Ayako Kawasumi Interview @ Anime Expo 2015
At this year's Anime Expo, Aniplex hosted a Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] special event. A lot of guests from the series were invited and the prolific Ayako Kawasumi who voiced Saber in the Fate/stay night series was one of them. Some of her other well known roles include Mahoro Ando from Mahoromatic, Aoi Sakuraba from Ai Yori Aoshi, Megumi Noda from Nodame Cantabile and many others. We had a chance to sit down for a few minutes and ask a few questions about her career.
T-ONO: Having had the chance to voice mostly every iteration of Saber, from the Fate franchise, how does it feel to have played so many different versions of the same character?
Ayako: While there have been many variations of Saber, from shy to noble-kingly, as in Fate/Zero, to me Saber is always the same due to her personality and always having a firm belief for which she stands. Saber from the Fate/stay night is the original, even to me, I am always looking forward to seeing her next version.
T-ONO: Do you feel that the last version of Saber from Unlimited Blade Works was much more central focused?
Ayako: As you know, there are three parallel stories in the Fate/stay night storyline, with each story featuring Saber with a different attitude towards things such as her relationship with Shiro in addition to different point of views. For example, in the “Fate” route, Saber is in love and therefore is more emotional. Due to her emotions she is always going through a roller coaster of feelings. However, in Unlimited Blade Works, Saber is emotionless so her relationship with Shiro tends to fall more into a master and servant type of role. I felt much more comfortable playing that version.
Ayako: It is hard for me to pick a favorite since I see Saber as one individual. While viewers may see Saber from Fate/Zero in a much more masculine/strong light, I see her as the same person just with a stronger belief in herself. So to me, Saber is just Saber with different attitude towards things.
T-ONO: With such an extensive portfolio, having played a very wide variety of characters from strong characters such as Saber from the Fate series to more affectionate characters like Aoi Sakuraba from Ai Yori Aoshi, do you have a favorite type of character you like portraying most?
Ayako: It is hard to pick my favorite, but in terms of difficulty or challenging it has to be Saber and I like challenging roles.
T-ONO: It can be argued that one of the things that Fate/stay night does well is portray the strength of female characters alongside their feministic qualities. What is your opinion on the matter?
Ayako: That’s actually one of the strong points to the character Saber. She always seems strong as if she can protect everybody, but in certain moments you can see her as someone that you want to protect. So I think that is part of the beauty of her character.
T-ONO: What would the conversation be like if Fate/stay night Saber met Carnival Phantasm Saber?
Ayako: Since the Fate/stay night Saber is very diligent and studious she would try to calm the Carnival Phantasm Saber down.
T-ONO: Besides your role as Saber, you've done music composition for anime series including Nodame Cantabile. What was that experience like? How does it feel to integrate piano playing (something you have been doing since childhood) into anime?
Ayako: Since I played piano from three years old all the way until I was twenty-three, I always thought I would be a pianist somewhere like Korea. However, at some point my life took a different course and so I felt guilty for not finishing what I started. By doing Nodame, I felt that I accomplished my unrealized goal of being a real pianist and it gave me a sense of satisfaction.
Images from Fate/stay night are copyrighted: Aniplex USA / Type-Moon