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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saimoe 2013, Madoka Kaname, Aoi Yuki, etc:

My 'Lost World' anime project is coming along nicely, in that more and more of the series I chose to rank I've genuinely watched in full and know their true worth.  But another part of this project is keeping a lookout for all the talented voices in the industry out there and adding them to my hall of fame in the voices category, as opposed to just the good anime in general category.  Jigoku Shoujo has a huge number of talented seiyuu, because it offers so many character roles via its episodic nature.  This time I discovered Aoi Yuki, who plays Chiriko Hamamo in one episode near the end of Jigoku Shoujo's season 3 (presumably the final season of the franchise.)  She had such a sweet, rich, fluted voice I was eager to find out who she could possibly be -- it reminded me a lot of Chiwa Saito's performance in Kokoro Toshokan, but it wasn't Chiwa Saito.  In fact, it was Aoi Yuki, none other than the #1 ranked voice actress in Japan. 

I'd certainly noticed her famous roles in the past, but I wasn't impressed with the low voiced Victorique, and the timid Madoka was no match for her peers in Madoka Magica voice-acting wise, so I again passed her over.  This was the first time I really felt her performance stood out and allowed me to believe she really does have the talent everyone else says she has.  Now it's clear to me that the reason her voice hasn't been appealing so far isn't Aoi Yuki's fault, it's just that the roles she's been given push her into voice acting in a certain way, which isn't necessarily the most flattering.  Indeed, her ability to mask such a beautiful voice and turn it into a stumbling or sarcastic one at need must be why she's considered the best actress in the business.  On the other extreme of Madoka's shyness and lack of assertion, Aoi Yuki plays Shizuno from Saki, a leadership type always running around and telling the rest of her team what to do as the captain of Achiga All Girls' school.  Her role couldn't be more different, and yet she still plays both to perfection.  Aoi Yuki can seemingly do anything or be anyone!  Incidentally, Madoka Kaname just so happened to win the Saimoe 2013 contest today.  Congratulations, Aoi Yuki and Madoka Kaname!  Welcome to my great anime voices list, alongside my most beautiful anime girls list, and my top anime rankings list.  You earned it!

Considering her top ranking among fans, her numerous major roles, and the sweet voice she has for just a brief moment in one episode of Jigoku Shoujo, Aoi Yuuki has paved her way into my anime voices list as the 66th member.  I wonder who my Lost World viewing will turn up next?

In other good news, Macross FB7 has finally gotten subtitled.  This was the last missing piece of the Macross puzzle, which is now fully available to the English speaking world.  It's just a silly recap movie, but it has enough extra scenes to keep it lively, and there's a beautiful duet of the Frontier singers singing one of the old Macross 7 songs.  Frontier's music really was so much better than 7's, and part of that is because the singers were just that much better.

Also, can Outbreak Company get any more amazing?  I love the Metal Gear Solid references, the Shuffle references, the Pretty Cure references, and virtually every other reference this show makes.  Also, the understanding instead of critical description of hikikimori is a breath of fresh air.  To understand how great Outbreak Company is, you have to be as much of an otaku as our main character Shinichi.  It's a series for us, about us, and by us.  The show knows it, and shouts out to its fans every ep.  We know who they are, they know who we are, and we love Outbreak Company as much as it loves us.  It's just the perfect experience.  When I called this show the Messiah, I wasn't far wrong.

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