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Old 2006-02-28, 18:15   Link #41
Srin Tuar
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Hrm, 2-3 thousand yen seems to be a very low number. basically $15-$25 per episode??

I mean, that doesnt even seem to cover a day's pocket expenses.

There must be more to the story than that. Or else being a seiyuu is strictly a hobby
that gets done in one's spare time, because at those rates the pay doesnt even
cover transportation/lunch/etc.
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Old 2006-02-28, 19:19   Link #42
kj1980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Srin Tuar
Hrm, 2-3 thousand yen seems to be a very low number. basically $15-$25 per episode??

I mean, that doesnt even seem to cover a day's pocket expenses.

There must be more to the story than that. Or else being a seiyuu is strictly a hobby
that gets done in one's spare time, because at those rates the pay doesnt even
cover transportation/lunch/etc.
Unfortunately, that is the real life. That is why most seiyuus need to do many auditions to get more anime series, dub voice overs for movies, voices for commercials, to make a living. If that doesn't work, they need to find a job for secondary income (working at a restaurant, a convenience store, etc. etc.).

It's the real world. If you don't have nothing to shine and impress the sponsors, sound directors, and the creators of anime, TV commercials or movies, you end up working for the dark side - voicing ero-anime and ero-games (though many seiyuus do ero-games under a pseudonym as it pays a bit better), getting quick cash by appearing in a porno (I need not say many here probably knows Miyamura Yuko as an example of this) etc. etc.

Just like any other entertainment industry anywhere, it ain't all glitz and glory.
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Old 2006-02-28, 20:47   Link #43
Eclipze
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Well, to add on regarding seiyuus, watching REC would provide "some truth" regarding being one. Though I dont think the pay is mentioned, the harshness of being one is definately portrayed.
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Old 2006-03-01, 10:23   Link #44
DaFool
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I don't see the big deal about being on the dark side -- voicing erogames and eroanime. There is a big difference between being a porn star and voicing moans and grunts. Like for example, Nutech Digital's practice of using real live-action porn stars to dub hentai is in my opinion unnecessary. Any good voice actor would still keep my respect whatever she voices...it is after all, voice-acting, which is not even full acting. And I don't think the mainstream viewer even cares who voices characters in animation (The only ones who care are Dreamworks Animation hiring big actors to voice 3D animals....BIG DEAL)

What is to me a big deal? Kate Winslett exposing her breasts for millions of viewers around the world in a PG-13 movie (Titanic). Or Anne Hathaway's sudden debut from G-rated chic flicks to an R-18 movie about gays (Brokeback Mountain). Contrast that with lending your moans to a couple of cartoon characters. Sheesh.

$15 can and does cover a day's pocket expenses, even in Japan. If you have a stored value train ticket bought the previous week, if you know where to shop, and you live quite decently, assuming the rent doesn't get you. I haven't been to Japan, but I can safely say it's similar to any crowded asian city. Go the local lifestyle, not the gaijin one. Being a seiyuu is definitely not a dream job, but then again, most jobs aren't.
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Old 2006-03-01, 11:31   Link #45
Eclipze
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However, Japan has one of the highest standard of living, hence $15 a day would definately be not enough, unless you live with your parents/have no rent issues to worry about. That is why seiyuus take on multiply roles so as to get by.

I would say that indeed, voicing eroge/hentai isnt a big deal at all, because those VA roles are looked down upon by the general public in the first place.
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Old 2006-03-01, 12:57   Link #46
kj1980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFool
What is to me a big deal? Kate Winslett exposing her breasts for millions of viewers around the world in a PG-13 movie (Titanic). Or Anne Hathaway's sudden debut from G-rated chic flicks to an R-18 movie about gays (Brokeback Mountain). Contrast that with lending your moans to a couple of cartoon characters. Sheesh.
The fans don't care - the people that get irked are the sponsors. And the main reason is:

Let's say a seiyuu goes to an audition and get the role for a very popular children's show that runs on NHK (the nationally owned TV station).

