A long-running TV documentary called “Why Did You Come to Japan?” (or YOU wa Nani Shi ni Nippon e?) recently did a feature on Russian voice actress Jenya, who plays “Clara” in the theatrical version of “Girls und Panzer“. “Why Did You Come to Japan?” is shot in the style of many Japanese shows, where they approach random strangers — in this case foreigners landing in Tokyo’s Narita Airport, and follow them around as they travel in Japan.
Originally hailing from Novosibirsk, Jenya came to Japan 10 years ago to study Japanese and become a voice actress. She was inspired by the anime Sailor Moon, and decided that she wanted to become a voice actress. She moved to Japan and took on a number of side jobs to support herself, as she did not want her parents to pay for her expenses. She worked part time at a maid cafe, as well as taught Russian to Japanese students.
After years of hard work, Jenya has done a string of minor roles in shows such as Yuri!!! on Ice, Charlotte, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, and Little Busters!. She also served as a Russian Language Consultant on titles such as Black Lagoon, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, and The Qwaser of Stigmata. However her biggest roles are in the anime Mysterious Joker as Lady Doubt, and Girls und Panzer as the Russian transfer student and tank gunner Clara. As Clara, she was had the privilege of working with A-list seiyuu such as Sumire Uesaka, Hisako Kanemoto, and Saki Ogasawara.
The show Girls und Panzer takes place in an alternate reality where World War II–era tanks are used in non-fatal competitive team battles. Called “sensha-do” (literally “way of the battle vehicles”), tank battles are considered a traditional martial art similar to kendo, aikido, and kyudo. As with most martial arts, there are different “schools” that teach different styles of “sensha-do”. Many of the teams battles in Girls und Panzer feature the different schools fighting each other for supremacy. Clara is a member of one of these teams, having moved to Japan from Russia.