Interview: Sayaka Sembongi on voicing Tengoku Daimakyo’s Kiruko, one of this season’s most intriguing characters

Recently, we got to ask questions to Sayaka Sembongi, the VA of Kiruko in Tengoku Daimakyo, one of this season's most intriguing characters.

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Recently, we got to ask questions to Sayaka Sembongi, the VA of Kiruko in Tengoku Daimakyo, one of this season’s most intriguing characters.

Sayaka Sembongi is quietly becoming one of the biggest voice acting stars in Japan. Since she began her career in the mid 2010s, Sembongi has been cast in lots of big anime shows.

For instance, she’s the voice of Trish Una in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, Shuna in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Haru in Beastars, and even Kikuri Hiroi in Bochi the Rock!

Just recently, Sembongi also lent her talents to The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess as its main character Anisphia, and she is also set to voice fan-favorite Marcille in Delicious in Dungeon.

While she has voiced a lot of popular characters, many anime fans will likely agree that her most intriguing role is Kiruko in Tengoku Daimakyo.

NOTE: The rest of this article features spoilers for Tengoku Daimakyo.

In the first two episodes, Kiruko already proved to be a highlight for many fans due to her headstrong personality and combat skills. Though what makes her even more compelling is that she wears her heart on her sleeve, not to mention that her dynamic with Maru is a joy to watch.

But in episode 3, Kiruko’s past is shown, and it’s revealed that she’s possibly one of the most unique characters of this anime season. When asked about her thoughts on Kiruko’s personality and past, Sembongi shared:

“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.”

In episode 3, it was revealed that Kiruko essentially is the body of Haruki but with the mind of her younger brother Kiriko (thus the name Kiruko). For Sembongi, Kiruko is both male and female, as shown in the anime as, while Kiruko thinks of himself as male, she is thought of as female other characters, not to mention that she is increasingly showing more feminine traits.

This unique identity of Kiruko is something that Sembongi noted to be a challenge. So, when asked about how she approached voicing Kiruko, Sembongi said:

“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.”

Despite the difficulty in approaching her character, Sembongi shared that her actual voice for Kiruko was something that came naturally. This is because Sembongi and Kiruko’s personality are surprisingly quite similar.

“Because Kiruko is a very complicated character, there were so many things I had to think about,” said Sembongi. “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.”

Taken on her own, Kiruko is such an interesting character, but what makes Tengoku Daimakyo even more compelling is the impressive mix of characters, storytelling, animation, and of course, the mysterious world.

This opinion is something that most fans of the show share, and Sembongi also said exactly this when asked about what makes the show unique among many anime show stoday.

“I think the world of TENGOKU-DAIMAKYO is mysterious and really unique.” said Sembongi. “The visuals and music gave the depth to the original story. The script and the direction were both amazing.”

New episodes of Tengoku Daimakyo are streamed every Saturday on Disney+. And if you need more convincing to watch it? Here’s why we think it’s a must-watch.