Category Archives: Voice Acting
Note: This article was written by Goldy, and is being posted here on her behalf.
I’ve been meaning to write a post about my experience staffing my local anime convention, but every year before never seemed right until this year.
I will give the disclaimer than I am volunteer staff and also a self taught manager of guest relations for 6 years (started out as a mere guest liaison, but that’s when I did the job by myself, the con was smaller, and I didn’t have massive lines of fans trying to trample me to hug their favorite voice actor). At present, I have a staff of 3-5 people, but always need more. Good help is hard to find because guest (and fan) wrangling is no easy task.
I won’t be naming names because even though I’ve never had to sign any contract to maintain secrecy or anything, I think it’s stupid to share information that a person was kind enough to share with you in trust. And really, I think it’s brave to trust someone you barely know with your well being for a weekend. You are trusting a person to keep you safe from people who are too excited at hearing your voice to think straight and won’t stop to say, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t try to rush at this voice actor I like after their panel and try to hug them and shove random gifts at them when they are probably really tired and need food. After all, there are times and places for autographs and chats” and instead come rushing at you like you’re made of gold or something.
Because let me tell you, there is nothing more terrifying than that lack of security. Even if you are a repeat guest, you are in a strange place, with strange people, with only your beautiful voice keeping you alive, but it’s also the cause of your stress at times because people love it too much.
Not to say that voice actors (VAs) dislike hugs or gifts or talking to their fans. In fact, a majority of them appreciate their fans more than most famous people out there and looooove to talk with them and sign stuff for them. But it’s always nice for fans to keep their heads when they’re around someone famous and be considerate of the fact that they are human too.
Granted, many VAs are also too nice most of the time. That’s why I have to be the mean person or, on my good days, a diplomat who has to explain to a crying girl why I can’t just call up their favorite VA to get a hug and an autograph because she missed all the sessions earlier. On rare occasions, at the request of the guests, I’ll sometimes do these things, but if you start giving someone an inch, 70 more people will grab that mile from you.
So that’s my job, roughly. To protect, serve, take a bullet for, and cause diversions (I once told a dumb joke to let a guest sneakily escape through the back at the end of their panel. I’m pretty sure those fans are after my head now) for the many VA guests we have the honor of bringing to our humble convention. It’s truly a learning process for me, which can be fairly frustrating for various reasons, but does improve slowly but surely every year.
The convention growing at a fast rate each year is my biggest challenge. We get big guests more often, but we still don’t act like a big con. Massive autograph lines are a new thing to us. Having guests charge for autographs are even more of a foreign idea. I remember when a guest looked at me weird when I said we didn’t have a green room (we do now, but aren’t used to it, yet). Admittedly, I have gotten better at dodging and weaving through over-excited fans with my guest(s) in tow, trying to get to an elevator or stairs (sometimes I hate the 12th floor). It still breaks my heart to cap autograph lines and turn people away, but I have to do it unless someone really wants a 5 hour autograph line.
I get lucky usually, though. Or blessed. Most of the guests we have are easy going, fun, and are able to dodge situations easily if they get too caught up with swarming fans. I would like to give credit to our con-goers as well, who, for the most part, aren’t too insane with obsession over their favorite VA.
A year ago, I wrote about how God’s love could be compared to that of a yandere. This year I’d like to make another kind of comparison on the topic of love, but instead of focusing on God, I want to focus on Christians and our love for God. Our love for God is, or at least should be, the greatest emotion we can possibly offer. It is a love which drives us to worship Him, follow Him, strive to be like Him, and serve Him. Anime loves to depict similarly idealistic characters – from the main character who always has to help others to the school idol who is loved by the entire school to the deredere archetype that is just helplessly in love with another. Anime, and people in general, love the idea of love.
But in real life, these ideals often fall apart. Especially in Japan, people who reflect even a fraction of such ideals are hard to come by. It is a sad irony in that although Japanese people can be so friendly on the surface, their hearts are so disconnected from each other. But while they may fail to emulate the type of godly, unconditional love which Christians (should) have, that doesn’t mean similarities don’t exist. And while rare, such a type of love is something which the Japanese are drawn to.
Nowhere have I seen this more than among the Nana Mizuki fandom. Perhaps my view is skewed since, well, I don’t pay nearly as much attention to any other fandom, and as a whole, the otaku culture in Japan has a fascinating difference in lifestyle compared to most other Japanese (but that’s a different topic for a similar phenomenon). In my short time in Japan, with moderate interaction with other Nana fans, I have come to feel that the love fans feel for Nana is similar to the love Christians have for God. Of course, I’d be the first to admit the numerous reasons why it’s an imperfect parallel, but compared to other Japanese people, and even compared to other fan bases, there is something here that reminds me of Christian love, and there is something about Nana that draws people to her in ways that remind me of how people are drawn to God.
