2020 TD3rd Famitsu Interview with Kotori Koiwai

Jul 21st, 2020
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  1. The piglets and the Producers, the Holy Mother's love rains upon all
  4. - Did you accept the role of Tomoka at the audition?
  6. Koiwai: I think I accepted the role of Chizuru (Nikaido) at first. Truth is, my memory of back then is fuzzy. Even before "Million Live!", when it was just the idols of "iDOLM@STER", I told the office that "If you have any 'iM@S'-related auditions, please let me challenge it", but when the opportunity finally came, I was so nervous that I don't remember the finer details...... When you get nervous your memory kinda just blows away, you know? (laughs)
  9. - Yeah, I get it (laughs).
  11. Koiwai: After performing as Chizuru, I was told "There are a lot of other characters, would you like to try?", so I tried playing some of the younger children like Serika (Hakozaki) and Anna (Mochizuki), and the staff later added "both Tomoka and Matsuri (Tokugawa)" upon request, so I challenged the both of them. For Tomoka, I had more specific instructions, like "the feel of a daycare worker", but not as much for Matsuri. Even though this was such an important event for me, I can only vaguely remember it, but I think I challenged it with a do-or-die spirit.
  14. - What kind of response did you have?
  16. Koiwai: For Matsuri, I felt like I wasn't able to draw the best out of her. This is one of my strengths and weaknesses, but my words oozed out like "sweet poison". While this fits the image of Tomoka, for Matsuri I feel it was a bit too disagreeable. Afterward, when I heard Suwa-chan's performance, I was extremely convinced. As for Chizuru, I think my voice was a bit too grandiose, or maybe it didn't have that fluttering, cute feeling that was unique to Chizuru. On top of all that, I'm very grateful for the choice of Tomoka, where they were able to see my aptitude for the role and give me that suggestion.
  19. - Has your image of Tomoka changed over the past 7 years?
  21. Koiwai: At first, in the materials I saw that "she calls her fans 'piglets'", I was so surprised that I just went "eh?" without even realizing it, and her strong sadism left an impression of me. So at first I was trying to behave like a sadist myself, but as I continued acting as Tomoka, I realized that Tomoka was actually a very loving and gentle child, which is when I finally understood her.
  24. - Around when did you realize this?
  26. Koiwai: It took a little time. This was partially due to my own immaturity, but I also didn't have many opportunities to perform, so back then I was just fumbling around. The response that I got was from 2nd Live. By interacting with the audience via the call & response, that was when I understood the depth of Tomoka's love for the piglets.
  29. - In the audience, there are Tomoka's fans, the "piglets", and there are other Producers as well, so how do you connect with them as Tomoka?
  31. Koiwai: For me, I want each and every person to walk out with an unforgettable memory created at the Live. Of course, there is a limit to what I can do, and it may be too much for everyone. However, I want to provide fanservice as much as possible. To the piglets, I do my absolute best to appeal to them as the idol Tomoka, and to give the other Producers who aren't piglets a quick glance. After all, Tomoka trusts the Producer, so she tells them with her gaze. "How is it, aren't I wonderful? Are you watching me properly?", something like that.
  34. - When Tomoka-sama appeals, the piglets may become embarrassed, huh.
  36. Koiwai: For those piglets, I'll gaze at your faces♪
  39. - 3 years ago, "Mirishita" began service, and many things restarted, so how has your way of performing as Tomoka changed?
  41. Koiwai: There are some subtle changes in the settings, but of course I am aware of these things. In parts that have never been seen before, like the "height difference" between idols have become easier to understand, and I can perform with that in mind.
  44. - Are there any specific differences?
  46. Koiwai: It's fairly subtle, but for example toward younger children like Momoko (Suou) or Iku (Nakatani), I try to act more loving toward them. Since these characters have become three-dimensional, things like personality and atmosphere are easier to understand, and I think the way that I handle these things have changed.
  49. - Speaking of, it's well-known that you have a deep love for the 765 Pro All-Stars, Koiwai-san, but what was the impetus for you to like "iM@S" as you do now?
  51. Koiwai: Well, my otaku friends played the arcade version, one of them being a YayoiP, and me receiving that enthusiastic invitation was what led to my first meeting them. At that time, I didn't really get into them that deeply, but I was moved watching the anime version, and I completely dove in then. Of all the works I had seen it was the most innovative, it was bright and cheerful at it's core, and it had a fun story, but the sudden deep pain that was depicted would also have a strong impact.
  54. - Even things like family situations, all of those outside things were perfectly depicted.
  56. Koiwai: I really like Chihaya (Kisaragi); she held on to her hopes and continued to sing even while she understood that they may not come true, and that fleeting appearance moved me. And at some point, I began to think, "One day I want to join 765 Pro, and walk alongside them while working hard diligently". Neither as a Producer or a fan. That kind of longing to be a member of 765 Pro, and to now be able to stand on the same stage as my seniors, it honestly feels like fate.
  59. - All the cast members of the 765 idols are on really good terms, aren't they.
  61. Koiwai: I admit that up until "Million Live!"'s 2nd Live, I was not good at interacting with people, and I'd just wander around wondering what's the best thing to do. It's honestly a little embarrassing to think about now, but I implemented a "friend campaign" within myself. I would get out there, talk with everyone and get along, even if I had to force myself (laughs). It did take some time, but thanks to me being able to become friends with the other members, we can now discuss various things with each other.
  64. - So saying that, your most memorable Live would have to be 2nd Live, then.
  66. Koiwai: That's right. For me, from the beginning to the final stage, my belief was that I would face this with a do-or-die spirit. The fact that I was able to overcome this, is something that was extremely memorable for me.
  69. - As a trial run in May, a fully-remote livestream was implemented.
  71. Koiwai: That was really interesting.There had already been other livestreams done remotely, but it was really interesting having all the members try participating in the chat, I feel. We could say whatever we wanted regardless of the flow of the conversation, so we could see the appearance of everyone just doing as they liked. Even then, the comments were coming out really fast! If I could participate again, I'd do it. And, I hope that one day, we can achieve a Live with all our members together. Even though it was already realized in "Mirishita", I haven't given up on my wish to "fly in the air during a Live" (laughs).
  74. - Koiwai-san, you yourself wrote the lyrics to Tomoka's solo song, "Sister", how was that plan realized?
  76. Koiwai: At that time the Sound Producer, he told me directly that "I've made a demo tape for Tomoka's solo song. Regardless of what I made, could you listen and see if it feels like a song made for a competition?", that request was why I did it.
  79. - Around how long was the production period?
  81. Koiwai: At the demo tape step, I was still busy with work, so it took about 3-4 days or so. However, I always felt like I wanted to make a song for Tomoka, so I kept my own plans and ideas warm.
  84. - Would you do it again if given the chance?
  86. Koiwai: There might not be another possibility, but I would really like to do it. If possible, I'd want to write a song for the My Pace unit (Matsuri, Miya (Miyao), Tomoka). There are already illustrations of them singing at a school festival (within the original Greemas), so I'd like to make a song with that kind of image.
  89. - You mentioned the My Pace unit, but are there any idols you'd like to see grouped with Tomoka in the future?
  91. Koiwai: I'd like to make a group of 15-year olds. In the 39 Project there's Roco, Subaru (Nagayoshi), Yuriko (Nanao), and Tomoka, these 4, and within the All Stars Miki (Hoshii) and Iori (Minase) are the same age. The age of 15 is a very sensitive period, and a story about that would be really interesting, I feel.
  94. - So apart from them, who is your favorite idol?
  96. Koiwai: I mentioned this when discussing the anime previously, but the one who really was the impetus to change my life was Chihaya. The one who plays Chihaya, Asami Imai, invited me as a guest on her program, and for that I'm very thankful.
  99. - In the same vein, what is your favorite unit?
  101. Koiwai: Cleasky is so precious...... Starting from Cleasky, in the "MTG series" the dramas (play within a play) was depicted in the main story of "Mirishita", and during 6th Live they were the representatives during the unit corner. As for my own unit, -GRA&CE NOCTURNE-, during the Lives I was able to deepen my bonds with all the unit members, and in doing so I've come to like the unit in that way with the large cast.
  104. - During 6th Live, when you had to perform "Kuraki Hoshi, Tooi Tsuki" like a music, I feel like it must have been really hard......
  106. Koiwai: On the normal stage, I would speak my lines at the given timing, and I would ad-lib to some extent, but during "Kuraki Hoshi, Tooi Tsuki", we also had to combine our lines with the song, so it was difficult. The whole thing is maybe about 20 minutes, and because we couldn't always get all the members to practice together, we were really under a lot of pressure.
  109. - One more thing, please tell me your favorite song.
  111. Koiwai: For me it's "Jibun REST@RT". It's a lot of fun, and the anime gave it a large influence. I was really moved when it was sung at the cover corner during 1st Live.
  114. - Finally, please leave a message for the Producers.
  116. Koiwai: "Million Live!" is unlike any other work, in which the support of the Producers and the friendship between the cast, everyone unites in order to create this valuable content, I feel. From this point on, even up to the 5th and 6th Anniversairies, we will keep going our best, and create a work full of life, so thank you for your continued support.
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