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#Keisuke Ueda Discusses New Album, Canvas, and World of 2.5D Acting

“Keisuke Ueda Discusses New Album, Canvas, and World of 2.5D Acting”

Anime Trending attended FanimeCon 2022 in San Jose, California, which featured Guest of Honor, actor, and singer Keisuke Ueda. In a pre-recorded video, Ueda showcased his new album, Canvas, gave a retrospective on his career within acting, and introduced the panel attendees to the intricate world of 2.5D stage plays.

While FanimeCon 2022 was unable to host MusicFest this year, Ueda was able to incorporate some of it into his panel by digging into his latest music video from Canvas, before diving into the interview. Ueda remarked that Canvas was hugely inspired by the COVID lockdown over the past two years, which had canceled the A3! solo winter concert.This motivated him to write Canvas as a way to process all of his feelings from lockdown. 

“[Canvas] initially started off vague, but it would be nice to write [these feelings during the lockdown], into a song,” Ueda mentioned. 

Growing up, Ueda never predicted his success in music. “I actually thought I was kind of bad at singing [in middle school],” Ueda confessed. “[As a kid,] my voice was always kind of high-pitched, and I would be embarrassed to sing in front of peers or at karaoke, so I would sit in the booth and just play phone games. One day around 7th or 8th grade, I ended up losing my voice, and when it returned, my voice changed to its present tone.” 

Ueda had to learn singing and dancing through 2.5D stage performances and felt that expanding his range was necessary. He thought about what made singing and dancing fun to him and began to try.

2.5D is a type of stage play commonly performed between the space of 2D source material and 3D live action. The 2.5D form exists to capture an existing source material and adapt it using the strengths of a stage play production, which offers a different experience than a 3D live-action movie production. Because this is performed on stage with the audience, there is extra importance placed on capturing the feeling from the original source. 

“For an anime [adaptation to 2.5D], I pay attention to the character’s voice, posture, even some gestures like how they scratch their head,” Ueda said. “The most important part for me is that there must be a reason for acting a character so it can be a role that only I can play.” 

When asked about the hardest part of adapting a character in 2.5D, Ueda mentioned that while there isn’t a huge difficulty in adaptation, “special attacks and fights do have tough movement.” The video then shows Ueda performing a fight scene from the Bungo Stray Dogs stage adaptation as Chuuya, who Ueda enjoyed to continue playing. “Being able to reprise a character is a blessing. It’s amazing when the content goes so deep, and I never thought I’d be involved with Bungo Stray Dogs for so long!” 

Image Source: FanimeCon. Photographer Amna K.


Some of the productions can be vastly different from each other, and Ueda remembers his time on Tokyo Revengers, which features a cast of delinquent characters. “[The cast] really got into their roles. When we were in rehearsal, the cast would respond to the director’s instructions with a roaring ‘OSSU’ instead of the usual, ‘Hai, wakarimasu’ . They were all practicing the atmosphere of the show, and it was a great rehearsal setting. There was a lot more collaboration between the actors than usual, and it was like being kids again creating and discussing together.”

Other productions were much more difficult, such as The Royal Tutor.  The actors of the show would also be the voice cast for the anime adaptation. This was Ueda’s introduction to working as a seiyuu,  he recalls he frantically learned how to do the work after a difficult audition. 

For A3!, Ueda noted the differences in recording for anime and mobile games. “In an anime, you can check your voice work with a moving character as reference, but games only have motion tracing, so you have to act stances and emotions with just your voice. [Character] references help, and there is a lot of freedom in the kinds of motions you can act out in a game.”

There were also many differences between working on stage and doing VA work, especially with how rehearsals were handled. Ueda mentioned that they were given timing guides to reference how long a character should speak, and previous recordings needed to be studied and reviewed at home. “Normally for 2.5D shows, rehearsals would be about a month, but for the anime it was suddenly recording time.” Despite the learning curve, he felt that the VA work became fun and was surprised by how the time flew.

When asked about a future character role, Ueda wants to play a character from a sports-related show. “I was in Yowamushi Pedal [as Sangaku Manami] in the past, but haven’t had a sports character since then. I’d want to play youthful characters and still portray a high-schooler.” In addition, he has aspirations for directing and has been focused on stage directing which would include creating a play from scratch as a prospect.

We also had the opportunity to enjoy some rapid-fire Q&A for Ueda. His go-to order in a cafe is banana juice, mostly because a cafe would not offer it unless they are confident. His favorite English phrase is “The show must go on,” which Ueda takes to heart with all of his work in all aspects of 2.5D performance. If he were to be on a deserted island, he would bring Kimisawa Yuki, who worked with him on Bungo Stray Dogs (as Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald) and The Royal Tutor, because “He’s buff and can catch fish!” He would also bring Shohei Hashimoto (Ryunosuke Akutagawa from Bungo Stray Dogs) as a kouhai. Ueda also prefers dogs over cats, which he attributed to his family. 

Finally, Ueda expressed gratitude to his fans and the FanimeCon audience for listening to his stories. “My favorite part of acting is being able to deliver a play to an audience and watching fans get excited. I get a positive feeling from cheering people up!” Ueda remains honored for being part of the 2.5D world, and he hopes to share this world with other people. “If 2.5D is just a small part of a trend, it makes me happy to know that I am a part of it.”



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