Kotono Mitsuishi: “The Industry is Dumping Skilled Seiyuu”


Veteran seiyuu Kotono Mitsuishi, known for scores of top roles including Misato, Boa Hancock and Excel, has spoken out against the anime industry’s harsh treatment of seiyuu, saying it has forced them into penury and discards as soon as they become experienced rather than pay them more, causing a dearth of skilled seiyuu as a result.

Her comments were made in a recent interview given to a careers website:

Actually, at the moment conditions in the industry are very harsh.

Production budgets are low, so the only seiyuu who get used are young, cheap ones, and the more experienced ones don’t get called upon at all.

In short, there are no “experts” in place. There aren’t the kind of opportunities I had to experience moving performances by senior seiyuu. As a result, new seiyuu can’t grow.

Even young seiyuu who do manage to improve find themselves no longer called upon as soon as their fee rises a little.

You can’t make a living on such low wages, it’s a vicious circle.


Of 100 classmates, only 1 or 2, if that, are able to make a living doing seiyuu work alone. But even so many keep doing it as part time work. It’s their life and they want to fulfil their dreams.

That seiyuu are paid a pittance is common knowledge, but up to now it seems to have been assumed this has no impact on their actual performing ability…

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    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    18:56 14/05/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Again, this news disheartens me.
    I hope my purchases end up as royalties and ultimately as bonuses to seiyuu, since I know no other way to support them, other than spreading their good name (or voice) of course.

    03:43 15/05/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Sponsor a seiyuu today.

    Avatar of Shima-kun989
    Comment by Shima-kun989
    08:36 15/05/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    dozens of seiyuu die each decade, from over working, malnutrition, and old age. for just $20 a year (pennies a day), you can feed this poor, hungry seiyuu and her family, and make sure they get the medicine they need. Don't you think they deserve better?
    call 1-HELP-SEIYUU

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    21:20 06/09/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Children in Africa can starve for all I care, but we need to save them seiyuus!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:30 25/06/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    You're fucking stupid.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:51 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    All the royalties from merch go to the greedy corporations

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:35 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    The only real way to support seiyuu directly would be to buy whatever they set out to do themselves, I think. Royalties are very small for the original creators of the manga many series are based on. The quantity of money a seiyuu might see from his or her work in a series could be even smaller.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:53 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)


    They should be paid well for their labor and heart if the publisher is making money.

    Perhaps they should form some sort of union.

    This is a shame... it takes years for these artist to become truly good. Otherwise, the quality goes down and the customers don't want to buy it.

    Crappy art/stories are not worth buying.

    Compare Wingman to Video Girl Ai - for which I own all the original manga. Katsura was good, but he got much much better with experience and time. Products (dolls, games, toys, etc) are created when something is good and popular. Junk doesn't usually get popular.

    PS: Kotono Mitsuishi is a rather hot looking.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:02 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oops. I should have been more clear.

    Manga artist, voice actors, musicians, etc - will all get better with experience.

    Watching something with BAD voice acting is grating, English or Japanese.

    Avatar of toyNN
    Comment by toyNN
    02:27 15/05/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Entertainment industry generally is very harsh and it seems very tough for a seiyuu to have a long career. Economics and competition for few jobs - its got to be difficult.

    Plus so many of the anime are teen boys/girls and they like seiyuu's to match it seems most of the time. So once a seiyuu hits 25, or god for bid, 30, there aren't many characters for them.

    I was looking that the lead seiyuu's for My Ordinary Life (nichijou) most have very little experience....

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:21 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    KyoAni is known to hire relatively unknown VAs and they do a damn good job. They get more roles in the future. Just look at the K-On cast.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:55 14/05/2011 # ! Good (+0.8)

    This might explain why someone like Aya Hirano has tried to branch out into other forms of entertainment. To have more work.
    She or her agent may have seen the writing on the wall for experienced seiyuu and decided it was in her best interest to not limit herself to doing ONLY seiyuu work.

    I wonder.

    Avatar of Shizu's Waki Obsessor: MaidNiac
    19:55 14/05/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    No wonder certain seiyuu that seems to have some voice style of their own which actually can still be polished tend to be stuck on only 1-3 roles. Examples include the voiceactress who did Manabe Nodoka, and Oohashi Ayuru/Nakai Erika who did Eila. Even Kanemoto Hisako (Ika-Musume and Sorami Kanata)'s career has yet to be proven stable at this moment.

