Anime Diet Monthly Column: The Souls to our anime ladies – Female Seiyuu. This Month: Mitsuishi Kotono

11_17_6460_230_79_20061230181631.jpg

Well, I decided to start a new monthly column to show my true otaku/geekiness! So without further ado, here’s the first female seiyuu that I will talk about – Ms. Mitsuishi Kotono 三石琴乃 さん。

Here’s the bio taken from Wikipedia, and with some other data mixed in:

Name: Mitsuishi Kotono

DOB: 1967-12-08

POB: Toda, Saitama, Japan.

Blood Type: A

Company: Arts Vision

Debut year: 1989

Bio: Mitsuishi was a DJ at the Arts and Entertainment station at her high school. She graduated from high school in 1986, and entered the Katsuta Seiyū Academy for voice acting. She often practiced her craft by going to on location shows in Hokkaido and do some interning there. While attending the academy, she began working part time as an elevator girl in the Sunshine 60 building. Afterward, she found a position as an office lady, but because of taking too much time off, she was forced to quit.

In 1989, Mitsuishi made her seiyū debut as Tomoyo in the OVA Ace o Nerae! Final Stage. She became an instant celebrity with her role as Usagi Tsukino when Sailor Moon debuted in 1992*, and her popularity increased again with her role as Misato Katsuragi in the anime TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion. She is considered one of the most influential seiyū in the business; the animated adaptation of Ebichu was largely produced because of her interest in the project.

Mitsuishi is married and has one daughter. In a digression to her OL days, she rides a Yamaha FZ250 Phaser motorcycle. Mitsuishi works at the talent management firm Arts Vision.

In addition to being a voice over, she has written proses and has drawn manga.

de72cf0c.JPG

My thoughts of her as a seiyuu:

My first true anime love was the Sailor Moon series. I’m not ashamed to say that my love for Sailor Moon, specifically the main character Tsukino Usagi 月野うさぎ, was what really planted my feet firmly and deeply inside the kingdom of Anime. Sure, these days I’m pretty sick of these classic transformation sequences and other conventions such as yoma/daemon/lemure/whatever of the week, girls who transforms but looks exactly the same facial/body featur-wise, silly episodic plots and way-too-simple morals, but back then, watching this show, alongside with CBS’s “Touched By an Angel”, was what helped me not to completely self-destruct. These shows had always managed to get my faith back.

In any case, I didn’t know anything about seiyuu back then. When I watched anime as a kid I used to think all Japanese people sounded the same – because people I heard on Doraemon would often appear on another show (well, I watched Doraemon and…something else subtitled, the rest were dubbed). However, no seiyuu made a huge impression on me until I heard Usagi, no, Kotono-さん, acting it out.

4988101095605_a.jpg

Certainly, back in my young and impressionable, not to mention self-righteous and pretentious university days, the Sailor Moon series were just the right diet for my appetite. What impressed me about that show was that, unlike all the anime that I saw before, it taught me courage, bravery, dealing with pressure, especially when you know you’re right but your friends, and the people that you admire the most think that you’re wrong, and in Sailor Moon’s case, they think by your decision, the world is doomed. However, because Sailor Moon rather sacrifice herself then others for the sake of the world, the world is ultimately saved. She grows from a whiny, flaky, bratty girl to a mature (mostly), gentler, and more thoughtful young woman by the end of Sailor Stars. The US dubbed version completely destroyed what Sailor Moon meant to be and made it into a bratty and whiny show but without the growth, the issues, the conflicts, and for whatever was left they watered it/dumbed it down to make it acceptable to the US audience. However, before VKLL subs*, I did watch the US version, so I’m not going to pick on that version any further. But here’s why I like the Japanese seiyuu and not American voice overs – the seiyuu simply make these characters really come alive without sounding odd, pretentious, or unatural.

box02.jpg

Kotono-さん really captures the essence of a character so well that I often feel like the character comes out of the screen and draws me inside the world that she is in. Also, she always manages to play good or great roles that’s suitable to her style of voice acting. She’s capable of playing a completely wacky or aloof hamster or crazy agent in a couple of shows, and yet in other shows she acts completely serious and being a deep, authoritative and grim commander under the pressure of the fate of the world, or she can play both of these in one show. She plays blonds well as one can see in Noir – Mireille, that stylish, a little laid-back but still elegant flair with a hint of deadliness French babe that captured the hearts of many male Otaku (and probably became their endless wet dreams at least until the end of the series). But she’s not just great by herself, she can play off, against, and with others well. She often teams up with another of my favorite seiyuu – Kuwashima Houko, who I’ll be talking about in next month’s female seiyuu column. It’s hard to describe the dynamics of these two but they simply gel. With Kotono-さん’s character being mostly cooler and calmer, and often more thoughtful, and Houko-さん’s character more rash, fierce, defiant and often aggressive and confrontational in many ways.

