Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ben-Tou CD Drama

A short Ben-Tou CD drama comes with the first issue of the Shueisha light novel magazine Super Dash & Go. I'm not sure if this is all of it, but here is a clip of the drama from NicNico Douga. As usual, the clip from Nico takes a long time to load.

It stars Wakamoto Norio, Shimono Hiro, Ise Mariya, and as the novel's author, Asaura, writes in his blog: "...for the first time ever, Yuuki Aoi's wonderful voice mimicking Wakamoto-san."

I actually don't think she comes all that close to Wakamoto's voice, but it's an amazing attempt anyway.

In the brief drama, Wakamoto plays Shimono's father, and they get very close in the bath....

Friday, October 28, 2011

Busiest Seiyuus of the First Half of 2011 -- Kugyu, Miyukichi, and the Rest

Kugimiya Rie
Here is a tabulation of the seiyuus who appeared in the most anime episodes in the first half of 2011. From 2channel. Since seiyuus are apparently paid by the episode, this might give a rough guide to income, as well -- for the more established seiyuus, at least.

It's no surprise to see Kugimiya Rie and Sawashiro Miyuki at the top of the list; but I'm a bit surprised to see Inoue Marina so high. Nor is it a surprise to see Miyano Mamoru as the busiest male seiyuu; but it is to see Okamoto Nobuhiko and Kakihara Tetsuya next.

ranking -- number of episodes -- seiyuu's name

    1 136 Kugimiya Rie
    2 122 Sawashiro Miyuki
    3 99 Inoue Marina
    4 90 Hanazawa Kana
    5 88 Miyano Mamoru
    6 85 Okamoto Nobuhiko
    7 84 Kakihara Tetsuya
    8 81 Toyosaki Aki
    9 79 Fujiwara Keiji
    9 79 Hirano Aya
    9 79 Yuuki Aoi
    9 79 Kobayashi Yuu
    9 79 Orikasa Fumiko
    14 78 Kitamura Eri
    15 77 Itou Kanae
    16 75 Namikawa Daisuke
    16 75 Konishi Katsuyuki
    16 75 Sakurai Takahiro
    19 73 Paku Romi
    19 73 Horie Yui
    21 71 Hikasa Youko
    21 71 Miyake Kenta
    23 70 Sanpei Yuuko
    23 70 Sugiyama Kishou
    25 69 Sugita Tomokazu
    25 69 Nakamura Yuuichi
    27 68 Noto Mamiko
    27 68 Suwabe Junichi
    27 68 Tomatsu Haruka
    30 67 Koyama Rikiya
    30 67 Miki Shinichirou

What Yuuki Aoi Wants for Christmas -- To Be Better At English

In her blog, Yuuki Aoi says that what she wants from Santa this Christmas is better ability in English. "Higher marks would be good, too."

The line-up for volunteer English tutors forms at the left, lol.

Ao-chan has not been posting much to her blog recently. She is attending university, and appears to be taking it seriously, despite all the seiyuu work she is doing at the same time, and despite the fact that her university is known for having high entry standards and good courses, but allowing students to slack off if they want to.

Anyway, to make more of a post here, I'll include some recent photos of Ao-chan, along with Kotobuki Minako, a friend with whom she co-starred in Hyakka Ryouran and A Channel;  and Toyosaki Aki, with whom she co-stars in Last Exile - Ginyoku no Fam. I'm not sure if Ao-chan is getting closer to members of Sphere, or if Sphere is so popular they are everywhere.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sphere Agency Conference Leak?

A report on a Japanese blog claims to be leaked information from a conference of Sphere's agency to discuss the group's recent publicity problems.

The supposed leak makes several points:
  •  the meeting was long, and involved many people from both the Music Ray'n agency and its parent, Sony Entertainment.
  • Toyosaki Aki really is living with Tom-H@ck
  • the agency bought paparazzi photos of Tomatsu Haruka to keep them out of circulation
  • it also bought photos of Toyosaki Aki
  • it also bought photos of Takagaki Ayahi, but from a weekly magazine
  • Kotobuki Minako dealt with things very earnestly, cried in the meeting several times, and even suggested the group might break up 
  • Toyosaki Aki took a hard line, supposedly relying on Tom H@ck's power in the industry
  • she was not willing to move from the apartment, and was unwilling to take any blame for the situation
I have no idea if the report is true. As proof, the blog publishes a very unclear photo of what is supposedly a business card from the meeting.

Otaku comments on the story tend to blame Toyosaki. Personally, this seems wrong to me. She deserves to have her own life, separate from either her professional life or the parts of her private life that are used as publicity material.

