「ナレーション」 (Narēshon)

In the same vein of last week, this episode of Sore ga Seiyuu! sails a distance from the shores of anime to touch upon some foreign colonies that are still related to the great seiyuu motherland (that metaphor sounded a lot less tortured in my head. I apologise for it). The idol arc is one we’ve been following for a while, so that shouldn’t be too new, but the second half of the show gets behind the scenes of yet another odd job that requires a voice: narrating what seems to be a low-budget Discovery Channel segment. Well, narrations in general, I presume. I’m just amused they decided to use a video of a sloth as an example, presumably as a metaphor for how incredibly thrilling the subject matter is.

I jest, of course; I actually found the narration job the more interesting half of the show. Not that the first half was boring; I was simply more familiar with its subject matter and found less education in it (wow, that’s a nerd moment right there: being excited for education in entertainment. I need to give myself a wedgie). There’s no end of idol anime these days (the surprisingly technical IDOLM@STER is playing this very season) and I already have personal and traumatic experiences of dying on stage, so all I had left was the feeling of pity for the staff who seem to bear the stress for empty seats while sharing in none of the potential celebrity. And while the concert was fun, it’s not really the best in choreographed pop fribble in anime and it’s not really what I come to Sore ga Seiyuu! for anyway (which is why I’ll readily forgive the choppy animation that comes up). It was still a good bit, but Futaba’s narration job, which didn’t have a song and dance number (again: sloth) changed my perspective. I had imagined doing narrating to be rather low-calorie work, but it turns out I didn’t appreciate the tight schedules and precise timings set to cue-less video. This week’s cameo, Tanabe Shōji alias Machi Yūji, who has a short anime resume but apparently huge TV experience, certainly showed me that one can be a superhuman in any field.

Both halves of the episode, though, follow essentially the same formula, one that we should be familiar with by now. Futaba starts off fumbling, screws up, gets inspired by either an industry veteran or her one fan, then does better in the mulligan. Should I feel bad for Futaba always getting such a raw deal? Is she the weak link in her unit, or just suffering the fate of the comedic punching bag? I suppose Futaba, starting so low, also offers the greatest possibility for growth. Interesting, this episode also offers an interesting dichotomy in that regard. Futaba’s idol work, with its staged glamour, is a stark contrast to her narration work, where she may as well be a disembodied voice. Futaba’s boss wants her to have a balance of both. I’m not sure what it means by that, but I’m thinking that it has something to do with Futaba’s continuing growth.

Looking ahead, there are continuing hints that Rin has room to grow as well, in more ways than one (height. Slightly variable heights). Her issues at school (her possibly familiar school). From her furtive expressions, it seems that she has uncertainties about her future. Futaba and Ichigo are pretty all-in on the seiyuu career, but Rin’s still just a high schooler. How far does she intend to carry this? Seeds for future drama are being sown. Maybe we’re building towards a climax? I think they’re starting to erect some signs.




  1. wow… looks like a major torture for kohana rin incoming… cant wait for that.

    this face alone shows how heavy will it be in the future

    anyway this is another amazing “reality is really harsh” episode. but not as painful as the previous. ichigo and futaba are continuously improving both in personality and talent which may soon surpass rin (whom we may consider the best in the trio but might be no longer the case as futaba and ichigo catch up to her) and with incoming school problems, rin might quit (if the anime would still show realities of being a seiyuu, the quitting/retiring flag)

  2. As a note, Rin’s a third-year middle-schooler, not a high school student.

    Right now it looks like Rin is following the path someone else set out for her: having been a child actress due to her parents’ decisions. It looks to me like she’s trying to figure out what path she wants to follow in life. Although, given how much she has seemed to enjoy all the aspects of her seiyuu work that we’ve seen her do, I’d say if she just thought about it a bit she’d realize she actually is where she wants to be…

    At least 15 is a good age to be thinking about these things. Nanoha was worrying about it when she was 9.

    1. Ah right, middle school. In Australia we only have primary school and high school as our tiers of mandatory education, so forgive me for my occasional loose terminology.

      I personally think that modern society essentially expecting teenagers to have sorted out their future by the time they leave school is a bit unfair. It’s a turbulent time in their lives, and there’s so much information these days. I feel like they need more chances to screw up safely.

      1. Amen to that. I’ve met too many people haven’t figured out what they wanted to be by … ever, to think that knowing by high school is reasonable. Or even university, a lot of the time.

        Then again, most people have like 6+ careers nowadays, apparently. The first one doesn’t need to be the right one.

  3. Looking at the preview for next week it seems like something major will happen with Futaba possibly getting more problems in her professional life. She did mention a while back that her agency is strict with its talents and her boss suddenly showing up at one of her jobs might not bode too well for her.

    Poor Futaba she was the only one with no “fan club” during their live

    1. Actually looking at the title “Manager” and preview images, I’m thinking it’ll be a semi-recap episode but told from the viewpoint of Konno. It’s something that Gonzo does in their shows.
      You can see the scene where Futaba broke down and cried while at the agency when she didn’t get the part that went to Rin instead.

  4. Futaba has talent in voice acting – once she gets her bearings, she does quite a great job: showing pretty good vocal range in multiple roles, and getting positive feedback from industrial vets. Her problem seems to be that she has neither the experienced confidence (and cute) of Rin, nor the bravado of Princess Raspberry.

    Garrison Keillor used to joke about having “a face for radio”. Futaba is kind of suffering from something of microphone charisma right now – she is only comfortable behind it. She seems to have the “voice” part down, but very little of the “acting” part of the job.

  5. Futaba, you don’t need to sparkle. We love you all the same.

    We have to remember that the show is based on the experiences of the author. Asano Masumi is not a no-name seiyuu but neither is she a superstar. I know her best as Hakufu in Ikkitousen and while she has a long resume, she just wasn’t as popular as the others in her generation. She was ok in looks and ok in singing.

    As for the narration part, they mentioned it was for a variety show. Think of something like “Good Morning America” where there are live hosts in the studio as well as video segments. The video segments were what they were narrating.

  6. Based on Rin’s reaction in a previous episode when Ichigo and Futaba brought up high school, I think her crisis may end up being whether to continue her schooling into high school, or quit after middle school and dedicate herself full-time to seiyuu work. But another alternative could indeed be that she’s considering other potential professions.

  7. Yeah, figures that was the case. For an age 15, she already have 3 year of VA experience (i.e. started at age 12-13) And clearly it’s not a hollywood case where a child actor who goes old and forgotten. She’s a case of Child prodigy where she didn’t decide to be a VA but literally landed on a silver platter and wondering if she should keep doing this or something else. Also since she works at childhood, I bet she doesn’t have to have too much fun either.


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