As with all interests, there has to be a starting point, and Rurouni Kenshin is the starting point in my anime-watching run. This ever-amazing series sparked my interest in anime. However, as the word reads, it was simply a spark – that interest did not go beyond the occasional series every other year or so. As the years progressed, anime was simply something that I was aware of but never really immersed myself in.
This changed drastically a year ago. Having started learning Japanese, it seemed perfectly reasonable to watch Japanese shows to supplement my learning (this remains my
excuse reason for watching anime to the extent that I do). Among the strong lineup of the 2012 autumn season, K was one of the season’s ‘to watch’– with its beautiful graphics and stellar cast (seriously, almost almost everyone who’s anyone was in it). Ono Daisuke’s beautiful voice in that had me hook, line and sinker. It was because of this that I started noticing the voices. I guess you could say that this was yet another start for me. In music speak, the 2012 autumn season is like the start of the 2nd movement of my anime-watching sonata of sorts.
From then on, I would watch a series simply because the cast includes a seiyuu whom I fancy. Hearing Ono Daisuke in K brought me to Kuroshitsuji (he did win best seiyuu award for his role as Sebastian after all). While his butler voice was most compelling, I was more captivated by Yusa Kouji’s performance as Lau – his voice is, in my honest opinion, an intoxicating mix of dangerous, irresistible, sexy and whimsical fun. Now, I could go on about my love for his voice, but I’ll save that for another time. So as I was saying (or rather, typing), the eternal circle – of one seiyuu brought me to one series, which led to more seiyuus and more series.. – came about.
Any one anime has several essential aspects – design, graphics, music, plot, etc. (I pause briefly on my seiyuu rant to comment on that last comment – I give, I am a huge music junkie and have on several occasions watched/continued with a series, regardless of how unappealing the story was, because I loved the OST). However, I believe that the voice acting is what brings an anime to life. Seiyuus evoke so much more emotions to the otherwise limited expressions that animation can put forth and I think that seiyuus make the anime experience all the more real and enjoyable. In fact, I often re-watch certain episodes JUST to listen to the voice acting all over again. In Natsume Yuujinchou, Hiroshi Kamiya’s performance as Natsume, with that bittersweet edge in his voice as he delivered the lines in the final episodes had me close to tears; in Level E, Namikawa Daisuke’s performance as the Baka Ouji (I mention this with close reference to the puppet scene) had me in stitches; in Shingeki, Kaji Yuuki’s performance as vengeance-driven Eren, had me on the very edge of my seat.
Looking back, I dare say that even before the 2nd movement of my self-proclaimed sonata, I did pay a little attention to the voice acting. I remember watching Prince of Tennis and being fascinated with the way Kaida Yuki and Minagawa Junko altered their voices to play male characters (Fuji & Echizen respectively). Yes, I am definitely intrigued by the versatility of these seiyuus. How Fukuyama Jun managed to play badass rebel leader Lelouch in Code Geass and pull off a very convincing ‘female’ voice as Mariandale in Ixion Saga never ceases to amaze me; Hanazawa Kana’s transformation from clean-cut inspector Tsunemori in Psycho Pass to the snarky yet loveable Aika in Zetsuen no Tempest to the carefree but rather whiny Aoi in Coppelion is beyond impressive. With these seiyuus, anime is anime & oh so much more.
Having started watching anime proper just last autumn, this past year was a full-on game of catch up. With each episode that I complete, I find myself drawn deeper into the anime world. Anime has certainly had a big impact on my interest in all things Japanese. It has definitely helped with my Japanese learning, especially in the listening department – picking up phrases along the way, distinguishing different accents, etc. Being relatively, though simultaneously not exactly, new to the anime world, I am open to watching pretty much all kinds of anime – if it has a good seiyuu in it, why not?
これから、こえから (^_−)−☆ Here’s to fun times with my fellow writers~