Title: Seiyuu ka-!
Author: MINAMI Maki
Hana to Yume Comics, 2009
It was the winning combo of cute cover art and intriguing title that induced me to buy this volume. I like this art style, and I am always a fan of stories that are about the anime or manga industry. I like manga about manga, anime about making anime, and in this case, manga about making anime! This series is about seiyuu, or voice actors. It actually reminds me a lot of another series I talk about on this site, one called ‘Sonna Koe Dashicha iya’ but less smutty and with better artwork 🙂 I always wonder how much research mangaka do when they feature stories with voice actors. It must be nice to be able to visit a studio to observe them work. Of course, the school in this series is pretty ridiculous, but the stuff that takes place in the actual recording studios looks reasonably realistic (minus the miraculous displays of sudden talent, etc) Anyway….
This story takes place at a high school devoted to various vocations. It has one of the most famous programs for learning how to become a seiyuu, and it is very hard to gain admittance. With such a prestigious program and fierce competition, it’s rather surprising our heroine was admitted in the first place (a mystery to explore later on, perhaps? hmmm). Her name is KINO Hime and she is cute enough, is very friendly, and has dreamed, ever since she was little, of becoming a seiyuu just like her idol, AOYAMA Sakura. Sakura is a talented and beloved voice actress who played the role of one of the Lovely Blazers in “Magical Fighter Lovely Blazer,” a long-running and hugely-popular shoujo anime. It sounds a lot like a Sailor Moon type of show. Hime wants to be just like Sakura and get a voice role on that series too! Therefore, being able to attend this great school and work towards her dream is a wonderful thing.
There is only one small problem (oh, and there is ALWAYS a problem, lol) Hime just doesn’t have a voice suited for a princess type of role. This is ironic, because her name, “hime,” means “princess.” Poor girl. Hime is a decent actress and has shown signs of acting talent and determination, but her voice, when she tries to sound frilly and feminine like a character on Lovely Blazers, instead sounds like a dying frog. It is deep and croaky and scares the crap out of everyone around her. There is no way Hime can ever win a role as a girly girl superhero!
Naturally, people have suggested to Hime that perhaps she should go for different types of roles – boys and men, maybe old ladies. She could probably do that type of voice very well! But that just won’t do for her. She is focused on her specific goal.
Because of her odd voice, Hime gets stuck with the other misfits in her class — a guy with a noticeable accent, a girl with a voice that’s cute but way too soft, and a violent gangster type of guy who has a hard time reading scripts. This group of ‘losers’ is a start contrast to the popular kids in the school, lead by the hottest rising star of young voice actors, KUDOU Senri. Senri is like an idol star amongst the other students at the school. He is good looking (of COURSE!) and has an amazing voice and acting ability. In fact, he has already begun working in anime productions! He is very cool and confident, and not the type to show interest in anything he deems to be worthless. So this sets him up to be the natural enemy of Hime the misfit.
Oh but wait. This series is sort of like a sports manga but with voice actors! As with many heroes/heroines in sports manga, Hime may be raw and untrained, but there are certain people at the school who seem to recognize a hidden potential Hime has as a voice actress. A few people can tell that Hime may not really be the loser everyone treats her like, and could, in fact, be very talented! Ah, but are these people good people? Do they mean to help Hime develop her hidden talent or profit from it? Hime really sucks at doing princess girl roles, but when pushed to her limit, she can bust out with some amazing voice acting skills. (Just not in the roles she prefers).
Will Hime ever find her place in the world of seiyuu? Will she figure out a way to tap into her hidden potential? Will she ever be able to land a role as a Lovely Blazer? And what about Senri? An unusual event makes Hime pique his interest, something very unusual. But is his interest a good or bad thing when her voice might make her a rival for HIM? There are lots of questions that need to be answered in future volumes!