Love Get Chu

March 24, 2013

Now that I have a peek into the hectic life of a mangaka in Bakuman, it’s time for me to do the same for those being a seiyuu (voice actor). As we know a job of a seiyuu is to bring life to animated characters and for an anime buff like me, I have heard countless of voice roles with some really good ones and well, I won’t say mediocre to others because they wouldn’t really have made it if they weren’t up to mark. Love Get Chu is about 5 different girls with different ambitions trying to aim and become a seiyuu themselves. But just like any other jobs in the world, it isn’t a smooth ride because there will be obstacles to overcome if you are going to stay or even be the best in the industry. They learn a thing or two that being a seiyuu isn’t just about the voice and of course other life lessons that will have them realize what they truly love doing. Of course, the inevitable girl-meets-boy and fall in love although they start out on a bad note and quarrel most of the time.

Episode 1
Momoko Ichihara watches with awe the anime Skater Legend Lover (Sukerabu). Five years later, she takes a train down to Tokyo in her quest to become a seiyuu. She gets firsthand experience the crowded Tokyo trains and thinks somebody’s hand is touching her butt. Actually it is some stuffs belong to Atari Maeda sticking out and his happy face mistaken for being a pervert was because he is sleepy. Momoko screams at the top of the voice enough to crack the windows! She accuses the pervert when she realizes her mistake. She apologizes when they get off the next station but goes off since she is in a hurry. She is outside the audition building of Lambda Eight when a limo pulls up before her. As pointed out by Yurika Sasaki, she is a popular gravure idol, Amane Oohara. Yeah, she came complete with a red carpet and a personal maid, Kiyoka Houjou. Yurika thinks Momoko shouldn’t praise her rivals too much since they are all here for the audition. While waiting for their turn, Momoko learns Yurika is a veteran. Well, this is her fifth time and I’m sure she had no ill intentions to mean that the first four were failures, right? Momoko is eager to join Lambda Eight because of Minato Ichinose. Who? Her future husband. Oh. Keep dreaming… Yurika tries to tell her about the harsh and strict audition procedures but her friend, Tsubasa Onodera doesn’t want her to scare the newbie because she believes ability is all that is needed and not motives. Rinka Suzuki asks the gang about the swimsuits lying around. They find a box containing swimsuits and think part of the audition must have them take a swimsuit test. Keep imagining those hot stuffs… Till a staff finds the box and takes them away after realizing it got put in the wrong audition room. It’s not for them obviously. Then Eri Daimon passes by and since Momoko wonders what the director of the series Sukerabu Amamiya is doing here, Yurika points out she also director of Lambda Eight.

The audition process begins but it seems Eri is pouring cold water on the auditioners. Like Tsubasa, she only wants to play boy roles so Eri keep insisting what happens if she can only play girls roles. Yurika is talkative and positive about her dreams in this industry but Eri doesn’t feel her baseless confidence is right and might as well give up. Amane is given a tongue twister to read and slips up so she argues her voice shouldn’t just be judged but her pretty face and body as well. Rinka is nervous and stammers so Eri reminds her she expects people who come in here to be ready and comfortable with what they’re going to do. Momoko is giving mommy back hope an update status report (I guess her daddy didn’t approve of this). Rinka goes to tell Momoko she is up next. However Rinka was too shy to speak up as Momoko heads the wrong direction for the audition. Instead of going downstairs, she went up. And up and up and up till she hits the rooftop. Oh dear. Her first audition and she’s going to be late. What will she do? She screams at the top of the voice that she is lost! Wow! Enough to crack windows and send cars off the road! Despite in a sound proof room, Eri thought she heard something and requests to turn the speaker volume louder. Then she makes her way up to the rooftop. Guess what’s the first thing she did? She punches Momoko in the gut! What was that for? She commends her strong stomach muscles and tells her she doesn’t have to come for the audition. Oh, she’s so screwed. While everyone is nervously waiting for the results, Eri and the other judges argue who to take in. A guy wants to bring in new seiyuus for the industry but Eri is not in favour of lowering their standards. Hisatoki Edogawa points out to some of the ‘weird’ traits the main characters have and thinks Eri is interested in them too. In the end, our main quintet pass the audition. Momoko is so surprised that she lets loose a deafening scream. Then she realizes she has no place to stay. Yurika suggests an old mansion on the hilltop she can stay for a few days and the rent is cheap. Upon entering, she sees Atari and remembers the ‘pervert’. Maybe this time it’s for real because his towel comes undone. Another high pitched scream, I guess. Hope this doesn’t bring down the old mansion.

Episode 2
Momoko dreams of making it big as a seiyuu and dating Minato. Shucks, it’s all just a dream. Till Atari pops up. Phew. Thank goodness it was all a dream. Momoko meets the dorm manager, Runa Narita as she learns last night ‘perverted’ incident was because Atari was fixing the shower. Had she not knocked him out cold with her bag then. Runa knows Momoko because Yurika called her. Momoko also finds out Atari is an animator and his tough job line means he is sleeping whenever he can. So when his handphone starts ringing and he’s not waking up, Momoko picks it up on his behalf and tells the other line not to bug him since he’s tired. She shuts his handphone off. Since breakfast is soon, Runa hopes Momoko could wake him up. How? Use her loud voice! What a rude awakening. Yeah, everyone is wakened up too. Maybe she should be their alarm clock. Runa introduces Momoko to the other residents. Mayu Kawamura the poor college student, Aoki Yukia the passionate sports instructor, snack bar hostess Junko Wakatsuki, studious lawyer wannabe Sendai (wondered how many times he has failed…). Momoko introduces herself and her goal to be a seiyuu. I’m sure they’re getting ahead of themselves that she’ll become famous. Momoko also explains what a seiyuu is and is glad to demonstrate. She goes back to her room to pick up her precious script book but to her horror, it’s missing. Since Runa is busy, she has Atari help her look for it. I guess he has a crush on her, the only reason why he would help out.

The script book is a precious present she received from the programme and it had Minato’s signature on it. Let’s say that’s where her dream took off. However Atari warns her the harsh realities of becoming a seiyuu as not many can become pros (hinting his own dream failure). She didn’t like his pessimism and vows that nothing is impossible because it’s like he has given up before he started. The search is called off when Atari realizes his handphone is off and is late for work. In his workplace, his colleagues are rife with rumours that he may have got a girlfriend. Momoko attends the voice training institute and the strict teacher, Mizuko Takemiya has the students introduce themselves. If you’re nervous, you’re out. Momoko is nervous but feels the need to make herself stand out so she volunteers to introduce herself. Takemiya doesn’t seem impress and has the girls know that they’re not going to be just reading lines behind a mic. She is going to grind the basics of everything into them and that includes physical stamina and body training. And they think being a seiyuu is just about the voice, eh? Takemiya warns them impatient ones usually drop out and only 10% will be accepted after all the training. Out of that, only a few can become pros. Atari’s words start ringing in Momoko’s head. Atari comes home tired but sees Momoko depressed. Runa hopes Atari could talk to her and cheer her up but I guess there is no need for it because Momoko has found her script book. It was in the wrong luggage and that baggage just arrived today from Kyoto. Runa requests her to demonstrate but Momoko apologizes that she can’t. She will only do so when she becomes a real seiyuu.

Episode 3
It’s that usual good morning awakening courtesy from Momoko again. Effective because everyone’s up. Sendai is looking up on a law on noise disturbance! Momoko notices Atari not at the breakfast table and the others point out it’s no surprise due to his work nature, he will be ‘missing’ for several days straight. Momoko thinks of being in Takemiya’s good books by coming early (keep dreaming) but she faces the same intense rivalry from her seiyuu rivals. So intense that when they try entering the door together, the knob broke! Look what you’ve done now. Takemiya has the girls do kanji dictation (write on the board what she says). Momoko and Amane suck in this but Takemiya points out it is not something bad. Because they know their weaknesses and abilities, they can do their best and improve. Momoko realizes how poor she is when she doesn’t even have money to buy a cheap book and can only afford plain water! Her bank account is close to nil! Her friends suggest taking up a part time job like some of them. Momoko speaks to Runa about her problem when Atari just came back in time. She tells him Momoko’s issue (Atari’s company is hiring part timers) but after seeing how clumsy she is, he knows he’ll be in for trouble and will only have his workload increase. So he lies his company already has enough people. But still, Runa’s worried about newbie Momoko and perhaps this kindness has Atari fooled into taking responsibility to help her secure a part time job. Atari learns Momoko did part times job in Kyoto before. Guess what? She got fired in a day. At a bookstore, she got infatuated reading Sukerabu books and at a ramen shop, she got distracted watching the Sukerabu on TV instead of serving. Momoko spots a job she likes. She’s gone before Atari knew what’s going on. He tails her and finds her working at a maid cafe. She seems pretty natural but didn’t expect her to serve him (he is in a disguise). As part of the job, she tries feeding him while he resists. The struggle has her spill fried rice over his pants. She wants to clean it and their hands accidentally met. She thinks he was on purpose trying to make her hand touch ‘that part’ and beats him up. His disguise falls off. Guess what? She got fired.

Walking back, Momoko reveals she took up that job thinking it was a good experience to act out as a maid serving her master. They pass by a figurine store and Atari passionately narrates the quality animation of an anime director, Ken Kagimoto (who is also his boss). He stops short of finishing his story because he works under his company and doesn’t want Momoko to find out for fear she might come to visit him at work. Atari’s colleague, Kumano happens to walk out of the store. He thinks she is his girlfriend. Since she continues to bug Atari about his company, Kumano tells everything. So surprised that Momoko lets loose her loud shockwave. I think a major traffic accident just happened. The trio chill out at a diner as Kumano explains Atari joined the company because of his love for Sukerabu that produces that anime (though the company is an associated company formed by Kagimoto). Atari has dreams of making something big that would move audiences like that. Atari dozes off and doesn’t wake up as his handphone rings. Momoko picks it up and the other person is anxious for him to get some job done. Atari wakes up in his workplace (Kumano carried him back) and is being told that a part timer has been hired to complete his job. In view of this, Kagimoto gives him more work and to be completed next morning. Guess who the part timer is? Yeah. Momoko. Right off the bat, she already did some mistakes bringing in the wrong stuffs. Though one of the staff, Shinsuke Yamashita is forgiving and nice, he acts cold towards Atari and wants him to get it right. What’s with the double standards? As feared, his workload goes up correcting her mistakes. Though Momoko feels bad, she will do her best with her kanji dictation practice. Till Runa points out all the wrong answers she wrote…

Episode 4
Despite the alarm clock having Momoko’s voice and not even in loud mode, it is still enough to wake Atari up and in a frantic. I guess the conditioning is already there. In class, Momoko is made to recite a hellish takegaki tongue twister. Her nervousness stems from the part when she discovered from her friends that Takemiya was a seiyuu in many famous old animes. The quintet girls are assigned to help out in an event at Ikebukuro for fans that will feature Yuumi Nakamura the singer. They are to take this chance to observe and learn from their seniors on how stars interact with their fans. Momoko is disappointed that it’s not their stage debut till she hears Minato is going to be the emcee. Though Eri warns of not being late and one screw up means you are dismissed. But Momoko is totally over the moon. In cloud nine. She’ll do whatever it takes. So happy that she waltzes into Atari’s workplace despite today being her day off (this means Atari has to do her share of donkey work, eh?). She gets delighted when Kumano gives her a box filled with Sukerabu videos. So happy with the gifts that she starts watching them till the wee hours of the morning. Naturally, this means she gets up late on the all-important day, right? Don’t stand there and get appalled. Start running! Well, can she make it? Thankfully Yamashita and Atari spot her along the way and have her get into the car. Can they make it? Well, Yamashita’s car is fitted with some rocket turbo! Oh sh*t! Hold on tight! So fast that it can drive up the walls!!! And he’s such a pro diver too! Freaking awesome!!!  But there is a traffic jam so it’s up to Atari and Momoko to borrow his double seater bicycle and peddle as hard as they can. Meanwhile the girls are worried about Momoko’s no-show and Eri doesn’t give a damn and wants them to forget about that irresponsible person because they have lots of preparation to do.

