names out in the world.”

Q: How’s your time in San Jose been? This isn’t your first time in the U.S. this year. You were in ACen (Anime Central) back in May I think. But what’s your impression of the West Coast?
MO: It’s very easy to live here. The weather is incredible and I can’t really say too much since I haven’t had a lot of time to explore San Jose. But the little that I’ve explored, I loved the scenery and the area is really awesome. The food is really great and definitely the weather. It’s much easier to live in this weather than Japan.

Q: Is there anything that you want to see?
MO: “What’s something to see here?”
Some of the members of the press answered: “Winchester Mystery House. Pixar Studios.”
MO: “Eh, Thank you very much.”

Q: Do you have any funny stories or various stories about your time as a voice actress?
MO: It’s a little bit technical but one of my first works was “Idolish7” and when you have like a performance that the crowd is going crazy down there, I didn’t know you actually took that as a group afterwards. So when the performance was going on, I would walk up and be like “Ahh!” so everybody else there was like, “What is she doing?”

Q: How has your perception of Rimuru changed since you started voicing him versus over 26 episodes or so? What is your perception of him as a character?
MO: Initially, my impression was that it was a slime. The physical appearance played a big role in my impression and understanding the character. It turns into a person that turns into a slime. But through the 26 episodes, recording it, I grew to love the human side, how Rimuru is always thoughtful even to the enemy. Coming from that human background and also after encountering a meeting with Shizu-san, he becomes more proud or has a little more conviction in what he does. So things like that I grew to love throughout the process.

Q: Is there any western animation you like to watch when you get the chance?
MO: “Spongebob.” I love “Spongebob”. I watched it growing up. It’s very funny.

Q: In “Slime”, Rimuru enjoys the company of females or something like that. How do you get into his mindset when you are voicing those scenes where he’s kinda expressing that? The male side of it.
MO: People often think that it might be a challenge to do that but I actually didn’t find it too challenging. I love seeing cute girls myself ‘cuz they are cute and when I am in the studio when I have fellow male voice actors really laughing at my performance, it empowers me to be funnier and even more daring to try to get more laughs out of them.

We thank both Miho Okazaki and organizers of CRX for letting us have the chance to interview her.

Head over to Cruchyroll to hear Okazaki as Rimuru of “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime”. OAD Five will be arriving in November. While the next physical Crunchyroll Expo will be held in 2021, the event will go digital this September 4th-6th! Check out V-CRX’s website for more information.