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Monday, August 31, 2015

Fumiko Orikasa and Megumi Nakajima:

So long as we're adding great seiyuu to the list, and so long as we're focusing on Pretty Cure seiyuu like Megumi Han and Fumie Mizusawa, why not go ahead and add two more Pretty Cure starlets to the podium?

Fumiko Orikasa is an incredible all-arounder.  She's played children and adults, stern, cold characters and outgoing, kind ones.  Girls with one sided crushes and girls being pursued by one-sided crushes.  She's freaking Chun Li!  She's played a million roles and done all of them to a level of heartrending excellence.  Above all her high voice projects strength and loyalty, there's a sort of martial glory to the delivery of her words.  It's a shame I haven't added her to my list until now, but that has been corrected.  Even though she's had a long career already, I can't wait to see what she stars in next.

Megumi Nakajima I added mainly on account of her great singing voice.  Singer and seiyuu are sort of the same job and sort of not the same job.  It's complicated to say 'sure she's a great singer but has a terrible voice so as a seiyuu she's a total failure.'  I mean, does that make any sense?  Of course not.  If you have a great singing voice, you by default must have a great speaking voice.  This is why Maaya Sakamoto and Nana Mizuki are already in my great seiyuu list, even though they're primarily singers as well.  Megumi Nakajima hasn't done many voice roles per se, but she's starred in some pretty major series with a great deal of length behind them, so what she loses in variety she makes up for in volume.  Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier and Cure Lovely from Happiness Charge Pretty Cure are some pretty vital roles.

Fumiko Orikasa is the stronger entry of these two, but I appreciate the hard work from both these girls to keep making anime the #1 source of beauty in the world.

Meanwhile, the #1 manga in the world has changed.  It's no longer One Piece.  It's now Fairy Tail.  The latest chapter of Fairy Tail is so good, so satisfying on both a spiritual and intellectual level, that there's just no way left to surpass it.  Even though Naruto and One Piece are still 200 chapters longer than Fairy Tail, Fairy Tail is already better than both of them because it's expressed more in the time it's been given than either of these series did with the time they were given.  Fairy Tail's length is nothing to sneeze at though.  At 524 English translated chapters, it's just about to pass Dragon Ball and Hayate no Gotoku's levels.  If Blue Mistral or any of the other spinoffs ever gets fully translated it'll shoot past them in moments.  Since Naruto is finished in manga form, Fairy Tail will be swiftly catching up with it in length from here on.  Only One Piece will stay eternally out of reach on the length frontier, but in quality?  One Piece has been stuck in Dressrosa for hundreds of chapters, dealing with characters we care little about, most of whom have nothing to do with the Straw Hat Crew.  The whole thing just makes you yawn.  The fact that Luffy still hasn't left the island, and is instead going to fight a navy admiral, just adds more weight to the headache.  Where is Nami and what is she doing?  That's all anyone wants to know, and yet here we are stuck reading about Dressrosa even more.  One Piece has spun out of control.  Its like nothing can ever be done in a reasonable time frame because there's just too much junk.  Too many characters.  Too many details all stuffed into a giant serving of gloopy gravy.  Meanwhile Fairy Tail is swiftly telling us the tale of the very things we most want to know and in a fashion where every chapter makes measurable progress towards the ending.

Fairy Tail doesn't get sidetracked with stories unrelated to the Fairy Tail guild about people unrelated to the Fairy Tail guild.  It stays coherent and focused on the people we genuinely care about.  It may have a worse setting and less humor than One Piece, but it easily makes up for it with better art and characters.  One Piece's plot is probably better than Fairy Tail's, seeing as how it's so much larger and more epic, but the delivery of said plot is so plodding, like G.R.R. Martin's Dance of Dragons or Robert Jordan's Crossroads of Twilight, that it drains all the fun away from it and becomes more like a chore.

I don't want to detract from One Piece or Naruto or Bleach or Dragon Ball or whomever too much though.  They're all great manga series and I enjoy every new chapter that comes out involving them.  It's just that everybody looks bad in comparison to Fairy Tail.  Fairy Tail is just too perfect, it shines flaws on everything that tries to stand too close.

The Fairy Tail anime can stay at #3.  Without a guarantee of reaching the ending like One Piece and Naruto has, no matter how good the anime is on an ep by ep comparison, it can't beat One Piece or Naruto.  (Until I guess someday it actually does manage to do that, which would be pretty terrifying a feat, because I generally rate a series that reaches its ending twice as good as one that doesn't. . .)  The Fairy Tail manga is certain to reach its ending.  Even though its sales are paltry compared to One Piece or Naruto, they're certainly profitable enough that no one's going to cancel Fairy Tail halfway through.  Hiro Mashima is a workhorse, it's unimaginable that he'd just throw a tantrum and quit like Kenichi's author must have done for so many loose ends to still be dangling about or go on an eternal hiatus like Hunter x Hunter's author.  So the Fairy Tail manga doesn't have the vulnerability that the Fairy Tail anime has, which accounts for the discrepancy in their rankings.

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