Kirara Magica Interview Mizuhashi Kaori

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Voice Actor of Mami Tomoe - Mizuhashi Kaori

Mami might be the character that elicited the strongest fan reaction. What are Mizuhashi Kaori's feelings for this role?

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After Re-recording First Movie Finished
Kirara A few days ago, re-recording wrapped for the compilation movie. How did it go?
Mizuhashi Only Part I is finished! This movie thing really takes a lot of time. The re-recording was done very diligently, so it took a full two days.
Kirara Since it's a compilation, Mami will suffer the same fate as the TV series?
Mizuhashi Certain parts will be cut out to help with the transitions, but the plot remains roughly the same as the TV series.
Kirara So we can only wait for her death?
Mizuhashi I have said this often, but it bears repeating. Death in anime, compared to death in real life, is a wholly different concept. In anime, a character only truly dies when treated like thin air. Rather than people asking "who's she again," being remembered is better.
Kirara In fact, Mami is their favorite character for many people.
Mizuhashi She may have died within the story, but she lives as a character. You may even say her life has just begun. I was often asked, "How do you feel about Mami-san's death?" If I can respond honestly, I actually feel quite happy. Because rather than a disposable character, her death made her memorable.
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Meeting Mami Tomoe at the Perfect Time
Kirara Can you discuss your feelings about Mami Tomoe again?
Mizuhashi I feel my meeting with Mami was by fate, because I had been wanting to switch my voice acting roles. There are many voice actors looking for change, but no matter how much they shout "I can do this!" the opportunity rarely presents itself. Not only that, just switching is insufficient. You must have impact. You need a role and a creative title that can completely change everyone's impression of you. That's why when I was picked for Mami-san's role, I had a feeling that my archetype would change forever. In fact, I wanted for that to happen. Sometimes I wonder, "if I didn't accept Mami-san, what would I be doing now?" Those thoughts make me shudder. Not able to escape being typecast-ed is a terrible thing.
Kirara How do you feel about Madoka Magica itself?
Mizuhashi If I had no connection with the work, if I wasn't one of its voice actors, I would probably have fallen deeper for it. As a participant, I have to practice self-restraint. If not, I would be lining-up along with everyone at Comiket already (laughs). I think I'd get really into it.
Kirara To participate in a work you enjoy must been a real blessing.
Mizuhashi I was often asked, "you must feel really happy." Once you empathize you would understand. Even when happy, you must repress those feelings. It's a complicated mix of emotions (laughs). But it's also a privilege, and I am truly grateful that I can feel this way.
Chiwa Saito (Homura Akemi), Kaori Mizuhashi (Mami Tomoe) and Eri Kitamura (Sayaka Miki) at Madoka PSP Promotional Event
I Want to Watch with the Fans!
Kirara The TV airing ended over a year ago. From the fan reactions, can you still sense the popularity of Madoka?
Mizuhashi I still hear "I just finished watching recently" from people often, so it seem to have staying power. Its impact appears to be growing from word of mouth too! Within the business, it seems quite trendy, whether it's addicting to watch and such. I am really happy to hear that even now.
Kirara After broadcast there have been many Madoka live events. You attended the ones in Osaka and Nagoya too.
Mizuhashi Previously, I didn't have a chance to learn why people enjoy Madoka. After attending these events, I realized many of the fans are attending these type of events for the first time. Almost half of the attendees are newbies. I really want to thank them for "giving your first time" to Madoka.
Kirara Many that never attended offline events before came out for you, that must be nice to hear.
Mizuhashi Many attendees are not hardcore anime fans; Some were fans but have grown up and graduated; Some watched Madoka only due to their girlfriend's glowing reviews, only to end up ignoring the girls and start buying figures instead. There were really all kinds (laughs). Everyone's reactions were interesting. Of course, character discussion was very popular. Some requested for me to "Talk about what you had for lunch or whatever! Just use Mami voice please~!" (laughs)
Kirara The attendees react noticeably cooler towards personal things?
Mizuhashi Definitely cooler, but I am still happy. Anecdotes from the recording story tend to grab everyone's attention, that makes me happy.
Kirara The Anime Contents Expo 2012 was held on April 1st. All six primary actors met on stage.
Mizuhashi It was very enjoyable. Throughout that I was constantly thinking, "Why is there only one of me?" If there's another, I would definitely be sitting with the audience, and crying too (laughs). Rather than on stage, I would rather watch the girls gather as part of the audience.
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Wouldn't the Sequel be Great if Everyone can be Together Again?
Kirara What do you think of a dedicated Madoka magazine like this?
Mizuhashi I thought people were kidding originally (laughs). I even had to eat my words when it actually came out. I really enjoy reading the Volume 1 pre-prints, especially "Mami Tomoe Age 31" (Mami's Everyday Life). That one really shocked me (laughs).
Kirara All the other girls are engaged or married, only Mami remain single (laughs).
Mizuhashi Yea, that's how it is. This is going off-topic, but as the saying goes, "if that person looks to marry early, she'll definitely be left behind." If a prospect is available, hurry and introduce him. Otherwise, it'll get worse! (laughs)
Kirara In this volume they're attending a wedding.
Mizuhashi That's just sad (laughs), and Mami-san pretend to have a boyfriend too. That's a lie you can't be making, or else no one will introduce you, that makes for a very grim prospect. Ah, the last stand... (laughs) Then, there's that everyone-is-family story.
Kirara The one where all five magical girls are sisters, The Veranda of Madoka, right?
Mizuhashi My favorite scene was when Mami was eating a slice of cake by herself. She said "Even though it's only dessert, I still feel like saying grace." (laughs) It's something you can say in your daily lives. Before eating dessert and such, say "Thanks for the food... Hah, it's only dessert, but I can't help but say grace" and such (laughs). It feels like a natural slice of life. I enjoy these kind of down to earth stories that I can identify with. And it ends with those beautiful words, "to be continued." I am looking forward to it. And finally, one story was about Mami-san and Akemi-san co-habituating (Mitakihara Anti-Materials), I like that one too.
Kirara The Mami-Homura combination might be less popular.
Mizuhashi But the plot was reasonable. Homura lacked living experiences, so Mami asked "What do you eat usually? Why not live with me?" This kind of development feels very natural. To come up with this scenario and draw such a comic, it's very novel... If I wasn't a voice actor and was addicted to Madoka, I would probably be drawing doujin too. I would probably be bullying Mami-san too (laughs). Since Madoka was an anime original, I feel like the audience are part of the creative process. No one decides "that's that!" Everyone has the freedom to let their imagination run wild. I think that's delightful.
Kirara You already mentioned the first movie. What about your hope and expectations for rest of the trilogy?
Mizuhashi I hope in the final movie, we can all be together again. Even though some people due to complicated reasons became the law of cycles; some passed away; some guided away. I wish that all the cast members could meet again, with no one missing. Getting everyone together will definitely not be easy. But no matter how arduous the journey, wouldn't it be great? By the way, I have no clue about the content for the final movie. I just wish everyone can fight together.
Retranslated from a Chinese source