Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Berryz Kobo x ℃-ute Cross Talk: Sugaya Risako x Suzuki Airi

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Hello! Project Kids in 2012, a book entitled Rival - 12 shoujo no 10-nen monogatari - (The 10-year legend of the 12 girls) was released. The book contains 2-page discussions between various pairings of the girls, covering all 66 possible combinations.

Special Crosstalk Book "RIVAL 12 shoujyo no 10 nen monogatari (10 years stories of 12 girls)" / Berrz Kobo / Cute

Sugaya Risako X Suzuki Airi

These 2 great songstresses who are of the same age, Sugaya and Suzuki, are the aces in their own respective groups. 
Best friends? Rivals? Let's get closer to the relationship that the 2 of them have built up throughout these 10 years.

You're of different types, but there's this impression that the two of you stand at the forefront of BeriKyuu. Through this discussion, I'd like to ask you about the very first impression you had about one another.

Sugaya: Airi was a bit..... Heeheehee.

Suzuki: Wha? What (laughs)!?

Sugaya: A girl whose nostrils flared up (laughs).

Suzuki: Risako, you're such a meanie. You'd always keep telling me that my nostrils were bigger than my eyes (laughs)!

Sugaya: No, I thought it was cute. Your nose would twitch when you talked, and your nostrils would flare up when you laughed. That's the impression I had.

Suzuki: I was together with Risako at the 4th judging round of the 'Hello! Project Kids Audition', and while she had a broken limb (laughs), I thought that she was a girl who was as cute as a doll. I remember us talking about being the same age, and that we were both Aries. We had lots of things in common. Even the names of our younger brothers were similar.

Sugaya: It was quite the coincidence (laughs).

Suzuki: It only differs by a single character. And so, our brothers both became friends as well. But ever since we were split into Berryz Kobo and ℃-ute, they haven't had time to meet up. In the past, our mothers would drop us off, so they never got to hang out with just the 2 of them.

The 2 of them acknowledge one another
But find themselves comrades, in that they're unused to receiving praise

Now, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the two of you are the representative songstresses of your respective groups, but do you keep tabs on one another's singing?

Sugaya: Airi's so good that I'm no comparison to her......

Suzuki: Wait up! What are you talking about (laughs)?

Sugaya: No, I'm serious (laughs). I don't really watch Hello! Project videos (laughs), yet Airi's songs are the only ones that I'll look up on the Internet and listen to. Recently, I wanted to listen to 'Memory Seishun no Hikai', but I didn't search for the original by Morning Musume。-san. Instead, I searched for a video of Airi's performance.

Suzuki: Why a video of me?

Sugaya:  I wanted to listen to Airi's voice and way of singing.

I feel like Risako is always moving ahead of me by Airi

Suzuki: Eh, honestly, that makes me glad! But for me, Risako is amazing. You can bring out something that I can't, or how should I put it, you're rich with expressiveness. It was around 'Kokuhaku no Funsui Hiroba' that I started thinking that your expressions were mature. We entered this world at the same time, and yet I feel that you're always moving ahead of me. I wonder why. Rather than saying I'm aware of it, I wonder where that voice comes from.

Sugaya: ...Where does it come from (laughs)!?

Suzuki: And, even if you're like this (laughs), your singing is amazing. And that dollishness you had has changed. but you've always had this cuteness that girls unwaveringly admire.

Sugaya: Stop it. I'm getting self concious (laughs). I'm not really that good at receiving praise.

Suzuki: Yup, unexpectedly, the 2 of us can't get used to being praised (laughs).

Pardon me (laughs). Is there a song sung by the other that you like?

Sugaya: I like Airi in 'Namida no Iro'. At a concert series where she performed this song, there was a time when Airi said that her voice wasn't in good condition (Hello! Project 2009 Winter Kettei! Hello ☆ Project 09 ~Elder Club Sotsugyou Special~'). But when the song started, you were able to properly pull off the high falsetto. I thought that your voice was completely fine, but it was nasally when you spoke. Despite your voice having gone hoarse, when it came to singing, you somehow made it happen. I definitely can't sing if my voice is out of whack, so I think that you're amazing.

Suzuki: I really remember when I get praised by the Hello! members. Risako, you've mentioned before that you like how I brought out my voice in 'Idai no Chikara wo!' So when I sang at the BeriKyuu concerts (Berryz Kobo & ℃-ute Collab Concert Tour 2011 Aki ~ BeriKyuu Island~'), I remember that you said that you liked it as I was singing it. Being praised by someone who stimulates me, it makes me really happy. As to what it is that I like about Risako's singing: You have all sorts of voices, like your voice in 'Rival' was cute......

