Dreaming of becoming a top-tier professional in the fast-paced, competitive world of voice acting, rookie Futaba Ichinose frantically scurries around, searching for auditions and performance sessions. Rubbing elbows with some of the biggest names in the industry, she tries to find her own unique voice and style.
Along the way, she befriends two important allies: Ichigo Moesaki, an aspiring idol who claims to be a princess from another planet, and Rin Kohana, a cheerful child actress who tries her best to balance her career and school at the same time. Together, the girls brave the ups and downs of the entertainment industry—but as for Futaba, whose performance assessment at her agency is just around the corner, her career might be over sooner than expected! Sore ga Seiyuu! is a humorous and sincere celebration of the industry that gives anime its voice.
Sore ga Seiyuu was created by an actual voice actress, who makes a cameo appearance in the anime. A number of other well known Japanese voice acting talent appear in the series under their own names, with each episode featuring one special guest seiyuu.
#1: "Anata no Omimi ni Plug In! (あなたのお耳にプラグイン！)" by Earphones (イヤホンズ) (Marika Kouno, Rie Takahashi, Yuki Nagaku) (eps 1-5, 7-11) #2: "Mimi no Naka e (耳の中へ)" by Earphones (ep 6) #3: "Hikari no Saki e (光の先へ)" by Earphones (eps 12-13)
Are you chasing a dream?
Futaba, Ichigo, and Rin are chasing their dreams to be Seiyuu, and it’s been an amazing journey. Sore Ga Seiyuu! begins mainly by informing the viewer about how voice acting works and various parts of the industry. If that’s your interest field, it will immediately pull you in. As the story progresses though, the drama and reality overflows out and it becomes beautiful. Futaba is a character that is relatable for anyone struggling to pursue their passions, and her story is both convincing and high caliber.
If you’re interested in characters that actually develop, and interesting plot, and music: Sore Ga
Seiyuu! is for you. I think it’s truly rare to find an anime that focuses on realism to the same degree as this one, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have!
In short : A slice of life occuring in the world of seiyuu. To distinct from a show about voice acting. Read farther to understand.
Initial expectations :
A friend suggested this anime to me. Having seen a few episodes, she assumed it was informative about the voice acting job in Japan and as I was curious, I decided to watch it.
In a way, it is indeed informative, but in a very superficial way. Each new pieces of information are brushed over without taking time to actually elaborate and overall, it almost disappears after the first few episodes, only appearing from time to time. Which is
fine if your aim and expectation is the slice of life genre, but really lacking if your aim and expectation is actually to show you what the seiyuu job is really like.
Secondly, the show quickly focuses on the seiyuu-idol aspect of the job - in the same superficial manner - drifting even farther from my initial expectation.
In short, I find it important that people are aware of what they are getting into, so they don't hold the wrong expectations.
Story & Characters
If you are familiar with slice of life, you might have already noticed that most of them are light-hearted and struggle-light. Aside from the context, Sora ga Seiyuu is as classical and average as one can be. Which isn't a complain, actually, when I'm confronted to a genre I am aware of its average level, strong/weak points.
Same can be said about the characters, you know their stereotypes just by looking at them. Their development is equally superficial (aka doing their job and nothing more).
But then, those who already watched the show could come and say !!!SPOILERS!!! but look ! one of the heroine lost her job, has no gas or electricity anymore ! it's horrible ! and yes....in real life it is an awful situation, but it isn't portrayed as a big deal, not only do you have no idea if she ever gets gas and electricity back, or if she has new income (off-screen, you tell me and, yeah, it might be true, but not showing the resolution of a struggle or issue isn't really recommended if you want to put value into a resolution/struggle), but said heroine didn't seem to have such a different lifestyle ; basically, "whining" was the main difference. !!!END SPOILERS!!!
