An Open Secret

j1m0ne:

Simply put, I’m bored of this whole seiyuu thing. Extremely bored. Horrors(!), you say? Well, it’s not the first time and it certainly won’t be the last I ever say anything like that; my interest tends to come and go in cycles and at the moment I’ve hit a deep trough and I certainly don’t see a V-shaped recovery on the cards. Looking through these rose-tinted glasses, I offer pithy complaints about how the seiyuu industry in 2010 is 腐ってる and populated by shitty people who can’t even get the basics of voice acting right (no concept of enunciation or phrasing and heck, some of them don’t even possess voices that are suitable for anime or game characters) as reasons for my boredom.

I don’t know (and I don’t want to know) how many cocks Omigawa Chiaki has sucked to get where she is or how many Yukichis Music Ray’n are stuffing down producers’ throats to get their seiyuu employed, how dumbass agencies are looking at the ¥ signs and fast-tracking hopelessly out-of-depth teenagers even if they posses the talent of a farting mongoose, how more than 60% of shows are moe crap that only requires seiyuu to produce voices as freakishly high-pitched as possible, preferably while inserting random nyaas and nyaans into every other sentence, how some of the best seiyuu from just 3-4 years ago are already being sidelined (Nakahara Mai, Saito Chiwa, Ueda Kana etc etc) in favour of the kids. Heaven help us if Taketatsu Ayana is supposed to be one of the best young things the industry can offer.

This season is a good example of how annoying the whole situation has become, with voice acting in some autumn anime so atrocious that I’d be willing to watch Cantonese dubs just to escape Omigawa’s voice (alternatively, I guess I should just stop watching Shaft anime). I can name maybe 2 or 3 performances worth looking out for (Nakamura Yuichi in OreImo, the leads in Zakuro). The only time I’ve found myself getting really excited about an anime cast in recent memory was when I was marathoning Black Lagoon (Koyama, Toyoguchi & Tomizawa are so effin awesome!)…and none of those seiyuu are getting regular anime jobs these days.

Well, honestly, the quality of the “popular” seiyuu nowadays are pretty much an open secret anyways. Now it’s more about looks and marketability than real voice acting talent. Heck, I think most wannabe-idols prefer to go down the seiyuu route as a shortcut to popularity/success rather than actually being one to cater and please the masses of raving otageis abound. And then you also get people like O-mi-gawd Chiaki. I wonder who the fuck thought she was good. Guess the face distracted them too much.

I’ll have to say, while I share the same sentiment at the dearth of talent in the “popular” seiyuus nowadays, I’m not as negative as j1m0ne is. There are some nice voice talents about. I genuinely like Kana Hanazawa, as overused as she is, but at least she is truly working out as a seiyuu instead of branching out in to the idol-latry shit (looking at you there, Sphere, Mu-Ray). And Sphere also has some okay people I guess. Aki Toyosaki and Haruka Tomatsu at least sound decent enough most of the time. But I still hate their singing and “idol” exposure.

Truth to be told, I actually don’t care for much about the “idol” aspects of the seiyuus nowadays. I understand it helps to supplement their meager income, no wait, it’s probably their main income in any case, but I hate the focus on their looks and “personalities” more than anything else. I really don’t care about their personal lifestyle. Sure hearing about them burning a kettle or two or having a fake wedding makes for fun news, but that’s not my focus.

And I really miss the elder generation of female seiyuus. I’m not saying we should lapse back to the time when Noto-sama was in about 5 shows per season per year and Hocchan was like the rage of the industry, but they’ve been getting so little leading roles of late, I’m just watching random shit where they are minor characters with about 6 lines per episode just to hear them. Even Bitch Tsundere Queen Kugimiya’s missing lately too. Now, those were voices that really made me moé for them. Thank god Mai Nakahara’s gotten a lifeline this season with Otome Youkai Zakuro.

Even the male seiyuu are hell lot more consistent in quality than their female counterparts. Although, I guess being a male seiyuu means that:

a. You are going to be worshipped by legions of fujoshi’s and constantly play BL fantasies.
b. You are going to be generic male harem lead no. 3457.
c. You are relegated to random minor role– oh wait Takehito Koyasu has the monopoly on that.

