Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Real Ability" Seiyuus by Year of Birth

Many seiyuus are popular, but only some are seen as having real ability as seiyuus. Those are known as  実力 jitsuryoku "real strength" or "real ability" seiyuus.

Other seiyuus can be popular for the sound of their voice or for their personality, beauty or singing and dancing.

Here is a list from 2channel of someone's idea of who the really capable seiyuus are, starting with those born in 1993 (now 18-19 years old) and going up to those born in 1982 (now 29-30 years old):

    1993 Ishihara Kaori, Seto Asami
    1991 Kotobuki Minako, Hayami Saori, Yuuki Aoi
    1990 Tomatsu Haruka
    1989 Uchida Maaya, Omigawa Chiaki, Hanazawa Kana
    1988 Komatsu Mikako, Ise Mariya, Akesaka Satomi
    1987 Kayano Ai, Takamori Natsumi, Tamura Mutsumi, Kitamura Eri
    1986 Toyosaki Aki, Koshimizu Ami, Sanpei Yuuko, Itou Kanae, Yahagi Sayuri, Satou Satomi
    1985 Takagaki Ayahi, Sawashiro Miiyuki, Nazuka Kaori, Inoue Marina, Hikasa Youko
    1983 Katou Emiri, Asumi Kana
    -------30 years old----------
    1982 Fukuen Misato, Shiraisi Ryouko, Fujimura Ayumi, Watanabe Akeno, Kobayashi Yuu, Saitou Momoko

note: I say "born in," but I think these are actually arranged by school cohort, which goes from the beginning of April in one year to the end of March the next.

This doesn't seem to me like a perfect list, but it's pretty good. I'd now include Hidaka Rina (1994), and maybe exclude Kotobuki Minako (much as I like her). And I know plenty of people will go "whaat?" at seeing Omigawa Chiaki there, but I would still include her.

12 comments:

Matteas said...

I wouldn't remove Minako, but I'm surprised to see Shuga on the list. Whom I miss on the list, however, is Saitou Chiwa and Itou Shizuka.

hashi said...

@Matteas - Chiwa and Shizuka-sama are out of the age range covered here. Another name I thought of immediately was Yukana, but she's even older. I'd have agreed with you about Satou Satomi before she played Chitanda Eru in Hyouka. Now I'm ready to accept her, even if I might not have put her on a list I made myself.

Furuba-tan said...

hashi, I'm surprised you only started to accept satou satomi. I liked her in K-ON!, not more. but I fell in love with her in oreimo as manami~ (*≧m≦*)
(and she's hilarious in her radio show) and manaka is the beta version of chitanda. seems like she's underrated or am I just too much a fanboy? (੭ु˙꒳˙)੭ु⁾⁾

Phil said...

I was originally planning to mention I don't overly disagree, but I'm actually fairly shocked at the absence of Taketatsu.

Iguchi I could perhaps understand as she appears to be fairly typecast, but her role in Mayo Chiki does show a wider range than the roles she's had showcases.

As for Satou, I've been saying for ages that she's very talented, and that I was shocked she still hadn't been picked as a primary protagonist for a show herself until Hyouka.

And I'll defend Ao-chan's skill to the hilt. :P The revelation that she'd actually ad-libbed a great deal of the comedic elements of Ben-to is a skill I highly appreciate, and shows an understanding and appreciation for the characters you're playing beyond reading lines ... that said, I'm a writer, so could be I'm thinking too deeply about it. :)

Raph said...

Hm, perhaps I'm overly critical, but there are some inclusions on this list I'm not really on board with. Like you, I'd probably exclude Kotobuki. Ishihara, Komatsu, Omigawa and Satou have yet to impress me - I find them all poor at conveying emotion, but I do have a definite preference for very 'trained' seiyuu voices (and the first three are certainly not) - while I have an (admittedly not fully explicable) aversion to Takamori's work. Maaya Uchida isn't someone I've heard enough of to judge and she wouldn't be on my list, but I think she has potential. There are others I'm not fond of but understand better why they may have been included.

As for my own additions within the age range, I'd nominate Saori Gotou and perhaps Yoshino Nanjou. There are more young seiyuu I think have clear talent, but I just haven't heard all that much of them. In general, I'd suppose my own list would be significantly shorter, hahaha.

vic said...

Ishihara was fantastic in AnoNatsu but that's all. Hearing her in this season's NakaImo makes me unsure of her abilities...

Anonymous said...

