Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer 2010 Anime -- First Impressions of 16 Anime, One Episode In

First impressions of most of the new anime (in alphabetical order). My early favorites in red. For more details (and my pre-season expectations), check this preview post written three weeks ago.

Amagami SS -- The same kind of shounen/seinen romantic comedy as KimiKiss. Sharp portraits of interesting characters, some of whom are in love. Shippers ahoy!

Asobi ni Iku yo! -- Charming little cat-eared-alien-in-the-hero's-bed comedy, with some nice performances, a good look, a minimum of silliness, and strong intrigue in the background.

Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail -- More of the world-weariness and choreographed violence of the original series. Highly enjoyable, despite or because of the otaku-pandering of a killing machine in a maid's outfit. The first episode of a five-episode OVA.

Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu -- An promising fantasy quest tale. The first episode felt slow, but there was clearly something there, and episode two got moving.

Highschool of the Dead -- With its combination of horror, gore, and pantsu, it has earned sudden popularity both in Japan and abroad. The characters seemed insubstantial to me, as if there was no actual thinking going on inside them, but there is no denying the power of the great production values, the speedy pace, the horrific situations -- and the pantsu and gore.

Purafini -- Wit and Music from Sanpei Yuuko and Koshimizu Ami

I am a big fan of the seiyuu work of both Koshimizu Ami and her friend Sanpei Yuuko.

But last December the old friends went a step further and fulfilled an old ambition of theirs by teaming up in a comedy/singing duo called Purafini ±ふぃに -- "Plus-Minus Infinity."

Their website is sanpeikoshimizu.com. For the past six months they have been posting a regular video variety program on their YouTube channel.

Most of their skits I find quietly hilarious. Some of their singing is...okay. I don't get standard seiyuu-style J-Pop.

They have released one maxi-single of songs, and a DVD of their comedy will come out on 21 July (links to CDJapan for overseas orders).

The two have known each other since middle school, when they were both in the Gekidan Wakakusa youth theater troupe. They are among the best-known supposedly yuri (Lesbian) seiyuus. Their running gag is that Ami is a big, loving puppy to YuuYuu, but YuuYuu keeps putting her in her place. Rumors last winter about Sanpei and male seiyuu Irino Miyu threw the nature of their relationship into some doubt, but they are certainly close.

Here is their hilarious latest offering, episode 13, the first in their "second season." In this they are news hosts, pretending to report on the success of Purafini. There is also a skit where they try haltingly to pronounce and interpret a couple of Chinese words:

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Who the Heck is Hikasa Youko? -- and why is she getting so many roles?

I guess K-On fans should know Hikasa Youko 日笠 陽子 by now: she's the seiyuu who plays Mio, perhaps the most popular of the K-On girls.

But following K-On, Hyocchi (her nickname) has been getting lots of other roles, and right now she is the lead in two shows (Occult Academy and Seitokai Yakuindomo), one of the leads in another (K-On), and is a regular in a kids' show that may run for a full year (Stitch! ~Zutto Saikou no Tomodachi~).

Now, that's success: within one year, she has gone from her first big role to four significant roles at once. She's a tiger.

And her success is not just in getting roles. On 2channel, she is currently the second-most posted-about name, after Mizuki Nana and ahead of Tamura Yukari. Posts in her thread are running at seven an hour, and she has received almost 40,000 posts in little more than a year.

Of course, some of the other popular names on 2channel right now are from K-On, too: Toyosaki Aki (Yui), Taketatsu Ayana (Azusa), Satou Satomi (Ritsu) and Kotobuki Minako (Mugi).

So where did Hyocchi suddenly come from? Actually, she came up in the most normal way possible for a seiyuu: she works for the big agency I"m Enterprise, and went to famous seiyuu school Nihon Narration.

She was already 22 by the time she got her first role, and turns 25 next Friday, 16 July. Happy Birthday, Hyocchi!

She is from Kanagawa, just south of Tokyo, and as with other girls, the show that got her interested in anime was Sailor Moon. She also loved The End of Evangelion. After high school she enrolled in two colleges at the same time: a dressmaking school, and Nihon Narration seiyuu school. After a while at Nihon Narration, she won a scholarship for free tuition in the advanced course.

She still lists dressmaking as one of her skills -- along with qualifications in calligraphy and aromatherapy. But all through middle school and high school, she was a softball player, starting in center field, but then playing the two positions usually played by the best athletes: shortstop and pitcher. She was also always a mainstay in track and field, anchoring the relay. On the other hand, she was the head of the library committee, as well. She is neither tall nor short, in Japanese terms: 157cm (5'2").

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Idol Seiyuu Rundown -- 2channel post

Interesting post on 2channel running down a list of currently popular idol seiyuus:

2010 popular idol seiyuus
If you know more than eight, you've got it bad. (I know them all....)

Hirano Aya
-- model idol-seiyuu activities. many antis.

Mizuki Nana -- always in the music charts. also quite active as a seiyuu.
Kugimiya Rie -- from shotas to tsunderes. her addicts are many.
Inoue Marina -- no model's face, but wide-ranging talents.
Chihara Minori -- became famous as Nagato Yuki. most active as a singer.
Koshimizu Ami -- became known by her strong performances.
Horie Yui -- past her peak, but with undimmed popularity.
Hikasa Youko -- got her break with K-On. aggressive performer and voice.
Hanazawa Kana -- despite some dead-voiced performances and a (blabbermouth) boyfriend, her real ability is helping her grow into Osawa Office's next ace.
Tomatsu Haruka -- she has real ability, but her agency over-promotes her, and she has many antis.
Yuuki Aoi -- began as a child actress. increased visibility since 2009 has her popularity shooting upward.
Itou Kanae -- Amu-chan (in Shugo Chara). won a new seiyuu award and is riding the wave.
Kitamura Eri -- many talents, wide acting range, and real ability. but her image is still weak.
Toyosaki Aki -- began to stand out in 2008. now one of the young seiyuus riding the wave.
Taketatsu Ayana -- got her break with K-On. I"m Enterprise's new weapon.
Iguchi Yuka -- got her break as Index. Osawa Office's new weapon, but not blessed with roles.
Kanemoto Hisako -- stood out in Sora no Woto. chosen to play Squid Girl this fall (a role Iguchi Yuka was expected to get). a new seiyuu riding the wave.
Gotou Saori -- still invisible.

Here are their photos, in the order listed (l-r):