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Old 2007-05-23, 09:08   Link #101
Wavedash
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I like the discussion going on here.

I agree that Hirano does seem to slide into impish mode, which she does wonderfully and with that touch that makes it truly humorous, but it could very well be intentional on both her and the directors' parts. Konata seems to be a mostly flat character, defined by her otakuness of singleminded devotion to anime, manga and games. This works fine in 4 koma which you read, laugh, then put away in 10 seconds. To make her more appealing and entertaining in a 20 minute format, I think the staff have chosen to develop other previously unseen qualities in Konata.

Vexx, I also agree that Kagami is more on the money, but she also has an easier and better defined part to play. Tsundere/tsukommi are commonly understood concepts, but there has been no such development along the same archetype for "lazy otaku girl".
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Old 2007-05-23, 13:04   Link #102
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Originally Posted by Wavedash View Post
I like the discussion going on here.

I agree that Hirano does seem to slide into impish mode, which she does wonderfully and with that touch that makes it truly humorous, but it could very well be intentional on both her and the directors' parts. Konata seems to be a mostly flat character, defined by her otakuness of singleminded devotion to anime, manga and games. This works fine in 4 koma which you read, laugh, then put away in 10 seconds. To make her more appealing and entertaining in a 20 minute format, I think the staff have chosen to develop other previously unseen qualities in Konata.

Vexx, I also agree that Kagami is more on the money, but she also has an easier and better defined part to play. Tsundere/tsukommi are commonly understood concepts, but there has been no such development along the same archetype for "lazy otaku girl".
I will say they *aren't* pulling Kona's personality out of thin air. This is pretty much the way she acts in the comics and its left up to the reader to decide how its voiced. So Aya's interpretation isn't really off because Kona isn't a *standard* otaku anymore than Kagami is a standard tsundere/tsukommi or Tsukasa is a standard moe-ditz.

So I'm giving them all some pointage for understanding the variations from the "standard archetype" these characters have.

Last edited by Vexx; 2007-05-23 at 13:17.
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Old 2007-05-23, 14:39   Link #103
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Casual japanese involves a lot of noises to express things... the impish noises are not out of line...
The noises Aya injects are quite unlike the ones that you hear during usual conversations - she is delibrately adding a lot more breathe noises, pauses, throaty sounds etc, it's not really just in Lucky Star but she does that in Haruhi as well, those are not the type of sounds which you hear very much even in anime, let alone in RL. It's a habit of her delivery which makes her acting unique in a way and it worked very well in some cases, but in Lucky Star she does it a lot more than usual and IMO it's way overboard to the point of making the delivery sound awkward. I can understand if they want to make the delivery sounding less smooth, but now it's done so much it has even more of an artificial feel to it.
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Old 2007-05-23, 14:51   Link #104
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Aah, I understand now. I thought you meant the little mumblings and I couldn't really see why that was a problem at all.

I have noticed that Kona has a lot of extra breathing sounds, though I didn't notice them at all in Haruhi... Sometimes it *is* a little weird, but sometimes it also seems to fit real well (like the sounds Kona makes when sneaking to put soap behind Miyuki... though she wasn't talking at the same time). In any case, it hasn't bothered me, but I also haven't been looking for it... now that I know Hirano has a habit of doing this, I'll probably end up noticing it more and more... As long as it doesn't become outright distracting, I don't mind.
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Old 2007-05-23, 15:45   Link #105
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Originally Posted by houkoholic View Post
The noises Aya injects are quite unlike the ones that you hear during usual conversations - she is delibrately adding a lot more breathe noises, pauses, throaty sounds etc, it's not really just in Lucky Star but she does that in Haruhi as well, those are not the type of sounds which you hear very much even in anime, let alone in RL. It's a habit of her delivery which makes her acting unique in a way and it worked very well in some cases, but in Lucky Star she does it a lot more than usual and IMO it's way overboard to the point of making the delivery sound awkward. I can understand if they want to make the delivery sounding less smooth, but now it's done so much it has even more of an artificial feel to it.
Yeah, its rather compressed and extreme (but then Kona is a rather compressed and extreme character). .... - but you must stand near different people than I do in public places and have different sorts of relatives? I hear a substantial amount of nonverbal sounds compared with, say, english, spanish, or german. My current japanese instructor jokes that 25% of casual japanese is made up of wordless sounds.
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Old 2007-05-24, 02:17   Link #106
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Yeah, its rather compressed and extreme (but then Kona is a rather compressed and extreme character). .... - but you must stand near different people than I do in public places and have different sorts of relatives? I hear a substantial amount of nonverbal sounds compared with, say, english, spanish, or german. My current japanese instructor jokes that 25% of casual japanese is made up of wordless sounds.
I'm not talking about the usual etto ums and ahs grunts, the kurukuru kirakira and all that, I'm perfectly aware of these wordless sounds.

