Introduction

I am the seiyuu & actor Otsuka Akio. Pleased to meet you. Or maybe I should say ‘thank you, as always’. I appreciate the fact that you’ve chosen to pick up this book. Now, I’m not fond of beating around the bush so let’s get straight to the point. There is only one thing I want to tell you via this book. Just don’t become a seiyuu. I tell you no lie; that is all I have to say.

To all you naïve junior high-schoolers who are thinking, ‘After I graduate I’ll go to voice acting school and then move on to a seiyuu production company’s training academy and finally become a seiyuu’.

Or to those of you seiyuu foetuses who have already spent numerous years in training school and are still waiting for that golden chance to arrive.

Or maybe even my fellow seiyuu, who are already members of a seiyuu production company but are stuck in a situation where you’re only getting roles that have 1 or 2 lines, and you’re thinking ‘maybe my fortunes will change if I move to another agency’.

I won’t say anything nasty, but you should just quit.

Without realizing it, 30 years have passed since I started doing voice work. Having gone through many ups and downs I continue to steadily walk down this road that I believe in, up until today. I have been blessed to have had many wonderful ‘signature roles’, working on dubbing foreign films, the Metal Gear Solid game series and various anime such as Ghost in the Shell and Black Jack. A couple of times a year I get to stand on stage as well, and I think that right now I feel more fulfilled with my life, both as a seiyuu and an actor, than I have ever felt at any point in the past.

The kind of career I’ve had is quite unique. You couldn’t pay me to say ‘with sincere effort, anyone can achieve what I’ve achieved’ though. Frankly, there are very few ways of life that have such high risks and low returns as ‘seiyuu’. Many young seiyuu become overwhelmed by the truth and at times, fall into despair, but depending on the individual in question, it could actually be a blessing for them to leave the industry. Perhaps a lot of people aren’t aware of the reality, or maybe they’re fundamentally misunderstanding the situation.

All the actors who are running on the frontlines should be well aware of this. Hard work doesn’t guarantee payoff – in fact, it’s more common to not see any payoff in this industry. I myself think that I’ve been fortunate to have survived so long in this business. There is no reason for a person who could make a living through honest work to choose such a steep path for themself.

“But as a seiyuu, I want to be able to give dreams to the children”
“It’s alright if I don’t get major roles, I just want to pursue voice acting”
“People tell me that my voice sounds different than that of normal people”

I can already hear the misapprehensions, or voices of objections flying at me left and right.

“Otsuka Akio says I should quit, therefore I will” – the fact that you’re unable to accept this straight away is proof that I am a man who still lacks experience. I would be pleased however, if after reading this book, you gave up on the seiyuu dream completely.

Having said that, I am but a mere actor; I am neither a representative for the seiyuu world nor am I a renowned lecturer. What I am able to tell you is based on my experiences and is born from my own pride. I won’t experience any pain or itches even if I unfortunately fail to reduce the number of loons who dismiss the ramblings of this old man and jump straight into the seiyuu industry. Rather ironically, I can remain in a job precisely because I don’t suffer such fools lightly.

Now, I have written the conclusion at the same time as the introduction so let’s move on to the main content. Please forgive the harsh language that I will use sometimes. I may be able to act, but I cannot play a liar.

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