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.
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.
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.
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~!!