Full Interview: Gen Sato and Sayaka Sembongi on the genre-defying anime ‘Tengoku Daimakyo’

We recently got to ask a couple of questionst to Gen Sato and Sayaka Sembongi, the stars of the exciting anime series, Tengoku Daimakyo.

We recently got to ask a couple of questions to Gen Sato and Sayaka Sembongi, the stars of the exciting anime series, Tengoku Daimakyo.

In case you missed it, Disney+ began streaming Tengoku Daimakyo (or Heavenly Delusion), an interesting post-apocalyptic anime that’s based on the manga of the same name. While it’s intriguing setting and various mysteries are great hooks, the incredible animation, and memorable characters make it a must-watch.

Tengoku Daimakyo is easily one of the most unique anime we’ve seen, so much that we can’t classify it into one genre. With this in mind, we asked Maru and Kiruko voice actors Gen Sato and Sayaka Sembongi what they think of the anime’s story and the characters they play.

The following is a full transcript of the email interview with the two main Tengoku Daimakyo voice actors, including a mix of questions from us, other media publications, and Disney:

Gen Sato (Maru)

Can you tell us about your role?

GS: Maru embodies adolescence. His emotions change rather comically – it is really fun to watch how his expression changes a lot. Also, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that his past is vague, and tries to live in the moment. Because he lives in the moment, he can keep a grip on himself when he needs to fight or survive.

What is the most rewarding part/moment of your role as Maru?

GS: The scenes where Maru banters a lot with Kiruko were really great to do. You can’t show that sister-brother-like feeling just by having a normal conversation, so I tried to react to Sembongi’s performance instinctively.

What sets this series apart from all the anime series out there?

GS: The fact that it defies genre.

You can’t really say “this is this!” It’s vague. And that’s why the mysteries just keep coming. I’m sure audiences will feel something they’ve never felt before

What aspects of Maru do you most relate to and what parts of Maru do you think are the opposite of your personality?

GS: He loves Kiruko and so do I. I love the idea of spending my life with someone who is like a good friend, somebody I’d feel very safe and relaxed sleeping next to.

His physicality is very different to mine though.

I can’t fight elegantly against thugs or monsters. I don’t think I can trust my physicality like he does. He is very brave in that way and I respect him.

If you were to be transported into the world of TENGOKU-DAIMAKYO, would you rather be in the “Heaven” facility where Tokio is or would you rather be in the outside world?

GS: That’s a very difficult question. Heaven seems to have everything, but, in fact, something is missing. On the other hand, in Hell, you have to protect your own life but you have a kind of freedom. It’s very difficult to choose which, but I’d choose Hell because Maru is there. I know it’s hard to survive there but I’d like to decide my future myself. 

Who was the person that influenced you to become a voice actor? Or what animations are inspired you?

GS: When I was a student, something happened and I lost confidence totally. It was then I discovered an animation called “Star Driver”. It saved me. The story is passionate, and the protagonist is very honest and refreshing. I started watching other animation and soon began to wonder about becoming a voice actor.

Gen Sato’s Message to Philippine fans

GS: TENGOKU-DAIMAKYO can be seen in many different ways, and you will be moved anyway. It goes beyond conventional genres.

You can watch it again and again, and each time you’ll find something new and you’ll say “Wow! Now I understand why he says that here!”

Hope that’s how you watch it!

I’d really love to see animation fans in the Philippines someday soon!


Sayaka Sembongi (Kiruko)

Can you tell us about your role?

SS: Kiruko is a very complicated character and maybe not that easy to relate to. But Kiruko has been through a lot, and because of that, she has a big heart. This fact is very crucial in order to advance the story. I personally find Kiruko, who is both male and female, very fascinating.

What is most challenging about your role?

SS: Doing the scenes depicting Kiruko’s inner life was really rewarding and a huge responsibility. Because the character is very complicated, I tried not to think too much and just focused on what motivates her.

What sets this series apart from all the anime series out there?

SS: I think the world of TENGOKU-DAIMAKYO is mysterious and really unique. The visuals and music gave the depth to the original story. The script and the direction were both amazing. Hope you enjoy it!

You have played various roles over the years with a wide range of voices. How did you find or settle on the voice for Kiruko in Tengoku Daimakyo?

SS: Because Kiruko is a very complicated character, there were so many things I had to think about. But, actually, my personality isn’t that different from Kiruko’s, so I just honestly tried to think about what Kiruko wanted to do without changing my acting style.

Who was the person that influenced you to become a voice actor? Or what animations are inspired you?

SS: Since I was a child, I’ve always loved manga and anime. “The Prince of Tennis” made me want to be a voice actor. That was so popular and a lot of friends of mine were into it too. It made me want to be involved in something that excites people that much.

Do you have a favorite game that you would like to bring to the no-entertainment world of “TENGOKU-DAIMAKYO”?

SS: There are many video games I love, but for the people in TENGOKU-DAIMAKYO, a game everyone can enjoy together might be ideal, so I’d choose Mario Party. You can play alone as well as with a lot of people. It’ll kill two birds with one stone!

Sayaka Sembongi’s Message to Philippine fans

SS: Thank you for watching TENGOKU-DAIMAKYO! It’s great you can see current Japanese anime. One day I’d love to visit your country! I hope you carry on enjoying TENGOKU-DAIMAKYO!

Tengoku Daimakyo is streaming new episodes every week on Disney+. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s why it’s a must-watch.