Just say for example, a normal sentence, but written in English for the sake of readership, like this:
I like curry, because I think it's tasty, and I like tonkatsu the best.

If talking about meaningless words and sounds in Japanese, it would sound something like this:
I like curry, (er pause) because I think it's (um pause) tasty. (etto pause) and I like tonkatsu the best (um yeah).

Aya's delivery of a sentence will usually go like this:
I like curry (heavy exhale on last syllabal), because I (throat noise emphasis) think it's tasty (another throat noise on syllabal), (little breath inhale) and I like tonkatsu the best (emphasis on "t" sound).

For characters like Haruhi and Misa who are hyper and talks really fast it works good because you can picture someone always talking so fast and with much force in their speech needing the exchange of breathes etc, and actually giving it a more natural feel. But for someone like Konata where you can listen to every syllabal she speaks, it's very grating for me personally. And I really think she needs to tone it down.

I hope this clears up what I mean.
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Old 2007-05-24, 03:27   Link #107
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What houkoholic just said is what I thought he meant and what I hear, too. The difference is that I like it. The excess breath and spit-filled mushiness makes a unique and funny character for me. And I think the breathy hesitancy she uses for Layla is very emotionally expressive, even if it isn't totally naturalistic. I didn't like the whole way Misa was presented, myself, so I never got to the point of considering voice qualities.

Like I said, I sometimes think pro seiyuu are too smooth. They can seem like announcers rather than actors. It sometimes seems to me that they are trying to match a standard voice, rather than communicating a character or creating something new. But I even go so far as to like some totally untrained voices, so.... In any case, I can see why someone might think Aaya kind of unsubtle and extreme, particularly here. But I like it.
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Last edited by Kaoru Chujo; 2007-05-24 at 12:20.
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Old 2007-05-24, 04:17   Link #108
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@houkoholic: Ah...... I see

There's probably some wonderful linguistics symbology that describes that perfectly...... (just spun through a few Kona lines of dialog... yeah, she could tone it down....) Just noticed she was even doing the straw slurp noise at the fast food joint, but that I'll label 'attention-to-detail'.
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Old 2007-05-24, 22:46   Link #109
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Thanks for the clarification Vexx, was not aware that happened in the comic.

I think the strange speaking mannerisms actually work here for Konata. Her mush-filled mouth is distinctive and belongs to a socially stunted nerd. To go along with what Kaoru was saying, sometimes pro seiyuu start being too good at it...like Hocchan and her moe. With her television appearance on Hey x3 lately and her Suzu in Airantou, she sounds like she's too conscious of the moe appeal and dials it in with intent. But as Shingo of Heisei Demo once noted, moe is best when you can believe it comes from someone utterly ignorant of her own appeal and after a decade of doing it, Hocchan doesn't give quite that anymore.

Long story short, Hirano is approaching it as a relative neophyte, which gives it some moe credibility (and I think she is supposed to be very moe), and the mannerisms work in that Konata sounds twisted.
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Old 2007-05-24, 23:01   Link #110
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Konata's odd breaths, grunts, and mushy speech remind me of the poor speech habits of many a male geek. I think when they come from a cute girl, it emphasizes her unique character.
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Old 2007-05-25, 00:21   Link #111
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Originally Posted by robertness View Post
Konata's odd breaths, grunts, and mushy speech remind me of the poor speech habits of many a male geek. I think when they come from a cute girl, it emphasizes her unique character.
(This post is kind of rambling. That'll teach me to post this late.)

I was thinking the same thing, but there was something else I notice.

Konata intentionally tries to make her own speech delivery more interesting, not just through her choice of mangling words but through her extra sounds and intonation. She does it a lot less when she's alone, though. Just like her desire to annoy Tsukasa, she takes her daily interactions as an opportunity to perform for her own amusement (probably because she'd find human interaction boring otherwise).

