I fast-forwarded through a few episodes of Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou recently and saw very little of note..except that Kobayashi Sanae was voicing the cute obasan (Sumiko). Sanae has not been doing much voice acting work in anime for many years, to the point where I wonder if she is even attending any anime auditions any more.
Recently, most of Sanae’s roles in anime have been cameos and bit-parts that are usually not pre-announced and maybe not even auditioned for (the casting director typically just calls up seiyuu they’re familiar working with, or the agencies just send whoever’s free) – you might’ve heard her in things like Shin Sekai Yori and Strike the Blood without even realizing it. The few “major” roles she’s been playing are those from franchises and long-running properties like Natsume Reiko in Natsume Yujincho and Mare in the Shana series. I guess this means that she will continue to voice Yagiri Namie in the new Drrr!! anime, whenever it may be.
So what has Sanae been up to if not doing anime? She appears to have deliberately chosen to shun the limelight since around 2009, pulling out from the ShiinaTactix project that she had been doing with TWO MIX leader Nagano Shiina and shutting her official site and blog down. The usual rumours are that she got married (never confirmed), but regardless of her lack of anime work, Sanae remains active in games and dubbing for film/TV. Currently she is dubbing the Japanese voice of Arrow’s Laurel Lance and was doing iCarly for its entire run – there was an event for the latter last week and Production Baobab nicely uploaded a photo of Sanae with the other seiyuu Tezuka Yusuke & Sakaguchi Shuhei:
The other photo on the right is with Takahashi Chiaki, from the dub of the musical drama Smash in 2012.
Sanae has always been one of my favourite seiyuu, right from when I first heard her in Hikaru no Go as Hikaru’s rival Toya Akira and coincidentally, another one of my favourite (minor) roles of hers is also Akira (Okuzaki), from Mai-HiME which I re-watched last week. I think her most well known character to date would be D-Gray Man’s Allen Walker. Lucy/Nyuu in Elfen Lied is another role of hers that is popular, and that I plan to watch again sometime soon (thanks, Gokukoku no Brynhildr).
I am always hoping Sanae makes a full return to anime, but that wish may be futile when so many of the veteran seiyuu are finding regular work hard to come by. Perhaps I should start praying harder for more Baccano! anime…
My 5 recommended Sanae roles:
1.Toya Akira in Hikaru no Go
2.Kitajima Maya in Garasu no Kamen
3.Okuzaki Akira in Mai-HiME/Otome
4.Allen Walker in D.Gray Man
5.Lucy/Nyuu in Elfen Lied
+ Reinforce in Nanoha series