Sore Ga Seiyuu
March 13, 2016
It is time for another edutainment in the anime industry. Not long after we have glimpsed the workings of an anime production studio in Shirobako, now we take a look at the lives of being a voice actor/actress or better known as seiyuu. However, Sore Ga Seiyuu isn’t the first anime that depicts the lives of seiyuu wannabes. Many years ago, Love Get Chu covered this and then subsequently there is one too about voicing for hentai, right? So do we need another anime about seiyuu? Why not? If you love watching animes or even play games, this kind of series is no better way for you to know the workings and appreciate how these amazing people bring you the things to love and enjoy.
Futaba Ichinose is nervous because today will be her debut recording as a seiyuu for the anime Buddha Fighter Bodhisattvon. Although she is just voicing a mascot character, at least she is a regular cast. Therefore she is talking to her doll on what needs to be done. Other people might see her as creepy… Her first visit to the studio, she is a bit surprised it isn’t as extravagant as she thought it would be. A little rundown… With so many people around, Futaba starts panicking as she tries to greet each and every one. She gets even nervous that she gets to meet the famous seiyuu, Masako Nozawa. She even greeted her twice. Then some jerk, Yamori had to put her down that she can’t even remember faces so can she do her job? Thinking everyone is out of her league, Futaba thinks Ichigo Moesaki is one whom she can relate to. It is definitely a big lie that she comes from some strawberry planet! Everything about her is about strawberries so people can easier remember her. When Futaba’s senior, Hikari Shiodome teases her about it, Ichigo goes out of character. Then Futaba sees a little girl, Rin Kohana. Guess what? She is still in middle school! The session is about to begin so Futaba and Ichigo panic upon which seats to take in the room. Can’t sit next to Nozawa. Too awesome! The ideal seat is taken by Rin so I guess they have to settle on the other side. The sound director comes in to tell everyone of the changes to some of the script. I think Futaba is at a lost where to change or what is even going on.
Then everyone has a dry run to test things out. Futaba being nervous as usual overdid her first part. And she had such a great visualization of her character. So great it deviated on what it is supposed to be… The sound director tells her to do it more normally. Yeah… What the heck is normally?! Ichigo is also having similar problems with her. Sound director wants her to sound like a girl with big boobs? How can she when she is so flat?! Whoops! The duo are in awe when they hear Rin say a freaking long and hard line without making any mistakes! There is a part where an unnamed character has a line or two and on the spot Futaba is chosen to play that part. She fumbles a lot and after several retakes, they just ask Hikari to do it. Flawless. The session ends and although Nozawa gives nervous Futaba some encouragement, Yamori again had to tell her that she is a failure if she can’t even say such a short line. F*ck off! Naturally it has been a tough day for Futaba and Ichigo. So tough that it is reflected in the sky. It’s gloomy and raining. Rin is kind enough to lend them her umbrella while she takes the bus. They are motivated to do as well as her. They talk about why they became a seiyuu. Ichigo likes to be one. As for Futaba, when she graduated, there weren’t many jobs around so I guess this was her only viable choice. It is not that she is taking this seiyuu thing lightly. Rather, because there weren’t too many jobs, it was hard to break into any industry. If that is the case, might as well make her hardest dream come true and be that to do work with her voice.
Futaba goes off to do her other job: Part time worker at a convenience store. Likewise, Ichigo is working at a food factory. The older ladies think she is unsociable but in actual fact she doesn’t want her status to be known for the fear of being hounded for favours. Futaba heads off to her agency, Aozora Production to get the script for Bodhisattvon’s next episode. She notices a pile of scripts for the more famous seiyuu, Hiroshi Kamiya. OMG! You mean that Hiroshi Kamiya! Yup! That guy. In the flesh! Don’t blame her for freaking out. Oh, he’s got lots of fan letters too. I guess the only reason he is talking to her is because he thinks she likes cats (she is wearing some lame t-shirt with cat prints). The new seiyuus praise Futaba but can’t help feel anxious because their future is uncertain if they would get any work. Atsumari, the manager of Aozora introduces Futaba to new manager, Aoi Konno. It seems she wants Futaba to attend an audition for a new anime. Likewise, Ichigo and Rin also get word for audition. In order to get to know her role well, Futaba is very much poorer this month as she buys all the manga volumes and start reading up. The trio are surprised to see each other on audition day although they are glad they are auditioning for different roles. Too bad it is going to take some time since there are lots of people, famous and not so famous auditioning for various roles.
Futaba acts out her character when it is her turn. At the end, she notices the committee yawning! Oh dear! As for Ichigo, she is told to read a line from another character in addition to her auditioned role. When it’s over, she notices they got bored and distracted with something else! It is Rin’s turn and the committee is impressed. The trio hang out together at the end. Futaba and Ichigo lament the waiting of results which could take up to a month. Ichigo is bent on passing this one as she wants to stop her losing streak and stop having her bookshelf filled with mangas of animes she is not part of. Futaba is also on a losing streak. She explains the strict working system of her agency. People who have worked for a full 2 years and do not show promise will be fired. Because of it, she thinks of quitting the industry if she doesn’t do well in her assessment. Rin feels bad for her because she never thought about it seriously since she didn’t choose this line herself. As the trio are in another recording session of Bodhisattvon, the sound director as usual comes in to mention about script changes. Futaba then asks a question if her character will revive after this. He tells her straight the character will stay dead and this is its last appearance! OMG! Futaba falling into shock of unemployment! They just killed off a regular character?! Ichigo and Rin try to cheer up a very depressed Futaba when they are approached by a guy who wants them to host a web radio.