3309276.jpg

In Eva, Kotono plays Misato, who tries so hard to show her good side, even to the point of pretending to be happy and carefree all the time all the while being highly vulnerable and sensitive inside. She hurts but she can never show that, except to the rather untrust worthy Kaji, who just knows how to get the real Misato out of her happy armor casing.

mr.jpg

As Captain Ramius, Kotono becomes a different kind of captain than the ever-classic Captain Bright from the classic gundam. Captain Bright is extremely authoritative. One either obeys him or get his ass kicked and send to the brig. But Captain Ramius is rather diplomatic and willing to listen, and also she takes on the role of caring for the mental well being of her crew members. She’s more like a caring parent who’s willing to put down some discipline when needed, but often try not to force her authority on anyone.

Kotono can act as a super competent and serious leader, and yet she can act as a ditsy and highly incompetent but comedic jester. She’s great playing as opposite extreme characters as what her roles call for.

I find it hard to talk about Kotono apart from her characters, because she acts them out so well. I find that I really love the deeper, harsher and sometimes deadly voice with a tamed fiery passion that she uses for characters such as the chairwomen for the Witches’ Council in El Cazador. Her performance in Cazador with one of her former cast mate in the Sailor Moon series – Hisakawa Aya, who played Salior Mercury/Mizuno Ami – often lifts the show up quite a few notches above the uncalled-for silliness that it has.

Mitsuishi Kotono is a classic seiyuu. She doesn’t have great looks and isn’t super cutesy or able to sing like one of the latest Japanese idols, but she does what a voice-actress is supposed to do well – voice acting.

Her most recent role that I know of is Jean in Claymore, where she teams up with Kuwashima Houko again. I hope Kotono’s character stays around a few more episodes longer. Also, really looking forward to hearing her voice acting for many years to come!

Notes:

*The beginning of the ’90s was when the idol seiyuu boom began.

*VKLL – thank you so much for your hard work back then. Also, take note, fansubbers, his way of showing his credits concerning his work is correct. You guys are very cool and we can’t appreciate y’all enough but y’all can get very intrusive at times. Still, thank y’all very much for your hard work.)

Gundam 00 – I haptise you in the name of the Bather, the Ron, and the Oily Spirit, Hamon!

First, just take a look at the Gundam 00 character page, and just look at these names.

http://www.gundam00.net/character/index.html

What is it with these “super awesome” names that these poor Japanese animators come up with? This is not the ’80’s and they do know enough about English to do OK – I should know because I taught in Japan and I found out that the average Japanese folks have come a long way on learning English since the ’80s, even though most of them in the smaller cities, towns, and country side still don’t know enough (it’s not like they really are that better much better off in Tokyo, but come on), but guess what? These type of butchered names still come up from time to time in anime. So Lockon! Stratos! And Allellujah and Hamon to that, Haptism!

I don’t know, I mean for another example, just look at the names for Baccano! (exclamation marks added by the show). I mean, do I really have to list these silly and mostly downright embarrassing names? Why is it that these folks can’t hire a real westerner (just one would do – it won’t cost that much) and make up some good names (good names don’t have to be hard to remember, even to the average Japanese, btw).

In anycase, here’s the plot of Gundam 00 translated into excellent Engrish:

2307 in Christian era.

The human race was obtaining new energy that took the place of it though the fossil fuel dried up. Large-scale photovoltaic generation system according to huge orbit elevator and it three. However, it was only a part of large country and the ally that obtained the favor of this system.

Three super power groups that own three orbit elevators. ‘Union’ that centers on the United States’Human race reformation league’ that centers on China, Russia, and India It centered on Europe ‘AEU’. Each super power group continues a considerable zero-sum game with prestige by yourself for prosperity. The human race had it was not possible to finish uniting into one yet though it became a century the 24th so …….

