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In STATION IDOL LATCH! (commonly known as LATCH!), the Yamanote Line’s station employees become idols after work. The station staff idols from each of the 30 stations entertain passengers (fans) with songs and talks.
This time, we talked to Yukitoshi Kikuchi, who plays the food tour enthusiast and young bookworm Rihito Kayama who always carries books around with him. We also got to talk to Yuto Suzuki, who plays the train enthusiast and faithful adherent to the “three great human desires” Yusei Raiden.
―Please tell us how you felt when you first heard about the project.
Yukitoshi Kikuchi: When I first heard about the project, I really couldn’t imagine how it would play out but I was just excited. When I read through the materials for the work, as well as the settings and characters for each person that were now all clearly planned out, I started looking forward to the natural changes that will occur within the dramas and idol activities with all 30 characters.
Yuto Suzuki: Like Yukitoshi-san, I was really intrigued thinking to myself “What kind of content will this end up being?” The Yamanote Line is a very familiar line to those living in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, and I imagined that lots of memories from each of the cast members would start getting shared around relating to their respective stations. (laughs)
―Please tell us about the characters you two are playing.
Kikuchi: Rihito-kun is well acquainted with literature, but at the same time he is very particular about the food he eats and is characterized by how serious he is about the things he likes. His Japanese-style outfit looks great, doesn’t it?
Suzuki: Raiden has been blessed with a great physique, and I first thought “Is he into sports?” But since he also works at Akihabara station, he also possesses an otaku heart. He likes to eat, and it seems that Mr. Kayama fits well with him. I also like how flatly he deals with the other station staff.
―What have you been paying attention to in playing the roles?
Kikuchi: Since Rihito-kun shows a lot of emotion in his actions, I tried to create an atmosphere about him that invokes a nostalgia for the good old days. Also, because I’m playing him I started to read books that I usually don’t read. It created a new world for me.
Suzuki: Unlike Yukitoshi-san, I don’t usually touch anything in print at all (laughs)
When I saw Raiden’s reaction to a “Doujinshi Mistake” made during a voice drama I thought “Oh, maybe he hasn’t really read too many literary works?” and I felt a sense of closeness to the character, and have been able to act naturally with him.
That said, my seniors have been telling me that I should read books on a regular basis, so with that in mind I’d like to try to read even just one printed book by the live event in March next year!
―By the way, which stations do you two often use?
Kikuchi: It’s Yoyogi station for me. There’s a training center and an office around there, and I used to go there even before I started working as a voice actor so I have a lot of memories there.
Suzuki: For me, it’s Shinjuku station. Just about everything imaginable can be found around there so I think that’s pretty unbeatable. I use Shinjuku station for shopping, eating and going to see movies. Also, when I was performing on a particular stage, I went via Otsuka station, and I also use Tamachi station where the office is located. I have as many memories as there are stations!
―Please tell us your thoughts on the unit song “BUNGAKU×COMPLEX” when you first got to listen to it.
Kikuchi: I really enjoyed the lyrics that were filled with individuality and the melody line that made me think about the near future. The interaction between the two people was also really enjoyable, and it felt like one of those songs that you’ll never get tired of listening to.
Suzuki: I thought that it was great how Kayama and Raiden’s best qualities were front and center. The two are usually working a quiet job as station staff, but I really felt how much power they can put into their performances once they hit the stage.
―Please tell us a memory from the recording process.
Suzuki: My part was recorded first, but it was challenging to sing along with the rhythm. But once I got the hang of it I was really happy with the result.
Raiden is a pretty laid-back character, but like I mentioned earlier I sang with a feeling of blowing the audience away so that I could show how Raiden can very confidently perform on the stage as an idol.
Kikuchi: Once I got to listen to Yuto-kun’s singing, I got to record my part. I sang each part with the careful intention of making sure the characters’ individuality could exist well together in the song.
In the parts where I started feeling a lot of different things while singing, I recorded my performances a number of times and then carefully selected the ones that best fit the song, and I enjoyed the process of slowly getting the song to completion. In some parts, it looks like I tried a little too hard and those recordings became unusable, so it was a memorable process overall. (laughs)
―By the way, are you two both interested in trains and railways?
