Category Archives: Seiyuu, Idol, Pop

Still Thinking about Hellshake Kanno

My first Japan eventing trip was when I flew to Japan in 2009 and attended the Super-Dimensional Supersonic Tanabata concert, taking place around 7pm on July 7th, also a Tuesday.

Unlike that show, today’s online tribute is a 77-long video which I didn’t get to watch due to not buying a ticket early and having it sell out on me. I also woke up a bit late so I would have had missed the first part of the event, which is the set up.

Here’s the microsite for 2020’s Tanabata online event. Oversea viewers can still watch the last timeshift, which starts at 10pm Eastern time.

The traces for the 2009 show was removed deliberately after it was over. All the promo went down. It was meant to be a thing that had a short shelf life. Maybe that’s just how art works with Kanno. Maybe that will happen for the 2020 version?

In a lot of ways, the 2009 Tanabata event is literally that once-in-a-lifetime event that you may never forget, as fans of the composer and producer, and her output generally. It was art AF. So art that my post about it got eaten by the void when my site went down and lost about 1.5 years worth of posts back last decade. Just stubs left.

The experience of that show carved its shape into my psyche and I still remember rolling out of SSA with Wah and AlexD like it was some wild and crazy thing, even if at the end it was just Kanno marching around the stage with the musicians tooting a rubber duck.

I woke up at like 6am today Eastern time trying to watch the Japan stream. I ended up staying up watched the 9am Asian stream. Man, that stood with me. Without spoilering, I wish I watched the Europe timeshift too. I will catch the Americas one, so maybe I’ll write more about it then.

It seems that the Asian TS is shorter and doesn’t include additional stuff in the Japanese one, which is also 1000 yen more expensive. Oh well.

I’ve been thinking about this show for over 10 years, and it took the Coronavirus being a global pandemic to bring it back. I think that’s two once-in-a-lifetime events happening at the same time. Please take advantage of this online delivery and watch something really, really special.

Hase Yurina/Ochiai Yurika, June 15, 2020

I have a con to put together and thus not much time, but it helps to put all the relevant things together in one place. Obviously this is my point of view so take that with a grain of salt, but I’ve been a seiota for a while now, and you can’t fairly interpret what 2020’s Hase Yurina said without knowing her relatively turbulent history.

To be clear, I think she is a victim in the end, and I wish her the best, as she’s gone through some crazy patches in life generally, inside and outside of work. But it is really hard for me to take what she said on that stream at face value. For starters, it’s best if you can find a recording of it and the chat she’s reading off of, and watch on your own. Admittedly I wasn’t paying a lot of attention while it was happening so I missed a lot of it, but most of what I’ll write below have little to do with the stream itself. (Working from home lets me tune into twitter-trending Showrooms, but work still had to be done.)

Yurishii (henceforth, to simplify–also it’s ゆりしー, not ゆりしぃ, so lulz how bangdreamers hijacked that romaji term on Google) signed into the seiyuu world via Arts Vision back in 1999 via an open audition. She came in with a lot of accolades and was a rising talent. She left Arts Vision in 2006 and became freelance for a short while, then joined Genki Project. It was over there she got those death threats.

The big splash for folks realizing for the first time about the recent Casting Couch post probably didn’t realize that in 2007 Arts Vision blew up with an agency-wide casting couch scandal. ANN has it written up here as I linked, but there was a lot of follow ups, which much has been lost in time in terms of news/fan coverage. I think only a couple showed upon ANN unfortunately, but there were a series of departures. A lot of people left the company around that time, a couple (at least?) formed new companies. It dragged on for a bit. For fans following the industry, it was a big deal at the time. [God bless Canned Dogs.]

The whole casting couch thing (makura eigyou) was an industry-wide (read: geinokai) problem. Actually that is not saying anything not already bloody obvious. Personally the Yurishii story is the seiyuu version of that shadow. Maybe we all got our crosses to bear, so this is one specific cross for this particularly small part of the industry, and it hits home harder. The #MeToo thing last year also mentioned an account where a female seiyuu were invited to mixed bathing in one occasion with higher ups, so you can see how this plays out in a believable manner. What’s really sad is it’s not easy to find official or tablody reporting from back when, as matome blogs were the only real source left. And maybe this? Little bits of shadows are easier to cover up.

