The Staggering Number Of Voice Actresses Who Auditioned For Suzume In Suzume No Tojimari

Beloved Japanese filmmaker Makoto Shinkai's upcoming anime movie, his seventh feature-length project, got a brand-new trailer on September 28, 2022. The trailer for "Suzume no Tojimari" not only teases more characters and plot, but it also showcases the incredible voice-acting chops that bring to life both main characters: Nanoka Hara as Suzume Iwato, and idol Hokuto Matsumura as Sōta Munakata, two youths who embark on a magical door-closing journey together.

Impressively, this is both Hara's and Matsumura's anime voice-acting debut. When justifying choosing Matsumura for the role, Shinkai attributed it to an "inner richness" present in the singer's voice. But besides the audible talent present in the acting, it makes sense for Shinkai to have picked Hara, who turned 19 this past August, because the director wants teenagers from all around the globe to be able to resonate with his stories and identify with his teenage protagonists. In his words in a recorded interview: "...Even now, I make my films for adolescents like that who must exist somewhere."

But naturally, Hara was not chosen solely for the fact that she was a teenager, otherwise, many others could have gotten the role instead. Indeed, Hara auditioned for the role along with an astounding number of other young actors who sought to bring the 17-year-old Suzume to life.

Over 1000 actors auditioned for the heroine

Born in 2003, Hara's acting career began over a decade ago when she was not yet 10 years old. So, despite her young age, she cannot be said to be a newcomer to the industry. Represented by Tristone Entertainment, she's an up-and-coming star who's been making a name for herself in recent years. However, Shinkai's film is her first step into the world of anime voice acting.

It is not farfetched to assume that Hara's years of screen experience played a big part in her being cast for the role in Shinkai's newest movie. It was no easy feat, and no one can blame Hara for bursting into tears when told she had been selected among a whopping 1,700 other applicants, according to Anime News Network.

Shinkai commented his decision by praising the young actor: "The connection between her own emotions and voice was the strongest out of everyone's. I think that's what makes Nanoka Hara such an amazing talent..."

A big fan of Shinkai herself, Hara could barely contain her excitement at the opportunity to not only star but be the protagonist in one of the acclaimed director's films: "It feels like I'm dreaming. My heart is still racing. When I was in the 7th grade, I saw one of Makoto Shinkai's films for the first time, and it moved me so much. I never imagined I would be on the other side, delivering that same emotion to audiences. Something big is about to happen and everything looks so bright and shiny."

Suzume's fantastical journey will officially begin on November 11, the day the movie premieres in Japan. "Suzume no Tojimari" will later be released worldwide in early 2023.