There is the most insulting word that most actors or actresses are afraid of. At the same time, it could be the worst label…that is 棒読み[bouyomi]. 棒[bou] means a bar, and 読み[yomi] is a noun form of 読む[yomu] or read. 棒読み[bouyomi] is an emotionless speech. There is no acting, no emotion…such a boring speech. Once an actor gets labelled as 棒読み, it would take much time to improve his reputation.
Still, actors or actresses could get through if they have a good-looking. However for seiyus(voice actors or actresses), there is only one thing they can use. It’s voice. Lately this is also changing, I will explain later.
I am sure you have your favorite seiyus even if you don’t understand Japanese. And I am also sure you can even evaluate the quality. So if you hear a character whose voice doesn’t go well (or merely poor acting), you would like to label the seiyu as 棒読み.
I have two friends who want to be a seiyu, and both of them belong to a certain agency(already finished training school) although they haven’t made a debut. They told me that it basically takes a lot of time for male seiyus until they make a debut. So it is not unusual that they make a debut after 30. Meanwhile, it is much faster for female seiyus to make a debut because they are mostly recruited as an idol. Because of this, it doesn’t also take that much to fade out…True, because they have less experience as a seiyu. Please read my previous post as well.
Come to think of it, what has happened to this occupation, seiyu[声優]? Lately it is not unusual that young idols voice a character(especially in a brand-new anime film). Not only young idols, but comedians(お笑い芸人) or other celebrities(タレント). Has this occupation declined to such a quick job?
Having said that, there are even fans who dare to love such a 棒読みseiyu. Such an emotionless speech could turn them on, that is 棒萌え[bou-moe]. Also, they might see how such a 棒読みseiyu becomes more professional. Even though a seiyu is such a 棒読み, he/she could be a 成長系声優[seichou-kei seiyu] or a developed seiyu after having some experience.
There is no accounting for tastes, so I hate to say some examples. Please be patient for what I am going to say. These examples strictly depend on those fans, so…no complaints, please.
This video is from Code Geass R2, and it focuses on how bouyomi V.V. is. He says, 教えてあげようか？はじめまして、枢木スザク。ぼくの名前はV.V.[Shall I tell you? Nice to meet you, Kururugi Suzaku. My name is V.V.] I don’t know if the seiyu is acting like this on purpose, but it sounds boring to me.
This video shows the two scenes from Supernatural, and comapres the original and the dubbed. It is not really important that which scenes they are, but how horrible the dubbing is. Before Supernatural DVD was released, the news that the actor and the comedian featured the two brothers spread out. Neither had any experience of seiyu, so the result was a nightmare. In the first scene, the brothers are interrupting the ritual, shouting 火事だー、逃げろー、燃えてるぞー、火事だー早く逃げろー！[It’s fire, get out, it’s burning, get out now!]. And in the second one, the brothers are trying to get attention of a monster, shouting 「出て来い人喰い鬼ー、腹減ってんだろー早く来いー俺うまいぜー。おーいここだーつかまえてみろ[Come on, aren’t you hungry? I am tasty. I am here. You catch me.]」 「よし行くぞ、急げ[Good, let’s go. Quickly.]」「よう、俺の肉は食いたくないってかー上等だー[Yo, don’t you wanna eat me? Great.]」
こ れ は ひ ど い。よくこんなのでDVD出せたね。I am not that picky, but I can’t stop wondering why it had to be them. I am not gonna demand Koyama Rikiya or Horiuchi Ken’yu, but there MUST HAVE BEEN much better and appropriate seiyus even if they are not that famous.
I know things change as fans change their needs, but I feel something is missing as the industry doesn’t seem to value the sheer quality of seiyu.