one second refrain

In my many years of running this blog, I have never ever had a post request. In a span of 24 hours? I’ve received two. One‘s outside the scope of this blog but I may write something down the road… the other? Well, let’s just say Mika Kikuchi is very relevant to my interests. Maybe it’s because of my sleep inertia, but I can’t remember any seiyuu hawtter than her.

Though, in my previous post about Shana 17, I did say that there isn’t exactly a plethora of bikini-model seiyuu around (the reasoning, of course, if someone was both hawt and had a good voice, she’d be a singing idol). It’s one thing to be cute; it’s another to be pure hawtness. There is one exception that I can think of, and she sings the song, One Second Refrain, the first ED to Getbackers. Otoha, a fairly well-known gravure idol, played Mizuki Natsumi, the annoying girl who served really no purose. She was so terrible that by episode ten or so they were giving her minimal lines in the script, and she never got a role in another anime series ever again. Here’s her… body of work:


Is seiyuu-actual-hawtness important for an anime? No. One just doesn’t normally see them, so why would it be important? I mean, would you go out and buy Getbackers DVDs just because of these pictures? (If you do, ADV owes me some kickbacks…)

Is seiyuu-voice-hawtness important for an anime? Tremendously. Good voice work can sink or swim a character. It’s just no fun to watch anime where there’s a character that just makes you want to claw your ears out everytime you hear them. Good voice work can add a huge dynamic to a character, such as Rie Tanaka’s awesome job with Suigintou or Ishida Akira for Nagi. He did such a good job with Nagi… I had no clue he also was the seiyuu for Athrun (yet another GSD/Otome link!). Do you really want someone like Otoha for Suigintou or Iwata Mitsuo (Gan-chan… or more recently, Shikijo-sensei’s book) voicing Nagi? It just won’t have the same effect. Good voice work is sometimes more interesting than the show itself. I’m guilty of it (okay, that’s not exactly voice work). So are these guys.

For me, there’s three key things to make a seiyuu great in a role.

  1. She or he must sing an OP/ED. No question about it. That’s what made Ichigo Complete and Pani Poni Dash‘s songs so much fun. I still think Rie Tanaka’s finest work is either Chii or Mariel because of this, though Suigintou-fanboys will probably be measuring the gallows for me about now. And I still can’t believe Inoue Kikuko didn’t get to sing one frickin’ OP/ED for Belldandy TV.
  2. She or he can’t remind me of a previous character. This is one of Rie Tanaka’s strong points as there’s no Mariel in her Suigintou. Kawasumi-san is hit-or-miss… she’s great as Yoshida, but she reverts back to Mahoro for Saber. Iwata Mitsuo will always be Gan-chan to me.
  3. She or he has to make you think, “Wow, no one else can pull this off.” Megumi Hayashibara as Faye, for example. Do I want Noto Mamiko even attempting a non-loli role like Faye, probably not. Would Horie Yui have been better as Faye? Highly doubtful. Chiwa Saito? Only if Faye suddenly grew nekomimi.

Is there a link between seiyuu-actual-hawtness and seiyuu-voice-hawtness? Is there a hawt and competent seiyuu beyond Mika-san? There’s your answer. Though, if people have high-rez bikini-model pictures of seiyuu, I’m willing to reconsider these arguments with an objective eye.

11 Responses to “one second refrain”

  1. Wow, an actual Japanese women with curves! I don’t feel so bad anymore for actually having hips now (though it’s what comes with being Mexican anyway). She’s definitely hawt. I’m glad to see a Japanese woman that doesn’t capitalize on a stick-like body.

    I’d have to say my favorite female seiyuu is quite possibly Mamiko Noto. Her voice for Toujo in Ichigo 100% really won me over for some reason. Though I really like Naomi Shindoh’s performance as Shizuru from Mai Hime/Otome. I guess I’m weird.

    Male voices? I have tons I like. Masakazu Morita as Ichigo from Bleach, Takashi Kondo as hot Train! But I don’t know if I have a single male voice actor I like the best for different roles.

