Monday, April 12, 2010

Yuuki Aoi -- Role of Mina Tepes "The Pride of My Life"

At Sunday's open recording session for the last episode of Radio in the Vampire Bund, Yuuki Aoi broke down and cried.

She says in her blog that she felt so bereft that it was all over: the radio show and the anime itself. She says she loved them both, in particular working with Saitou Chiwa.

She calls the role of Mina "the pride of my life," and says she was pushed to "hone my soul" in getting into the character and conveying her feelings in words.

Here is a translation of the blog post:

Today was the open recording session of Radio in the Vampire Bund,
and the final episode of the show (>_<) who were in attendance will already know this, but...
I ended up crying at the event...
I'm very sorry (>_<)
But seeing the end of something I had given my all to...
I just felt so bereft.

It was probably because I love Chi-sama, Rabuko-sama and Hiisuke-chan...
Even all the staff...
I just really loved the show, I guess.
And not just
Radio in the Vampire Bund,
but Dance in the Vampire Bund itself.
I tried my hardest to communicate various feelings in my words,
and to get in sync with Mina-hime.
Everyone around me at the recording sessions gave me such a warm and comforting feeling.
In the best sense, I entrusted myself to them.
I just felt so warmly loved.
That's how it felt.
Put in words here in the blog
it sounds so fake....
I put everything I had into playing Mina.
I was challenged to hone my soul.
If you haven't seen it yet,
someday, please do.
Having been Mina-sama's voice
is the pride of my life.
Everyone, really, thank you so much!
2010.04.12 00:14

ED singer hibiku ("Hiisuke-chan"), Ao-chan, Saitou Chiwa, OP singer Nakano Aiko (Rabuko) after final radio recording session (l-r):
ED singer hibiku [Hiisuke-chan], Ao-chan, Saitou Chiwa, OP singer Nakano Aiko [Rabuko] after final radio recording session

I agree that it is the best she has ever done. It was a difficult role, bridging the young girl and the ancient queen. I didn't think such a young seiyuu was right for the role, but she made it work. You could hear how difficult it was, and that sometimes she didn't get it right. But she hit a strong note the vast majority of times. I got the feeling she had a fairly subtle idea of how to approach the character.

The popularity of the radio program has not just resulted in a CD of all the shows, but a new CD including a special show, to be released May 25. The CD is called "Mina and Yuki's Secret Slumber Party," and the four people in the photo above will take part. The idea is that they are having a girls' get-together in a hotel in the Bund, overlooking Tokyo. In fact, the show was recorded at a Japan Airlines hotel in Tokyo.

In other merchandising news, the show is sponsoring a dance contest, inviting people to cosplay animals or characters from Vampire Bund and send in videos of themselves dancing to background music from the show. Contest ends 5 May.


maglor said...

I also believe Mina Tepes was a challenging role and the voice actor did a good job. True, there were some places where she might have done even better, but things don't always work out the way we imagined. On a unrelated note, when I was talking with my wife, I wonder how much of impact of voice acting may actually be from understanding of literay aspects and poetic elements of the script instead of some set 'voice acting mode'. The case would be Noto Mamiko , as her most recent role in B gata H kei has surprised many people, which made me think may be it is no the uniqueness of her voice, but difference in level of knowledge and understanding of 'classical/academic' literature that made her sound so different. You are someone who is much more informed about these issues compared to I, and hope you could enlighten me in near future.

hashi said...

@maglor -- Noto is doing a nice job of a new kind of character for her in B-gata. It seems like something from the standard anime repertoire to me, but she does give good force to the cadences.

I think Noto is a very smart and sensitive woman who has been imprisoned in her standard moe voice for years. She actually wrote an episode of Touka Gettan (21 or 22) and you can tell that she knows how to write the cadences in a way that the young star, Hayami Saori, can say easily and effectively. So I do think Noto has some literary background, to go along with her voice training.

I'm not sure if knowledge of literature is the key, but I do think some seiyuu have more sensitivity to the words, and can say them in a more interesting way.

On the other hand, I also think some seiyuu concentrate too exclusively on the words, and only simulate emotion, instead of embodying it from the heart. I'm not a big fan of Horie Yui, for example, because I feel as if she is too expert. Noto really falls into a similar category for me. Much as I like her voice and her feeling for the words, I don't get a full feeling of the inwardness of a character through her, more of a well-crafted surface.

Whereas I do get more inwardness from people such as Sawashiro Miyuki, Paku Romi, Hirano Aya, Koshimizu Ami, Sanpei Yuuko, and even a young seiyuu like Hayami Saori, who has a very limited range but communicates emotion to me, when called for. Maybe it's just that my Japanese is limited, but that is what I perceive.

maglor said...

The hardest thing to get from voice acting is something that actually defies the actual words, the subtle fluctuations of emotions that has not been said out loud, often something the speaker doesn't realize him/herself. It is possible that I feel/imagines different things when I hear a character say something perhaps due to my youth in Korea. Whether what I thought to have been expressed by the voice actor is genuine or imagined may also depends on other aural and visual elements in the scene, but do agree with you that often Horie Yui sounds 'shallow' while Park Romi and Koshimizu Ami has moments that seems to make an impact just with the way they said the line. I do hope recent role gives Noto Mamiko more opportunities to do new kinds of characters. As for Hirano Aya, you are one of the few person that agrees with me that people have been too critical of her performance, most notably that of Minato in Akaneiro. Finally, thank you for the list of names of other seiyuus I should keep an ear out for.