Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Seiyuu Video: Top New Seiyuus of 2009-10 --Toyosaki Aki, Yuuki Aoi, Hikasa Youko

Here's a brief video featuring three of the biggest new stars of the past year: Toyosaki Aki, Yuuki Aoi, and Hikasa Youko. Get used to their faces, voices, and names. All three of them will be around for a long time.

Toyosaki Aki, 23, is now such a star that it's hard to realize that she only really hit the big-time in 2009, as Yui in K-On, after starting her career in 2007 with the role of Amuro in Umisho. Now she is the moe voice of the moment.

There's a saying going the rounds on 2channel about four of the stars of K-On: "Taketatsu (Ayana) is cute, Hikasa is funny, Satou (Satomi) is healing, Toyosaki combines them all." She is only in two shows right now, but will be in four come the fall.

Hikasa Youko, 25, also began her career in 2007, but was even less well-known until she got the role of Mio in K-On last year. Now she has roles in four anime at the same time, as the main star of Seitokai Yakuindomo and Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin, and a co-star in K-On. The more roles she gets, the more I realize she is a terrific comedienne.

Yuuki Aoi is only 18, but has been in anime since she had a role in Kino no Tabi at the age of eleven. But her starring roles in the 2009 (but still continuing) anime Anyamaru Tantei Kiruminzuu and Yumeiro Patissiere have made her a hot commodity with producers. She has had major roles in Dance in the Vampire Bund, Sora no Woto, and Dai Maou, as well as her current role in Shiki, and will be in four new shows this fall. What Ao-chan has, besides good acting ability, is the most powerful and flexible soprano voice around.

Here is the video clip:

fripSide "Only My Railgun" Live

I liked "Only My Railgun" last fall as the OP of To Aru Kagaku no Railgun. And I love it now when I see the video of fripSide performing it in person at the Music Japan anime song event in June.

You may prefer the other performers at the event, which was a kind of mini-Animelo: Mizuki Nana, Chihara Minori, angela, May'N, Takahashi Youko, Tamura Yukari, Granrodeo.

But "Railgun" just grabs me by my low-class pop soul and won't let go. It has energy and melody and drive. It's all "hook."

It's especially effective in a large hall full of roaring, light-stick waving otaku. The somewhat sick-making camera work and Nanjou-san's repetitive movements don't detract from the song's power at all.

The fripSide part of the show starts with a clip of the exotically beautiful Nanjou-san and sat -- who's pretty cute himself -- doing their regular radio show. She asks him when he did the homework assigned during high-school summer vacations: he says he did it in the first week. "Really?" she presses him. "Really," he replies. I guess that's the kind of habit that helps you become a top music programmer.

sat is the heart of the group, writing, programming, and performing all the music. Nanjou-san took over last year from the group's original vocalist, nao, who left to pursue a solo career.

A full video of the concert is on the Chinese video site youku.com. A clip of the Railgun part alone has been removed from another site.

I have to admit that one of my pleasures in watching the clip was to think how the 26-year-old Nanjou-san, who has been a seiyuu since 2006 with only middling success, is suddenly a star on stage in front of thousands of cheering fans. I felt happy for her. I was one of the few who enjoyed her performance as Koko in D.C. II: Da Capo II in 2007. She also played Maria in Canaan.

And I can't be sure, but I think the voice-over during the interview may be seiyuu Sugita Tomokazu (Gin in Gintama, Kyon in Haruhi).

fripSide CDs available from CD Japan.