Exclusive Interview with Haruna Luna (Part 1)

Exclusive Interview with Haruna Luna (Part 1)

Haruna Luna made her debut in May 2012 with the Fate/Zero 2nd season ED theme,“Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau.” In the five years since her debut, she’s sung theme songs for many popular anime, but in 2017 she challenged herself for the first time as a voice actress in the anime URAHARA! Haruna has performed overseas many times and has fans worldwide.

In order to draw out her fascinating charm, we conducted a long interview with her. In the first part, we asked her about her debut as a voice actress and singing the URAHARA ending theme, which is also her 11th single, “KIRAMEKI☆LIFELINE!”

About URAHARA and working as a voice actress

--How did you first feel when you heard you’d be a voice actress in the anime URAHARA?

I often watch anime myself and thought of voice actors and actresses as “gods” that brought the characters from 2D to 3D, making them seem more real. When I stood next to other actresses who were breathing their very life into their voices, I wondered, “Is it all right for me to be this close to them?” I was very excited but nervous.

--How did you prepare yourself after your role was decided and until the post-recording?

I took lessons in the dubbing process and how to match my voice to the video. The talented voice actresses around me also gave me pointers, but I was quite overwhelmed. I took the lessons while doing my best not to cause trouble for everyone around me. But I also thought, “So this is what debuting as a voice actress is really like!” and was glad to have the experience. (LOL) As a fan, I thought, “So this is how they put the voices in!” My new discoveries made me very happy.

--How did you feel when you started dubbing? Was there anything that was different from your training?

As a singer, I normally sing my own songs in a recording booth by myself, so I was impressed that the entire voice acting cast gets into a booth together. By being in the same booth as everyone, during the recording process I felt that we were connected and were able to positively focus as we made URAHARA together.

--What did you talk about with your costars?

We talked a lot about URAHARA itself. The script mentions “Gyoniku-sausage” (fish sausage), so we joked about abbreviating it to “gyoniso” and made fun of it a bit. (LOL)

Also, we talked about how we thought the story would unfold. URAHARA doesn’t have a detailed original work, so every time we received our scripts we thought, “What?? This is where the story is going?!” That’s why we always got excited when predicting how the series would end.

URAHARA is an original series by itself, so I felt like I was able to become Rito and express my true feelings. Since I don’t know what’s coming next and worried about what will happen to Rito, my anxiety comes through in my voice. I thought that was very invigorating.

--What differences did you encounter between working as a singer and working as a voice actress?

At first I thought they would be completely different, but as I was dubbing I got the feeling that they were actually quite similar. I think they both rely on using your voice to perform.

For example, while I’m singing I often regulate my breathing. I sing while focusing on pushing breath into my cut-offs so they can be heard better. Voice actors also perform by regulating their breathing. When they pretend to throw an object, they also adlib with their breath. I thought those sorts of detailed expressions were similar to singing.

--How did you feel when you saw the anime you starred in completed and broadcast?

I was so excited every week! When I realized that my voice was being spread throughout the world not just through songs, but through actual dialogue, I also felt a little nervous and wondered if I did all right.

I wondered what I would do if my casting ruined the development of the anime or viewers’ outlook of it. Every week, I anxiously wondered how the world would accept Rito. After the first episode was broadcast, I was worried to death and Googled myself to see how people were viewing me. But I think that critics can show me where I can improve and people who say I’m good boost my confidence. Since this is my first work as a voice actress, I think both are necessary. Every week I brace myself and do a Google search. I’m obsessed with looking things up. (LOL)

--After watching the anime broadcast, were there parts you thought came across perfectly or that you wish you could have changed?

Unfortunately, I think that my nervousness came across in Rito’s voice, which is just unacceptable! The first episode was especially bad because I thought to myself, “Don’t mess up the words! Don’t stop the recording!” I was anxious from trying to fit into the role and keep the recording going.

I was very unsteady, and that nervousness came through in my voice. Because I experienced that anxiety in the recording studio, I was able to hear the same sense of anxiety in my own voice later on.

--How has dubbing been so far? (This interview was conducted at the end of October.)

At the beginning I focused on not messing up my lines, but now I’m more concerned with drawing attention to Rito’s feelings.

The more I learn about the story, the more I feel like Rito has become my image of an ideal person. The world of URAHARA has become a comforting place for me. While performing, I think about how much I wish I could live there as well.

--Do you think you’ll continue activities as a voice actress?

I definitely want to keep trying. Since I received this great chance, I’ve learned how fun it can be to breathe life into a character. If I get another chance as voice acting, I’d like to challenge it head-on!

--If you get another chance to challenge yourself, what sort of role would you like to try?

