ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Inu-Oh star Avu-chan about doing voiceover work and how the film inspired Avu-chan’s music going forward. Inu-Oh is now playing in theaters across North America.
“Inu-Oh is born with unique physical characteristics, and the horrified adults cover his face with a mask,” reads the film’s synopsis. “One day, he meets a boy named Tomona, a blind biwa player, and as Tomona plays a delicate song, Inu-Oh discovers an incredible ability to dance.”
Tyler Treese: Avu-chan, it’s pleasure to be speaking with you. You’re great in the film and the character of Inu-Oh is just able to connect with others through music and storytelling. So what did you find most interesting about’s Inu-Oh’s journey?
Avu-chan: That makes me happy. Thank you. Yeah, I really think he has such a cheerful personality, you know? He was born in a difficult situation, and even with his disability, it didn’t really bother him. He didn’t really care about it. And I really felt like I was able to connect with that. That was what was really interesting to me.
How did your involvement in the film come about?
I think the production side, they were searching for an actor who could do Inu-Oh, and it just happened to be [that] someone from the production staff was a fan of my band, Queen Bee. So the production staff showed a video of my live concerts, and I guess that’s how they discovered me. During recording, I have a sweet tooth. I love sweets. So they would often bring in a ton of sweets to me, and I was in fact eating almost one mochi per take as I was recording.
Obviously, your music is a vocal performance. So has that background made it easier to do voice acting since you know how to express yourself that way? Or is this a different challenge altogether?
So, Japan really has a voice actor culture, you know? There’s many people who want to become a voice actor and then Japan already has so many legendary VAs, and I’m not really a part of that circle. I’m not really part of that community or group, so I was really curious about why they chose me, who’s just completely from a different left-field place. But, when I was talking to director Masaaki Yuasa, he was telling me that they had chosen me because they wanted me to do something that voice actors couldn’t.
Like you mentioned, yes, I am a musician also, but I think I was able to pull on some of my abilities as a musician, and then bring in my performance. Of course, I love anime, and there’s fans of the voice acting that these voice actors do. So I was really scared, like I was worried that these fans are going to be like, “You know what? Avu-Chan’s great, but Avu-Chan’s not a voice actor.” So I was really worried about the feedback that I was going to get. But, from the beginning of the recording when I first started, I was able to become Inu-Oh, and all of that worry and anxiety was just blown away.
The musical pieces in the film are so great, and there’s a lot of unique instrumentation used. Has the film and the music within inspired you for any of your work for Queen Bee?
Yes. I really think Inu-Oh inspired a lot of ideas within me. Before I thought Japanese history would be just stories of people in the past or recorded history. But then I learned that there’s a lot of erased history. Not erased purposely, but just not written down or recorded, but it existed. My perspective on what history is was completely changed, and I really think living now and then separating us from the past is really not the correct way. I really think it’s like a continuous journey as humankind. So then I really think knowing the past and understanding each other now is really important. I really think learning that is going to give a lot more diversity into our music for us, Queen Bee.
You have a great cover of the song “Stayin’ Alive” in the film Bullet Train. What does it mean for you to have a song in such a big Hollywood blockbuster?
When I saw the film, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m in such an amazing film,” and it made me happy. But I do think that it’s not just me who’s creating those opportunities, but everyone around me are working as a team to bring me this kind of opportunity. So that made me realize that it’s just an amazing thing that we’re able to get together and do this. One of my favorite movies is Fight Club and then to be able to be involved in the movie with Brad Pitt and have this little connection makes me really happy.
Anime reaches a global audience now and your music thanks to streaming has also been able to reach around the globe. How meaningful is it to know that people all across are connecting with your art?
Yes, of course. Being able to connect with everyone around the world makes me happy, and I really do believe that Queen Bee is a band that should be loved globally. So, in order to achieve that, I will keep working hard. I really think that passion and keeping that burning desire inside of us is really important. So yes, I’ll continue to keep that fire going and give an effort to be loved.
And then my last question for you, you mentioned not really being in the like VA circles, but are you looking to do more acting in the future?
Yes. I think I would like to keep auditioning or I might get offers and if I do get offers, I would love to jump into it 100%. I really think that becoming someone who is not me or living someone’s life, whether that be on a concert stage or a stage play like in this film, it really gives me a sense of fulfillment. So I would really like to continue to work hard and keep going for it.