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The Many Sides of Voice Actor Radio
Episode 9

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 9 of
The Many Sides of Voice Actor Radio ?
Community score: 4.1

After all my frustrations with the forced flailings of last week's Voice Actor Radio, I'll admit it's amusingly appropriate that this episode hits an upswing simply by following its advice. A quick counseling session with her manager Ringo leads Yasumi to understand that the apparent issue in her acting at the recording session was that she was simply trying too hard. First of all, it's nice that after brazenly skipping over the point last week, the series sees fit to acknowledge how well Yasumi did at the audition and the incongruity that meets her most recent effort. But it also neatly encapsulates why that attempt at crowbarring in drama fell flat. Promoter of a healthy work ethic that she turns out to be, Yasumi's manager orders her to chill out and have some fun, which turns out to be what she and the series itself need.

To drive home how effectively this calculated kickback of an episode is, I'll point out that it's a Christmas-oriented episode airing out-of-season, in friggin' June no less, which familiar readers will recognize as my arch-nemesis. The thing is, the enforced energy of those good-times vibes is wielded so well in this winter wonderland that I have a hard time bringing myself to take much issue with it. Maybe it's entirely down to how much my frustration with last week's episode of Voice Actor Radio softened up my standards, or perhaps it's that so many anime doing this damn maneuver have finally worn me down in my old age. Either way, I was earnestly entertained by Yasumi and Yuhi going out with their classmates for a karaoke party, even surrounded by the kind of holiday livery that I've personally lobbied my congressman to make illegal to show on television outside of December.

Given that the genesis of this series was the leads just chopping it up on a radio show, it makes sense that Voice Actor Radio would work better when it featured the characters simply hanging out. Yasumi appreciably gets her groove back and jumps back into approaching her station with confident constructiveness. With that, it's fun to watch her bait the otherwise antisocial Yuhi into both coming along on the karaoke run and singing while there. Yasumi pulls the latter off by performing a cover of her romantically charged rival girl's song about rainbows. So Christmassy as this episode is, we are still celebrating Pride Month this June.

The big trick of this episode is that it's comprised largely of calculated fluffy relationship baiting between Yasumi and Yuhi, and that's enough to get me on board after last week. Please just give me more awkward flirting from these two girls who regularly reiterate how much they don't like each other. I could watch Yuhi begrudgingly ask Yasumi out on a date after karaoke every week, just make it so they're celebrating a different holiday every time. Granted, an evening out for Arbor Day wouldn't have the same connotations as the duo sharing a charged Christmas Eve together, but the show knows how to mine effective interactions regardless. Yuhi's gift to Yasumi of some previous Kamishiro mecha anime Blu-rays is the exact kind of characterful contribution to the current in-story issue I would have hoped for. She even extolls the virtue of mecha shows that aren't just about the robots and focus on the characters, so you know she's a real one.

That lays out an approach for Yasumi's acting alongside the advice she got from Ringo earlier in the episode that helps to elevate this arc of Voice Actor Radio out of the doldrums it spent time in last week. They address different acting methodologies—what a concept for an anime about voice acting! Instead of grasping at Yasumi's supposedly diminished abilities on her own, her bounce-back is framed through her unique relationship with Yuhi, which the episode just spent time effectively portraying. I'd previously meditated on the idea that Voice Actor Radio utilized Yasumi and Yuhi as a pair so much that I'd relish any opportunity I had to type their names separately. But this episode compared to the previous one demonstrated that the true power of the duo is in the use of their dynamic.

Moving forward, I hope the writing remembers to have Yuhi properly engage with Yasumi instead of simply negging her for drama points. Show me more backhanded encouragement which Yasumi internally remarks that she enjoys before they both reiterate how they do not like each other. That's the sort of thing that gets me to yell at the screen "Just shut up and make out already" and that, past everything else the show is just kind of mediocre at, is why I am here.


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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