December 15, 2013

Seiota vs Koebuta


One word that you see pretty often in seiyuu fan threads these days is koebuta.

Koebuta, meaning "voice pig" was originally a label assigned by seiyuu fans to distance themselves from the more "undesirable" elements of their fandoms - general assholes, guys with bad manners, dudes who cut up photos and break CDs when seiyuu announce they have boyfriends, people who say creepy stuff, etc. It's a term that has been around for a while, however in recent years it has seen a lot more usage. A lot of this can be linked to the growing enmity between new-school and old-school seiyuu fans - that itself being product of the slowly building backlash over the rise of the "idol seiyuu."

Idol seiyuu fans have been around since Hayashibara Megumi and maybe even earlier, but things really came to a head in the last decade after fandom reached large enough numbers for the inevitable market forces to overcome the old-school seiyuu types.

Seiyuu ended up being divided into two factions by fan opinions. The "jitsuryoku" camp contained seiyuu with true voice ability that get casted based on their own strength. The other camp contained seiyuu tainted with various unflattering speculation: they're just idols, failed mainstream wannabes, casted from the couch (makura eigyou = pillow trade), they have a monotone voice (bouyomi), they're only popular because of the agency's monstrous PR power (gorioshi = Gorilla Push), and so on.

Within all of this bubbling resentment, the word "koebuta" ended up getting thrown around to describe fans that entered into the fandom because of the latter group. What it implies is that they like the idol aspects of seiyuu more than the voice acting.

The ones on the receiving end of the word took it in stride, and some even began calling themselves the term with pride, considering the detractors as elitist old farts. Besides there's nothing wrong with liking seiyuu for other reasons so who cares?

So what was once seen as a universally negative term used for the worst elements of the fandom now actually just describes a rather large split between fans with differing priorities.

Traditional Seiyuu fan/seiota


  • Voice acting is the main thing that matters.

  • Personal life of the seiyuu isn't that important

  • Avoids using cute nicknames, just uses names

  • Show great disdain for koebuta as "ruining the fandom"

  • Seiyuu they like: Hayami Saori, Seto Asami, Nakahara Mai, Kugimiya Rie, and most seiyuu's who can do a good boyish voice

Koebuta


  • Physical appearance is a fair game. If she's cute, they can let other things slide

  • Personality is also important. Will praise a seiyuu for being clever, funny, cool on radio or variety programs

  • If they really like the character, they'll like the seiyuu by association regardless of how their performance was (see the seiyuu hosei effect)

  • They value the hard work that goes into the non-voice parts (dance practice, talking skill, dieting, image control)

  • They use nicknames, chan, tan, etc

  • Seiyuu they like: Ootsubo Yuka, Taketatsu Ayana, Ohashi Ayaka, Ogura Yui, 80% of Love Live cast

Which type are you? I actually used to be more of former category but have shifted to the latter in recent years so I guess I'm probably 60:40 on the sei/buta ratio. The truth is there are almost no pure seiyuu entering the industry anymore, since multi-talented seiyuu are just more pragmatic for business reasons. Even "jitsuryoku" seiyuu these days have idol qualities that the traditional fans are loathe to admit.

I do get still get a kind of annoyed when some people who are almost 100% idol get pushed as seiyuu and the acting actually suffers for it (Love Live's biggest weakness is this) and my first instinct whenever I see new faces is to hate them until they prove themselves, but that's something I've learned to deal with ever since I was a pro-wrestling fan so I can live with that.

Posted by Paranda at 11:22 AM | Comments (4)

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