Sawashiro Miyuki 沢城みゆき has joined the Theatre Gekidango (Theatre劇団子) comedy troupe. The group performs live and creates video comedy sketches that are shown on TV.
Miyukichi (her nickname) performed in their Harukanaru Yama de Yahoho 遥かなる山でヤッホッホ (I think that means something like "Off to the Distant Mountains, Yohoho!") last November.
The show was also broadcast on Sky Perfect satellite TV for several days in January.
"Gekidango" is a play on words, involving gekidan ("theatre group") and dango (a kind of sweet dumpling). Viewers of Clannad will be familiar with the dango, which is featured in the ED.
The group's irreverent comedy style reminds me a bit of Saturday Night Live, Second City, or even Monte Python. One of the group's members, 31-year-old Takahashi Kazumi, says her rebellious period hasn't ended yet -- and never will. I think that's the group's style. You can see a sample of their work (without Miyukichi) on YouTube. That sample doesn't require much Japanese. Other samples require more.
One of the group's recent podcasts is a welcome party for Miyukichi and another new member, Shiraishi Yuuka.
Miyukichi is one of the top actors among current seiyuu. She got her first role as Petit Charat at 13 in the public audition for Di Gi Charat. You can see a video of those auditions on YouTube (1, 2, 3, 4-- Miyukichi appears in parts 1 and 4, Sanada Asami and Asano Masumi in parts 1 and 3).
At 22, she has already played in over 75 anime series, including such roles as big sister Iina in Kokoro Toshokan (when she was 16), Mint Blancmange in Galaxy Angel, Shinku in Rozen Maiden, Ibara-hime in Otogizushi Akazukin, Aruruu in Utawarerumono, Claire in Red Garden, Reika in Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun, and Hagino in Blue Drop. Not to mention large numbers of OVAs, movies, dubbing, drama CDs and music CDs.
There is an excellent video compendium of her roles on YouTube.
She is known as a quiet and serious person, who is always studying something, from swimming to story-telling to cooking. She is a university student as well as a working seiyuu and now stage performer.
She is also known as someone who does not hesitate to correct other people, even people who are older than she is. I think there may be a lot of herself in Shinku.
The pictures here come from her page on a Theater Gekidango fansite. Fans have commented about this last picture (right) that it shows Miyukichi's tongue is extremely long. All the better to create the amazing range of voices you can hear in the video compendium of her roles.
In Blue Drop, the 22-year-old Miyukichi plays the many-years-old Hagino, while 40-year-old Yajima Akiko plays her inamorata, the 16-year-old Mari.