It was our privilege to bring you an exclusive report from one of the events at the Green Stage at AnimeJapan this year, the Natsume Yuujincho (Natsume Book of Friends) Special Stage! With the upcoming season six starting on 11 April this year, it was the perfect time for the members of the cast to meet the fans of the anime, to provide some insights to the new season.
The voice actors who appeared at this stage were Hiroshi Kamiya, Kazuhiko Inoue, Kazuma Horie, Ryouhei Kimura, and Hisayoshi Suganuma.
First up, Inoue Kazuhiko gracefully walked out and blew a kiss to the audience, which received some cheers from the predominantly female audience. He spoke in his character’s (Nyanko Sensei) voice as well. Kazuma Horie proceeded to do a Nyanko Sensei as well, which lead to some laughter from the audience.
The first segment was “interesting things that happened during recording,” and Hiroshi Kamiya proceeded to share about the event when Kazuhiko Inoue suddenly started shaving in the recording studio, and left everyone in the studio rather shocked. Kazuhiko Inoue tried to explain himself by saying that he felt really uncomfortable with his beard growing out, and that the incident only lasted less than 10 seconds. Another interesting event was also related to Kazuhiko Inoue, when during recording he realised he did not have his wallet with him, and starting frantically looking for it. All was well in the end when he managed to retrieve it from the business hotel that he had stayed at the night before. The cast joked that it really seemed liked Kazuhiko Inoue is often the centre of such happenings.
The next segment was about a memorable scene in Natsume Yuujincho season five.
Kazuhiko Inoue chose a scene in Episode 10 which showed the interaction between Natsume Takashi’s foster parents. It was a very heart-warming scene, and the rest of the cast agreed too. Hiroshi Kamiya chimed in and said that everyone (the cast members) loved the character Touko-san, so much so that they forget about the existence of her husband, Shigeru-san. Kazuhiko Inoue added that he has this warm feeling when he hears Touko-san’s voice as well.
Horie Kazuma also chose his favourite scene, and it was from episode seven, where his character, Kaname Tanuma, met the kind lady Itou-san at a summer festival, and how she had watched over him and protected him all the way from when he was young until adulthood. That really reminded him of his own grand mother who looked out for him when he was young, as his parents were very busy working.
Next, Ryouhei Kimura chose a character that he would like to be friends with.The scene was then played on screen, where his character (Nishimura) was caught in the rain without an umbrella, and a girl who was passing by offered him one, which left him rather embarrassed. He said that he hoped that Natsume Yuujincho would have more romantic scenes like these. He also mentioned that another character that he would really love to interact with was Nyanko sensei, that he would really like to have a drink with Nyanko sensei.
The next segment was, “what would you like to see from Natsume Yuujincho?” It was more of a comment by Hisayoshi Suganuma, that he would love to see what happens to the characters in 10 years’ time, in which Kazuhiko Inoue quickly added that he did not have the confidence to still play his character in 10 years’ time.
Hiroshi Kamiya led the next section, to give a sneak peak to the season six, and mentioned that the youkai vase will make an appearance again! (it appeared at the start of season five) Some character visuals from episode one showed an ayakashi with a vase for a head, and a very young looking Natsume Takashi. Let’s all look forward to episode one of season six!
A special announcement was made about the anime DVD that would be released in 26 April this year. The DVD will include episode 11 as well as a special episode! It will also include a special song by Nyanko sensei, along with other exclusive items.
At the very end of the special event, the cast and fans surprised Kazuhiko Inoue by celebrating his birthday! The audience members in the first few rows all held up coloured signs that formed the word “祝” wishing him a happy birthday, which really took him by surprise. He had been caught up with the event programme and totally forgot about his birthday. He thanked everyone and promised that he would continue to do his best with Natsume Yuujincho.