Sore ga Seiyuu! anime comes to mind when it comes to the anime that depicts the life of someone who is a new seiyuu.
And before that, we have Shirobako, which is an anime that dives deeper into the inner working of the anime industry.
Of course, Sore ga Seiyuu! isn’t the only anime that talks about life as a new seiyuu.
We also have Girlish Number which comes out not long after Sore ga Seiyuu! comes out.
While both anime do talk about life being a seiyuu from the beginner seiyuu’s perspective, I don’t recommend people to watch Girlish Number, though.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that Girlish Number is a terrible anime or anything.
It’s just that the anime can be a little too advanced for those who are new to things related to being a seiyuu.
And let’s not forget that the story in Girlish Number anime continues from where the manga or light novel left off.
So, it can feel like you’re missing something if you have never read the manga or light novel before.
Don’t worry, it’s not that I already read the manga and the light novel prior to watching the anime.
But between Sore ga Seiyuu! and Girlish Number, I will say that Sore ga Seiyuu! gives you more insight into life as a new seiyuu.
It’s the closest thing you can get when it comes to the ins and outs of the voice acting industry in Japan.
What Sore ga Seiyuu! anime is all about
For those who aren’t familiar with Sore ga Seiyuu! anime, the story revolves around, Ichinose Futaba, a seiyuu who is just getting started. You’ll get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly side of being a seiyuu from her perspective.
Of course, you’ll get to see life as a new seiyuu from other characters as well.
While some of them can be pretty interesting to see, there is quite a handful of them that I find are eye-opening, to say the least.
The harsh reality of being a seiyuu
If you’re like me who is into seiyuu-related things, you’re probably aware by now that it’s not easy to become a seiyuu.
But Sore ga Seiyuu! somehow highlighted some of the things that are rarely talked about.
Here are some of them that I believe don’t get mentioned anywhere else whenever seiyuu-related topics surface.
You may not necessarily get a headstart after completing the seiyuu course
I can’t say for sure if it’s common practice elsewhere or not. But in Japan, there’s a dedicated academy just for voice acting.
If you’re thinking of becoming a seiyuu, your best bet is to enroll in the academy first. You can then sign up with the agency that is focusing on voice acting after you graduate.
The agency will be the one who finds the voice acting gigs for you.
You can go freelance if you prefer. But for the most part, many seiyuu tend to prefer to be under the agency rather than going freelance.
This is where the harsh reality comes in. It can be disheartening when you’ll get rejected for every single role that you audition for.
It makes you feel like you’re a failure. Worst of all, you may feel like you’re not talented enough and you’re not meant to be a seiyuu.
As a result, many people call it quits.
This is what Futaba discovered through her friends during the gathering. Many of her friends quit becoming a seiyuu not long after graduation partly because they couldn’t land on any regular role.
In that sense, Futaba is fortunate to have a regular anime role even though it’s for the supporting character.
And that leads me to my next point.
You have to start from the bottom if you switch agency
In the final episode of Sore ga Seiyuu! one of Futaba’s friends told her that she actually moved to another smaller agency. As a result, she had to start from the bottom even though she had been working as a seiyuu for three years in the previous agency.
For the most part, that can be devastating when you have to start all over again only because you’re switching to a different agency.
But if the agency doesn’t seem to move any needle in your seiyuu career, then you may as well go elsewhere even if you have to start from the bottom.
Of course, not every seiyuu will switch to a different agency because the agency is doing a terrible job of finding a voice-acting gig for them.
Sometimes, it can be due to a scandal that isn’t just affecting the seiyuu’s reputation. But it’s affecting the agency as well.
Case in point: Aya Hirano’s sex scandal. Not only did she get fired from her label, Lantis. But she also got fired from her agency.
Well, the official statement only stated that she left her current agency for another. But you know that’s not the case at all.
Putting Aya Hirano’s scandal aside, it’s not unheard of that some seiyuu will leave their current agency for another.
While some of them will switch to another agency run by another seiyuu, there are quite a few of them who decided to go independent.
One of them is Ono Daisuke who decided to go freelance after being in the same agency since 2002.
Of course, many of them will choose this route once they already built a name for themselves.
That doesn’t seem to be the case for the new seiyuu. It’s hard to get a high-paying gig when they’re just a nobody.
You can’t make a living with voice acting gigs alone
While that seems to be the case at the beginning of their career, it also applies to seiyuu who has been doing this for a long time.
It’s because of this reason that you’ll see many of them are doing other things besides voice acting.
Singing, hosting a talk show, attending video-game-related and anime-related events.
These are the things that make a large portion of the seiyuu’s income.
With so many things that they have to do outside of voice acting, it makes sense why they’re more than just a seiyuu to their fans.
They are what they called the seiyuu idols. This is what Ichigo says to Futaba when they’re forming a unit called Earphones.
Since they’re no different from your typical idol, it’s no surprise here that the idol rules applied. One of them is having to keep their relationship private.
