Tag Archives: seiyuu

Seiyuu Spotlight #2 – Tanaka Rie

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声優 • スポットライト 第二語: 田中理恵

With no further ado, I am pleased to bring you the next part of our ongoing series covering the voices behind the characters, Seiyuu Spotlight #2. This installment of Seiyuu Spotlight features Tanaka Rie. An exhaustive list of her credited roles to date is easy enough to find and I won’t attempt to reproduce it here but chances are you’ve heard her voice before.

With her extensive and considerably diverse range of roles over the course of her career, Rie-chan has earned veteran status; and while she doesn’t have a single, specific niche her voice easily lends itself to playing elegant, refined oujou-sama/onee-sama/mentors and confident, professional women types. That’s not to say that she is in any way limited in the types of roles she can play. To wit, it was Rie-chan who in 2002 gave voice to a certain fair-haired persocom that to this day remains an ubiquitous cosplay favorite at anime conventions everywhere under the sun; a slightly neurotic but nonetheless good-natured high-school teacher forever lamenting her Christmas Cake status in 2008; and from 2007 on, everyone’s favorite fresh, 17-year-old housemaid. Rounding out her repertoire, Rie-chan has also played a number of memorable villains.

The lovely Tanaka Rie. Elegant, no?

In most such cases she’s charmingly malevolent or seductively dangerous, as with Suigintou in Rozen Maiden. However, in certain roles she can be downright terrifying. Case in point: Liang Qi, pathologically sadistic right-hand woman of the primary antagonist in the critically-acclaimed Canaan.

A few words about this character and, more to the point, Rie-chan’s acting ability. You either love Liang Qi or hate her; if I had to pick a side I’d go with the former, if nothing else for Rie-chan’s brilliant, visceral performance. Ruthless, vindictive and psychologically unstable, Liang Qi thinks nothing of wanton, indiscriminate killing and in fact, slaughters innocents with glee. She’s a complete slave to her onee-sama complex and her dependency on Alphard is pretty much the only thing tethering her to any concept of reality. When Alphard tosses her aside, the last trappings of stability give way and she loses it.

She’s such a striking character, consumed by her insecurities  —a completely, utterly desperate woman in every way. Desperate for the one person in the world from whom she seeks acknowledgement to return her twisted love, and at the same time so desperate to destroy the one thing that, in her mind, keeps her from being fulfilled with her precious onee-sama: the thorn in her side and her unconquerable enemy, the “white-haired devil” Canaan. Given the severity and nature of her violent failed yuri tendencies, it was all but inevitable that she follow a path of self-destruction. Liang Qi herself is a byword against obsessive love and obsessive hatred both burning within so many frayed, intertwining strands of a dark, fractured psyche. In short, she’s just such a fascinating, complex character and Rie-chan brings her to life quite masterfully.

On a lighter note, it’s far more common for Rie-chan to voice heroines that, happily, are neither insane nor homicidal in the least. Although Rie-chan does not enjoy superidol status in regards to her singing ability, she has enjoyed success with music in connection with certain roles. Her performance as Lacus Clyne, songstress/political figure and one of the major female protagonists from a title within a certain mecha franchise remains one of her most celebrated roles to this day; her insert songs for the series garnered her significant popular and critical acclaim, giving rise to a fervent cult following.

She is without doubt one of my enduring favorites. The anime world is great in part because we have Tanaka Rie and in the future, with any luck we will have kittens, curry and RPGs named for this illustrious seiyuu. Cheers.

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Seiyuu Spotlight #1 – Nana Mizuki

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声優 • スポットリト 第一語: 水樹奈々

Behind every human and non-human voice lies a real life individual.  In anime, we call them seiyuu.  With the burgeoning of the anime industry some of these seiyuu have garnered fandom of epic proportions.

Today, I would like to feature one of these seiyuu in our first Seiyuu Spotlight.  Like any seiyuu, Nana Mizuki is talented.  Just how talented, I am about to explain.

From the music video of Blood-C's ending piece

If you have been reading this blog, you are, by now, familiar with the anime Blood-C.  Nana Mizuki is the voice behind Saya, the lead character of Blood-C as well as the singing voice behind the show’s ending theme.

Throughout her ongoing seiyuu career, she has had some rather interesting roles spanning from voicing extras, lead and secondary roles in some major hits, and even as a panty-flashing schizophrenic vampire.

In addition, oddly enough, she almost became the only seiyuu to portray two different characters in two different anime that almost share the same first and last names, as Rin Ogata in Rideback and Rina Ogata in White Album.  Of course, such coincidences are mere amusements and with enough voice credits on your back, it is typical to have played many characters with the same names.  (Her current role as Saya in Blood-C would make it the second time she has voiced an unrelated character named Saya)  Another oddity is having been credited in voicing a Nana Suzuki but then too is not as rare as one thinks.

But what really sets apart Nana Mizuki as a seiyuu is that she is incredibly talented as a singer.  The new trend since the late 80s is the participation of the voice actors and actresses in singing the themes of their shows.  So, it is almost a faux pas not to be able to carry yourself in a tune, but Nana Mizuki set the bar much higher.

Currently, she is the highest selling, according Oricon, (a more native version of the the Billboard charts for Japan) of all the voice actors.  As an enka-trained professional, when it comes to letting her vocal cords roar, she really lets it rumble.  She not only possesses vocal strength but she is also able to maintain accuracy and consistency in her live performances.

What is probably even more admirable in her case is that she has yet to leave the voice acting realm but has rather embraced it into her fame, unlike some other highly famed voice actress not to be named here.

As a bonus to her fans and those who prefer a more interesting computing environment, Nana was chosen as the official voice actor for the Microsoft Windows 7 distribution in Japan with special editions that featured a fictional Windows anthropomoprh Nana Madobe featuring Nana Mizuki’s voice as a Windows Theme.

Whether she’s voicing a ballerina turned mecha-fighter (Rideback) or a former idol turned producer who seduces a mentee’s boyfriend (White Album) or a schizeophrenic vampire flashing her panties every other second (Rosario + Vmapire) or a lullaby humming ditzy ankle length hair vampire slayer (Blood-C,) Nana Mizuki is and always will be a superb seiyuu and an outstanding singer.

Listen to her singing voice here:

The more live version of Blood-C’s ending piece.  She is, by far, one of the best live performers as well.