Images courtesy of Crunchyroll.

Host Michael Weidner introduced V-CRX attendees to the upcoming Fall 2021 series “The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window” along with two of the show’s voice actors Nobunaga Shimazaki and Wataru Hatano.

Originally by Yamashita Tomoko, this anime by Zero-G follows Kosuke Mikado (Shimazaki) who is a bookstore employee with the ability to see the supernatural. He meets Rihito Hiyakawa (Hatano) who is an exorcist who seems quite shady. To Kosuke’s dismay, it is destiny that they meet and work together.

During character introductions, Hatano described Rihito as “an insane exorcist” and revealed he worked with the local police force with cases with strange circumstances. He also mentioned that Rihito’s “weird behavior” would be a highlight for viewers.

Weidner then asked the actors about their first impressions of their corresponding characters. Shimazaki said that he thought Kosuke had a stable and cool demeanor but found out he was very emotional with a lot of passion. Regarding Rihito, Hatano said he read Yamashita’s manga and thought the exorcist was very difficult to understand, both actions and motive. He explained further that when he recorded his lines, he didn’t want to perform solely based on his own perceptions. He said he talked with others at the studio about Rihito. Hatano recounted a moment while working on the first episode where he had to act “as though you’re there, but not there” and was very puzzled by the director’s suggestion. He said his performance was a result of the contributions and strengths of the team.

Shimazaki then talked about Kosuke and how this character was “the one who bridges the gaps” between the many characters on a more intimate level of conversation. He said that he had to be well aware of what went on in the dialog and be responsive, making more effort in a basic activity for a natural feel.

Weidner next wanted to know if the actors wanted to say anything to the other’s character. Shimazaki said that Rihito was “crazy and cute” which was a combination that would leave people unable to abandon the exorcist. However, he then said, “I don’t want to get involved with him.” if he himself were to meet Rihito. Hatano then spoke how Kosuke was kind and very receptive to others. Unlike Shimazaki and Rihito, Hatano would like to become friends with Kosuke.

Attendees saw a preview of the anime’s first episode. Shimazaki talked about how the manga had the terror approaching closer as the story went on but felt it more with the adaptation. He pointed out how puzzled he was when he was amazed at the production while being very scared of the scenes. Hatano also praised the quality of the art, animation and music and said that there were details that helped establish a sense of reality and familiarity. Weidner confessed that he didn’t do well usually with the horror genre but the story and its world wanted him to see more.

After showing some screenshots from the first episode, Weidner asked the voice actors if they were interested in the supernatural and/or had any experiences. Hatano replied that he loved stories about ghostly encounters. He revealed that he and the other actors received DVDs along with the scripts but said that his copy wouldn’t work when he watched it at home. He said it didn’t really scare him but was more of an annoying inconvenience. He said he’d like to try to talk with the spirits since he was not really afraid of them. Shimazaki then said “those videos were really weird” and discussed how others also had strange moments with them. Knowing that Hatano watched through it all, he said it felt fitting during production and that the exorcist would see it completely. However, Shimazaki would rather not believe in such things and would like to avoid the supernatural if possible. He reiterated that sentiment in the final discussion question regarding what they would do if they were to encounter ghostly things. “If you don’t get involved with the gods, you won’t get cursed” was an old proverb Shimazaki spoke of, but he also said he would help those close to him if they were affected by spirits that he could see. Hatano agreed that he wouldn’t want to fight them but would prefer to talk to them. 

Weidner then played a version of the Newlywed game (or Three Hearts, One Mind for those fans of Korean variety shows like “Sixth Sense”) with the two actors where he would give a key phrase and the duo would have to see if they all could write the same word(s) based off of it.

  • “When you’re out to have a drink, what do you order first?” – Hatano and Weidner put down “Beer”. Shimazaki had toriaezu nama which meant “a draft (beer) for now.” which matched the others.
  • “What are your go-to fillings for rice balls(onigiris)?” – Hatano and Weidner matched again with “Salmon” but Shimazaki wrote ume (pickled plum). The salmon pair confessed that they almost wrote ume too.
  • “A place to test your courage(kimodameshi) is…” – Hatano wrote “Graveyard” and Weidner added “at night” in his response. Shimazaki differed once again with “A school at night”. He hoped that his colleague would remember the classic kimodameshi location of his student days. The actors spoke a bit about how schools would have strange rumors and legends.
  • “A famous Japanese spirit is…” – The three debated if they wanted to include yokai but decided to stick to ghosts (yurei). The actors finally matched with “Hanako-san of the Toilet” while Weidner chose “Sadako” as his famous spirit. They had a discussion about the difference in school custodial duties between Japanese and American schools and how Japanese students would clean up and possibly run into Hanako-san.
  • “A popular American horror movie is…” – Shimazaki confessed he watched more suspense films than horror. He chose M. Night Shyamalan’s 1999 “The Sixth Sense” while Hatano wrote “The Omen” and Weidner had “Scream”. Shimazaki said he thought that his choice was close to the concept of “Tricolored”.
  • Bonus Round: “What is your favorite Japanese sweet?” – Weidner clarified soon after that he wanted to know their favorite dagashi, or very cheap snacks instead of okashi. Hatano wondered if international viewers will understand the difference. For those unfamiliar with the terms, okashi is a formal and general term for a snack while dagashi is for those that are usually made for kids in small single-serving packaging and affordable for those with a bit of spare change. Hatano asked Weidner if America had the dagashi he knew and the host answered that some are available. Hatano’s response was “Big Katsu”, a small version of a pork cutlet (pork katsu) but it is breaded fish paste.  He said he ate it on his way home after baseball practice when he was young. Shimazaki had “Kujibiki Candy” and explained it was won through the store’s lottery. Weidner wrote “Choco Cigar” which the actors knew as chocolate cigarettes.

Weidner jokingly suggested that the pair should dance together in spats so that they could work on getting in sync. Shimazaki said that the results reminded him about Kosuke and Rihito and how the two didn’t have a lot of compatibility but still worked together.

In their last message of the panel, the actors thanked the viewers and the fans. Shimazaki said that “The Night Beyond the Tricolored Window” has a very Japanese type of horror which is a bit more subtle and gradual terror than the typical jumpscares. He also said he felt that anyone from anywhere can enjoy the show that has dark chills and human warmth. Hatano reflected on his time during recording and said that he noticed the importance of people’s relationships with one another. He mentioned it had different sides and features and hoped the viewers would catch and enjoy them.

Head over to Crunchyroll to watch “The Night Beyond the Tricolored Window” this upcoming fall anime season. For those who want to check out Tomoko Yamashita’s manga, SuBLime recently released its penultimate volume digitally. Visit the publisher’s website for more information.