Note: This text is reproduced verbatim and provided courtesy of © Fuji Television Network, Inc.

(Interview Date: January 2022)

Q: How did it all come to place at the beginning?

I found out about it from “Cartoon grand prize” competition and have been wanting to read it ever since. At that time, I didn’t get the chance to read it, and since my acting works had been mostly based around comic books, I discussed with those at my agency on whether we could focus more on others too. Like, I was even thinking about working with some short stories too. But then, my chief manager was like, “how about considering another original comic work?” At that point, I was like “wait, hang on?!” (laughs) But I had always wanted to read the comic, so when I read the first episode, I immediately decided to work with it! I read all the episodes straight after that!

Q: What’s your thoughts on the “Monday Night 9 p.m.” prime-time drama slot?

At the time, I was astonished to find out after my casting was confirmed, that the drama series was going to be aired on prime time. (laughs) My impression of “Monday Night” dramas are usually romantic stories with actors such as “Takuya Kimura,” but this time, even though there’s a bit of love, it's not the focus of the story. That's why I had always thought that when I would play the lead role in this renowned drama broadcast slot, it was destined to be a unique theme like this one. (laughs)

Q: Your character “Totonou Kunou” seems like quite an unusual name?

Well...I feel somewhat a sense of familiarity with the name. My actual name ends with the hiragana letter “u” but the sound when read out is like “o” so it’s kind of the same. A personality analysis with word endings is in the original story and it felt very clear to me!

Q: Your hairstyle is so like “Totonou Kunou” in the original comic?

It was kind of interesting to have my hair done just like his. Of course, I wanted to do it because the original character has a natural perm, and it was also a hairstyle I've personally wanted to try. You rarely require that kind of hairstyle for other works, and even if you did, the roles would be limited. That’s why I really wanted to go ahead with the style! I had a lot of fun talking with the hair stylist about how to make my hair look natural and choosing the right costumes.

Q: What kind of things did you keep in mind for the role?

As in the original story, I had planned on playing the role so that the character would simply use the method of continuous talk to get his point across. However, this turned out to be quite a tricky one for the drama. There were a lot of cut segmentations, and if we had sound effects like animation, then that would have been fine. But having a character in a drama series repetitively talk may not be presented in a good way. The first episode is also a special one, where my character is in the interrogation room with a window behind him, through which light directly comes through. Within this kind of setting, he begins to be depicted as kind of a “guru” from the way he speaks to his mannerisms. However, my first thought was that there are times when he can be wrong, and as the character is still not so perfect, he shouldn't seem this way. Even the original author was saying about this. As the character is still at his early stages, he shouldn’t appear as a too “perfect” figure. We want the viewers to also think together, but if it turns out like the character’s ideas are being forced upon, it will just seem like a “sermon.” The author also mentioned that her own thoughts were considered when creating the character, so I thought that trying to convey more than just plain talk would be essential for the drama. I also took the liberty of referring to the way the author usually speaks. She’s the kind of person who puts a lot of effort into the parts where she feels passionate about, so I thought that in her way, I could similarly convey various elements to the viewers. And so, by focusing on this point, I was able to get as close to the original character as possible.

Q: We heard that the filming location where Sairi Ito and Onoe Matsuya are present seems lively?

It was a blast. They are both good at what they do too. In the broadcast, Sairi Ito seems cute and presented very beautifully. Many of the roles she has played so far have been great characters that only she could play, and so it’s been something I've been watching as a fan myself. Also, the girl who she plays this time is very nice and admirable. I think that it’s probably the character that the viewers can relate to the most and seems very mature. I also think that Onoe Matsuya’s character is something the viewers enjoy watching a lot. Even though I’m sure some may now be thinking that he’s playing a very “distinctive” character. (laughs) This is the first time ever that I’ve seen him being so playful in a drama series. It’s been a while that I had laughed so much because of this on set. Like sometimes, he must stand on stage both in the morning and at night, with filming in between. I’m astounded by how much energy he has.

Q: And lastly, do you have a message for the viewers?

In the original story, there are a lot of interesting things that are said in whispered words that are not properly spoken, creating the rhythm of the story. Therefore, these areas are reflected in the script. I think this point is something that people who have read the original comic and manga lovers will enjoy. Also in some key places, there is a character that is the same as the original emerges, which is a can’t-miss scene. The casting has also been amazing. I think that the viewers are also thinking that it’s a “unique” drama series for the Monday night prime-time slot. (laughs) It’s something that can be enjoyed with the family too.


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By - grape Japan editorial staff.