  2. I agree that there is no correlation between looks and talent. I have met a few spec ops guys and most notably one guy was barely 5 feet tall and wasn’t ripped. However this 5′ master sergeant was in the Green Berets and his skills have not dulled since his retirement, trust me on this. I am convinced that some people are just born lucky and that Mendel’s Laws work in very strange ways.

    I can recognize certain voices, but alas my good hearing has been compromised by playing the cymbals and operating weapons without hearing protection. Thus, I cannot readily distinguish average voice acting form excellent voice acting, however I can distinguish annoying.

    I have no photos to contribute, and given that looks and voice have no correlation there are things that one is better off being ignorant about.

  3. Oh, right, and about real hawtness vs. voice hawtness. I don’t see a correlation either. For a lot of the voices I find “hawt” (such as the male voices I listed), the actors are actually old and not very attractive. And I know plenty of normal non-seiyuu people with great bodies and really annoying voices.

  4. “It’s just no fun to watch anime where there’s a character that just makes you want to claw your ears out everytime you hear them.”
    Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

  5. “Do I want Noto Mamiko even attempting a non-loli role like Faye”

    That’s really harsh!! Some of the roles that Mamiko did include:

    1) Hasegawa Megumi in “Yomigaeru Sora – RESCUE WINGS –“

    2) Wakana Sanri in “Starship Operators”

    3) Tsukamoto Yakumo in “School Rumble”

    4) Nina Fortner in “Monster”

    5) Asahina Kyouko in “Kita he –Diamond Dust Drops-”

    All these roles are non loli roles (numbers 1, 4 and 5 are mature while 2 and 3 are of high school age) and she did an excellent job in all of them. I can’t even imagine these characters being voiced by someone else.

  6. Noto Mamiko is the Kenyon Martin to Megumi Hayashibara’s Kevin Garnett. Unquestionably useful; definitely valuable; but if you’re building a team around Kenyon instead of Kevin, I want you in my NBA roto league.

    Hayashibara-san would never, ever mail in a role as badly as, “Shinde… itte miru?”

  7. I love Yukino Satsuki, but damn if she isn’t a terrible singer.

    I still think she’s frickin’ AWESOME, even though she doesn’t fulfill your criteria.

  8. Yeah, awesome seiyuu alone sometimes change whole show from boring to good. I have watched all ah my goddess related series just because of Inoue Kikuko and Hisakawa Aya, show itself isn’t so good.

    Saito Chiwa is also one of my favourite.

  9. I watched Loveless, solely for Noto-sama’s minor role in it.

  10. I put in my votes for Tanaka Rie, and Kikuko Inoue, for very different reasons.

    Tanaka Rie’s pretty versatile – you’d be hard pressed to tell it’s her in various anime, since her roles sound so different, compared to some seiyuu I could name. Going from Chi’s ‘Chiiiiii?’ in Chobits to Yomi’s earthier voice in Azumanga Daioh, to Lacus in SEED/SEED Destiny, you’d be hard-pressed to tell she’s the same person, since she gets so bloody into the role, and has a great range. Yes, she’s attractive, although she’s not as… overtly stunning as some seiyuu.

    Kikuko Inoue, on the other hand, you can recognize pretty easily, no matter what role she plays – Belldandy from AMG sounds a lot like Hibaya-kanrinrin from Chobits or Mizuho Kazumi from Onegai Teacher… or, for that matter, Caridad Yamato from SEED. She always sounds similar, to the point where it sounds like the same character is in the anime, no matter what they have her saying. HOWEVER, she sounds good doing it, and injects enough emotion that one listens.. and keeps me listening, even if she sounds just like she did in most of the roles I know her from. At least for me, it seems to conjure a sense of protectiveness, if only because she sounds so gentle and kind in each role… something which the writers or casting director keep in mind when they bring her into a project.

    I can’t say that there’s a link between physical attractiveness and talent, but those who have both seem to gather the most fanatics about them.

  11. thought I’d throw in another GSD/Otome link: Shindou Naomi voiced both Cagalli & Shizuru.

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