Perhaps in escalation of the trend of the last few weeks, this episode of Sore ga Seiyuu! departs somewhat from the struggles of the seiyuu and instead tells a story from the point of view of Konno Aoi, secret agent, beef bowl aficionado, and compact-sized manager. I don’t mind this temporary shift. Kon-kon and her persistent ⁰△⁰ makes her endearing enough, especially since she does seem like one of those characters that seem to be silently in need of a hug. I have a soft spot for the stoic types. And, of course, the fresh perspective is also welcome in and of itself. Futaba getting a pratfall partner gives a slightly new spin to the comedy, and I found myself disproportionately amused by the death flags raised for the sake of fake melodrama. No matter where Sore ga Seiyuu!‘s attention turns, it seems, it still reserves some room to make light of itself.
All in all, Konno Aoi’s story appears to be a seiyuu’s love letter to their manager, a role that seems to be some cross between an agent and a supplier. While a successful seiyuu enjoys a certain celebrity status, I doubt that successful managers (whatever that means) get a similar amount of recognition (except among company-bureaucrat circles, I suppose. There’s niche communities for everything). But someone must be providing that support behind the scenes, wrestling with bags of scripts that look heavier than she is, forming partnerships with other egos, freaking out on their charge’s behalf. I could feel a certain warmth behind this episode as it shone a spotlight on the unsung (this week’s ED aside) heroes of the seiyuu industry.
The Serious Business edge (and Sore ga Seiyuu! always has one of those), though, is that there is a danger of the manager becoming too attached to the seiyuu. To put the most positive spin on it, they must keep a professional distance to maintain their objectivity. While even Konno has her hesitations, I don’t really see the harm of giving some fair assurances, since one can do well even if they fail—they just need to do better. I suppose the philosophy is that artists need to be tempered with fire, and self-loathing is character building. I certainly agree that there is a need to give these newbies a push sometimes, and that lesson is no better embodied than in this week’s guest star Hidaka Noriko, an old hand who is comfortable playing girls and guys and guns. A comfort zone is a luxury actors cannot afford, and it seems to also be a manager’s job to whip them out of it. Joy is weakness! Get back to flogging!
This could very possibly have been our last side-route before a clear path to the end, as next week it seems we’re finally getting that Rin episode that has been a long time coming. It could even be an extended arc, even possibly the final one, which would be apt considering it’s about thinking of the future and all that finale-worthy thematic paraphernalia. That said, we still have a good three episodes left, and Sore ga Seiyuu! has not been one to linger overlong. We’ll have to see if it decides to vary the formula for the home stretch.