This post is actually not about the radio show with almost the same name, Asumi-san@ganbaranai, which is the companion radio show to Sasami-san@ganbaranai. This is more about, well, Kana Asumi and my musing on why she’s in so many shows I watch this season, and in general for the past few years.
In a nutshell, I think she embodies the basic idea of seiyuu’s rise to popularity: just voice as many main characters as possible. When I go see seiyuu (and for that matter, also English-language VAs) at cons, their popularity often correlates with simply how many major roles they’ve taken on. Sure, things are not so simple once you start digging, but things do very generally boil down to simply this fact. It’s also not unusual to hear a lot of newer VAs reflect on their future in such a way when they part ways at a con. I think Kitamura Eri especially impressed me in this way when I saw her back at AX–she was just starting to get some bigger opportunities at the time. (You can kind of see why she would say this.) If you want a lot of fans flock to you at a con, just work on more shows and more popular shows. It’s especially true overseas–since it’s usually just the anime that get exported, not the sei-wota culture, the web/radio shows or stage events.
What’s special about Asumin? Wikipedia can be helpful here. Well, it’s not so special to like apple pies or have an older sister, but that’s the thing they say. It might help to know her nicknames. It seems that after graduating from some Tokyo-area college, she eventually signed up with 81produce, after previously dabbling in various things like singing or what have you. And if Wiki can be trusted, you can infer, well, good luck finding a job in Tokyo with a nursery school teaching license after graduation. Why not be a seiyuu?
Since her bursting on to the scene around 2007-8, she’s doing more and more voices, and many of them lead roles. In my mind there’s a particular brand of nasal that Asumin currently owns in her space. By her current level of success I can assume that most of us find that brand of nasal kind of cute. Moe, if you will. But what is truly remarkable about that sound is that she can actually subtract it and turn it on and off, like a gradient. Being versatile in that gives a voice actor the flexibility not only to do a memorable role, but also blend in and snatch up multiple minor roles within a single show (read: easier to land more jobs).
It’s probably safe to say that Asumi has been voicing certain types of roles–moe protagonists, namely. She’s done little sisters, raging emo teen, magical critter, quiet shy girl, quieter shy girl, overenergetic teen plot generators, and of course, the childhood friend. There’s also more of a branching out as of late: the womanly, little sister/obasan, little sister/grump, maid grump, and genderless shounen battle manga participant. I don’t know where she will go but there sure are a lot of Asumiss characters out there already. I guess the main thing that’s left for her is voicing some Jump or Jump-like protagonist (say, like Kyari in Magi).
I think the other notable thing about Asumi is how she had to take a break from doing all this stuff a couple years ago, in relationship with her old idol unit from 81produce. When she announced the break in 2011, it end of the road for LISP, which also dissolved in the same year. In 2011 she was doing a lot of roles already, though, so there’s probably some kind of back story there.
Anyways, I didn’t intend to do an Asumi overview but it kind of turned into one. I hope you’re enjoying her various roles this season like I am!