Hashiri Tsuzukete Yokattatte

January 11, 2019

You might be forgiven if you think that Hashiri Tsuzukete Yokattatte (I’m Glad I Could Keep Running) sounded like a title for an anime about running or marathon. Nope. Not even close to anything running. If you want anything running related in this particular season, please move on to Kaze Ga Tsuyoku Fuite Iru. Otherwise if you wish to continue down this one, then you’ll notice it is about voice acting. Okay. It’s not like we have a voice acting themed anime every season (unlike that cute girls doing cute things genre). If Girlish Number was too dark and b*tch-like while Sore Ga Seiyuu doesn’t feel realistic because of its moe elements, this one might fit the bill. Sort of. Because it has only 4 episodes! 15 minutes each! Ah, what kind of troubles our budding seiyuus will encounter in just 4 freaking episodes…

Episode 1
Minato Suyama looks uninterested when his friend invited him to a voice acting recital. The moment it starts, he became enthralled. And so, now it becomes Minato’s dream to become a seiyuu as he moves into his new apartment and plans to graduate from this famous voice acting academy. It seems this apartment’s previous tenant left a message for her next tenant. Her dream is to become a seiyuu too and she hopes the next tenant would be able to follow his. Minato and other budding seiyuus are quickly tested by the teacher to see their capabilities. For Minato, looks like he needs to breathe some life into his characters. So to say he sounds like a robot? Later as they have a karaoke session (an excuse to sing and hence improve their voice acting), Minato takes a break and notices a girl nervously reciting her lines in the next room. The mind boggling thing is not he recognized it as the voice message in his room but how the f*ck could he hear that distinctive voice if she was reciting in that room?! You know how well padded the walls of the karaoke rooms so as not to leak out sound, right?! Minato learns from his senior, Ryouta Nakata that she is Chikako Oomori. He hands him a flyer that he and Chikako are going to perform in soon. Minato continues his voice acting studying and the teacher concludes he lacks soul. He should put himself in the shoes of his characters to breathe life in it. So now he sounds like a zombie? Later Minato checks out the café place of the recital and meets Kei Ikoma. She is not a seiyuu but an illustrator. Minato notices Chikako outside and this time her face obviously even more troubled. Snippets show her teacher didn’t think she was good enough and this clearly zapped her zest. She doesn’t think she can do it but looks like it is her time to go on stage. Minato can see how scared she is on stage like as though she is an abandoned puppy. Like a different person altogether.

Episode 2
The crowd is baffled at Chikako’s silence at first but as she gets started, it’s nervous all the way. Hey, at least she tried. Later outside, Minato approaches her and has heard her recite. He recites exactly the lines of her voice message. Shocking fate, right? How could he recognize her voice? Because it sounds distinct. I think I’ll need to hear her a lot more times before I can recognize her as unique. Chikako reveals about her nervousness and she was afraid to make mistakes as it will bring ruin to the character she is playing. As they speak more about the positive light one being a seiyuu and the change they want to bring to others, they start acting themselves lines from the script. Not bad. Like as though it sounded so real. Minato continues learning the basics of voice acting and soon there will be this autumn festival in which they will be presenting what they have learnt so far throughout the year. Minato and his friends heard Ryouta got a role in an anime although it is just a very minor character with a single line. Actually, just a screaming line. They have him act it out and they’re so impressed with his professionalism although Ryouta thinks they’re making fun of him. Ryouta invites Minato to the café as it would help develop and benefit his skills too. Oh, Chikako will be there too. Minato notices there aren’t many people around. Chikako notes that this time of year, many quit to focus on other prospective. It’s Chikako’s turn to go on stage but that damn trauma has her nervous again. But thankfully remembering Minato’s words calm her down and she is able to say her lines smoothly now and with confidence.

Episode 3
It has been 4 months since Minato enrolled and he feels he still isn’t up to it. But there will be a script recital to select the most skilled seiyuu for the main role. Minato works hard and his confidence is booming and on the night of his recital, everything went fine. It was the best performance he had. So on the day the results of the roles are announced, it seems Minato just got a side childhood friend character role. The main character role went to his friend, Nobuyuki Tamaru. Minato is in shock so he talks to the teacher to find what he was lacking. Man, he sounds really desperate. Like as though he thought he was going to get the role. The teacher points out he has improved a lot. However he is not the only one to have improved. There is something else he is lacking. He must ask his own heart if he truly wants to breathe life into the characters. Of course he is confused and doesn’t understand what it all means. He still thinks he did everything perfectly. Chikako hears him out but the best way to see what’s troubling him is to do some impromptu voice acting now. He isn’t in the mood but with her being stubborn, he plays along. Hope he finds what he is looking for. Back home, he reads the script of his character again and begins to see the similarities in his real life. The character cannot be as good as the main character no matter how hard he tried. Thus he realizes the need to convey and convey this frustration, words and feelings into that character.

Episode 4
Minato learns that Chikako will be helming a main role at the recital. It might sound like a no brainer but I guess from time to time they need to remind themselves how much they need to breathe life into the characters they play. Because both are going into overdrive mode to practice, they note they might not have time to meet up like this as often as before. All for the dream, right? Just when Minato has really breathed some life into his character and is doing excellent, guess what the teacher says? He is putting in too much emotions! Woah! Don’t want to overdo it there. One night as Minato thought of paying Chikako a visit, he heard from Ryouta that she is out sick and skipped practice. But he finds her bumming out by herself and buys her a honey lemon drink to calm her down. It seems she still has the jitters and stage fright after all this time. Minato looks at it in a positive light. Worrying about her characters is good as it gives her better understanding of a lot of different characters. Chikako is so touched that she cried? She must be having a hard time. Well, can’t stay down forever. Time to move on and achieve her dreams. So the festival is here and we see (hear) Chikako excelling in her role that it gives inspiration to a listener, Shiori Gushiken whom you could tell is going to walk the seiyuu dream. Because the funny thing is that 2 years later Shiori now moves into that same room Minato stays after he has moved out. Yup. Same dreams too. Minato is now casted to play a role in an anime and he is pleasantly surprised to see Chikako around to help as a stand in.

