The deal is what is being represented by the picture above; these four voice actresses, each well known for their roles in anime, have formed an idol unit. They are not the first to do so and they will not be the last.
So I had set myself a criteria for writing this part a long time ago which was to not start writing until I have finished watching Sore ga Seiyuu! at least three times.
You’ll see why, soon.
Hopefully by now everybody has an idea that a seiyuu is really being treated as an idol; they work hard and play hard at the same time. Surely you are not going to believe that what VA’s do at work is visually a part time job!
Anime has always been the most frequent medium for VA’s to showcase their talent. And there’s no denying that a drastically increasing number of musical art pieces are being done by them than what we traditionally called singers.
Just like how a lot of us would long for a music video, you wouldn’t think that the same idea applies to anime?
Perhaps, the seiyuu while we are on the topic?
Here’s an idea; how about both?
Before we get there…
I’d like to give credits to P.A. Works where it’s due. They really have outdone themselves, engraved their names into the (nonexistent) anime hall of fame with their Shirobako.
It is basically the superior jack of all trades in the educational slice of life genre; a lot of everything (including that dance), perfect at none.
What does that even have to do with seiyuu and music?
Well hell, I hope you haven’t forget that anime is a very important medium! Shirobako literally opened a new path for anime industry to load us with many more new names carrying similar genre; a somewhat educational slice of life.
And damn was I satisfied.
Came the stuff some of us were exactly waiting for!
It did not take long at all for someone else to follow Shirobako’s footsteps. While the anime itself covers pretty much every positive thing anime fans need to know about anime production, came a series that explored this very topic; songs by seiyuu.
Again came the moe army because K-On! clearly has left a huge footprint somewhere…
Playing by the rules, snowballing them moe style
As I stated on a previous post, seiyuu will go on about doing almost everything a pop idol would and this anime covers up the positives of it. Here are some examples:
1. Hosting radio show(s)
2. Screw around in an idol like event
3. Actually doing their job!
Get to the damn point already!
It is the fact that the voice actresses for the main characters have formed an idol unit, preserving the ongoing trend. This is not to be confused with image bands/groups that only do openings/endings/insert songs for specific anime and never be seen again. This is pretty much what sets Sore ga Seiyuu! apart from Shirobako despite climbing the same tree.
Sore ga Seiyuu!‘s unit, Earphones, kept on going for quite a while after the anime airtime ended.
Shirobako‘s unit, Doughnut◎Quintet, pretty much only released the ending song single and that was… really it.
Oh and by the way, the very first paragraph of this post is being referred to the idol unit Sphere.
Now let me go on about Earphones a little more because thankfully, it took so long for seiyuu to have come this far in anime industry. We are basically at a point where voice actresses feel comfortable enough to sign a contract and appear in person when doing jobs related to voicing for anime. Some of you will probably go ‘wtf’ after watching this and trust me, so did I on my first watch. This is Japan after all, right?
I present you the full opening to Sore ga Seiyuu! with the voice actresses!
Just a little fan trivia: the one in yellow is Takahashi Rie, the voices behind Emilia of Re:Zero and the more recent…
Megumin in flesh! ❤
Too much moe for you? Then worry less! (You still have to worry though)
Only a year later another take on educational(?) slice of life with seiyuu being the focus happened and we got ourselves a cynical sister to Sore ga Seiyuu! that is Gi(a)rlish Number. Unlike both Shirobako and Sore ga Seiyuu!, this piece of art explored the seiyuu career in a new way; a way some of us critics love to jump the gun and call it reality. Trust me it is not.
Girlish Number did give us a funny idea of how seiyuu felt less ambitious voicing for anime that are adapted from light novels, therefore low key spat on light novels as a source material despite the anime originally being sourced from a light novel.
Two fictional units were formed upon the making of this anime, Girlish Number the main casts unit (out of ideas, really?) and Kohaluna the two character unit.
Idols need their work to be seen
Remember the old times when some of you dared to upload anime openings or endings onto YouTube? Even with the purest of good intentions, you’d almost certainly got yourself copyright strikes because the anime industry in Japan really thought that anime music were not so important back then. However, now it is different. Anime openings and endings are being done by seiyuu; they are being done by idols. The worst thing any producer could do to an idol’s work is to not let it gain exposure.
Lantis has been upping its game for a long time now, TBS likewise. I’m looking at you now Pony Canyon.
So here are the works by Girlish Number:
The Actual Opening
Let’s not forget the ‘beach episode’ insert song
Unlike Sore ga Seiyuu!, the girls didn’t show up often but here is a look at the cast anyway!
Could you imagine if both Sore ga Seiyuu! and Gi(a)rlish Number did not have seiyuu doing the openings and endings?
That would have been hilariously disgraceful for anime about voice acting, especially when the theme in question is seiyuu as idols.
Huh? The deal is not over!
Seiyuu became popular, nice.
Idol units formed, nice.
Though it is easy to forget but we really do live in an era where everything is being regarded as intellectual properties, even your 5-10 seconds meme is too! What does this even mean?
Well technically it means that for every new unit formed, a name gets taken first come first serve basis. Why do you think Love Live!‘s unit is literally written as µ’s instead of Muse? (µ’s is literally pronounced ‘muse‘ by the way)
One word that causes all the ruckus; Copyright.
The whole thing is usually being joked about even in anime. Gintama seemed to have shown us those, countless times via fourth wall breakages.
Anime studios really do struggle to win over desired names for whatever projects they work on. The process is visually no different to reserving a name for your character in any online games. So if you happen to come across some witty names that make you giggle or downright laughing out loud, just do yourself and the studio a favor by supporting them in whatever way you can.
The good things that will carry on
Having seiyuu to sing an opening/ending for anime increases efficiency in anime producing for studios as they don’t have to go look around for a famous anisong artist. Then there are lyricists, music composers, etc.
In other words, it takes a lot of effort to make a fitting music for any given anime.
Sure, there are some artists who can do all of those in one but that will come at a cost as nobody works hard for little.
Another good thing I can think of on top of my head would be about how just by listening to the opening song (or in some cases the ending), you basically learned a little about each of the main characters, especially their personality. I’d be lying if I tell you that it wasn’t intended by the anime/music producer.
Now I’m not going to type in a lot of nonsense without backing it up, so here:
The most recent anime that has got me thinking about this very idea; Gabriel Dropout.
Try listen to the opening and have a guess on what each characters’ traits are.
Got it? If you think you do then you can try watch the actual anime opening and see for yourself ^_^
Well it has indeed been a long ride, especially for I who has been procrastinating for nearly a month. Good thing I did not make any promises on schedules, haha!
I hope the 4 parts of this journey have at least answered some of your wonders!
Until then, see you next time on a different topic! ^_^