Friday, September 24, 2010

Miyano Mamoru and Yuuki Aoi -- Pokemon Best Wishes Promo Video

Thursday was a big day for Miyano Mamoru and Yuuki Aoi, as they began their starring roles in the new Pokemon series, Pokemon Best Wishes.

To be more precise, Ao-chan began her role. Mamo-chan did not appear in the series' initial double episode. Satoshi (Matsumoto Rika) travelled to a wild region looking for new Pokemons, and found both them and the wild girl Iris (Yuuki Aoi) and her Pokemon, Kibago (Tsuda Minami).

The show is perenially in the top ten in anime TV ratings. It took 9.3% of the audience for the initial episode, early Thursday evening, which will likely put it around fifth place, behind only shows like Sazae-san, Chibi Maruko-san, One Piece, and Crayon Shin-chan. The seiyuus' gig is likely to last at least a year, and probably three or four. For seiyuus, this is the earnings big leagues.

Early reaction to Ao-chan's character is almost universally positive. In her thread on 2channel, a recent post says that her character oozes vitality, amiability, and sarcasm. There is already a thread called "Iris is Cute" on 2channel. But some posters don't like either her sarcasm or her dark skin.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kotobuki Minako and Yuuki Aoi -- Hyakka Ryouran Radio

Kotobuki Minako and Yuuki Aoi joked, screamed, laughed, and pattered their way through the first episode of the "Hyakka Ryouran Radio Girls" show last Friday night.

I expected them to make a good pair, and they did. As Kotobuki-chan said on her blog Tuesday:

Talking with Ao-chan, who is in the same year I am,
We shrieked and giggled and had a good time ♪

They are in the same school year, having both been born between April 1991 and April 1992, although Yuuki-san normally seems much younger than the adult-looking Kotobuki. On the show, they both sounded capable and mature.

After a few moments of formality, they relaxed into easy verbal play. Kotobuki-chan broke Ao-chan up by repeating the last syllable of every line she said in an announcement. Then Ao-chan returned the favor: when Kotobuki-chan described her character in the show as willful (wagamama), Ao-chan capped the line with "mama" (the English word). They played with various English words and agreed that English is cool.

They established at the beginning that they would be called Ao-chan and Kotobuki-chan. Kotobuki said that when she introduced herself at school, everyone immediately started calling her by her surname, Kotobuki. Kotobuki Minako is her real name, not a stage name. Ao-chan said that Sawashiro Miyuki first started calling her Ao-chan, and it had stuck.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hayami Saori -- Listen to That Voice!

I know I keep saying that Hayami Saori is my favorite seiyuu-singer. If you still don't get my enthusiasm, give a listen to these two collections of her songs.

Collection 1.

Collection 2.

Really, her voice almost brings tears to my eyes, as a poster on 2channel wrote. She just has the most "beautiful" voice I know. So if you like sweet and skilful singing, give it a try.

The links are to pages that take the sound from Nicovideo pages and give non-subscribers a streaming player and the chance to download an mp3. The streaming player is under the main box on the page. The mp3 download is the right-hand tab under the box under that. Click the image above the player to go to the Nicovideo page. I've added an illustration at the bottom of this post, under the fold, that shows you where to click on the Japanese-language page.

Hayamin will be in five series this fall, starring in two, and with important secondary roles in two others. She also stars in one of the two OVAs she is in. She will produce songs for all or nearly all of these shows, so it should be an enjoyable fall. Her CDs are available from CD Japan.

Inoue Marina -- New Photos

There is a good Japanese image board for pictures of seiyuus. In fact it even has a second section. Lots of good photos show up. The only problem is that the custom of the board is not to say who the photos are of. Like a lot of Japanese message-board discussion, it is only for the cognoscenti.

There's no problem with these recent magazine photos of Inoue Marina from the board: her name is written on the pages of the feature on Highschool of the Dead, in which she stars as Rei. These are the most provocative pics of her I've seen. Click photos to enlarge.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall 2010 Anime -- Season Overview and Detailed Previews of 55 Shows

Here is an overview of the new anime season, followed by full previews of 30 new shows and 25 OVAs, including pics, stories, staff, cast, and links to trailers, mangas, and discussion groups.

First, here are nine shows I find particularly promising. Click photos to enlarge; mouseover for captions.

Kuragehime – On noitaminA, the director of Durarara and the writer of Seitokai no Ichizon bring us a josei comedy featuring Hanazawa Kana and Saiga Mitsuki as an odd couple in an apartment building full of fujoshi (female otaku).

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru – Director Shinbou Akiyuki (Bakemonogatari, Natsu no Arashi, etc.) animates a funny manga about an airhead (Omigawa Chiaki) who loves mysteries and works in a shabby maid café with her bossy friend (Yuuki Aoi).

Bakuman – Director Kasai Kenichi (Honey and Clover) and writer Yoshida Reiko (Marimite, K-On) animate the popular manga about a boy who wants to draw manga; his friend, who wants to write the stories; and the girl he likes, who wants to be a seiyuu.

Yumeiro Pâtissière Professional – For its second year-long season, the excellent Sunday morning show for young girls moves its setting from a school for pastry-makers to a real patisserie shop, and grows its protagonists from junior high students to young adults. One of my favorite shows – and not just because it stars Yuuki Aoi.

Hyakka Ryouran - Samurai Girls – I’m not a fan of Queen’s Blade or Ikkitousen, two ecchi fighting animes by the same studio as this one. But the preview episode made me think that the humor, the voice-acting (Yuuki Aoi, Kugimiya Rie, Kotobuki Minako, Kobayashi Yuu, Gotou Saori), and the Shaft-like fantasy and stylishness of the look may make this show worth watching.

Star Driver - Kagayaki no Takuto – Looks like Utena with magic mecha. Stars Fukuyama Jun and Hayami Saori, and is made by the director and writer of Ouran HS Host Club.

Togainu no Chi – Perhaps this is the season real boys-love makes it to mainstream anime. Future fiction set in a society of strict social classes and pet boys. The title means “Blood of the Reprimanded Hound.” A great cast includes Toriumi Kousuke, Sugita Tomokazu, Midorikawa Hikaru, Konishi Katsuyuki, and Taniyama Kishou.

Otome Youkai Zakuro – Human bishounen and comely female youkai (“monsters”) try to reach peaceful coexistence in an alternate-world 19th-century Japan. Lots of names make me want to see this: director Kon Chiaki (Nodame Paris), writer Okada Mari (true tears, episodes of Simoun), seiyuus Nakahara Mai, Sakurai Takahiro, Hanazawa Kana, Toyosaki Aki, Horie Yui, Okamoto Nobuhiko, Iguchi Yuka.

Psychic Detective Yakumo – This looks like a solid show: a mystery show from BeeTrain featuring a detective who can see the spirits of the dead, with staff from Requiem for the Phantom and Ryouko’s Case File, and the voices of Ono Daisuke, Fujimura Ayumi, Yuzuki Ryouka, and Toyoguchi Megumi.