Ikue Ootani is a veteran in the seiyuu industry, and she has been known to voice mascot characters like One Piece’s Tony Tony Chopper and Candy from the PreCure franchise. However, her most iconic character would be Pikachu, and she recently talked about voicing Pokemon’s lovable electric mouse in an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun.
The veteran seiyuu admitted that people used to poke fun at her role, as the only lines she had to say were “pika pika”. However, even if Pikachu’s vocabulary are limited to “Pi,” “Ka,” and “Chu,” she has said that she must convey the emotions and feelings through those words. In other words, each time Pikachu speaks, she is conveying a different emotion, which in turn requires a different delivery with a new recording. This means that voicing Pikachu is not really that simple.
In the interview, Ootani said:
You wouldn’t know that just from looking at the script, though. “All that the scripts have for my lines is something like ‘Pika Pikachu,’ but if I don’t thoroughly understand what Pikachu is trying to say, and plan out my performance accordingly, the proper feeling won’t come across to the audience at all,”
Ootani thinks about little children when drawing inspiration for voicing Pikachu, and shared that she perceives Pikachu’s emotional state as being like that of a small, innocent child. She told Yomiuri Shimbun that “When they can understand the emotion, even if the words don’t make sense, I feel like I’ve won some sort of prize.”
She also admitted that she is a Pokefan too, and has said that she enjoys playing the games. Ootani has said that since some aspects of the games would tend to appear later in the anime, it is best to study in advance. She also says that she can empathize with viewers more if she played the game.
Source: Rocket News 24