Home Interview: My Deer Friend Nokotan's Megumi Han and Saki Fujita

Interview: My Deer Friend Nokotan's Megumi Han and Saki Fujita

The highly anticipated My Deer Friend Nokotan (Shikanoko Nokonoko Koshitantan) anime already managed to captivate audiences worldwide with its entertaining trailers and viral opening song. In preparation for the premiere, Anime Corner got a chance to interview two of the series’ main cast members, Megumi Han and Saki Fujita, who also sing the catchy opening theme. In this interview, they shared their overall impressions of the anime and expressed how much fun they had during recordings.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about My Deer Friend Nokotan and how you ended up voicing Torako Koshitan?
Fujita: I was like, “WIT is gonna draw it! Wow! What an honor!” I’m really grateful. Being entrusted with a main character who’s a high school girl is truly an honor. Thank you very much. 

Q: Since it’s a comedy, how did you approach the comedic aspects of the situations your character is involved in? Did you encounter any particular challenges or surprises while bringing them to life through voice acting?
Han: The key was to just go with the flow…But hey, let’s be real, acting without thinking is a tall order! Just kidding. I mean, there were moments where I had to nail it as a voice actor, and switching up the vibes required some careful consideration. And then, it was all about finding that balance between sticking to the script and letting loose with the performance.

Fujita: Koshitan thinks it would be the end of the world if her former delinquent identity were exposed, but that is not something you can hide easily, so she always keeps her battle mode on.

Q: What were your first impressions upon reading the script?
Han: Chaos is the word that comes to mind. You never knew what was coming on the next page. Who would’ve thought of blowing up a gym with deer antlers? This world doesn’t play by the rules. And then there’s Noko-tan, the epitome of addictive chaos. With just a “Notsu!” or a “Nun!” she builds the whole universe around her.

Fujita: When I read the script for the first episode, the weight of Koshitan’s character felt immense. The word “responsibility” appears huge (laughs). But during the first recording session, it was just so much fun. Working together with everyone really lifted my spirits. And strangely enough, since then, if there were not many retorting lines, I would even feel like the session was lacking something. Humans are truly mysterious creatures, aren’t they?

Q: What do you think are your character’s best-selling points?
Fujita: Koshitan, president of the student council, is like the epitome of excellence and beauty at Hino Minami High School. Meanwhile, she’s all about striving to maintain her “model student” image while hiding her past as a former delinquent. Apart from her delinquent past, she’s just your average JK who adores all things cute, and totally grounded.
So, when Nokotan enters her life, it’s like her whole world gets upside down. When there’s no one to play the fool, she keeps on solo-retorting, faces tough situations, and battles alone. No matter what, Koshitan shines. That’s what makes Koshitan so impressive! Though saying that might just stress her out even more! (laughs) I’m having a blast playing her, so I’m really grateful to have met Koshitan.

Han: Well, she’s a deer, all the time. Can’t mistake her for anything else, since her name is–Noko Shikanoko–a deer! Call her Nokotan. It’s her deer life that makes her so captivating. She’s just living free and wild, with no rules to hold her back. 

Q: Do you share any similarities between yourself and the character you voiced?
Fujita: I’m a lot like Koshitan, actually. I absolutely adore cute things and my surroundings are filled with them, but when it comes to mindset, I’m pretty rock-solid. I can’t stand unfairness or crookedness, and I’m more of a “loyalty and compassion” type of person. Plus, if people around me are being silly, I can’t help but join in and make some witty remarks. So, I think we’re quite similar.

Han: It’s that sense of freedom. Having someone who accepts and embraces you for who you are.

Q: The trailer for the anime was pretty interesting-looking and was well-received both in Japan and overseas. How did you feel when you first saw it?
Han: Everyone seems to be feeling the deer however they like, and I’m just here observing, like a backstage otaku with my arms crossed.