Nervous as usual. So what better way to practice with her doll before the real thing. Although her character is dead, Kaibara the producer of the web radio wanted to keep the series fresh and thus thought it is a good idea to have fresh faces from the series. But before that web radio, Futaba is invited to go on the air with Shiodome’s radio show first. Excited? Till Shiodome warns about the show being live. No mistakes… Gulp… And this is the killer advice: A careless remark can never be erased once it is aired. But the person who made it might be… Holy sh*t!!! So Futaba calls Ichigo and Rin just to initiate an emergency meeting and also invite them to join her on Shiodome’s radio show. After the trio meet the small crew of the radio show, here comes the guest star, Yukari Tamura. OMG! You mean, that Yukari Tamura?! Yup. In the flesh. The trio are in awe that the duo can talk so naturally without any script. When it is their turn, they are stiff as a rock. Even stiffer for Futaba when the duo start teasing her a little. At the end of it, I guess the trio are somewhat relieved and down but thanks to Tamura’s encouragement, they get motivated. Now they are at the studio for the web radio, they are given just a sheet of paper and no script. Free talk. Oh… It gets awkward when the recording goes live. Who is going to say what? Some bad timing here and there. Futaba’s voice goes a little soft thanks to her nervousness. They read some fan mail and when the director wants them to expand on a topic they are talking, they get the wrong idea and talked about something else. At the end of the day, they feel deflated but the producer absolutely loves them! They might be all over the place but it is the best he has seen and they sure have potential. Wow. He really means that? This brightens up their day. Then they go watch the first episode of Bodhisattvon. They can’t believe this is how they sound and Futaba is so embarrassed I think she might trash the TV! They feel frustrated that they could have done better. Rin surprisingly also feels the same way. At least seeing their names popping up in the credits make them feel better.
Futaba’s is praying to her handphone like an altar… Yeah, that audition… Please, oh please… Then a call from Konno… It’s about next week’s web radio job… The audition? Well… She didn’t get the part! So I guess Futaba is still coming to the studio just to show face despite having no roles. And before they know it, they have finished recording the last episode of Bodhisattvon. Futaba talks to her friends about her failed audition and thus she won’t have a job. The rest also mentions they didn’t get the part. Though Ichigo has a narration job for some supermarket’s promotion and Rin is worried about her upcoming exams. Futaba laments she wanted to voice her character more. She felt she let her guard down. The trio attend the wrap up party for Bodhisattvon. Futaba bumps into Banjo Ginga. You mean that Banjo Ginga?! Yup. In the flesh. She mentions about her character’s early death so he also tells her the many characters he played who got killed. Whether the character is main or not, if it dies you have got to die with it. Futaba feels encouraged and enlightened. Soon, the web radio also ends, Kaibara has some good news for them. Thanks to their popularity, the web radio will be extending. Even better, he plans for the trio to form a unit. Ichigo is excited that this is the moment she has been waiting for. Futaba is another bundle of nerves. Didn’t think she’ll have to do a CD debut so fast, eh? So they have to come up with a name for their unit, right? Sure, the girls have them especially Ichigo who really wants it to be a reference to her favourite strawberries. But Kaibara has got a better name: Earphones. Eh… What the… Futaba may be thinking too much about the prospect of getting famous since she notices her flabby arms. Diet time! The first interview they attend for an anime magazine, Ichigo perms her hair, Rin wears mini skirt to get a feel of what it is like to be an idol and Futaba showing up in sneakers because she walked all the way here as part of her diet. The trio have their fair share of nervousness as the interview takes place. A photo shoot at the end. They are happy to see their article appearing in the magazine.
