Friday, February 03, 2006

Bright new seiyuu Yahagi Sayuri -- Karin

At 19, Yahagi Sayuri 矢作紗友里 has burst onto the voice-acting scene as a potential new star. In her first role as Karin, in the anime of the same name, the special pop of moé energy in her voice, and her already developed craft, have instantly made her popular among anime fans in Japan and overseas. Hazukashiiii! Hashihime's seiyuu pages -- Yahagi Sayuri

The photo is from an event in October 2005. Here are links to another event, and to her first public appearance: being presented as a new seiyuu by I's Entertainment, which also represents Saitou Chiwa, Nakahara Mai, and others. It's a changing news page, so you make have to look lower or search. On 2channel, there is a "Yahagi Sayuri support thread."

Here is a rough translation of an interview from late summer 2005:

Interviewer: You're just about to start recording Karin. How do you feel?

Yahagi Sayuri (YS): Umm, half happy and half nervous.

What were your feelings when you were given the role?

YS: “No way!!!” (laughs) I thought they were kidding me. Then during a call from the agency explaining things, I began to realize: “Oh, it's really true.” At first, it didn't feel real at all.

Tell us about the character Karin.

YS: Karin is a “blood-giving vampire,” but she's also a shy ordinary girl. Her emotions really came out in the original manga when I read it. You honestly just wanted to help her because she seemed so cute and vulnerable.

Do you have anything in common with Karin?

YS: Karin is clumsy, and I'm also a bit clumsy....(laughs) Sometimes I fall over for no reason at all. And in general I'm a pretty happy person.

And are there ways in which you're definitely not like her?

YS: Well, I don't bite people (laughs)! And I've noticed how nice Karin is to people. That isn't so much something where I'm not like her as something in her that I'd like to imitate.

Karin is your debut role. What made you want to be a voice actress?

YS: Because of my high voice, in elementary school my friends called me “Burikko” (kiddy-girl, child-like woman). It was really mortifying. But I thought: “Someday I'll get back at you.” It was in my second year of middle school (grade 8) that I first learned there was such a job as “voice actress” and wondered if I might be able to make use of the voice I had such a complex about. That challenge was my impetus to becoming a voice actress. Up until then, because I liked drawing, I wanted to be a mangaka.

A mangaka! So you liked manga and anime even then?

YS: I especially loved Sailor Moon. We used to play Sailor Moon all the time. I had no idea at all that one day I would become a voice actress myself (laughs).

What kind of voice actress do you want to become?

YS: I want to be someone who never betrays the people who watch something I do, a voice actress about whom they can say: “Yahagi Sayuri is really good in this role.”

Finally, do you have anything you want to say to people?

YS: I'm going to do my utmost to get closer and closer to Karin's feelings. I want to do everything I can to have Karin and I grow up together. Please give your support to Karin, everyone.

REC 01

REC is the first anime I know that is set in the world of seiyuus. I've been looking forward to it. The first episode was enjoyable and surprising. Enjoyable for the story, the characters and the young seiyuu who plays the lead; surprising for its short length (12 minutes), and for the fact that the guy and girl were in bed together within a few hours of meeting.

The story is fairly captivating, and they did a lot in 11 minutes: a 26-year-old blah-looking salaryman is waiting outside a cinema and feels he has been stood up by his date. He is about to throw his tickets away when a girl (she's 20) tells him not to waste them, so he ends up giving her one and going in to see the film, which is Roman Holiday, the old film starring Audrey Hepburn.

She sits next to him speaking all the lines from the subtitles. When he asks her about it afterwards, she says she was trying to sound like Audrey Hepburn. It turns out she is a "seiyuu egg" -- a young voice actress in training. They go out for beer and kebabs (yakitori) afterwards, then walk home. It turns out she lives near him. They part without romantic undertones.

Later he hears sirens and goes out to find that an apartment building is on fire. She is sitting dazed on a swing in the nearby playground, clutching her pillow, which is all she saved. He invites her to stay with him, and she agrees. He directs her to the bed, while he will take the floor. But in the course of finally introducing themselves formally, they end up in each other's arms, lying on the bed. Fade to black. In the morning she is gone, but the preview shows him going to find her at the studio where she works.

The seiyuu for the heroine, Aka, does a nice job. The role is not easy, and kind of like a school exercise, since she is always pretending to be different characters, practicing constantly. It reminds me a bit of the role of Maya in Glass Mask. The seiyuu is a newcomer called Sakai Kanako 酒井香奈子. The only other anime role she's done is one of the sisters (Chiaki) in Magikano. She was born 1986.11.11, so she's 19. She already has a good home page. She has done one game (Ar Tonelico) and has done some radio. More info (in Japanese) on

The director, Nakamura Ryutaro 中村隆太郎, has a striking resume: he directed Serial Experiments Lain, Kino no Tabi, and Sakura Wars. The animation director/character designer, Morioka Hideyuki 守岡英行, did key animation on Neon Genesis Evangelion, character design on Sakura Wars and Ultimate Girls, and was animation director for Sakura Wars. Animation by Shaft.

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