In our Untangled feature, we answer questions posed to us from our readers. Here’s an email sent by Mason a few days ago:
How do you guys go about choosing your anime? I don’t watch a lot but I like watching currently airing ones (because I have something to look forward too) so I would like to know how you guys go about finding anime :)
TWWK: Mason, I think most of us on staff here have a good idea of what we want to try out before each new season begins. I usually check out a season preview post or two and choose the shows I want to try. As for older series, I have a backlog that’s developed over the years. Whenever I read about a series that interests me, I add it. So I would say that typically I find anime by word of mouth.
Hansha: A lot of times, I’ll get suggestions from friends or they’ll start fangirling over one and insist I watch it. Other than that, I usually go through Hulu, Netflix or Crunchyroll and read descriptions. I’ve also gotten interested in a few anime because of cosplays I’ve seen at a convention or on different pages of cosplayers I follow. I think others on staff are more plugged in than I am though.
Japesland: I’ve gone through stages. At first, I based what I watched completely on word of mouth. Then I began looking online for recommendations, particularly from Beneath the Tangles (shameless plug for our Anime Recommendations and Anime Movie Recommendations pages). Then, I returned to word of mouth and friends’ recommendations and built up an enormous backlog, much as Charles mentioned (I marathoned a LOT of anime in the course of two years to get through that monstrosity!). Now, I’ve seen enough that I am generally able to find anime that I like myself, which is good because most of what I watch is currently airing nowadays! I recommend either asking friends, or checking blogs like ours as we write about new anime that we’re watching.
Kaze: I watch a lot of mediocre shows that I know are going to be mediocre, but I imagine most people aren’t weird like that. In terms of shows that I actually hope will be good, I rely on a few things. First is word of mouth, but particularly from people whose opinions I trust and tend to agree with. This is most useful when friends are familiar with the source material and can give you some concrete opinions rather than blind guessing. I also look at the staff and studio behind the anime. For example, P.A. Works tends to make very similar originals, so people tend to either like or dislike most of their work. I’ve also reached the point where I will watch anime for the seiyuu (voice actors), which as strange as it may sound to some, I don’t see how it is different from people watching TV shows for their favorite actors. Finally, while it probably isn’t helpful to you right now, the more you watch, the more easily you can identify shows which are going to be a flop or not, at least for you personally, because you start to see the trends and tropes.
And now, I’ll open it to our readers – how do you choose which anime to watch?
While I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the singing duo, I am nonetheless sad to see ClariS become merely Clara. Alice has reported that she is leaving the unit and singing as a whole to concentrate on her studies. The duo debuted with in 2010 with OreImo’s opening “Irony.” However, what exploded their popularity was Madoka’s “Connect.” Since then, they’ve performed several other songs all while keeping their real identity a secret – they have reported even their interest in anime is a secret from personal friends. Since they were only in middle school at the time of debut, that would mean right now is pretty important time with exams and preparing for university, so I must admit it to be a wise decision. Clara has not yet made a statement on her future plans
My anime fandom really began when Toonami was in it’s heyday with Tenchi Muyo, still one of my favorites, anchoring the block. In an exciting, but strange piece of news, Kajishima Misaki will help develop Ai Tenchi Muyo!, a new series planned as 50 5-minute shorts in an effort to boost tourism in Takahashi City, the Japanese locale in most of the series’ media. While it would be hard to find a fan who would like that the new episodes will be “short” format, there’s still plenty to be excited about – not in the least is that we can start theorizing and fantasizing about what the show will focus on. There’s plenty of artwork and wording from Kajishima and others to fuel the speculation of the plot, which frankly, can’t be any worse than what we saw in the 3rd OVA.
Although the upcoming release of the Girls und Panzer‘s tie-in Vita game is not recent news, the promotional videos (such as the linked one above, featuring voice actress, Mai Fuchigami) have really been rolling in this month in preparation for its June 26th Japanese release. Speaking as only a moderate fan of the series, I have been anticipating this release as I have been reluctant to join any video gaming tank action, mostly in the form of World of Tanks (but when anime girls are involved, who can turn it down?!). If you have any knowledge of the Japanese language and would like some practice, this seems to be a great item to import as the language skills necessary are lower than that of your standard Japanese RPG or other common import title. Regardless, be prepared for some fun “tankery” action on June 26!
Los Angeles’ annual anime convention Anime Expo will be hosting a Kill La Kill event, featuring the English dub premier, as well as several Japanese guests including writer Kazuki Nakashima, character designer SUSHIO, producer Yosuke Toba, and the voice actresses of the main females Ami Koshimizu and Ryoka Yuzuki. If you are a big fan of the series, you’ll definitely want to be there, although tickets may already be sold out by the sounds of it. For those who aren’t fans of the series, perhaps voice actress Ami Koshimizu will ring a bell as the voice behind characters such as Holo, Kallen, and Maou. Anime Expo will also be hosting guests such as Reki Kawahara, the writer of Sword Art Online, and Eir Aoi, who sang theme songs for anime such as Sword Art Online, Fate/Zero, and Kill La Kill.