A few days later, TV execs find out that the seiyuu did a role in an ero-game without covering up her name. She immediately loses her job that she acquired.

Why? Same as any other country with bitching parents and teachers associations that cry afoul "oh, think of the children! how can you be so obtuse to let such person doing a kid's show! won't please someone think of the children!?"

So the use of "dark side" is meant to be "dark side" that must be hidden under the rug by use of pseudonyms in order to protect themselves should they become famous.

Hence, Miyamura Yuko, the seiyuu for Asuka in "Neon Genesis Evangelion" gained immense popularity when that anime became a hit. However, when a tabloid exposed that she appeared in a porno several years before (the days when she wasn't famous and needed cash to make a living), the gossip press daunted her days after days "how can you not be ashamed of yourself for voicing a kid's show (remember - anime is still viewed as for kids, and tabloids could care less either) when you appeared in a porno?" etc etc. This continued to taunt Miyamu for several months in which she couldn't get any job because of this. Needless to say, she rose up as it became "old news."

Fans of Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton could care less of their sexcapades (rather, many are interested), so do fans of seiyuus. It's the usual people that brings them down with notions of the "dark side." It's the tabloids and the press. It's those bitching parents, teachers and liberal activists. It's the sponsors and talent agencies who instantly distance themselves when such "facts" are broken to the press.

Hence, if seiyuus need the money, they'd better be sure to use pseudonyms when they take voice acting roles for ero-games and ero-anime.

Few examples:
Mizuhashi Kaori = Uehara Tomomi
Itou Shizuka = Misaki Rina
Nabatame Hitomi = Tezuka Maki
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Old 2006-03-01, 13:06   Link #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kj1980
you end up working for the dark side - voicing ero-anime and ero-games (though many seiyuus do ero-games under a pseudonym as it pays a bit better), getting quick cash by appearing in a porno (I need not say many here probably knows Miyamura Yuko as an example of this) etc. etc.

Just like any other entertainment industry anywhere, it ain't all glitz and glory.
I heard Egawa Tatsuya is involved with directing or writing for some porn series by SOD. Is this true? I'm guessing this is not a financial difficulties thing though as he is a successful manga author (at least to my knowledge).
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Old 2006-03-01, 13:14   Link #48
outlawed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kj1980
Mizuhashi Kaori = Uehara Tomomi
Itou Shizuka = Misaki Rina
Nabatame Hitomi = Tezuka Maki

This reminds me ...Takada Yumi is like the queen of ero anime voices. I swear she's in all of them.


Mamiko Nota needs to do an ero anime.
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Old 2006-03-01, 13:26   Link #49
eggplant
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The anime industry is indeed a unique world, especially from a remuneration perpsective, which can be quite incomprehensible to many people living outside of Japan. Yes, this artistic culture is brought to you every day at the expense of endless toiling by aspiring creators, so it would be natural to expect them to receive compensation commensurate with their performance. After all, this is Japan, one of the leading economical countries in the world.

Well, what I herewith write may be an eye opener for some, but don't fret. Even the average Japanese working citizen isn't aware of the abysmal working conditions that lingers within the industry.

What you hear about animators having to work all day for a meager wage is true, and since it has been addressed previously in this thread, I'll only complement it by saying that this atrocious working environment is not only tolerated, it is legal. How so? Well, these animators are not employed by their respective studios, but instead are servicing their skills under a contractual agreement, with remuneration based on output (i.e., number of pages penciled/painted). In essence, they are not subject to labor laws, including the application of minimum wages and maximum hours of labor per week. Despite being technically immune to corporate regulations such as working hours, studios bind them to their desks until the quota is fulfilled, hinting that the slightest sign of insubordinance will lead to his/her firing, as animators are literally disposable, replaced by the next flock of unwitting wanabees.

