Home Interview: Chained Soldier's Yuya Hirose and Yuki Watanabe

Interview: Chained Soldier's Yuya Hirose and Yuki Watanabe

Anime Corner had the special opportunity to interview Chained Soldier voice actor Yuya Hirose, who plays the role of Yuuki, and producer Yuki Watanabe. Some of Hirose’s previous roles include Yuta Hibiki (SSSS.GRIDMAN), Alto Goldfilled (Vermeil in Gold), Takuya Yamamoto (Tokyo Revengers), and Haruka Isumi (IDOLiSH7!). Watanabe has worked as a producer on numerous anime including SSSS.GRIDMAN, Too Cute Crisis, and Taisho Otome Fairy Tale.

Q: Hirose-san, Yuuki has a good tendency to express how he’s feeling in any situation, even if the situation changes quickly. What do you love most about voicing Yuuki and what have you found to be a little challenging?

Hirose: Yuuki can be so cool in a battle, but then he can look pitiful and/or adorable when he’s being toyed around by the girls. So I play him, hoping that this funny gap is clear for the viewers.

Q: You’ve worked alongside Akari Kitou-san and Yume Miyamoto-san in SSSS.GRIDMAN. So what has it been like being back together for such a new, big project alongside other great voice actresses such as Maaya Uchida-san? Have you guys had any funny moments or interesting stories you could tell us when recording lines for Chained Soldier?

Hirose: I was super happy when I found out that I’d be with them again. The mood at the studio was very friendly, and we had a great time recording together. We’d go out to eat after the recording was over, and we watched the first episode together with some drinks.

Q: You mentioned before that when you got the news you were going to play Yuta Hibiki in SSSS.GRIDMAN, you jumped up in the middle of the cafeteria at University and ended up being late to class because you were celebrating. What was your reaction like when you received the news that you got the role of Yuuki in Chained Soldier?

Hirose: I was so happy when I found out that I got the role, and I reread the manga right away. And I couldn’t help smiling as I read, thinking that I’d get to play all these scenes.

Q: With more recent roles such as Yuta in SSSS.GRIDMAN and Yuuki in Chained Soldier, your voice acting career is continuing to take off and you’ve worked with some big names in the industry. So I want to congratulate you on coming such a long way since your days at Nichinare! Are there any voice actors or voice actresses you would love to work with that you haven’t already? I’m aware you love singing, so perhaps a favorite artist?

Hirose: I would love to play alongside Yuuichi Nakamura [Satorou Gojo – Jujutsu Kaisen] since he was in the anime series that inspired me to become a voice actor. As for favorite artists, I love Mrs. GREEN APPLE [Fire Force, Oblivion Battery], as well as Masayoshi Oishi, who sang the theme song for SSSS.GRIDMAN.

Q: Watanabe-san, you were a producer on Taisho Otome Fairy Tale alongside Emi Kashimura, a number of projects with Hirofumi Itou-san, and were also a producer for My Master Has No Tail, which Jinglei Huang-san was part of planning. Were you excited to be working with familiar colleagues again for such a popular title in Chained Soldier? What was the production process like for the series?

Watanabe: As a matter of fact, the project of Chained Soldier started around the same time as Taisho Otome Fairy Tale and My Master Has No Tail. That’s why the same producers are involved. Because of the production schedule, the broadcast of Chained Soldier was pushed back to 2024, but you’ll see that the quality of it was worth the wait!

Q: Hirose-san was Yuta in SSSS.GRIDMAN, which you were a producer for. He also voiced roles in series that Shotae Watase-san, Kashimura-san, and Hirofumi-san also produced. So who was it that ultimately pitched the idea of Hirose-san to voice the role of Yuuki?

Watanabe: In doing an audition for the role of Yuuki, I recommended Yuya Hirose. For Yuuki, I was looking for the youthfulness of a boy like Yuta in SSSS.GRIDMAN and I knew that Hirose-san would be able to portray the masculinity and strength that Yuuki sometimes shows. There were other candidates, but if I remember correctly, it was almost a unanimous decision to cast Hirose-san as Yuuki, including the other producers and the director.

Q: As a big fan of Urusei Yatsura, I was very excited to see Junji Nishimura-san listed as the Chief Director for Chained Soldier. Seeing as how he worked on The Fire Hunter with Gorou Kuji-san for an episode, was it Nishimura who wanted to bring Kuji-san on board for the anime to make his series directing debut? What’s it been like working with the two?

Watanabe: Seven Arcs, the production company, suggested staffing for the director and the chief director. Director Kuji is young and adventurous, and Chief Director Nishimura is a veteran with unpredictable ideas that go beyond our imagination. Working with this pair was very exciting, to say the least.

Q: For a couple of final questions, if you could have anyone’s ability from Chained Soldier, who would it be and why?

Hirose: I’d say Tenka’s. It’s great to be able to go anywhere, so I’d transport myself from my place to the studio! And she’s simply very strong, so I’d love to have her abilities!

Watanabe: Yachiho Azuma’s Golden Hour. I tend to make small mistakes and have trouble making decisions, so it would be very helpful if I could stop and rewind time.

Q: Who do you ship Yuuki with?

Hirose: Kyouka. From the first moment they meet, including their contract, Yuuki is who he is now thanks to her. So I love this pair the most!

Watanabe: Tenka is a strong rival, but in Season 1, I’d have to say Kyouka. I’m excited to see how their master-slave relationship will turn out. In Season 2, there will be more Commanders and members of the Demon Defense Force, so the choice will be harder to make.

Both Yuya Hirose and Yuki Watanabe will be appearing as HIDIVE’s guests on two panels at Anime Boston 2024. All 12 episodes of the first season of Chained Soldier are streaming on HIDIVE. Chained Soldier Season 2 was recently announced and will be released at a later date! Fans can check out the Season 2 preview trailer below:

©Takahiro, Yohei Takemura /SHUEISHA, Chained Soldier Production Consortium

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