June 10, 2014

Ootsubo Yuka, redux

Happy Birthday Yukachin!!!

Two years ago, I did a mini bio on Yukachin when I was still just following her with blossoming interest. At the time, the "rookie" had just completed her wildy successful debut role in YuruYuri and was in the midst of a solid industry push backed by the winds of executive confidence.

Soon after, she skyrocketed to my Big 4 (Yukarin, Shaori, Nunu, Yukachin). I went to her lives 6 times, listened/watched broadcasts, sent mail, bought CDs, and shook her hand at a release event. As today is her 21st birthday, I think the timing is good to review just how far she's come.

To list a few accomplishments:

  • In early 2013 was chosen by Seiyuu GrandPrix editors as one of the most notable seiyuu under 20

  • She went on to star as a key character in several high visibility projects (Vivid Red, KanColle, 575)

  • She performed in the famous Animelo Summer Live on 3 different days, and is likely to appear again this year.

  • She won a Seiyuu Award as part of the HaiyoritaiG unit for Best Song

  • She released 2 photobooks, with more planned

  • She appeared as a headliner several times for other magazines such as Seiyuu Paradise

  • She joined the Idolmaster Cinderella Girls franchise (where her character sold an impressive 30,000+ CDs)

  • She debuted in her own Early Wing agency's idol group Twinkle Girls Ailes where she effectively as the center

  • She IS the center of WUG's rival idol group I-1 Club

  • She hosts several weekly and monthly web programs including her own solo program which is approaching its two-year anniversary

  • She launched a music duo "smileY inc" under DIVE II entertainment with Vocaloid Producer Yuuyu (Outbreak Company ED), which will be in charge of performing the Ending Theme to Hanayamata. Their company twitter account @smileYinc_PR went public today.

Not everything went perfectly. After landing a leading role in the major Aniplex property Vividred Operation, she received a lukewarm reception for her performance as Wakaba. Her momentum stalled, and fans had to quickly readjust their expectations. It seemed that she couldn't quite reproduce the Toshino Kyoko magic for other characters - in various forums you'll see the often repeated sentiment "I only like her for Kyoko but her other roles are lacking." There was also various speculation about how she got the Tamao role in the popular Nyaruko anime as there were apparently casting shenanigans involving specific requests by the creator.

Despite this setback, she kept a secure foothold in the industry through her fantastic complementary skills - mainly, her ability to improvise during live situations, skills to keep conversations flowing, a strong hardworking aura, and infinite goodwill from staff and fans through her highly agreeable personality. Instead of being depushed, she maintained decent visibility as she redistributed her work to radio and events which she she's good at, and continued to gain experience and improve on her weaknesses. For a short while, it seemed like she was getting nothing but sketchy roles, but it seems she's ready for prime time and is now re-emerging in relatively high prestige titles once again.

With several big roles this year, and what seems to be a major PR push for her and her duo unit in Hanayamata, the future is looking brighter than ever.

As her strength is still talk, I recommend the following three titles which I still keep up with regularly:

As a testament to her drawing power, Yukachin was tapped by GA Bunko to host her own monthly hour-long solo program titled Tubonjour. The show's format usually opens with her sampling this month's baumkuchen and tea combination, going through various fan-mail corners (futsuota, nayamisoudan, etc), followed by a publicity bit for GA's light novel properties, some kind of challenge, and ends with an omake. Guests are typically fellow seiyuu from related anime tie-ins, such as Akasaki Chinatsu, Asumi Kana, Matsuki Miyu, and Kayano Ai. Among non-seiyuu , Aniplex's producer Oota Kyouko aka. Oota-san aka. Kyon is also a frequent guest. They frequently cross-promote with Asumin's potato chips show. Notably, instead of traditional email, fans submit things to the show entirely through tweeting messages to @Tubonjour. Tsubonjour is one of the few shows where I've been lucky enough to get a tweet read on air.

YRYR is a major chunk of her work despite the last real season of the anime having ended two years ago. Yukachin continues to co-host the weekly "Yurarararayuruyuri Housoushitsu" with other Gorakubu cast members, releasing "countdown" radio CDs at regular intervals, doing public recording sessions, and other events, including one this month. An OVA is also in the works.

Up until it was neutered into a "audio only" version last month, Hamiraji used to be one of the best places to catch a weekly dose of Ootsubo Yuka messing around with her friend Yamamoto Nozomi and senpai Arakawa Miho. Each episode had an amusing drama at the beginning of each episode which can get quite lengthy, and was filled with tons of adlib corners where they attempt to give advice to their listeners.

Posted by Paranda at June 10, 2014 2:27 PM


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