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The Many Sides of Voice Actor Radio
Episode 8

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 8 of
The Many Sides of Voice Actor Radio ?
Community score: 3.8

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The Many Sides of Voice Actor Radio jumps ahead again to start a new arc, meaning it's time once again to play "What is this storyline going to be about?" The episode opens with Yasumi and Yuhi paying a visit to the home of Asaka, their eternally exhausted and radically relatable writer, which certainly got me excited. Will this new story spotlight my favorite word gremlin somehow? It's shown that Yasumi is already familiar with Asaka's "Damn bitch, you live like this?" lifestyle; maybe the series would go into some shared background details between them. Sadly, there's no such luck since seeing Y&Y tidy up Asaka's apartment and fix her breakfast in appreciation for dealing with their deluge of drama is just an opening framing device for recapping the story and status quo so far, then moving onto…whatever this storyline will be about.

It is sharp that our dynamic duo's stint as Twitter's main characters resolved pretty much as those things always do: the discourse escalated to the backlash-to-the-backlash-to-the-backlash phase, and the inciting incident was moved on from. I can see why their respective agencies figured it would be possible to ride the so-called scandal out with minimal effort. It's probably the smartest thing the show has done so far, least of all because it frees up Voice Actor Radio to properly focus on that voice-acting thing for the first time in a while. Yasumi and Yuhi are back to being the sole architects of their careers, navigating stringent staff direction and intimidating work environments.

In that respect, the somewhat zig-zagging road the writing takes exploring Yasumi's auditions and arrival in a new role could be engaging. Her interaction with persnickety sound director Sugishita sets things off at the start as she's made to read different lines than she expected. Things escalate when she doesn't get that role but gets called in for one in a different show—the mecha anime that Yuhi is currently starring in, no less. It's also easy enough for an attentive audience to pick up on what's going on, as those orchestrating Yasumi's roles figure she might be more suited for playing villains than heroines. That's a neat in-series career turn, and I will not complain about hearing a cool-looking gyaru do mean voices. It even gestures at the recurring concept of professionalism from people in this world, as Yasumi resolves to buckle down as much as she needs to to get the part.

Unfortunately, with the tip-off of that turning point, Voice Actor Radio can't help but Voice Actor Radio it up. I swear, the order in which this show delivers plot points sometimes feels inside-out. There's a prolonged sequence of Yasumi trying to figure out why Yuhi is being aloof towards her, and only after much pressing is this how the audience is informed that the entire preparation and auditioning process was skipped over, and Yasumi won the part off-screen!

After all the build-up hyping this shift in Yasumi's career and showing how serious she was in working towards it, it's a baffling choice just to jump everything involving that process to facilitate a little extra time, showing the two leads being snippy with each other. Which, fair play, is still the main reason I'm here, but the drama of Yasumi realizing just how much Yuhi truly regards her as her rival doesn't hit as hard when I haven't glimpsed Yasumi's efforts at earning that contention. I can't even appreciate the quasi-romantic implications of Yasumi's complex feelings of rival love towards Yuhi because the show couldn't be asked to detail how she wound up there.

That's not the only place where Voice Actor Radio is undercutting its points and potential. An advantage, for the show's sketchy storytelling anyway, of not showing how Yasumi won the part is that it's hard to tell how well she did. But given the famed particularities of Sugishita, you have to assume she earned it properly, and she only got the chance in the first place because she came off as a natural for the role. So her struggle through her first day of recording could easily be attributed to nerves at being on such a high-profile production staffed by many of her actual idols. That's even the excuse she gives Yuhi for her fumbles, only for that to be thrown back in her face, with the apparent real point being that she isn't good enough—for the role she qualified for twice over!

There are some explorations of imposter syndrome and high-pressure work environments in the entertainment space that could be navigated in this context, and knowing the ping-pong table that Voice Actor Radio's plot points play on, they very well could come up later. But as of now, it feels like a swerve for the sake of, and I hate to use this term, forced drama. It's an issue that has nothing to do with the arc of Yasumi's career nor her rivalry with Yuhi and her standards. It's just here to make her and the audience feel bad.

Somewhat annoyingly, it almost works in this episode's last minutes too. However, they got there, watching Yasumi agonize over her efforts is evocative, least of all since this series has showcased how she, that is, Miku Itō, is a strong performer. But there were so many smarter routes the story could have taken if this was where it wanted to arrive. The fake mecha anime the characters are making gets only a few minutes to it in this episode, and somehow I'm more invested in that show's plot than I am in the roundabout road Voice Actor Radio itself took to get to what's seemingly going to be its latest main storyline.

Rating:

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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