The hits on their website are paltry. It can’t be help since they are a newly formed unit. Ichigo believes they’ll soon reach a million. In next week! Have no fear. Ichigo is here! But there is problem for her: The factory manager calls her to say she doesn’t need to turn up for her next shift since she always misses them. Sure, he knows about her other work but if she can’t make their company the priority… She thought going home to her strawberry kingdom (her room) would ease things a little. No electricity! And then the factory manager calls again to tell to get her stuffs because he got a new replacement. Damn. But for every darkness there must be light. So the next call is from a guy telling her she got a part to voice a character in an upcoming video game. Although it is a minor bug character, she is more than happy to accept it. But before the recording, she has to attend an event for the main cast members in which the main star Yui Horie will attend. You mean that Yui Horie?! Yes, it is her!!! So her friends and Kaibara get to know this and they couldn’t be happier. They talk about bigger things and it just scares the heck out of them. The event is going to be held in a hall that can hold thousands! Naturally Ichigo gets nervous but with encouragement from her dad, she is fine. She stops by at the game company to pick up the script for the scenario. Gosh… 3 full boxes of script! Although hers are just a few pages, she needs to go over the rest for reference. The morning of the event day, Ichigo is nervous to be in the same room with Horie. And then comes in this plain looking geek. Wait a minute… This is Yui Horie???!!! THIS IS HER???!!! ARIENAIIIIII!!!!!!! Ichigo is overwhelmed by the stage and very nervous during rehearsal. Horie gives her some good advice to calm her nerves. Before the event starts, Ichigo is blown away by the fully crowded hall. Even more mind blowing is that now Horie is all dolled up and looking like her usual kawaii idol! OMG! IT’S YUI HORIE FOR REAL!!! KYAAA!!!!~<3. Ichigo is still nervous and stiff as a robot as she walks out on stage. Before she knows it, the event is over. She feels bad for being useless, doing nothing right and talking big about making big as Earphones. But she gets her hopes up as Horie performs a mini concert at the end of the event. She captivates the crowd and it makes Ichigo really want to be like her. In the end, Ichigo although felt nervous, she had great fun. All is not lost because she gets a single fan letter. Even sweeter for Earphones is that Kaibara already has their debut song out. Version 2.3?
The CD is just a temporary song for them to practice. There is going to be music video shooting, photo album cover photo shoot and lots of dance lessons before that. So it’s going to get busy girls. Yeah, you writing all that down? The best part? Kaibara has got the single named: In Your Ears. This guy should stop naming things… This excitement has Futaba recall she went for a recording of a drama CD for Spiral Cafe. She get to voice a sister character to Rie Kugimiya. You mean that Rie Kugimiya?! Yup. In the flesh. But no tsundere mode. When an anime adaptation of Spiral Cafe is announced, you bet Futaba is just freaking happy. You can’t blame her for expecting a call from the recording company for her to reprise her role. Earphones take dance lessons from a teacher (why do they always have to be gay men?) but he can’t stay long and tells them to practice themselves. During their web radio, Rin makes a self promotion by informing the upcoming Spiral Cafe anime. She will be voicing a sister character to Kugimiya. Oh sh*t… Suddenly Futaba’s world collapses. The shock is just too much to bear. You can tell the stormy weather is a reflection of her heart. Because of that, she declines joining her friends in whatever outing or practice. Poor girl feels so frustrated that she throws away all her Spiral Cafe manga. When in is doing research on her character, she spots Futaba’s name in the credits. Then she just realized why Futaba has been acting so strange lately. Futaba skips her Earphones’ practice to hang out and do nothing at her agency. The pain is too much to bear so she starts crying and bumps into Shiodome. She hears out her frustration and tells her how uncommon it is for drama CD and anime to have different seiyuus due to change in production company or budget and is usually done unannounced. Because Futaba still feels hurt and can’t face her colleagues, it’s time for a little tough love on reality. The fans don’t care how you feel. Even if you have a family member in hospital, you must still do your job otherwise it is deemed rude to your fellow colleagues. Futaba thought being a seiyuu was a dream. Nope. It is the audience’s dream. A seiyuu shows them that dream. Futaba has revitalized and thanks her. When she meets Rin, they both reconcile and made up. Then she rehears her drama CD and notes she was bad but did not let it affect her performance. Earphones continue to do an amazing job when Kaibara relays the bad news they can’t make an early release of their debut CD in time.
Thankfully it isn’t cancelled but just delayed. The trio make their way to the studio they recorded Bodhisattvon together. Each will be recording for a different category. Futaba will be dubbing a foreign movie, Ichigo doing an audio book (recording while reading aloud a book) and Rin voicing a game character. Right before the room, Futaba had to bump into that jerk Yamori again. Trauma? All is not lost because Rikiya Koyama is also here for the dubbing. You mean that Rikiya Koyama?! Yes. In the flesh. As a pro, Futaba has to keep her emotions in check instead of flustering like a fan. But she goes into a bit trauma when she hears a character he is playing got killed off in the first episode. The recording begins and for dubbing, seiyuus have to wear headphones to hear the original language. Futaba remembers when she tried watching to film for her character part, she got freaked out because she is supposed to voice a zombie character! It’s going to give her nightmares. Ichigo also has her own problems like mispronouncing words and Rin has a hard time visualizing the situation because the script only contains lines for her character. During break time, the trio realize their hair is ‘flattened’ thanks to the headphone. When Rin is worried about the different type of punch sounds she needs to make, Ichigo would gladly help out by punching Futaba in the gut! I think Rin will figure this one by herself. Returning to the recording, Futaba notices Koyama very focused and pro in his job. It is not unusual in dubbing for seiyuus to voice multiple characters. Futaba does a handful of them and aces. At the end of the day, hey, even Yamori compliments she got better! That’s a big motivation for her. He even ‘invites’ her to go to the wrap up party.