But there again, it doesn't bother me too much. A lot of slice of life want to be keep you in a good mood, to be the "every day life dream" with "issues not tarnishing the dream too much after all". So be it story or character I never expect it to fly high because it isn't their primal aim (let's praise the "slice of life" animes going against that trend though) The only aspect that does bother me is the risk for part of the audience to actually buy that "dreamy" version of voice acting. Voice acting is a hard and tough job where nice speeches and solving an issue in less than five minutes hardly occur (!!!SPOILERS!!! I don't know how to do different sounds... -break, talk with friends- Yeah, I'm closing my eyes and now I can figure how to do it right ! issue solved ladies and gentleman ! I wish life was that easy XD !!!END SPOILERS!!!), it takes you a LOT of dedication and constant "homework".
If there’s another thing worth mentioning, it’s the art. Just from the image on this page you can see the simplicity of the drawings. I’m not exactly against it, but the high inequality of the design – slow budget or not – bothers me. On one side, you have overly cute girls and women looking far younger (+ very few males), simple, but not sketchy, and on the other side you have the sketchy designs and the more realistic one. Those three types of design kind of tend to clash against each other. So I consider it a bad point.
The background is also rather simplistic as well ; the animation varies from bad to average (even if it has a slight improvement for the last key scene).
As a last add, if I had something to say about the opening, it’d be that it reflects the cheesiness of the show really well, but I skipped it past two episodes (I rarely watch them more than twice).
Recommendation & Enjoyment :
Overall, I’m not particularly fond of it, but it was somewhat distracting. So I’d say it was able to entertain me. I assume I could add that I enjoyed the pink haired girl the most and was expecting Hiroshi throughout the entire show (only shows up two times) just because I knew he’d be there and not because I’m particularly fond of him. You can consider this paragraph useless, but well.
All in all, if you enjoy the average slice of life you can go for it if you want. If you’re curious about some aspects of the voice acting but not enough to actually put your head into it (aka a show about voice acting) you can always check this out, as long as you keep in mind it is an idealistic portrait ; at least the first episodes will satisfy you on that level. Lastly, if you enjoy idols, you might find some interests in this show, even if it isn’t the main focus either.
Sore ga Seiyuu! has a somewhat catchy premise: voice acting. Just as with a show about mangakas, Sore ga Seiyuu! offers the audience an interesting perspective on something many of us may have an interest in: and that is what goes on behind the presentation of anime (or many aspects of Japanese media in general - this show has scenes on narration, radio shows, and TV programs too!).
With this kind of premise, there are two directions the show can take: 1) a lighthearted and idealistic approach in which the dreamy, fun-loving, and fantastical experience of a seiyuu is explored OR 2) a more gritty and
realistic approach in which the writers expose the stress-inducing cutthroat competition in an unstable and fickle industry reliant on talent and luck.
It may be surprising, but Sore ga Seiyuu! presents itself as the former, only to gravitate towards the latter. Unfortunately, it does not do this smoothly, or even effectively.
With a slice-of-life show, one should not expect too much development or "plot" going on. While there is a dynamic to Sore ga Seiyuu!, it is rather minor, albeit not subtle. The audience will witness Futaba improve alongside Ichigo, and will also learn more about Rin and her dilemma towards voice acting. The three of them form a unit, and they will certainly have their trials and tribulations together.
Each episode also has the possibility of Futaba meeting a voice actor she admires and has the opportunity to work with, while learning something during her experience, or simply following another character - like Futaba's manager, Konno, and seeing the work from another perspective. There is enough variance to keep anyone from becoming bored by watching the show...however.
However, as the show simply struggles to maintain a comedic, slice-of-lifey, and "forgiving" front, it forfeits any depth beyond what a few characters (unimportant side characters that exist almost soley to be the voice of reason, that is) have to say about their experience working and surviving in the industry. And that is....well, sad. Because this show could have accomplished so much more than providing an excess of secondhand embarrassment from witnessing our painfully average Futaba Ichinose struggle with practically everything thrown at her.
There is not enough comedy (in my opinion) to warrant watching episode after episode for the sake of pure amusement, but there is not enough tension or development to warrant watching episode after episode to satiate one's curiosity after a cliffhanger. But this is more often than not a byproduct of being a mild slice-of-life show, so I give it a 4/10. "Decent". It works.