When Momoko arrives, no amount of apology would do as Eri tells her to go home (lots of ticking off included). Even when Minato and Yuumi comes in, Momoko isn’t in the mood to get all hysteric when she sees her idol in the flesh. She feels awkward when Eri introduces them to her other friends and leaves her out in one corner. Suddenly the power goes out just before the event starts. Somewhere away from the event, a crane fell and damaged the power cables. Fixing things will take too long and they can’t cancel the event as the fans are waiting. Momoko decides to go on stage and do something about it. Eri wanted to stop her but Minato wants to see what she can do. Despite not having a plan, she manages to catch the crowd’s attention. Then she flawlessly recites the takegaki tongue twister 3 times!!! Can you say all that???!!! Hats off to her for such impeccable tongue twisting! It’s no wonder the crowd loves her. Hear them give their rousing applause. So, does she work well under pressure? The backup generator starts working so the event resumes. While Momoko takes a breather at the backstage, she gets the best present when Minato pats her head. Though Eri continues to admonish her for doing what she wants, at least it’s a sign that she appreciates it since she wants her to correct that tongue twister with Takemiya’s help.

Episode 5
Rinka thinks of quitting the seiyuu business. We see Momoko up early doing morning exercise because Lambda Eight will be holding their annual relay race for trainees. Rumours have it that the winner will get her seiyuu debut because Yuumi was on the winning team a few years ago. So as Momoko and her friends train, she notices diligent Rinka not showing up. Yurika thinks she knows where Rinka is. Momoko visits the doujin convention in Tokyo and is surprised to see Rinka cosplaying in front of her diehard fans. Rinka in turn is surprised to see her. During the break, Momoko learns Rinka is a seiyuu for doujin games. However Rinka says she is doing it as a hobby and plans to quit. She got into the world of seiyuu when her friend invited her to try out voicing a doujin game. Though she got hooked and became famous among her fans, the transition into a real seiyuu is tough and not what she had expected. The last straw came when the relay race was announced. She doesn’t have the stamina and doing such physical stuff will only tire her out and be a burden to the rest. Suddenly Momoko says out a line from Sukerabu and she’s very convincing in it. But I guess she got carried away in praising that motivating scene. Since Momoko needs to leave for a job, she hopes Rinka will run together in the race. Rinka isn’t given time to reply her own feelings that she doesn’t want to join. While the friends think less rivals would be better for them, Momoko is confident that Rinka will turn up for the race.

Unfortunately come race day, Rinka’s nose is nowhere to be seen and as usual, Momoko has to plead to Eri not to disqualify them due to lack of members. She has them make Rinka as the anchor and if that point she still doesn’t turn up, they’ll be disqualified for good. The race starts with Momoko making a good start and building up a gap between the rest. Then she passes the baton to Yurika followed by Tsubasa. Their lead may just be eaten away because Amane is damn slow! Even the kids are running faster than her! If anybody is slower than her, it’s because they slow down to admire those ‘bouncy jugs’. It’s mind boggling that running that slow makes her the one catching her breath the most in the end. However Rinka still hasn’t turned up and Momoko is a second away from admitting to be disqualified. Suddenly the devil turns up. Rinka takes over the race for the final stretch but her pessimism is still there. She is about to give up when Momoko runs up besides her. She is going to run along with her to the finish line. Rinka gets the extra power to push herself and as noted by Takemiya, despite not turning up for the daily race practice, she did practice her daily seiyuu exercises so that in turn helped her built her stamina. Rinka and Momoko cross the finish line together. Later it is revealed that Rinka, who never watched Sukerabu before, went and bought the entire collection and watched it straight and thus overslept. Guess what? She is totally addicted to the show now as we see the Sukerabu enthusiasts discuss their favourite and important scenes.

Episode 6
Tsubasa rushes to class and tumbles down the stairs but is helped up by a guy. Today, Takemiya will have the girls practice a scene behind a mic with another seiyuu. The point of this exercise is to make them be aware of their weak points. Because the scene is about a girl going out on a date, Tsubasa hopes that she could take on a male role. Unfortunately, that role is already given out to Akira Shinjou, the guy who helped Tsubasa earlier on and their senior who graduated from this institute a year ago. Tsubasa starts the practice off but she doesn’t seem to be able to put the right emotions into her dialogue so Takemiya wants her to brush up before next week’s practice. Later as the girls rest, Tsubasa laments she hasn’t been on dates before, that’s why she doesn’t know how a girl is supposed to feel. I guess the other girls also claim they haven’t been on a date before. Tsubasa goes to thank Akira and Rinka hatches a plan when she observes them interact naturally. They plan to have Tsubasa go out on a date with Akira tomorrow at the park and use this experience to improve her acting. Don’t worry. Rinka has mini microphones and ear piece to guide her. Tsubasa meets Akira at the park and the plan seems to be going well be it riding the roller coaster or tea cup ride. Why does Rinka sound like she’s a pro in this area? For the setup in the haunted house, I guess the house was scary enough for the girls so why bother trying to setup something even scarier? I don’t know what Amane brought in her box but it scared the hell out of everybody and Amane herself knocked out cold. So as Rinka prepares herself as a ghost, Yurika and Momoko fool around and cause them all to fall inside the mini lake. Well, at least their scream is real. Tsubasa sees the trio in the lake and realizes she is on her own. But when she tries to fake being scared, they’re already near the exit.

Later when they pass a hero show billboard, Tsubasa reveals she always liked such animes targeted for boys and after watching so many of them, it became a reason why she wanted to voice boys’ roles only. That’s why she can’t do girls’ role. Akira says she should act like herself. There must be a girl on a date that only she can portray and the most important thing to do on a date is to have fun. So here is round 2 of their date. Come next week’s practice, Tsubasa is so convincing with her lines that it is as though she wasn’t acting! She’s like the real deal. Even Takemiya praises her vast improvement. Later her friends spy them on the rooftop. What’s this? Tsubasa going to confess to Akira? This is not an act I believe. The moment we’ve all been waiting for is interrupted when Edogawa goes to congratulate Akira for passing an audition. Seems he has landed a role of a girl’s role like he always wanted. Eh? What does this mean? Akira is a girl!!! Oh sh*t! Poor Tsubasa. Such heartbreak. Because Akira has this voice and looks, it’s hard for her to get girls’ role. Sometimes she gets mistaken as a male on the street. Akira admits she is the opposite from Tsubasa and always had an interest in voicing female roles and that’s how she got into this seiyuu business. Tsubasa’s friends try to cheer her up by throwing a party but Tsubasa has now got a new goal. Since Akira is a pro who can voice both male and female roles, Tsubasa is going to be a great seiyuu like her.

Episode 7
Yurika wakes up from a dream whereby she was bullied by other kids. Atari stood up for her so she naturally takes a liking for him. In class, Yurika flawlessly masters another tongue twisting line. While the rest has their lines memorized, only Momoko is unable to do so. Yurika agrees to help her practice but I guess this is part of her intention to visit Atari. They thought he is watching a perverted video but it turns out to be his debut as an animator for the series Magical Girl Moe Moe Moa-chan. See his name in the credits? But the girls tease him he is still an underling in the company. As Yurika leaves, she hears Momoko making a statement to Atari that if she debuts as a seiyuu, she’ll lend her voice to his animations. He teases her back that her poor voice would be a poor match to his animations. Yurika remembers Atari was good at drawing and his dream to become an animator. This made her wonder if she should become a seiyuu. He is confident she could do it and if she does, he’ll animate them. They made a promise on that. Yurika wonders if he has forgotten about it. Despite Momoko doing well in some speed speech practice, her friends had to rain on her parade that this isn’t going to be enough to pass the promotion exam and that it’s a long way to go before they can debut. Yurika hears more disheartening news how a senior’s debut fell through. Despite doing well in training, it proves that success isn’t guaranteed. A man named Kuroiwa mistakes Yurika sitting alone on the bench for someone waiting for him. She thought he’s some pervert and slaps him. Later at the cafe she apologizes for that and realizes he is from a voice acting agency. The seiyuu he was supposed to meet stood up on him so that’s why he had mistaken her. Since his agency has hardly any seiyuus and he is trying to promote new ones to the industry, he offers Yurika to debut in his agency. Of course she’s going to take this chance.

Yurika talks to Eri that she is quitting. Though she can’t give her reasons, she is confident she will not regret this one. Momoko seems to be the most devastated one hearing this news. So when the duo talk, Yurika reveals she has someone she loves. That person supported her, the reason she could come this far and thus she wants to debut as soon as possible. Later Eri summons Momoko about Yurika’s decision and I suppose Momoko is such a poor liar that she accidentally reveals the agency name. Eri tells her that Kuroiwa is one of the most corrupted men in the industry. He would con students out of their registration money with promise of debuting and make them do shady jobs that many are embarrassed to talk about. Atari sees Yurika heading into a building and is puzzled because he remembers she had lessons with Momoko. He calls Momoko to confirm it so Eri and Momoko rush to where he is right now. Yurika is in a midst of a photo shoot when Kuroiwa wants her to be more daring and strip. She refuses so he gets rough and threatening. Besides, she already signed a contract so she is his merchandise. She feels helpless when suddenly the building starts shaking. Earthquake? Nope. It’s Momoko shouting at the top off her voice! The distraction has Yurika yelling out her whereabouts. Eri’s sharp hearing has her determined the exact room Yurika is in! Atari rushes in to protect her. Kuroiwa panics when he sees Eri. He tries to worm his way out with excuses that he is giving talented seiyuus a debuting chance when Lambda Eight is so busy. Guess what? She gives him a judo throw and rips the contract. A contract made by a conman is not binding. She warns him never to lay his finger on her students. NEVER… Even the cameraman knows what’s good for him and obediently gives his camera, in which Eri breaks the memory card with the snap of her fingers! Holy cow! Yurika cries in the arms of Atari. In the aftermath, Yurika although got scolded by Eri, was also forgiven. She says she wanted to be a seiyuu so badly that’s why she rushed into being one. When they came to her rescue, she felt very happy. She makes a new promise with Atari that when she debuts, he’ll animate that anime. He agrees to her relief. Momoko guesses that Atari is the one Yurika loves.