I'm much the same, although it manifests in a different way. I just learned to tone it down around "normal people".

Without seeing her speech patterns from the manga, I'm not sure how much of this character trait is unique to the anime, but as "performance-inclined" as Konata is, I get the feeling it's not just Hirano trying to sound unique for the role, but genuinely trying to portray the character. After watching different interviews with her at different times, I get the feeling that Hirano is much like this herself, though (her widely-varying "real voice" is a good indicator of that). She says that pretty much her first shot at the voice after reading the manga is what they used (aside from frequently having to make it sound more lethargic), so she probably picked up the idea that Konata might sound that way from the manga itself.
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Old 2007-05-25, 01:05   Link #112
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It is fairly difficult to translate what Kona is saying in the manga at times because she intentionally mangles her words and grammar so much. Given what I've been able to absorb from the manga -- Aya's doing a fair job. This *is* one of the reasons I prefer japanese seiyuu's to most english VAs .. they actually take the time to research their characters. I rarely get that sense from the english dubs.

If I were doing "read aloud story time" with the comic, I'd probably be coming up with much the same wild variation in tone (depressed monotonic, almost manic, doing 'voices', etc)
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Old 2007-05-25, 02:25   Link #113
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Originally Posted by Wavedash View Post
I think the strange speaking mannerisms actually work here for Konata. Her mush-filled mouth is distinctive and belongs to a socially stunted nerd. To go along with what Kaoru was saying, sometimes pro seiyuu start being too good at it...like Hocchan and her moe. With her television appearance on Hey x3 lately and her Suzu in Airantou, she sounds like she's too conscious of the moe appeal and dials it in with intent.
That's not it. The aim of Heyx3 and the tsukkomi combo host on it is to make fun of the guests. The trend in Japan right now is "hey look at how weird these otakus are!", so they snipped a 30minute long interview and took the worst possible 5 minutes to televise.

Like Mizuki Nana's first appearance on Heyx3, Hocchan got caught out. Both Nana-chan and Hocchan were acting the way that they would in front of their fans thus making them perfect make fun of material in the eyes of normal people, Aya (or her management) is the one that's playing smooth here where they got her to switch into a different mode to play the innocent cutie.

There's an article I've wrote in my blog comparing the first Nana-chan appearance with the Aya appearance, you can read it here.

Quote:
Long story short, Hirano is approaching it as a relative neophyte, which gives it some moe credibility (and I think she is supposed to be very moe), and the mannerisms work in that Konata sounds twisted.
I'd argue otherwise, Aya is the one that's trying to play neophyte, which is why I say her delivery is artificial in Lucky Star. She's a pro already with more than 10 years of entertainment experience (she started acting at the age of 9, her debute seiyuu role was more than 5 years ago) and now she's trying really hard, too hard in fact, to undo/hide those experience and that's why I'm calling it artificial.

A pro in any field delibrately trying to act amateur is very very hard, and the result is usually awkward. That's the feeling I get with Aya in Lucky Star.
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Old 2007-05-25, 11:33   Link #114
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While your perspective on Hey x3 is appreciated, it still doesn't really address what I was saying. Let me clarify my previous post. No matter what the intention of the management of Hey x3 is, they still had a 30 year old woman come on and have her do cutesy, 17 year old things without a hint of embarassment but rather a sense of "been there, done that".

Hirano is still a neophyte in many ways, IMO, because while she has been in the industry a long time, her roles have never quite fit into a mold. Going back to Hocchan, we can't even begin to count how many moe/protagonist/love interests she's played. Hirano has a couple of bit roles, an unusual protagonist in Kiddy Grade, the gungho Haruhi, a bipolar SM/oneesan in GA Rune, and so on. Another good point to note is while she started awhile ago, she hasn't worked on it full time until recently because of education.
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Old 2007-05-25, 11:44   Link #115
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Since some people have hinted that I should try saying something more positive for a change....I will:

This is about the Seiyuu they've chosen for Konata's father, his name is Hirokazu Hiramitsu. I'm probably one of if not the only people here familiar with who he is and his only major past role in Daba Myroad from Heavy Metal L-Gaim. Daba Myroad was a character kind of like Luke Skywalker (They both even have Light Sabers), who suffered immense hardship, but instead of angsting about it or letting it control him or defeat him, he turned his sorrow into strength almost instantly. Through this he was able to conquer not only his own weaknesses, but win over the respect and loyalty of other's in his rebellion against an emperor who used the power of Bio-Relation to remain immortal and invincible (Daba's power to relate to other lifeforms suffering through empathy was more than likely the true Bio-Relation and that is how Poseidal the emperor fell). This is the kind of character Hirokazu Hiramitsu portrayed and I think this is a perfect fit for Konata's father who despite losing his spouse, has turned his loss into the strength to give extra love to his daughter, and she seem's to have learned this too as she has not let her mother's death get to her as we have seen.

So extremely good casting choice, kudos.

Here is also what he might sound like once he get's to speak, but it has been almost 25 years (He's the guy with the black hair and red scarf, ignore the Fairy).
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Old 2007-05-25, 11:51   Link #116
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I actually agree with houkoholic that Aaya isn't inexperienced. I think the roughness of her delivery is just her style. I was contrasting it with the smooth "pro" delivery of a Hocchan, but I didn't mean she wasn't a pro. However, what Wavedash says in his most recent post is also true: she is only now really devoting herself to her profession.

I think it's a bit much to count her experience back to the age of nine, when she was put into a kids' drama troupe, but she has been doing at least one anime a year since she was 14. And there are lots of clips around from her brief stint as part of the idol unit Springs. However, I think she has really been learning a lot over the past year. But I would be really disappointed if she homogenized her delivery so as to make it more standard and acceptable. I hear some of that from Yahagi Sayuri and Saitou Chiwa recently and it seems a shame to me to not hear their very individual voices.

I don't know how much Aaya fakes things, but my sense is that she is a very tense and nervous person and never quite sure of herself. She may not be an amateur, but I think she's still "young" psychologically. I feel certain there is a "stage mother" in the background somewhere, although she never talks about her family. She seems physically and mentally vulnerable, although I don't know how much of that might be an act. I don't think much of it is, but I don't know. The collapse last November was real, and her weeping is clearly real, when you see or hear it. I thought it was telling when she said that she just enjoyed all her voice-acting when she was younger, but since Haruhi she feels more responsibility and it's more nerve-wracking.

When she came on stage for the NHK interview last month, she did the super-high-voice-genki thing. It took about 20 minutes for her to settle into a much lower voice and a more serious presentation. I think her normal voice is a mid-range one -- somewhere between super-genki and Layla -- but once again it's hard to be sure.

houkoholic's blog entry was great. I'm now going to look for the Nana and Hocchan Hey3 interviews. I'm not sure how Aaya's people could have rigged the audience to get more girls in it, but it was a great inspiration if they did. As for her true character, I thought it showed a bit on one interview: when guest and hosts drew something, and she was clearly frustrated and embarrassed (but trying to hide it) that her drawing was not as well done as the other woman's.

Now, on a less serious note, here are three photos from Aaya's blog over the past few days: two wearing her Death Note outfit (she says she wants to use it for a live event sometime), and one in twintails (she said it was the first time she had ever succeeded in doing them herself). She was grabbing a bite to eat as she rushed from one meeting location to another, when the location was changed. She says the past nine months working on Death Note have been tremendously enjoyable.

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Last edited by Kaoru Chujo; 2007-05-25 at 12:03.
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Old 2007-05-25, 12:51   Link #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaioshin_Sama View Post
Since some people have hinted that I should try saying something more positive for a change....I will:

This is about the Seiyuu they've chosen for Konata's father, his name is Hirokazu Hiramitsu. I'm probably one of if not the only people here familiar with who he is and his only major past role in Daba Myroad from Heavy Metal L-Gaim. Daba Myroad was a character kind of like Luke Skywalker (They both even have Light Sabers), who suffered immense hardship, but instead of angsting about it or letting it control him or defeat him, he turned his sorrow into strength almost instantly. Through this he was able to conquer not only his own weaknesses, but win over the respect and loyalty of other's in his rebellion against an emperor who used the power of Bio-Relation to remain immortal and invincible (Daba's power to relate to other lifeforms suffering through empathy was more than likely the true Bio-Relation and that is how Poseidal the emperor fell). This is the kind of character Hirokazu Hiramitsu portrayed and I think this is a perfect fit for Konata's father who despite losing his spouse, has turned his loss into the strength to give extra love to his daughter, and she seem's to have learned this too as she has not let her mother's death get to her as we have seen.

