Part 4 of my final impressions rundown.
10. Sore ga Seiyuu/Seiyuu’s Life
I have a far-fetched theory in regards Sore ga Seiyuu. My feeling is that it was originally meant to be nothing but a simple slice of life series about rookie voice actresses struggling to get work, but the surprise success of Shirobako caused the producers to make last minute alterations to insert actual behind the scenes details about how the industry is run to help bolster its success. Think about it a second, it all makes sense! We’re through the looking class!
Okay, fine spoilsport, in reality I’m way off the mark with that assertion. There almost certainly wouldn’t enough time to enact the level of script adjustments necessary. Also it’s firmly adapted from an existing manga, so there’s that I guess. The point I was trying to make is that Seiyuu very much feels like a completely average fluff show, wearing the skin of a far more in-depth and informative series.
What little there is of actual industry chatter is easily the main reason I looked forward to it each week. There’s so many fascinating titbits peppered into each episode, from the way new seiyuu have to grovel and introduce themselves to everyone in a room, to how people at promotional events will often space chairs apart and use staff to make up numbers if demand is lower than expected, and even reciting lines into a pillow, so as not to disturb the neighbours. The rest of the show is relatively threadbare, mostly consisting of slice of life hijinks, brief anxieties, and ganbatte! moments.
It’s entertaining enough, plus the jokes are solid, but both the presentation and characterisation are a little too light & cutesy for my tastes considering the workplace setting. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, although the constant stream of voice actresses starring as idealised versions of themselves might be a decent incentive for those with an eye of names. I’m not really interested in the v.a. scene so it personally didn’t prove much of a hook, but it’s hard not to be impressed by a range of seiyuus from old school stars like Masako Nozawa, to modern talents like Rie Kugimiya. If I were to be a little cynical, I’d claim it reeks a little of Gonzo going, “hey guys, we still exist as a studio! Just look at the connections we have!” (“also check out this glamorous and surprisingly busy version of our offices!”). Still, it works well in the context of the show, even if they all exist as immaculate guardian angels for lead character, Futaba.
I guess Sore ga Seiyuu, while certainly fun, is also a tad too optimistic for my tastes, at least next to the likes of Shirobako or The Idolmaster. While those shows are also dramatic, if upbeat representations of the current Japanese entertainment industry, they also do a better job at displaying the personal sacrifices for a career that often doesn’t feel like it’s worth the pain. Seiyuu, on the other hand, is firmly in the celebration camp, and as a result spreads its vision a little too thin, not wanting to seriously address the question of why someone would choose this path. Whether as anime voice actors, radio stars, or even idol singers, the reality is always presented as hard work that’s always worth it. It feels odd to compare Seiyuu with a title like Cinderella Girls and claim the former is the real fairy tale scenario. Still, if you want a lighter look at the business then this is probably the show for you.