12 Days of Anime #9 – Hanazawa & Sawashiro Syndrome

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Hanazawa (left) and Sawashiro (right)

It’s day 4 of the 12 days of anime~. Following the trend (link goes to the 12 Days of Anime tag because I’m lazy), I guess it’s my turn to talk about what made 2012 great. Specifically, I’ll be talking about the two lovely women in the picture above. In the process of Photoshopping various images together, I noticed that they… kind of look similar. Luckily, their voices are anything but.

Instead of looking back on a specific anime or franchise, I’d like to highlight two seiyuu who I greatly respect and both who dominated the voice acting scene this year. Of course, I’m talking about Kana Hanazawa and Miyuki Sawashiro. Maybe these names don’t stand out to you if you don’t follow which seiyuu are in which anime that closely, but if you’ve seen an anime made in the past three years, chances are you’ve heard Hanazawa’s voice.

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Just a few of Hanazawa’s many roles (taken from pixiv)

I can see why Hanazawa gets a lot of work since she has one of the most adorable voices on the planet, but also because of that, she does kind of tend to get type cast. Hanazawa does a lot of clumsy (or maybe just socially awkward) moe, like with her past roles as Kobato and  Tsukimi. On the other hand though, she also gets a bunch of more energetic roles that try their best (like Kureha, Nessa, Shiemi) and also a lot of roles involving a soft spoken character (Nadeko, Anri, Kanade). Overall though, her roles are pretty consistent and her character is usually the most moe of the cast (…though that’s just based on my opinion of moe).

There are a few exceptions to Hanazawa’s moe streak though. She did do a shota role back in Dantalian no Shoka and she does have a few roles here and there that break her norm. This year’s example for me would be Zessica Wong, where she played the ambitious and flirty big-breasted  character instead of the cute and softer spoken one in the series. I guess with that being said, you could also throw in Ichiko from Binbougami ga! as an unexpected role, though that one somehow reminded me of her role as Zange all the way back to when Kannagi aired in 2008. Probably because both pretended to be nicer than they actually were.

Anyways, back to the present, Hanazawa has pretty much dominated voice acting since 2010 and this year was no different. She’s still going on strong and it doesn’t really look like she intends to stop when 2013 comes. This year, her favourite role of mine would be Akane Tsunemori from Psycho-Pass, though I think a lot of that comes from her unique character design and the plot of the anime more than the character herself. Another big role for Hanazawa was her portrayal of Mato Kuroi/Black★Rock Shooter in the TV adaption of Black★Rock Shooter. Maybe the storyline wasn’t put together that well, but I think Hanazawa did an excellent job acting out the angst of a middle school girl. And let’s not forget when Hanazawa almost had one of her characters win Saimoe for the first time with Kuro Matsumi from Saki: Achiga-hen. That was pretty exciting (assuming you like Hanazawa or cared about Saki). …As for the role that was the most stereotypical for Hanazawa, I’d have to say it was Chizuru Ooshima from Tonari ni Kaibutsu-kun. Socially awkward? Soft spoken? Tries her best? Yep, that seems like a Hanazawa role.

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Sawashiro birthday fan art. Her birthday is June 2nd, thus the date (taken from pixiv)

But wait! I mentioned someone else in the title to this post too! Yes, one of the most exciting things this year was Miyuki Sawashiro’s career comeback. With her career starting back in the 1990′s, Sawashiro is a veteran seiyuu with a voice that can cover shotas (or even babies) to moe characters to adult ones and pretty much everything in between. Compared to Hanazawa, her voice is slightly more versatile. …Though it probably helps that she’s been in the business for 10+ years. Her number of jobs kind of dwindled back around 2009-2010 and 2011, she took on twice as much work as the previous year, but her main role to non-main role ratio was about 50:50. After this year though, I’d say she’s far from retired!

My favourite roles from Miyuki Sawashiro this year? Well my absolute favourite would be Hakaze from Zetsuen no Tempest since Sawashiro (and all of the cast actually, but Sawashiro is my favourite) manage to make really long lengths of dialogue really interesting. Plus I like Sawashiro’s acting as arrogant characters in general. I also quite liked Sawashiro as Mine Fujiko this year, just because her voice went really well with the character. I can’t really say that there were any stereotypical roles for Sawashiro since she voices pretty much everything and she covered quite a range of roles this year as well. She even had a psychotic shota role in Kousuke Kira from Btooom!. Anyways, long story short, Miyuki Sawashiro is extremely talented and I’m glad she made a comeback this year.