This does not mean that all animators have no life. There are some studios that hire creative talent as employees, complete with commutations and fringe benefits, even overtime pay. And of course, the talented artists will find ways to obtain key production roles, and will be handsomely compensated. But the majority of young animators are at the mercy of studios, to be expoilted at will, and those that manage to stay on board will eventually encouter a reality check in the form of their services no longer being necessary. Then again, how can an average digital artist make ends meet at a per page rate of under 200 yen, when the maximum number of pages one can physically complete is 20 per day?

The anime industry is extremely closed and it is so for a reason. In comparison to other forms of entertainment, production costs for anime are extremely expensive, mainly to cover labor costs for the immense amount of hand drawn artwork. A thrity minute late night episode averages around $200K, which may be miniscule compared to the megabucks involved in Hollywood movie budgeting, but it is rather unpractical considering the resources needed to re-collect the money (primarily by DVD sales).

This was already an issue from the dawning ages of anime, so it was obvious that the pioneer of the industry had to handle it. Mushi Productions, the first Japanese anime studio, led by the legendary Tezuka Osamu, realized that cutting production costs was essential in the survival of future anime. All other studios followed suit, and eventually horrible working conditions became synonymous with anime production. This remained tacit knowledge for a long time, as if competetive studios were working in collusion in order to cover up the dark side of the indsutry.

Tezuka is praised for his work, as his contributions to the industry surpass any of his vices. However, he is also the center of controversy within the anime industry, and high profile people such as director Miyazaki Hayao has been known to criticize the late Tezuka of setting a precedent.

Having said this, no wonder seiyuus are in a similar predicament. After all, anime is not a role model for the entertainment industry, and unlike actors, singers, or athletes who are recognized and duly compensated for their skills, from the studio's point of view, seiyuus are merely staff despite their actor/actress moniker, and are treated that way.

How ironic it is for seiyuus to be given recent recognition not only by hardcore otakus, but by the entertainment industry as well, when their paycheck pales in comparison to that of an office worker of the same age. Sure you can say that this is a survival of the fittest type of occupation where there is unabating competition. But an industry in which seiyuus, who have established themselves as staple figure, cannot even reap the fruits must be demented.

Face it. An aspiring seiyuu will usually have to endure 2 years of basic acting training at a vocational school, then enter an agency in Tokyo as a trainee for another 2-3 years of acting lessons before he or she can do any acting work. And that is if the said person is talented enough, the probability for that being a one figure percentange rate. Even then, such roles for newcomers are sparse, and the prospective seiyuu must win through auditions (I'm not going to mention other immoral ways to obtain roles here).

And what is his/her paycheck for this? 12,000 yen (appoximately $110) per episode minus tax deduction and agency commissions, assuming the seiyuu is a member of the Japan Actors Guild. And don't think that such a union is for the mutual benifit of the seiyuu, as it simply stipulates the unique classification system which is the basis for their appearance fee.

Perhaps it may be agood idea to set some standards, and establish a minimum wage for a newcomer. However, this fixed rate is applicable whether you have one line or a thousand (though there are variable factors that are taken into account), and one's rank will not be re-evaluated until after 2-3 years, where he/she can only step up to the next level.

What is pathetic about this system is that, the ten tier rating system starting off from Junior (15,000 yen per episode prior to deductions) to Veteran (45,000 yen), plus the special Non-Rank reserved for mainly 60 year olds and above, has hardly any leeway in terms of money. Essentially, a longtime veteran will make only maximum three times that of a rookie per episode. In fact, there are many seiyuus that resist on being promoted to a higher class, as a higher fee will lead to lesser jobs.

Put that into the rookie seiyuu's shoes. He/she can only earn 60,000 yen per month without stipend, and it is likely that that role is the seiyuu's only one. No wonder why seiyuus have to resort to other ways to make a living, by appearing in events, doing narration work, dubbing games or commercials, and that's if there's such an offer. Otherwise, it's a continuation of the part-time job he/she did during the trainee days in order to make a living. Since you can only do seiyuu work in Tokyo, and if you're out here on your own, you must take part time jobs to keep a roof over you.