    Anyway Kotono still looks hawt in that pic.

    Avatar of TC-man
    Comment by TC-man
    01:40 15/05/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Indeed, Kotono Mitsuishi looks very good for her age, actually she looks better than when she's younger as seen in older pictures/photos. Some woman looks more and more beautiful when they age with the years, and Kotono Mitsuishi is one of them (I think).

    By the way, Kotono Mitsuishi is Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon)!

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:26 15/05/2011 # ! Good (+0.8)

    And Asuka!!!

    (of Shinseiki GPX Cyber Formula :p
    [which btw is a great anime if you like Formula 1])

    Seriously, she's one of my most favorite seiyuu and probably the most influential one to ever grace the anime industry. It makes me happy that she was featured in an article here on SanCon.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:43 15/05/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon should've been the first Kotono Mitsuishi role the introduction to the article mentioned. All her other roles are secondary in importance compared to one of the top 10 most recognized anime characters of all time.

    Avatar of kenshinflyer
    Comment by kenshinflyer
    07:25 15/05/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    She is known for that role.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:00 15/05/2011 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Kotono Mitsuishi is very much a hottie, especially at 43+ years old! Looking at her younger photos, she was always a good looking girl.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:41 14/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    yea, excellent fap material

    Avatar of Elcachetondelpuro
    Comment by Elcachetondelpuro
    14:15 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    What a tragedy, her voice is a national treasure; for me she is equal if not better than Hayashibara Megumi; I feel so bad to know the anime bussines is so ungrateful...

    you know, she was the voice of Ebichu in orochuban Ebichu =(

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:48 14/05/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I wish America would dump some skilled voice actors. I'm so tired of hearing Yuri Lowenthall and Vic Mignona (for example) in EVERY GODDAMN THING.

    Avatar of cats2
    Comment by cats2
    08:41 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    "An anime or game needs to be dubbed to English here in the US? Just get Steven Blum, Crispin Freeman, and the rest of the people we get to do it every time, what else do we need done?"

    Seems to be the attitude of those companies.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:20 14/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    My response to that would be where in the heck is Crispin Freeman? He was a good one, but he doesn't seem to do a lot of VA work anymore....

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Myballz
    23:28 14/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Crispin Freeman right now he is playing Speedy, and Guardian in Young Justice.He has done Theater as well he has experience.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:28 14/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Get some more skilled actors you mean... and now you know why Anime is getting unpopular in America. And they blame it on piracy?! Bullshit. No quality voice actor= no pay. I mean nobody wants to watch an entire anime when the voice acting sucks and the voices are carried over FROM another dubbed anime you watched -_-

    Avatar of kazaza2
    Comment by kazaza2
    00:14 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I think it's more of an attitude problem. A lot of American voice actors still have the mindset of "it's just a cartoon it's good enough". Perhaps they just don't pickup on the cultural nuances. Off the top of my head I can think of only three anime where I prefer the English dub to the Japanese sub. Those are "Cowboy Bebop", "Black Lagoon" and "RahXephon".

    The anime industry is taking a beating on both sides of the Pacific with the economy.
    I hope things turn around for all our sakes.

    Avatar of Shima-kun989
    Comment by Shima-kun989
    08:40 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    let's just put it this way, take a sad anime, and with jp voices, you cry.
    flip it to the states with english voice actors, you laugh.
    enough said.

    Avatar of erochichi
    Comment by erochichi
    07:49 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    All western voice actors trying to dub anime are crap.
    Watch subs instead. With original Japanese voice actors. They can.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:27 14/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    ...you yanks could also just stop raping your ears and watch original .jp audio + engsub.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:37 29/10/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    And rape my eyes with fansubs that drag my vision to the extreme bottom and far left corners of the screen, all while making me try to distinguish some unreadable "anime-fitting" font from similarly-colored backgrounds? No thanks, I'd rather watch anime, not decipher CAPTCHAs.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:39 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's not really skill American voice actors that have a problem of being overused. It's that they lack flexibility in their vocal abilities. Disney and Pixar are a good example of this, they have some awesome voice actors that can play multiple roles and you'd never notice unless you either read the credits or watched the "making of". That's what a real skilled voice actor is, someone that can completely change the sound of their voice to fit a role without sacrificing the tone the character should be conveying.