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Now for the big question: who will win the seiyuu war? …Or maybe it’s not such a big question since I don’t really think the two are really competing in anything. And if they are, it’s rather ironic considering the two collaborate in quite a few of the anime together.  This year alone had them both in Zetsuen no Tempest, Nisemonogatari, Psycho-Pass, Black★Rock Shooter and that Inu x Boku special (to name a few). Even if they aren’t competing directly, Sawashiro’s had her influence in the seiyuu industry for a fairly long time. Will Hanazawa eventually surpass Sawashiro? It’s looking pretty good from Hanazawa’s track record of the past few years. After 2012 though, I’d hardly count Sawashiro out. In any case, they’re both amazing at what they do and hopefully the two of them stay in the industry for many years to come.

Anyways, that’s my memories of the year. Thanks for reading and look forward to the rest of the 12 Days of Anime~!!

About

University student and the one at Metanorn who's known for wearing glasses. Likes blood, insanity and plot twists, but also plays otome games and adores cute romance anime. It balances out... somehow.
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47 Responses to “12 Days of Anime #9 – Hanazawa & Sawashiro Syndrome”

  1. skylion says:

    Ah, Sawashiro. You forgot to mention her role in Kokoro Connect, Inaba Himeko. There were five great reasons to watch that show (all the ensemble cast), but her work on that character was so compelling.
    I would close my eyes, just to listen. No subtitles, no need for animation. Just listen. She was able to place just the right amount of emphasis on Inaba’s pains and joys. For that role alone, I’ll fight for her as best of the year. And Inaba as best female character.

    • Karakuri says:

      Ah, no so much ‘forgot’ as it didn’t really stand out to me. After that incident with the seiyuu, Kokoro Connect kind of fell off my radar. I did like her character though.

  2. Rakkyo says:

    2 of my favorite female seiyuu. XD
    Seiyuus I like are usually ones that have a very unique voice and can be identified with just 1 or 2 lines. With that criteria HanaKana and Sawashiro Miyuki ranks at the top of my list.

    I’ll be looking forward to the male version of this post. :D

    • Karakuri says:

      They do both have really distinct voices! I find that both of them are really easy to pick out in anime (…except for that one time Hanazawa voiced young Huey in Dantalian no Shoka. I was really surprised to find out that character was her). They’re my top 2 favourite female seiyuu for sure~.

      Hmm, not sure if there will be a male version (it’s up to the other writers really), but I’ll mention it to the boss lady~.

    • Kyokai says:

      Guys spoiler warning, if I do a seiyuu post, it’s gonna be a LONG ASS ONE (being a seiyuu fag is suffering). I’ll think about it though.

      For another curve ball on Sawashiro (I love her so), she plays the heroine in Space Bros but voices Mutta’s kiddie self too. :3

      • Karakuri says:

        You managed to restrain yourself with the Type-Moon one! I believe in you, Kyo! You can do it!

        I plan on marathoning Space Bros when it finishes. ….Whenever that happens. …If it ever happens.

  3. KLACMAN says:

    oh sawashiro also did ryoko/fine in symphogear with that “engish part” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TXTpik5wf4 yea also fujiko as well.

    kana hana well more rise give whoa total whole level as Tittyoko in binbougami give kana hana once did potemayo http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b143/doggit/Anime/Potemayo/2007-08-07-66506.gif & yes rana linchen in Freezing

    • Karakuri says:

      LOL I had completely forgotten about that English abomination!!! xD

      I never did watch Potemayo… Hanazawa didn’t really have a huge role in Freezing as far as I was concerned either. Ichiko was a really amusing role for her though.

      • Highway says:

        Don’t most people want to forget Freezing, anyway (plus, every seiyuu in the world was in it)? That was one of the first anime series I watched, and I don’t know if I could watch a series that brutal anymore. Between that and Daughters of Mnemosyne it’s surprising that I kept watching anime…

  4. BlackBriar says:

    I have to admit, these two do look alike.

    Kana Hanazawa, the poster girl of moe roles. She became my favorite female seiyuu after she owned 2011 with her numerous roles, even juggling a handful of them in the same season. Best of 2011: Ao no Exorcist (Shiemi Moriyama), Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (Kobato Hasegawa), Deadman Wonderland (Shiro), Guilty Crown (Ayase Shinomiya), Mayo Chiki! (Kureha Sakamachi).

    For this year, you forgot Shinsekai Yori (Maria Akizuki), To Love-Ru Darkness (Mikan Yūki), Campione! (Yuri Mariya).

    Miyuki Sawashiro only recently caught my attention and after checking out Wikipedia, she isn’t bad herself with her roles. Highschool of the Dead (Saeko Busujima), Deadman Wonderland (Toto Sakigami aka. Mockingbird).

