It's that time of the week again, and I am glad to know that the Bleach anime is not ending. A special thanks to Tman7776 for breaking the news. I looked over the original tweet from Morita Yosuke, assistant recording director of the Bleach anime and the original of ROOKiEZ is PUNK'D's post. What happened was they were saying that it was cool that they get the ending for the climax of the arrancar arc. Unfortunately the katakana for cool can be translated to the english slang word or as the French word "cours," which means seasons of a TV show. Unfortunately the band put the words 最終 in front, which can mean "final" or last. So what we had was a simple error in translation. So Yippee for that! As I already stated, along with my weekly review of new episodes from Japan, I will begin a weekly english dub review starting with episode 190, which airs February 5th/6th at midnight on adult swim.
I am doing something a little different this week. For episode 305 itself, I don't really have much of an opinion on it. It wasn't good, but it wasn't horrendous either. It was just Meh. I had some tiny issues with the animation, but not enough to have a giant rant about it. Instead, I will discuss something that has bothered me for a while...some seiyu's not fitting the part. As much as I love the seiyus, I feel that some of them don't fill the expectation of the characters that they portray, when compared to their manga counter-parts. The Seiyu's I have "issues" with are Yuki Matsuoka (Orihime), and Kaya Matsutani (Rangiku). I will discuss what issues I have with them, and why I think their english voice actresses are more fit for the roles. But before I begin, please remember to vote for February's Featured Article, Featured Picture and Featured Quote!
Yuki Matsuoka as Orihime Inoue
To start things off, Orihime is one of my favorite characters in Bleach, so my issue with the seiyu has nothing to do with my like or dislike of the character. The reason I love Orihime so much, is because she reminds me a lot of myself, especially in the hyper-activeness and strange food choices department. I love the fact that she truly is a good person, yes she has her faults, but who doesn't. Orihime to me is a lovable, hyper-active, and smart teenage girl. However at times, I only get 1 out of 3 of those things out of Yuki Matsuoka's performance.
My main problem with Yuki, is that she portrays Orihime as a little too ditzy. Orihime can be a little...uhh okayyy...at times, but Yuki sometimes makes it feel like Orihime is not as smart as she is. However, this is not completely Yuki's fault. A lot of it has to do with omissions from the first few episodes of the series. The anime team changed the time of the Orihime got hit by the car and omitted her "drunk dragon song." That song is actually very important, because it basically gives you a rough outline of who Orihime is as a person, and without it you just kind of see Orihime as being slightly dumb. With Yuki's acting abilities alone, she does an overall good job with Orihime, but sometimes she can come off as too whiny and annoying (especially with the oh infamous cries of Kurosaki-Kun).
What I like about Stephanie Sheh's interpretation of Orihime, is that in a way it is a lot closer to the manga. According to an interview with Sheh back in 2006, the producers from Japan wanted Orihime to sound less ditzy in english. So right there, the seeds for success were already implanted (and no this is not a Szayel reference). Plus, the english adaptation team at Studiopolis, rewrote some of Orihime's jokes to be funnier for an english audience as well as closer to her manga counter part. Here is an example from this from episode 23. On the left-hand side is the dubbed version and on the right-hand side is the original Japanese version. thumb|300px|left|start video at 1:53thumb|300px|right|start video at 2:59
Overall Sheh gives an overall better performance on a regular basis. Sheh has handled the character of Orihime with the utmost care and it shows. She shows her wide emotional range as an actress, and I look forward to an episode when Orihime appears. Not to discredit Yuki, I think she has handled the character well, perhaps I'm a tad biast since I started Bleach with the english adaptation, but I feel that Stephanie is better suited as Orihime.
Kaya Matsutani as Rangiku Matsumoto
I have several problems with Kaya, especially after today's episode (305). First of all, I think Kaya's voice sounds WAY TOO OLD for Rangiku. To me physically, Rangiku looks about 22 or 23, I don't she should sound like she is in her late 30s early 40s. The main issue I have with Kaya's portrayal of Rangiku is that frankly, most of time, her acting is very flat. There is little to no change in emotion in her voice and at times it sounds like she is just reading off the script and is just using inflection in her voice. Kaya makes Rangiku seem two dimensional, she makes it feel like she is an adulteress and nothing else. However, those of us who really know Rangiku, know she is more than just big breasts. In my opinion, Rangiku is one of the most emotionally complex characters in Bleach. On the surface we see a party girl of sorts, but we also find a very loyal friend. We find out the Rangiku has a very disturbing past (you can interpret chapter 415 however you want, but whatever happened to Rangiku was DEFINITELY NOT LEGAL). Megan Hollingshead portrays Rangiku as young and full of life. Even though I doubt in her very busy schedule she reads the manga, the way she portrays Rangiku, makes it feel like she has been following the manga since day 1. The ironic thing is the Megan is about two years older than Kaya, yet she makes Rangiku sound about 10 years younger than Kaya's portrayal. Megan is also one of the best voice, if not one of the best actresses I know. She has a long history in both theater and in animation. Megan makes Rangiku very off-the wall and really truly acts with her voice. Plus again this might be my bias to be introduced to Bleach with the English adaptation first, but I think Megan's voice fits the animation of Rangiku much more. Here are some examples of both Kaya's and Megan's acting.
First a clip from episode 63, when Rangiku reminisces about Gin. On the left-hand side is the dubbed version and on the right-hand side is the original Japanese version.
Megan's acting is a lot more emotional, you can tell that Rangiku feels very hurt, and betrayed. With Kaya, it feels like she is just talking in a very sad tone. I am perhaps more critical than most fans, because I am an actress, and I hope one day to go into acting and voice acting on a professional level. Whenever someone asks me about how I act, I give them the two most critical parts of acting. #1 If you can't convince yourself, you are not going to convince anyone else. In other words you are your own critic, if you can believe it, no one else will. #2 This is without a doubt the key to acting. Acting is when you put yourself into imaginary circumstances and react to how you would perceive it if it is reality. In other words you must become the character and the character must become you. I tell people you will never be a good actor if you cannot break the wall of your own normal persona. In my opinion, Megan is Rangiku, and I think a lot of people would agree with me. Here is another example. On the left-hand side is the dubbed version and on the right-hand side is the original Japanese version. thumb|300px|leftthumb|300px|right
So, I feel that Rangiku shines in the dub, however I am a very concerned about the aforementioned scene coming up in the anime soon. I am beginning to wonder if Kaya can pull it off or it. Well, I'll keep my hopes up and pray for the best.
Anyway I hope you enjoyed by perspective on this subject and remember these are just my opinions, you can either agree with me or we can agree to disagree.
Anyway Join me next week, when we FINALLY return to cannon with episode 306.