As you may or may not have noticed, I love data. I love plugging stuff into spreadsheets; I like looking at text and figures, analyzing things. I had that ‘married seiyuu’ list for years and I used to keep silly ones about seiyuu height and blood type…but what I’ve been doing the past X months has been looking at an individual seiyuu’s animation credits. Since I posted that stream of consciousness blah post a year ago, I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the casting process. This kind of stems from this one comment I heard from Amamiya Sora, about how her casting in Akame ga Kill! was ‘decided’ [決めていて was the exact word] well in advance of her role in Isshukan Friends, the latter of which aired the cour before the former.
‘Decided’. Who decides? What are the factors etc etc? For Amamiya/Akame, it is hardly a stretch to suggest that she was shoehorned into the anime’s lead role to tie it into the fact that Sony Music Entertainment (one of the members of the Akame ga Kill production committee) was preparing to launch Amamiya’s solo singing career via Skyreach, which served as the anime’s first opening theme. Did she have to audition for the role? Maybe only for show? Who knows. Nobody’s going to tell me or you, for sure.
Of course, I offer no answers. Instead, I offer you…spreadsheets. Which are a WIP, let me warn you, likely to contain typos and errors. I have been looking at a couple of seiyuu, some are personal favourite and some are just people I am interested in for various reasons. Mostly I look at the director and sound director and in some of the idols’ cases, the production companies involved. I was thinking about the studios but really, it’s only Shaft [Shinbo/Kameyama] and Bones [Wakabayashi/Mima] that are so easy to predict with their favoured sound directors/castings.
1. Sakamoto Maaya
I’m always amused when people dismiss Maaya as being ‘a singer, not a seiyuu’. She started off as a child actress and voice actress anyway, before Escaflowne & Kanno Yoko came along. She doesn’t do a crazy amount of anime but that’s because she already has so many things on her plate – her film/drama dubbing credits list is way more extensive, plus all those games, narration work, planetarium navigation, radio…and oh, her singing career. Casting-wise, Maaya’s a Bones/Wakabayashi favourite
2. Tomatsu Haruka
3. Amamiya Sora
Comparing notes over Music Ray’n/Sony’s two golden egg- I mean, girls. So far, Amamiya’s voice acting career isn’t hitting the heights as quickly as Tomatsu’s did – at the 5-year mark Tomacchan was already doing things like Anohana and Pokemon while Amamiya is um…well, we shall see.
4. Toyama Nao
5. Uchiyama Koki
6. Ozawa Ari
Three talented young actors who aren’t playing the idol game and get cast by whatever sound director, purely based on ability.
7. Ishigami Shizuka
8. Kobayashi Yusuke
9. Taneda Risa
10. Onishi Saori
Comparing some of Aketagawa Jin’s favourites. When the guy likes you, he really likes you. The key is whether one can turn that initial visibility he gives you into something bigger – the seiyuu’s got to catch the eye/ear of other sound directors, cos Jin-kun doesn’t stick with his ‘favourites’ for very long and you can’t rely on him to keep giving you roles.
Initially, I was planning to look at Aketagawa’s castings over the years, just for the heck of it. Just to look at how his casting patterns have changed, which girls he’s favoured over the last 2 decades. I may yet come up with something but for now it’s on the back-burner cos the sheer amount of data involved is just…hah. Still got plenty of seiyuu I’ve been/am looking at; mostly older favourites though. People like Nakahara Mai, Sakurai Takahiro and Kawasumi Ayako.
So, can one even predict a cast for an upcoming anime? My answer would be ‘maybe’, but only if I know the following in advance 1) studio 2) director 3) sound director 4) production committee members. And I can tell you from experience that for roughly 65-75% of anime, you won’t know who the sound director is or the identity of the production committee members until that first episode airs. They know crazy people like me are watching, closely w