    This year: Senki Zesshou Symphogear (Ryoko Sakurai / Finé), AKB0048 (Acchan), [K] (Seri Awashima)

    If they were competing, I’d say Hanazawa has the upper hand. She churns out a lot more roles than Sawashiro.

    • Karakuri says:

      They really do. xD

      Ahaha the Hanazawa virus tag on the site here isn’t just for show! She had a ton of roles last year.

      As for this year, I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this, but I only highlighted the ones that I really liked. The post would have been stupidly filled with links (even more than it already is) if I had gone into every single role. This is also why I didn’t point out video game roles, which both seiyuu had a number of this year.

      Hanazawa might have a lot of roles, but I’d have to say in the end, Sawashiro covers the greatest range. I’d like to see where both of them stand a year from now.

      • Highway says:

        Heh, I’ve heard quite a few people complain that Sawashiro actually doesn’t have that much range. But I really haven’t seen much that she was in.

        Most of my seiyuu paying attention is for others – Haruka Tomatsu, Saori Hayami, Marina Inoue, Aki Toyosaki…

        • BlackBriar says:

          Between the four seiyuus you mentioned, only Haruka Tomatsu has the most memorable character roles. She certainly has a lot of range in her acting. No doubt about it.

          • Highway says:

            I love whatever quality Marina Inoue has to her voice that makes it so unique. And Saori Hayami I always hope will sing (*faints*) and I just think about everything Aki Toyosaki does is great fun.

            • BlackBriar says:

              You sound like a truly dedicated fan of hers. Seems we all have favorites for different reasons.

            • Highway says:

              I honestly couldn’t call myself a dedicated fan of any seiyuu in particular. There’s nobody I’ve seen all their work of, very few that I’ll recognize off the bat. But a lot of the ones I like go back to the first anime I watched a year ago that really got me interested: Sekirei. And yeah, it’s kind of cheesy and I even started out watching it dubbed in English! And then when the series was finished, I wanted to watch Pure Engagement, so I watched the subbed versions, and then went back and watched the subbed versions of the first series, which were sooooo much better. But the thing that really hooked me, especially with that series and those seiyuus, was the OP’s, ED’s, and extra songs they did.

              I think it’s actually good for a seiyuu to have a unique quality to their voice that makes it so you can recognize them, even if they way they portray characters is different.

        • Karakuri says:

          Compared to Hanazawa, Sawashiro’s range is much greater xD there’s some truth in saying that she doesn’t have as much of a range, but I do think she does really distinctive high pitched voices compared to her normal voice.

          I absolutely love Marina Inoue!! Unfortunately this year, she had only a few roles (though Precure was pretty long running).

          • skylion says:

            One thing to keep in mind is that the range of which we speak isn’t always up to the voice artist. What we hear is decided on by directors. And after a few roles, some can get type-cast. I mean, will Rie, Queen of the Tsundere ever have any other role?

            • Highway says:

              Airi’s certainly not a tsundere. Nor is Sister Centipede. :)

              And one of the things I’m looking most forward to in the Winter 2013 season is Haganai NEXT, for more Marina Inoue. :)

            • BlackBriar says:

              It’s quite possible for her to have other kinds of roles. She’s had them in the past that weren’t tsundere and is continuing with it.

              Trinity Blood – Peter
              Rosario + Vampire – Mizore Shirayuki
              Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Alphonse Elric
              Dance in the Vampire Bund – Hysterica
              Persona 4: The Animation – Rise Kujikawa
              Haiyore! Nyaruko-san – Hastur
              Robotics;Notes – Airi

            • Karakuri says:

              A little known fact: the tsundere queen actually does AMAZING shota voices. She played one in the game Virtue’s Last Reward and I was blown away from the fact that it was her.

              @Briar For her Persona 4 role, Rise’s character was kind of based on Rie, so it’s not really a surprise that she was Rise’s VA

  5. Highway says:

    I find that Kana Hanazawa’s voice roles almost always sound the same, but she’s been trying to break away from that recently. Ichiko was totally different, and I think Oshima is very different, with a much breathier, more immediate quality than she usually has. The voice I think she usually has is the Kuroneko, Kobato, Akane Tsunemori voice.

    • Karakuri says:

      That’s a good point. …Which is probably why she’s so easy to pick out when she acts in anything. Ichiko definitely had a more firm voice (…if that’s even a thing) compared to Kuroneko and the others you mentioned. That role involved a lot of angry yelling as well though, so I think the role called for that. As for Oshima, the voice she uses there kind of reminds me of her Nadeko voice in Bakemonogatari. I haven’t really noticed her break away from her norm recently, but I’d say she’s been having odd roles here and there all along. …Maybe it’s just that she’s gotten more skilled as her career progresses.

