I actually started working on this article before the Sore ga Seiyuu! anime aired but I set it aside halfway through when I got bored with the show. I’m not sure it was a great idea to spend half the time showcasing a lily-livered noob seiyuu moping around in her room, talking to a stuffed toy. I ended up just wanting to strangle Futaba because of her naiveté, the way I want to strangle the brainless newbie employees working under me (whoops!). So yeah, it lacked the kind of character-building and emotional impact that made a show like SHIROBAKO so amazing.
It wasn’t all bad – for seiyuu fans, it was cool to spot cameos from Aoni Pro alumni and the in-jokes + rotating ending song requests were entertaining as heck…but in the end, it was just cotton candy fun. Sweet at first, but leaves you feeling empty by the end.
Enough with the negativity! You can read translations of the 4-koma webcomics together with author Asano Masumi’s comments at Marumi Channel.
The interview has two sets of answers – one featuring the three main characters Futaba, Ichigo and Rin, and the other featuring the newbie seiyuu who voice them – Takahashi Rie, Nagaku Yuki (Gakkyu) and Kouno Marika (Marinka).
#1: Since becoming a seiyuu, what is the one thing that has made you the happiest?
Futaba – The h-happiest thing!? I wonder what it is…erm I’ll say, the fact that I appeared as a regular cast member of Buddha Fighter Bodhisattvon! A-also, that I got to host a Web radio show with Ichigo and Rin-chan!
Ichigo – For me, it’s got to be how the number of Princess Ichigo fans have been steadily increasing – it’s berry su~per♪fun☆ I’m enjoying both voice work as well as a range of activities such as the Web radio and working as a member of Earphones.
Rin – That I was able to meet Futaba-san and Ichigo-san. Obviously, I am glad to have met and been able to work with various seniors, but the fact that the 3 of us were asked to do this interview together makes me very happy.
Takahashi – It has to be when I found out that I would be appearing in Sore ga Seiyuu!, and the moment I told my family about it. My mom cried with tears of joy and gave me a hug, saying “Congratulations!”
Nagaku: It’s a delightful thing when your family shares in your joys, isn’t it? When my admission to my current agency was confirmed, it meant that I would have to leave home and my mom was a little sad but she said to me “It’s gonna be tough from now on, but I’ll send you rice and vegetables”. Just recalling these memories makes me tearful (sniff).
Kouno: Even my little sister, who normally has no interest in watching anime, has been secretly scheduling recordings of the TV programmes that I appear in.
Takahashi: Your little sister is really cool. Ah, everyone has such wonderful stories to tell! (lol)
#2: On the other hand, what has been the most difficult thing you’ve faced as a seiyuu?
Futaba: Uh..there have been so many. I wonder what I should choose. Maybe the fact that I seem to be unable to string together voice acting jobs. I’ve got to work hard so that I can play a bigger variety of roles.
Ichigo: There is no such thing as hardship for Princess Ichigo! Of course, I will work hard to polish myself everyday so that fans can say to me “You were great!” no matter what I do! Berry☆
Futaba: Ah, it seems tough for Ichigo to keep in character…
Ichigo: I’m not making up this character!! Princess Ichigo is forever everyone’s Princess Ichigo☆
Futaba: How about Rin-chan?
Rin: Ah, I do enjoy working very much, but I do think that I still have to work harder at balancing both work and school life!
Futaba & Ichigo: That’s right. Rin-chan may be a seiyuu, but she’s still in junior high.
Takahashi: (with a serious face) Not getting any work.
Kouno & Nagaku: (both nod furiously)
Takahashi: There was a period where I was always worried over this, and I didn’t even know if I should have consulted anyone else on my problems – it was tough. Also, Futaba mentions this in the anime as well, but I do find it painful when I fail auditions for characters that I really want to play.
Kouno: When you’ve failed auditions for a certain anime, you get so frustrated that you don’t even want to watch it. Even if you somehow force yourself to, you will come to a bitter realization that “these are the parts that I was hopeless at”!
Nagaku: It’s important to be able to switch gears. But the truth is that you tend to get trapped by your thoughts…”Ah, I really wanted to play that role…” and you become distressed, wondering what you could possibly do.
#3: As rookie seiyuu, it’s important to greet seniors when you arrive in the studio – amongst the 3 of you, who is the most well-mannered?
Futaba: It’s not just about manners but…even though Rin-chan is still just a junior high school student, her interactions (with other people) are mature.
Ichigo: Ah, I agree! It’s amazing how she can calmly interact with everyone else, even when she’s surrounded by adults in the studio…
Rin: I-it’s not like that. I think Ichigo-san and Futaba-san are the same as well. Doing voice work, greetings are the absolute basics! When it comes to manners, I think all of us have got them down perfectly well.
Futaba: You’re right. But I do think that in Ichigo’s case, her character stands out rather than her manners. After all, it did take me by surprise when you first greeted me (laugh).
Rin: When I first exchanged greetings with Ichigo-san I too, thought that this person is incredible~ (laugh).
Ichigo: That’s why I say I’m not in character! Princess Ichigo is always sparklingly cute. And Futaba, you may be polite but you always seem like a headless chicken running around (laugh).
Futaba: That’s true. After all, I did greet the same person twice before…I’ve really got to get it together.
Rin: The 3 of us are still rookies and there are lots of things yet unfamiliar to us so individually, we have to take great care not to bring trouble to the people we are working together with – in that case, it’s not a question of which out of the 3 of us is the most well-mannered.
Futaba & Ichigo: Ooh~! You gotta give to Rin-chan, she summarized it perfectly! (laugh)
Nagaku: (interrupts) That would be me.
