Variety Show Discussion Pits Veteran Voice Actors Against Younger Counterparts

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

A staff member at an anime production company recently described the difficulties that young voice actors in Japan have entering an industry that experienced voice actors dominate. The topic has gained some buzz online, but it may be difficult to get an accurate picture of the state of the voice acting industry when discussions tend to become one-sided.

TV Asahi's Aruaru Bansankai variety program featured both "veteran" and "young" voice actors on its episode that debuted on June 17. It seems that the intention of the program was to create a showdown between seasoned and new voice actors. Net commenters who viewed the program noted how it pitted veterans against their younger counterparts.

Veteran voice actor Akira Kamiya (Kinnikuman's Kinnikuman, Detective Conan's Kogoro Mouri, City Hunter's Ryo Saeba) said on the program, "A new wind is blowing. Drama is becoming form. I'm fed up with form-only drama." Yuji Mitsuya (Touch's Tatsuya Uesugi, Anpanman's Katsudonman, Saint Seiya's Virgo Shaka) said, "The voice is the same for everyone, and there is no personality... With a quiet voice, the voice is the same even if the role changes."

The young voice actors on the program seemed reluctant to stand up to their respected seniors. Kamiya also said that advances in recording technology mean that voice actors no longer need to use loud voices. At that remark, the program's host Koji Imada (Ghiblies' Kome-chan, Mind Game's Nishi) replied that loud voices are annoying and old-fashioned. Then, member of the young voice actor group Showtaro Morikubo (Naruto's Shikamaru Nara, Yowamushi Pedal's Yūsuke Makishima, Hakuoki's Sōji Okita) expressed his agreement.

Some social media users replied to the program by saying that they understood the veterans' views and agreed that current voice actors tend to use the same voice. However, many net commenters criticized the older voice actor group for being unreasonably harsh on the young group.

Yet, after the airing of the program, Morikubo apparently said that the "veterans versus young people" theme may have been dramatic television editing to earn ratings or gain a strong reaction from viewers. An apparent quote from Morikubo posted on Twitter says, "But that was cut, and people actually talked properly one at a time. So, the reality didn't have such an impression."

Net users were also critical of the program's one-sided approach and unflattering representation of veteran voice actors. People said that the program should have focused its broadcast on all levels of voice actors equally and not set up the different groups against each other.

What do you think about the program and reaction to it? Tell us in the forum.

[Via T-Site, Yaraon!]

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