1.6 Talentless seiyuu end up becoming adults’ playthings and then it’s over
The reason I am writing this book is because I don’t want the number of potential rivals for my job to increase…! Of course not. In fact, I sincerely hope more ‘rivals’ appear on the scene. Even once, I’d like to taste such a threat, were an amazing guy who’d leave me with no scraps of work to pick up, to emerge.
Now excuse me if I sound arrogant here, but in 30 years’ I’ve never met any such person who could leave me in fear. On the contrary, I often find myself thinking that I’m not seeing any reduction in my workload precisely because the people in the industry now are all the same.
I’ll describe in detail just what these ‘people’ are, later on. The reason I don’t recommend the seiyuu way of life to all of you is not only because it destroys your dreams, but also because I have seen so many young people getting wounded [by failure] and being used by adults who toss them aside and abandon them. Indeed, I am joking. I just want all of you to open your eyes to the risks involved.
It’s a fact that the majority of people who want to become seiyuu, won’t become seiyuu. Indeed, very few people will ever reach the level of actually getting to provide voice work and even fewer will be able to make a living off being a seiyuu.
This might be an awful way of putting it, but the majority of people [in the business] are ‘hopeless’. Despite that, seiyuu wannabes are taken by the actual existence of actors who embody the Cinderella-like, sweet success stories and envision it for themselves. For example, the famed Hayashibara Megumi-san, who voices Ayanami Rei in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Or Takayama Minami-san, who voices Conan in Detective Conan. Before the age of 20, neither of these ladies had even considered becoming seiyuu. On a whim, they both sought to become seiyuu, in the blink of an eye they managed to make their debuts, and with a snap of the finger they had attained a level of popularity that made them the seiyuu who ‘shaped an era’. How amazing it is.
Needless to say, what the two of these ladies have, and what normal seiyuu wannabes lack, is ‘talent’.
Modestly gifted people are able to scale certain heights by putting in persistent effort; remarkable talents who arrive at the same point with ease are on the other hand, a rarity. Hayashibara Megumi-san and Takayama Minami-san are both of such a rare breed. Their acting truly is a sight to behold. As someone who has watched them perform, I mean those words from the bottom of my heart. Neither of them studied acting formally so how did they reach such heights? They are truly frightening actors.
No matter how much effort a talentless person puts in, there is no guarantee that they will climb to such a level. You can reach a certain point purely through determination, but to cross that one line you’ll most certainly need a passport named ‘talent’.
It’s difficult to talk about the importance of talent. This is because, using acting as an example, you can tell the whole story with one sentence: ‘a person with a sense for acting can be left alone and still get the job done, yet a person who has no sense for acting will never be able to produce the goods no matter how much you teach him’. It doesn’t matter if one chooses to go to voice training school or vocational school, if you’re hopeless you’re hopeless. A person with a sense for acting will improve even if you leave them alone. Ideally, training schools should be places that help nurture and turn these ‘useless people’ into ‘useful people’, but as far as I can see, it’s not working too well.
A person who aspires [to succeed] in this world would be likely to think ‘am I not a genius?’ no matter what field they go into. Even I, as a youngster, believed that I could be like Takakura Ken if I tried…so it’s not like I don’t understand their feelings. I suggest that such people should, before heading to voice training or vocational schools, try out acting of their own accord. It would definitely be enjoyable and you’d get a lot more out of it.