If I get another role, I’d like to try voicing a young boy. My natural voice isn’t actually all that high, so I’d like to make use of that as much as possible. When performing as Rito, the director said, “We’d like you to voice Rito by leaving a bit of yourself in her,” and I thought I was able to put parts of “me” into a girl character. If I were able to play a boy, I objectively wondered what sort of voice I would play him with. I think I’d like to try such a performance.

--If you could go back to the past, are there any roles you’d like to try and perform?

Well, the roles I want to try are a little out of my league, so I don’t think I could say them out loud! (LOL) But I like rival characters and characters with a dark side, so I’d like to try voicing a dark, despairing male character. (LOL)

--Is there a voice actress/actor you look up to?

I’m a huge fan of Mamoru Miyano. Of course his performances are great, but his songs and dancing are also wonderful, so I look up to him for multiple reasons. I buy all of his live DVDs and watch them at home. I’m not really viewing them for research, just to fangirl over him. (LOL)

About Haruna’s new song “KIRAMEKI☆LIFELINE!"

--Please tell us about URAHARA’s ending theme, “KIRAMEKI☆LIFELINE!”

“KIRAMEKI☆LIFELINE!” is a fusion between jazz, pop, and rock. It’s completely new and different from all the songs I’ve done before. It may sound cute to some and cool to others!

In fashion it’s normal to mix cute and cool things to create something new, so I think the song resembles that part closely. For example, sometimes I wear cute lolita clothes in pastel colors, but by adding spiked accessories I can create a new genre of lolita punk. I love that sort of sweet and spicy fashion.

I felt the same way the first time I heard “KIRAMEKI☆LIFELINE!” I thought it suited URAHARA’s fashion theme.

--This time you collaborated with Saku to write the song lyrics, but what did you pay most attention to while writing them?

We thought that we’d like to write something that’s familiar to everyone’s ears, so we tried putting in words like “Like” and “Timeline,” words that are trending now on social media. We spread those words throughout the lyrics so when people listen to the song, they’ll think, “I’m always using those words too!”
Our image for URAHARA was that of strong women, or girls that stand in the front lines and fight. We wrote the lyrics with those images in mind. But at the same time, there’s an element of a voice inside the girl saying, “Wait! Don’t go to battle yet!” so she can’t keep up the act, and it’s a little comical. The images are also very colorful, just like American comics, so Saku and I wrote the lyrics to fit that mood.

--What sort of place or environment do you write lyrics in?

Usually I write them at home, but they often come to mind while I’m in the bath tub. (LOL) When I’m in the bath and I think, “Oh, I want to use this word!” I’m always troubled because there’s nowhere to write it down. When that happens, I wash my hair as quickly as possible and get out to write it down! While I’m doing that, I’m constantly muttering it under my breath. I suppose these words come to mind unexpectedly because I’m so comfortable while soaking in the tub.

--Where do you get ideas or inspiration for your song lyrics?

I usually get my ideas from anime. (LOL) Everything started from my love of writing poems. When I was in 4th grade (early, I know!) I realized that I could write song lyrics and have been writing them ever since. At that time, famous songwriters like Ayumi Hamasaki and Cocco were very active, so I hoped to write like them and began writing on a computer. I even submitted some of my poems online and have continued writing them since then.

I became an otaku in 7th grade, and at that time my songs lyrics changed immensely. It may sound like some sort of fanfiction, but I focused more on the characters’ emotions and what would have happened if some part of the plot changed, etc. I loved writing poems and novels while imagining those sorts of ideas. I’ve constantly been writing since that time, but most of my writing is derivative of a 2D world.

--How is co-writing lyrics different from when you write them alone?

When co-writing lyrics, I try to focus on not straying too far from the lyrics that have been decided on beforehand. The first set of lyrics can stir up my imagination and make me wonder, “What sort of story can I connect to this?” That’s what makes it easier for me to write, but that’s also why it’s more like fanfiction or a derivative.

On the other hand, when I write lyrics by myself I have to decide everything and make everything original, so I struggle sometimes.

I also wrote the lyrics for my previous single, “Stella Breeze,” but it took 2 months to complete them...I finished them in a new year! (LOL) Co-written and original lyrics are both interesting, but I think the way they’re written is definitely different.

--I think you’ll perform “KIRAMEKI☆LIFELINE!” live from now on, but is there something you want viewers to focus on?

Earlier, I mentioned the, “Wait, don’t go!” lines in the song. Those lines come up in the lyrics twice. When they do, I stop myself for a moment and focus on switching to my “performing” side. I’d also like if you could pay attention to the movements made during those lines.

“KIRAMEKI☆LIFELINE!” has many short words, so it’s easy for me to move around. For example, during the line, “If you’re brooding you’ll be left behind,” I look like I’m saying, “Don’t leave me!” (LOL) It’s fun to imagine while listening to the song, but I’d love it if everyone could listen while watching me live as well.

Read the rest in the next part of the interview!

URAHARA × Luna Haruna Slip-On Special Collaboration

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