      • Highway says:

        I just thought of another thing that doesn’t exactly help her: HanaKana keeps getting cast in nearly the exact same roles. Kobato, then Kobato 2 years older = Kuroneko, and Kuroneko = Class Rep Kuzuha from Hagure Yuusha. And then there’s Oshima + crazy possession by demonic blood-seeking blade = Anri Sonohara.

        Oh, I also wanted to link my favorite example of her singing (from about 1:55, second verse), even though it’s completely different from the character she voices in Sekirei (one of the ones that really is much different).Show ▼

        • Karakuri says:

          Ahahaha that’s so true. A lot of her roles match up in a bunch of ways.

          I wish I could link to one of my favourite songs of Hanazawa’s, but youtube doesn’t seem to have uploaded it. It’s called “trick or treat” from the Tempest ED single and Hanazawa’s voice has this edge to it that it normally doesn’t. I really like her voice in what you posted as well. It seemed so different from her usual one.

          • Highway says:

            I listened to Trick or Treat today, but it really didn’t grab me much. I do really like the ED song “happy endings”, tho. It’s got this smooth 70′s vibe that I really like. Plus, I love how in the ED animation, the little communicator doll wobbles in time to the *kirakira* at the end. :)

      • Highway says:

        Spammy’s got a comment to this post in the corner of the cage…

        • BlackBriar says:

          Good lord!! You need to equip yourself with a stronger chair and whip. They’re wearing out.

          • Karakuri says:

            …Or maybe we should start actually feeding it.

            • BlackBriar says:

              We should restrain the beast, not encourage it. It will get the wrong ideas. He’s already on Metanorn’s most wanted list for serial comment eating. Dead or Alive.

  6. Yvoon says:

    OMG!

    • Yvoon says:

      My favourite two female seiyuus!!! Though, I do like Sawashiro better mainly because she can cover a bigger variety of voices. I’ve been a huge fan of her ever since her role as Celty in Durarara and have followed most of the shows shes been in.

      Hanazawa has really bloomed these past few years and she never fails to impress with her sweet voice. Though, as unique as her voice may be, she does tend to sound the same in all her roles which makes her a less versatile voice actor for me.

      Despite their ups and downs, both seiyuu queens are going strong! Don’t think any one of them will be stepping it down anytime soon. XD

      • Karakuri says:

        My first encounter with Sawashiro was with Shinku in Rozen Maiden. Then I noticed her voice again in Bakemonogatari and I’ve been a fan ever since xD

        As for Hanazawa… yeah, there’s never much variation in her voices. Though maybe that works out in her favour since it makes her recognizable.

        I hope neither of them step down. Ever. Really, I love both of their voices and it will be a sad, sad day for me if either one of them announces retirement.

  7. Foshizzel says:

    You forgot Chiaki from Mouretsu Pirates! For Kana Hanazawa~

    Nice list though! I really like listening both of them <3

  8. Kyokai says:

    The thing is, Sawashiro was the IT first, before HanaKana even blew across the recording stage. Experience of variation and a long-list of work is her awesomeness proof but HanaKana is a very big challenger. She’s definitely the IT of present (juggling singing and seiyuu career together).

    • Karakuri says:

      I remember you saying something like that before. Yeah, I wonder how the two will end up in a couple years time, considering their popularity then and now. …Or at least I’m wondering how many more years Hanazawa will be dominating before a new seiyuu arrives and amazes the industry. Or maybe an older one will step up. I never really followed trends in the industry before, but it looks interesting now.

  9. anaaga says:

    Ahhhh that’s why Hakaze and Killua (Hunter x Hunter) have the same voice. Same VA, duh. I’ve heard her everywhere but never managed to remember her name. Now thanks to this post, now I remember! It’s Sawashiro! I need to remember that other female VA except HanaZawa actually exists

    • belatkuro says:

      You probably mean Kurapika. Kilua is voiced by Ise Mariya.

    • Karakuri says:

      Ahaha as long as you remember who Kamiyan is, we can still remain friends. xD

      …You may have convinced me to watch Hunter x Hunter with that post on the Phantom Troupe. I’ll let you know how that goes.

  10. […] Guilty Crown, Kyo’s TYPE-MOON that will always pop out every year, and Kara’s chronic Seiyuu Disease), I figure I’m going to write about my favorite antagonist of this year, the Phantom […]

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