Becoming A Seiyuu? I'm In!
“Even nowadays, people have less awareness about voice actors. I think maybe it’s because anime is just cartoons, of various genres, and of unrealistically plot. All those casts only act with their voices, which literally meant less people will acknowledge them in reality. Once you’ve gotten yourself into this world, you should bear in your mind that people will still not know you. Nevertheless, you could still appear as popular, but the condition is that you must put more effort on your work, so that you will have your own identity.” – Fuku.
The lofty building before their eyes was absolutely astounding though it was not bizarrely shaped like other big talent agencies in Tokyo. Estimating from the height, it might consist of five level with the usage of flat rooftop as a viewing spot. The Seiyuu Club, excluding Ishi, gaped in disbelief as they lifted up their heads to see the uppermost floor.
On that day, they have booked an appointment with Fuku to meet him in person, as how they have promised six months ago. Ishi was right – Six months felt so fast, and time did fly unconsciously. Through those six months of practicing and training, they have undergone variety of trials to improve their acting and singing skill. From Ishi’s meticulous plan, they began to like their routinized schedule and somehow, they could not shake off the familiarization. Mura would not sign a contract with Fuku since he has just renewed the one with his current agency, but he has gotten a consent from Fuyu-san and Fuku (through Ishi) to pay a visit to the company.
Stepping into the entrance, they were approached by sudden gush of cool wind from the centralized air conditioner. A bob-haired girl in white plain shirt and waist-cut slack pants bowed at them as a welcoming greeting. As their guide, Ishi went to re-confirm his booking, and the girl straightaway verified it. In a short time, a suited guy appeared from behind the receptionist counter and led them to the fifth floor by elevator.
Literally, they were not sharing the elevator with a celebrity or kind, yet their throbbing heart massively shook them altogether. Instead of recomposing their breaths, they opted to bump their heads against the elevator wall while it moved upward. They were just fortunate because the building was not too high, or they might end up vomiting due to unbounded nervousness and the changing gravity.
The elevator door slid open, revealing a guy in dark grey vest and polished Derby shoes facing towards them. He beamed the widest smile, picturing his gladness as soon as he perceived the sight of The Seiyuu Club in it. The suited man in the elevator gestured his hand to allow the youngsters getting off, thus Ishi initiated their first step.
“Welcome to my building, Ishi-kun and friends! I’m Fuku, the president here!” the man stretched out his arms as his inclination to accept them, his guests. “Oh, Mura-kun! Hello, long time no see you!” he waved at the petrified Mura behind Nami and Kaji.
Aki, Tori and Mura stood the most rear among them because they wanted to avoid from being recognized by Fuku. Somehow, the mini plan has failed because Fuku had no idea that Mura pretended as Yumi in The Seiyuu Club. The five seniors were perplexed when Fuku accosted someone who he called Mura, without knowing that entity was right behind them.
“Thank you for having us, Fuku-nii. Or should I alter the pronoun?” Ishi shook hands with Fuku.
Fuku brushed it off with a hand wave. “You don’t have to. I don’t want us to get too stiff. You do know that I dislike too much formality, right? Fuku-san is enough for you guys!” he winked at the other Seiyuu Club members. “Please come in – my humble office!”
Yeah, right. He said it as his humble office, but he had no idea how eagerly enthralled those kids were. The fact that they have confronted a famous public figure like Fuku was already splendid, and being invited to his ‘humble’ office was outrageously stupefying. This was their first time of association with a true celebrity even though they have already become trainees, kid actors, or the close friend of his relative.
The simple decoration in Fuku’s office was amusing to the eyes, especially with the combination of dark blue as the wall color and white English furniture. The office was separated into two parts by a wooden partition in the middle, and the second part was believably for leisure or rest. The large pastel-colored cushions scattered on a tatami mat and a Japanese table in the middle fortified their perspective.
“Sit wherever you want,” Fuku’s non-stop beams really pleased their sight. “How was your days, everyone?”
Due to pounding fearfulness, all of them kept quiet until Fuku tilted his head on one side in bafflement. The Seiyuu Club interchanged glances among themselves, but none of them replied to Fuku’s concern.
“They’re too anxious, Fuku-nii,” Ishi commented while patting on Aki’s shoulder, encouraging him to utter out first, “Weren’t you the most inspirited one since you were kid, Aki?”
“Eh?” Ducking his head, Aki panicked as Ishi directed him to do the conversation first. “B- But!” he kept glancing at Ishi and Fuku, “I’m so nervous that I might mess up with my tongue!”
“What do you mean by that, Aki?” Fuku chuckled by witnessing Aki all flustered and troubled. “You were so loud and confident back then. You even brawled against a bigger boy than you!”
Both Aki and Tori gasped hearing Fuku’s reminisce. Back then? The incident involving them and three bullies during Fuku’s recording returned to mind, erupting blushed face of theirs. Five years have passed, and they did not even know who those bullies and their victim were, yet it was the most meaningful encounter to them. Fuku did not wrinkle that much, or it could be that he has always stayed young despite his age.
“F- F- Fuku-san remembered us? Aki and Tori?” Aki stuttered even more. His beady eyes depicted his threatening tears, out of excitement, and he had to cup his face with both palms to hinder Fuku from noticing his blush. “I’m so happy! I’m so happy!”
“Calm down, Aki,” Tori said, but he, too, was shivering while patting on Aki’s thigh to tease him. “It’s nice to meet you, Fuku-san! We didn’t expect you to still remember us. We were just small kids, and our meeting lasted only three hours roughly.”