In 2009, Yurishii changed her name to Hase Yurina and became freelance at some point during the death threats saga. She was removed from the IDOLM@STER cast in 2010. She joined a third agency in 2013 but eventually Yurishii left the seiyuu industry in 2014.

In 2015 Yurishii went public with her story about the IDOLM@STER changeover, which had to do with her management at the time being unable to properly protect her. If you can get the actual text of this, it gets into detail more as to why it happened. It was a really freaking sad thing to see how Matsuki Miyu played a role in Yurishii’s story too, but in a way this is just to show how so many things are connected in the relatively small industry of anime voice acting.

In the past couple years, Yurishii started to do influencer/personality stuff for her small group of fans. At first it was talking about her time in the IDOLM@STER series, then it escalated to her covering old IM@S tunes–which seems to be fine since she is not related to the series at this point. But at some point it escalated into her cosplaying Yukiho and selling chekis of that, and there was some more escalation in which led to Bandai Namco sending a C&D letter to her. A lot of fans suspect this was the act which motivated her to do that live stream on Monday.

As someone heavily into the series, the attraction of a live Yurishii version of Kosmos, Cosmos or Alright* is quite powerful–you can still buy her versions on CD of these. I can see the allure of what she is offering. There is incentive (as it always) for fans to encourage this stuff, just like how there is incentive for ANN to publish a hot ton of bricks for clickbait, as Yurishii didn’t provide any real details–wow Sunrise engaged in makura eigyou back in the 00s? Color me surprised. It’s spicy week.

Yurishii didn’t drop a lot of details–instead she dropped a ton of spicy sauce. The bullying with Mingos with Eririn joining in? The Chiaking stuff? The Itou Shizuka stuff? Hirano Aya (again)? I’m tired of this, because not only it is weird where the bullies are mad at their shared target in the adult context, it’s also weird to have a history of this kind of thing and still be going at it so many years. She talked about a ton of personal issues she had to struggle with in those years too. Menhara came up, as she could be that kind of a thing, but didn’t wanted to. Again, not denying Yurishii–her claims are entirely believable but I wouldn’t read into it too much without more corroborating details. Ultimately, this is some really ancient salt, over 10 years and going. I can afford to worry about other stuff over this. And it’s not going to address issues like makura eigyo or the DV thing that went down (man that was the shocking part).

Here is an executive bullet-point summary of the Monday stream:

I labeled this post with a date, because this is developing story. It has been developing for 20+ years, and it’s not going to stop yet.

As for rest of us, I guess either do something about it, if you are in power to do so, or munch on the popcorn quietly? There is enough misdirected anger and justice in the world as is, when what we need more is affirmative healing and real change.

Seiyuu Gravure, 2H2020

There’s a handful of seiyuu photo books coming out and I just want to list them here. Maybe you will find it useful.

Chihara Minori’s Hawaii photobook likely has the fruits of her recent trip there. She did it as a fanclub tour package too, so it will be extra nice for those folks who made the trip. Personally, it felt like just last year which I got her 10th anniversary book.

Minori Chihara 15th Anniversary Photo Book “Minoreal” – 2020/03/18

On the opposite end of the spectrum you have Million Live center CV Yamazaki Haruka, putting out her first proper photo book. It is more of your typical sophomore product designed by the voice actress, featuring her in various situational outfits. It’s also only available at some shops only, like Minorin’s.

Haruka Yamazaki 1st Photo Book “On to Off” – 2020/04/11

Koiwai Kotori, who might be best known as a MENSA member and the voice behind Nyan-pasu, is now also well-known audiophile in recent year(s). She’s done a lot of stuff the past couple years promoting personal audio equipment, doing ASMR stuff, DJ-ing and even writing songs. When she’s not plugging crowdfunding projects or recommending BT IEMs on twitter, she’s shilling her own IEM pads. Seems like her upcoming photo book will feature her and all her personal collection of earphones. It’s got a wide release.

