Coming on the heels of the heels of Shirkbako, we have “Sore ga Seiyuu!” (which translates roughly as “That’s being a Voice Actor!”), another inside look at the struggles of cute girls in the anime business.
This time the focus is much tighter, on three cute and young voice actresses in the early stages of their careers. Rather than bore you with a pointless summary of characters and events, I’ll take the opportunity to explain why this show is good and yet underappreciated.
First and foremost, as I might have forgotten to mention, the girls are cute. Did I mention they’re cute? The designs at first blush might look a little bland, but they are actually very pleasing, attractive without being racy, well-balanced and effective. And cute. Turns out the character designer is one Sasaki Masakatsu, who was also in charge of character design and animation on A-Channel and Saki. He’s a talented fellow, and the fact that his work here is flying under the radar to some extent is unfortunate.
And why is it flying under the radar? Probably just never caught on, but who knows. People likely wrote it off as a Shirobako ripoff and never got into it. I really think that’s it, since this show is a very solid production and fun to watch.
In addition to the character designs, the music is nice, the plot is adequately engaging without being too stressful, the voice acting is good, as is the pacing. The moments of “industry insider” exposition are brief and sparse enough that they remain mildly interesting and don’t become bothersome, and the same can be said about the numerous voice actor cameos.
Sore ga Seiyuu’s one flaw is how heavily confucian the characters are. The emphasis on hierarchy, maintaining harmonious relations, self-censorship, paper-mâché positivity and lack of a discernible sex drive displayed by the characters, while par for the course and a strong contributor to the relaxing experience of watching shows like this, is nonetheless primitive, excessive and ugly.
Then again, if I keep comparing shows to Yuyushiki I’m going to be very disappointed for a very long time.
And really, my personal attitude towards confucian-style characters doesn’t explain Sore ga Seiyuu’s relative lack of popularity. Well, in the west at least, it’s being “subbed” by Funimation, who are notoriously bad, and the fansubbing group working on it has stalled. If SgS had better subs it might be more popular over here, no question. We still appreciate orz’s efforts, or course, and hope they resolve whatever it is that is taking their valuable time.
Well, trying to understand the relative commercial success of an anime without mentioning the relative level of fanservice is kind of silly. That’s probably it, pantsu deficiency. Which is a shame because Sore ga Seiyuu is actually a very nice show that deserves to be enjoyed.