Becoming A Seiyuu? I'm In!
"What these students of The Seiyuu Club need is an intensive training to be voice actors though it's self monitored. Nothing could beat hard work. Talent is something one is gifted since born, but hard work will still beat everything. Hone it, make it possible, never think of giving up. Thus, you will able to bring up your name to the whole country." - Fuku.
Hours of interrogation, discussion and agreement, Fuku-san has given all of them six months to fulfil the task he has provided – To master basic voice acting skill with the help of whatever sources they could rely on. Acting was one of the necessity, and singing was more to improving vocal cord. The gifted ability to sing was a talent which not everyone would possess it, therefore they must emphasize on mastering acting.
In this case, it would not be much case for Aki and Tori since they lived with Mura, a real voice actor. Moreover, Mura has already offered himself to assist Aki and Tori since their first encounter though the only one inspired to be one was Aki. Ishi has guessed it right – Tori did not aim to be a voice actor, but his inspection skill was convenient to the club, and to his scheme too. He might be replacing the twins as information finder, keeper and stalker.
As for Nami and Matsu, they have begun their career as kid actors long time ago, which provided them knowledge on acting though they aged. However, it would be a big problem to Kaji, Shimo, and Taku, because they had the least knowledge regarding voice acting among them. The funniest part was that those five have yet discovered Mura’s identity. They still believed Mura was Yumi, a nerd with girlish name and timid attitude. Despite the coldness Mura has acted upon them during the first introduction, they still considered Yumi (Mura) as precious, especially that they acknowledged Yumi’s (Mura’s) ability to voice act.
How about Ishi? As if he was the leader, the president, the eldest and the wisest among them, Ishi would update their progression in their daily club meeting. Six months was not a long period – it could flit in a blink, unconsciously. If they idled around, they would lose a day of practice and improvement. Ishi would record everything, instructed them to re-act or re-sing, and Tori at his side would doubly confirm his notes.
They were watching Nami and Matsu warming up on the track field. The third-years did not join any sport clubs, therefore Ishi encouraged them to exercise on their own. Meanwhile, Ishi and Tori would watch over them so that he could know what kind of exercise they have undergone.
“Wonder about what, Tori?”
“You do know that I won’t be a voice actor. Why do you still put me together with Aki and Mura-san? At the same time, you bring me everywhere while monitoring them too,” Tori sternly asked.
Estimating from his intonation, Ishi could figure that Tori has inflexibly planted in his mind to be extra wary around him. He carved a small, honest smile in response to Tori’s bewilderment. He kept the note book he held into his pocket and propped his arm on Tori’s shoulder.
“Both of us are 15 but you are shorter than me,” Ishi jovially teased Tori. “All right, the truth is that I want you as a back-up plan.”
Tori rolled his eyes between ‘I knew it!’ and ‘Yeah, right.’, refusing to pay attention to Ishi’s giggle. “Just tell me what you’ve planned for me. We’re already your puppets.”
“No. Never,” Ishi wiggled his index finger in denial to Tori’s assumption. “You must correct it. You guys are not puppets. You are you, and I won’t change it. It’s just that I reschedule the club activities, and that’s it.”
“Club activities?” Tori raised a brow. “Are you a spy? It’s too scary that you know too many things, even our past.”
Chuckles by Ishi triggered Tori’s eagerness. This friend loved beating around the bush though he would still divulge everything in the end. Ishi’s reluctance to be transparently direct from the beginning was the most annoying part. However, Tori could not deny the impact of Ishi’s planning on The Seiyuu’s Club.
Despite the evidently forthright club name, it originally consisted of voice actor fans with the least enthusiasm flickered in each of the members. Fundamentally, its main activity was just to gather as much information as they could about anime, manga, video games, stage plays, and many more. From the collection, they would find out about the casts, and nothing more beyond that.
“It does sound fishy, right? Even I feel so,” Ishi commented while throwing his gaze to the blue sky.
Tori beside him was flustered after listening to Ishi’s divulgence about the back story of The Seiyuu Club. “Then, why did the club exist in the first place?”
“I heard it was because the first founder was a seiyuu. But I couldn’t find further than that,” Ishi sighed, as if he was frustrated over the disability to dig deeper into the club history. “That one founder has graduated excellently, long time ago. Its popularity faded along with time, until today, it has been an utterly boring club, I must say.”
“So, those information gathering you were saying wasn’t happening during that alumnus’ influence?” Tori then received a nod by Ishi. “That’s why you’re returning the glorious days of The Seiyuu Club?”
Ishi’s wide grin reassured Tori that this strategy was going to succeed even though they could not retreat the club’s popularity like those days a few years back. As long as he could contribute something different than the previous president, he would sacrifice his sweat and tears. Even if he had to conquer everyone and act like a president himself, he would do it.