So extremely good casting choice, kudos.

Here is also what he might sound like once he get's to speak, but it has been almost 25 years (He's the guy with the black hair and red scarf, ignore the Fairy).
Kona's dad is one of the more interesting tier two characters in Lucky*Star. There's a very rough resemblance in description to Yotsuba's dad in Yotsubato (he works out of the house, writing and translating, tends to loaf about in the least clothing possible -- though Kona-dad prefers a raggy yukata whereas Yotsuba-dad loves boxers and t-shirt). Kona-dad is quirky and basically Kona picked up many of her hobbies and activities from him. I'd call the voicing pretty good casting if Hiramitsu sticks with his usual voice.
Spoiler for for those who want to be surprised by his quirks:


Hopefully, they'll give us some good screenshots of him and Kona-mom during a photo-album browsing. I suppose this will be the real test of "where are the male characters" in this sort of show... he does have a significant presence in the manga.

@Kaoru: what is Aya eating in that last picture? The wrap looks like a manju pancake thing but I can't figure out what the filling is.
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Old 2007-05-25, 12:56   Link #118
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While your perspective on Hey x3 is appreciated, it still doesn't really address what I was saying. Let me clarify my previous post. No matter what the intention of the management of Hey x3 is, they still had a 30 year old woman come on and have her do cutesy, 17 year old things without a hint of embarassment but rather a sense of "been there, done that".
That's because it's a seiyuu's job to be like that. And as Hocchan has said, for a seiyuu they can be loose with their age, and that's because they, for the most part for work, have to act like they're younger than they are, but most of them just prefers to stay mentally young and act young since you have to be like that to be involved in a job like being a seiyuu, in fact it's probably not even that different to being a real actor when they have to suddenly act dumb and not fluster. Even Inoue Kikuko, who's 43 and has a 7 year old kid acts all moe moe as she was the cult leader of the "I'm 17 years old" crowd. This of course makes it perfect foddle for the Heyx3 people to make fun of such that they specifically requested her do that "act" live, as this act in the eyes of normal people it makes them seem catering to a strange crowd, and it was Heyx3's sole intention to bring out this part of the job of these seiyuu as otaku sensationalism is what sells on TV right now. You feel Hocchan was catering because they've done their job in making you feel that way.

If you ever get a chance, check out Nana-chan's second appearance on Heyx3, in that one they stopped making these "otaku traps" for Nana-chan and it turns out to be a very normal interview, an interview where Nana-chan even make a few comebacks on the hosts.

Quote:
she hasn't worked on it full time until recently because of education.
She hasn't worked on as a fulltime seiyuu because she's been doing an idol group call Springs for the last few years. If you want catering to moe, Aya definitely knows it better because she's been a professional idol, which is more than you can say for even the most famous idol seiyuu.

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Originally Posted by Kaoru Chujo View Post
I don't know how much Aaya fakes things, but my sense is that she is a very tense and nervous person and never quite sure of herself. She may not be an amateur, but I think she's still "young" psychologically. I feel certain there is a "stage mother" in the background somewhere, although she never talks about her family. She seems physically and mentally vulnerable, although I don't know how much of that might be an act. I don't think much of it is, but I don't know.
I have a feeling that part of it is because her management is requesting her to act in this way (actually the moe way that Wavedash is talking about) against her own will. If you look at the incident of how she dyed her hair against the order of her management, the way she talks on radio etc, she's quite a spunky girl despite her petit figure. Heck I would almost call her a Shibuya-kei - those teenage girls who are into the latest fashions, gossips and being cool - and the problem is most otakus despise Shibuya-kei, and her management knows it, thus they're forcefully regulating how she behaves so that she would not damage the "dreams" of her fanbase.

Frankly I would rather have her act more to her own image, but sadly that's not how the idol industry works.

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The collapse last November was real, her weeping is clearly real
Her collapsing is simply her being way over-worked. It happens when you have to juggle 6 regular roles with full time university, and she reportedly only survived on 3 hours sleep per day. Not even the healthiest teens can live, nay, survive on being worked like that.