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Myballz
    04:39 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    There is also Canadian Voice Actors as well that are consider not skilled by others.

    Avatar of Garyuu
    Comment by Garyuu
    23:19 14/05/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    It's not just American voice actors. They really overuse seiyuu in Japan actually. Kana Hanazawa and Yu Kobayashi are in practically half the shows that come out now.

    Avatar of kenshinflyer
    Comment by kenshinflyer
    10:11 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sometimes they voice two characters within one anime...

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:48 14/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    And that's a bad thing how?

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:18 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    For the same reason people complain about it with American VAs - lack of vocal range. In particular, the ones that are really popular these days have very little, whereas the ones that actually have some aren't popular at all.

    Avatar of Uncommon0taku
    Comment by Uncommon0taku
    08:15 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    no wonder Aya chan is being getting all kinds of press no matter what it is.

    Just yesterday she was in the big apple & some users here "just" missed her.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:24 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I remember Megumi Hayashibara saying something along these lines afew years ago...

    Avatar of PrinceHeir
    Comment by PrinceHeir
    17:39 17/05/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    yes this needs to improve gradually. heck i even heard Eng Dub actors get's paid more than the japanese ones.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:23 16/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Women should know their place.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:48 17/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Tons of people prefer subtitles so this really doesn't matter.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:09 16/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's funny to see western otaku flaming reappearance of young seiyuu/mourning over the lack of veteran seiyuu while most of them dl anime. Big mouths but did nothing to help them, huh? Shut up and go looping Slayer or Sailor moon anime or just buy the whole lots of them.

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    04:41 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    this will sound harsh, but when you get better, don't ask for more money? the whole world wonders why jobs go to foreigner and such, and its simple, they will work for less.

    there are some jobs you do because you love, not because you get bank.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:37 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Okay, smarty... What happens if you start a family? What happens if your parents fall ill? What happens if YOU develop an illness yourself? Do you still keep working your ass like a mule for next to nothing, all in the name of good art?

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:04 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    'What happens if you start a family? What happens if your parents fall ill? What happens if YOU develop an illness yourself? Do you still keep working your ass like a mule for next to nothing'?

    Well, actually, most humans on Planet Earth work like mules for crap wages, and they can't even console themselves by claiming that art is involved.

    It does suck that our beloved art form is not treating its vital voice actors well, but the practical question is what are we going to do about it?

    We can make alternative art, we can buy alternative art, and aside from that, I don't see any practical ACTION.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:35 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Lawlz at obvious trolls?

    Right because hell every "experienced" actor out there like say Dustin Hoffman, Brad Pitt, Lucy Liu and all that are still working for under the piddly sum of what they used to earn from days doing extra work right? =P

    Heaven forbid the industry actually pay for an actors experience xD

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:49 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sankaku Complex says anime is denying the skilled seiyuu jobs.

    Fumihiko Tachiki is a skilled seiyuu.

    Guess who's narrating Kaiji season 2?

    Yeah, you're all misinterpreting Kotono's words thanks to the headline.

    Avatar of kenshinflyer
    Comment by kenshinflyer
    07:27 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    One way or another, if there's not at least one experienced voice on any seiiyu crew...

    Wait a bit--the narrator's role is a prime piece of real estate.

    Avatar of KingFisher
    Comment by KingFisher
    09:07 16/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I agree with Kotono Mitsuishi. A lot of the skilled seiyuu are being dumped and the ones that are currently in the industry are unskilled and can only be type cast to certain roles or should be.

    But if seiyuus are that concerned on keeping expert talent in the industry then its better to working at the same price the younger seiyuu work at.

    In short its all about money the experienced seiyuu really don't give a damn about the industry itself but more about the cash in their pockets. A seiyuu who truely loves her work would do it no matter if her pay was low.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:56 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Gotta love capitalism and to a certain extent the consumers of these anime in Japan should also be blamed.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:37 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Somehow I want to help them directly but that method is hard

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