Character episode? Character episode! This week of Sore ga Seiyuu! focuses almost exclusively on Ichigo and her personal character growth. More attention had been on Futaba so far, and Rin looks like she’s doing comfortably, so I welcomed this exploration of Ichigo’s character develops her into more than just the tryhard cosplayer. I also think that Ichigo has the greatest potential for black comedy out of the three pastel protagonists. She sits at a good continuum between the unflinchingly miserable Futaba and the perennially cozy Rin. Her need to upkeep her Princess
Peach Toadstool Strawberry or whatever persona makes for an amusing contrast with the harsh reality she has to deal with. Usually, getting sacked (partially by her own fault though it may be) and losing your lights is a horrific story of crippling poverty, but our overly pink heroine manages to turn it into laughs. And, of course, the good news that comes soon after also helps to balance the mood. There’s still room there to feel sorry for Ichigo, though. At least Futaba as Pipo got to be a roughly humanoid robot; Ichigo is stuck as a bacteriophage, not even a single-cell life-form. But, hey, any role in a hit RPG title with possible franchise potential is a good deal. Plus, she gets to work with some big stars.
That’s right, this week’s cameo is none other than the famed Horie Yui, the only 38-year-old allowed to call herself ‘Hocchan’. She’s one of those seiyuu I’ve been familiar with since her debut, so it warms my heart to know that she continues to do well with the one voice she has, even now. She’s also surprisingly frumpy in ‘real life’ (or perhaps not that surprising, considering her anime personae), though she does have an appropriate sparkles mode for the stage (unlike her cohort Tamura Yukari, who can’t turn it off). She’s definitely the most significant Seiyuu cameo so far, playing a rather major role in the episode (and not just having a song in the request corner, but singing the insert herself). Not only is she a mentor figure for Ichigo (I hear she does look out for newbies), she’s also an inspiration in her transformation from clumsy airhead to glamorous idol at will. Even moreso than the other guest appearances thus far, she’s the seiyuu that hopefuls want to be.
Looking ahead ~ PV Filming
So, I guess that more or less wraps up Ichigo for now, in both her image problem and her relationship with her embarrassing family. The one advantage I think Ichigo has is her supportive father. I get the impression that Futaba’s parents less than approve of her life choices, while Rin probably has a stage mum in the wings somewhere. Ichigo’s father, though, is willing to let his daughter go while still standing behind her all the way. in fact, I half expected Ichigo’s first personal fanmail to have been from her dad, but I guess that would have ruined her moment.
For next week, the creepy producer has Earphone’s debut song lined up (will they just play the ED?) so now it’s time for them to get into full marketing mode. I guess the plan is, even if Sore ga Seiyuu! doesn’t manage to sell many anime BDs, they can at least still sell music. Hurrah for cross pollineating industries.