One interesting seiyuu that’s often known to be sarcastic and harsh in real life, much like the characters “Kyun(from Haruhi)” or “Kagame (from Lucky Star)” is Kuwashima Houko.
Here’s a little Bio of her (from Wiki):
(桑島 法子, Kuwashima Hōko?) is a seiyū and singer born December 12, 1975 in Kanegasaki, Isawa, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Her blood type is A. She is 158 cm tall and weighs 45 kg. Her three sizes are ??-??-??. Her shoe size is 23.5 cm.She is capable of playing a variety of roles, ranging from young boys to feminine women. Kuwashima is currently affiliated with Aoni Production. Her given name, Houko (法子, Hōko?), is sometimes misread as Noriko, even in Japan. This may be due to the fact that Noriko is another way of pronouncing 法子, as seen in the name of Noriko Sakai, a famous Japanese actress.
Her debut was Martian Successor Nadeshico, where she played the lead female character. Misumaru Yurka. That’s where I first heard of her voice. I remember marveling at the slightly bitchy but really cute and clueless voice she used. The show was funny as hell, and I really liked it when Yurika kept following Akito the male lead, and Houko-chan kept on going, “Ne, Akito…Ne Akito…Ne Akito…” But I was surprised at her smarts in dealing with enemy groups. Her funny English was one of the classic Japenglish moments in anime history.
I don’t remember her roles immediately after that. But after sometime, I heard of her voice in Noir, and I fell in love again. She was quiet, not completely certain with a hint of innocence and a hint of fearlessness of death.
Her most used voice (not in Noir but in a lot of her other works) is kind of high, kind of spoiled, not exactly kind, but cute and and adorable to me.
I don’t like her singing works, however. I feel like her bitchiness was too obvious in her first work, in which she tried to act as if seiyuu singing works are high art – they’re not. Like it or not, the job of seiyuus are to make the fans happy.
I think her meaty roles are when she played Fllay Alster and First Officer and later Captain Natarle Badgiruel. In the latter role, she was crafty, a little slimy in character. She often butt her head with the commanding officer, played by Mistuishi Kotono-sama. Her methods are most often just to get things done, without regarding consequences. To her, the end completely justified the means, no matter how disgusting the means were.
As Flley Alster, Houko-chan was playing one of her best roles – as a spoiled brat. Ever since Nadeshico, I’ve been feeling that Houko-chan’s best roles are when she play brats or ojo-samas. Male or female. But of course, I like her female roles better.
She played a perfect ojo-sama in Black Lagoon when voice acted Washimine Yukio, who suddenly had her world ruined right in front of her, and she had to deal with the consequences thrusted upon her.
I think her voice has a tinge of whinnies but not annoy enough to piss me off. A litle bitchy, quite beautiful and knowing it, and just doesn’t hold back enough venom – is the essence of what her voice is all about.
However, she can also play a variety of other roles. From Kirika the amnesia killer in Noir, to the innocent and other worldly Kisaragi Quon in Rahxephon, she’s lovely in a lot of her roles, and her little clueless bitchiness is just so cute.
I’ve been using the word “bitchiness” too much simply because I feel that the best way to describe her voice. But as an Otaku, I love it and I don’t mind it.
As for her male or masculine voice, I seldom cared for these. She played Kagura in Azumanga Daioh. I don’t think she shined all that much, but she was competent. The exception would her voice in Claymore. Playing as the world-weary Clare, She did very well as someone who had loss a great deal but still fought and marched forward not giving in to the urges to slaughter, destroy, and self-destruct.
In real life, she has a reputation of not holding back when she’s got something to say. In Taiwanese terms, it’s called having a “poisoned tongue.” I personally think brutal honesty is the best policy, though I don’t do it much.
Lastly, I want to talk about her looks a little bit. I used to have the pictures from her photobook that I got off the net, in which I got a glimpse of the different sides of her, such as her soft and femine side, her stuck up side, her unrestrained, free, and relaxed sides. My favorite picture of her was when she sat on the red couch with her knees close to her chest, and barefoot with her hair tied back. She looked relaxed, not too flashy, and not stuck up at all.
Unfortunately, I lost that picture due to a virus attack. I’d appreciate it very much if someone could help me finding it again. Not the cropped version where her feet are cropped, but the whole version where her whole frame is visible. In any case, before studios started picking up people with only looks and not much talent, and Hirano Aya, who’s got talent as well as looks, Houko-chan was one of the prettier seiyuu that broke the mold of traditional views on seiyuu that seiyuus either had great voices but no looks, or had looks but only mediocre voice acting skills. No, she’s not the best looking of them all, but she’s pretty good looking, and no, she doesn’t have special voices like Megumi-sama or Kikuko-sama, but she has a wide range of voice acting skills.
I’ll be looking forward to her new works.
P.S. I apologize for my choppy sentences. For me, it’s simply easier to like Kuwashima Houko-chan then analyze and talk about her. I’m thinking of doing someone like Hayashibara Megumi-sama next time. But we’ll see.