Still, when I think people like Mamoru Miyano are better than half his female colleagues this season… it sure shows how bad things have become.

I guess we shouldn’t totally blame this on the poor girls though. It’s generally a fact that anime is slowly declining in quality over the years and the number of productions every year keeps going down. I guess it’s just a confluence of a lot of factors.

tl;dr female seiyuus nowadays sell body instead of talent, therefore they suck.

35 Comments

  1. bluemist Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 10:54 am

    Maybe because Hirano Aya and Mizuki Nana had gone mainstream, today’s seiyuu trend seems to be trying to introduce voice actresses in a way that they can become idols.

    Conversely, as AKB48 had proven, there also is a slew mainstream idols nowadays being catered both to mainstream and otakus alike.

    These seemingly disparate idol and seiyuu markets seem to be merging. It may not be solely the seiyuu’s fault, anime quality fault, or whatever else. Probably a Japan entertainment trend.

  2. Chumara Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    Yeah I miss Noto Mamiko ALOT, but for me as long as a show has a good plot to offer, or seems entertaining in some way, I can look past the mass influx of new Seiyuu names that seems to be coming in.

  3. Kaisos Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    One one hand, I can see where you and j1m0ne are coming from, but on the other, this really strikes me as an EVERYTHING WAS BETTER WHEN I WAS YOUNGER type of complaint, and if there’s a worse bias out there, I’d like to see it.

    We’re almost at the end of the Moe Era anyway. Should only have to wait a few more years at most before The Next Big Thing makes its inevitable appearance.

  4. Benigmatica Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    “tl;dr female seiyuus nowadays sell body instead of talent, therefore they suck.”

    Like they were attention whores or something?

  5. dm Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    Mamiko Noto hardly seems like “older generation” to me. Maybe Aya Hisakawa or Megumi Hayashibara? Mai Nakahara counts.

    I rather like Chiaki Omigawa’s voice — it reminds me a good deal of Chiwa Saito when she was first starting out. It remains to be seen if Omigawa has Saito’s range (I didn’t really recognize Saito in Bakemonogatari’s Senjougahara).

  6. kluxorious Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 11:41 am

    I don’t give a damn about the female seiyuus. I couldn’t differentiate them at all, except maybe for Aya Hirano but that’s because I’m obsessed with Haruhi. They all kinda sound the same. I really don’t understand all these “idol” crap at all. I guess it just to fill the fantasies of some diehard fans. Other than that, they are kinda digging their own grave here.

  7. Skribulous Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

    “Nowadays”? Isn’t this pretty much status quo for decades now?

    Methinks someone burnt out and needs a vacation, full stop.

  8. Panther Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

    Well I highly agreed with j1m0ne’s post and also am almost as negative about the whole thing as she is. Then again, thinking about the industry, it happens everywhere. Just a little late to the seiyuu industry that is all.

    Still I miss all the really good voices, which is why series like Sekirei was really good for me in all aspects, especially the seiyuu (Hanazawa Kana not withstanding because her moe voice is repeated over 200 times by others who can do it better or worse than her).

  9. Atashi Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

    I’m very glad that Noto and Kugimiya (and Hirano Aya, Horie Yui, and a few others) aren’t holding as many roles as before, because it felt like their voices over-saturated shows years back, to the point when I could easily tell who it was without ever looking up a show. At that point it was no longer hearing the character talk but the individual voice actresses instead, which ruined the character.
    New talent should always cycle through. It’s stale to listen to the same people over and over again.

  10. Game8910 Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    >implying Miyano Mamoru is bad…
    what is this I dont even…

    Anyways I kinda see what he means, but I dont really find too many of them THAT bad. Toyosaki Aki alone almost seems like the saviour of this “new generation” for me though, yes….she has an incredibly awesome range if you havent noticed!

    People like Satou Satomi as well are very good in my eyes, i dare anyone to have guessed Ritsu in K-ON and Aria in SYD had the same voice on their first listen.

  11. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

    >Toyosaki Aki
    >incredibly awesome range.

    whatisthisidonteven.jpg

    But okay, Satou Satomi is decent I guess. She’s at least properly doing things.