And speaking of Frank, I highly recommend that you read his excellent article regarding Silver Spoon and Servant x Service about how we should value and love people and what it means to choose our own paths or God’s. [A Series of Miracles]
Yumeka dives extensively into the world of gods and demons in anime. [Mainichi Anime Yume]
D.M. Dutcher investigates Dog x Scissors and in doing so points out that a Christian ideal that many find sexist perhaps isn’t that offensive after all. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]
Angelica Belle discovers the Manga Bible series. [Angelica Belle]
As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality. If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included.
“Thou shall have no other gods before me,” a simple and obvious rule to not just Christianity, but to any monotheistic religion. Today, it is accepted that the sin of idolatry can take many forms from material possessions, activities, and even to other humans. Be it the Hollywood stars of America, the K-pop singers of Korea, or the girl groups like AKB48 of Japan, idolatry of celebrities is a growing and arguably dangerous problem in today’s society. Within the realm of anime culture, too, the idolization of the seiyuu cannot be denied.
Tamura Yukari, for example, is one of the most talented voices in the industry, truly a god-tiered seiyuu. The White Devil, the Strategist, the Courageous Yuusha, Yukarin has done such a wide array of voices, I cannot even begin to comprehend her talent. Thanks to that, in addition to her personality and having found the secret to eternal youth as a forever 17 year old, she has quite the strong and loyal fan base. Her talent is undeniable. Her fan base is…a bit extreme at times. The most hardcore of fans certainly revere her as a goddess, which I can’t say is unique to her fans. The Japanese voice acting industry is brimming with talent and popularity with names like Sugita, Yui Horie, Sakamoto, and an endless list that I cannot even begin to do justice. Then you have the type-casted voices like KugiRie and Hanakana who rarely show any deviation in their voice acting yet have such large fan bases due to that single, specific voice that for some inexplicable reason everyone loves. If you aren’t a fan, you know how tiring it can be to hear that voice over and over.
Periodically, I like point back to some of the more than 500 posts we’ve written here on Beneath the Tangles. Besides the “A Year Ago” series I began several months ago, I plan to occasionally post about blogging milestones – those little breakthroughs when posts hit certain numbers of significance in terms of hits. Three articles recently hit such mileposts.
Katawa Shoujo and a How to Guide for Referring to Individuals with Disabilities
Milepost: 5,000 Hits
The informational article discusses how to use person first language to refer to individuals (or VN characters!) with disabilities:
Rin is a character who was born without arms. Don’t refer to this as a “birth defect.” “Congenital disability” or “developmental disability” is preferred. Further, remember to again emphasize that individuals have disabilities instead of saying that they are disabled, which emphasizes the disability, and avoid use of the word handicap.
This was a fun post to craft, because unlike many others, I had to do quite a bit of research. I’m glad that this was my contribution to the blogosphere’s posts on Katawa Shoujo, a game that I actually never played.
Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: CCM Artist (and Close Anime Geek) Cait Plage, Angel Beats Heaven, and Haruhi’s Five Proofs
Well, I am a true nerd at heart. In middle school, I was a closet anime/video game geek….I would spend hours upon hours every day recording lines, auditioning, and ‘hanging out’ online with my VA friends.
Our newest blogger, Zeroe4, continues his “Last Requiem” series on his other blog by comparing heaven with the afterlife represented in Angel Beats! [Zeroe4]
However, in Angel Beats! and heaven there is love and camaraderie. In Angel Beats! and heaven everyone has a place they fit and everyone finds where that is. In heaven and Angel Beats! there is value placed on every person.
SnippetTee, who has sneakily become one of my favorite bloggers, explores the pneumatic side of dreams in relation to Mushishi. [Lemmas and Submodalities]
Tom Langston was disappointed that the “Philosophy in Anime” panel at SacAnime was cancelled, so he briefly discusses what might have been presented, particularly relating Haruhi Suzumiya to Thomas Aquinas’ Five Proofs. [Nigorimasen!]
Jonathan Tappan posts an excellent and helpful timeline for Mawaru Penguindrum, which largely revolves around events (true and fabricated) involving the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult. [FunBlog]
RocketNews24 reports that makers of traditional Japanese swords will be commissioned to cast replicas of weapons from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The first is that of the Lance of Longinus, a weapon in Evangelion that shares a name given to the spear that pierced Christ’s side. [RocketNews24]
Monsieur LaMoe begins his post on Aquarion Evol by quoting Jesus on eunuchs, and goes into detail about the three different kinds that He mentioned. From there, I’m really not sure where he goes (I admit it – I got lost). [Anime Diet]
And to conclude on a cheery note, Steelbound wishes us all a Happy (February) Christmas. [The Null Set]
As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogsophere series of posts, each week, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality. If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included.