Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Yahagi Sayuri -- Indispensable

When Yahagi Sayuri 矢作紗友里 debuted at 19 as Karin, she knocked me out with her liquid, well-inflected voice.

Now she has been a professional seiyuu for four years. She still has the strong, supple, quite high voice she started with, but the burbling liquidness has been toned down. She has developed a bit wider vocal and acting range and appears to have become one of the indispensables. She had 2 roles in 2005, 7 in 2006, 15 in 2007, 19 in 2008, and so far this year, she already has 13.

Personally I regret her having left some of her unique sound behind, but she is a pro and is making a living by being able to give directors the voice they want.

Her only other real starring role since Karin has been as Kuu in Kyoushirou to Towa no Sora in 2007, in which she was passionate but so ethereal as to almost disappear.

Now, however, like other real pros she is getting more and more second-rank roles, as a classmate or a sister. And she has staked out some profitable territory in squeaky-animal land, with roles like Kyuupi in Otogijushi Akazukin and Suni in Guin Saga.

This summer, you can hear her in Aoi Hana, Fight! Ippatsu Juuden-chan, a ToLoveRu OVA, and the continuing Hayate no Gotoku and Guin Saga.

Here is a compendium of Yahagi Sayuri's anime roles, from YouTube:

I think I hear her expression becoming more natural and her range of convincing emotions and personalities wider. It sounds as if she has worked at her craft.

She is far from beautiful. Kind of homely, really. But homely in a cute way. “Busu” means ugly, and it's hard to forget the surname of her character in Busou Renkin: Busujima (a homonym for "ugly island"). She has an outstanding set of crooked teeth, but I doubt she is thinking of fixing them any time soon, since it might affect her sound.

She's kind of attractive, anyway, isn't she? Especially in motion, displaying her entertaining personality, as she does in this interview with co-star Konishi Katsuyuki from the Kyoushirou to Towa no Sora DVDs:

Like Kawasumi Ayako, she will have to get by on her skill as a seiyuu and her fun personality, rather than her good looks. She and Hayami Saori did a turn together as the sorcerer sisters Ran and Sumire Midou in Koharu Biyori (Indian Summer). In real life, neither one of them is a raving beauty. But they are both prominent young seiyuus working for major seiyuu agency I"m Enterprise, an agency that was involved in scandal just a couple of years ago, but appears to be recovering.

She has also done some dubbing, notably for the Japanese version of Akelah and the Bee.

In her agency profile, she says her interests are reading and watching movies, and that her sport is softball. Her high school had no drama club, so her father suggested she join the softball club. I wonder if she still plays.

Major roles (mouseover for captions):

Karin/Karin 2005 Amano/Gigantic Formula 2007
Maaya/Umisho 2007 Gretel/Otogijushi Akazukin 2006
Haruna/ToLoveRu 2008 Kuu/Kyoushirou to Towa no Sora 2007
Izumi (centre)/Hayate no Gotoku (2007) Lyra/Tytania (2008)

From Japanese Wikipedia:

She comes from Tokyo, but spent part of her childhood up north, in Aomori. Born 86.09.22 -- now age 22.

In high school, her friends made fun of her high voice, saying it was like an anime. But she had no idea anything like a seiyuu existed until she heard it from them.

A phrase she uses a lot is: "Reawwy?" (maji de ka, a cute mispronunciation of maji desu ka? "really?").

Her nickname, oHagi ぉはぎ, was given her by Inokuchi Yuka, Nabatame Hitomi, and Shitaya Noriko, after she said she wished she had one. An ohagi is a kind of Japanese sweet, made with rice flour and red bean paste (right).

She's good at sewing, earning praise from her co-stars in Net Ghost PiPoPa, Shiraishi Ryouko and Satou Rina, for being the quickest among them at sewing a little bag.

Her seiyuu friends include Satou Rina, Konishi Katsuyuki, Shitaya Noriko, Takahashi Mikako, and Nakao Eri. She was making fun of Satou-san on a radio show, and Satou called her a "grade-school old man."

She's a big fan of the Kamen Rider series, has lots of books and goods, and has become friends with the mangaka.