I don't think I should even probe into the poor seiyuu who's not a union member, meaning he/she is forced into doing work in worse conditions. Why is this possible? Some studios or advertising agencies often hire non-union seiyuus due to budget constraints or animosity towards the union, and there are people who will due whatever it takes to grab a role. There are also seiyuu agencies that are not Management Association members, who exclusively handle non union member seiyuus, although it is up to the individual seiyuu whether to join the guild or not.

Due to the efforts of senior seiyuus, the road for incentives is open, mainly income based on re-runs, but royalties stemming from DVD sales have yet to be in implemented. Simply based on the information laid down here, for example, a 5 year veteran seiyuu with a base wage of 20,000 yen per show who does 4 shows a particular season will earn 240,000 yen a month on anime seiyuu work alone, which finally brings it up to normal living standards. Don't worry about the seiyuu in this example, as such a person will definitely be doing other profitable work. In fact, many male seiyuus live comfortable lives just by doing ero games and narration work, which makes you wonder what their priorities lie in.

The spotlight on anime will most likely continue, generating lots of revenue for the select few people in the industry. Too bad that it isn't adequately returned to the people responsible for putting it into life. And sadly enough, the truth will never reach the starry eyed seiyuu wanabees until confronted with the harsh reality.
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Last edited by eggplant; 2006-03-01 at 18:44. Reason: Typo and punctuation corrections, edited for clarity.
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Old 2006-03-01, 13:41   Link #50
kj1980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eggplant
The anime industry is indeed a unique world....the truth will never reach the starry eyed seiyuu wanabees until confronted with the harsh reality.
You have eloquently made a statement to deem you in high regard. You win the coveted kj1980 respect award which I have not given since awarding it to Sushi-Y.

If you want a boring job but a stable income, become a corporate worker. If you want an exciting life with risks, work for the entertainment industry.
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Old 2006-03-01, 14:04   Link #51
DaFool
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That's one handy post, eggplant. You mentioned about 5-year veteran male seiyuus earning a decent living doing erogames...run that by me again, is it significant? Considering that most seiyuus are female...

And, say, I have a 30-minute OVA which stars a female protagonist and I want Yui Horie to voice the lead role...it'll be interesting to know how much of the money I pay will actually go to her pocket versus her agency's....I'm guessing (based on my experience with outsourced talent in general) no more than 30%.

Last edited by DaFool; 2006-03-01 at 14:18.
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Old 2006-03-01, 14:51   Link #52
Kyaa the Catlord
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One wonders how much of a seiyuu's wages are really in the form of perks. They become immensely popular, albeit with otaku, and can draw appearances, which I assume they are groomed, dressed and paid to attend. I'm assuming the grooming and dressing bit due to the agency's desire to have his/her popularity rise amoungst the buyers of anime, games and drama/music cds. I wonder if said clothing becomes part of the seiyuu's closet when the interview or show is finished. Also, it would make sense that the agency keep their seiyuu in a dormitory(*cough* stable), not only for security from unwanted attention, but also to keep them from moonlighting. I'd also imagine that the agency has a desire to see to their health as well, since an unhealthy, malnurished worker will not perform as well as one who is healthy.

Mind you, I have no actual insight into this, but it is what I would do if I was handling this sort of talent. (Especially since from their wages, they seem awfully impovershed, I can't believe that they could afford to live on their own in a city like Tokyo on those wages.)
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Old 2006-03-01, 17:59   Link #53
Kaoru Chujo
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Fascinating discussion. Thanks, kj1980 and eggplant, in particular.

It sounds like acting, where people support themselves with outside jobs for years, trying to land a good role. Except that even the good roles don't pay in anime, it seems.

Now I understand why it must be such a good gig to get a spot as a TV host, like Yamamoto Maria or Nogawa Sakura, and why there are so many seiyuu radio shows (I'll bet those are mainly for publicity and don't pay much, though.)

Do you agree that seiyuu are paid far below their value to the art? Even though I do like some amateur seiyuu, the better pros can add a lot to a role. Each voice is different, so I don't think you can just replace almost anyone, as may be the case with ordinary animators, who have to work to a model drawn by someone else.

I've noticed seiyuu I've liked just disappearing, for no obvious reason. I guess they sometimes give up and get an office job, or get married.

Is Gotou Yuuko one of the dark-side seiyuus who has recently emerged into the light? She seems to have done a lot of games.

Does their lowly status and pay mean that a closet-otaku salaryman has a chance to hook up with an actual seiyuu? If he can figure out how to meet her in a non-professional situation, that is.
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characters/seiyuus: Sailor Moon Crystal | Akatsuki no Yona | Amagi Brilliant Park | Coffin-Princess Chaika | Cross Ange | Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai | Danna ga Nani ga Itteru | Denkigai no Honya-san | Donten ni Warau | Fate/Stay Night UBW | Le Fruit de la Grisaia | Gugure! Kokkuri-san | Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de | Madan no Ou to Vanadis | Orenchi no Furo Jijou | Seven Deadly Sins | Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso | Shirobako | Sora no Method | Tribe Cool Crew | Trinity Seven | Ushinawareta Mirai o Motomete | Wixoss
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Old 2006-03-01, 20:29   Link #54
eggplant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFool
That's one handy post, eggplant. You mentioned about 5-year veteran male seiyuus earning a decent living doing erogames...run that by me again, is it significant? Considering that most seiyuus are female...

And, say, I have a 30-minute OVA which stars a female protagonist and I want Yui Horie to voice the lead role...it'll be interesting to know how much of the money I pay will actually go to her pocket versus her agency's....I'm guessing (based on my experience with outsourced talent in general) no more than 30%.
Erogames are not subject to the rank payment system of anime, although standard video games has its own rating system. A seiyuu can earn 3 or 4 more times as much as he/she can by doing erogames, even though the seiyuu will assume a pseudonym.

This is because erogames/ ero anime videos are a niche market, catered to a minority willing to dish out huge bucks (yen) for a product (especially women otaku who savor over yaoi vidoes), and the production company knows that they have stellar quality by hiring an anime seiyuu.

Male seiyuu are not hesitant about appearing in erogames, as their identity is concealed and they can reap in good money. However, many female seiyuu resist such paths, and in some cases, their agency refuses to have them work in such fields.

In any case, anime seiyuus have to compete against proprietary erogame/eroanime seiyuu for the role, wherein the former has better acting skills while the latter has a better connections within the market.

But, my example of male seiyuu living a good life comes from doing narration work for TV, radio, videos, etc., as payment is very generous. In fact, seiyuus that are homeowners and who drive around in flashy cars built their fortune by doing such work.

As for Horie Yui, unless one specifically designates her for a certain role, you would have to send a notice to her agency as well as others, indicating what kind of role is available for an audition, as that is the basis for anime casting. And agency commission is normally 20-30%, unless they provide a monthly stipend to the seiyuu, which is rare, so it is safe to say that she is guaranteed 60% of the fee, after tax deductions.

In a way, seiyuus are better off than idol singers, who usually have a fixed income the first few years no matter how much that person rakes in for the agency, however when that idol starts switches to a performance based contract, it is a totally different story, as even a Morning Musume member can earn 40 million yen a year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaoru Chujo
Do you agree that seiyuu are paid far below their value to the art?
Listen to the voice acting in Miyazaki Hayao movies. He uses top notch actors/actresses as he depises the industry and anime seiyuus in general, but what is the end result? Mediocre acting at best. This is an indication that top notch seiyuus are best at doing voice dubbing work, a talent taken for granted.

Of course seiyuu will never attain the celebrity status of a leading actor/actress, as anime in general is a niche market where the seiyuu's face and name are not recognizable to the public. And I reckon that actors/actresses in Japan earn most of their money by endorsing products in TV commercials.

