Takt op.” is a new media mix project by DeNA and Bandai Namco Arts. It describes the story of “Muscato,” a girl who fights with the power of classical music, and “Conductor,” a conductor who leads the girls. Destiny” is currently on air, and a smartphone game is planned for the future.
The original work is by Oji Hiroi, known for the “Sakura Taisen” series. The TV animation is co-produced by MAPPA and MADHOUSE.
We have started a unique project to delve deeper into this massive project through interviews with the creators and cast. This time, Ito Miku, who plays the role of Muscato Titan in the TV anime, and Hino Satoshi, who plays the role of Lenny, the conductor, appeared on the show. They talked a lot about their well-balanced collaboration and their impressions of each other’s performances.
|The best part of an original work is that, unlike a work with an original story, you never know what will happen next (Ito).
──takt op.” is a project that uses classical music as its motif. Please tell us what the two of you thought of this project when you heard about it.
Hino: Frankly speaking, I thought it was an interesting idea when I first heard about the general content of the story, which is to save the world by fighting a monster with the power of classical music.
Ito: When I heard about the story of girls fighting with the power of classical music and music scores, I thought it was very innovative. Many people don’t usually have the chance to experience classical music, so I felt that this work would be a good entry point.
──Do you both listen to classical music?
Ito： I haven’t touched it much.
Hino： Even though I hear it often, it’s at the level of “Oh, I know this song, I’ve heard it before. If you ask me if I can immediately match a theme to a name, I’m not that far off …….
──Do you have any episodes related to music, such as having learned to play the piano as a child?
Ito： My mother has a sense of absolute pitch.
Ito： My mother played the piano since I was a little girl, and she tried to teach me many times. I took up the challenge as one of the free lessons, but I still couldn’t do well when my parents taught me. As soon as I got angry, I would say, “I hate it! It didn’t last long. I could only learn to play “Neko Funjakta.”
Hino： I briefly tried playing the acoustic guitar in high school but gave up halfway through. At that time, there was a time when everyone was longing for an acoustic guitar. But the hurdles were higher than I thought, and it didn’t work out.
──What kind of music do you usually listen to?
Ito： I’m a very average person, but I like J-POP and J-ROCK. I tend to like female singers like aiko and miwa.
Hino： I also like female singers a lot. I like medium ballads, but lately, I haven’t been able to listen to them. I mostly listen to special effects songs with my children or songs from “Okaasan to Issy.”
Ito： I see.
Hino： So there are many nursery rhymes.
──Destiny” is an original anime without an original story; what are the real pleasures and challenges of that?
Ito： Unlike a work with an original story, you don’t know what will happen next, which is the real thrill of acting. The characters are created from scratch, so I find it both challenging and rewarding.
Hino： There are parts of the overall storyline that are still unknown to us. At the time of this interview, Titan and Lenny have yet to reveal how they came to be, so each recording is fresh and exciting.
|I wanted to keep a sense of veteranism that was different from takt and fate (Ito).
──What was your impression of the giants and Lenny that you both play?
Ito： Titan is the music of the piece “Titan” (G. Mahler’s “Symphony No.1 in D major”), and when I first saw the name alone, I was like, “What, a Titan? (laughs). When I first saw his name, I thought, “What kind of a giant?
Hino： I wondered if he was mushy.
Ito： I wondered if they would be big and bulky. But when the character illustrations were shown to me, I found them to be tiny and cute. But when you showed me the character illustrations, I found her to be small and cute, and on the other hand, I found her to be a bit hidden. She’s pretty, but she’s older than fate as a music player, and I can sense that she’s a veteran. She looks cute, but she’s also very cool.
Hino： Lenny is very wild in appearance, so at first, I tried to make the role brave and masculine. However, his lines are soft, and his personality is maternal. On the set, I talked with the director and made changes to create the character of Lenny. I felt that she always exuded the kind of love that a parent has for a child.
──What kind of direction did you receive from the director and sound director?
Ito： During the first recording session, we were given a verbal explanation of the characters. He told us a bit about each character’s future, saying, “This is what we plan to do,” and we asked him questions as we acted.
──What kind of image did the song “Titan” conjure up for you?
