Welcome to my regular blog segment, The Oshi Interviews. Here I will be finding out more about different actors by asking those who know them best, their fans!
Today’s interview is with Kira who I interviewed about her oshi Ota Motohiro (太田基裕). you can find Kira on Twitter @yukiradaruma.
“Ota Motohiro aka Mokkun had his stage debut during the first season of Tenimyu as a pinch-hitter for the role of Ibu Shinji from Fudomine because the original actor could not reprise the role for the run. Mokkun is left-handed but he does some task with his right hand, including playing the guitar because back when he started playing it he was unable to afford a guitar for lefties and thus taught himself how to play with his right instead. The guiding principle behind Mokkun’s approach to his roles in 2.5D in particular is to add his own personal spin to them but to keep things within the boundaries of the original material in order to give fans a unique experience when watching a stage as compared to reading the manga or watching the anime or playing the game.”
When and how did you become his fan?
I first saw Mokkun in Tenimyu in 2009 but I did not become his fan until later on. He really caught my attention when he did Magdara na Maria and played the role of Anna Edelmann. That really left an impression on me and I started following him but I did not fall in love with him and made him my main oshi actor until I saw him as Gojou Souma in Messiah in 2013. While I had a lot of love and respect for the crazy character of Anna Edelmann and was impressed with Mokkun’s portrayal of her, seeing him in Messiah just added a whole different layer to him in terms of acting skills. There was something about his Souma that really moved me and that really stayed with me. I could tell that he had put a lot of heartblood and maybe a lot of himself as well into building that character.
Thanks for that! Next, please give us five reasons why he is amazing!
Mokkun makes his characters his own. I think the best example is Sengo Muramasa from TouMyu where his version of the character has become more popular than the canon character (in game or in the anime). Being able to put a personal touch to already ‘set’ roles is a great skill in my opinion.
Mokkun is a leftie but at this point I would probably say he is ambidextrous. When he started playing guitar when he was still in Junior High, he couldn’t afford getting a guitar for left-handed people and back then, there were no nifty tutorials available easily (because hey, back then the internet was still new omg) on how to restring a guitar to make it playable for lefties. So Mokkun taught himself how to play with his right hand instead. He can also write his signature with both hands. And for shows like TeniMyu and Touken Ranbu he practices how to do things with his right as well. But eating and writing mostly happen with his dominant left hand.
Mokkun has a way of drawing you into a stage on an emotional level. This happened especially during Messiah and to an even larger extent during “Tegami”. His portrayal of emotional suffering pulls you in and does not let you go again. He is amazing for making you feel lots and lots of pain ;p but no worries, he can also make you laugh.
Apart from putting his personal spin on characters, he can also play a variety of them. There is no “type cast” in his case. He can be the good boy in one stage, timid in the next and then turn into a nasty asshole on a different stage.
Last but not least, Mokkun is an amazing singer. He has improved noticeably during the years and after receiving more training and gaining more experience in bigger productions outside the 2.5D world, his vocal abilities have reached a truly impressive level. I always enjoy listening to him sing because it’s just so good. It’s hard to put into words, so please just listen to him sing.
I’m going to give you the chance later to talk about maybe some of his lesser known roles, but can you give us any tit-bits on Mokkun’s experience in playing Sengo Muramasa? I’m sure he’s talked about it a lot.
Mokkun was basically as clueless as the rest of us when he was offered a role in TouMyu – remember, his role was announced as “?” at Shinkenranbusai. When they finally showed him the character designs, Mokkun did a double-take and asked the producer if he really wanted him to play this character. He was told yes and that he could basically do whatever he wanted with it. After confirming that he didn’t need to put on the same amount of muscle that Muramasa had, Mokkun decided to accept things. He said at his fan event that he thought “well this guy clearly came to pick a fight (with fans of the original character) and I guess I’ll be the person who has to fight, so ok, bring it.”
He said he created his own version of Muramasa because he didn’t have a lot to go by in terms of original material from the game because Muramasa was new and really, there are worlds between him and Muramasa visually even with all the magic of costuming. Unfortunately he did not have a lot of time to do things because he was doing another musical at the time and he was the main role. He was unable to join TouMyu rehearsals until 2 weeks before the first show.
Mokkun tweaked a lot of things during the run – he had the wig remade for example and a few other things adjusted like the armor because it was pulling a number on his hips. He needed constant physical treatment at the beginning of the run because of it but then things improved after the adjustments.
He also admitted that when he finally joined rehearsals, he was then told that he would be doing the opening song – a solo number – and inwardly went “ok, kill me now”. He also isn’t very good at dancing and remembering choreo he said, so that was the hardest on him. Mokkun got a lot of help from a member of the ensemble, who had taken his place during rehearsals and was teaching him everything at high speed.
Once Mokkun settled into his role and once Sakiyama Tsubasa helped him to connect with the rest of the cast a little more, Mokkun gradually began to take his Muramasa a step further – by creating a world for Muramasa to be in, which meant to involve the other actors. Especially Zaiki’s Ookurikara got dragged into adlibs a lot as did Spi’s Tonbokiri. Mokkun often did not tell people beforehand what his adlibs would be, leading to more natural reactions – or to rather big challenges to other people’s acting skills.
He told us that Zaiki approached him after a particularly ‘evil’ adlib backstage and begged him to ‘please stop senpai! T__T’. Mokkun loved it. And did he stop? Well. I think you know the answer.
Wow it sounds like a super hard time (and the other cast too once he got used to it, it seems). You’ve told us a lot about him already, but what is the most interesting fact you know about him?
He makes other people’s lives hard but he helps them to grow as actors, I think. At least the Kirisaki Daiichi members from Kurosute were really thankful for his guidance and his advice when it came to character building.
Interesting facts well, he’s decent at English but he still has a moment if panic when you talk to him in English. He can write pretty OK in Chinese apparently and he speaks Korean – he got into acting through his and his mother’s love for Korean dramas and movies – he studied Korean at university.
He’s also a leftie but has trained himself to do a lot of stuff with his right. He writes with his right. He also taught himself how to play the guitar with his right because he couldn’t afford a leftie guitar and back in the day there was no internet where you could access tutorials as to how to restring a normal guitar for lefties.
Otherwise Mokkun’s reply to “when I say Germany you say…” was “Sausage.”
Moving onto our last question! We can watch one of his performances. Which should it be and why?
Tegami. This is not 2.5D but I think this is hands down one of his best theatrical and vocal performances to date. It gives you a good idea of who he is as an actor and it gives you a really good impression of his vocal talent. You will only want or be able to watch this once, though. You will watch it, be deeply impressed and emotionally scarred. Extremely good performance. Hits you right in the gut. It’s a dark story – with a happy ending – but the emotional suffering that Mokkun’s character goes through and everything are just. Yeah. It’s hard to put into words. And once you watch this, you will feel even more impressed by the fact that he went from this to being Sengo Muramasa in Toumyu within a span of 2 weeks.
If you guys want to join in the fun by allowing me to interview you about your oshi, then please feel free to contact me on Twitter @tonbo or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.