Kotori Koiwai 1st Photo Book “Earphone Headphone Kotori Zukan” – 2020/04/30

Any other I’m missing for the next couple months?

IDOLM@STER Concepts: Tantou vs. Favorite

In the age of Stan and Waifu, there has long been many different ways to say “love” in all sorts of contexts; forget about the Alaskan words for snow (it’s an urban legend of sorts anyway). The way the Greeks did it is what I was weaned on but in this day and age there are more ways to say the same things than ever. And it has been always the case as far as history went.

It just dawned on me on a practical difference between what IM@S Ps say “tantou” versus which idols a producer may simply like. To some Ps, there are no differences between the two. To others, they are entirely different things. And from where I stand there are no wrong ways to go about it.

(“Tantou” here means “in charge of.” A producer is someone in a position of responsibility over a project. In this case, it’s an artist or idol. It is not unusual for IDOLM@STER content to put the producer in charge of a project in which artists of the agency is then selected to participate under said project. If you talk to Japanese producers, the proper way to refer to your cartoon waifu is tantou, and while you may or may not be a wretched twitter critter, we all know what you mean.)

There are however technical differences. One is the basic understanding that IDOLM@STER is a game franchise in which the player is the producer, and the idols the player selects to literally produce, well, are the idols the player produces. Sometimes this is literally every idol in the game, sometimes this is even more (not all idols are really in the games if you think about it), and sometimes it’s just whatever the P wants.

If we extrapolate it from selecting an idol in games to engagement in general, the idols I produce are just the ones I will go out of my way to learn more, to read up on, to research, to think about, and to create content for. After all, it is all we can do to literally “produce” a fictional character. This is pretty much the same way anyone stans anyone else, but maybe there are some differences. Maybe there will be another post for that.

The idols from IDOLM@STER that I like, however, I don’t necessarily produce. Maybe for those characters, I just enjoy the content and call it a day.

This is most evident when you participate in IDOLM@STER content like a big live event. Your favorite or tantou characters, odds are, will only take up a fraction of the full show. The rest of the time you probably are still engaged in the content, even if it isn’t your favorite or it has little relationship to the idols you produce. Sometimes this does mean you might take a seat. But also, a concert is a concert, a show is a show–it’s enjoyable to watch and be a part of.

So while I don’t produce Syoko, I still have a lot of respect for the Matsuda twins and an affinity to the brand of rock that is X Japan. This is why the Kurenai cover during CG7th Osaka was a really special experience personally, especially given the venue, the setup, and the way things played out. These kinds of considerations were the reasons why I was even there in the first place.

I have been following Cinderella Girls since my initial baptism by MOIW 2014. What struck me as odd now is that while many idols from 346P are appealing to me personally, I don’t want to produce any of them. It’s a big reason why I gave up playing Starlight Stage, and also it made the franchise easier to deal with when I treat it like this bag of content that pops out hit beats once in a while, at arm’s length.

I try to go to a show every year still, because I do enjoy this branch of IM@S and I still know something about them. Plus, I never stopped being a seiyuu otaku and IDOLM@STER content is still some of the best kind of seiyuu content out there. An IM@S show (and this applies even to all the other branches) are often elaborate productions. Cinderella Girls lives are the most elaborate of them all, both because of the success (popularity and commercially) of the franchise and the style of the content that is conducive of big, bright, shiny productions at a large scale. That the franchise shows have been dome-sized the past couple years actually plays to the strength of the content and the material. That is contrary to my normal preferences; to me, domes are a negative otherwise–you are far from the action, it’s very crowded, the acoustics and view often sucks, and the seats suck too usually.

On paper, maybe I can call myself, at best, a Miho/PCS producer, because at least I roll for them. I also find myself leaning towards Tsuda and Tanezaki a lot, at least as far as seiyuu affinities go among 346P cast members. It is a production of conveniences. But I produces way more back home in 765Pro, which hopefully my actions speak for themselves.

Seiyuu Guest Requests for North American Cons, 2019

Here is a quick and dirty (as they all are) translation on Anime Anime. I mean, click on the link there and read said translation. I will put a spin on the data below.

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