With their latest single debuting at #4 in the music charts, I think Sphere has a long future ahead of it, and will not be breaking up any time soon.

Having gotten a little sense of her from her radio appearances with Yuuki Aoi, it makes sense to me that Kotobuki Minako might be so emotional about this. She has long looked older than her years, and probably has been thought of as having a more adult romantic life than she actually does. So this kind of publicity for those around her makes her feel vulnerable.

Another story says that Tomatsu and other members of Sphere have said they felt "invaded" by the photos and publicity.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sphere's New Single Hits #4 On Its First Day

Sphere's new single was officially released Wednesday, and is listed at #4 in Oricon's daily sales rankings. Apparently the so-called scandals surrounding Tomatsu Haruka and Toyosaki Aki have not hurt sales.

The single, "High Powered," is the OP for this fall's second series of the anime Ika Musume. You can buy it from CD Japan. Here's YouTube audio.

For anyone who doesn't know the members of the group, here is a key to the image, they are: (clockwise from bottom left) Tomatsu Haruka, Takagaki Ayahi, Kotobuki Minako, Toyosaki Aki.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Toyosaki, Tomatsu Send Messages to Fans

All the members of Sphere, and their agency, have published messages to their fans today.

Toyosaki Aki and Tomatsu Haruka both apologized to fans for causing them trouble, but Toyosaki went on to say that her private life has no direct connection with her professional life.

The Music Ray'n agency threatened criminal and civil action against the people who took secret photos of their seiyuus or threatened them on line.

Sphere (l-r): Tomatsu Haruka, Kotobuki Minako, Takagaki Ayahi, Toyosaki Aki

Toyosaki spoke directly of Tom-H@ck, saying he was someone she admired professionally and went to for help with her songs, and also someone she could talk about her personal troubles with.

Music Ray'n said that they left their seiyuus to run their own personal lives, within certain guidelines.

2channel is a mixed bag of people who continue to find fault, dissecting the blog posts for things to criticize, and fans who declare their continued support.

This is all fallout from recent publication of paparazzi photos and deductions from them suggesting that Toyosaki is living with Tom-H@ck and that Tomatsu and Irino Miyu are dating. This has led to great vituperation against Tomatsu and Toyosaki, including death threats from fans who feel wronged. Some Japanese seiyuu otaku feel that it is wrong for their heroines to have boyfriends other than them.

Blog posts: Toyosaki, Tomatsu, Kotobuki, Takagaki. Statement: Music Ray'n.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Characters and Seiyuus -- Guilty Crown

Here's another characters/seiyuus page. This time for Guilty Crown.

I've enjoyed the first two episodes a lot. The show is directed by Araki Tetsurou, the director of Death Note, and written by  Yoshino Hiroyuki, the writer of Mai-HiME and assistant writer of Code Geass. I wondered how those two would combine, and I'm afraid I like the Araki aspects -- the sharp direction and great backgrounds and animation -- more than the writing.

The basic story is too much like Code Geass, especially for someone like me who didn't enjoy that show very much: after a virulent epidemic that caused panic and death in Japan, a consortium of outside countries has taken over government of Japan. There is an underground movement fighting them that somehow has its own heavy weapons.

For me, Kayano Ai's performance as the Net singer Inori is one of the great charms of the show. And so is the barely-clad rebel Inori herself. But she is very soft-spoken and obedient and the furthest thing imaginable from a feminist heroine, except for her courage in carrying out her commander's orders. So I can't really answer those who find her boring and backward, except to say I am enjoying her so far. For me, Kayanon is giving her soul.

Click here or on the image to go to the full page:

Characters and Seiyuus -- Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru may be the best show of the fall season. It has depth of personalities and story, and is presented in a crisp and subtle way by the director of NANA, Asaka Morio.

It stars 18-year-old Seto Asami in her second major role, after Yoshino in Hourou Musuko. She is already slated for a role in January's Rinne no Lagrange. And she is outstanding here as Chihaya, the girl who discovers a passion for karuta, a Japanese game based on classical poetry. No, really.

The story follows her and her relationships with two boys: the one who turned her on to the game then moved away, and the childhood friend who lost interest in the game quickly when he went to another school and she wasn't there encourage him to play.

Anyway, click here or on the image to go to the full page, which has pics of the main characters and their seiyuus, and a bit of info about each seiyuu:

So far, I've just included the characters whose images are given on the official site. I'll add two more: Endou Aya as Chihaya's sister, and Yukino Satsuki (!) as her mother.