She calls herself a "crazy girl seiyuu." She is apt to come out with odd comments ranging from romantic outbursts to dirty jokes. At an aquarium once, her comment was: "Looks tasty."

with friends from high school with Tamura Yukari
with Voice Crew radio co-host, Fujita Yoshinori with Voice Crew radio co-host, Fujita Yoshinori

with Tomatsu Haruka

Cast in:

(2005) Karin (TV) as Maaka Karin (debut)
(2006) Otogi-Jushi Akazukin (TV) as Gretel; Kyupi
(2006) Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~ (TV) as Fujikawa Yuuka
(2006) Buso Renkin (TV) as Busujima Hanaka
(2007) Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora (TV) as Shiratori Kuu
(2007) Hayate the Combat Butler (TV) as Segawa Izumi
(2007) Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula (TV) as Amano Utsumi
(2007) Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho (TV) as Nanako Maaya
(2007) Shugo Chara! (TV) as Mashiro Rima
(2007) Indian Summer (Koharu Biyori, OAV) as Midō Ran
(2008) Yotsunoha (OAV) as Yuki Arisa
(2008) To Love-Ru (TV) as Sairenji Haruna
(2008) Net Ghost PiPoPa (TV) as Sobue Hikaru
(2008) Sekirei (TV) as Mitsuha (No.38)
(2008) Rosario + Vampire Capu2 (TV) as Oniyama Tonko
(2008) Ga-Rei -Zero- (TV) as Izumi Mami
(2008) Nodame Cantabile: Paris (TV) as Puririn (ep 1)
(2008) Tytania (TV) as Lira Florenz
(2009) Sora Kake Girl (TV) as Erika; Satchan
(2009) Asura Cryin' (TV) as Ania
(2009) Guin Saga (TV) as Suni
(2009) Fight Ippatsu! Jūden-chan!! (TV) as Iono
(2009) Sweet Blue Flowers (Aoi Hana, TV) as Yoko Hon'atsugi

Staff in:
(2009) Hayate the Combat Butler!! (TV) : Theme Song Performance (ED)
(2009) To Love-Ru (OAV) : Theme Song Performance (OP/ED)

full list here (English) and here (Japanese).


Anime News Network page
Wikipedia page
Japanese Wikipedia page
agency home page
YouTube videos 1
YouTube videos 2
current 2channel thread


RP said...

I didn't think she stood out as Haruna, but then again, Haruna was a boring character. However, I do love her as Izumi.

On a separate note, what is it with Asia and bad teeth? I don't mean to make a gross generalization, but I've noticed really bad teeth not just in Japan, but also in Korea as well. Simple stuff that seemed like it could've been fixed if baby teeth were pulled out properly, or with some braces. Is dentistry just not as popular?

hashi said...

@RP -- I think she made Haruna the character that she was supposed to be - which includes a little boring, lol.

As for bad teeth in Japan, it's pretty striking, isn't it? I don't know the reason. It appears to be partly genetic: more people have crooked teeth. Maybe orthodontia just doesn't seem worth the thousands of dollars it ends up costing, and never became the norm, as it is in North America. Or maybe it's not included in dental health plans. Not sure.

bignanime said...

I know Sayuri Yahagi mostly for Izumi from Hayate and Lyra from Tytania as well as some extra roles that she's done (one of those three girls from Potemayo, etc.). She has a pretty noticeable voice (you could pinpoint her as Yoko from Aoi Hana this season for example), but it's one that I always enjoy hearing.

かな said...

Aside from the bad teeth I don't think she could really be called ugly, not stunningly beautiful but still rather cute.

She caught my attention in the visual novel Koisuru Otome to Shugo no Tate, where she played a pretty bad tempered loli, I have to say she really did well in that role, I'm falling for her angry voice <3

mt-i said...

ぉはぎかわええー I definitely like her cuteness over any of the "gravure idol"-wanabees out there.

She hasn't had the chance to voice many memorable characters, though, unfortunately.

Katapan said...

Oh, what a coincidence! I heard her voice in the first episode of Aoi Hana, which made me smile since it had been a while since I had last heard her. A few hours later, I notice your new avatar/signature on Animesuki.

I've always been a huge fan of hers, from the moment I heard her in Karin. There are some voices you can't help but like, find more natural than others, think they stand out more thanks to a little something which you could never point out... she's part of the few people I'd put into this category.

She's one of the rare seiyuu who can make younger voices work without making me cringe at all - her roles in Akazukin and Gigantic Formula were both excellent. I loved her as Kuu too, even though I could never finish the series. Though, in my mind, no role can beat Karin. I'm still hoping she might get more lead roles one day, so she could try and shine as much as she did through her first role. But even hearing a few lines from her in Aoi Hana is fine for now.

soulassassin547 said...

Apparently orthodontics aren't much of a thing for the majority in Japan, maybe only a few (or even one) do wear braces, unless one's an idol who wants to look damn perfect on every square inch.

Frankly, I don't have any issues with women having orthodontic problems because I have crooked teeth myself.

Anonymous said...

Great & Interesting Article.
Watch "When Boy Meets Girl 2009" (~3 hours long) (via eztv). The protaganist is a woman with a deeper voice, but a very similar personality.