「 PV撮影」 (PV Satsuei)
“Music Video Filming”
The seiyuu unit Earphones breaks out with their first performance this week, but funnily enough that didn’t turn out to be the main thrust of the episode. Sure, there were songs and smiles and exasperation with fabulous yet useless instructors, all the usual business of the idol industry, but I considered the secondary focus of the episode. Perhaps it’s because I already have THE IDOLM@STER this season for idol industry shenanigans, or perhaps stuff crawling into my ears and eating my brain is a particular childhood nightmare for me so the Earphones’ debut single only made me self-conscious (catchy enough though it was). Most likely, though, it’s because Sore ga Seiyuu! has suddenly switched gears to high drama! I was honestly surprised. Rarely have we gone without a comedic slant on our girls career troubles. What happened here?
Drama CD drama
Being of the high-profit global industry that is anime blogging, I often find myself digging up the cast of anime and other derivative works fairly often, so I already had the impression that the cast of a drama CD is often not reprised for an anime adaptation, so when Futaba so enthusiastically assumed that she had a part lined up I suspected that it was not going to end well for her. What I didn’t expect was the amount of gravity that was alloted, melodramatic weather and all. Indeed, this is as serious as Sore ga Seiyuu! has ever been; normally, no matter the hardship or disappointment Sore ga Seiyuu subjected on its protagonists it would pull back at the last second before things got depression. At most, we had black comedy instead of full-on breakdowns. A cynical (and jaded-Hollywood) view is that they’re baiting for an Oscar with some teary scenes (and shinies! And mayflies are probably symbolic!), though I suppose it’s also a good experience for the budding voice actors (both inside and outside the show) to cultivate a broader acting range than just comedic tomfoolery. It’s also apropos that this particular rejection will hurt more for Futaba than previous ones, since it feels less like missing out on a role and more like losing one you already had, and to a younger colleague in your own unit no less (which necessarily requires confrontation). And, of course, it’s also the pain of missing out on an opportunity to work closely with an industry great like this week’s cameo, the perpetually typecast and apparently pleasently scented Kugimiya Rie. She doesn’t play as large a role as Horie Yui of last week (and has no sparkles at all), but she’s still makes for a stable veteran figure (and continues Hocchan’s example that you don’t need more than one voice to make it in this industry). To think yourself so close yet in reality being oh so far, would be demoralising for anyone.
Return to form
Sore ga Seiyuu! doesn’t sustain its Serious Business overlong. There’s always Ichigo for the usual goofiness, of course (was I the only one who expected her to be hit by a truck or something during her construction job? Excel Saga did things to me) but even the arc itself was resolved neatly within the single episode (since cake solves everything). The elephant in the room about our friendly trio still technically all being rivals was addressed, everyone’s back on their feet, we’re feeling positive again.
The advice that Futaba’s senpai gave her in their little pep talk didn’t seem like much of an epiphany, though. While it’s true that professionalism is a tough act even on the best of days, it does seem like Futaba was told little except to suck it up. Forget your dreams, girl. Forget all those other sparkling seiyuu (perhaps that’s why Kugimiya Rie was sans glitter). You’ll have no solace except in your own blood, sweat and tears. Perhaps a rallying call for the stiff upper lip was all Futaba needed. She seems to have figured it out herself, in any case. Sure, she can’t help being jealous and frustrated of Rin, but as a professional, she should be most interested in Rin’s performance. Be professional! Be polite! Have a plan to evaluate everyone you meet!
So Ichigo took a big step last week, Futaba this week. I wonder if Rin, who knows no hardship, will also face an internal struggle at sometime soon. We can only be sure that there will be no rest for the weary. Next week, production staggers and everybody panics. I’m sure this stuff happens all the time, though. The important thing to know is whether this is just a minor hiccup or a complete catastrophe. One of these is more entertaining than the other, if only because of schadenfreude. More trials by fire for Earphones await, I’m sure.
ED2: 「耳の中へ」 (Into Your Ears) by イヤホンズ (Earphones: Takahashi Rie, Nagaku Yuki, & Kouno Marika)