Life In Words
Oh well. Nothing really special. Really. If that is what I have to summarize in one short sentence what this short anime is. Just like in any industry or job that you do, there are drawbacks that would make one nervous. Hence this series making our up and coming main characters having the jitters as they achieve their dream might sound pretty normal but nothing extraordinary. There are actually no dangers of them losing their path and failing to achieve their dream. Nothing that would outright stop them from attaining their goal except themselves. They really would have to screw up big time if they fail to land their dream but thankfully that didn’t happen. That is I said that there is nothing really special about it all. It’s like focusing the mini struggles of some ordinary person. Just pretty normal. Nothing special, I guess. Oh dear. So normal that I sound like a broken recorded. It isn’t that this series is bad but it lacks anything exciting that would be make an impact or be memorable in the long run. I know this is a short series but heck, I have a feeling that porn seiyuu, Koe De Oshigoto would be even more memorable than this one! Yeah, I still remember that one…

If you’re looking for inspiration in the characters to be a seiyuu, well, I don’t think this one cuts it. As said, we see them facing some sort of problems that are just minor stumbling blocks to their dream to be a seiyuu. It’s not a very high obstacle either but when you’re a rookie and newbie, that mini wall could look like a towering one. Hence this is the only ‘drama’ we will mostly see as Minato and Chikako try to find out themselves on how to become a better seiyuu while supporting each other. I guess this way it’s good so they don’t get lost or stray too far from the path as the other will help guide the other back. So you can see when it started off, Chikako was having self-confidence problems. And when she is on the recovery path, it is Minato’s turn to face his own inner demons. So yeah, both helped and supported each other in many ways. It’s a shame that some sort of romance didn’t hit off between the duo. I can understand it didn’t happen (at least on screen) due to the lack of screen time. But if this series was expanded to a full season cour, I am sure they will play this issue up. After all, love and romance in the voice acting industry, I don’t think we have that yet as an anime series.

I know Ryouta’s character plays a supporting role to give Minato and Chikako some motivation since he is their senior and technically has more experience but I don’t even fathom why Kei’s character was even created. Blame the short duration again for not fleshing out her character well enough. Her character can actually be done without as she isn’t even a seiyuu. I am sure behind the scenes she have supported our main duo in many ways but I feel it is a wasted potential. On a trivial note, I find it funny that the same room is rented to budding seiyuu. Because in a certain way, doesn’t it look like a curse?! I guess this curse isn’t so bad. Must be a damn coincidence for the people trying their hands in the same profession to start living in that same particular room. It’s like the owner only rents this particular room out to certain people. Keep this up and we’ll call it a tradition! It’s like history repeating itself, don’t you think? I wonder if this is a subtle way of telling you this is one of the ways how dreams are passed down. Cool.

Art and animation feel pretty normal. It is clean and clear and nothing too messy. After all, this isn’t action driven so no rigorous animation to animate. Though I noticed that the backgrounds have this sketch-like appearance but since our focus are on the characters, you tend not to notice it or get distracted by it. This series is animated by Signal.MD whose only other work that I watched is Net-juu No Susume.

Talking about the voice acting department, I was surprised to learn that Jun Fukuyama was behind Minato’s voice. I didn’t identify him right away since he didn’t sound like his trademark voice that I often hear to recognize him. He sounds pretty normal. Normal as in a way that rookies like me won’t be able to identify if he sounds different than usual. But I guess this means he is doing a great job as a seiyuu. He has to. He is already a veteran in this area. For the other casts, they are Iori Noguchi as Chikako (this is her debut role so it somewhat befits her character role), Kousuke Toriumi as Ryouta (Chopin in ClassicaLoid) and Mai Fuchigami as Kei (Nagisa in Ansatsu No Kyoushitsu). Hearing the very energetic and lively opening theme, Yume Fanfare by Lip x Lip sounded so familiar. That style of exuberance somehow reminded me of Itsudatte Bokura No Koi Wa 10cm Datta. Guess what? Lip x Lip also sang that opener. No wonder. Aikatsu Happy End by =Love also has this feel and lives up to its name.

Overall, this is one of those series where you want something that is not too heavy and doesn’t take up much of your time. But it has become ‘too light’ to constitute to anything special that it makes you wonder if you have wasted your precious little time in watching that something that doesn’t make an everlasting impact or even give you some sort of motivation. Because if you are like those characters here who suddenly get inspired just by hearing the recital, then my friend you haven’t watched any anime in your life or hear character drama CDs. Imagine just that single moment was enough to give you inspiration on your life dreams. Just saw a doujin, now I wanna be a mangaka! Just played an awesome JRPG demo, now I wanna be a game developer! I saw that amazing porn now I wanna be a porn star! Haha! Oops! Get the logic? Speaking of logic, don’t you think this series would be better off titled as Hanashi Tsuzukete Yokattatte (I’m Glad I Could Keep Speaking)? What a missed opportunity…