Takahashi: No no no (lol).
Kouno: I’d say Gakkyu is passionate, rather than polite. It doesn’t matter who she meets, she’ll immediately greet them and say “I watched XXX!” – that makes you think to yourself “Ah, she is part of Aoni Production after all” (lol). Also, Takahashi-san gets a lot of attention since she is the lead. When students visited the studio to observe recordings, she would call out to them.
Takahashi: Ahaha (lol). I’m being stared at….
Nagaku: Marinka is very good at remembering staff members’ previous works and it makes me think “She’s amazing”.
Takahashi: I do think though, that manners are a must in this industry. Nozawa Masako-san, who appeared as a guest in episode 1, is a really polite person – when somebody who’s far superior to us is such, we too must strive to follow.
#4: Seiyuu too, behave differently in public than in private. Who amongst the three of you switches the on-off button between her public and private personas the most ‘violently’?
Futaba: On-off? Err…I wonder who…? In terms of ‘strong’ characters, I’d say Ichigo…
Rin: That’s true. Ichigo-san’s character is strong but I don’t think she has any on/off switch (lol)
Ichigo: How dare you 2 say that it’s a ‘character’~! I am forever and always, the Princess of Planet Ichigo☆Princess Ichigo is neither On nor Off♪
Futaba: I always think how amazing Ichigo is when she’s in that mode…if we’re talking in terms of a ‘gap’ between traits in one’s personality then maybe Rin-chan.
Rin: Eh, me?
Ichigo: Yeah. During recordings she’s so full of resolve when voicing cool roles, but when you actually talk to her you realize that she’s really just a junior high school student…and we have Futaba here, who’s always running around like a headless chicken (lol).
Futaba: Urk, Poison Ichigo is in the house!
Kouno: The moment I read this question, I thought to myself “I think it’s me?”. When I’m out of the studio I hardly say a word.
Takahashi: Eh, really? I too, thought “It’s me”. I also barely say a word on my days off.
Nagaku: Really? In the studio, you’re always taking the initiative to talk to our seniors.
Kouno: Oh yeah. I thought your communication skills were great, watching you do that.
Takahashi: Oh I see…Umm, it was a lie! #1 would be Marinka!
Kouno: It feels weird to have it decided like that! (lol) Well, what’s certain is that Gakkyun is the one who’s the same no matter what.
Nagaku: Yeap, I knew it wasn’t me (lol).
#5: Who’s the weirdest amongst the 3 of you?
Ichigo: Futaba’s not weird but rather, she’s just airheaded☆
Rin: Yeah, she is… (lol)
Ichigo: After all, during a recent recording for the radio show she absent-mindedly read out the listener’s real name instead of his pen-name. Luckily it was during a recording and not while we were live on air…
Rin: (laughs) I got a shock from that too. If we’re talking about weird it’s got to be Ichigo, right? We mentioned this just now, but her ‘character’ is just so strong. Personally, I think both of you guys have unique personalities.
Ichigo: Rin-chan is considered ‘normal’ but she does have her own worries about that (lol). Isn’t that what is unique about Rin-chan’s though?
Futaba: That’s true. Rather than trying to decide who’s the weirdest, we all have our own unique points which we’d like you to know about in more detail.
Takahashi: Isn’t it Gakkyun?
Kouno: That.. might be true (lol). My first impression of her was that she was like a reliable older sister but once she opened her mouth her true self was exposed.
Nagaku: I never actually thought about it myself but others have been telling me about it lately. Like how I can freeze the air during the course of what is supposed to be a normal conversation.
Takahashi: You often misread things as well. Like how you misread ‘2nd single’ as ‘Nicond Sengle’. The Book of Gakkyu Quotations is getting thicker and thicker (lol).
Kouno: But that’s just her uniqueness. I feel that having that kind of weapon in her arsenal allows her shine more as an actor.
Nagaku: Ooh, you said a really good thing there! (lol) I’ll do my best to bring that across in my acting!
#6: Lastly, please leave a message for the anime viewers.
Futaba: Ah, a message for the anime viewers. Err…I am happy that you can watch us rookie seiyuu as you learn more about the seiyuu world. Right now, you would be seeing all our failures; the mistakes we make and the unsuccessful auditions but that’s not all there is to it. You’ll get to see how we grow every day, being taught a lot of things by seniors and through the new experiences on our web radio show. I am sure that we will very active in the future so please stay with us ‘til the end!
Ichigo: You can’t afford to miss Princess Ichigo’s cu~te♥ness and her activities☆The three of us will be working hard, tackling any difficulties so that we can be successful seiyuu, so please cheer us on! Berry☆
Rin: I will do my best, not losing out to Futaba-san and Ichigo-san, to make this anime enjoyable to the end. I would be glad if you could watch it without fail each week.
Takahashi: This is a very aggressive show that although cutely illustrated, will be a thorough and realistic depiction (of the seiyuu industry)! The staff and gave their absolute all in making this, so I hope that people will be able to understand our feelings through watching the anime.
Nagaku: When there was word that this story would be made into an anime, we were wondering if it would be 5-minute shorts but instead, it was to be made into a full 30-minute story about the workings of the industry. I will give my best so that when you watch the show, you can get to know more and more about not only the anime, but about Earphones as well!
Kouno: This is truly a show that depicts the way of life of a seiyuu – not just the glittering times but also the tough spells, which is something that might not have been possible in short-form anime so please don’t turn your attention away from the screen.
Takahashi: Yeah. The 3 of us will be giving our all in our performance so please do cheer us on!
Note: The anime may have ended, but a radio show is starting!