Today is Earphones’ first debut event. Don’t get the low ticket sales get to you… Before it starts, Futaba wants to see the crowd but Konno stops her. After giving her the slip, to her dismay sees the staff putting more space between the chairs and even sitting in themselves just to make the hall look full. Disheartened? Kaibara introduces them. Rin is doing fine until she realizes her friend, Sayo among the crowd. Embarrassed? Ichigo is more daring but Futaba remains shy and stiff. When it is time for them to sing, it starts off with a little glitch as the song didn’t play. But once it gets going, everything else flows fine. At the end, a handshake event. Ichigo and Rin are clearly more favourites compared to Futaba. But there is a big fan of her so it’s not that bad. Too bad there is a time limit to talk and shake hands or else the line will be piling up. The event naturally increases their web traffic. Sayo is so amazed at Rin that she imitates what she did in front of class! Futaba gets a narration job but starts panicking when the script will only be given on that day. Oh, how will she prepare? As usual, nervous making her way to the studio, she thought she heard a familiar ‘TV voice’. Turns out to be Yuji Machi. She is given a script and the panic continues because there are so many names she doesn’t know how to pronounce! And the recording starts now?! Machi starts off first and Futaba is amazed at how flawlessly he narrates despite being given the script in a short amount of time. He can even tell how long he has been narrating so as to fit his narration into the video. Now it is Futaba’s turn. As usual. Nervous. Even if hers is a dry run, the producer doesn’t even know where to begin to correct her. During the break, Machi calms her nerves. He was once like that too. He has done narrations where the script is only given 5 minutes before. Sometimes he is told to adlib. Sometimes he has to say what the producer whispers. He got used to all this. Futaba is encouraged and continues her recording. At the end of the day, she is surprised that Atsumari has been watching her recording. Futaba is glad she learnt a lot today. Atsumari hopes she can get more jobs like this too.
We take a break from seeing the rise of our newbies and focus on the new manager instead. We start off from Konno starting her job at Aozora and meeting Futaba. We learn she has to juggle with many schedules and jobs with other parties. They are like the intermediary between seiyuus and their voicing jobs. As a newbie, Konno is fretting to tell about Futaba’s audition when she didn’t get the job. But Atsumari tells her to do it quick since it won’t change anything if she delays and it will be easier on Futaba. Konno works hard keeping up her schedules (and replenishing with lots of beef bowls in between). Then she learns the girls will be forming a unit and will have to work together with Kaibara whom Atsumari thinks he is a bit hard to work with. Konno continues to look out for the girls. Then that Spiral Cafe incident when Futaba falls into depression. Konno is worried about her but she herself doesn’t know what to do or say. But to her relief she sees her get back in her grove. Konno tries to get a voicing job for Futaba. Although she gets it, Futaba isn’t sure if she could pull this off. Then they meet Noriko Hidaka. You mean that- Oh wait, I don’t know her ;p. Futaba is nervous in her role because this is the first time she is voicing an older lady. Konno tries to cheer her up saying she did a good job but Atsumari tells her not to say irresponsible things. Sure, it’s a manager’s job to give motivation but getting her hopes up is just temporary and the after effect might be opposite. Hidaka interjects that doing an unfamiliar part is what makes seiyuus happy. From her experience, she always voiced girls’ role until she played a boy’s role. It was trouble at first but now she is glad to have gotten that part. It is all thanks to the manager in otherwise a role she would not have gotten. Konno then manages to get another voice acting job for Konno for a game albeit just a small role. The traffic jam is bad so they have to make by foot, which is actually faster and makes sense. If they’re rushing for time, why do they even help an old lady crossing the road? Ah, you mustn’t forget your respect to your elders. Futaba is in better shape running than Konno thanks to her idol training. Eventually Futaba has to ‘abandon’ Konno to get to the studio in time. She is saying like she has been killed off… When Konno finally arrives, Futaba got the part and she is so happy that the sound director actually loves it. Konno is brought to tears when Futaba hugs and thanks her.
When Kaibara mentions about the change of date on an interview to Saturday, Rin doesn’t seem too pleased. That’s because she has to cancel her outing with Sayo. But she understands it is her job since, well, Sayo claims she is her number one fan. But Rin is called by the teacher to talk about her future. As she will be in high school next year, the school she wants to enrol in strictly takes into account attendance. If she wants to continue her seiyuu job, she will have to enrol in a different high school. Rin is in a dilemma because she can’t bear to part with Sayo. When she goes home, mom is looking through photos of her in kindergarten because the anime magazine called about doing a special on different seiyuu when they were in kindergarten. Too bad, all pictures has her hiding behind something. Mom even remembers an embarrassing incident when she asked Rin what she would like to become in the future: A cucumber! Rin is bothered by her future so she asks Ichigo and Futaba if they ever get worried about continuing as a seiyuu. They do and there are times when they felt like they want to quit. But after working so hard in making it a reality, they can’t quit that easily. But Rin still doesn’t feel convinced. She didn’t choose this job and just kinda continued after joining the children’s theatre troupe that her mom recommended to overcome her shyness. Even the first time she met Sayo, she was hiding behind the curtain and trying to avoid her.
