Saturday, November 29, 2008

Seiyuu Awards 2008 -- Nominations, Please

koshimizu amiBeing the innocent soul I am, I still take the annual Seiyuu Awards seriously. Most of the awards given over the past two years have been at least reasonable, in my opinion.

Public voting for the 2008 Seiyuu Awards is ongoing until New Year's Day. Now that we have seen some episodes of the fall season, perhaps it's time for us to vote. I have my own list of nominees in all categories, below. But I would like to ask you to expand my list of nominees. I don't watch every show, and there are no doubt some excellent performances I have overlooked.

With a fuller list, perhaps it will be easier for all of us to cast our own votes. Voting is available through the Awards website, and later I'll give instructions how to cast your vote. In any case, here are my own favorite performances (mouseover pics for captions) --

kishio daisukefemale lead: Koshimizu Ami (Horo-Spice & Wolf), Paku Romi (Kuromitsu-Kurozuka), Kugimiya Rie (Taiga-Toradora)

male lead:
Kishio Daisuke (Kaname-Vampire Knight Guilty), Miyano Mamoru (Kurou-Kurozuka), Kiuchi Hidenobu (Izumida-Ryouko's Case File), Fujiwara Keiji (Tachibana-Antique Bakery)

female supporting: Toyoguchi Megumi (Kuran Klan-Macross Frontier), Tanaka Rie (Eriko-KimiKiss Pure Rouge), Takahashi Mikako (Yoriko-Mouryou no Hako), Sawashiro Miyuki (Tsugumi-Kannagi), Horie Yui (Minori-Toradora)

male supporting: Gouda Hozumi (Hani Meijin-Shion no Ou), Uchida Yuya (Nijuumensou-Nijuumensou no Musume), Mizushima Takahiro (Aihara-KimiKiss)

toyoguchi megumifemale newcomer (5 years or less as a seiyuu): Tomatsu Haruka (Nagi-Kannagi), Takagaki Ayahi (Noe-true tears), Endou Aya (Sheryl-Macross Frontier)

male newcomer: Maeno Tomoaki (Doujou-Library War, Gouta-Natsu no Sora)

Hayami Saori (Wagaya no Oinarisama), Nakajima Megumi (Macross Frontier), Tomatsu Haruka, Chihara Minori, Nana Mizuki, Hirano Aya

Takahashi Mikako, Hirano Aya, Kitamura Eri, Nakagawa Shouko (if she still counts as a seiyuu)
-- this is a difficult category for me, since I don't listen to that much seiyuu radio or TV, and don't get all the nuances when I do.

gouda houzumiPlease send me more suggested names in comments on this post, and I will post a fuller list in a future post. Then perhaps we can have our own little awards contest, too.

The awards organization has also established a new award, the Overseas Fans Choice Award. Non-Japanese outside Japan can vote for a single seiyuu -- male or female, old or young -- as their favorite performer of the year. Details and the voting form are here.

As in the main awards, the fans' votes will be the basis for a final choice by the awards organization committee, which includes representatives of various industry organizations and companies. This built-in filter is the crack on which other bloggers pin their contempt for the awards, which produce results with which they disagree. I don't agree with all the results myself, but they generally seem as reasonable as any other method is likely to produce, balancing public popularity with insiders' views and considerations.

tomatsu harukaI myself think that last year's awards looked a lot like public popularity, and that the committee probably just tinkered a bit here and there. Shougakukan joined Kadokawa as a sponsor last year, along with various professional and industry associations, so I think the sponsor list is now broad enough for biases to cancel out to some extent. We'll see how things go this year. Voting ends 1 January, but the awards ceremony doesn't take place until 7 March.

Here is the awards website. And here is the main voting page. I will give detailed instructions for voting when I post the full list of nominees.

There is nothing about this on the Awards website, but the new overseas award makes me fear that non-Japanese IP addresses may not be accepted by the voting site any more, or that a vote in the overseas category will make it impossible to vote in the main categories. If either of those things turns out to be true, I'll be sure to run my own voting here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sanpei Yuuko and Itou Kanae -- "Sorry, Ami"

Sanpei Yuuko was a guest on Itou Kanae's radio show on Tuesday. Sanpei-san is Nakiami in Bounen no Xamdo. Itou-san is Amu in Shugo Chara. Sanpei-san posted this nice pic on her blog:

Yuuyu (Yuuko's nickname) said that Kanae-chan (right) was really cute, but made it clear that she refrained from sexually harassing her. "Sorry, hubby o(_ _*)o" she added.