A private, armed organization to which “Extermination of the war by military power” hangs appears in the world of such an endless fight. Names of men who own movable suit “Gundam” are Sorestalbeing.

The military power intervention to all hostilities by Gundam starts.

(Well, of course I can make it sound right, but what’s the fun in that?) In any case, you get the idea. I’ll be blogging this once it comes out, of course.

Let’s hope it’s a good show like the modern Gundam series Gundam Seed.

But in any case, another new Gundam is coming out! Allellujah! Praise Cod!

Live action Ghibli; Yoko Kanno new project

From Anime UK news (Hail to Britannia!!! Sure, why not! we Americans haven’t given back Clive Anderson his colonies! We had better appease his countrymen!!!)

# A live action movie version of Grave of the Fireflies is on the way and due for a Japanese theatrical release during 2008. The classic 1988 anime film (of same name) from Studio Ghibli is acclaimed by many to be one of the finest animated movies of all time; based on Akiyuki Nosaka’s tragic novel, Grave of the Fireflies follows two young war orphans who find themselves homeless and starving during the US’s prolonged bombardment of WWII Japan.

# Legendary anime soundtrack composer Yoko Kanno will be contributing her talents to the new Macross TV series “Macross F (Macross Frontier)” .

And for some fine British sarcasm, please read the forum responses.

(Edit: Eh. all right.)

Sony Brings Anime Channel to Africa – good news to some of our African readers?

Again, from ANN:

Starting later this year, the DStv satellite service in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe will begin carrying Sony Pictures Television International’s Animax channel. Currently, over 40 million homes in 42 different Asian, European, and South American countires have access to it. Some of the shows that are now being broadcast on Animax in various countries include Blood+, Fullmetal Alchemist, and The Prince of Tennis. Source: WorldScreen.com

Oshii’s Fast Food Grifters to Show at British Festival

From ANN:

Tachiguishi: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters, Mamoru Oshii’s “superlivemation” mock documentary, has been selected to compete in the 15th annual Raindance Film Festival, which will be held in London from September 26 to October 7. During that time, some of the films shown at the festival will be available for viewing online, but it is not yet known whether Grifters will be among those. Full details about the festival, including showtimes and information on purchasing tickets, are available on the official website.

The Vault 04: Jin-Roh

jin-roh-back.jpg

Explanation of the Vault series

Originally published on March 9, 2003. The review originally said that Mamoru Oshii directed the film, which is incorrect. It has since been corrected. This is another “short review” where the first paragraph is summary and second paragraph evaluation.

JIN-ROH: THE WOLF BRIGADE
directed by Hiroyuki Okiura; written by Mamoru Oshii (1998)

In an alternate post-WWII scenario, Japan is on the brink of social chaos. The occupation has failed to turn Japan into a stable society by the late 1950s. Anti-government protesters and terrorists regularly battle with the authorities, setting off napalm cocktails and bombs. To combat the disorder, a storm-trooperesque division of the police–the Special Forces–is formed. This force is decked out in Nazi-style helmets with glowing red infrared eyeholes, and they are as ruthless as wolves in hunting their prey. But one day, Fuse, an ordinary member of the Forces, encounters an innocent Little Red Riding Hood-like girl clutching a backpack full of explosives. He survives the blast, but she does not. In the aftermath, Fuse goes on a soul-searching journey to discover why he didn’t have it in him to shoot her first, all while poltical forces conspire to get rid of the Special Forces altogether.

Jin-Roh is a deeply intelligent, mature animated film that seems to belong in a seperate category from most Japanese anime. The dystopian 1950s Japan depicted in the film is bleak, but believable. Oshii’s reflective, meditative style serves him well this time, unlike in the pretentious Ghost in the Shell–by keeping the focus on the main character’s self-discovery and on the theme of the effects of violence on the human soul, as well as the deft parallels to the original Little Red Riding Hood tale, the film achieves a kind of resonance and significance rare in anime. Sometimes the political relationships between the two different police forces are confusing, but the dramatic core of the story–the budding relationship between the suicide bomber’s sister and Fuse–is strong, and is a vehicle for character exploration. Also, the memorable soundtrack by Hajime Mizoguchi (with a little help from Yoko Kanno) shines, accentuating some deeply powerful and unsettling scenes. The film may not be for everyone, as its pacing is deliberate and its politics are tangled. But for those with the patience to look under its surface, there is a rewarding amount of depth to discover. The Special Edition DVD, with a soundtrack CD and an extra disc included, is highly recommended for purchase.