Rin’s manager has got good news for her. She will be voicing a role in an anime movie playing as Kamiya’s sister. I can tell she’s a big fan of Kamiya… But Rin has doubts whether she can play the role of a 15 year old. At the studio, she meets Kamiya in person. During recording, many times she cannot get her takes right. While on the break, Kamiya comments Rin’s calmness in which she is surprised he saw her as so. Kamiya explains he always felt pressure and tempted to be pessimistic so much so he doesn’t want to go to the studio anymore. Sometimes he feels he is not cut out for this line of work. When Rin notices the original works of the movie in his hand, he continues although they only do this job for a day, lots of people have spent a long time making it. Amazing amount of effort was put into this. Seiyuus play important role by giving these characters voices. That is why he has to live up to that trust. Rin is encouraged and those her subsequent takes well. Rin then tells Sayo about her decision to enrol in a different high school so she can continue being a seiyuu. Sayo is only worried if she would be alright by herself because Rin has always followed her since young. But she noticed she has grown stronger little by little. She assures they’ll always be together as promised because Sayo is her number one fan. They can always still see each other on weekends. Time for an emotional girl hug.
Futaba is happy to get a part as a programme regular in a new anime. Although there is no specific role, each episode there is only a few lines to play. Making even more exciting is that Ryoko Shiraishi is going to be here. You mean that Ryoko Shiraishi?! The one that played that Hayate butler?! Yup. In the flesh. Futaba notices how versatile she is. I guess Futaba overdid her part so she starts coughing. Her fellow seiyuu colleagues recommend several stuffs to help take care of that throat. One of them being herb honey cough drops. The worst part for a seiyuu is to come down with a cold. Futaba got it and so she has to make her health a priority and her recordings will be done separately. Luckily she recovers in no time. After finishing another recording, Futaba and Shiraishi talk. The former mentions about not as famous compared the other duo in her unit so she needs to work harder so as not to drag them down. This has Shiraishi mentioning she hurt her throat around her age. Something about vocal cord nodules. She had to go for surgery and felt uneasy. Eventually she had to take it because she wanted to be a seiyuu for life. Although Futaba is inspired, she thinks she got the wrong idea. It’s not that she is afraid, but rather impatient because there is a huge difference between her and her friends.
Kaibara has great news for Earphones. They will have their first solo concert. For some reason, he got a hall that fits 500 people but currently only manage to sell 12 tickets! The girls would love to scold him but they can’t say that out loud. Or risk hurting their voice? I think they have to hold in their scolding because since Earphones do not have enough songs to cover a full concert (only 3 songs so far), he is asking them what they should do! Don’t worry. He has some suggestions. It seems Ichigo pretty much wants to do cover songs. It might take time for them to learn the song, lyrics and choreography but she is pretty adamant in that. Ichigo teaches the rest the dance moves and it is like she’s the boss around because she is quite picky of what kind of songs they should sing so as not to give the crowd the wrong idea. They practice hard and for Futaba and Ichigo as to show they are still young, they pretend their muscles aren’t aching. Several self media promotion has the current ticket sales up to 52 tickets. Not bad, right? Kaibara suggests going to Anitumn, an event where famous artists gather for them to promote their concert. They thought they would be singing on stage, right? Who’d knew it was just handing flyers outside the hall. Freaking cold… Nobody is outside because everyone is inside for the live performance that is about to begin. Feel like scolding him? Eventually their hard work pays off because ticket sales go up to about 200. The girls are about to do the last practice for tonight when Ichigo trips and sprains her ankle. Gasp! Oh no! A performer’s worst nightmare!
Ichigo claims it isn’t that bad. She must be in denial. Yeah, mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. The reason she is putting up with the pain is so that all their hard work won’t be for nothing. Of course during practice, Futaba notices her sluggish movements and then spots the swell getting worse. When Kaibara comes in, Ichigo acts like nothing. He has good news. He has made special outfits for the concert. Each costs 500,000 Yen! Oh sh*t! Once he is gone, Futaba thinks of telling everyone of her swell but Ichigo says no. She wants them to keep this a secret. Otherwise the dance set they’ll have to redo everything from the beginning again and all that they have worked for will be for nought. She will see this through no matter what. Futaba is further thrown in dilemma. On a recording session, she gets to work with Horie again. She asks about her feelings before the concert starts. Horie explains from experience about the pressure and everything. Once it is start, there is no stopping and you must see through it the end. Horie shares her experience as being part of a unit as she is in one currently and no matter how you feel, you can split it between all the members. Next day, Futaba tells Ichigo she should tell everyone about her injury. Still stubborn? Futaba will tell herself. So when Kaibara turns up, Ichigo right away tells her foot injury. Now he is going crazy with all the worrying that the concert will be cancelled and become a bankrupt! I think this hurts his heart more than her foot. As for the performance, they do not have to cancel songs and just cut out the dance parts. For example, they can sit on a chair or wave their hands without moving their feet too much. Thanks to the concert DVDs that Futaba researched, she is getting quite some ideas on this.