However, there is definitely something warped with the industry where a seiyuu cannot make a decent living just by doing something he/she excels at.
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Old 2006-03-01, 21:00   Link #55
Kaoru Chujo
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Just to show some of the other employment seiyuu have to turn to, there is now a video on tt showing Horie Yui in a Family Mart (Japanese convenience store chain) staff training video. Not sure how old she is there (she's now 29). I'll bet she was happy to get the gig.
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Hashihime blog | Twitter @nakanokimi | autumn 2014 previews | autumn 2014 schedule |
characters/seiyuus: Sailor Moon Crystal | Akatsuki no Yona | Amagi Brilliant Park | Coffin-Princess Chaika | Cross Ange | Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai | Danna ga Nani ga Itteru | Denkigai no Honya-san | Donten ni Warau | Fate/Stay Night UBW | Le Fruit de la Grisaia | Gugure! Kokkuri-san | Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de | Madan no Ou to Vanadis | Orenchi no Furo Jijou | Seven Deadly Sins | Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso | Shirobako | Sora no Method | Tribe Cool Crew | Trinity Seven | Ushinawareta Mirai o Motomete | Wixoss

Last edited by Kaoru Chujo; 2006-03-01 at 21:14.
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Old 2006-03-01, 22:52   Link #56
Eclipze
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eggplant
However, there is definitely something warped with the industry where a seiyuu cannot make a decent living just by doing something he/she excels at.
Well, to me, its definately a social factor that is at fault here. General identification of anime usually come up with 2 results:
1) Kid's show, or
2) P0rn. (hentai).

To me, general public's perception plays a big part in affecting a certain job's payment. Look at Hollywood celebrities: Had *acting* been labelled as a indecent job of lies/con-artists, Im pretty sure these celebrities would get the exact same treatment/pay-amount as anime/eroge VAs.

That, to me, is the underlying cause of poor wages for people such as VAs.

PS: as many have said, great insight on the industry eggplant.
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Old 2006-03-02, 00:18   Link #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eggplant
However, there is definitely something warped with the industry where a seiyuu cannot make a decent living just by doing something he/she excels at.
Hmm I dunno. That might not be the case... supply & demand...

For instance, someone is the fastest at stacking a house of cards; should he get paid $40k/yr for it?

If conditions are so bad, why not just quit drawing/va-ing? =P (or especially, for those not yet working, decide on a different career)

Competitive pressure is what keeps the market running. It's good. Keeps things efficient.
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Old 2006-03-02, 00:39   Link #58
arias
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eggplant
Listen to the voice acting in Miyazaki Hayao movies. He uses top notch actors/actresses as he depises the industry and anime seiyuus in general, but what is the end result? Mediocre acting at best. This is an indication that top notch seiyuus are best at doing voice dubbing work, a talent taken for granted.
Damned right. The tragic thing is that Gedo Senki seems to be headed the same way, and that's Goro Miyazaki. Gyaaah.
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Old 2006-03-02, 07:44   Link #59
DaFool
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Yes, a Ghibli movie sounds too much like an indie film in that sense. Well, then I guess it does sound more like live-action, which could be a good thing. Nevertheless, there's absolutely no moe factor. Even a mediocre title with Mai Nakahara would make me want to watch it just to hear her voice.

Interesting, that the male seiyuus have no qualms doing ero-games. Then again, there are less male roles, and they're usually the protagonist, who (unlike yaoi games--never tried them) rarely do the moaning.
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Old 2006-03-02, 09:11   Link #60
spirits having flown
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Thank you kj1980 and eggplant for giving us a detailed background on how seiyuus make a living.

Can gaijins be able to enroll in training programs for voice acting offered by different talent agencies (I think Ken Production has this School Duo program or something for aspiring seiyuus)?

Fun question: It possible if I can visit the different talent agencies (Aoni, Arts Vision, etc) and let my favorite seiyuus sign stuff that I have? :P

(I apologize for sticking my nose again since it is one of my dreams to meet my favorite seiyuu)
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