「マネージャー」 (Manējā)
“Manager”

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!

Looking ahead

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.

Full-length images: 11, 24.

 

Preview

13 Comments

  1. I almost thought for a second there was a new anime being blogged. Nice play on the anime title there. Yes, it was a nice break to see things that happened in the previous episodes from the manager’s point of view this time, and man is Aoi’s job not a walk in the park. I’m impressed at her humility too, brushing off praises. Since her first appearance in the anime I thought there might have been something special about Aoi and this episode shows it. You definitely would want to cheer her on.

    The other highlights are definitely a cameo by Noriko-san, who I know more as Rurouni Kenshin’s Seta Soujiro, and The Slayers theme song. Last time it was Nanoha’s Eternal Blaze, then Martian Successor Nadesico’s You Get To Burning, and now it’s Get Along. I’m definitely loving their choice of songs.

    Zhinvu
      1. Come to think of it, that’s very possible. Most of the songs that appeared are pretty old school but well-known and the seiyuus that appeared are also veterans in the industry. It would make sense for old school seiyuus to have old school taste in songs, which isn’t a bad thing. The requested songs have been great so far.

        Zhinvu
  2. I so very much wanted to give Konno a hug throughout this episode! She’s just so earnest and adorable!

    The melodramatic “go on without me!” scene was just over the top enough, and just fitting enough for those two characters to be hilarious. We’ll never forget your sacrifice, Konno-san! 😉

    Wanderer
  3. nice episode indeed for the person (manager) who works in the shadow to help our favorite seiyuu shine brighter. and once again this proves that all successful persons we know always have a reliable “sidekick”.

    Jeffers
  4. I just watched Gunbuster about two weeks ago, so It was cool to see Hidaka Noriko, who plays Takaya Noriko.

    The jobs behind the curtain are not the most glamorous and rarely does someone get famous for those roles, but they are integral to any production. Glad to see managers get the spotlight for an episode.

    Gouka Ryuu
  5. I loved the melodramatic scene when Konno fell over! At first it felt like just a parody, but thinking a little on what it was parodying – the hero losing the one who’d been supporting them, unable to support them in their hour of need but promising to go back and support them as soon as they can – made me appreciate how close a friend Futabe sees Konno as, and how integral a manager’s back-stage role is in an artist’s life. They, indeed, are the unsung heroes, the invisible sidekicks, who go through many of the same struggles (awkwardness with and lessons from superiors) as the ones who take the spotlight.

    A fantastic example of how a change in perspective and cinematic focus can alter our perception of a character and the relationships they have. The show never hinted that we would get this kind of free gift of an extension of how we connect to the cast, and it made this episode shine.

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