Believe it or not, fans aren’t too happy when they find out that their favorite seiyuu are already married.
And it’s even worst when the seiyuu is getting involved in a scandal.
They can go as far as creating a petition to get the seiyuu removed from the main cast.
That’s what happened to Aya Hirano when the fans created a petition to get her removed from her role in Kizumonogatari.
And yes, it happened after the scandal was known to the public.
Everybody has to be present during the recording
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the main cast or you only have one line to record. You have no choice but to be there along with everybody else.
That’s how they do a voice recording for the anime.
The only exception is a voice recording for video games since they have to record other things besides the dialogues.
Another reason is that you happen to get sick on the day of the recording.
That was what happened to Futaba when she had to record her line separately. It was unfortunate for her that she got sick on the day of the recording.
The good news is you only need to attend the session that has your line. But you still need to be there along with everybody else during the recording session.
The same seiyuu may not be involved with the same project
Think of all the old anime that are making a comeback for the last few seasons. Pretty much all of them will have a new cast.
Dragon Quest, Digimon Adventure. The cast for the anime is brand new.
The only exception is Sorcerous Stabber Orphen where Morikubo Shotaro is reprising his role as Orphen in the brand new version of the anime. But the rest of the cast is different from the old one.
There are many reasons why we don’t get to see the seiyuu reprising their role in the brand new anime.
For one, it could be because some of the cast members are already dead or retired by the time the new version of the anime comes out.
Another reason can be because they want to attract a new audience to the old anime.
It can be hard to get the new audience to watch the brand new anime when they’re not familiar with the majority of the cast.
It’s also possible that the previous cast isn’t that good.
This is the case with Futaba where her role in the drama CD was replaced by Rin.
I’m not going to spoil you how Futaba is able to sort her feeling when she knows about the news.
Suffice it to say it’s not unusual to see the old anime making a comeback with a brand new cast. Only a handful of seiyuu managed to reprise their role in the same anime.
They don’t look so made-up all the time, especially in real life
In this day and age, it’s easy to ridicule celebrities in particular when they have no makeup on. It’s even worst when they look so much different when they have no makeup at all, to the point that people called them ugly.
Seiyuu aren’t that much different from Hollywood celebrities and influencers in that sense as well. They don’t look so made-up all the time.
The only time you’ll see them looking polished is during the event and when they have to perform onstage.
Other than that, they don’t look that much different from everyone else.
That was what happened to Ichigo when she met Yui Horie for the first time. She found it hard to believe that the way Yui Horie look doesn’t come close to the image that Ichigo saw on the magazine cover.
I can’t say for sure if the way the anime portrays Yui Horie in real life is accurate or not. But I’m sure that she looks amazing whether she has makeup or not.
To be honest, I don’t see this issue being a harsh reality. It’s unrealistic to expect that these seiyuu look polished even off-camera.
But for delusional people, that can be devastating when they find out that their favorite seiyuu looks so much different in real life.
Not everything is doom and gloom
Just like in any other profession, being a seiyuu isn’t just filled with doom and gloom all the time.
The bright side of the job does exist, in case you’re wondering. You can also say that the job comes with a perk that you can only get when you become a seiyuu.
Here are some of them.
The seniors are surprisingly nice to the juniors
Throughout the anime, all senior seiyuu are surprisingly nice to Futaba despite her being a newbie and making a lot of mistakes.
They’re generous with their time too by giving her advice on how she can improve her work.
That doesn’t seem so bad when you receive support and encouragement from the more experienced seiyuu, right?
This is what I find surprising the most since a typical workplace tends to have senior workers who aren’t just egoistic. But they can also make your life miserable.
Okay, that may not be the case for all workplaces. But if you’re talking about the workplace in general, it can feel suffocating to the point that it’ll become a toxic place to work.
Can’t say for sure if there are such things as backbiting and backstabbing in the seiyuu world.
Even if those things exist, it’s because you’re being a jerk with everyone.
That’s pretty much applicable in every industry, not just in the voice acting industry.
Seiyuu can be a fangirl or fanboy at heart too
Don’t you think that this is the best thing that can happen to you, career-wise when you’re working on the same project as the seiyuu that you have always admired all your life?
That was what happened to Futaba when she was working together with a seiyuu that she has been idolized for so long during the movie dubbing.
While this isn’t the kind of thing that will happen to you all the time when you’re just starting out, it can still be a good motivation to keep going.
You will have a chance to work with more amazing people again someday when you work hard to put yourself out there within the industry.
It’s not that different from any other career path out there
Just like in any other career path, talent can only bring you so far. It’s the hard work and determination that will bring you the success you deserve.
Of course, passion matters too. You can’t last long if you hate what you do.
And that’s pretty much the same in every industry, not just in the voice acting industry.
All these things can be hard to swallow if you expect to have everything handed to you on a silver platter.
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