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How to Fix Japan’s Seiyuu Industry by Destroying It

Written by HotAnime

how to improve the seiyu industry

Last time I talked about ways in which Japan’s approach to capitalism often seems more “gentle” than in the U.S., with companies opting to peacefully co-exist with each other rather than aggressively competing, even when that would impact other companies negatively. Which sounds nice, though in practice might not be a healthy situation for a country that has to go head-to-head against South Korea, China, the U.S. and other smart countries who won’t play by the same rules.

I also wrote about the way the anime and game industry is being tormented by greedy, slow-to-change seiyuu industry, with talent agencies who extract massive fees for voice actor work then demand even more fees for licensors trying to publish visual novels outside Japan, shortsightedly blocking many titles from being published in English. (It’s why there are so few BL and otome games for you to play.) Only a tiny amount of the money collected by these agencies is given to the voice actors themselves, especially for anyone who hasn’t been in the industry that long. So I wondered, could the seiyuu industry be improved by disrupting it? Here are some ideas.

a) First, anime and game companies could create their own voice actor agencies to help control spiraling costs. Considering the number of talented people who want to work in the industry, perhaps they could specialize in “new” talent, and give exposure and opportunity to up-and-coming voice actors.

b) Maybe we can bring the benefits of social connectivity to Japan’s creative world with a Linkedin-style site where voice actors promote their works alongside artists, animators and other professionals. Maybe Pixiv or Nico Douga could do this, since they already have lots of street cred with fans.

c) Many professionals got their start making doujin works, drawing sexy comics or composing amateur Touhou music to demonstrate their mad skills to the world. Maybe there can be some kind of doujin voice actor movement, with voice actors uploading their recordings for review by all fans to get exposure.

d) How about a new kind of talent agency that’s owned entirely by the seiyuu themselves, with 100% of the funds generated going directly to the voice actors? (As long as I’m wishing, I’d like a catgirl.)

Sadly, none of these ideas will ever come to pass, and the reason is that Japanese companies are extremely conservative and sensitive to any possible downside. So things will continue as they are in the anime and game industry, until something happens that really shakes things up, and likely not in a good way.

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