Crunchyroll Expo 2019: Interview with Miho Okasaki, the Voice of Rimuru

An up and comer in the world of voice acting, Miho Okasaki is now best known for her breakout role as Rimuru in That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime. I’m Enterprise has produced a few of the most popular and talented voice actors in the industry, and it seems Miho is one of the newest ones they hope to raise up. At Crunchyroll Expo 2019, we and several other outlets visited with Miho to ask about her newfound fame and experiences with voicing Rimuru in Tensura.

Q: You’ve stated you wanted to be a voice actress since you were young. Was there a catalyst or something that inspired you to pursue this career?

Miho: When I was in middle school, I was in the badminton club. I was really shy and not good at making friends, but the girls I wanted to be friends with were into anime and anison. So that’s how I got introduced and hooked into the world of anime and learned about the path of voice acting.

Q: I heard you like karaoke. What is your go-to song when you karaoke?

Miho: Ariel’s “Part of Your World” from Little Mermaid. I really like Disney, but I also like Tensura’s songs, so I sing its opening and ending songs too.

Q: One of your first roles was for Miku Nishio from Ongaku Shoujo. You also took part in the idol group of the same name. Do you consider singing as part of your career and something you plan on doing?

Miho: If I’m good enough then that would be great. I like singing a lot. But I haven’t done a lot of singing as a character. Miku gave me some experience for it, so it’d be nice if I get another opportunity.

Q: Are you a bad slime and what made you audition for the role of Rimuru?

Miho: Haha. I’m not a bad slime (in Rimuru’s voice). I was just giving the chance to audition for it. So I took the opportunity and studied and practiced for it.

Q: How familiar were you with the source material when you started voicing Rimuru?

Miho: I knew the name, but every day I was so busy with work, I never got to read it. When I got the role for the anime, I started reading the manga.

Q: Were you interested in the isekai genre before getting the role for Slime?

Miho: I didn’t know about it all. I was like, what’s the isekai genre? When I got introduced to it through the anime, I found the idea of being reincarnated into another world really interesting and fun.

Q: Rimuru speaks differently whenever he’s in slime or human form. How challenging is it shifting between the two voices?

Miho: When I’m speaking as a slime, I try to be more relaxed and friendly with everyone around him. But when I’m speaking as a human, I speak more as a country’s ruler with authority. I try to have a switch in my mind that changes between a relaxed mode and a ruler or working mode, and make sure to activate it when he changes forms.

Q: Do you have a preferred form?

Miho: Slime. Hahaha.

Q: Slime has an impressive and immense cast. What was your studio experience like?

Miho: That’s true. I was super nervous. But I’m the kind of person who doesn’t show it even when I am. So I was still able to talk with all of my senpai, and they gave me a lot of advice. I haven’t really had that kind of experience before, so it was a really valuable opportunity for me.

Q: Were there any challenges to voicing a slime who is actually a salaryman reincarnated as a slime?

Miho: It was really hard. He looks really cute but he’s actually had 37 years of life experience as a man. It was a challenge to make a cute voice but also make sure that the thoughts from the life experience of a 37-year-old man were still there.

Q: In Tensura, Rimuru enjoys the company of a lot of females. How do you get into that “male side” aspect of him when you’re doing the voicing?

Miho: Well, I’m often asked how being able to do that seems difficult. But I really like cute girls, even if we are the same gender. It just kind of came naturally to me. In the studio, when I see my male coworkers laugh at my performance, it encourages me to do an even more interesting job and get more laughs out of them.

Q: Both the show and your character are incredibly popular. What was your impression when the show began airing and all of this excitement around the show and especially your character began?

Miho: Of course, I was happy but the first reaction was relief. There were a lot of fans of the original work and expectations for the anime. I wasn’t sure how well I could fulfill their hopes, so when the fans were pleased with it, I was really relieved.

art by KEApriciti (reprinted w/permission)

Q: If you were to be a type of creature in the world of Tensura, what would it be?

Miho: Ehhh? I don’t want to be defeated…I want to fly in the sky so maybe a bird. But birds are kind of weak…so maybe a dragon? They seem strong and can fly so that sounds nice.

Q: In the anime, Rimuru consults the Great Sage inside of him. If you had a Great Sage, what would you ask it?

Miho: I would ask it to please wake me up in the morning! “You need to go to sleep now,” or “If you want to wake up at this time, sleep at this time.” I want it to help me manage my time!

Q: How has your perception of Rimuru changed since you started voicing him when the anime first started?

Miho: At first, I was just thinking how he was a slime, and his physical appearance affected my impression. But over time, Rimuru shows he’s thoughtful even toward enemies, and I liked him for that human side. After meeting Shizu, he gains a strong resolve, which I also grew to love.