  12. Feannatar Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

    Hrm, I’m probably totally deaf in this aspect, but I fail to recognize the current seiyuus as bad. In fact for me it’s more like there are seiyuus that are my favourite (like Hirano Aya, Chihara Minori, Noto Mamiko, Horie Yui, Kugimiya Rie, etc.), seiyuus whose voice I find interesting (like Tomatsu Haruka, Toyosaki Aki, Satou Satomi, Sawashiro Miyuki, etc.) and the rest :-D And yes, I also tend to see your complaint as the usual “things were better when I was young” which was used even since at least the Ancient Greece. Oh and yes, I also don’t care about their idol career.

  13. SealedTime Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

    True. I do miss good ol’ Megumi Hayashibara, Noto Mamiko etc. I’m glad to see that there are some people who share the same thoughts. And Aki is pretty decent. Why the haet?

    Also, Miyano’s awesome. And who the hell is Omigawa Chiaki? I have honestly never heard of her.

  14. Alt Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

    i don’t give a shit about who voices what. It is the story that counts. Idols can eat my ass. Its like that.

  15. Shinkz Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

    Chiaki Omigawa voices Maka from Soul Eater, P-Ko from Arakawa and Jun from Natsu no Arashi, for those who don’t know. I don’t know if she’s voiced anything.
    Personally I don’t mind her voice. It’s not overly annoying nor is it horribly dull. It fits her rolls well and stands out enough to be recognizable.

    Not everybody can be as perfect as Yui Horie and Rie Kugimiya.

    I don’t understand where people are coming from saying anime is declining as the years pass.

  16. ahelo Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

    omigawa haters gonna hate.

    I don’t think theres anything wrong with her voice- i mean maka sounded horrible at first but she improved. Jun and P-ko are awesome. It might just be because of her amateurish VA’ing but she has the sound. She’s improving a lot too.

    Don’t get me wrong she’s not my favorite seiyuu, just don’t insult. For the new generation, it seems like Kana, Aki, and Haruka are the stars now. I miss my good ol Noto Mamiko, Rie Kugimiya, Yui Horie, Eri Kitamura, Ami Koshimizu, etc. when they were on the rage.

    For my favorite new ones though its Minako Kotobuki (Mugi, that Level 4 loser in Railgun) and Youko Hikasa (Mio and Maya) (Notice that they started from K-on!)

  17. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

    Okay I promise I will stop hating on Omigawd when she stops sounding like a piece of wood with a bad flu.

    I literally sat through a whole episode of Sore Machi with the volume turned down to half whenever she started talking. Thank god there’s Yuuki Aoi to compensate.

  18. Jason "moofang" Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

    Understand the sentiment on seiyuu “idolization”, but I dunno, I don’t seem to have felt the decline in seiyuu quality. In fact I remember being impressed by how new the K-ON cast is. But then I haven’t actually watched anything Omigawa’s in…

  19. Nanatsuya Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

    Once the industry realize that otaku won’t follow their precious seiyuus as they transition over to idols, then they’ll see just how inflated their popularity really was among otakus. Look at Aya Hirano, how many people really look at her for anything now?

    While I certainly do miss the days of Mamiko, Horie, and Kugimiya clogging every other show, It’s not like they’re out of the picture entirely. They’re still religiously worshiped and steal the show wherever they appear. Besides, I like some of the new talent. I am impressed that the K-ON cast is everywhere and hard to spot, especially for allegedly being amongst this new-age where seiyuus are doing it just as a stepping stone to becoming idols.

    Admittedly, I am waiting for Kirino to don nekomimi and nyaa into the camera…

  20. The Hordesman Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

    I remember back in the good old days when anime was manly. The year was 1986.

  21. Hinano Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

    yeaa male seiyuus are awesome. I’m glad I can still hear Nakamura Yuuichi and Ohno Daisuke this season, otherwise I sure as hell would not be watchin My Potato and Yakumo :lol:

  22. Miken Said,

    October 12, 2010 @ 12:49 am

    Making seiyuu into idols and vice versa is something overdone and rarely ever truly successful. Some people just don’t have the skills or training needed to properly cover one of the fields (or both for that matter). There’s still a fairly healthy influx of good new seiyuu, as there always will be, but the masses of the less able making it big does make one frustrated.

    I mean, it’s nice seeing fresh blood around — but when you sound like you have a particularly horrible cold, can’t properly enunciate or are squeaky moe girl #898903 then it just kinda sucks. Moe can be done well, but that’s a field that very few people can do right –and in an industry that plays up moe and uses roles as a springboard to get people on the fast track to fame (warning: it derails quite often) they just get pushed to the side.

  23. Keiya Said,

    October 12, 2010 @ 1:57 am

    … whoa, like, you guys noticed too, huh?

    This season’s anime isn’t necessarily bad, seiyuu-wise, but the female roles are held exclusively by these girls. Props to Otome Yokai Zakuro for getting Mai Nakahara back on the radar, although I’m convinced it’s more of “we can’t get Ayana Taketatsu to voice this, so let’s look for some other person who would”.

    In defense of the new female seiyuu though, I’d say Yoko Hikasa, Satomi Sato and Haruka Tomatsu are the three good ones out of the pack. Yoko’s proven her worth in most of the roles she’s in (Mio in K-On, Shino in SYD, Maya in Occult Gakuin), Satomi has great versatility (she’s voiced both genki girls and mother/ojou characters, with pleasing results), and Haruka Tomatsu’s just plain good.

    Aki Toyosaki and Minako Kotobuki, well, they seem alright, but I sure hope they can provide other voices than what they have right now. Otherwise, they’re pretty meh seiyuu-wise, but decent idol-wise.

    I’m not really a fan of Kana Hanazawa, though I do admit I’ll take her any day for a role over Ayana Taketatsu, Kanae Ito or Chiaki Omigawa.

    It’s not that Kanae Ito’s bad, but given that there are other people who can voice her characters AND more (Ayumi Fujimura, for example). And having only one role that doesn’t grate the ears (Ruiko Saten… by a stretch) doesn’t really help.

    It’s hard to say anything in favor of Chiaki Omigawa. Not when there are so, so, so many better seiyuu to consider for the roles she gets.

    I really don’t know if the seiyuu takeaway from K-On was that Ayana Taketatsu’s a great seiyuu, but here we are in Fall 2010 having to sit through around 4 anime where she’s either the lead role, or a major supporting character, each voiced by Azu-nyan with varying degrees of speed. If they’re trying to make her a poor man’s Rie Kugimiya, then they’re failing. Miserably. Perhaps it’s because she’s new and therefore needs to do more work on her voice, but she really lack the charisma and oopmh to voice the lead roles she’s been given. Instead of casting her, then why not just get Kugyuu herself? Unless her voicing Happy from Fairy Tail completely blacked out her schedule for the next 2 or 3 years (DAMN YOU GENERIC LONG-RUNNING SHONEN SERIES!).

    It’s kind of sad that the really good VA’s are now either in obscure supporting roles (Really!? Mamiko’s only known role as of late is Himegami from Index 2!? REALLY!? And where the hell is Rie Tanaka in all of this!?) or in video games (Megumi Toyoguchi and Ryotaro Okiayu were last sighted in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep). Hopefully next season, we’ll have a set of anime with better casting.

  24. darkchibi07 Said,

    October 12, 2010 @ 3:35 am

    Wait, for Marimite Season 5, and the “previous VA generation” will be back! :o

  25. TheBigN Said,

    October 12, 2010 @ 4:11 am

    For me, it’s less of “the seiyuus suck” (because I don’t pay attention to that so much), but more of “I have no idea who they are”, and I don’t have much of a problem of that. What this does though is help make my discernment of seiyuu voices better than before, since only ones that are unique enough stand out. Or so I’d say. :P

  26. Kaisos Said,

    October 12, 2010 @ 4:48 am

    Hey, at least Yu Kobayashi is still getting roles, right?

  27. beeboobeeboo Said,

    October 12, 2010 @ 5:03 am

    Well, I’m just happy that at least Sakamoto Maaya as Nino this season. :D

    Can’t wait till 3.0 for more Mari…

  28. Vegetarian4Life Said,

    October 12, 2010 @ 10:05 am

    “I guess we shouldn’t totally blame this on the poor girls though. It’s generally a fact that anime is slowly declining in quality over the years and the number of productions every year keeps going down. I guess it’s just a confluence of a lot of factors.”

