Monday, August 30, 2010

The Most Beautiful Seiyuus -- 2channel's choices

There's a new thread on 2channel asking people to list the seiyuus they think are beautiful (美人だと思う声優). That's beautiful (bijin) as opposed to cute (kawaii).

The top name on the list? Nazuka Kaori, the big, athletic seiyuu with the tiny voice who played Eureka in Eureka Seven. "Broad Shoulders-san" has nine votes.

Next comes Kobayashi Yuu. The tall, elegant and strange "Master Painter" has seven votes.

Next, tied at six votes each, come Tanaka Rie and Horie Yui.

Here is a table showing photos of all the seiyuus who have received more than one vote so far:

Nazuka Kaori 9

Kobayashi Yuu 7

Tanaka Rie 6

Horie Yui 6

Chihara Minori 5

Taketatsu Ayana 5

Kaida Yuuko 4

Tomatsu Haruka 4

Hirano Aya 3

Mizuki Nana 3

Akesaka Satomi 2

Inoue Kikuko 2

Inoue Marina 2

Kitamura Eri 2

Kotobuki Minako 2

Nakahara Mai 2

Noto Mamiko 2

Takahashi Chiaki 2

Toyoguchi Megumi 2

Yuzuki Ryouka 2

Of course, different photos can make people look quite different. These are just the best small photos of these seiyuus that I have. And some people look a lot better in motion than they ever can in a still photo.

The seiyuus receiving one vote were: Asano Masumi, Asumi Kana, Fuken Misato, Fukui Yukari, Gotou Saori, Hazuki Erina, Hikasa Youko, Kadowaki Mai, Kakazu Yumi, Kawaragi Shiho, Koshimizu Ami, Kuwashima Houko, Kuwatani Natsuko, Nakajima Megumi, Paku Romi, Sanada Asami, Sawashiro Miyuki, Shiina Hekiru, Shimizu Kaori, Shiraishi Ryouko, Takeuchi Atsuko, Tamura Mutsumi, Tamura Yukari, Tanaka Atsuko, Ochiai Yurika (Hase Yurina), and Tatsumi Yuiko (Taketatsu Ayana's co-star in KissxSis).

There were a few interesting comments on 2channel. People commented that someone like Taketatsu was cute rather than beautiful. A couple of people said Hirano Aya was never pretty at all. In my opinion, those two must be blinded by their other prejudices against her, because she is at least cute and in my opinion beautiful.

Of course, everyone will have a different opinion. I personally come from the basic point of view that all women are attractive, each in her own way. But to answer the question, I'd agree with 2channel on Kobayashi Yuu, Chihara Minori, Kaida Yuuko, Hirano Aya, Nakahara Mai, Takahashi Chiaki, Yuzuki Ryouka, Tanaka Rie, and Inoue Marina -- although Marina's prominent pixie ears may disqualify her, lol, lovely as she is.

But I have never understood why Horie Yui is thought so pretty, or Mizuki Nana. It seems to me people are confusing personality and talent with beauty. The same goes for Kuwashima Houko and Sawashiro Miyuki -- two of my favorite seiyuus, but for their voice-work, not their beauty. And people like Kotobuki Minako and Hikasa Youko have a kind of beauty that is maybe too Western or too conventional for my eye. Everyone's eyes are different.

I would move a number of names up in the list. First among them would be Gotou Saori, whose exotic beauty has always struck me. I like her strange fey personality, too. Shiina Hekiru, who is no longer doing much seiyuu work, has a very individual beauty. And Paku Romi seems almost the definition of "beautiful" to me.

Gotou Saori

Shiina Hekiru

Paku Romi

And I would add some names. The first would be Endou Aya, who to me may be the most beautiful of all seiyuus. And with her now-regular teeth, Katou Emiri could join the list. And so could Sakamoto Maaya.

Endou Aya

Katou Emiri

Sakamoto Maaya

Of course, there are many cute seiyuus, like Oogame Asuka, Nanjou Yoshino, Taketatsu Ayana, Yuuki Aoi, Chiba Saeko, Sanpei Yuuko, Asumi Kana, Chiwa Saitou, Fukuen Misato, Fukuhara Kaori...the list goes on. But "beautiful" is something different, involving a certain grandeur, and regularity of features, it seems to me. English and Japanese may differ here, but to me bijin/kawaii and beautiful/cute make quite similar distinctions in their cultural contexts.

The 2channel thread only started a week ago, and is only up to 81 posts, so the opinions expressed may evolve over time, as more and different kinds of people decide to post.


Anonymous said...

> The same goes for Kuwashima Houko and Sawashiro Miyuki

It reminds me, for a long time i, myself, considered Miyuki to be somewhat.. plain or even unattractive, considering her, ahem, visual appearance. Then i saw one photo of hers and something in my head loudly clicked...

People are amusing creatures, indeed.

Ah, and the picture in question:

As for Hocchan and Nana, they are more on, well.. adorable side, aren't they?

hashi said...

@Anonymous -- I know what you mean about Miyukichi. And thanks for the photo. The set of photos that clicked for me was those from which the top two photos in this post came.

That Miyukichi photo reminds me how much a real photo set-up -- make-up, clothes, lighting, angles -- can do. And people like Hirano Aya, Mizuki Nana, and the K-On seiyuus get that sort of set-up all the time. As I said, these are just the photos I happened to have.

Anonymous said...

