A seiyuu’s life is tough, especially when you’re just starting out and aiming to be noticed. Just what Shirobako did for the anime industry and what Bakuman did for the manga industry, the anime, Seiyuu’s Life, or Sore Ga Seiyuu, provided fans a good insight on why it’s not easy getting into the Japanese voice acting industry.
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The series is the brainchild of veteran seiyuu, Masumi Asano (Hayate the Combat Butler!’s Risa Asakaze, Psycho-Pass’s Risa Aoyanagi, and Ikki Tousen’s Hakufu Sonsaku), who wrote the story of the original manga, which is illustrated by Hayate the Combat Butler! mangaka, Kenjirou Hata. The series draws from the experiences of Asano as a seiyuu and explains the many challenges that rookie seiyuus are still facing today. Let’s all say that A-list seiyuus like Nana Mizuki, Kana Hanazawa, and Yuuki Kaji weren’t really well known when they were still starting out.
The anime has also become quite the talk of seiyuu fans, who have gotten a better understanding of the seiyuu industry thanks to the series. They are also talking about the anime because every week, a special guest seiyuu makes an appearance AS THEMSELVES and offer up sage advice to the three main characters. So who made appearances in the anime and how do they look like as anime characters? EPISODE 1 features Masako Nozawa, best known for her roles as Son Goku, Son Gohan, and Son Goten. She is introduced as the most respected and most senior seiyuu in a recording that everybody had to greet.
EPISODE 2 meanwhile featured Hiroshi Kamiya (Attack on Titan’s Levi and Durarara!!’s Izaya Orihara), whose appearance showed everyone the difference in workloads of those who have made it, and those still starting out. Oh, and he seems to REALLY love his cat because he just can’t stop talking about it to main character, Futaba Ichinose. He made a return in EPISODE 10 as he played Rin Kohana’s older brother for an anime they are starring in together.
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While she may not be an A-lister, another seiyuu appearing as herself in EPISODE 2 is Machico, who is appearing as a flustered rookie seiyuu who is also starting out. She reappeared on EPISODE 6 as herself as well.
Meanwhile, EPISODE 3 was about radio shows, and guess who appeared as a guest for a radio show the three main characters were also guesting in? Yukari Tamura (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha’s Nanoha Takamachi and Naruto’s Tenten), who came complete with sparkles! As expected of a magical girl, she even came with those kawaii Nanoha pigtails!
The guest for EPISODE 4 is veteran seiyuu, Banjou Ginga (Mobile Suit Gundam’s Gihren Zabi and Space Dandy’s Admiral Perry), who offered some of that sage advice to a flustered Futaba, who bumped into him during a party.
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EPISODE 5, meanwhile, introduced us to a very different Yui Horie (Monogatari’s Tsubasa Hanekawa and K’s Anna Kushina) than we normally know. In this episode, we see that Yui Horie is clumsy, unorganized, and often has messy hair, however, once the show starts, she puts her game face on and shines brighter than everyone else. She reappears on episode 12 and is featured in a cameo with her fellow Aice5 members in episode 11. She is quite close to the mangaka as she and series creator, Masumi Asano, are not only close friends in real life, but both of them are also members of Aice5!
The “Queen of Tsundere” herself, Rie “TsundeRie” Kugimiya, was the guest seiyuu for EPISODE 6, where she appeared in a flashback where she worked with Futaba on a drama CD. She is also a friend to both mangakas, Asano and Hata, who worked with both of them in Hayate the Combat Butler!, where she voices the (you guessed it) tsundere main heroine, Nagi Sanzenin. Her other roles include Shakugan no Shana’s Shana, The Familiar of Zero’s Louise, and Toradora’s Taiga Aisaka.
EPISODE 7 introduces us to the dubbing of foreign films into Japanese, and veteran seiyuu, Rikiya Koyama (Ushio and Tora’s Tora and Detective Conan’s Kouguro Mouri), is the one who introduces us to that aspect of the seiyuu industry.
Meanwhile, the guest for EPISODE 8 is Yuji Machi, a famous TV announcer and program narrator in Japan, who shows that the seiyuu industry is not just about voicing anime, video games, and dubbing foreign films.
EPISODE 9’s guest is the one and only Noriko Hidaka, best known for her roles as Akane Tendou in Ranma 1/2 and the voice of the Dominator in Psycho-Pass. Like the rest of the guests, she offered some words of encouragement and advice to her kouhais.
The next guest seiyuu is Ryoko Shiraishi, who also came with a lot of sparkles upon her introduction. She appeared in EPISODE 11, which was full of Hayate the Combat Butler! references. Of course, Shiraishi is best known for voicing the bankrupt butler himself, Hayate Ayasaki, and like Rie Kugimiya, she has worked very closely with both mangakas.
The 13th and FINAL episode had a very fitting guest seiyuu, and it was none other than series creator, singer, mangaka, and real-life seiyuu, Masumi Asano, who was just passing by and admitted that she loooooooves money.
The final credits scene in the final episode also rounded up the guest seiyuus who appeared in the show, from Masako Nozawa to Rie Kugimiya to Banjou Ginga to Ryoko Shiraishi.
Sore ga Seiyuu follows Futaba Ichinose, the most “plain” of the three protagonists. She is voiced by newcomer, Rie Takahashi (Shirobako’s Akane Uchida). Ichigo Moesaki, meanwhile is a new seiyuu dreaming of becoming an idol seiyuu, though she is a bit mysterious as Ichigo Moesaki ain’t even her real name. She is voiced by Yuki Nagaku (Medamayaki no Kimi Itsu Tsubusu?’s Aki). Finally, Rin Kohana is a bit of veteran in showbiz as she has worked as a child actress since she was 5. She is voiced by another newcomer, Marika Kouno.
When the three main characters were introduced, many were wondering why they chose relative unknowns to play the three main roles, however, it seems that the three were able to draw from their experiences as rookie seiyuus and translated them into their respective characters. Plus if we got A-listers voicing the main characters, we may have all these guest appearances, right?!