    Is this really true?? I hope not because I enjoy anime very much and would be very sad if it dissipated.

    As for the voice actors, I think some of the new ones are pretty good (haruka tomatsu, Toyosaki Aki, Taketatsu Ayana etc). I haven’t felt the same low quality problems that you are mentioning. However, I do pay a lot more attention to visuals and charachter designs than voice acting.

  29. rufe Said,

    October 12, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

    Meh, I’ve observed that many once big name male seiyuu also sometimes seem to disappear…

    For example Yamaguchi Kappei, Kanemaru Junichi, Seki Toshihiko

    I think it’s the kiddie shows that do them in……

  30. Westlo Said,

    October 12, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

    I really hate how Yukino Satsuki seems to have fallen off the face of the earth.. and it looks like Kawasumi and Megumi Toyoguichi aren”t far off. I doubt Satsuki gets another lead female role ever unless a new series of FMP gets cleared, Toyoguichi as well.. though she did voice Medaka in the VOMIC.

    Has Ayako even had a major role in the last year outside of Queen’s Blade? Which is a sequel anyway.. oh yeah there was Tomomi in Ladies vs Butlers but apart from that fuck all. 34 years old.. probably hasn’t even hit her prime vocally and pushed out of main roles for mostly what consists of talentless hacks.

    “And Sphere also has some okay people I guess. Aki Toyosaki and Haruka Tomatsu at least sound decent enough most of the time. ”

    Aki Toyosaki easily has the worst range and is the least talented member of Sphere.

  31. anon Said,

    October 13, 2010 @ 11:11 am

    now… now…. we still have the good generation like

    Kana Hanazawa ,Who hates Nadeko and Touko from Bungaku Shoujo? Mazui…yo~!”

    Satomi Arai ,anybody hates Kuroko?

    Kanae Itou ,Saten?

    Ayana Taketatsu ,Azusa Nya~n, Ako nee

    Yuka Iguchi ,Index, Tsukihi

    Rina Satou Hates Mikoto and her role in MM?

    Good ol’ Yukari Tamura ,Who hates RIka-chama, Tsundere Togame, Bernkastel, and the witch Nanoha?

    Good ol’ 17 years old woman Inoue Kikuko ,too many to type down, basically she is a goddess , a 17 years old goddess

    Good ol’ Sayaka Ohara Beato!!

    Good ol’ Tanaka Rie ,Only if she voices more Suigintou and less Rags Clyne

    and anything that is already mentioned or i forgot to type down .

    And also this season there will be Mirai Nikki. i meant who’s better at voicing Yandere than Mai Nakahara? USODA!!!, right?

  32. mangamaxx Said,

    October 14, 2010 @ 7:37 am

    I kind of agree with you Kurogane, but not as extreme. I can think of dozens of anime with a cast of marginally averge seiyuus, but I thought of myself as tolerant and thinking “everyone starts somewhere, I’m sure they’ll get better with time”. I’m sure you’ve just gotten towards the end of your tolerence fuse with all the crap that’s been coming out in recent years (the amount of anime I’ve been watching has been dropping significantly year by year). I’m sure I’ll be where you’re at in due time at this rate.

  33. riddlekiller Said,

    October 14, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

    -_- all i can say is…don’t generalise, there are plenty of good voice actresses out there -_-
    i could say the same thing for male voice actors if we were to argue about them -_-
    so don’t generalise

  34. Niku Said,

    October 16, 2010 @ 1:18 am

    Maybe this is why all my favorite seiyuu these days are male. Jun Fukuyama is showing up everywhere and I’m loving the intros Fumihiko Tachiki is doing for Hyakka Ryouran. Jouji Nakata’s cameo in Index was also a pleasant surprise.

  35. toyami Said,

    October 16, 2010 @ 5:48 am

    I actually just wanted to defend Chiaki.
    [Normally I doesn't care which voice actress speaks whom. But after watching the first episode of Soredemo machi wa mawateru I just had to look up where from I know this voice. And I think her voice suits Arashiyama and Maka. Well, actually I already speculatd, whether a voice can be sexy, because I already loved Maka back then not knowing by whom she was spoken.]

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