Sugaya: No way. Cute (laughs)?

Suzuki: It was cute (laughs). Or, for example, your voice in 'Real Love' was heart-rending, I like that ballad voice. That song tells a story by itself, doesn't it? At a point in time, it really was a topic of conversation amongst ℃-ute, everyone was saying 'Isn't it great?', to the point where we'd sing it on the bus as we were on the move. We watched videos of your live performances countless times as well. You can get it just through Risako's voice, but the expressions and the choreography add even more of that 'feel', it doubles it. It's tough for me to channel expressions through my voice, so that's a challenge.....

A relationship where they know about the parts that others don't

This may be a direct question, but truthfully, do you think of one another as rivals?

Suzuki: We motivate one another, don't we?

Sugaya: However, we probably don't see one another as rivals. There may be some rivalry as groups, but individually, there isn't anyone I think of as a rival.

Suzuki: I probably don't have anyone like that either. I'm motivated by them and acknowledge them, but it's not just that..... that's roughly how it is. Since there was a point in time when we were always together, yet we never had sparks fly between us. And at the BeriKyuu concert we had before the last ('Berryz Kobo & ℃-ute Collab Concert Tour 2008 Haru~Berryz Kamen vs Cutie Ranger~'), there was a time when I couldn't bring out my voice and cried, and Risako cried with me. I feel like the both of us mutually don't understand the parts that others understand, but we understand the parts that others don't. And so, on the other hand, I unexpectedly don't know about Risako's private life. Right?

Sugaya: That's right. You probably don't want to know too much. If you get too close, you might see things that you'd dislike. Of course you'd also see the good and think that there aren't any bad points, but for me, I'm pretty good at finding the bad points (laughs). I think that the distance we have now is about right.

A relationship where you maintain a safe distance. Perhaps it was a good thing that you're in different groups. 

Suzuki: We've talked about that often, haven't we?

Sugaya: Yup. This kind of distance is good. If we were in the same group, we might be the best of friends or most bitter of enemies (laughs).

Suzuki: Our interests are different, and even to the colour of our hair, we're completely different. But there's some sort of understanding between us. We don't even talk abut singing.

Sugaya: Even when we sing together, when we try to unite at rehearsals, I think we feel that way about one another, particularly afterwards.....

There are times when I want to listen to Airi's singing by Risako

That's how much you mutually respect one another, you feel the professionalism of a fellow artiste.

Suzuki: While we may seem like close friends, we're unexpectedly different.

Sugaya: Ever since about ℃-ute's major début, we'd only meet at H!P concerts.

Suzuki: That's why when we continued with BeriKyuu activities,  at first I oddly had no idea how I would deal being together with Risako.

Sugaya: It was a bit awkward.

Suzuki: I wonder why (laughs). Had I replied to your messages, would we have been even closer? Risako would send me messages now and then, but as a whole, I don't really reply to messages

Sugaya: You don't reply at all (laughs)! There are times when I've sent something with a question mark added to the end, but you still wouldn't reply. Even when I sent birthday messages, there would be no reply.

Suzuki: I didn't reply (laughs)? Ah, I don't even reply to the members (Okai Chisato-chan who was nearby pointed out 'Even though I sent one when the clock struck midnight, it was ignored (laughs)'. I probably don't reply to birthday messages either. I'll do it from now on.

Sugaya: Now that you've said that, if I don't get a reply next time, I'll really cut you off (laughs)!!

By the way, do you not have aspirations of performing as a 2-person unit?

Suzuki: I'd like to perform as a clique (habatsu) unit!

Clique!? Don't you mean spin-off (hasei)?

Sugaya: Right? I was surprised (laughs).

Suzuki: Spin-off, yup (laughs)! I'd like to give it a go.

Sugaya: If we do, it'll definitely be for a ballad.

Suzuki: I wonder what Tsunku♂-san would pick at that time. At our second last BeriKyuu live tour, it was surprising that the 2 of us sang the song 'Very Beauty'. Because I thought that we'd get a ballad like 'Zutto Suki de Ii Desuka'. If we had another BeriKyuu live, I'd like us to sing together again. That's right, I'd like to make a promise with Risako to drink alcohol together after we've turned 20.

Sugaya: However, I won't wait. I'll turn twenty 8 days before you, so if our plans can't come together, I'll have a drink first (laughs).

Suzuki: But at the time, what will we talk about?