Q: There are lots of protagonists in isekai that have superpowers. What do you think makes Rimuru different or stand out from other isekai?

Miho: Well, slimes give off a super weak impression. But the fact that he’s so strong is the biggest thing about Tensura’s charm. It’s not a species that people want to become or are jealous of. Normally you’d be super worried if you got reincarnated as a slime, but Rimuru wasn’t depressed about it and just started exploring. That’s what I find interesting about it.

Q: With 2018 being a breakout year for you, how has it been being a new voice actress and have you received any advice from your veteran voice actors?

Miho: I’m really happy that I had the chance to be in Tensura, which has been my breakout role. I don’t have much experience or skill, but I hope to be able to meet everyone’s expectations. It’s comforting to know that my veteran voice actors often struggle to find a voice for the characters they play as. They also tell me not to worry about small mistakes and keep trying.

Q: What manga would you like to see adapted to an anime, and what role would you like to portray in it?

Miho: That’s a hard question. Lately everything I like already has an anime announced with a full cast. The process seems to be getting faster and faster. Well, there is a genre that I would be interested in. Rather than the late night anime, I want to do something that airs during prime time for children. I would love to have the chance to do a lead role in that kind of anime.

Q:  You’ve played a lot of “girl A” or “voice B” characters. Were you ever discouraged in your career from playing so many small roles?

Miho: All the time. I’m always worried about future roles and auditions. When I heard I got the role as Rimuru, it was out of nowhere. But I’m always battling with the worry and fear that I won’t get a role. Despite that, I want to remain strong and keep trying.

Q: What’s the transition in your mindset when going from background characters to main characters?

Miho: Obviously there are a lot more lines to do. But each character, even “person A” and “person B,” is someone who is living in the anime world on the screen. So I don’t actually put in any different amounts of effort for the character just because it is or isn’t a protagonist.

Q: Your career as a voice actress is still in its early stages, so what kind of goals do you have for yourself that you want to accomplish?

Miho:  Like I said earlier, I want to do a genre that kids watch. When I was younger, I really liked Doremon. I want to be involved in an anime that gives children courage and dreams. Of course, Tensura is popular with kids so I’m kind of already doing that, but I really want to be in anime like that.

Q: As a voice actress, do genres alter the way you use your voice?

Miho: Yes, I do pay attention to that. With Tensura, I knew there would be people of all ages and genders watching. So I tried to use a voice that would fit the character and appeal to everyone. But in the case of Ongaku Shoujo, the show is aimed at males, so I tried to use a cute voice that would be liked by guys. It’s easier when there is a clear target audience like that when I act.

Q: Is being a voice actress just like you imagined?

Miho: I think it’s…going to be like I imagined? But there’re still things that will be difficult, so I want to make sure I work hard to overcome the worries that will come along the way.

Q: As mentioned before, your popularity has increased dramatically since you got the role as Rimuru. Were you expecting it to be such a big and influential role when you first got it?

Miho: Honestly, yeah, since it was such a big title and it was the first time I was the protagonist, I did have those hopes. But even though I thought that, if you have those self-centered thoughts while you work, you won’t be able to do a good job. I don’t think it should be the priority, and I think the other veteran voice actors probably think the same.

Q: What are your thoughts on the popularity of anime in the west?

Miho: I’m really happy. I was always interested in going overseas, but it takes a lot of energy to come to America. Since I got the opportunity to do that through my work with Tensura, it’s really great. I’m also just so happy that everyone is so accepting of me here.

Q: What would you like the overseas fans to know about you?

Miho: Hmm…well, I’m still nervous and shy at these events. But I want them to know that I’m actually a more fun and interesting person!

Q: How has your time in San Jose been? You’ve been to Chicago, but what’s your impression of the West Coast?

Miho: It’s super relaxing and easy to live here. The weather is incredible. I haven’t explored much, but the city is really pretty and the food is delicious. It’s probably a lot nicer to live here than Japan.

Q: Are there any Western anime that you like?

Miho: Spongebob. I really like Spongebob and watched it growing up.

Q: Do you have any funny or maybe embarrassing stories about your time as a voice actress?

Miho: It’s a little technical, but when I started as a voice actress, my first role was in Idolish7. I didn’t know that when they do the concert scene and the fangirls go “kyaahhh!” they do it as a group at the end of the recording. So I ended up going by myself and went “kyahhhh!” and everyone was like, “what is this girl doing?” It was super embarrassing.

Miho Okasaki is still in the early stages of her career, but be sure to keep an eye out for her name as she’s certain to become a more popular name in the coming years! Tensura, or, That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

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