Thursday, October 09, 2008

Tomatsu Haruka -- Birth of a Star

I haven't been a fan of Tomatsu Haruka's 戸松遥 voice until now. But in the first episode of the new show Kannagi, she was absolutely outstanding. Her voice dipped and soared, turned and shifted, going sure-footedly from offended goddess to stranded innocent to loopy comedienne to regal mother-figure and back again.

In the little I watched of her previous shows -- Polyphonica, ToLoveRu, and Zettai Karen Children, in particular -- I found her voice harsh and unlovely, and maybe for that reason didn't feel a lot of meaning in it. But that has all changed here. This is virtuoso voice-acting.

The amount of work she gets, and the praise of other seiyuu fans, show that others (e.g., j1m0ne) understood how good she is well before I did. I am late to this party.

I have to give some credit to the staff of Kannagi. Director Yamamoto Yutaka and sound director Kikuta Hiromi seem to have given her room to move and guided her toward these heights. Here is part of episode one of Kannagi, from YouTube.

But the fact that she turned 18 in February and graduated from high school may have something to do with it. She is now living in Tokyo, working and going to college, and this has probably freed her to concentrate more on her trade. Up until last spring, she was living at home near Nagoya, and commuting to Tokyo on the weekends to work.

She actually has three trades: seiyuu, actress, and singer. She is now a top-tier seiyuu, but she is also a lower-tier TV actress. She has had roles in two TV dramas: RH Plus (Misaki Ami - photo above left,) and Here is Greenwood (Arata Mieko). And she released her first single in September, and sings both the OP and ED for Kannagi. She has a strong and fairly accurate voice and can belt out a tune. Here is the OP from YouTube.

This is a brief and sketchy little post, but she impressed me so much in her role as Nagi (right) that I wanted to write at least something about her and give you a few photos.

Right now, she is in six different shows: Kannagi, Zettai Karen Children (Shiho), Kemeko Deluxe (Emuemu), Yozakura Quartet (Touka), Gundam00 2 (Mileina), and Mouryou no Hako (Kanako).

Here's an interview with her from YouTube, about a drama CD. And here's a TV ad (YouTube) for her single Naissance, which was released in early September.

Here are some publicity shots for RH Plus (click all photos to enlarge) :

Here she is with the main cast of Moetan, Nazuka Kaori left and Tamura Yukari centre, and in a publicity portrait:

And here are two photos from her home page. I've read people enthusing over her "great legs," but this is the best photo I can find:

home page (jp)
music home page (jp)
blog (jp)
Anime News Network page
Japanese Wikipedia (jp)


j1m0ne said...

Hah! Another convert to the cult of Tomatsu Haruka!

What I really like about her is her bright personality, work ethic and willingness to learn. Maybe that's what directors like about her too?

For me, the potential was obvious from Polyphonica - I think you can more or less tell from somebody's first role whether they're naturals (Tomatsu, KitaEri) or if they'll have to work really hard at it (Kataoka Azusa, Omigawa Chiaki).

Haruka's appearances in dorama are down to her connection with Sony... they should stop making her do them =_=

Random fact: Before Tomatsu got into the seiyuu industry, she entered the Toho Cinderella Audition looking for an actress for a movie version of the manga Rough and got down to the last 15 (out of 37,443).

Also, spot her in the first episode of the new Nodame series: she was speaking French or attempting to, anyway.

I also recall that the role of Nagi required two phases of auditions. I wonder who else tried out for it...

hashihime said...

@j1m0ne -- I'm going to have to go back and listen to some of Polyphonica. Maybe I have to get over the edge in her voice there and listen for the skill. And I will certainly look for more radio/video of her as a personality.

Sorry for posting about one of your favorites again, but I was so blown away that I couldn't help shouting it. Whoever auditioned for this role (I know what you're thinking; I'm thinking it, too), it sounds to me as if they made the right choice. I look forward to hearing her and Hanazawa Kana as the two sisters duking it out. Add Miyukichi and I expect they'll weave quite a spell.

hashihime said...

@j1m0ne -- Well, since you told me, I did recognize who she played in the first ep of Nodame Cantabile (Gorota). But I am embarrassed not to have recognized oHagi (Puririn). And even though I speak French, I didn't recognize a word they were saying, lol.

Mobilespeed said...

Oh yeah!...she's one if my favourite seiyuu.

She's done well voicing out as Kannagi but infact she also voiced Ayame Ikaruga, another tsundere character in 'Asu No Yoichi'