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The Many Sides of Voice Actor Radio
Episode 11

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 11 of
The Many Sides of Voice Actor Radio ?
Community score: 3.8

There are, indeed, many sides to The Many Sides of Voice Actor Radio. The anime indulged its entertainingly effective downtime aspect last week. But this week, with the end of the season looming, it's time to return to entertaining its attempts at ongoing conflict and drama. Yes, there were aspects of this contained in the game shows and barbecue double-dates of the previous episode. However, they were sprinkles of motivation keeping things moving along. Now the focus is entirely on Yasumi's acting issues, how they make her feel, and how she might overcome them, and as the anime often has, it struggles to do anything other than simply tell the audience about them.

The return of the troubles of Yasumi's voice acting not passing muster for Sugishita's stringent standards brings in the same problems there were back in the eighth episode. Viewers simply aren't given all that much information about what the shortcomings of Yasumi's performance are, instead simply being told that she's doing a bunch of retakes and feeling super bad about it. It feels like an unnecessarily missed opportunity a lot of the time. I quite like Voice Actor Radio, in concept, when it's properly focusing on the voice acting component instead of the more contentious fandom side. Providing vocal contrasts between different performances has been a strong suit of the seiyuu in this series, including Yasumi's voice actress Miku Itō. So it's odd to not have her provide examples of faltering deliveries requiring retakes, or how she might be straining herself under all this pressure to perform. There's the possibility that despite the comedic contrasts delivered earlier in the anime, either Ito's talents or the direction she's getting in this production aren't sufficient to portray that element, which would be supremely ironic in this situation.

Given Ito's established filmography (she plays Kokoro in my beloved BanG Dream!!) I'm inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt that she could handle the nuance of demonstrating a "bad" performance in the context of this story. As I mentioned, it could simply be an issue of direction—given the extremely workmanlike nature of the Voice Actor Radio anime, it simply isn't budgeted the time and resources to eke out the performances necessary to sell this element. Like I said, that's ironic, and damning for the storytelling here, since it means the whole problem of this plot is simply told to viewers through draining montages and remarks on how long and late Yasumi's recording efforts are running. I'd be inclined to wonder about the quality of direction she's receiving in-universe that she can't seem to find the sweet spot for her performance in this pivotal episode, but there's no way to know with the paucity of information given.

Falling back onto montages to run out the clock then winds up being about the only trick this episode has left. A situationally relevant question on the radio show leads Yasumi to muse about her inability to overcome her problems played over a montage of her practicing. Her crisis point towards the end of the episode is marked with a flashback to how she got started in the voice acting industry. That comes alongside further confirmation that she's always apparently not been particularly good at it, which feels like a needlessly harsh additional hardship. Apart from that, it's not like these sequences provide key context to Yasumi's issues apart from how sad this all makes her feel (sorry about your dead grandma). It's unearned, padding attempts at pathos.

"How can I fix my acting if I don't even know what's wrong with it?" is the question Yasumi arrives. I think it's supposed to be a sign of her roadblock in pulling this job off. But it just rings as indicative of how little information that Voice Actor Radio's storytelling has given its audience to care about how she's going to overcome this struggle. As I alluded to, if Sugishita really isn't giving her much feedback, and instead just harping on her to "Act harder!" that would technically be on him for giving bad direction. But the series isn't interested in exploring those particulars—voice actors here are defined purely by talent and gumption, and Yasumi is instead meant to express hers in at last asking Yuhi for help.

After the previous episode made this clear as Yasumi's recourse, it's at least a fair enough turnaround to see in action. The divide in Yuhi's confidence contrasting with her admiration for Yasumi's earnestness is an effective use of the leads' personalities. It's a cute start to the resolution, however, the anime hacks the rest of it out for the presumptive finale next week. But it also highlights the anime falling into the same trap it always has in its worst moments, leaving Yuhi on the sidelines while wasting too much time in Yasumi's head digging for unearned drama. At least, unlike Yasumi's voice acting, it's easy to see what the plotting of this episode did wrong.


The Many Sides of Voice Actor Radio is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

The many sides of Chris include reviewing anime, playing rhythm games, and treating himself to too many Transformers toys. You can find him posting about all of these and more over on his Twitter, or occasionally going more in-depth on his blog.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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