Ito： I thought it was a song with a variety of atmospheres in each movement, with parts that are gentle and parts that are dynamic and exciting. I felt that each movement of the song had a different atmosphere. I thought that the atmosphere of the music and the character would bring out various aspects of nature. Titan will appear in the third episode, but I received the materials for the first and second episodes beforehand and developed an image of him. Fate was a muzhikart who spoke without hesitation, so I thought Titan would be like that, but in reality, he was a human-like character with ups and downs. It would be good to show the difference between him and fate, so I checked with the director as I created the role.
──What were the key points that you valued in your performance, and what did you set as your unshakeable axis?
Hino： I tried to find a good balance between her wild appearance and her soft tone. I tried to create an atmosphere of a parent who encompasses everything, but at the same time, he is very positive. When he fights against D2 (a monster that hates music), he shows a reliable and severe side. I played the role while considering the balance between these two aspects.
Ito： Titan is a girl with a cute and comforting way of speaking. However, when she fights with Renee, her coolness comes to the fore. I wanted to emphasize that the two of them work well together and are veterans who are different from Tact and Fate.
Also, as the story progresses, there are scenes where Titan shows her coldness and harshness towards evil, and this is a new axis for her, and I felt the director’s attention to it. I want to keep this aspect of Titan in mind in the future.
|Renee and Titan are very different in appearance, but I think they are similar in type (Hino).
──You two have worked together before, haven’t you?
Hino： A while ago, we worked on “The Quintessential Quintuplets” (airing from March 2021).
──What are your impressions of each other’s performances?
Hino： Lenny and Titan are an experienced duo, and they trust each other a lot. I’m proud to say that we were able to express the “A-Un” breathing between us in this recording. ……
Ito： I also wanted to be aware of how well we were breathing together. I tried to listen carefully to Lenny’s instructions and his voice, “It’s showtime,” before I jumped in front of the enemy. I kept my mind sharp as I waited for Lenny’s instructions.
Hino： It means that we breathed into each other.
Ito： It’s good to know that we’re communicating.
──Did you talk about each other’s roles and acting styles on the set?
Hino： “takt op.Destiny,” we talked about, “this is the kind of relationship we’re going to have this time.
Ito： Yes, it is.
──It may be difficult to say this in front of you, but what are your impressions of each other’s performances and expressions?
Ito： Well, I’m nervous. …… I’ve known Hino since before I became a voice actor, so when I met him for the first time, I thought, “Wow, it’s Hino! When I first met him, I thought, “Wow, it’s you! I didn’t tell him, but I thought, “He’s the one from TV! He’s real! It’s real!
Hino-san, you come to the scene with your love for the characters and how you approach the work firmly established in your mind. The way you respond to the director’s direction is also very excellent. I wish I could be as passionate about my characters as you are and be able to express my own opinions.
Hino： It’s not often I get such praise, so I’m happy (laughs). From my point of view, Mr. Ito is an actor with a straightforward approach to acting and a strong core in each of his lines. Whenever I work with him, I feel these two things strongly. Also, his flexibility is fantastic. His ability to instantly respond when the director gives him direction is very high. Every time I went to the recording, I would watch his back from the back seat and admire him.
Ito： What? I’m going to cry. ……!
Hint： We don’t usually talk about this kind of thing in the field. “We don’t usually talk about this kind of thing on set because we don’t say, “This part of your play is perfect! I don’t say that very often.
──The trust between the two of you is also like that of Lenny and Titan. They are also different types, but they trust each other. How do you see their relationship?
Hino： I think that Lenny and Titan are similar in type. Of course, they look entirely different, but I think they are identical in that they have two sides to them, and there is a gap between them. Also, both of us are mentally very mature. I think it’s because we feel sympathy for each other that we can work so well together as partners.
Ito： I also wondered if we were similar. We both have the same beliefs and the same direction to go. I don’t feel like we’re talking to each other, though.
Hino： I know.
Ito： But they are naturally looking in the same direction. Perhaps it is because of this that they have developed such a trusting relationship.
──What do you think is similar about them?