Michael is on hiatus for the remainder of August. The Vault series resurrects entries from his personal blog about anime, written from 2002-2006. Entries will appear in the series every other day.

God-approved manga?

“On the 8th day, God created manga”

From anime news network:

Tyndale House Publishers announced that it is launching a yearly series of Christian manga drawn by Japanese artists in September, as well as a Manga Bible with three manga sections in November. Amazon lists Hidenori Kumai as the author, with Kozumi Shinozawa and Atsuko Ogawa as the illustrators, of the first manga book, Manga Messiah. The Manga Bible will include the entire New Living Translation of the text with three 32-page manga tip-in sections that summarize the narrative.

Christianity has been covered in the SuperBook anime series, and “The God of Manga,” manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka, worked with the Vatican on the In the Beginning: The Bible Stories anime series just before he passed away. Gundam character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko created a manga series about Jesus and another about the Catholic saint Joan of Arc. A recent ANN review of a Christian world manga started a discussion on this field.

For more information on this, see the “Nextmanga” website.

Good news for Singaporean anime lovers.

From the Zel on the MAL news team

Odex’s court order forcing Pacific Internet to give names of people who have downloaded anime illegally has failed. Judge Ernest Lau ruled that
Judge Ernest Lau said:
Only copyright owners – that is, the studios that made the anime – or an ‘exclusive licensee’ for the anime being downloaded, can take legal action under the Singapore Copyright Act.

Odex is a sub-licensee and had letters from rights owners authorising it to take action on their behalf, but the firm was neither a copyright owner or an ‘exclusive licensee’.

An exclusive licensee has the sole right to distribute a product in a certain market.

By the sounds of it, Odex does not have the right to sue downloaders

Source: The Straits Times

ADV to Sell Geneon Products.

From ICv2

August 24, 2007

ICv2 has learned that ADV will take over sales, marketing, and distribution functions for all Geneon titles effective October 1st. Geneon will continue to license and produce anime content for the North American market;

The extensive Geneon catalogue will continue to be available through ADV, making a formidable combined title roster from the two companies.

Geneon rids itself of a sales, marketing, and distribution function that is servicing much lower volume than it did in the days when Geneon was distributing Viz (Pokemon) and Bandai titles. ADV gains the economies of scale of servicing larger volume on a similar expense base.

Anime Diet Radio Episode 10 – The Big Date

Hey, it looks like this weekly release schedule (audio column-podcast-audio column) is actually starting to work! This is the last podcast we recorded a couple of weeks ago (as opposed to nearly a month ago). We have a lot of fun discussing, as far as anime goes, Code-E, Mononoke, and laughing at English phrases from the Moetan workbook. News items include Thai police officers forced to wear Hello Kitty armbands and a bunch of international cosplayers partying with the Foreign Ministry of Japan.

We wrap up with a Roundtable discussion about otaku dating: how to get a date, and what it has to do with the horrid relational skills of Makoto in School Days! Here we have to give a shout out and reference to otaku dating posts by Riuva and Marmot (sorry I definitely butchered your name the first time, and possibly every other time)! If it sounds like we’re making fun of the posts, we’re not. At least not too much. :) It was just great discussion fodder and there’s actually some valuable advice in both. Seriously, we love y’all and appreciate it.

Anyways, it’s been another fun episode. Look forward to another audio column from one of us next week!

Show Notes

  • OP: “Guns & Roses” by Paradise Lunch (OP to Baccano!)
  • ED: “Stardust Tears” by ACKO (ED to Top wo Nerae 2!)
  • Riuva’s post about dating is here. I wasn’t kidding about the post number! (http://www.riuva.com/?p=666)
  • Marmot’s response to that post and her own tips are here. (http://tinyurl.com/3xou6n)
  • The BBC story about Thai police and Hello Kitty is here. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6932801.stm)
  • A picture of the Vice Foreign Minister and the cosplayers is at this site. (http://www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/flash/KFullFlash20070801053_p.html)
%d bloggers like this: