Fueled by the success of One Punch Man in 2015, mangaka ONE's other creation, Mob Psycho 100, recieved an anime adaption the following year. Brought to life by the reputable Studio Bones, the show has captivated otaku worldwide with its imaginative visuals, dry humor, and superb voice acting. It's no wonder why the series is getting a second season in 2019.
I had the privilege of witnessing the first two episodes myself at Anime NYC, but managed to chat with the Japanese voice of Mob, Setsuo Ito, beforehand. Read his thoughts on the character, voice acting, and the show's experimental animation style below:
When you started working as a voice actor on anime, what was it like to match your voice to visuals on the screen? Did you find it difficult or easy?
In terms of timing, I had to practice a lot. In terms of matching my voice with the characters I play, no matter what I do, I feel like I’m always hearing my own voice. There’s this awkwardness to any character I play and I don’t feel like I match up exactly. It’s when I hear positive feedback from other people that I know I did a good job.
Were there any points during recording that you had to work off of incomplete footage?
It’s not rare in Japan. I almost always have incomplete footage. Sometimes it feels weird if the footage is completely finished.
Was there anything about the more experimentally animated segments that influenced your performance?
I wouldn’t say my performance was influenced, as a lot of these animated segments were already finished when I saw them. However, a lot of the more experimental artwork did evoke a personal reaction from me that made me very excited and happy. I think the composition of the images added to my performing ability. I was able to study a lot throughout the process.
Mob is a noticeably subdued and downplayed character, so what was your approach to the moments where he would snap?
With my other performances, I’m very used to being emotional. It’s easy for me to take on these kind of personas. It’s actually more difficult for me to take things back and be more reserved. Sometimes, I had the problem of downplaying too much, to the point where Mob would be too cool. Overall, this subdued personality was a lot more difficult to convey than reaching those high emotional points in the show.
Have your views on the afureko process changed since your first role?
I’ve been involved with Mob Psycho 100 for a long time. Because it was such a long process, rather than changing me, it served as my foundation. It’s a step-by-step procedure that’s become a ritual that I’m committed to refining with all of my performances.