Nazuka kaori did make a development in beautyness. When I saw her earlier pictures, I thought she was the most ugly person in the seiyuu world. but then at some time, she gets prettier, even life and not in photos. Kobayashi Yuu too.
there are many kinds of beautiful. some people are born with having beautiful faces but due to their charm or even personality the beautyness gets decreases. some people are actually not that beautiful but their charm makes them pretty. also there is this cuteness and the appeal which varies from person to person.
I think Hirano Aya is not beautiful but her smile has very much charm so people like me can "forgive" her. This has nothing to do with cuteness or moe. Same goes to Mizuki Nana, Tomatsu Haruka and Horie Yui.
Other Seiyuu I'd like to add would be Yukana, Harada Hitomi, Yukino Satsuki, Kobayashi Sanae, Kuwashima Houko, Ueda Kana, Itou Kanae, Shirashi Ryoko and more. also seconded Endou Aya and Gotou Saori, they are really beautiful (and I know this is neither the continuation of 2channel nor a poll but that's my opinion)

bmk said...

I think the saying does hold true: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone is going to have their own subjective opinion and there's nothing wrong with that.

Personally, I find Aya-chan and Hocchan very beautiful.

animekritik said...

Oh come on!! Aya Hirano. Period.

Anonymous said...

There are too many variations of Tomatsu's face. The best ones are absolutely beautiful though.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think Kotobuki Minako is really cute. She's got a great face.

KingKha said...

I would also put saori gotou way up there, it's a shame she doesn't get more roles.

hashi said...

@KingKha -- Way back when I heard her in Rakugo Tennyou Yui, I thought she really had something. And that was before I knew how good she looked, lol. She has a role in Hyakka Ryouran, which comes out in October, but has a first-episode preview this friday.

Gotou was in a travelling group of idols going around to malls, etc., in the early days and I think broke her leg, which set her back early on.

She and Katou Emiri do a series of videos for their agency, 81Produce, which are fun to watch.

Andrew said...

No offense, but I was surprised to see a more high-class blogger like yourself doing a post on seiyuu looks. Yes, I certainly enjoy pictures of certain seiyuus, but of course it's all about the voice when it all comes down to it. For instance, I thought Minako Kotobuki was just another pretty face until I heard her K-On character songs. And of course some certainly improve with time--I thought Aki Toyosaki was a bit homely at first but now she's quite a cutie (and again, I love hearing her talk).

And of course some people I consider to be untouchable gods in the field of voice acting are two guys (Mel Blanc, RIP and Billy West) and June Foray (voice of Rocky the Squirrel; I think she's in her 90s now).

I certainly do NOT mean to call you shallow, and I enjoyed this post, but you more often strike me as someone who would chastise modern anime fans with focusing too much on seiyuus' looks instead of their voices. That said, I have of course read columns about the realities of voice acting in Japan in terms of money, which is obviously why a lot of seiyuus in recent years have taken up much more image-focused idol careers.

PS: On the subject of how different types of photos can influence a seiyuu's image, I have a soft spot for more poignant shots. The recent pic of Aya Hirano with her hand over her forehead; I thought that was one of the most beautiful pics I've seen of her. There's just something very demure and poignant there which I can't quite explain.

hashi said...

@Andrew -- No offense taken. I'm inconsistent. I think of myself as having a tabloid journalism side, as well as whatever deeper side I may have.

I'll have to listen to Minako's character songs, because I still haven't got her as a seiyuu.

envedges said...

I guess we have similar taste. I have agree with you on Hekiru Shiina and Saori Gotou. Both are very pretty seiyuus whom have more of career in singing but it's too bad that they have little or underrated roles.

Doyen said...

You may be right about the western beauty thing because when I first read the list I immediately thought "Where's Hikasa Youko, are those otaku crazy?" Hikasa's at the top of my list lately which includes Kobayashi Yuu, Hirano Aya, Shiraishi Ryouko, and Tanaka Atsuko (who's not been mentioned yet).

I've always thought Horie Yui as not necessarily ugly but certainly unattractive. The way she dresses IMHO certainly does not help her, she looks rather dowdy most of the time.

hashi said...

@Doyen -- Actually, Tanaka Atsuko was mentioned and I mis-romanized her name. Thought I'd already fixed that. Fixed now. I almost added a photo of her, when I was writing the piece.

As for Hikasa Youko, she isn't my ideal beauty, but at least I know she's pretty. I've seen discussions on 2channel calling her ugly and putting her appearance (not her voice) down no end.

Doyen said...

Oops, guess I skimmed through that one vote list too quickly.

hashi said...

@Doyen -- No, it was my fault. I had her there as Tanaka Junko, a mistaken reading of the kanji for her name. Your e-mail alerted me to correct it. (I thought I had done that already, but I guess not.)

Shana-nee said...


I find Mizuki Nana very pretty. And I'm not kidding. xD! Hirano Aya too. xD! I agree in most of the list, so yeah. xD! I wonder why Nakagawa Shouko isn't there. xD! not a popular seiyuu but yeah. xD

Kenshin Asuka said...

Sure thing, Mizuki Nana isn't the most beautiful lady but how people evaluate seiyuus' beauty is very different as beauty can't be measured easily!

Anonymous said...

This is just a ponderous thought but perhaps the "beauty" ratings are somehwat linked to the xenophobia in Japan, thus ranking more Asian looking women higher and those more looking Caucasian in style and features lower.