Episode 8
Amane’s father, Heizou makes his entry into Lambda Eight. I understand he is a big star from the famous historical period series, Grand General Oedo but employing ninjas as his workers? WTF?! Anyway as Heizou talks to Eri, he wants Amane to quit voice acting. That’s because he wants her to be an actress and has already decided her debut in the upcoming Grand General Oedo The Movie. She will be featured in its series subsequently. Amane refuses to do that but Heizou doesn’t view highly of voice acting because he doesn’t consider that as true acting. Momoko has been eavesdropping and didn’t like the way he insulted the industry and crashes in to give her piece of mind. If the other girls didn’t restrain her, she would’ve him beaten up. Well, at least she gets to say and do what she wants without thinking about the repercussions. Heizou has his ninjas take Amane away. Don’t mess with them. Their swords are for real and they even used a real smoke screen to escape! Despite being told by Eri not to meddle in such private affairs, Momoko isn’t going to wait around for a miracle turnaround since their friend who shares the same dream is in trouble. So much to Kiyoka’s happiness that the quartet decide to help Amane out. Kiyoka explains Amane has been strictly raised and groomed for acting. She wanted to go into voice acting to step out of her father’s shadow that’s why she secretly joined Lambda without her father’s approval. The gang arrive in Amane’s traditional Japanese mansion. Looks like a castle… To avoid suspicions from the ninja guards, Kiyoka has them dressed as maids. Though the ninjas are sharp, they’re still dumb because they’re being fooled by Kiyoka as new employees and hope to organize a mixer. Kiyoka knows Amane is confined in one of the confinement cells but doesn’t know it in much detail. Momoko accidentally steps on a trapdoor and falls through. The alarm is set. Now what? Run! Momoko also has to do lots of running or else be done in by the ridiculous traps.  Despite Kiyoka and the rest being cornered by the ninjas, Kiyoka manages to give them the slip by bluffing about some mixer. I guess ninjas like them are so busy that they take out their schedules to compare the free days they have. The girls use this distraction to escape.

Momoko somehow wandered to where Amane is being held (she only has the script for the movie as company). The latter seems to have accepted her fate but Momoko tells her off to stand up and make him understand via her actions. If you are wondering why Momoko sounds so confident and convincing saying that, note that it’s a line from her Sukerabu series. Momoko goes off to find help from the rest but ends up in Heizou’s room. She has a showdown with him, telling him about their voice acting can also move people’s hearts. He is not impressed and sends her falling through another trapdoor. Not again. Heizou goes see Amane for her decision when Momoko crashes in from the ceiling. Where the hell does the trapdoor lead, I don’t know. Though Momoko continues to say what she wants, Heizou isn’t going to listen. Elsewhere Kiyoka and the girls are being cornered by the ninjas. This time they are hard up for the mixer! So happen they are in the electrical room. To distract, they pull the breaker switch! Total blackout! In this moment of darkness, Amane uses her acting skills and recites a line from the movie. Heizou plays along with her. Suddenly, he is transported into the movie. How can this be? Is her performance so good that he is seeing such visions with her voice? I don’t think he’s hallucinating either. Although this proves Amane can act well, her dad says she needs more improvement. But the breakthrough is that he acknowledges acting with one’s voice can indeed move people’s heart. He frees Amane and lets her do what she wants. Though Momoko doesn’t understand what has happened, she’s glad everything is resolved. Well, not everything. Because Kiyoka and the rest are hiding in the locker of the ninjas’ changing room! Of all places, why did they choose to cram themselves in such a small space?

Episode 9
Momoko thought he could go wake sleepyhead Atari up but it seems Yurika beat her to it. Yeah, 3 alarm clocks aren’t enough to wake that kid up. But why does Momoko feel so irritated? As hinted by Runa, when the rival appears, it’s survival! Momoko’s spacing out is so obvious that she misses her next stop on the train. In class, Takemiya tells her students that there will be a special promotion that will give them an opportunity to work as a seiyuu apprentice but it’s not going to be easy. Momoko may be over the moon but it’s going to take more than her cheery disposition to pass because as stated, it’s not unusual to go 3 years without anyone passing. At the park, Momoko and Yurika renew their friendly rivalry towards their seiyuu dream when Momoko suddenly remembers she forgot to take her enunciation book left behind at Lambda Eight’s rooftop. She rushes back and didn’t even notice taking the same lift with Minato till he had to point out to her that she’s that takegaki girl. Learning that she is undergoing a special promotion, he invites her for a private lesson tomorrow. You think she would miss this chance? So happy this girl that she goes to bug Atari at work and tell him what happened (including her fantasy crap about getting married to her idol). However all that happiness suddenly just disappears when Atari gets a call from Yurika to meet tomorrow. She teases him it’s like they’re going on a date but it only serves to irritate her even further. Next morning, Runa thought Momoko was going on a date with Atari but she tells him the truth. Look how disappointed Runa’s face is. At the studio, Minato starts practice off by giving her read a script from his weekly TV series he is voicing. However since one of the characters she is playing sounds close to Yurika’s name, she can’t concentrate. So much so her mind kept wandering off and worried about the date Atari and Yurika are having now. Minato tells her off that she’s not putting her emotions in and stops the lesson. He won’t waste time with a novice who doesn’t even try. Momoko heads back depressed and bumps into Atari on the way in. Obviously he could tell she is lying that her outing was fun. It descended into an argument with both of them challenging each other that the loser must do what the winner says for a day. And Runa can only sigh while watching the lover’s quarrel…

Later Momoko finds out from Yurika that she was just trying to find an old anime with a seiyuu who passed the special promotion and had Atari guide her. In the bath, Runa tells it straight to Momoko that she is in love with Atari. Just that she can’t admit it herself but if she battles it out with Yurika, it may become clear. Momoko takes up the challenge since there’s no point moping. During the special promotion test, the usual quintet are to perform via reading a script from the characters they choose. Momoko and Yurika pick characters that are main rivals to each other and it seems their outburst is very convincing. Are they really just acting? Plus, the script seems to suspiciously mirror about their feelings for a certain guy. I guess it must be very tiring ticking off the other but I guess it’s all just acting because the duo shake hands in the end. The results are out and there is one qualifier: Amane. Although she made mistakes and some slips, she had important and proper skills while standing in front of a mic and keeping her eyes on the script. She also kept in mind the balance between the other cast members. As for Momoko and Yurika, they were trying to ‘defeat the enemy’ and forgot that this is a team effort. Back to square one. Meanwhile we see how bored Runa is because she’s playing paper sumo with Momoko and Yurika. The score she kept has them at a tie. She really likes to see where the romance drama is going between them, eh? So this is perhaps why she is always so ‘busy’.

Episode 10
Obviously Momoko is depressed that she didn’t pass so the dorm residents try to cheer her up. I guess it didn’t work because she just hit rock bottom when she accidentally hit her foot on the table leg. Amane is in an audition for a major role for some anime but it seems the producers are not keen on her despite doing well. In the end, she wasn’t given the role or any minor role at all. Edogawa wanted to fight on for her but Eri feels this will be good experience for her since it was too early to cast her into audition right after passing the test. Naturally, Amane too gets depressed as she starts questioning what she lacks. Edogawa sees Momoko and co to ask if they are free to help out with a Child Girls event at West Ikebukuro. Yuumi is the main seiyuu for this show and the last minute planning has messed things quite a bit. Since Amane is there to help out with the promotion, Edogawa hopes that they can be there to support her thinking she’ll feel better if her friends are around. Plus, this will also be a great chance for them to learn too. Because Momoko doesn’t know what Child Girls is, she enlists Atari’s help to explain. Let’s say it is some magical girl anime popular with girls. At the event, Amane is surprised to see her friends. But it feels good to be back with them again. I don’t know how Momoko can move in that bulky monkey mascot outfit. The event begins with Yuumi going on stage followed by the rest. Ironically if this show is popular with girls, how come there are so many male otaku fans in the crowd?

The Q&A session, the show is suddenly hijacked by the Space Boss from the evil Galactic Alliance. Are they trying to pull off a hero-like programme? It seems these characters are from the anime Space Boss Red Ten that is popular with boys. The crowd loves this cross-over promo but then the organizers and the staffs on stage realize this is a mix up. Well, Space Boss and her underlings got on the wrong stage. Whoops. Because this isn’t in the script, Yuumi isn’t going to do this and hands the mic to Amane and walks off. Amane freezes as she doesn’t know what to do. Eri notes that despite Amane being able to read well from scripts, she is bad at adlibbing and this doesn’t make her a versatile actress. The crowd is getting uneasy over the silence too so Momoko sees Atari in the midst and starts getting into her usual adlib act. She starts off by telling the baddies this is their stage and will challenge them. Her friends follow suit. Of course being the baddies mean you can’t easily leave so they put up a defiant act. The big ‘brawl’ begins with athletic Tsubasa and Rinka pulling off some moves to amaze the crowd. Best promo event ever? The crowd totally love the girls. Space Boss and her goons ‘lost’ and leave the stage. So Yuumi, regretting you left the stage? Who’s stealing the spotlight now? Thanks to their brave efforts and the event’s success, the quartet have been promoted from trainees to apprentice seiyuus. Though Eri is still reserved that they should take their time to be moulded, Edogawa believes in them and can’t let their talent go to waste. So now that their dream has come true, they can look forward to work with Amane together again. And yeah, they’re not dreaming.