When Ichigo has her foot taped, the swell is obvious. Kaibara still worrying? Forget about him. They have to worry about their new choreography as Futaba is the centre so she will have to learn the new moves. She better learn quick and cut down on her mistakes… Sayo has made flags for them. Seriously, are they going to wave them during the performance? Futaba, get your sh*t act together! To conceal the swell, Konno has an idea. All of them will wear furry leg warmers. The outfit was used in one of Aozora’s events. During event day, the slightest bump into Kaibara would send him into worrying frenzy. Will you stop worrying? The girls said they got this covered. Futaba has made bracelets for each of them as good luck charm. Even more encouraging to hear is that tickets are almost sold out. Only 20 left. It is like they will be playing to almost a full house. When Earphones go on stage, the crowd goes silent. Can’t believe those leg warmers, eh? And what is with that rabbit ears getup too? Too weird? Is this going to fail from the start? Then the crowd starts cheering and loving them. Earphones do their stuffs and everything went without a hitch. For the final performance, Ichigo wants to go all out in her performance. They manage to pull it off flawlessly (well, almost) and it was indeed a night to remember for everybody.
Hello. Earth to Futaba. The concert is over. You can stop dreaming now. It’s back to the daily grind. Don’t think you’re famous after that single stint. Futaba has been spacing out lately and Ichigo believes it is burnout. As all the big events of the year are over, one is left to ponder about the next year and where they will go from here. Remember that assessment at Aozora? Konno reminds Futaba hers is due. Futaba gets undue pressure when Konno warns she heard some has their contract terminated despite getting lots of jobs. Worry time… Futaba talks to Ichigo about this and the latter thinks her agency’s system is kind. Because she is being taken care of for 2 years and in the event there are no jobs and you get fired, firing you is a kind way of letting you go. Futaba remembers around this time a year ago when her schedule was so free (aside from her part time job) and being new at everything. She remembers her former colleague, Su-chan who helped her a lot when she first came to Aozora. Speaking of the devil, she calls to hang out with the rest of their old friends. They catch on old times but because Futaba has low self confidence about her prospects, they think otherwise because for her to be taken in would be considered as an elite. Still not convinced? It’s Shiodome’s turn to ask her. Where does she see herself in 5, 10 or 30 years? The question is not whether she thinks she can continue as a seiyuu but rather if she wants to or not. Shiodome puts of more scary stories about the assessment because Futaba doesn’t know what to do with her future and this will certainly have an impact during the assessment. If you can’t shoulder that, you’re not cut out to be a seiyuu. When a colleague passes by, Shiodome asks what she wants. To be rich! See? Didn’t flinch at all. Later, Futaba asks Ichigo about hers. A singing dancing seiyuu idol princess. Wow. She’s not joking, right? Futaba imitates a couple of boys’ voice after hearing them talk. Ichigo is impressed she sounds very fitting for a boy’s role and teases her she fits such roles rather than sexy ones. Futaba took it as a compliment…
Futaba arrives for her assessment. On her way in, she sees a candidate on her way out crying. Damn… Suddenly where did all the nerves of steel go? While waiting her turn, the guy before her sounded like he didn’t make the cut. That depressed face… Oh sh*t… Inside the room… Why does everyone have this serious face?! Long story short, they think she is lacking since her only other notable job is Earphone. It is like she is no different now or then. Even her self assessment she assessed herself with low scores. Futaba is close to breaking down. But when she remembers Ichigo and Shiodome’s words, she collects herself and answers their question of what kind of seiyuu she would like to become. She would like to become one for a long time. It might sound ambitious but this doesn’t change her desire to continue working for a long time. Session’s over. All those puzzled undecided faces… Spring arrives. Futaba meets up with Ichigo and Rin. Ichigo is happy to be chosen as a voice of a local strawberry mascot (looks hideous) while Rin just took her entrance exam. Then Atsumari calls regarding Futaba’s assessment. At first it doesn’t sound too good… Gulp. But her face brightens up when she learns she could continue staying. What does this mean? The ‘council’ couldn’t decide and thus deferred her decision. Hey, doesn’t this sound half assessed? Well, at least Futaba has got another year. She’ll really have to work harder in this grace period. Definitely. Kaibara has some big news for Earphones. He shows them something really big going on for them. Thanks to this cliff-hanger, I guess we will have to imagine what kind of big job that is based on their super shocked faces. Can’t tell. Not too sure if it is for better or worse.
Is That All You Have Got To Say?
So… SO WHERE THE HECK IS MAMIKO NOTO????????!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahem… More about this later on. It has been an insightful and enjoyable ride, if I should sum up my experience in watching this. Although I may be wrong, I have a feeling that what probably goes on in reality is somewhat not as rosy and smooth as seen here. Sure, there are problems that the characters faced but it all works out quite well in the end. I’m sure in real life that rarely happens unless the goddess of luck is smiling upon you on that day. But as far as this anime is concerned, this has been quite an entertaining as well as informative series about the seiyuu world. It goes to show that they aren’t just people voicing in one particular section in the industry. As long as an event has sound and the need of a voice, this is where the job of a seiyuu comes in. Whether it is anime, movies, games, TV commercials, anything that just needs a voice, you can bet there will be some kind of job for the seiyuu to give life to a character or make viewing more pleasurable.