Oh, this is where Sore ga Seiyuu! really fell short, unfortunately. I have mentioned previously that unimportant side characters may exist soley as the voice of reason, and it certainly does not help that these characters are not expanded upon. When someone says something important, or has the ability to say something important, knowing why or how they are able to do so is essential to having a more cohesive cast, no? (Yes, I am really pinpointing Shiodome's character.)
Then onto our protagonist, Futaba Ichinose. She is not a miracle worker, talented, special, or even mildly interesting. And that is okay - the entire point of this show is to depict how her determination, resolve, and willingness to work hard and improve drives her to ch-
Oh, except she does not change. At least, not to the extent most people would have the patience to perceive.
Futaba remains quite wishy-washy and uncertain of her own abilities throughout the entirety of the show. The flaw in her character is not in her mediocrity - the flaw is in her inability to assert any sort of reversal; of self-actualization. Thus, she becomes a somewhat frustrating person to sympathize with, although she was clearly designed that way.
As a result, Futaba is also completely outshined by her colleagues. Even if it is not by raw ability, their personalities, traits, and experiences are all far more interesting. Ichigo, for example, may not have the same voice acting ability as Rin, but her flamboyant Strawberry Princess of Strawberry Planet persona is at least somewhat entertaining (there is a lot more to Ichigo than I am letting on). Rin was not self-motivated to become a seiyuu as everyone else, but by listening to the motives of others while examining her past and present situation, finds her own reasons to keep going.
Futaba...well...Futaba does not have much. And I suppose we can all continue to expect the bare minimum of merely existing for our protagonists, but I think it was overall detrimental to the show.
The art is alright - it does not come off as outstanding or noticeably awful. The "faces" for some characters seem rather generic - similar features are used between Rie Kugimiya and Ryoko Shiraishi and ThatOneTaxiDriver and ThatOneOfficeWorker (although, I suppose this could not be helped *because* these voice actors are actually based on the guest starring voice actors for that particular episode). The animation was also not as consistently fluid or detailed, and that can definitely be observed during the episode with Earphone's first concert.
The sound is also not particularly of note in either positive or negative light - and that could mean something considering the theme of voice acting. Personally, it did not occur to me that voice acting would somehow translate to a different take in this anime: I mean...the voice actors are still voice acting...voice acting. You get me?
The opening and ending songs were...catchy, though. I guess.
*Obligatory disclaimer that I am not at all difficult to entertain and that I generally enjoy shows more than I enjoy criticizing them.*
I was able to finish this anime in practically one sitting, so I did enjoy it enough to keep watching episode after episode. Some lines made me chuckle a bit (I mean... who does not want to grow up to become a cucumber), but it was ultimately not a show I would consider a comedy. The emphasis is moreso on, quite simply, the daily life of an aspiring voice actor with some serious moments thrown in, some touchy moments thrown in, and plenty of nervous laughter thrown in for good measure.
Overall: 4/10. Decent. Okay. Meh.
Not very memorable, but not something I would altogether dismiss either. I would recommend this to anyone curious about voice acting *because* Korori (Futaba's stuffed animal) provides some narrative insight on aspects of the industry throughout the show, and hell, why not?
However, for those who are interested in voice acting in a more realistic context, or is expecting impressive and/or exaggerated character development this is certainly not something to reference.
I didn't have high hopes for this anime at first. Like so many other slice of life anime, I assumed it'd be dull and uninteresting. I'm happy to say that I was wrong though.
I really enjoyed learning about the ins and outs of being a seiyuu. The characters were relatable, and I appreciate the fact that the trials and troubles of the characters were realistic.
The art is nothing to write home about, although I appreciate the wide variety of character designs. The music was alright and fit the overall feeling of the show, but I wasn't too impressed with that either.
If you enjoy educational
anime, I'd definitely recommend trying this one. It's informative while still being entertaining and cute.
What better way to show how the anime industry works than through anime? Shows about the anime and video game industries are gaining popularity, and feature everything from voice acting to hentai game creation. Hold onto your hats, things are about to get meta over here.
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