Kikuchi: When I was a little kid, I used to play with something called “Plarail”. I think a lot of kids would prefer to go for things like the Shinkansen and limited express trains, but I would instead go for more conventional lines such as the Sobu Line and Joban Line. (laughs)
Also, my parents live in Hakodate in Hokkaido. However, the next time I return home to see them, I think I should take the Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen to get there.
Suzuki: It’s been quite a long time since I came out of the countryside in Yamagata prefecture, and I’m proud of myself for becoming more familiar with trains and stations. I’ve gotten pretty good at things like “if you get off at this station, it’s convenient if you’re already in this particular train car.”
Also, when I go out to more rural areas for work, I often use the Shinkansen or go by air. If I have more time to spare, I think I would like to try using only conventional lines. I have a strong butt, you see. (laughs)
―Please tell us any “Doujinshi” stories if you have some to share.
Suzuki: I used to aspire to become a manga artist. I sometimes made my own books and also helped my friends in their circles.
I also used to go to a big spot sale event held at Tokyo Big Sight. Since I became a voice actor, I started visiting as an event performer rather than a customer, so it made me feel kind of strange. (laughs)
Kikuchi: I haven’t made any doujinshi myself, but in this voice drama it was really clear that the passion of the writer is important for either “doujinshi”.
Like Yuto-kun, when I think of doujinshi I think about a book sold at a spot sale, and I have limited knowledge about “literary doujinshi”. I’d like to try and read through a “Literary Doujinshi” before the next event.
Suzuki: Nice, let’s do it together then (laughs)
―What would you like to do with the contents in “LATCH!” in the future?
Kikuchi: I would like to do a “station-front excursion”, and not only at Kanda Station but also at the other stations on the Yamanote Line.
It’d be great if we could have a great time with lots of people while experiencing and discovering the unique charm of each station!
Suzuki: I’d like it if we had an event in front of a station. I hope that people who don’t know about “LATCH!” will see us in the open space and become interested in what we’re up to.
―Finally, please give us one last message.
Kikuchi: Once again, I’d like to say that I’m honored to be able to play Kayama-kun at Kanda Station. We are really looking forward to seeing our passengers at the live event in March 2022, where all thirty cast members from all thirty stations will appear!
We will continue to bring the charm of each station and each of the station staff characters in a way that fills the passengers with joy!
I hope you’ll enjoy the world of “LATCH!” to the fullest!
Suzuki: Of all the 30 stations, we at Akihabara Station and Kanda Station were the last to be announced, but we were eagerly waiting for the cast names to be announced. I would be really happy if people living in the metropolitan area would be able to enjoy our activities as part of their daily lives. Also, I would love it if everyone living out in rural areas would be able to feel the charm of the Yamanote Line too, so please try it out when you come to Tokyo!
＜Interviewer・Photos / Dandy Saeki・Article wording (editing) by Repotama! editorial department＞
『STATION IDOL LATCH! 1st LIVE “All aboard!!”』
Date: March 6, 2022 (Sun)
【Tokyo】Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa・Hiten