Besides, Ishi has always looked up to Fuku-san, or Fuku-nii in his own perspective. That young man had unwavering perseverance which enlivened him to strive for his ambition as well. Putting aside the age difference between them, they were really close because both of them were the only sons in their respective families. Other than that, their parents were close as friends too. Therefore, they met and played a lot when they were younger than nowadays.
He would support everything Fuku-nii wanted to build. The company.
“Then why did you maintain me as a back-up plan?” Tori asked again. It was still hanging unanswered.
“Oh, I haven’t replied to that yet!” Ishi jokingly exclaimed. “Nothing much. Aki needs you. That’s it.”
“You’re still playing around me, huh?” Tori grunted in dissatisfaction. “I want to go home!”
Without waiting for Ishi’s appropriate response to his complaints, Tori turned and stomped away, leaving Ishi sitting alone in his own thoughts. He did not even bid the latter farewell as he did not feel to do so. All he bothered for was that so-called meticulous plan of Ishi would resume smoothly despite the hesitation stirring him inside.
As Aki’s roommate and Mura’s housemate, as the one who only had interests in diving into the world of anime and its casts without setting a target to be one, and as the closest to heed, Tori has never heard anything bad about Ishi from those two. He could get it if Mura chose not to comment because he and Aki were fully aware that Mura relied on Ishi almost in everything, but he would like to hear it from Aki’s point of view. Two months have unconsciously passed since the first day of their enrolment in Bushida Academy, yet Aki has never whined about their tight schedule.
The two of them still feigned as Mura’s substitutes, and they still kept the biggest secret of Mura. Ishi did not intend to betray Mura too, and he played along with Mura’s acting as Yumi. They attended to The Seiyuu Club room daily after school and joined their sport clubs on Wednesday, which meant they would return home later on Wednesdays. At night, Mura would train them about voice intonation and practices for Aki.
The schedule seemed compact, but it was what they anticipated for. Aki as the one receiving various kinds of lessons never thought of complaining. His inflamed spirit wanted to show to his parents that he could be what he has aimed for. Becoming a real voice actor even though without their consent was the only method to prove its worthiness, and Aki insisted on grabbing that as his goal.
Meters from Music Room on the second floor, Tori could perceive a harmonious choir from inside. It remarked the presence of a few students utilizing it, and Tori did not need to peep over the small window in the door to figure out who they were. The door swung open, and Tori appeared in the entrance just to witness Aki, Mura, Kaji and Taku singing together in a small circle.
“Nice song! The melody suits your tones!” Tori applauded when the group finished singing and recomposing their breath to proceed to the next song. “How are you guys doing?”
They watched Tori fetching a sheet of song lyrics. Kaji, Shimo and Taku have arranged the songs and routines they must sustain so that they would not tear either their voices or vocal cords. The choices of songs began from the equally levelled pitch to their voices, then to the songs of higher or lower pitch. Two months have passed, and they were practicing on singing songs of various note levels.
“I still can’t believe that we had to refer to anime in music genre for song choices,” Kaji sighed but he curved a smile in satisfaction, “The three of us have gotten used to singing, so we could have chosen any songs we like. But not to Aki and Yumi. They have too different pitch compared to us, especially Yumi.”
“Yeah, I agree,” Taku patted on Yumi’s shoulders, “His voice is like his name – girly.”
“Where’s Shimo?” Skimming over in a glance, Tori inquired.
“The loo, possibly,” Kaji averted from Tori, “By the way, why are you here in the first place?”
Tori glimpsed at Aki and Mura flipping through pages of song lyrics they have collected from the internet. He remembered those two tried singing almost every songs they encountered while browsing online, yet they ended up picking just a few out of hundreds. Mura, the bishounen seiyuu, and Aki, a yet-to-be voice actor, possess tenor voices, the highest voice type for males. Mura’s tone almost mimic to female’s alto, which put him under countertenor type, but it was a rare case so Mura comfortably stayed in tenor.
“We don’t know if it’s because of Aki is still… a child. His voice is shota-like, and he could sing together with Yumi with girly voice. Like, he has no problem to reach high pitch in tenor range. Shimo and I are baritone, and Taku is more to bass type. What I’m trying to say is,” Kaji quickly concluded his hypotheses after he noticed Tori was staring intensely at him, “Most of boys around our age will usually have thick or throaty voice, but Yumi and Aki are exceptions.”
Tori was indeed amazed by Kaji’s study. He puckered his lips while thinking thoroughly. “Then, what if I joined you guys in singing training from today onwards?”
Kaji and Taku gasped in unison. “Why? Didn’t Ishi say that you should’ve been by his side as analyzer and observer?”
“Well, I think there are times I should do something on my own too,” Tori said monotonously. He fished out his mobile phone and typed something on the virtual keypad. “Let’s sing like this!”
Those five, including the returning Shimo from the gents, looked at Tori’s phone screen as it displayed the result of his search on Utube website. “Utaite?”
Tori blinked in confusion. “I mean, yes it’s utaite! Let’s sing song covers like utaite!”