Hino： To put it simply, he uses both “soft” and “hard.” Titan usually has a cute side with a “tan” at the end of his words, but when confronted with something unforgivable like D2, he has a cool-headed attitude. Renee, too, is usually soft-spoken and has a paternal or maternal personality, but she instantly turns on when it comes to fighting. I think they are similar in that way.
The other thing is that they probably have the same goal in mind, although we are not privy to the details. Both of them have someone who has been a great help to them, and they want that person to be saved. I think that’s what we have in common.
Ito： I think you are right, Hino. We both have two sides to us, don’t we?
Hino： Titan is adorable, though.
Ito： Both Lenny and Titan are characters that everyone falls in love with. But I felt that the seriousness and severity are similar when they are on the verge of something.
──On the other hand, Tact and Fate are still new to the conductor-musical duo. How do you guys see this duo?
Ito： I think they still have a lot of things to overcome. Renee teaches them about conductors and musicals, and Titan teaches Fate how to fight with gestures, but she senses their potential. I think I’m teaching them well so that Tact and Destiny don’t become overwhelmed.
Hino： That’s precisely what I’m saying. From Lenny’s point of view, Tact is like a child. As I mentioned earlier, I thought that she felt paternal and maternal towards Tact. Similarly, Titan is like a mentor, teaching him how to fight from the very beginning, as if he were raising Destiny, who knows nothing. He is like a teacher, a parent and a child, and a brother. I think they have that kind of distance.
|I’m glad I live in this era! I’m so glad I live in this time!
──Since this interview was conducted before the broadcast, you haven’t seen the finished video yet, but what are your thoughts on seeing the battle footage in the second PV?
Ito： The battle scenes were amazing! I was thrilled by the power cuts and the sense of speed as if they were coming at me. I was fascinated by the power cuts and the importance of speed as if they were coming at me. It was an image that I couldn’t help but watch. Lenny and Titan are also ……
Hino： It came out for a moment.
Ito： That’s right. I was also happy to see them moving.
Hino： It is produced by two of Japan’s leading animation studios, and the images are so powerful that it makes you think, “I’m glad I live in this era! I’m glad I live at this age!” The images are so powerful that you can feel them. When I saw the PV, I couldn’t wait to see the finished product, and I was excited.
Ito： The music was also excellent, wasn’t it?
Hino： I’m also looking forward to seeing how the battle scenes and music are fused. There’s a lot to look forward to.
──Can you both give us some highlights?
Hino： In the first few episodes, you may not grasp the whole picture of the story, but as the episodes go on, various things will be revealed. Each character is fascinating, so I think it would be better if you enjoy their relationships and watch the story as if you were a witness in the same world, wondering how the story will turn out.
Ito： I hope you will enjoy the battle scenes and other visuals as much as I do. There are detailed settings for each character’s situation and the events that will happen in the future, so you will see new aspects of the characters as the story progresses. I hope you will enjoy this story along with us.
In the space, there is a scene where Lenny asks Tact, “What do you think music is for?──In the play, Lenny asks Tact, “What do you think music is for? What do you two think music is for?
Ito： As Lenny said, I think it’s something that can be close to people’s hearts. Some songs make everyone happy, and there are songs that people can relate to when they are going through a tough time. There are so many different genres of songs in the world, and I think that each is a source of comfort for people.
Hino： I agree with Ito. I think that music is a way to give your mind a break. I think it helps to fill the mind with vitality.
──Both of you were not familiar with classical music, but did your image of classical music change after working on this film?
Hino： In addition to this animation, I have been involved in other works related to classical music, and when classical music, which has a strong image of being something highbrow, is combined with animation and games, it feels familiar. “I think one of the charms of this work is that it teaches us that we don’t have to be so formal to enjoy it.
I’m at the stage of “Oh, I’ve heard that before” or “I know the title of this song,” but I’ve come to think that it would be interesting to learn “how this song was created” or “what its history is.”
Ito： Classical music is challenging to listen to because there is a particular dress code. However, if you do a little research, you will find a link between the music, the background of the composer, and the historical background of the time. I thought it was interesting that some writers had a tumultuous life, which is hard to find in this era. My knowledge is still minimal, but I would like to enjoy the classics little by little. I would be happy if this anime could be an opportunity for everyone to contact classical music.