Are you enjoying the first episodes of Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san (Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro!)? It’s really funny already, so we definitely are! In addition to loving the ridiculous antics of Nagatoro and her Senpai, we are also loving the music. What you may not have realised is that the voice actress for the main character, Hayase Nagatoro herself, is also the vocal talent behind the opening and ending theme songs! That’s right; the anime’s titular lead is singing all the music, too. The opening “EASY LOVE” is all her, while the ending “Colourful Canvas” features Nagatoro-san alongside other members of the cast.
The talent behind that voice is Sumire Uesaka. She’s a radio star, anime voice actress, and music star that has been making waves in the anime world for years now. Despite being less than thirty years old, Uesaka has a huge number of anime under her belt—and quite a few songs as well. Let’s have a look at this talented young woman’s career so far!
A Young Radio Star
Sumire Uesaka “Parallax View” Ending from Hozuki’s Coolheadedness (Hoozuki no Reitatsu)
Sumire Uesaka was born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1991. She was scouted at the young age of eight by Space Craft Junior Commercial Talent on her way home from an English proficiency test. By 2009 she was already a regular on the radio show Web radio @ Dengeki-Bunko, one year before she had even started university. Despite this early start, Uesaka didn’t jump right into the music or anime world as her first career choice. Her first passion was Russia, and was interested in the history, culture, and language of Russia since her first year of high school. Uesaka followed her passion to university, beginning her degree in 2010 majoring in Russian.
While she was still studying, though, Uesaka‘s career as a talent was continuing to take off. In 2011, Uesaka joined Space Craft Entertainment’s anime department after two years of being a regular on the radio programme Web radio @ Dengeki-Bunko. Inspired by the voice actress Momoi Haruko, Uesaka pushed towards a career as a Covid actress. Shortly thereafter, she finally began to do voice acting for anime. Her first big role was voicing Sora Takanashi in Listen to Me, Girls. I Am Your Father! in 2012. Her performance was praised by the director and original author of the manga, who said no one else could have portrayed Sora better than Sumire Uesaka.
And Now So Much More!
Sumire Uesaka “EASY LOVE” Full Version from Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san
It seems wrong to talk about Sumire Uesaka without talking more about her love for Russia because it’s so important to her. Uesaka never gave up on her passion for Russian studies, even with a career that was becoming busier and busier. She wrote her thesis on the early history of the Red Army, and even received a prize for excellent work in university. Even today she is still known for her love of Russia, specifically the Soviet Union. Her interest in tanks and the military has earned her the nickname “Sumipe” because “R” in the Russian alphabet resembles a “P.” In 2013 Uesaka had the chance to visit Russia for the first time! She performed at the convention J-Fest in Moscow, a dream come true for her just a year before she graduated from university.
Since then, she has been involved in a lot of musical anime, including voicing Chuchu in Show by Rock, Anastasia in THE iDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS, and Chisato Shirasagi in BanG Dream! 2nd and 3rd seasons. She also did the voice of Angela in Carole & Tuesday - though interestingly, she did not do Angela's singing because the character sings in English, so her music was performed by an Australian artist! Uesaka has also been involved in quite a few video games like League of Legends (as Jinx), GranBlue Fantasy (as Hallessenna), and even Final Fantasy VII Remake (as Kyrie Canaan). And that’s barely scratching the surface on her career!
"Have a Nice MUSIC!!" from Show By Rock!! by Plasmagika (Eri Inagawa, Manami Numakura, Ayane Sakura, Sumire Uesaka)
When it comes to anisong, Uesaka usually does character performances, like the opening and ending of Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san?. That was not her first time singing for an anime she was also voicing, though. Even back in 2011, Uesaka released “SORAIRO,” the song for her character Sora Takanashi in Listen to Me, Girls. I Am Your Father!. “INSIDE, IDENTITY OUTSIDER,” the ending theme for Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai!, was a song for her character Sanae Dekomori alongside some of the rest of the cast, much like “Colourful Canvas” is. She also performed the song “remmuS iroM em llac t'noD” as Sanae Dekomori on her own. Uesaka’s love and knowledge of the Russian language also helped her out with an anime role - and a chance to do some unique song performances! She played the role of Nonna, a Russian character, in Girls und Panzer. Plus she got to sing two Russian songs in the anime, “Cossack no Komoriuta” and “Katyusha.” It was a really great opportunity for Uesaka to combine her passions into one project!
"Inside Identity" from Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions by Black Raison d'être (Maaya Uchida, Chinatsu Akasaki, Azumi Asakura, Sumire Uesaka)
While it’s not uncommon for a voice actor or actress to also sing the theme song for an anime they star in, that doesn’t make it any less special. There’s just something cool about hearing a character’s voice also in the anime’s opening and ending, and Sumire Uesaka is bringing us exactly that this season with Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san. While she may be best known as a voice actress, her career in music and the anisong industry should not be forgotten. If you like “EASY LOVE,” be sure to check out some of her other work, too.
What’s your favourite role or song from Sumire Uehara? Are you going to look more into her music now? Did you know much about her before you read this article? Drop us a comment before you go!