"exclude Kotobuki Minako"
"Omigawa Chiaki ... include her."

Whaaaaaaaat?! indeed. Is this opposite day? It *has* to be opposite day. Wow.

hashi said...

@Furuba-tan -- Sometimes the show a seiyuu is in affects my appreciation. I'm not a big fan of K-On, and I dropped OreImo after a few episodes.

@Phil -- As above, if a seiyuu is in shows I don't much like or watch, I can end up not getting her. I've long thought of Taketatsu -- whom I nevertheless featured as my seiyuu of a season a while ago -- as a seiyuu whose popularity is based mostly on the cute sound of her voice and on her general cuteness of person, rather than on any special skill as a seiyuu. But I see more from her as Rinka, in at least a couple of episodes of NakaImo, so I'm thinking about her now.

I didn't know about the ad-libs in Ben-tou, but I did feel there might be some in there at the time. That's the last show I really admired Ao-chan in. Ironically, since she won a seiyuu award for it, I wasn't much of a fan of her work in Madoka Magica. I want her to get more roles where she can display and develop her enormous talent. In my opinion, she has terrific voice control and ability to make effective and unusual sounds, and also great ability to match expression to meaning and emotion. But not all her roles give a chance to show this, at least to me.

As an aside, I was amazed by her singing -- both on her album Petit Pas and in her song Kisou Honnou on DECO*27's album. I listen to both all the time. Not a sweet or perfect voice, but one with musical sensitivity, rhythm and expression. If anyone reading this hasn't listened to these, do yourself a favour and try them out.

@Raph -- Ishihara's main strength is that amazing edge in her voice, which she knows how to manipulate. But you are right that the one place her acting really struck me was in AnoHana. However, in the few episodes of Lagrange I've watched, I thought she created a character. And in NakaImo, she is doing a workmanlike job of a particular kind of role, giving it presence.

Probably the main reason for our differing reactions is that I am the exact opposite of your preference for "trained" voices. I find that they disappear too much for me, and lack presence or character.

I was really struck by Gotou Saori's work back in Rakugo Tennyo. Then she disappeared from anime I watched for a few years. But more recently she has been excellent in Steins;Gate and Joshiraku. I think she and Nanjou Yoshino are the two most beautiful seiyuu, but I really don't have a clear take on Nanjolno's actual seiyuu work yet.

@vic -- As I said above, I think Kyari is doing a workmanlike job of Konoe, conveying the right kind of character, and making use of that wonderful edge in her voice.

@anonymous -- Sometimes Mina-chan seems unintentionally awkward to me. On the other hand, Omigawa-san makes awkwardness a virtue, using it to convey a certain honesty in her characters. As I said above, "trained" doesn't mean that much to me. Omigawa's voice can sound totally amateurish at times.

hashi said...

Since this is my own blog, I'll double-post if I want to, lol. I think I overstated my resistance to trained voices. On twitter recently, I approved of kai989's top trio of Miyukichi, Chiwa, and Koshimizu Ami. Sawashiro and Amisuke, in particular, are technically outstanding. It's clearly best when a seiyuu has technical excellence to go along with her expressiveness and individuality.

Raph said...

@hashi - We are definitely in agreement there. Miyukichi and Amisuke are among my very favourite seiyuu, as is Yukana. Three prime examples of technically skilled seiyuu with presence, verve and the ability to create characters. Regrettably, with less trained seiyuu, I tend to find a clear lack of training distracting and that it takes away from a performance. Which is really rather a shame.

I have really liked Gotou/Saorin for a good while now as well. Now, recently, I thought she was superb in Steins;Gate and C, conveying emotion brilliantly in those shows (her turn as Moeka was my favourite performance of last year), and now she is hilarious in Joshiraku. Nanjolno is someone I've only really heard in small roles, but she has impressed me with her range and the control over her voice she has, as well as how she seems to improve with every role. Unfortunately, while she is technically very good, I've found her work somewhat emotionally distant and cold so far. I can't speak of her level of skill overly confidently as I haven't heard her in a very big role, so I'm looking forward to hearing her star in next season's Robotics;Notes. Hopefully the part is demanding enough to give a good indication of her capabilities, and hopefully she does a great job with it. It does seem like she's very much on the rise, career-wise, and this could potentially be her breakout role.

Lol, sorry for rambling!

hashi said...

@Raph -- Please ramble on. This kind of talk is meat and drink to me.

vic said...

@hashi I guess my liking of a particular voice performance is tied very closely to how much I like the character (how the character develops).