July 18, 2012

Otsubo Yuka

I actually started watching YuruYuri for two reasons. One because I was a refugee from Shining Tears who could not get enough of Mikashi's voice, and two because I figured I should actually know more about a group I'm going to see live next month (I foolishly passed up a chance to see them last year). So I kind of became a Otsubo Yuka fan by accident.

As it turns out, YuruYuri turned out to be so good I ended up watching the lives. And once I watched Yukachin perform the most excellent Miracle Yurukuru 1-2-3, I was just so impressed that this nobody I had never heard of was doing such a earnest if somewhat awkward job. And she was really witty during talks as well. What can I say? She's a natural. I decided to do more research on her, sourcing from various wiki, radio, interviews, and her own blog (highly recommended btw as it is full of newbie enthusiasm and "first time doing X " posts).

I guess I will post more about her (and Mikashi) in the future.

Some basic info points below:

Described as a "Golden Rookie," this Chiba prefecture native has only just freshly graduated from the "seiyuu curriculum" at the CLARK Memorial International Highschool. She signed on with the Early Wing agency in April but has already played leading role in YuruYuri for two seasons, and a support role with OP performance for the recently aired Nyaruko anime, as well as a handful of game voices.

The origin story goes: as a child Yuka sometimes watched mainstream anime with her older brother, but wasn't really into it that much. However, some time in 5th grade she became sick. She took drowsy medicine, slept through the whole day, and woke up at night, leading her to watch late night anime programming which she found to be wildly different from the prime time stuff. After being awestruck by the performance in "Lucky Seven" she began aspiring to become a voice actress. After that, she started watching late night anime more regularly and basically started on the path to her seiyuu career.

When YuruYuri was broadcasting, she was still a senior in high school so she had to miss school. There weren't any make-up classes, so she had to rely on friends taking notes, teacher help, and all-night cramming sessions for tests to get by. Because she attended a high school with a seiyuu program, she was a bit worried about the competition and rivalry with classmates, but those concerns were lessened when everyone was supportive and threw her a YuruYuri celebration party with her favorite baumkuchen cakes.

Asked about her obsession with baumkuchen, she explained it accidentally came about from her love for chiffon cakes. When she saw baumkuchen she thought it resembled the spongy base of chiffon cake and tried one. It was so eye openingly delicious that she converted. Later during her 2nd year of middle school, she did 2 weeks summer homestay in Germany. It was meant to be a third year trip, but she crammed English classes on the side in order to go early. Probably because she was itching to have some of that German cake in its native country.

One of her nicknames "JK Baum" was made up by her YuruYuri castmate Tsuda Minami during a live broadcast and comes from "Joshi Kousei Baumkuchen" - highschool girl [who likes] baumkuchen. After her highschool graduation, this was updated to "JD Baum" (JoshiDaisei for college girl). Nico commenters often just drop the prefix entirely and call her Baum. Her other nicknames are Yukachin - which seems to be the prevalent normal nickname, Bon - acquired when Matsuki Miyu called her this during the DIVE II Summit Nyaruko corner (derived from Baum), and Tsuboyuka - which she uses on her own blog. A final nickname, "Dobechin," is usually used by fans but only when she has a FAIL moment or comes in last place during an on-air competition.

Aside from eating baumkuchen, her other interest is watching soccer and her self-stated special skill is coloring with highlighter pens. Another one of her skills is her ability to do a DFE (dead fish eye) stare, though she likes to deny that one sometimes. It has become somewhat of a trademark gag now and fans love to point out DFE any time she stares at anyone/anything.

When she did her first live appearance last year, she was nervous about how people would respond to her. She knew Mikashi would get a nickname call from fans because she was already established, but she didn't expect it for herself who had never appeared at any event before. She got really surprised by "Yukachi~n" calls and felt validated as a seiyuu.

In elementary school, Yuka participated in track club and basketball club. In middle school, there was no track club so she followed in her brother's footsteps and joined the student council, becoming vice president. She said it was pretty laid back and ate baumkuchen in the council room. In high school she participated in the dance club.

Asked to describe what she watched in elementary and middle school, Yuka flexed her nerdy chops and named "Yoshinaga-san Chi no Gargoyle", "Black Lagoon", "Kage kara Mamoru!", and even "Magikano." Her favorite voice actor and inspiration at the time was the great Nakahara Mai (an excellent choice who did some of her best comedy work ever in Magikano IMO). Later on she watched "Haruhi", "Lucky Star", "Inazuma Eleven", "Macross F" and even worked a booth selling goods at Comiket. Her favorite manga is ARIA and she has a soft spot for pink haired characters.

Speaking of ARIA and pink haired characters, you can find her Akari cosplay pictures in this month's Megami Magazine. Yuka specifically requested ARIA when her agency asked what kind of cosplay she wanted to do.

During her highschool graduation, she received her high school's special achievement award from the principal Miura Yuichiro (this guy).

Her voice for Toshino Kyoko was originally higher pitched and more energetic than what you hear on TV, but the director told her to tone it down closer to her natural voice.

Due to her fantastic ability to adlib, you'll often see comments from niconama viewers like "さすがプロ" (as expected from a pro) or "やっぱりプロは違う" (pros are just on another level). Yukachin has even earned her own term "Otsubo Pro" from her endless outbursts of unscripted brilliance but apparently she takes her work very seriously even if she seems like she's just messing around. According to Rumirumi, during afureco sessions, Yuka is one of the most diligent workers she has ever seen, who takes an enormous mountain of notes to carefully incorporate feedback and criticism from the director and senpais with a smile. Every other cast member corroborates, saying she perfectly fits every trait of the sweet and hardworking little sister stereotype (they all very specifically use the imouto-chara term to describe her)

Posted by Paranda at July 18, 2012 7:19 PM

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