Saturday, July 04, 2015

Yuuki Aoi at Full Speed

Here's Yuuki Aoi rehearsing for and then voicing a TV ad for a new light novel called Chronicle Legion, from Shueisha's "Dash X" label.

She apparently reads 330 characters in 30 seconds -- eleven characters a second. Many of these are probably single syllables and some double or more.

Ao-chan has great vocal skill. I think she's a good actress, too, but her powerful vocal equipment and control are what really set her apart.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Komatsu Mikako -- A Handsome Voice

Komatsu Mikako 小松未可子 had her first leading role in 2010, as Joey in Heroman. She became a star in 2011, playing the schoolgirl pirate captain Kato Marika in Mouretsu Uchuu Kaizoku (aka "Bodacious Space Pirates").

As a seiyuu, she has sailed along ever since, a minor star just below the level of super-stardom. But as a personality, she is very well known among Japanese anime fans. She has hosted 13 different radio shows, and has released seven singles in her own name as a singer. And now she is getting more and more roles.

As a personality, Mikakoshi (her nickname) is a lovely combination of forceful and sweet. She has a deep voice and can be loud and strong, but always gives a natural, easy, honest feeling.

She admires multitalented seiyuu/singers Horie Yui and Sakamoto Maaya, as well as the great Kaida Yuuko, who is a highly successful anime seiyuu but has the kind of range that makes her one of the very top voices in dubbing. Kaida-san also has a coolness and strength that Mikakoshi can easily aspire to.

Here are pics of four of Mikakoshi's best-known characters, Marika (Space Pirates), Neko (K), Miuna (Nagi no Asukara) and Tsugumi Seishirou (Nisekoi):

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer 2015 Anime Weekly Calendar

The new anime season gets started on Wednesday with Gangsta and Okusama ga Seitou Kaichou.

Gangsta is dark urban action from the director of Ergo Proxy, and features top names like Noto Mamiko, Suwabe Junichi, Koshimizu Ami, and Ishikawa Kaito.

Okusama ga Seitou Kaichou ("My Wife is Student Council President") is an ecchi fantasy starring Taketatsu Ayana. Our straight-laced male hero is defeated in the election for student council president by a new girl who supports free love and distributes condoms...then he arrives home to find that she has moved in as his willing bride, following an agreement between their fathers. (I've recently a post stating this show has ten-minute episodes. No official word.).

Click here or on the image to go to a full weekly calendar of the new season:


New shows are in red, shows that started in various prior seasons are in other colours.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

2015 Summer Anime -- full previews of 45 shows, with story, cast, staff, pic, trailer, comments, etc.

Akagami no Shirayukihime
When I first started looking at the summer season shows, I was pretty disappointed. There were 14 (count 'em, 14!) sequels, some short anime, and not much new of interest.

As I learned more, I found a number of promising shows. But this is still a summer season, traditionally the low point of the anime year.