Episode 11
Momoko and her friends learn that they will be auditioning for a role as a heroine in an anime that Minato is working with as part of some plan to free up his schedule. The heroine is Misumaru and was from a popular story, Devil Sherlock. However there aren’t many lines on her. Rinka leaves. Why? She knows the role will go to Yuumi since the character fits her well. Though the girls agree but Takemiya wonders if they’re going to give up before it even starts. They should think positive or else they’ll forever be stuck like this. She hints that this may be their chance to beat Yuumi. Momoko tries to get into this Misumaru character by talking like her (she sucks), staring at her picture (she lost obviously) and doing research on the internet. Behold! The infinite amount of information on the web! Scary, huh? So surprised that Misumaru is such a popular character, she is curious enough to check out a forum with a poll to see which seiyuu is fitted to play the character. Guess who? Yup. Yuumi. Momoko regrets doing this much research because now it seems she’s like an obsessed Yuumi fan! As the other girls prepare to take on the character their own way, Momoko rents all the DVDs that features Yuumi. I guess she needs a week so she can’t return them in an hour for free. Skip lunches! She then bumps into Minato who happens to be free and requests his help to assess her lines practice. At the end of it, Minato is frank with her as she requested. He fails her! He can’t work with her! She was trying to imitate Yuumi. Worse, she’s an inferior copy! Because in the world of seiyuu, there is no need for another Yuumi! Another round of depression for Momoko so she seeks solace in Atari. He tells as a fan of Sukerabu, he submitted a picture for the entrance exam which was later used as a new character in Sukerabu. But he was told by Kagimoto not to imitate others. He shows her a magazine that has his name in the credits. Then Momoko goes to watch an episode of Sukerabu whereby the main character is in a slump and tries watching a video of somebody’s awesome move, only to be told to stop. Then she meets a clown skating and is amazed he could skate despite not being a figure skater. It’s because he believed in himself and will always skate in his own way.

On the day of the audition, Misumaru’s lines will be only “I’m sorry. Goodbye”. That is enough to determine who will take on the role. As each of the girls step up and say those short lines, when it came to Momoko’s turn (after doing lots of thinking about the character), she says that line with a happy tone! Of course it left everyone in shock and she regrets doing another blooper. The one who will be playing Misumaru is… Momoko! Though everyone is caught off guard by her unique answer, Minato for that moment saw Misumaru’s expression merged with hers. As for why she said it in that manner, she thought as the characters were parting, she didn’t want it to be on a sad note. The girls are holding a congratulations party for Momoko. Runa reads a message left by Atari to congratulate her and his confession he loves her. FOR REAL?! Oh, Runa just added that last bit. Unfortunately Eri soon calls Momoko to announce the bad news she won’t be taking on that role because despite the producers were okay with it, the author was against it and insists they use Yuumi. Because he is a big fan of hers. Otherwise he won’t give permission to use his work. All for naught? Well, it provided a good experience, no? But I guess the party will have to be put off to another time. And we see a cheeky end note, Yuumi voicing Misumaru on how she apologizes to Momoko and bid her farewell over the disappointing outcome. In a happy tone. I suppose that’s how you’re supposed to say that line…

Episode 12
Momoko’s friends are each doing their seiyuu job well. Feeling left out? Not for long. Momoko will soon make her debut in Child Girls although it’s just a minor side character. Still, she is happy to get a role. So the eager beaver arrives at the studio on her first day and is happy to see many famous seiyuus in the same room. However they seem to be ignoring her or just not too enthusiastic in becoming her friend. Don’t mind because Minato’s presence cheers her up. As a rookie, Momoko gets bossed around. First by Yuumi who wants her to bring coffee for her seniors. I guess Momoko is happy to do it. If she wasn’t this clumsy. And the producer boss doesn’t like clumsy newbies… Momoko gets another first day shock since she’ll be reading her lines based on a storyboard since the animators couldn’t finish it in time. Didn’t learn this in school, eh? How will she go about this? The recording session begins as Momoko observes the veterans in sync fleshing out their character roles (the old guy doing a falsetto voice was bloody hilarious!). Momoko’s confidence level dips when she speaks in the wrong mic and accidentally steps on somebody’s toes. Literally. Then when everybody gets ‘noisy’ (as part of the scene), Momoko feels difficult to combine their voices like that. For a simple line, the producer stops Momoko and wants her to redo it again since she’s not into her character. But the more she repeats, the more she is moving closer to breaking point. Welcome to the harsh realities, girl. Finally the producer just settled for some mediocre line since they’re running short on time and will have someone better to dub over. During the break, Momoko is in no mood to go into happy-happy mode despite Minato come sitting next to her. He reveals a deep secret that he has never told anyone: Everyone in this room started out as rookies.

The session continues and this time Momoko puts more life into her character as well as her own. Despite being told to repeat some lines, she gladly redoes them. After the session ends, the producer talks to Momoko and hoped she had put in such a performance in the first half. So is she up to redo them again? You bet. I don’t know if it’s just saying the same lines, but it took her 35 takes to get it right!!! Thank God it’s over! Well, at least they won’t settle for mediocrity. Meanwhile, Kagimoto sees his wonderful animation work and wants him to start work as a real animator. It’s not over for Momoko yet because there’s something left to be done. What’s that? To party! They do this every week, huh? But so… Why is Momoko serving them?! I guess newbies get the honour to do all the labour and serve their seniors. Then they want her to do her specialty. I guess this means her tongue twisters. Though she is flawless, many of them are drunk and challenge her back. Now you have a bunch of old people spewing nonsense! It’s verbal chaos! Lesson learnt: Don’t provoke veterans. She is thankful for tongue twisters as it was what made her become a real seiyuu. Here is another harsh lesson for her: The dismal pay cheque. A lowly figure to match her lowly status as rookie. So where has all that sunny enthusiasm gone to now?

Episode 13
There’s an advertisement on TV introducing a new idol group called Sister x Sisters from Lambda Eight. Don’t blame Momoko a blur airhead and doesn’t know who they are. The other girls don’t know what’s going on too. Even Eri is not happy about this but Edogawa mentions they have already invested a lot in it thought Yamawaki Denki is the one sponsoring them. Momoko and co are called in and they are surprised that they will become Sister x Sisters. Eri objects and wants to send out a correction notice to all media but Edogawa shows her the financial situation of Lambda Eight. It takes a lot of money to keep this training institute running and they’re far in debt. So to recoup the losses, he organized this project and it will be troublesome if Eri cancels it and ignores this opportunity. He gives her 2 choices: Shut down the training institution or promote them as idols. Momoko and the girls want to help out because they’ve taught them so much. I guess Eri okays it even if she doesn’t seem happy. Edogawa has a drink with the president of Yamawaki Denki. The latter is confident this project will succeed as he has exclusive licence for Sister x Sisters. Plus, he is confident the new age is no longer maids but sisters. Runa is happy that Momoko is part of this idol group and shows it to Atari. However he just got back late. He’s tired and thinks it’s a joke. Goodnight. Meanwhile Takemiya talks to Eri who is still opposing to this idol project. So much so she would rather go out of business than sacrifice those girls to stay in business and feels responsible for them. But Takemiya points out the girls may be willing to sacrifice themselves and should have more faith in them. Momoko works hard as an idol and has been coming home late and tired. Just like Atari, eh? So when the duo talk, I guess this time he believes. She congratulates him for becoming a real animator but it’s no walk in the park either since it’s tough. Momoko gives him and his colleagues tickets to her idol debut.

The event is a sell-out with fans waiting in line and being given prominent coverage by the media. This is going to be big. Everyone eagerly awaits the new idol group as Yamawaki Denki President introduces them on stage. Wait a minute. The girls in nun outfits? Is this what he meant by being sisters? The crowd is not pleased. Deafening silence… Apparently this is Edogawa’s mistake because he thought this is what sister’s meant! The crowd becomes restless and the girls are taken off stage. Because the President’s mic is still on, the crowd could hear him blow his top to Edogawa that he is through with this project and won’t invest a single penny anymore. He blames Lambda Eight for this failure and to take full responsibility for his loss. Momoko pleads to go out on stage and will do something about it. The crowd starts cheering for the girls. Rinka gets an idea to modify their outfit. When they go back on stage, they start off with a line worthy of Sunday Service preaching. They come out with an idea that sisters = nuns because in addition to wanting to be their cute little sisters, they will also do their best to honour God. Everyone revels in this new concept as the girls start singing. Some of lyrics are quite amusing. God = big brother? Well… The crowd totally loves them while Yamawaki Denki President thinks all this is his idea and takes the credit. Well, as long as he is happy and keep pouring in the funds.

Episode 14
Sister x Sisters are fast becoming the new popular idols. Momoko is in some talk show whereby an admired person behind a person gets to kiss her. Guess who? Well, it’s Atari! Turns out to be a dream. Should’ve seen this coming. So Momoko reminisces about the times with Atari (mostly the arguing part) when Runa comes in to inform her she got a call from her office. Damn right. She remembers she has a calendar photo shoot session today. She forgot to recharge her handphone. She’s almost an hour late already! Get your ass moving! She manages to arrive and the session begins. Though the cameraman feel Momoko isn’t the prettiest among the lot, she is the best and most natural. The girls quickly move from one schedule to another. Yeah, no breathing space but Momoko looks forward to it all. Meanwhile Atari is having it tough with his job. He has been doing retakes and the work is piling up since he can’t draw what he wants. See his dustbin filled with crumpled paper? He isn’t amused when his colleagues start playing aloud Sister x Sisters radio talk show. Everyone except him wants to hear. Yeah, maybe that’ll be a distraction. Atari comes home late that night at the same with Momoko. She’s noisy and energetic. Is she drunk?! I hope not. She wants to treat him but he’s not in the mood, especially when she’s teasing him like a kid. Suddenly she collapses and he realizes she has fever. Next morning, Momoko wakes up in her bed and feeling better but doesn’t remember what happened last night. During a recording session with Minato and Yuumi, Momoko’s manager comes pick her up because of her schedule. Yuumi is a b*tch because she tells Momoko off now that she’s famous, she can do whatever she likes and not respect her seniors. I think it is her who doesn’t respect anybody.

Atari is more stressed at work when he gets a call from Yurika. As they talk, she wants to know what he thinks of Momoko. Does she like her? Get where she is getting? Well, he shrugs off he likes her and she is just some strange noisy neighbour. That’s why Yurika doesn’t want him to hold back. When Momoko learns what happened the night she got a fever from Runa (Atari dragged her to bed and she seemed heavy. Of course. After all that partying). She feels guilty upon remembering saying some bad things so Runa tells her to rush down to the bank and to organize a party with good food. Well, the way to a man’s heart is to his stomach. At least she could him to forgive her, right? So she makes haste and is shocked to see her bank account… She never knew her pay was this high!!! No more a poor struggling girl, eh? She later invites to treat him but Atari refuses and as expected, it descends into a lover’s spat. Now they hate each other without even understanding what the other meant. Busybodies Kumano and Yamashita could only watch and sigh. Atari resumes his work when he gets an important call from Yurika. What is it that is so important that he is willing to rush out from his office to meet her at the park? She shows him a Dragon Cola bottle. Erm… Well, I guess it must be one of his favourite things in life. It seems the duo love drinking this when they’re young but it suddenly stopped production and ‘disappeared’. Atari is just happy to see such a bottle since it brings back nostalgic memories. They both have a taste of nostalgia and I think the bottle won’t be enough to satiate everything. So as they tussle to have a bigger share, Atari falls on top of her. Don’t just stare at each other. The precious drink is spilling!!!

