One of my Twitter buddies, @AnimeBecky, who never fails to flood my timeline with Kamiya Hiroshi (神谷浩史) photos and tweets, recommended that I watch the anime Sore ga Seiyuu! (それが声優! / Seiyu’s Life!). I heard about this anime before, but I never had any interest in watching it until she informed me that Kamiya Hiroshi is playing himself in it. A huge DGS fan that I am, I ignored my to-watch list and immediately watched Sore ga Seiyuu!
First episode. I wasn’t impressed. The kawaii-moe-chibi-ish art style isn’t my taste at all. Then I heard a familiar voice. Oh my gosh! Was that Son Goku’s voice? The character of Nozawa Masako (野沢 雅子) in this anime looks exactly like her. After her appearance, I became more enthusiastic in watching the whole series. I realized that there will be a veteran seiyuu guest in every episode.
Episode 2. Kamiya Hiroshi! Not only him. The series also based the talent agency in the anime, Aozora Production, from Kamiya’s real agency Aoni Production. I’m a little disappointed because Kamiya’s character design didn’t look much like him unlike Goku’s seiyuu, Nozawa Masako’s character who looked exactly like her in real life. But I was in fan girl heaven when Kamiya’s character went to doting cat daddy mode, showing photos of his super adorable cat on his phone to one of the anime’s main character, Futaba. Kawaii!!!
Like I said, they have a veteran seiyuu guest in each episode. Here is the full list:
Ep. 1: Nozawa Masako (野沢 雅子) – Son Goku (Dragon Ball)
Ep. 2: Kamiya Hiroshi (神谷 浩史) – Itoshiki Nozomu (Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei)
Ep. 3: Tamura Yukari (田村 ゆかり) – Takamachi Nanoha (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha)
Ep. 4: Ginga Banjo (銀河 万丈) – Gihren Zabi (Mobile Suit Gundam)
Ep. 5: Horie Yui (堀江 由衣) – Honda Tohru (Fruits Basket)
Ep. 6: Kugimiya Rie (釘宮 理恵) – Shana (Shakugan no Shana)
Ep. 7: Koyama Rikiya (小山 力也) – Takamura Mamoru (Hajime no Ippo)
Ep. 8: Machi Yuuji (真地 勇志) – a popular TV show Narrator
Ep. 9: Hidaka Noriko (日高 のり子) – Kikyou (InuYasha)
Ep. 10: Kamiya Hiroshi (神谷 浩史)
Ep. 11: Shiraishi Ryouko (白石 涼子) – Ayasaki Hayate (Hayate the Combat Butler)
Ep. 12: Horie Yui (堀江 由衣)
Ep. 13: Asano Masumi (浅野 真澄) – seiyuu who wrote the doujin manga series of Sore ga Seiyuu!
It’s also interesting that the voice actresses of the 3 main protagonists formed an actual seiyuu unit, Earphones, based on the unit their characters formed in the anime. Excuse me but I think “Earphones” as a group name sounds lame.
Sore ga Seiyuu! portrays the struggles of breaking into the seiyuu industry. As a fan translator of the Japanese radio show Dear Girl ~Stories~ hosted by two seiyuu, Kamiya Hiroshi (神谷浩史) and Ono Daisuke (小野大輔), I frequently hear them talking about their work as seiyuu.
Kamiya and Ono often talk about how working as a seiyuu is fundamentally a job that only requires your voice and not your face. But with the dawn of idol seiyuu, just your voice isn’t enough anymore to become a successful seiyuu. This anime tackles this reality.
Although the kawaii-moe-chibi-ish art style shouts “This is anime!”, it doesn’t distract much from the realistic portrayals of the struggles of working as a seiyuu.
When seiyuu wannabes are as many as the stars in the sky, you have to possess more than just a unique voice to break into such a competitive field as the seiyuu industry. But debuting as a professional seiyuu is not the measure of success; it’s just the beginning. Trying to have a lasting, life-long career as a seiyuu is described in the anime as more difficult than becoming a popular one.
Short But Inspiring
Sore ga Seiyuu! is NOT the most impressive anime that I’ve ever watched. It didn’t touch me as deeply unlike my favourite anime masterpieces. But in just 13 episodes, it inspired and motivated me to keep on following my dreams no matter what and accept all consequences, including the painful hardships.
What inspired me the most is Futaba’s reason for wanting to become a seiyuu. I paraphrase Futaba:
I want to become a seiyuu because I can’t find a job. I’m not belittling the seiyuu career. What I mean is that all jobs today are competitive and difficult to get into, so I thought that if all jobs are like these, then I might as well pursue the job that is the hardest to break into. That is being a seiyuu.
No Shortcuts When It Comes To Your Dreams
There are no shortcuts to reaching your dreams, especially if what you want is difficult to get. Just as you’ll never win the lotto if you never buy a ticket, you’ll never reach your dreams if you don’t start chasing it.
Rating: 😀 😀 😀 🙂 (3 & 1/2 out of 5 grins)
Overall, Sore ga Seiyuu! is a charming anime that illuminates some of the most common hardships seiyuu face when trying to make their mark in this tough industry. The kawaii-moe-chibi-ish art style makes the seriousness of the story a bit ridiculous, but you get used to it as you watch more episodes. At least I did. It’s not a masterpiece, so don’t expect too much. However, it leaves quite a strong impression especially if you’re interested in the voice acting industry. And maybe, just maybe, it will plant a seed in you to chase after your dreams.
Uploaded by: TVアニメ 「それが声優！」
Asano Masumi Official Website (Japanese)
Ginga Banjo Official Profile at Aoni (Japanese)
Hidaka Noriko Official Profile at Combination (Japanese)
Horie Yui Official Blog (Japanese)
Kamiya Hiroshi Official Profile at Aoni (Japanese)
Koyama Rikiya Official Blog (Japanese)
Kugimiya Rie Official Blog (Japanese)
Shiraishi Ryouko Official Profile at Aoni (Japanese)
Tamura Yukari Official Website (Japanese)
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Sore ga Seiyuu! by Earphones CD
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