Staff Highlight

Staff Highlight: Rieko Takahashi, the voice of Dianna Soreil and Kihel Heim

This is the sixth in my series of staff highlight posts. My sources include various written and video interviews, audio commentaries, and individual research.

Rieko Takahashi is an actress and voice actress who has worked in live-action and anime. She voices Dianna Soreil and Kihel Heim.

Rieko Takahashi voices both Dianna Soreil and Kihel Heim.

Below is a highlight of info pertaining to her time on Turn A Gundam.

  • Has had only three voice roles as major characters in anime: Dianna Soreil (Turn A Gundam), Kihel Heim (Turn A Gundam), and Neviril (Simoun).
  • In the mid-90s, Tomino’s daughter was a director at a theater company, which allowed her to scout for voice acting talent. This is how Romi Park and Rieko Takahashi were scouted. They were invited to audition for Tomino’s anime.
  • Initially auditioned for Fran Doll but was instead cast as Dianna and Kihel, much to her surprise.
  • Turn A Gundam was her first time voicing characters in anime, so she was given a lot of guidance and instruction early on, even during her audition.
  • Tomino instructed her to use her normal speaking voice when voicing her characters. His philosophy was that voice actors are an extension of the characters themselves, so he advised them to avoid overthinking their roles. This allowed her not to get caught up on the finer details.
  • Considered by her peers to have an elegant voice and mysterious aura. She was also called a genius for her ability to voice both Dianna and Kihel seamlessly.
  • When speaking in the first person, she used “watakushi” for Dianna and “watashi” for Kihel. The former is much more formal than the latter. This is how she personally differentiated between the two characters in dialogue.
  • Since her characters were of nobility or royalty, her peers in the studio would jokingly say that she speaks to them from high above. Some even endearingly called her “Rieko-sama”. This was expanded by Tomino’s philosophy regarding voice actors/actresses and their characters.
  • A common theory among staff members in the studio was that Dianna Soreil would die in the story. As a result, she was the center of this particular discussion.
  • She likes the fact that Dianna and Kihel switch places in the plot, as it helped develop their characters. She views Dianna as a benevolent ruler who benefits from the experiences and hardships of common life, and Kihel as an efficient and no-nonsense older sister who’s forced to grow as a person. She considers both characters to be very “feminine”.
  • The washing mashing scene in episode 21 is her favorite in the show. The whole scene captured her heart, especially Dianna’s reflections on the floating bubbles.
  • Personally never trusted Lily Borjano as a character because of her aggressive nature towards Dianna/Kihel.
  • She’s a big fan of Loran and thinks he’s cute and deserves a hug. She also really likes Sochie and was crushed by her ending.
  • Romi Park and Rieko Takahashi shared a special bond and friendship in the studio. They were both new faces playing important roles and weren’t sure of their futures in the industry. They both also admired Gavane Goonny and his voice actor, Houchuu Ootsuka.
  • Feels that Turn A Gundam has aged very well.
  • Tomino once told her that Turn A Gundam would be a hit in 50 years.

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