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


  • 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 December 15, 2013 11:22 AM


I've always found this topic interesting and I'm glad you touched upon it! I think my thoughts about this lie very similarly to yours, if I dislike a seiyuu's voice acting, no amount of charm will get me to become a real fan of theirs *cough* Omigawa *cough*. I'm super negative to non-seiyuu playing at voice acting, my reaction to bouyomi is bad enough to change how much I enjoy the anime and I pretty much refuse to look in to a seiyuu until I've heard them voice act.

I don't particularly think I'm too much on the koebuta side other than being obsessed with radio though(which I guess is a large part of it!), I love parts of the side, learning more about the person behind the voice is great fun and cute things are cute but I don't think seiyuu whose appeal is mainly visual and through concerts will ever be as near to my heart as the ones I love for their voice work and skill.

Posted by: Ambi at December 28, 2013 9:17 PM

I didn't really think about this differentiation until Ayachi's single niconama where Yoppi went and called her a koebuta, which was a little shocking. But then I figured since he ended up saying it in a niconama, it's probably not that terrible of a term!

A seiyuu's idol-like qualities definitely help agencies sell them through events and what not, and events seem to be a good way to get them fans. Smaller events like Anisama's outside stage definitely helps with the promotion of newer people. After experiencing a bunch of events I find myself liking more and more people not just because of the shows, but also due to their singing and/or the way they present themselves in these things.

The newer people are also generally fresh out of school, or still in school, and having them do events/musical related jobs gives them that extra recognition. I wouldn't have known (or really cared) about Azusa Tadokoro if it weren't for her amazing performance during the iDOLM@STER 8th live at Yokohama.

An obsession with radio shows doesn't seem very buta-ish IMO, since most radio shows don't exactly have video/accompanying pictures, and so they have to appeal to you through their personality and voice. Being able to talk about interesting topics definitely helps too, although the script definitely helps in this case.

Fighting over why people like a certain person's qualities just seems silly to me as everyone has different tastes!

Posted by: Basu at January 16, 2014 11:12 AM

With regards to the LL cast, I'm surprised by that 80% figure. Mimorin, Uchii, Nanjolno, and Soramaru are reasonably proficient and with prior experience behind them before doing LL. Not sufficiently familiar with their bios to know about their seiyuu training (if any).

Posted by: MT at September 9, 2014 10:54 AM

I'd say pile, Rippi, Kussun, Shikaco are absolutely in the latter category. Even Mimorin sort of counts because she's really somebody salvaged from the idol industry but had an early start thanks to Milky. And Ucchi is JTB which is definitely more geared in that direction as well.

That's not to say they aren't talented, or that they can't improve or be good at voice acting.

I put Yukachin and Ayachi in the second category, yet they are 2 of my all-time favorites. It also takes a lot of hard work to be an idol-type seiyuu, but it's a different route.

I guess my point is the word really just represents two valid views now held by seiyuu fans, instead of the exclusively negative meaning it had before.

And there's DD masters like us who somehow like everyone at the same time.

Posted by: paranda at October 16, 2014 10:01 AM

« THE PLAN Winter 2014 | Main | Tamura Yukari LOVE LIVE 2014 Spring *Fruits Fruits Cherry* »

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)