As for the weeping, I hate to stereotype but Japanese people weep a lot. Most of it has to do with them not seeing weeping as a sign of weakness but instead they like the geniue display of emotion. I've seen many seiyuu cry, male and female, and that's not an overstatement.

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I'm not sure how Aaya's people could have rigged the audience to get more girls in it, but it was a great inspiration if they did.
Oh it's quite easy since I went through the application process.
To apply for the audience you send in an email to Lantis (not Heyx3) and in it you have to specify your sex and age, they would also double check on your identity on the day of entry because they specifically said you must bring a photo ID to confirm that you're said person if you won the lottary. A 2ch poster also said on the day the producer delibrately moved all the girls to the front seats as well. It's all plan, a little too well planned in fact.

Also don't forget that Heyx3 is a mainstream music show, the audience aren't necessarily drawn from the Aya lottary as some attendents are fans of other musicians.

FWIW, neither the Nana nor the Hocchan one had these requirements, so draw your own conclusions.

Finally, while I may sound like I'm ranting against Aya, I must say that I do in fact like her a lot, I just don't like how her management is handling her in this specific way which is pushing a certain very well crafted image of her which I don't know is the real her or not. It feels like they are handling her like a normal celebrity and frankly if I want normal celebrity I wouldn't be looking for one in the seiyuu circle.
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Last edited by houkoholic; 2007-05-25 at 13:31.
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Old 2007-05-25, 13:07   Link #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Kona's dad is one of the more interesting tier two characters in Lucky*Star. There's a very rough resemblance in description to Yotsuba's dad in Yotsubato (he works out of the house, writing and translating, tends to loaf about in the least clothing possible -- though Kona-dad prefers a raggy yukata whereas Yotsuba-dad loves boxers and t-shirt). Kona-dad is quirky and basically Kona picked up many of her hobbies and activities from him. I'd call the voicing pretty good casting if Hiramitsu sticks with his usual voice.
Spoiler for for those who want to be surprised by his quirks:


Hopefully, they'll give us some good screenshots of him and Kona-mom during a photo-album browsing. I suppose this will be the real test of "where are the male characters" in this sort of show... he does have a significant presence in the manga.

@Kaoru: what is Aya eating in that last picture? The wrap looks like a manju pancake thing but I can't figure out what the filling is.
Okay it will be a huge loss if his part isn't given justice as from what you've described he is potentially one of the funniest characters in the series whose only handicap is that he is a man. The fact that he has finally appeared on screen leads me to believe that we should be seeing him talk within the next couple of episodes. Can't wait as I am kind of getting bored of the same 4 girls (Yui hasn't done much, let's face it) and you can only go so far with the same old cast members. I say give Daba......er pops a chance.
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Old 2007-05-25, 13:37   Link #120
Vexx
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Originally Posted by houkoholic View Post
I have a feeling that part of it is because her management is requesting her to act in this way (actually the moe way that Wavedash is talking about) against her own will. If you look at the incident of how she dyed her hair against the order of her management, the way she talks on radio etc, she's quite a spunky girl despite her petit figure. Heck I would almost call her a Shibuya-kei - those teenage girls who are into the latest fashions, gossips and being cool - and the problem is most otakus despise Shibuya-kei, and her management knows it, thus they're forcefully regulating how she behaves so that she would not damage the "dreams" of her fanbase.

Frankly I would rather have her act more to her own image, but sadly that's not how the idol industry works.
I'd like to take the "dreams of her fanbase" and punt-kick them so we could get some variety in the gene pool there... I suspect their "focus group" studies make the same fatal errors that such things do everywhere --- they end up playing it toooooo safe and suck the life of the situation.
Funny that many otaku despise that which they themselves are prone to in their own way

I rather like the variants like Aya (I get the impression that Asakawa Yuu also thumbed her nose at convention at times -- particularly in her music)

Houkoholic ... a lot of your posts seem to point to some of the more acidic spears from Megatokyo being on target in some respects.

((lets see... 1) a land of heartstoppingly cute women who want to be all kinds of different things 2) a land of guys who seem stuck on one stereotype alone for the "perfect" mate 3) plummeting marriage and birth rates 4) QED: a land of opportunity for any guy with a clue about what women want --- the preceding was only partly in jest))
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