Episode 15
Are all the otaku fan boys willing to reform and confess to their Sister x Sisters? You bet! During the break, Rinka wonders how long this idol unit will last. It made Momoko remember Atari’s words that he has no interest in idols like her. It made her pissed and fired up to do her best. As for Yurika, she remembers the night in the park. It almost led to a kiss if not for a bunch of wise cracking kids commenting on their actions. Darn. Ruined everything. He rushes back to work. Disappointed, Yurika? Yeah. She was this close to chu~. Edogawa shows Eri their schedule that will follow Sister x Sisters’ route. Or else it’s closure for the company. Since Momoko and Atari still aren’t on good terms, it’s natural they fight and ignore each other. I guess Runa doesn’t want the drama to head into this direction so she tries to mediate but becomes their messenger. I guess it must be tiring to bring insulting messages back and forth so she’ll take a last message from Atari. It leaves Momoko baffled because she doesn’t understand, “Only your voice is being heard lately”. The staffs behind the recording lines seem to be easier on Momoko now that she’s an idol. She also gets to know her other friends are each with their own busy schedule so they can’t always be an idol unit together. As a special guest on a radio programme, Momoko is a natural klutz but that is what everybody loves about her. I guess he picked up a reputation as such. Momoko is quite famous that you can say people recognize her in the streets and school girls are eager to shake her hand.

After a hard day’s work, Runa greets her and shows her a package her mom sent her. Inside, lots of nostalgic items from her childhood years. It seems Edogawa called mommy to bring such albums to the office. Apparently it’s going to be used in the next event and you know, childhood items of idols can really fetch a high price. There is also a CD in which personally Momoko dubbed herself a Sukerabu scene in which she voiced all the characters! She is embarrassed to listen to it but Runa is eager to hear it. As Momoko cowers in embarrassment about her voice that sucked at that time, Runa points out she used different voices for various people and roles. It looked like she was having fun. But recently the work she is doing as an idol, she is only using one voice and it is the only one being heard. That was the meaning of message of what Atari was trying to tell her. Momoko realizes Atari has always been listening to her. She sees a message in her old sketchbook that she aspires to have a good voice. Momoko goes to see Eri and wants to do work that involves her voice. Although it will be tough to make arrangements for her tight schedule, she already has made Takemiya as her manager. She looks forward to work with her again. Momoko is thinking of a way to apologize to Atari and spots him across the road. Then she sees Yurika passing by. They chat friendly and to Momoko’s shock, she sees Yurika hugging Atari. They leave to get food and Momoko is left to ponder this prickly feeling in her heart. We all know what it is, right?

Episode 16
I’m sure you can tell something is wrong when Momoko doesn’t have her usual appetite (she eats 3 bowls of rice as her usual serving!) and she’s being a little forgetful. Her cheery expression seems fake and forced. It doesn’t get better seeing that Yurika has been happy-happy recently. Yamashita has Kumano take over some of Atari’s retakes because at this rate, he’ll never get things done. Yurika calls Atari to meet. Knowing he is busy, she bought him some food. He has got to eat properly otherwise he can’t work. She also hints that if he has any problems, he can talk with her since they are like cousins so there’s no need to hold back. Momoko can’t focus on her voice acting and it gets worse when the role she is playing involves a childhood friend. Yeah, it’s odd that she needs to do a couple of retakes when it should be easy pie. During a variety show featuring Sister x Sisters, Rinka cheekily hints Yurika has a boyfriend. She is happy to talk about it but Momoko cuts her off and wants to tell hers instead. Then she got her tongue tied so Amane had to improvise that the person she loves or rather admires is Heizou to avoid Momoko getting further red faced. Momoko wakes up from another dream whereby Yurika snatches Atari away from her just as she was about to confess. Man, she has got to stop this kind of dreams because it makes her late for work! Worse, she forgot her script for the recording session. It’s like every seiyuu’s bible.

After the session, Eri wants Momoko to follow her. At a bar, she gives her drink a non-alcoholic sweet honey drink which is good for the throat. She asks if she is in love. She can’t answer. Bull’s eye. Her only advice is she should be her usual self. Momoko gets the hint and rushes off. She calls Yurika to tell her that she likes Atari. She doesn’t want to run away anymore and will face it head on. Despite knowing they are going out, she wants to go all-out on him too and she can’t stop these feelings. Yurika may not look happy but she won’t lose either. She manages to maintain her composure. It’s good because how would you like it if friends suddenly scream b*tch at each other? Momoko goes to see Atari but her first greeting has him completely ignore her. To get his attention, she starts saying lines from a scene from Sukerabu. Just when the atmosphere is getting good, her growling stomach had to ruin it. But at least it breaks the ice. Atari admits her heard her other voice. They both apologize and make up as Atari agrees to treat her to lunch. With that, Atari is more fired up to complete his work. Even Runa notices Momoko extra happy today. Atari is supposed to meet her for lunch when suddenly he collapses. Kumano and Yamashita become alarmed at his unconscious body and call the ambulance. Meanwhile Momoko is waiting for Atari to show up. She calls him but he doesn’t pick up.

Episode 17
Momoko gets a call from Atari’s colleague that he is unconscious in hospital. She rushes to the train station but Takemiya calls her to get her ass to the office now because they’re supposed to be getting ready for a trip to Nagoya for a radio programme. Will she choose her career or love? She didn’t board the train… Momoko tells Takemiya she can’t go because an important friend has collapsed. Takemiya advises her not to let personal feelings affect her job. If it’s family or relative she would understand but a boyfriend… So off they go to Nagoya and Yurika heard all that. Momoko couldn’t stop thinking about it so she calls Rinka to visit him on her behalf. Unfortunately she missed the visiting hours and Momoko panicked thinking the visiting was declined. When they reach the radio station, Yuumi goes into b*tch mode once more, chiding Momoko for being rude to her senior (she greet her without her usual enthusiasm). This works her up and she redoes the take all over again with sarcasm. Hey, at least it brings her back. Atari wakes up in hospital, frantic about the lost time and his missing handphone. Seems he had anaemia due to lack of sleep and overwork. To celebrate his recovery, his colleagues take him out to drink. Well, they might regret that since Atari got drunk and is blabbing his mouth off. After the radio programme, Momoko thanks Yurika for helping her regain her composure today. She goes back to the hotel and was being told by Rinka about what actually happened to Atari till his discharge. She feels relieved. She calls him but of course his handphone is dropped at his workplace. She hangs up thinking she shouldn’t be bothering him and lets him rest.

Atari is being brought back to the dorm via taxi where Yurika is waiting (I guess she didn’t know which hospital to look for). Still drunk, he hugs her but sees Momoko in her. She helps him to bed. Meanwhile Momoko is having a nice romantic dream with Atari. See the smirk on her face? Makes her look like a pervert… Elsewhere Amane picks up Rinka and Tsubasa, wondering if they have heard something from Edogawa. She is suspicious he may be doing something behind Eri’s back and has her doubts over this idol thingy as it seems a lot more complicated than before when it was first formed to save the institution. Next morning, Atari wakes up and to his horror, Yurika is sleeping right beside him! He doesn’t remember much but Yurika’s ambiguous words seem to hint that something big happened last night. “To spend my first night with you…”. Oh sh*t! How can he not remember the most wonderful time last night?! On second thought, he should be worried alright. Make that very worried. Yurika dresses up and leaves for work as she mentions she is glad to fall in love with him. Soon Momoko returns and is happy to see him back to normal. She wants to treat him to something delicious to get his energy back but he apologizes he can’t do lunch with her anymore. Why? Because he has decided to go out with Yurika…

Episode 18
Edogawa seems to be making some backdoor suspicious dealings with the person on the other end of the phone. Sister x Sisters and Yuumi are onboard a train to a fan appreciation event at the beach. Momoko is her usual lively self, checking out the swimsuits of the girls. Till she spots Yurika in a corner talking on her handphone to Atari. Tsubasa also spots her and teases her about her boyfriend in which she admits. Then Momoko lets everyone know his name and gives the thumbs up to Yurika. The appreciation event includes BBQ food for fans, photo session and a volleyball match. Even after the event, each time we see Momoko in her lively self, but something as though is not right. Like as though she is forcing herself to be happy. Back at Tokyo after another recording session, Amane talks to Momoko that she has thought about quitting Sister x Sisters because she prefers plays after all. She thought she wanted to let her know her feelings. She also points out that Momoko seems to be putting up an act hiding something from her but I guess Momoko must be a ‘veteran’ doing so and brushes it off. Atari hears rumours from Kumano that Sukerabu is going to get a sequel and becomes excited. Yurika visits the dorm and since Atari isn’t back yet, takes the initiative to clean his room. I wonder if that means drawing a love umbrella is his book. But a photo of Momoko drops out from it. Oh gosh. It’s that feeling once more. She keeps the photo when Atari returns and starts ranting the good news of Sukerabu’s sequel, which of course doesn’t sit well with Yurika. Sukerabu = Momoko, right? She wants him to kiss her. Momoko also returns and learns from Runa that Atari is back (but she was too slow to say Yurika is with him – hoping something, eh?). Can we see where this is going? I guess if you’re a guy and being ‘invited’ by a girl to kiss, you won’t let go this chance, right? He was about to kiss her but Yurika teases him she’s just joking and shouldn’t fall for it so easily because guys are the ones who are supposed to take the lead. Suddenly Atari trips and falls over Yurika! Jenjenjeng! Momoko has second thoughts about visiting Atari but she heard some ‘sound’ coming from his room. Peeking from the door, it looks as though they are kissing! Oh. Then they notice Momoko looking. Guess what? She leaves with a smile. You think that’s alright? Her heart must be breaking into a million pieces by now. Meanwhile Edogawa hands his resignation letter to Eri.

Episode 19
Momoko learns from Amane and Rinka that Edogawa is resigning. What will become of Sister x Sisters now? She is confident with Rinka around, they’ll be alright because she always helps out with the events. They observe Momoko interact with a staff and Amane can tell she’s forcing herself with her happy act. During the recording session, Momoko suddenly loses her voice! Oh no! Worst nightmare for a seiyuu! The rest thinks it is fatigue or over use of her voice but we know it’s the problem of love, right? Atari seems depressed about that misunderstood situation too so his colleagues think he has girlfriend problems and make him call Yurika to invite her out. Momoko is over the moon when Atari tells her about Sukerabu’s sequel. Yurika sees them so in sync about Sukerabu and you can tell she doesn’t like it one bit. So when she comes in, Momoko lets her hog Atari. Now it’s Momoko’s turn to sulk somewhere. And Runa has this tendency to even quip Sukerabu vs nikujaga (Atari’s favourite meal that Yurika brought over). Yurika invites Atari to go to the hotspring with her this Saturday. Runa seems disappointed when Momoko says she has a new love: Her work. Yeah, she has no time to fall in love. That smiley face isn’t just convincing. Eri gathers the girls to say that Sister x Sisters will be disbanded effective today. Also, Rinka announces that she will be leaving Lambda Eight along with Yuumi to join Edogawa’s agency. She thanks Momoko for everything because of her straightforwardness, it made her want to be like that too. Momoko still faces the same problem of her voice loss during recordings so she is advised to take some rest. Atari is called by Kagimoto and he will have a part in the production of Sukerabu’s sequel. He is happy to take the job and knows with this busy schedule he can’t meet up with Yurika. He calls her about it and though she agreed, she changes her mind when she learns he is supposed to do character design for Sukerabu. She wants him to come to the hotspring. No buts about it. She’ll be waiting.