Time: 【Afternoon Performance】12:45 Open/13:30 Start 【Evening Performance】17:15 Open/18:00 Start
Ticket Price: All seats reserved; Tickets included with limited goods: 9800 yen (tax included) / Standard tickets: 8,000 yen (tax included)
Ticket Sales Period: Beginning February 19, 2022 (Sat) from 12:00~
※Up to four tickets per registration
※Preschoolers cannot enter
※Included with each copy of 4thCD (December 8 (Wed) on sale) is a ticket with a serial number giving the holder priority entry to the event
JY01 Tokyo/ Rion Shouji (CV: Kensho Ono)
JY02 Kanda/ Rihito Kayama (CV: Yukitoshi Kikuchi)
JY03 Akihabara/ Yusei Raiden (CV: Yuto Suzuki)
JY04 Okachimachi/ Mario Takara (CV: Youhei Azakami)
JY05 Ueno/ You Ameya (CV: Jun Kasama)
JY06 Uguisudani/ Yuta Negishi (CV: Junta Terashima)
JY07 Nippori/ Ryou Tonari (CV: Tomohiro Yamaguchi)
JY08 Nishi-Nippori/ Miharu Suwa (CV: Masahiro Ito)
JY09 Tabata/ Hayate Kita (CV: Shogo Yano)
JY10 Komagome/ Satsuki Hanabusa (CV: Tomohito Takatsuka)
JY11 Sugamo/ Daichi Takaiwa (CV: Yuki Inoue)
JY12 Otsuka/ Rui Utsusemi (CV: Tetsuei Sumiya)
JY13 Ikebukuro/ Aohazuku Mikado (CV: Nobunaga Shimazaki)
JY14 Mejiro/ Rei Soma (CV: Masaki Ota)
JY15 Takadanobaba/ Yuta Taketsune (CV: Ryota Aoyama)
JY16 Shin-Okubo/ Shio Momose (CV: TAKUYA)
JY17 Shinjuku/ Yuki Shindou (CV: Atsushi Tamaru)
JY18 Yoyogi/ Aoi Momino (CV: Nayuta Fukuzaki)
JY19 Harajuku/ Kyuto Tskeshita (CV: Tomohiro Iwasaki)
JY20 Shibuya/ Kousei Hachiya (CV: Yuta Hayashi)
JY21 Ebisu/ Tsumugi Aeba (CV: Hidenori Takahashi)
JY22 Meguro/ Miyabi Fudo (CV: Hiromu Mineta)
JY23 Gotanda/ Akira Godai (CV: Hiroaki Miura)
JY24 Osaki/ Shinichi Osaki (CV: Hisayoshi Suganuma)
JY25 Shinagawa/ Hazime Ichijou (CV: Issei Furuta)
JY26 Takanawa Gateway/ Izumi Orchid Aren (CV: Syuta Morishima)
JY27 Tamachi/ Toshisato Haburi (CV: Tsuyoshi Koyama)
JY28 Hamamatsucho/ Wataru Minato (CV: Syo Karino)
JY29 Shimbashi/ Tetsumichi Udaka (CV: Kazuhiko Inoue)
JY30 Yurakucho/ Yuri Takanashi (CV: Gakuto Kajiwara)
■ Limited First Edition (CD)
Part Number: LATCH-1007
Price: 2,200 yen (tax included)
■Normal Edition (CD)
Part Number: LATCH-1008
Price: 1,850 yen (tax included)
【Limited First Edition/Normal Edition CD Contents】
1. 「Everybody! Say!!」
Kousei Hachiya / Shibuya (CV: Yuta Hayashi) , Kyuto Tskeshita / Harajuku (CV: Tomohiro Iwasaki) , Aoi Momino / Yoyogi (CV: Nayuta Fukuzaki)
Lyrics: K.J / Tomoki Tamatani Composition: K.J / Tomoki Tamatani / Sora Tansho Arrangement: Sora Tansho
Rihito Kayama / Kanda (CV: Yukitoshi Kikuchi) , Yusei Raiden / Akihabara (CV: Yuto Suzuki)
Lyrics: Yuki Tsujimura Composition , Arrangement: Yuki Tsujimura / Ken Ito
3. 「Sekaiichi Yuutsuna Oji」
You Ameya / Ueno (CV: Jun Kasama) , Yuta Negishi / Uguisudani (CV: Junta Terashima)
Lyrics: Yukinojo Mori Composition: Funk Uchino / Toshiya Hosokawa / Gigi Arrangement: Toshiya Hosokawa / Gigi
4. Voice Drama “Our Debut Event’s Conference”
Kousei Hachiya / Shibuya (CV: Yuta Hayashi), Kyuto Tskeshita / Harajuku (CV: Tomohiro Iwasaki), Aoi Momino / Yoyogi (CV: Nayuta Fukuzaki)
5. Voice Drama “Our Hahon wo Saku Renodearu”
Rihito Kayama / Kanda (CV: Yukitoshi Kikuchi), Yusei Raiden / Akihabara (CV: Yuto Suzuki)
6. Voice Drama “Yuta Negishi Observation Journal”
You Ameya / Ueno (CV: Jun Kasama), Yuta Negishi / Uguisudani (CV: Junta Terashima)
【Limited First Edition CD Contents】
Bonus Track “Yamanote Line Voice Relay #4”
【Limited First Edition Included Bonus Items】
Other Jacket, 3 types
●「STATION IDOL LATCH!」Official Site
●「STATION IDOL LATCH!」Official Twitter
●「STATION IDOL LATCH!」Official YouTube Channel
(C) LATCH! Project/JRE