I have a theory for a while now, that game company presidents, anime company presidents, and Kodansha, Shueisha/whoever are the people ruling on anime and game industry, actually have secret talks, to agree on which newbie seiyuu they’ll decide to push in a short amount of time. To artificially make her/him more poplar. Just like how cars, phones, and various manufacturers or service providers make secret agreements on high prices, or to give their products a fixed lifetime so you’re forced to buy a new one after a while.
The recent example illustrating this is Ichimichi Mao/M.A.O
She’s a Tokusatsu actress, started with Gokaiger in 2011. In 2013 she became a seiyuu. Like almost every beginner, she only did random background “girl at the counter 1” characters. After a while, she started voicing one main character or two, like Dreamcast in Sega Hard Girls, or the hacker witch girl in Elfen Lied: X-Files edition. I particularly liked her performance as Dreamcast and thought she has a bright future as a seiyuu. But then suddenly, starting the beginning of 2015, she got billions of main character roles.
Her talent is undeniable and she can do a wide range of voices. However in 2015 alone, Ichimichi Mao got a main character role in:
Jitsu wa watashi wa, Arpeggio movies, Durarara s2, Death Parade, Isuca, Overlord, Lance n Masques, Gakkou Gurashi, PSO2 anime, Denpa Kyoshi, Hidan no Aria s2, Wakaba Girl, Cyborg 009 VS Devilman.
(Hidan no Aria s1 is one of the few shows I dropped in my life. The first episodes were so boring. Also I couldn’t stand how they drew bullets in 3D, while tons of shows like City Hunter could make them look a thousand times better in 2D, 25 years ago. I know it’s because with CG it’s easier and costs less, but I still can’t forgive it. I’d buy the new 30th anniversary edition of the manga if I had money to waste)
In games as well, she got two main character roles:
Arnath in Yoru no nai kuni, and the ninja in Omega Labyrinth.
This list isn’t even exhaustive, and there’s a few shows I listed that are only starting this season.
Ichimichi Mao is younger than me. It feels weird than more and more seiyuus are younger than me. It gives me an ‘I’m too old for this” strange vibe. But when I got past 18, I did get used to heroes becoming younger than me though, so I’ll probably get used to this too.
I think anime companies do secret agreements. Either that or during auditions, they check a list of which seiyuu passing the audition currently have a lot of roles. So that way they’ll pick that particular seiyuu, to ride on the other shows’s advertisement and popularity. Basically, the more roles in a short amount of time a newbie seiyuu has, the more chances they have to get even more role in that same short amount of time. They pay them less since they’re new too.
I’m still at episode 6 of Shirobako so I don’t know what they said about seiyuus in the show.
Needless to say all this doesn’t apply to older seiyuu with confirmed popularity, who get typecasted. Like Tomato Haruka. I do believe the same thing happened with her when she debuted though. And I think it’s the same for quite a few currently popular seiyuus who debuted in the 2000’s, like Sakura Ayane, etc.
It reminds me of another theory of mine: that companies discuss a possible anime adaptation of a manga, at the same time as talks to get the manga licensed in other countries. Maybe that’s a normal, obvious business model though.
Very frequently, whenever a manga’s anime adaptation is announced in Japan, the manga gets a licensed announcement in France. Then again, maybe it’s just the French manga editors riding on the anime announcement’s advertisement. Even more so now with legal streaming sites.
I could just ask someone knowledgeable about it one day. Like, I could go walk into Ki-oon’s office and go see Ahmed Agne and be like: “my black weaboo muslim brother senpai please tell me about your secrets”.
(Ki-oon as of 2010 was France’s biggest independent manga editor. It was made in 2003 by Cécile Pournin and Ahmed Agne. They’re the ones who brought over Emma for example. Gisèle Alain too. Still waiting for that volume 5. Though the delay is normal because it only got released this August in Japan. tfw Maigo just started releasing volume 4 chapters, while I read volume 4 in French more than a year and a half ago. Thank you Ki-oon. Thank you God.)
But in the end, I’m not that interested about all this. I just wrote this post because it’s fun. It’s more fun to make theories rather than check whether they’re true or not. I can’t make conjectures/gossip about people though, so I do it about objects, like anime. That’s probably why I like making theories about anime plots so much, because it’s not a serious subject needing studying to be able to speak about. So basically I just like fun.