Seiyuu Keep Quiet and Like It – Young Magazine


An interesting editorial from Young Magazine, which is rather critical of the propensity of seiyuu to go into detail about their characters in interviews and similar, comes to my attention. Rendered into English:

It’s my opinion that lately seiyuu have gotten carried away with themselves.

They get on TV and talk all about their character’s feelings and background like they’re the original authors. Nobody says this, but when I see them do it I think “but you didn’t create the character, did you?” What I’m trying to say is that I’d like to see more of those seiyuu who behave like they’re being granted the privilege of playing a role.

This strikes me as a difficult issue – on the one hand, clearly the original authors and other creative staff have a deserved degree of authority on these matters. However, in providing their interpretation of the character in their performance, the seiyuu too seem to be involved in the creative process as well, and just as the talents of the more purely creative staff can vary, so can a particularly talented seiyuu lend a great deal to a role (for some reason Megumi Hayashibara immediately springs to mind here).

Original, grabbed from 2ch, below.


Leave a Comment


  • Ok I just had to comment…. JP seiyuu tend to be “charatcer actors” as in they get a feel for the charatcer and be a medium for them.

    Ego issues aside I’d rather have them talking about the charatcer than some witless live action actor whos hired for being pretty…. and cheap…..

  • A long time ago; a ruckus had been made when one of the Beatles said that they were better than, or as good as, God. And it seems that some of the seiyuu don’t know where the line is between “talking about the characters they play” and “acting like some butthole.”

    But to this day, major respect goes out to Kenichi Suzumura (Shinn Asuka of Garbage Seed Destiny) for stating that Chiaki Morosawa is a garbage writer. We need more people like him to help keep anime from being reduced into “enima.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Omg, of course they are NOT characters. They are dolls. You say to them to be more angry in this episode. They do. You tell them to make 100 tries of one phrase, because they suck too much. They do. No magic, just hard work. They do nt create anything, just follow script. And if they screw too much, there are like hundreds of others, waiting for a chance.
      So the dude in magazine is totally right.

  • Karasu-kun says:

    Agreed, Hokuoholic, it is really a non-issue. Also, I’d rather someone be passionate and vocal about their work/roles (pardon the inadvertent pun there) than someone who refuses to comment and seems disinterested in what they do. Voice acting/direction can really make or break a series, and seiyuu are absolutely involved in the process, so it’s nice to hear their thoughts as well. I don’t think that anyone’s trying to “throw their weight around”, or make a character out to be their own invention or anything as bad as all of that.

  • I agree with all the above, the article’s a tad harsh.

    After all, voice-acting is still acting, despite directors giving Seiyuus directions, they still need to get into the feel of their character and give them dimension by via roleplay (or rather, acting).

    So, all in all, Seiyuus aren’t randomly commenting or anything, (even though authors themselves DO put in a fair share of creative work behind the character they created) they’re people who’ve spent time and effort getting to know how to portray their character, and their comments therefore MUST carry SOME weight.

    • Harsh indeed.

      If all that was to a character lied in the hands of creators and directors, they could just voice them themselves and not bother other people with directing them. Instead, they are playing on the same team with the seiyuus, and their input is the important initial step toward the final result, but not the result itself.

      And since the industry caters to the human need to be entertained, it would be defeating its own purpose if it denied that said need exists in the seiyuus as well.

  • Agree with Houkoholic.

    In my own experience, these voice actors take their roles personally and as a general rule they act by internalizing the character. There is a balance between being a professional but also the act of displaying their genuine emotions through their performance.

    Just like a live-action actor that perform based on a script or even improv acting, voice actors invariably create dimensions to their manga/written characters in ways that’s beyond the scope of the original work. Often times I think their interpretations are improvements over the original should they be markedly different (and obviously the director/ADR person would agree).

  • You mean like how movie actors constantly get asked about how the character they play feel or what sort of personality their characters possess during interviews?

    This is a non-issue at best. The seiyuu all had to act according to the directions given by producers and directors, whom themselves are interpretating the scripts and story if they didn’t create the original story themselves. Even the seiyuu’s reasoning for how the characters feel are based on these directions, it’s not like the seiyuu make up random comments or anything.

  • I think the author is being too harsh.

    Voice acting involves, well, acting, therefore the seiyuu must, at least at some level, understand the character to be able to portray it.

    Yes, authors and creators should be the final authority here, but I think seiyuu are in a very good position to, potentially, understand and then talk about the characters’ feelings and background.