Amane confronts Momoko to tell her that she is confused and has forgotten. The reason she lost her voice is because she is in love with Atari. From the moment Yurika dated him, she has been hiding her own feelings and putting up an act in front of everybody. If she doesn’t clear her feelings soon, she’ll remain like this forever. If she wants to continue her path as a seiyuu, she must forget about him. I guess it’s time for some reflection. Yeah, moments she spent with Atari. So I guess this means she can’t go through with it, no? Because it looks like she has talked to Eri about quitting and she’s okay with it. After all, she believes Momoko’s path is to be a seiyuu and will return one day. Atari meets Yurika at the train station and wants to clear things up. I think she knows what she’ll be hearing so she refuses to listen and goes home. But she ends up calling Tsubasa and confides in her. Tsubasa thought he is a jerk to make her cry and was going to punch him but Yurika holds her back admitting this is her own fault. So Yurika calls to meet Atari once more. He confesses he can’t go out with her. She knew it from the start because she had known him for a long time. She calls him the worse but also admits she is even worse. In addition, she reveals nothing happened between them that night. She lied because she always loved him and didn’t want anybody to take him away but made him suffer instead. He also apologizes that he wanted to properly cherish her feelings when they first dated but couldn’t answer her feelings nor make her smile. Yurika is glad that he let her know his feelings. All this ranting made them hungry so they go get something to eat. Meanwhile Momoko waits for the train that will take her back to Kyoto.

Episode 20
Atari finishes his character design and wants to show it to Momoko first. But when he returns, Momoko’s room is all emptied. Runa says she has already returned to Kyoto. He wanted to call her but Runa says it’s useless and won’t connect because she tried 2,576 times last night!!! Unbelievable!!! This manager has nothing else better to do? I know she’s worried but 2,000 over times?! Anyway, what is more worrying is that when she called her hometown, she isn’t back yet when she is supposed to. So, she’s gone missing? Eri tells her friends about this too but doesn’t want them to go looking for her because it will be useless if she doesn’t come back on her own will. They feel they’ve said too much to her but won’t wait for a miracle to happen. They go see Rinka and tell her what has happened. Rinka tells what happened during the time Atari got hospitalized, the emotions she went through and it made him realize how much she cared for him. Right now all they can do is look for her. Atari thinks to look at the ice skating rink that inspired Sukerabu. True enough, she is there but they missed her because she just left. Takemiya catches Eri reading the Sukerabu script and voice acting alone. It brings back nostalgic memories. She notes if Eri hadn’t pursued her dream of becoming an idol, she wouldn’t have damaged her voice. Eri thinks she might have been envious of Momoko from the start (because they are somewhat similar except for the clumsiness part) and hopes she will come back. The gang are searching every place that has got to do with Sukerabu but to no avail. Kiyoka thinks she might be taking a chartered bus since a person leaving town would normally do so as final commemoration. Amane dismisses it for a carefree person like Momoko. Don’t say, because there she is taking one! And the bus just passed them! Rinka feels that if she was Momoko, she would be visiting places she had memories with Atari. He doesn’t think so and there aren’t many places. It may be trivial to him but important to Momoko. Just then, Edogawa calls Rinka and he’s in a pinch. The emcee for Child Girls’ event became ill and he needs one now. Rinka will do her best to come. Where is it? West Ikebukuro. Atari realizes Momoko may be here.

True enough, there she is and the Child Girls event is bringing back memories. Edogawa spots her and begs her to help him out. I guess she has no choice. She is flipping through the script quickly and needs to memorize her lines. Yuumi just finished the first half and warns there is a little acting in the second half. Momoko feels she can’t do it. Edogawa pleads to her to be herself but she says she loses her voice when she acts and has already given up being a seiyuu. But Yuumi wants her to do it anyway and not screw up or disappoint the guests since she’s here. Rinka just arrives but before Momoko could switch with her, it’s their cue to go up on stage. Though Momoko still has stage fright, Yuumi’s prodding manages to give her the little push and carry on. All seems to be going well till the baddies take the kids from the audience as hostage. This is where she needs to act. Stage fright once more. How does Momoko overcome this? She starts narrating lines from Sukerabu! It might not be related and it seems to fit more towards herself of not giving up her own dreams and such, it was touching enough for the rest to make little improvisations and end the play with the usual bang. At the end of the event, Edogawa is grateful to her though she has made up her mind of quitting the seiyuu business. Atari gets mad and slaps her! Is this how much her feelings to be a seiyuu are? He scolds her for easily giving up after losing her voice. She slaps him and blames him as the cause. He reminds her about their promise bet. Since he has ‘won’, she must fulfil her promise. As he will be designing the character for Sukerabu II, she must audition for the heroine’s role. She accepts it and their argument-cum-face-off continues. The rest didn’t expect this because they thought they would be hugging and encouraging each other. Maybe they watched too much shoujo manga. Yurika thinks Momoko doesn’t know she and Atari had broken up. So is it okay to leave them like this? Maybe. Maybe not.

Episode 21
Despite being pissed off (see the way she cuts the radish!), Momoko rejoices when Takemiya calls to inform her she has made it past the first round of auditions to voice the heroine of Sukerabu II, Ai Amamiya. She will have to come down to the agency tomorrow and discuss further. Now Momoko is on fire (figuratively speaking. Maybe literally too) to prove she’ll be the heroine of the series. Yamawaki Denki President hosts a press conference to introduce the crew for Sukerabu II that includes Atari as the character design and Kagimoto as the director. However the seiyuu role for Ai is still unknown. This means the story has not been decided yet and the entire production will depend on the new seiyuu voicing her. So did they just waste big money for this press conference at the skating rink? Because Yamawaki Denki President just wants to show off his skating skills. WTF. Atari asks Kagimoto why he hasn’t think up of a storyline yet and wonders where his character designs went to. Though they aren’t bad, it doesn’t mean they are acceptable because it has the feel that it is restrained to the previous Ai. He wants Atari to give consideration to the new Ai and knows his Ai won’t just end there. Momoko and her friends discuss on the second audition for Sukerabu II. It might be tough seeing that nothing is decided yet as they are to freely act and create the new Ai using their skills. Eri nominates herself to be part of the panel of judges since she’s the previous seiyuu for Ai. I guess the promotion for the audition was so wide and the response bloody good that you need to have a stadium to host the hopefuls. Hundreds or maybe thousands are packed inside it that will be broadcast live. Young and old (52 year old hag wants to be a heroine?!), unknown and famous seiyuus are vying for that coveted role. Yamawaki Denki President hosts the event as he introduces some of the judges that includes Eri, Kagimoto and Atari (he isn’t pleased to have such role but his boss points out this is one way to learn).

So how do you reduce the massive amount of hopefuls? Do a true or false quiz! What the?! Is this really a voice acting audition? Unless you’re an obsessed freak about the show, you won’t really know the details of what happened in episode so and so. Thanks to Momoko and Rinka, the group of friends manage to get pass to the final round in which Yuumi is in. The final tricky question has Momoko and her friends at different ends with Yuumi. Till she realizes something amiss and they quickly change their answer. Thank goodness or else they would have failed. Unless you bought a limited edition of this series, you won’t know the true answer to this question. It might be unfair but I guess if you really want to know about the character, you really need to have all the goods, right? The next round has the final 15 girls write an essay on their personal thoughts on the Ai’s role. At the backstage, Kagimoto just takes a quick swipe and knows who to fail! Those that wrote “I’ll do my best” are instant failures because this is expected when they take on the role and should’ve written something more interesting. Of course there are a few that caught his attention. In the end, it isn’t a surprised when the usual suspects pass. Yup, Momoko and her friends plus Yuumi. Suddenly they are dropped in a middle of the sea in a small raft together. WTF?! And to think that this is an audition to voice the heroine…

Episode 22
So has the third audition stage turned into a reality series? Because their interactions and stay on the island will be broadcasted live for 3 days and will be voted by the judges and the selected 20 from the audience. The girls were briefed on their way that the island will be fitted with cameras to watch their every move. They will be judged at the end of 3 days on how they perceive and act out Ai’s personality. There is also an emergency button for them should they require urgent assistance but doing so will mean forfeiting their chance in the audition. Momoko and friends start helping out to make tent, gather water and other necessities. Yuumi just went on by herself. Shows you her character, eh? You know what they say that no man is an island. Oh, she’s a woman ;p. Momoko notices Rinka’s depression when they are collecting water. So she shoves her into a cart and they slide into the lake! Despite being a WTF scene, at least it cheered Rinka up. But the problem is, she accidentally stepped on her emergency button! She is taken off the island but has no regrets as she tells her friends she prefers being an idol singer. She was confused when she got here but thanks to Momoko, she remembers she wants to be like her and do what she likes. Yuumi wastes no time in listing down Ai’s characteristics while Yurika talks to Momoko that she has broken up with Atari. Next day, the girls see Yuumi in an impeccable acting of Ai near the waterfall. She’s really into the role. Everyone goes off their own way, trying to interpret Ai. Well, I’m not sure about Momoko. She seems like having fun. Catching fish? Night falls and Momoko hasn’t returned so the friends go look for her but bump into Yuumi. Doesn’t she get tired of acting like a b*tch 24/7? She tells them they should be concerned about themselves and who knows, Momoko may have forfeited and left the island.

On the final day, Momoko is still missing but the judges will carry out their test. They want the girls to act out different ages of Ai. Yuumi goes first and is very impressive. Soon the rest have their go and each give a different perspective of Ai (Tsubasa turned the character into a boy!). Finally Momoko is spotted on one of the cameras. Everybody rushes there to see her talking to animals!!! WTF???!!! They’re listening to her too!!! She has become one with the animals! She has become one with the island! Amazing! When she is snapped out of it, she panics upon realizing she has missed the audition. Soon the result for the final audition stage is announced. Yuumi and Momoko are the finalists. Though in normal circumstances she would’ve been disqualified, Kagimoto states that as long as one is interesting, one can never be disqualified. Atari wonders if there is a theme or criteria in selecting the heroine. Kagimoto whispers ‘Goddess of Skating’. Momoko goes to thank Yuumi for inspiring her after watching her act at the waterfall. Yuumi isn’t pleased because she painstakingly crafted all that out and she copied her so easily. She refuses to shake her hands and throws down the challenge that the real battle starts now. Indeed.