Yuuyu's "husband" is Koshimizu Ami. They are good friends and were "married" in a fake radio ceremony last year. Early this month, they appeared together at Waseda University's culture festival, in a talk event sponsored by that top university's "Sister Research Club 早稲田大学妹研究会." Lol.

Kanae-chan turns 22 today, as she apparently revealed on the show, which is called "Itou Kanae's Super-Radio Girls." Here is the show's blog, with more photos. Amu was her first named role.

Yuuyu turned 22 last February. She has been a seiyuu since she was 14, but made her first big hit as Renton in Eureka Seven. She was also Souta for the last half of Otogijushi Akazukin, Elliot Chandler in My-Otome 0~S.ifr~, and is now doing a great job as Nakiami in Bounen no Xamdo. I think she and her friend Ami are two of the top young pros today. In fact, Yuuko is starting to sound like Ami, to me.

Yuuko and Ami both work with the big agency Production Baobab. I just found that the agency has a picture blog, where you can find pics of such of its stars as Fukuyama Jun (it's his 30th birthday), Yajima Akiko, Gotou Yuuko, Ami and Yuuko.

Here are Yuuyu's latest picture of Ami and Ami's latest picture of Yuuyu, from their blogs:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hirano Aya -- Yokohama Tears

Hirano Aya brought her four-stop Riot Tour to a close the weekend before last, with performances in Osaka and her hometown of Yokohama.

The Yokohama concert was the highlight of the tour. Aya was at her best, and brought the house down with a tearful salute to her parents and her fans. This performance will be the basis of a DVD, which will probably come out early next year.

The weekend got off to a rocky start. Aya had a cold for her concert in Osaka, and the concert itself was marred by a group of anti-Aya rabble hurling insults from the balcony. Aya made no mention of the affair in her blog, but just commented on the large crowd of 1800 fans.

Here are some pics from the Osaka concert, two of the concert itself; and two of Aya, one showing the limited edition T-shirt that was on sale, and one of an exhausted Aya after the show:

In Yokohama, Aya spoke at length. She mentioned the time in the fall 0f 2006 when she collapsed during a Death Note recording session and was taken to hospital. She said that when she thinks of all the support she got at the time, she is so grateful she feels like crying. She said that now that the live tour she had dreamed of for so long had become a reality, she expected to cry from happiness, but was surprised that she was taking it all so stoically.

"I've changed a lot in the past two years. Not just outside, but inside, too. But ever since I started working, when I was ten, I have had confidence, and that hasn't changed."

Here are some pics from Yokohama: Aya and her band, Aya ready to go (looking a bit tired and apprehensive, to me), and a couple of shots from the concert:

"This is the first time I have had enough confidence to speak to my parents from the stage. I'm glad to finally have a chance to pay them back in some way."

"I really can't pay all you fans back, no matter how hard I try. I have had failures, and I apologize to you deeply (bowing to the fans, she began to weep). I really love being able to be here with all of you. There is so much I want to say...."

A poster on 2channel said that she conveyed a lot of love in her statement, saying directly to fans that she would work hard never to betray their expectations. She gave the impression that she was afraid of ever alienating her fans.

Here are two more shots from Yokohama. For the second, Aya said the fasteners on her dress came apart, proving that she has gained weight:

Another poster said that the Shibuya concert was good, but Yokohama was more exciting. There was a bit of trouble in Osaka, but everyone in Yokohama was determined to support her, and you could feel the mood throughout the audience. And Aya herself really seemed in her element on stage, in a way she didn't in Shibuya.

As promised, she cried during her talk. When she had trouble speaking, cries of "Aaya" rang out from the crowd. The encores were the weakest part of the show, but the chorus of "Aaya" from the audience afterward were amazing, he/she said.

Yokohama set list:
Bouken Desho Desho?
Aimai Scream
Namida Namida Namida
Ashita no Prism
God knows…
Lost my music
Maybe I can't good-bye
Harmonia Vita
forgot me nots
Hoshi no Kakera
Unnamed world

For you
Yorokobi no Uta