Fuku’s soothing smile, unbelievably, calmed them down. He stroked Aki’s hair lovingly, as if Aki was his son and Tori was the friend. The delightful sensation once Fuku’s hand touched his hair sipped into his pleading soul, which was lustfully yearning for someone, merely a listener, to approach. Thinking thoroughly, it was not that he needed a good friend; Tori was already by his side. The thing was that Aki had something in his mind and he should have poured it out on someone trustable.
What was it about? Aki could not figure it out. He already had Tori, plus Mura, Ishi and other seniors were immensely kind towards him. It was just that he has not found the ‘issue’ he wanted to spill. That ‘thing’ eventually ate him up, causing the least enthusiast emerging from him.
“How could I forget you, Aki and Tori?” Fuku intertwined his fingers and lowered his gaze, “You were the only kids that recognized me as a voice actor back then. I must say that I was so shocked by your memorization, thus I decided to treasure our picture together.” Fuku casually rotated a photo frame on his desk towards the guests.
Every pair of eyes gaped when they saw the photo in it. Two small boys sitting on each sides of a tall man, and the three of them were posing peace signs. They looked so happy and proud, plus considering the quality of lighting and angle of photo taken, the whole image was already a masterpiece.
Aki and Tori would never forget the fact that Fuku actually remembered them for their significant presence in the reality show. The urge to re-watch the show surfaced, but they could wait that once they returned home. What they should do now was to revive their spirit back.
“Even nowadays,” Fuku took the photo frame and caressed its glassy cover, “People have less awareness about voice actors. I think maybe it’s because anime is just cartoons, of various genres, and of unrealistically plot. All those casts only act with their voices, which literally meant less people will acknowledge them in reality. Once you’ve gotten yourself into this world, you should bear in your mind that people will still not know you. Nevertheless, you could still appear as popular, but the condition is that you must put more effort on your work, so that you will have your own identity.”
Fuku’s lengthy speech engrossed The Seiyuu Club to stare at him fixatedly, as if he was a father who preached his sons for not behaving well at school. Fuku grinned ear to ear before he rose from his seat and fetched a thick folder from a shelf behind him. Then, he took out a few copies of documents, grayscale printed, and equipped with the company’s logo and confidential stamp.
“I’ve monitored your work online and offline. Your song covers on Utube are outstanding. I like it, and it isn’t me alone – The whole world is beginning to realize your talent though it’s just song covers, but by this you could introduce yourselves as a ‘someone who has melodious voice’!” Fuku’s tone gradually switched from cheerfully high in pitch to throaty one, as if he was transforming into Elle Britannia of <Code G>. “I would like the world to acknowledge the artist under my label is known as multi-talented!”
The Seiyuu Club applauded over Fuku’s ambitious speech and fist pumps, causing the elder to goofily grin. He awkwardly scratched the back of his head and averted everyone’s demanding eyes. “So, err, do you want to try going to the Audition Room?”
“The Audition Room?” All of them shrieked in unison. They were already aware of their schedule on that day, but to be invited by Fuku himself was exhilarating. They could barely retain their mannerism in front of Fuku, whereas their throbbing heart and soul fundamentally killed them inside.
Fuku led the trip to the third floor where most rooms in that level were consisting of spacious layout such as audition room, main or event hall, three-sized practice halls, and meeting room. According to Fuku, the company was holding an audition for an upcoming summer anime of the following year. The contestants would be those under Fuku’s agency, which enthralled them to watch how it worked.
Right when they came out from the elevator, a head-ducking guy has almost bumped into them. He seemed like in a rush, but he was not entering the elevator. The guy, without lifting up his head, bowed apologetically and continued going back and fro in front of the elevator section. The Seiyuu Club was puzzled at his action, yet they tried ignoring it and just walking away.
A tall door stood gracefully in front of them, and the ‘Audition Room’ sign pasted on it confirmed their assumption. Once Fuku swung it open, they perceived a faint sound of someone mourning. As first timers, panic attacked them and portrayed well on the face, until they completely entered the Audition Room and witnessed the audition mentioned.
“Relax,” Fuku laughed at their pale expression.
There was a long skirted table on one side of the room, and three people sitting in it seemed preoccupied with an acting a guy was demonstrating. Looking keenly, the guy was predictably a high-schooler like them, dressed in plain shirt and dark grey slack pants, immersing himself in his own acting. If only it was not for finding voice, the guy would believably kneel and slam his forehead on the floor. He just voice acted according to a provided script in his hand, but their first impression towards him was none other than amazingness.
The guy never touched the noiseless microphone, or even its stand, while acting as a disheartened character. Aki has accidentally dove himself into the scene, as if he was the one acting it out instead of the guy. The guy curled his body and scrunched his face, and the tear trails on his cheeks surprised them a lot. He sobbed, hiccupped, and gasped. Using his one hand to press his chest, he uttered out the dialog from the script excellently.
Glistering eyes, strongly glued, and undeniably mesmerized. Aki did not even blink while watching the guy’s voice acting. His trembling hands had the urge to catch the guy and interrogate him how he could act like that. Other than his sufficient acting, his voice tone was perfectly fitting the character though no visualization was made. In short, the personality of the character has been demonstrated excellently by that guy.
“He’s the same age as Ishi-kun,” Fuku broke the silence lingering among them. “He’s our first figure recruited as voice actor – highly recommended by his school teacher. However, despite his age, he has acted for five anime as supporting characters at the moment. His name is Miyu.”