Episode 23
The one who wins the heroine’s role will be billed as the number one seiyuu. I guess Momoko is nervous but she’s putting up different faces. In front of her friends, she’s like a happy idiot who knows not the meaning of nervousness that it’s annoying. Alone in her room, she’s a worrywart. The final audition is about to start and it will be free acting. Each will perform a skit in a limited time to enact their own version of Ai. No title, no backdrop, no setting. They’ll get a little help with Minato to co-act and some background music to suit the atmosphere. Yuumi goes first and she starts right off the bat in a heated argument with her foster father who is against her into figure skating. She even slaps him! I guess she is so good in the role and into her character that we start to see the backdrops and everything. Even the icy aura emanating from her!!! Not special effects! Yuumi’s top notch acting earns the applause of the crowd. As usual, Momoko becomes discouraged that she can’t beat her so her friends go backstage to give her their support. If rooting for her isn’t enough, Yurika relays a message from Atari. He had nothing to say to her. Eh? When Yurika spoke to him last night, he can’t give any advice to her since he has to be impartial as he is one of the judges. Plus, she is already a professional seiyuu so there is nothing more he could tell her. That’s why he should just focus on what he is doing now. That’s the best reply he can give her for the audition.

Now it’s Momoko’s turn to take the spotlight. Hers is a total opposite of Yuumi’s because she portrays Ai as a lively and newly transferred student in class. A ditz and klutz who loves figure skating but knows nuts about it! Suddenly the scene changes to her skating in the ring but flops. Even her handphone bunny, Usamaru makes its appearance as a magical bunny to grant her skating powers! Then it becomes mahou shoujo-like when Minato as the baddie tries to steal the bunny so Momoko transforms into some skater girl fighter to fight him with moves that beat him up resembling very much like figure skating manoeuvres. In the end, was it all just a dream because she finds herself back in the classroom. Maybe not. Because Usamaru just gave her a cheeky wink. Maybe she was a second too long so her time ended before she could finish her final sentence. The crowd goes silent. Momoko finishes her line and the crowd applauses with overwhelming approval. I guess she is good in her own way that Minato compliments that she made him forget that he was acting. Eri knows this will be a close call. The judges won’t be able to determine this and the only person who will decide it all is Kagimoto.

Episode 24
Six months have passed and Runa and some of the dorm residents are more worried that nothing has progressed between Momoko and Atari. Momoko comes in wearing a formal black suit but the rest disapprove of it and have their own ideas (and fantasies) what she should wear for this important reunion. Six months is a long time so things have changed. Junko is going to become a mother, Yukia has passed his audition to be a sports coach and Sendai passed his law exam and is now at a boarding school to be a lawyer. Runa remembers Atari putting up a depressed expression when she asked him about Momoko. He said she had forgotten something important. Runa hopes she can remember what it was before they meet up. Atari meets up with Yukari and it seems the former is trying to get some jewellery. However Yurika is not pleased that since he has the sketchbook, this should suffice instead of the jewellery and should take this and get going. Momoko goes to see Amane during the latter’s break during a shooting of a film to ask what was that she had forgotten. Though Amane didn’t know what it was, the talk deviated as she learnt from Momoko not to be fussy and enjoy things to the fullest. Kumano is going crazy when Kagimoto tells him Atari was serious about doing something major. It leaves the poor guy laments being abandoned and all the work he has to do while that kid goes on taking the next step to ‘paradise’. Maybe he needs a little break… Momoko sees Tsubasa and is surprised to learn she is the voice of a hand puppet and mascot for Miracle Fund. The puppet is female. Looks like Tsubasa stick with her guts to follow her instincts and try something out and found out her potential. Oh. She forgot to ask that important thing. Meanwhile Minato finally confesses to Eri. He had loved her since they first met. Takemiya always knew they loved each other since it’s her job to observe others. But why take so long? He had been thinking and thanks to a certain girl’s impulse to go forward and not leave any regrets. He hasn’t felt this feeling for many years. Seriously. Six whole months to think about it? Must be serious.

Momoko now sees Rinka who is a rising idol star. As she thinks back, she remembers talking to Atari about him landing his dream job. Atari is glad to have fallen in love with her and confessed. The fireworks interrupted their kiss. Momoko feels she did forget something but realizes she is late and rushes off to meet Atari at the park. Atari arrives late and I’m not sure what he saw Momoko was doing (she was just going back and forth waiting for him) so he dives towards her like as though he saved her from something. Huh? Despite she said he could meet her tomorrow on his day off, he needs to show this to her now and at this time. He gives her his sketchbook which contains his Sukerabu II’s drawing and this is the place of its origin. The design of the character was based on Momoko back then. He has said it before and she might have forgotten but he really wanted to prove it to her, which makes it today as most suitable. He reiterates he loves her. It brings her to tears. Yet another kiss interrupted when Momoko realizes she needs to go. She has something to say but couldn’t put it clearly in words. What’s the problem? Just say it straightforward like she always has. In a loud voice, she lets him know she loves him. I guess everyone in the park heard that. That’s Momoko for you. In the aftermath, we see Yuumi and Momoko landing both the roles in Sukerabu II. Kagimoto has surprised everyone with his double heroine role. Both characters are named Ai. Kagimoto is impressed with Atari’s design that matches with the voice and bringing it alive. Yuumi and Momoko begin their voice testing at the studio.

Episode 25
In this filler episode that has nothing to do with the girls’ dreams, Heizou is in deep cohorts with Kiyoka… Momoko and friends are in Amane’s town to celebrate her birthday but they spot Kiyoka. A couple of them in fact. One carrying a sack of food and another riding a badass bike! Talking to Amane, she had seen one who was acting suspicious when confronted. They think they must be different persons and go knock on her room to ask her directly. No answer. They see her trying to sleep away and catch her. Amane says a secret word and knows this is a fake since she said the wrong answer. While gloating over it, she escaped. The girls split up to search for her. Momoko and Rinka think the one in the kitchen is trying to make poison! Tsubasa and Kiyoko stumble upon one doing odd exercises in the cave. Yurika thinks she is an alien and wants to be famous and tries to catch her! The real Kiyoka (obviously you could’ve tell by her voice and different hair colour – if you were paying attention, that is) calls Heizou that they have been discovered so she orders her to stall till he returns. Amane confronts the real Kiyoko when all the fakes stumble in to report they’ve been discovered. Oops. Busted for real. Momoko and Rinka see one in the electrical room (what was she trying to do with the power?) but are called by Tsubasa to return since the real one will explain everything. By that time, Heizou returns and says this is Amane’s birthday gift. Because Kiyoka had always wanted to serve Amane better, she hoped to have more of herself around. And thus Kiyoka Corps was created and they’re supposed to debut tonight but apparently they couldn’t sit still and went out on their own. So the one making the ‘poison’ was just trying to make her traditional natto. That was natto? The one doing funny exercises wasn’t an alien but doing yoga. So why get those who look the same? As Heizou states, if you want to do something, do it in style! Something like imitating the best. Momoko does a head count and notices one is missing but Kiyoka says there are only 4 of them. The joke that the other one they saw in the electric room is an alien. True enough, that one returned to its mother ship!!! WTF?!

While Momoko is cleaning the storeroom, she stumbles upon an old photo album of the dorm. She notices pictures of Runa even way back during post-war era. She looks the same! Could it be?! Runa explains that is her grandma and mother. They sure do look alike. Even so, did you notice their pose is the same? The way they stand and hold the broomstick! Momoko tells this to her friends and it makes Runa seem like she has lived very long. Coincidentally, they will be voicing in a series called Yao Bikuni. The story is about a mermaid washed up ashore a long time ago and was made as an offering to the shrine. A young maiden ate her flesh and lived for 800 years while maintaining her youth. But when people she knew start dying, she became lonely and went on a pilgrimage and ended up in a cave and never came out. Momoko learns from the dorm residents that Runa is out, usually alone at this time of year and they heard her say something about ‘ending it’. Momoko and her friends make their way to the shrine and though they didn’t see Runa, they see the cave about the legend of Yao Bikuni. Momoko jumps to a conclusion that Runa is Yao Bikuni. I guess she was desperate that she entered Runa’s room without permission and read her diary! Hmm… Seems simple and brief. Her sentences. Then they read one that catches their attention. “I want to eat more mermaids. I love them”. Oh dear… There’s a recent entry for yesterday and it states that it all ends tomorrow (which is today). The girls are convinced when a pilgrimage set for Runa arrives. They rush to the temple and see Runa. Momoko makes an emotional and touching plea not to leave. If she dies first, she’ll be a ghost and follow her! Isn’t that haunting her?! Doesn’t she want to go to the next world? She wants to be her friends forever. Then Momoko realizes she is in a temple and not the shrine (both are situated close to each other). It is revealed that Runa runs a memorial service for her late boyfriend at this time of year. He died 5 years ago and before his death, he promised they would see the sasanqua flowers together. That’s why she comes here around this time of year to watch them bloom. She thought she would show him the first one to appear but feels it is time to end all that. Runa is glad that Momoko cares for her. About the pilgrimage set? It’s some trendy costume! About eating mermaids? They’re small little biscuits in the shape of mermaids. Tastes delicious, no? The girls are relieved that they really thought she really ate a real one and find it delicious. Runa leaves them in horror when she admits a real one tastes good too! She doesn’t look like she’s joking…

Say It Loud And Clear!
Okay, so the ending was pretty decent. Somewhat a happy ending that meets almost what viewers would expect. They keep us guessing which of the finalist was chosen as the main heroine’s role and perhaps it was a surprise (to me) that both of them got the part. Well, I guess this should satiate fans from both sides. Imagine if both girls having a good number of fans each and only one of them got the part, wouldn’t that leave those obsessed diehard fans frustrated? Even it’s not like they who are getting the part? But what was the final audition for then? Ah, great publicity and promotion. I suppose everybody loves to see their idols on stage. And so Momoko continues her love and passion for voice acting instead of giving up and quitting. So I guess love really messes with your head and your goals because from the way I see it here (at least from a girl like Momoko), she easily gets distracted and thrown off course when she is down. Luckily she has her friends to support her and keep her going strong as she has done the same for them. That is what friends are for, right? Overall, this series has a decent mix of cliche comedy, cliche girl-meets-boy romance, cliche drama (including cliche lover’s quarrel when they’re not a couple) and some cliche insights for those who want to make seiyuu as part of their career choice. Though, you better do lots of research before jumping into this bandwagon.

