Monday, October 11, 2010

Chihara Minori -- New York, Day 4

From Chihara Minori's Minorhythm blog:

Today was all free time.

My responsibilities all completed, today I took a full bite of New York -- going to meet the Goddess of Freedom [the Statue of Liberty], shopping, seeing the musical "The Lion King"....

It was fun. I was continually moved to tears by the musical. When  I went to see the Statue of Liberty, I also met some wild squirrels.

My last dinner in New York was at a Chinese restaurant! I had delicious food and drink with the staff people who helped me.

After that, I received a poster signed by everyone in New York. I was very happy!

Wonderful memories, wonderful experiences. I am full of feelings of gratitude to those who supported me.

New York is the greatest!

Dear Everyone I have met in NY,

Being my very first visit to New York, I was filled win inspiration.
Seeing all of you has made me extremely happy.
I will never forget all your smiles and I'll work hard to come back soon.

You are the best !!
Thank you

That last part in bold is in English in Minorin's blog.

I have to admit I am not sure of the timing of all this. The post is dated 3pm Monday, about three hours from now in New York, so I guess that must be 3pm Japan time, which would be 2am Monday morning in New York. Her events at the festival seem to have all been on Saturday, so that she had at least most of Sunday free.


Anonymous said...

She was not at the con on Sunday, so it all took place on Sunday as you inferred.

Andrew said...

Thanks again for translating. Very glad to hear about her experiences in the Big Apple. I was there only last June, so I can still see some of the sights in my mind's eye, especially Battery Park and its many squirrels (I don't think you're supposed to feed them, though). Partially because so many feed them, they can get pretty large; I once thought one was a cat last time I was there.

Again, I wish I'd been able to see her there. Maybe next year I will try to make it to Japan...

Anonymous said...

long time lurker here (~late 2007)
Just curious, hashi/kaoruchujo's take on j1m0ne's latest post? Sorry, kinda unrelated, but not completely since it's no secret why people actually follow Chihara Minori...

hashi said...

@anonymous -- Ooooh, thanks for directing me to that polite rant of j1m0ne's. I recognize the validity of what she says -- I'd say producers are choosing younger seiyuus in part to save money and in part because their looks sell -- but I don't _feel_ the same way as j1m0ne does.

I don't base my admiration of most seiyuus on their technical ability, or even on the believability of their acting, but rather on the effect of their voices in a show: to convey a personality, or feelings, or to make me laugh.

In fact, I often find the more skilled seiyuus less interesting, because their work seems too controlled and flavorless to me. Perhaps that's because my Japanese isn't good enough to get some of the subtleties, and I require something more intense. Horie Yui, Ueda Kana, even Tanaka Rie -- they don't do that much for me.

I do love the work of such real pros as Koshimizu Ami, Nakahara Mai, Paku Romi, Sawashiro Miyuki, and Saitou Chiwa, however. I find more flavor in them than I normally do in Hocchan, for example.

Despite my doing these three articles, I'm not a fan of Minorin's, either for her seiyuu work or her singing, although I recognize that she is in fact a good singer (not a skilled seiyuu).

And despite my taking Taketatsu Ayana as my seiyuu of the season, that's not because I think she's so great, but because she's getting so much work. And because I just like her. As I like Minorin. j1m0ne said she liked both of them, too, but not as seiyuus.

Yuuki Aoi, despite her voice not being that pretty, I think of as the next big thing, with amazing talent, developing professional skill, and an eagerness to do interesting things with her voice.

Omigawa Chiaki isn't my favorite, but there is no way she gets a role like Arashiyama by "pillow business." She has a unique sound and comic ability, and Shinbou is clearly not one of those who is put off by the blaring flatness of her sound.

Anonymous said...

@hashi -- While I do agree with you that technical mastery and things like "phrasing" don't matter to me as much as what a seiyuu brings to the table, such as the hot-bloodedness of Tomokazu Seki the the nasal passages of Hirano Aya. I also do think that being a "good" seiyuu and a "recognizable/likable" seiyuu are rather counterproductive. The job of a seiyuu is to give the characters a life of their own, to make them "pop" and give them dimension. However, when the really recognizable/likable voices come on (Hanazawa Kana, Tanaka Rie, Nakamura Yuuichi, etc. you can't mistake these voices), I tend to think "Oh hey, its Toyosaki Aki!". While that is a nice feeling just by itself, I think it detracts from the original purpose of the seiyuu to bring fictional characters to life. Instead of being engrossed in what the character has to offer, it's easier just to appreciate the seiyuu just because you like them.

I'm not saying this is a problem right now, but increasingly I find that seiyuu are aiming for this individual appeal rather than focusing on being "good" seiyuu. Toyosaki Aki is a great example. I love her personality, and always laugh at her interviews. The "digika" song is just amazingly cute, also. On the other hand...I never remember what characters she plays, since her own personality overpowers the one she is supposed to be presenting. Now that I think about it, she is a VERY limited seiyuu, but is being shoved in almost every major production for appeal.

Toyosaki is passable still, but I feel like in the future we are heading more towards Omigawa and away from what even "seiyuu idols" represented back in the day, a rock solid seiyuu who is easy on the eyes. For whatever reason, the emphasis is shifting, and I guess I don't see myself in this hobby at all in a year's time.

tl;dr - seiyuu are now marketable for individual appeal, which kinda defeats the original purpose of the seiyuu profession

hashi said...

@anonymous -- As much sense as everything you say makes, I just don't seem to react the same way.

The great performances I think of are things like Sakurai Takahiro in Five Leaves, or Paku Romi in NANA, where you can tell who it is, but they still give the character real presence. To me, they are like film stars, whom you usually recognize -- Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep -- but who nevertheless make you believe in their characters.

The original purpose of voice acting was rather subordinate, it seems to me. The actors were cogs in the production rather than important aspects of it themselves. But when the voice actor disappears, for me the flavor often seems to disappear, and the performance becomes homogenized and bland: the pretense of a character rather than their actual existence. "Pop" and depth are certainly what we want, but maybe there are various ways of getting there.

But I hasten to add than I am fairly illiterate in old shows, and feel that I really still have a pretty partial understanding of the whole field.

As for Omigawa Chiaki, as hard to take as her sound may be, I have found her extremely funny as I watch SoreMachi 1 again. She's more comic performer there than voice actress, but I do get a feeling of the character, too.

But I wouldn't want to deny the danger that we will drift even further toward idols and people who really can't bring a character to life. To me, it fits with the old insoluble argument in movie-acting on the merits of "actors" versus "stars," whose appeal lies partly in their own personalities.

Anonymous said...

@hashi-- I think we are actually generally in agreement here, it really is just a matter of degree and perspective. I'm actually quite liking the current crop of seiyuu (though I do miss a lot of the regulars from just a few years back) like Kanemoto Hisako as Ika Musume. What worries me is the trend towards marketing them as essentially akibakei-aidoru with seiyuu work as just an entry point.

The kind of "flavor" you're referring to is essentially the only reason I still watch what precious little anime remains on my list. Hopefully, the future is not as grim as I imagine...

Great to hear that you are still sticking with it and continuing to bring seiyuu into the English blogosphere though!