Featured Image courtesy of Crunchyroll.

Crunchyroll’s social video associate manager Cameron Trentalange hosted a special panel featuring the cast of the upcoming anime adaptation of “To Your Eternity”. The cast included Reiji Kawashima as Fushi, Rie Hikisaka as March, Aya Uchida as Parona, Mitsuki Saiga as Hayase, Rikako Aikawa as Pioran and Kenjiro Tsuda as The Beholder.

“To Your Eternity” is from Yoshitoki Oima who created “A Silent Voice”. It is a manga about the evolution of mankind and the changes of human nature as a strange life form does its best to survive time and civilizations. While it transforms to different forms it eventually settles as Fushi and encounters many people, both friends and foes. To read more about the manga, head over to our 2018 review.

When asked about the manga, Kawashima spoke how he was very familiar with “A Silent Voice” and picked up “To Your Eternity”. “Every volume hit me with the feels.” he said. Hikisaka also read it and said that she cried while reading it. Uchida ended up finishing the series after hearing about auditions for the anime and said it had a totally different impression from what she expected from the title “To Your Eternity” and from the first volume. Saiga didn’t read the series though people introduced it to her, but said she’s “enjoying the series as someone totally new to it.” Aikawa also didn’t read it but ended up doing so after auditioning and said she was drawn by Fushi’s story. Tsuda read the series before. He said he thought the title “To Your Eternity” was strange and it surprised him.

Trentalange then asked what the cast would want to do or go if they had the gift of immortality. Kawashima answered that he would want to redo things by choosing the other options available. He also said that he would be afraid of the “endless eternity.” He then mentioned that he would want to travel places, especially some that may be dangerous to others like the blue lava volcano in Ijen, Indonesia. Hikisaka replied by not wanting to be alone and immortal. She spoke about how theoretically she would use her immortal body to research ways into making others immortal. She’d also study languages of different places and try to develop “miracle drugs” to help cure illnesses. Uchida said she loves to eat so she would travel to try every type of food. She also said she would try to be friendly to animals and learn how to communicate with them. Saiga answered that she had a difficult time coming up with ideas since it is “not a realistic concept” and just would continue living as she does and as best she can. Aikawa confessed that she is quite lazy and said she said she might procrastinate on things due to being immortal. Like Kawashima and Uchida, Tsuda said he would want to travel many places, “go everywhere, until there’s no place I’ve yet to visit.” He even mentioned outer space and things beyond.

Trentalange asked the cast if they do any research in roles beforehand. Kawashima said that he receives instructions from the sound director and looks at materials about the character in order to understand the role. Hikisaka mentioned that it depends on the character. While some she can perform just out of inspiration, others that have a certain impression requires research. She then talked about young girls she remembered in her life including family and her observations of them and how it helped her with her performance as March. Uchida answered that she does do research on all her roles. However she said that when there are a lot of cultural concepts, she’ll try to match her impression on the spot. She also talked about the difficulty researching fiction. Saiga replied that she “decided to build the role as [she] acted out” and it came out well in the test recording. Aikawa said she doesn’t do any research but imagine who the character is like. She spoke about how Pioran’s aging body would be like in reality, including her throat and mouth to imagine certain details in the character’s speech patterns. She also talked about comparing her own self with the character and found that she shared certain personality traits with Pioran. Tsuda answered that needing research would depend on the projects, characters and time. He said that if he does too much and has a strong impression, it may contrast to what the directors want. He purposefully leaves “blanks” where he adds staff input.

Trentalange’s next question was if the cast took on any traits from any of their characters. Kawashima talked about how Fushi ate a lot of fruit in the story that he ended up eating like him and making a lot of noise. He also mentioned that sometimes he spoke like Fushi in broken Japanese. Hikisaka reflected on how she was when she was March’s age and how she was an energetic child. She then said that she lets “March take over [her] body” when she acts. Uchida answered that when she performed as Parona, she would wear comfortable shoes in order to complement Parona’s athletic skills. She then said that whenever she had non-human characters with strange speech patterns, she may use them out of habit. Saiga said that she didn’t think she took up any of her character’s habits. Aikawa said that sometimes she would be a bit absentminded and forget to do full makeup before using her mask. She said the forgetfulness was close to being like the elderly Pioran. Tsuda, like Saiga, thought that he didn’t pick up any habits from his roles but mentioned that if there was a good line or experience in the story, it would leave an impression on him.

The host then wanted to know how things are now with social distancing in the pandemic. Kawashima talked about how the full cast cannot record together. He said that he doesn’t get to see fellow veteran actors like before. He also said that he does his best to stay clean by having a mask except when recording, disinfecting and giving proper space. Hikisaka spoke about the same changes and also said that she sees the others’ parts in the full episodes. She expressed her hopes for things to get better in order to bring back the big cast recordings. Uchida shared the same sentiments as Kawashima and Hikisaka and added that not having everyone to contribute together felt lonely. Saiga spoke how the show’s audio director worked to coordinate recordings during these times. She also mentioned loneliness without the full cast. Aikawa talked about the difficulty when  she had to imagine how people would say their lines if she didn’t see their performance. Tsuda said that there was a time that they were in lockdown and had to stay home and couldn’t work. He expressed his thoughts that the production staff have a harder time due to the limitations.

The next question was if any of the voice actors watched the series they were in. Kawashima said he did and said he was excited for “To Your Eternity” Episode One. He watches through streaming outlets and sometimes goes back to hear his performance again to critique it. He commented how it sounded differently when he was in the booth compared to the final product. Hikisaka answered that she also watches her work. She lifted a bit of the veil and talked about how she sees the scenes with no sound and sometimes unfinished while recording. She compared the efforts of the production team and the cast like those of an orchestra. She highlighted the power the music can add to episodes. Uchida, like Kawashima, mentioned streaming anime and said she watched her favorites multiple times. She also talked about enjoying the finished episode and completed works of the team. She then critiqued her performance in order to make notes for the next. Saiga said she sometimes does watch her works if she’s able to catch or record the broadcast. She would also get DVDs to watch them. She said she watches objectively and to enjoy. Aikawa answered that she always watches her episodes and series. She spoke how she would want to redo some of her performances while others she liked watching many times. She said that seeing the finished episode “makes [her] happy, plain and simple.” Tsuda answered like Saiga that he sometimes sees his works. He also expressed that he would want to redo some recordings.

In his closing remarks, Kawashima said that he hopes that “To Your Eternity” will bring some human drama and emotions to viewers during the pandemic. Hikisaka said that she hopes “you’ll be all waiting anxiously for it with a hanky in one hand” with all the feels in the story. Uchida said that she thinks the true focus of the series is Fushi and his relationship with the many characters in the anime. She said it may allow viewers to reflect on their own lives and relationships deeply. Saiga spoke how the series would “tug at your heartstrings” like in Hikisaka’s remarks. She talked about how it will make precious moments even more valuable after seeing the show’s more painful moments. She advised fans to “make sure your eyes are wide open and your ears clean when you watch it.” Aikawa said that Fushi received a lot of stimuli throughout his life and hoped that they viewers also do so too while watching the show. Tsuda thanks attendees for watching the interview. He said that while there are a lot of heavy elements, “To Your Eternity” also will provide entertaining and funny moments.

According to the trailer, “To Your Eternity” is set for 20 episodes and will be starting in October. Kodansha Comics translates and publishes Oima’s original manga in English. Volume 12 recently dropped on September 1st. For more information on the book and to see a free online preview, head to Kodansha Comics’s website.