As we slowly progress, Momoko doesn’t really seem to care about her ultimate dream of marrying Minato anymore. Though I felt this goal of hers is gradually forgotten, I somehow kept it at the back of my mind wondering how she will deal with this when she finally realizes her love for Atari. But right till the end, there is no mention of this so I presume that Momoko must have really gotten over her crush somewhere along the way to finally not hesitate in confessing her love to Atari. But wouldn’t others remember it since it was somewhat ‘odd’? Well yeah, I guess lots of fans around the world dream to marry their favourite idol or celebrity. Who wouldn’t? Maybe they didn’t take Momoko seriously about her dream and even so I thought Atari was going to tease Momoko about what happened to her dream of marrying Minato in the end. That didn’t happen. Perhaps he didn’t want to jinx it, wouldn’t he? What about Atari and his crush for Runa? It wasn’t obvious but you can see his body reactions in the initial episodes he likes the dorm manager. Maybe he got too busy about his work and eventually his mind filled with Momoko that he had gotten over her? Maybe. And when Minato confessed to Eri, I thought it was a little cheap. They may be voice actors and in turn veterans, which make them as good as being actors, but that scene didn’t feel convincing. Real life jitters? I understand you don’t want to screw in real life for real. Besides, the duo don’t really give us hints that they are in love with each other. Maybe that is what you call separating business and personal life on a professional level. But for Momoko and Atari’s case, it proves that couples who argue a lot at the start eventually will end up together. How long they will stay this way is another story.

Momoko is a person who would do what comes to mind first and think about later. You can say she speaks her mind. Of course except about that love part that she is ‘inexperienced’ in. So when she’s not her lively, energetic, clumsy and idiotic self, you can tell that something is definitely wrong with her. She might be a ditz and know nothing much about the industry but she makes some mistakes here and there and learns from it. Hands-on approach is one way to learn valuable experience that won’t be taught in class. Now much wiser and with some experience, she’s practically still the same Momoko that we all know and love from the beginning. She does things best at her own pace. She’d be more natural that way and entertaining. Erm, I mean lovelier. Perhaps. The best part I’ll remember Momoko for is her flawless takegaki tongue twister! I can’t beat that! Care to say it again. That was just amazing feat and for anybody who can say tongue twisters in such speed and without errors or slip ups. Coming to where she is now, throughout the series you could see Momoko experiencing a roller coaster ride of emotions. One moment she is happy, the next she can be down and gloomy. Especially the most disheartening one is when she gets chided by her ex-heartthrob Minato. Not once but twice! But when he compliments her, all that just vanishes. Because of that, you can say her mood is as unpredictable as the weather. Sometimes she gets lost and the lack of confidence makes her want to give up and quit but thankfully she’s got her friends to encourage her and keep her going.

I guess Momoko being the main focus here, sometimes the rest felt a little like excess baggage despite in the earlier episodes we see an episode focusing on them and their issues. Although we start off with the girls vying to get into the industry followed by training, the series takes a little detour with them forming the idol unit Sister x Sisters, the ‘battle for Atari’ before the final audition for Sukerabu II and of course. Especially after Sister x Sisters got disbanded, these girls I feel aren’t featured as prominently as before except Yurika who becomes Momoko’s rival for Atari’s love. Speaking of Sister x Sisters, I said it felt like a detour or distraction because even if they started out on a high note, when they got disbanded, it’s like there is no reaction in the fan world to lament over their ‘demise’. Unless you’re telling me Sister x Sisters fall from grace as fast as they rise to the top. Are you saying that people accepted their disbandment? I mean, they have too but what about diehard fans? I’m sure there will be lots of siscon and nun fetish geeks. Hah! Everybody is a sinner for being a siscon! Make a confession now! Just like Momoko and Atari, the other girls also find their niche and love in what they want to do most. Amane is slowly stepping out from her father’s shadow and making her own name in acting, Tsubasa discarded her goal of voicing only male’s roles and Rinka discovers her love for singing. Also like Momoko, Atari learns and gains experience through lots of hardship. Can you say Momoko is the cause of that? I wonder how many papers he has wasted in all those unacceptable drawings. Now he is a pro and I hope he gets proper sleep rather than falling sleeping at odd places and at odd times.

I was wondering what the big deal was when Edogawa resigned and formed his own agency. The way they showed it was as though there was something fishy and perhaps a big conspiracy was going on behind the scenes. Especially when Amane and the girls suspect it. Then nothing ‘evil’ happens. Even after he resigned and brought Yuumi and Rinka along, it felt like they never left. Because they’re usually seen at events together with Lambda Eight so it couldn’t occur to me that he’s gone from the company he worked so long with. So what he formed his own agency? How does this affect anything? There’s no real villain in this show, right? The ones in the stage events don’t count, mind you. Oh, I forgot. That Kuroiwa jerk who tried to use Yurika’s body in a con job. That’s why in the end, even if Edogawa didn’t really resign, it changes nothing. At least that is how I feel. For Eri, I wonder if she was born this way or it’s just her personality because she always seems to be negative when the girls are to do something. Maybe she really does want to look out for them and don’t want them to rush things so as not to make the mistake she made. But shouldn’t she have more trust and faith in them? I’m glad she does in the end. Takemiya is a great teacher and asset to the seiyuu industry because she’s been in this line for donkey years so her advices are valuable. It is great Momoko got her guidance from her. Kagimoto is an eccentric person who thinks outside the box Yamawaki Denki President is also another eccentric person because of the way he speaks in a lively manner and the way he adds English words in his sentence.

For Yuumi, many would view her as a cold hearted b*tch. Sometimes I feel like strangling her for putting up that snobbish act but when I think about it, maybe she’s trying to play the villain part for Momoko’s sake. I mean, how can she improve herself if she doesn’t have such a rival? Also, you would notice Yuumi being an expert and pro in this industry, she knows what to do and expect so her words may seem harsh on an amateur like Momoko who is panicking for the first time in a major event. But in the end, Yuumi too displays her softer side. Hope that is not just her acting. Runa sometimes I feel she has this mysterious aura around her or maybe it could just be me. She always claims to be busy doing something but I guess that something turns out to be something ‘not useful’ according to our standards. If she is not eternally sweeping the dorm grounds, she is seen pondering about the love drama between you-know-who. Because of her ‘love’ for that ‘drama’, her quips on that are somewhat amusing. Is life really that boring for a dorm manager? As for the dorm residents, they are somewhat forgettable and could’ve been done without. But if the dorm is void of other residents, won’t it feel like a haunted place?

Though this is a year 2006 production, the drawing and art feels okay, I thought that some of the characters especially the main girls have a little squarrish jaws, making them look a little chubby. Maybe it’s my hardware but I’m sure I’m viewing the screen as 4:3 in which the anime was produced and not in 16:9 ratio as we see recently in the past few years. Because the series is produced by Radix studio house, the art and drawing sometimes feels familiar because they have also produced animes like Lamune, Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge and Comic Party Revolution. They also produced another idol genre anime, Lemon Angel Project also back in 2006. As an anime that deals with the anime industry, I thought I would see lots of parodies. Perhaps it is my limited knowledge that restricted me in spotting the trivia because the only one that I spotted was that Lunar Angels’ poster in which the main quintet voiced the characters which are a parody to that slapstick comedy anime, Galaxy Angel. Do Misumaru, Child Girls and Space Boss Red Ten parody any anime? Maybe. There are tons of magical girls and tokusatsu series out there or they can just easily make up one just for this anime. As for Sukerabu, I felt like it was a mix between Ginban Kaleidoscope (another figure skating themed anime only with a ghost possessing the protagonist) and Suzuka (a love-drama sports themed anime) but it seems this anime didn’t make any parodies out of those animes. Not that I can see anyway.

For the voice acting department, Megumi Takamoto (Himea in Itsuka Tenma No Kurousagi, Ushio Kazama in Sasameki Koto) did a splendid job voicing Momoko. She manages to portray the different moods of the character and bring liveliness into the, well, liveliness of Momoko especially her booming voice. You’ll be blown away to bits if you’re too close to her ;p. Once more, hats off to her for that flawless takegaki tongue twister. Other casts include Yurika Ochiai as Yurika (Suzume in Hyakko, Konomi in Toheart2), Maria Yamamoto as Amane (Yucie in Petite Princess Yucie), Azuma Sakamoto as Tsubasa (Gilbert in Pandora Hearts), Ryoko Shintani as Rinka (Rihoko in Amagami SS), Kotono Mitsuishi as Eri (Boa Hancock in One Piece), Naozumi Takahashi as Atari (Ryouta Misumi in Futaru Wa Pretty Cure), Atsuko Enomoto as Yuumi (Misaki in Angelic Layer), Hikaru Midorikawa as Minato (Lancer in Fate/Zero), Masako Nozawa as Takemiya (Son Goku in Dragonball series), Kimiko Koyama as Kiyoka (Komoe in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Yasunori Matsumoto as Edogawa (Seta in Love Hina), Yuka Imai as Runa (Tomochika in Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%) and Norio Wakamoto as Heizou (Onsokumaru in 2×2=Shinobuden). As for Mamiko Noto… Actually she doesn’t have any roles here. Hehe… Just want to mention her name since she is my numero uno seiyuu. Hehehe… The opening theme, Nanairo Nadeshiko by Megumi Takamoto (subsequently sung as a group with Sister x Sisters) is quite a lively and catchy piece that at least wants to make you tap your feet. It also showcases Megumi Takamoto in addition to be a versatile seiyuu, she also sings well. The ending theme is Cry A Little by May Nakabayashi (now more popularly known as May’N) and feels like R&B.

As seen in the anime, being a seiyuu isn’t just about lending your voice in animation. It is often more than that and voicing a character is just the tip of the iceberg on what they do. Because most seiyuus have a favourable voice, many tend to end up singing. Of course there are many other side events that seiyuus have to attend and participate so it’s not really a rosy life that one can imagine. Just like any other professions, you need the passion and the love that drives you to go all the way. Otherwise, it would just be another job. Of course some talent and luck are still necessary to make it in this tough industry. Personal egos, jealousy, intense rivalry and competition are the all too familiar issues we hear about almost everywhere. Not to mention the perseverance and determination to learn and improve because if you get a little failure or disheartening incident stop you, you’re not going to make it anywhere either. True as what Minato said, everybody once started out as a rookie at one point in their lives. That’s how people become good at what they do. You won’t reach your destination if you don’t take the first step. While this anime inspires us to go and achieve our dream, we must also be realistic in achieving it. Otherwise you’ll come crashing down real hard. While the good aspect of being a seiyuu is that it improves your speeches and the way you publicly speak, it’s still tough for an introvert like me to speak out. Still having phobias of speaking in public all these years. Maybe I should take up a course in public speaking. Who knows? I may end up becoming a seiyuu along the way. Big dreams I sure have… Now, if I can only get over that ‘she sells seashells on the seashore~‘ without biting my tongue…