Something about the way it ended for Futaba in this season bugs me. I am not sure how frequent such postponement of a decision is made in the seiyuu industry or how often such practice occurs, but the thought of having her assessment extended by another whole year reminds me of those harem romance animes. Yup. Can’t decide with which girl to go in the end? Can’t decide to let her stay or let her go? Don’t worry. There is always the status quo answer of not choosing! Or at least defer your decision. One year might sound like a long time but I figure when you are in this business, you are going to be kept busy with so many events that it is likely that a year isn’t even enough for everything. As far as this anime is concerned and especially Futaba’s case, it is like trying to catch us viewers off guard because most of us will either be deliberating she is going to fail (a sad ending that would earn the wrath of fans and thus affect DVD sales) or she is going to pass (a boring generic happy ending). Therefore having her status as status quo means that there might be a possible second season if they ever intend to make one. Or if Futaba ever gets too famous that the need for another season is inevitable.
I would love to draw some comparisons with this anime and Love Get Chu. But unfortunately although it has only been a few years ago that I watched that series, I can’t remember much of it. Thus the reason why I might be saying that this series is slightly the better seiyuu themed one. For one big reason, there wasn’t some sort of love triangle drama that Love Get Chu had and thus turning it into some mini drama and deviating a little from the seiyuu theme. Whereas in here, we have no such romance and love problems and therefore we are very much focused on the girls and the obstacles they go through in order to become the seiyuus they dream to be. Secondly, each episode you can learn a fair share amount of the seiyuu industry as narrated by Futaba’s doll. So whip out your paper and pencil and write them down if you are really budding to become a seiyuu. Like I said, I don’t remember much of Love Get Chu so I am not sure if that series had some informative narrative about the seiyuu industry just like this one.
One thing great about this series is the cameo appearances of several famous popular seiyuus. I didn’t realize this in the first episode because I sure didn’t recognize who Nozawa is as I am not a big fan of Dragonball (that Goku voice… Yeah, that’s her) so I thought she was just another character in the series. And when they start rolling seiyuus that I do recognize, it got me excited and this becomes a motivation for me to look forward to the next episode so that I could guess whose turn is it to appear. The only downside? NO MAMIKO NOTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How can you leave out the most beautiful and respected seiyuu ever in history!!!! THAT’S A FACT!!!!!!!!!!! Hey… Maybe they should do an OVA and just put her in as cameo! A minor downside to this seiyuu cameo per episode is that, well, a couple of episodes do not feature new seiyuus but repeat a featured one. I thought maybe they might do a double cameo feature but unfortunately no. Perhaps they have budget constraints (getting a popular one to voice costs more) or scheduling conflicts. So why does Horie and Kamiya only get to appear twice? Well, Horie is definitely the big goddess, right? What about Kamiya? Is he some sort of God too? Well… Kamiya… Kami-ya… KAMI… Technically he has God in his name… Yeah… And the last episode had no guest seiyuu and instead we are spammed with a montage of all of them. Heck, they didn’t even voice. Just clips of them in action. I feel cheated.
The cameos of veteran seiyuus are also not for show and to appeal or attract viewers. They also provide great advice to Futaba and to those who really want to enter the seiyuu industry. Being in the industry for quite a long time, their experience is very much appreciated. Some have already been voice acting for a decade and it is no doubt that the oldest would be Nozawa as she has been voicing since the 60’s!
Later as I found out, although there is a popular seiyuu making a guest appearance as themselves in every episode, there are also other decently known and new seiyuus appearing as themselves throughout the series such as Akemi Kanda, Madoka Kimura and Chiaki Takahashi. The only problem was their cameos were even shorter and they were not mentioned by name anywhere during the episode. I only found this out when I was browsing the list of seiyuus after I have finished watching this series. But not all popular seiyuus make cameos as themselves as some that I recognized were playing characters in this series like Ayane Sakura as Sayo, Jouji Nakata as one of the sound director and Satomi Satou as Rin’s mom. Those I did not were Hitomi Nabatame as Shiodome, Kenta Miyake as Kaibara, Ami Koshimizu as Atsumari and Nobuyuki Hiyama as Yamori. Of course when you have an anime about new and upcoming seiyuus, normally you would use a newbie as well so it is only right for the main trio to be voiced by up and coming seiyuus. Futaba is voiced by Rie Takahashi (Mii in Gakkou Gurashi), Ichigo by Yuki Nagaku (Aki in Medamayaki No Kimi Itsu Tsubusu), Rin by Marika Kouno (Nemu in Overlord) and Konno by Nozomi Furuki (Mashiro in Chaos Dragon). What a great way to use a mix of new and old seiyuus.
It wouldn’t be right if you have an in-anime idol unit but not take advantage of this and have them sing their songs as the opening and ending themes. In fact like some seiyuus who form a unit idol together (namely Sphere and Petit Milady), they are also starting to take off as one as they have released a few debut singles to coincide with the release of the anime. Let’s hope they stay afloat and not sink into obscurity after their debut. The opening theme is as the same name as the series. But the more interesting and catchy one is the main ending theme, Anata No Omimi Ni Plug In. It is a cute song that wants to make you dance and sing along with the girls. Making it even more interesting is how this song is mixed with other stuffs. There will be a short segment in the middle whereby the girls are free to talk whatever they want or read fan mail. The song then continues with lyrics to summarize the important points of the episode. The best part of it all is the request corner where songs from other anime openings make their cameo by playing a line or two such as Slayers, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s, Sailormoon and Martian Successor Nadesico. Other songs by Earphones such as Mimi No Naka E and Hikari No Saki E are also featured only as special ending.