Fujita: When I watched the PV, I thought it was just hilarious! Hearing that people from around the world were watching it made me think, “So the world was actually yearning for deer!” (laughs)

Q: How do you think fans will react to the unique blend of comedy and storytelling in My Deer Friend Nokotan?
Han: I think fans may react with confusion, joy, fear, tears, excitement, or various other emotions. But that’s perfectly fine. It’s good. Feel free, since there’s no right answer.

Fujita: I hope fans find the combination of art, animation, sound, and direction engaging and think, “This is hilarious! I love it!” Even if they don’t understand the nuanced Japanese dialogue, I think they’ll still find it funny. As for Koshitan, I’m not sure… In the world of My Deer Friend, where deer and supernatural phenomena are readily accepted, Koshitan only has the viewers on her side. So, I truly hope everyone will support, love, and cherish Koshitan from the bottom of my heart.

Q: Can you share any funny or memorable moments from behind the scenes while recording for the anime?
Fujita: During recording sessions, we didn’t have much room for ad-libbing as per the director’s guidance. But it was always amusing to hear Han-chan (Megumi Han) asking in Nokotan’s voice, “Can I try something here?” while sneakily adding ad-libs.

Han: The sharp comebacks from Saki Fujita, who plays Koshitan, are always like a breath of fresh air every episode. No matter how much she snaps at me or gives me the cold shoulder, you can still feel the love underneath it all. It’s like, even if I keep playing the fool, I don’t feel like I’m alone. It’s truly heartwarming, and not just from her but from the whole cast.

Q: Do you have a message for overseas anime fans? Why should we watch My Deer Friend Nokotan?
Han: Every scene is a gem!!! Dive into this meticulously crafted world from corner to corner and enjoy the ride!!! Given the pre-release buzz, it’s heartwarming to realize that deers are loved by people around the world. “My Deer Friend” is always here to welcome you. Feel free to watch it whenever you like, feel however you want, and share it as you please. May Koshitan and friends be the nourishment for your heart.

Fujita: It’s a deer anime. From there, you’ll probably wonder, “What’s with the deer?” I believe this anime can convey its message even to those who don’t understand Japanese, so I’m incredibly happy to receive support from people all around the world. To those who watched the PV, please consider watching the full series, and even if you haven’t seen it yet, I hope you’ll tune in to the broadcast and help spread the word about the deer worldwide! Thank you so much for your support! Let’s go, deer power!

We’d like to thank Megumi Han and Saki Fujita for taking the time to answer a few of our questions. To keep up with their activities, you can follow Megumi Han on her X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram while Saki Fujita is currently active on X (formerly Twitter).

About My Deer Friend Nokotan Anime

My Deer Friend Nokotan is set to premiere on July 7, 2024, and it will be available on Crunchyroll, Prime Video, ADN, Anime Onegai, and more streaming services in over 140 countries and territories. It aims to bring the deer to over a billion people around the world.

WIT Studio is animating the series with Masahiko Ohta as the director. Takashi Aoshima is in charge of the script and composition. Ayumu Tsujimura is the character designer while Yasuhiro Misawa is composing the music. The opening theme song, titled “Shikairo Days,” is performed by the anime’s Deer Club (the main cast). The one-hour version of the opening song’s intro “Shikanokonokonokokoshitantan” currently has over a million views.

My Deer Friend Nokotan is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Oshioshio. It began serialization in Kodansha’s Shonen Magazine Edge in November 2019, while it was transferred to the Magazine Pocket website in December 2023. Seven Seas Entertainment licensed the manga in English, and describes the story:
No one knows Torako used to be a delinquent. All of her classmates only know her as the perfect student. But everything changes when Nokotan, a transfer student with antlers, enters her life. Antlers aren’t the only thing strange about Nokotan. Her deer nose can sniff out Torako’s secret past! Whether it’s at school or the zoo, chaos follows this doe-eyed girl’s every step. Torako has so many questions! Is Nokotan a deer, a girl, or something in-between?

© Oshioshio, Kodansha / Hino Minami High School Deer Club

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