My shows "most likely to succeed":
  • Charlotte -- A new show from PA Works, written by Maeda Jun, who wrote the Air, Kanon and Clannad games, and the Angel Beats anime. Starring Sakura Ayane, Uchiyama Kouki and Uchida Maaya. Secret superpowers and a depressed atmosphere.
  • Gangsta -- The director of Ergo Proxy sets another dark tale in a dirty city. Great cast.
  • Akagami no Shirayukihime -- Shoujo romantic adventure set in mediaeval times. Stars the glorious voice of Hayami Saori as "Red-Haired Snow White."
  • Overlord -- For Madhouse, the director of Iriya no Sora animates a powerful game-world-becomes-real story.
  • Prison School -- A famous girls' school admits boys for the first time. The four boys who become students find themselves shunned, and enemies of a secret council. Top director (Mizushima Tsutomu). Top writer (Yokote Michiko). Top cast (Kamiya, Namikawa, Hanazawa, et al.). JC Staff.
Not enough romance for my taste, but oh well. Here are some other shows with promise:
  • Aoharu x Kikanjuu -- Girl dressed as boy teams with club host and ero-mangaka to become top survival-game team. Komatsu Mikako. Brain's Base.
  • Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Sen'eki -- Historical fighting fantasy starring Sawashiro Miyuki.
  • Classroom Crisis -- The travails of students with part-time jobs. The director of No.6, the writer of White Album 2.
  • Gakkou Gurashi! -- Four girls live at their ruined school after a zombie apocalypse. It's a comedy.
  • Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri -- Fantasy adventure starring Suwabe Junichi, Kanemoto Hisako, Touyama Nao and Taneda Risa.
  • God Eater -- Sci-fi action from the director of Garden of Sinners 5, for ufotable.
  • Joukamachi no Dandelion -- A family of princes and princesses with superpowers is tracked by hidden cameras so that their people can vote on which of them should be the new ruler. The director of Bakuman, written by Yoshida Reiko.
  • Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace -- Kishi Seiji and Uezu Makoto reunite for a school mystery anime featuring Sakurai Takahiro.
  • Rokka no Yuusha -- Six heroes are chosen to fight the reawakened demon king. By the director of Spice and Wolf. 
  • Sore ga Seiyuu -- Young seiyuus learn about the seiyuu world. Created by seiyuu Asano Masumi, written by Yokote Michiko.
  • Ushio to Tora (2015) -- Shounen supernatural action adapted from an award-winning manga by the writer of Death Note.
  • Wakako-zake -- Anime remake of a live-action TV series in which a woman unhappy at work goes alone to eat and drink fine cuisine. It's about the food. Stars Sawashiro Miyuki.
The one genre that seems most active this summer is ecchi:
  • Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou -- From a popular manga featuring seductive monsters coming to live in a schoolboy's home.
  • Okusama ga Seito Kaichou! -- The beautiful new student council president (Taketatsu Ayana) moves into the schoolboy's home and says she is his wife. 
  • Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai -- Ecchi hijinks from the director of Henneko. Matsuki Miyu, Gotou Saori, Ogura Yui.
  • Makura no Danshi -- "Pillow boys." Twelve episodes featuring twelve different bishounen sleeping next to you and whispering sweet nothings. A reverse Sleeping with Hinako.
And those sequels? Aquarion Logos, Durarara!!x2 Ten, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Zwei Herz!, Gatchaman Crowds Insight (Ishihara Kaori joins Uchida Maaya), Hetalia The World Twinkle, Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls 2, Junjou Romantica 3 (real yaoi romance), Miss Monochrome The Animation (Horie Yui), Non Non Biyori Repeat, Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX, Teekyuu 5, To Love-Ru: Trouble - Darkness 2nd, Wooser no Sono Higurashi Mugen Hen, Working!!! (my favorite in this list).

And there are four shows involving idols. In addition to Miss Monochrome and Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls, there are Venus Project and the interesting Million Doll, which is about otaku promoting their favorite new idols.

That's the summary. Read on for the main body of the post, giving full details -- story, cast, staff, pic, trailer (where available), and comments -- for each of 45 shows.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hibike! Euphonium characters/seiyuus

I wasn't going to do any of these pages this season, but this show has made itself an exception. This is a very good show with a big and interesting cast. And I have trouble keeping all the characters straight. Maybe a page like this can help.

The star, Kurosawa Tomoyo, is a 19-year-old former TV/film/stage child actress, and a singer with the Sound Horizon troupe. Reina is played by Anzai Chika, who was Nagisa in Kiruminzoo six years ago, then did little until resurfacing as Coffin-princess Chaika. Asuka, the vice-president of the club, is played really well by Kotobuki Minako, of Sphere and K-On. Chihara Minori has a good role. And Sakurai Takahiro give us both the wonderful sound of his voice and a powerful character yet again.

Click here or on the image to go to the full page.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Seiyuu Video Mini-clips

There's a twitter bot sending out five-second video clips of amusing and/or charming seiyuu moments, mainly from radio shows or public appearances.

Here's one of Uchida Maaya:

video

And here's Yahagi Sayuri, with her trademark tongue-loll:

video

The account is 動く女性声優bot -- "Women seiyuus in motion", @Gif_booot. If you follow this, be prepared: the clips come through at the rate of two an hour, with duplications. They are best viewed on repeat, which is how they come through naturally on Twitter.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Little Glee Monster

I've hesitated to feature a group like Little Glee Monster, whose members are so young and which has a glee-club/Las Vegas sound, but they are just too amazing not to write about.

This is an a capella group of girls ranging in age from 14 to 17. They are billed as a group made up of the best girl singers. Members entered a contest to choose the best singers. When you're used to hearing the uncertain tones of some idols and seiyuu-singers, this group of ridiculously capable young singers is a revelation. How about this:



Two members of the group are the kind of kids who appear on "got talent" shows and totally floor the judges with their powerful, mature voices. The youngest member, manaka, has a voice that ranges from high soprano down to tenor. One interviewer asked her if it was good to push her voice like that, and she just said that it was her natural voice. Onitsuka Chihiro basically ruined her own voice, so I hope it's really okay. Manaka is the youngest member of the group, but often acts as its front-man.