Futaba is the main character in focus although the rest of her Earphones members also have their own episode in focus albeit it was just one each. Like any other amateur, she is not perfect and has lots of anxiety because the seiyuu industry is just like many other cutthroat industries out there. You might be popular today but something goes wrong and you find yourself out the door the next. Yeah, just like that scandal that hit a certain Haruhi seiyuu years ago… Although this series is not to depict exactly what a seiyuu goes through, at least it gives an idea on what they do and face. So if you are a newbie like Futaba, half of the time you’ll be waiting and feeling anxious over results of whether you get the part or not. In a way, this makes her a funny girl because it is like almost everything that she finds new and unfamiliar, she starts panicking and having butterflies in her stomach. But once she gets busy and gets used to her job as a regular, she becomes a natural with all the experience points gained. Although to say that if she has matured at the end of the series is both yes and no. Futaba is still very much the same person at the end as she was at the start. Anxious, indecisive and low self esteem. But she has improved much on her seiyuu skill ever since. So while it is good that she is moving forward, let’s hope that she doesn’t stay too long and learn fast now that her agency has got their eyes on her. No more fooling around. At the same time, we hope that Futaba won’t drastically change her character (like how fame and money drastically change some) because that was how we know her and we are used to seeing the panicky and clumsy girl that never fails to amuse us. Really.
Having a group of people with different personalities is what makes them popular. It wouldn’t be so much fun when you have overlapping characters, right? That is why Ichigo and Rin are also quite the amusing characters in their own right. Ichigo the strawberry maniac is the bolder and cheekier one of the pack. I thought it would be a running joke that each time she Whatsapp her dad about her feelings or what she is doing, there is a tendency that he would have jumped the gun and putting up some sort of embarrassing old photo or video of her on the social media. Guess it was a good thing this didn’t happen too often, eh? Rin at first looks like a perfect prodigy. Then we get to see that she too has her fair share of problems and dilemmas. The greatest problem for her that she has overcome was her shyness. If we did not have a glimpse of her past, we would never have known that she was this shy of a girl. So shy that she even hides when her mom is talking to her! So this seiyuu job did her something good in the long run. It goes to show that even idols are not perfect and are just human beings. But in that span when they perform on stage, they become perfect angels and show us our dreams.
Other characters feel pretty okay too. Like Konno as the new manager is still hanging in there and learning a lot as she continues working in the industry. Kaibara feels like a joke character grandpa because of his bad naming sense although he is a good guy trying to look out for the girls and give them the very best. Futaba’s senior, Shiodome may something sound harsh in her advice but in this industry, sometimes having sweet words all the way won’t make it. At times Shiodome might regret in perhaps giving such harsh advice but don’t worry, Futaba is a strong girl (we hope) and it will take more than that to break her down. Although, the occasional falling into depression and the need to pull her back out again. Then there are guys like Yamori… The kind you wish you’d never bump into for the rest of your life. Heh. Let me just stop talking about this guy. Remembering his face might just ruin my mood for this series and blog. There are many other more characters that look insignificant and seem they made no impact at all. After all when you are in this industry, you will have to meet lots of people down the line from various sections. But I believe no matter how small interaction they have with our main girls, it still goes a long way.
The art and drawing of the characters seem to be leaning to moe and cute. But I personally feel it is a mixed case for the guest seiyuus. How should I put it… They look as close as they are in real life but so as not for the realism to be very contrasting, they are somewhat reduced to their animated form. Get what I’m saying. It is something like if you want to animate yourself or turn 2D without losing a great deal of your features. Generally the guest stars eventually still have that moe and cute looks. Especially the ‘young’ seiyuus but the older guys seem to look a bit more realistic. Like ossan… Duh… Well, at least overall the characters look cute unlike the chubby-like style for the characters in Love Get Chu.
It goes without saying that if an anime revolves around the anime industry, it would be such a waste not to put in some anime trivia in it. Thanks to my limited knowledge and exposure, I can only spot a hand few such as the titular character of Hayate No Gotoku’s very short cameo. How few? Let’s say I have more fingers on my hand than spotting that trivia. There are also parodies especially that Seven Coloured Titan which is supposed to parody Shingeki No Kyojin (Shichi-iro No Kyojin?). Not too sure about the ethics of self-advertising and promotion because since Gonzo produced this anime, there are a few scenes that blatantly advertises their company. Heck, they even had their HQ animated.
Overall, this anime gives a fun and informative insight on the seiyuu industry. It isn’t just an exclusive industry on its own and it is very much interconnected with the rest of the industries in entertainment. Just like any other show business out there, it is not all that glitter, glitzy and glamorous. There is a lot of hard work to be put in if you are going to reach that stage of stardom. Even so, you’re still going to continue slogging just for the sake of making your fans’ dreams come true. Who’d knew that having a voice and the ability to talk would give such a big hope and dream to everyone. If I was 20 years younger and still in school, I’d probably give this excuse of wanting to be a seiyuu as the reason why I am talking a lot in class. But then again, I was never really much of a talker anyway and more of the silent type.