“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
Helen Keller (ヘレン・ケラー)
It’s been nearly two years in the making. Matter of fact, this was hanging in my documents, incomplete, for quite some time. Real life has gotten in the way, but this is something I wanted to place a lot of effort and accuracy into. Why?
Back in September 2015, there was a program special called Shumei Doki (趣味どきっ！一声入魂！アニメ声優塾; Hobby time! Voice consecration! Anime Voice actor private school!) hosted by multi-talent Nakagawa Shoko (AKA: SHOKOTAN) and two other guests. Each week, Shoko and these guests are assigned to a single instructor: Eight well known seiyu or voice actors. I love the majority of them, their craft indeed renowned.
What was this special about?”
Why is “that anime character” we know so attractive? The voice actors who breathe life and voice to the character, voice actors of effort and inventive idea, working behind the production, source of passion, are revealed to light.
This program, completing charming character, performance of voice actors are called “Ani god spirit”.
Lessons of life are learned.
One of the instructors, the seventh, is someone I would probably put in my TOP 10 Japanese voice actors. When it comes to females in entirety, she would probably rank in my TOP 5. I adore this person.
A sensual tone, a passionate timbre, probably a go-to-gal when you reliably want a strong female character, this person is probably best known to Westerners as the voice of NARUTO’s Fifth Hokage and Sailor Moon’s Sailor Neptune (in which was recently given to Ohara Sayaka for Sailor Moon Crystal) among a long line of credits – animation, tokusatsu, video games, dubbing, narrator, drama CDS, singing. Among her performances is her rather silly personality; she is also a VA tutor of the Tokyo Animation College in Shinjuku. There’s an impression that a “heart is straight”.
Her name is Katsuki Masako.
There are many things that I could say about this person but I should contain myself to the main topic.
In today’s age where there are live shows and music performances of seiyu, Katsuki-san’s appearance in media is quite rare. In such an opportunity, as an instructor of Shumei DOKI, she applies knowledge that is fundamental NOT just for any actor, but is also universal health advice. What to learn from “sensei”? Sensei’s advice is nothing technical or complex.
On the program, she was defined as 止まらない勝生 (tomaranai katsuki). The unstoppable Katsuki.
It’s weird because Katsuki’s theme is “freedom”: Having little preparation of getting into the part, and let the flow run free. Why is that? It’s due to the pressure. An actor’s mind should be released of pressure. Now, I will elaborate on sensei’s performance style or Katsuki-ryuu (勝生流).
This is the Refresh Style (リフレッシュ術).
心構え = 勝生流声優道
Prepation/readiness/mental atitude = Katsuki style VA path
One of the techniques to release this pressure or stress is LAUGHING! I recall her appearance on “BLEACH B STATION”, hosted by Morita Matsukazu (the C.V of Kurosaki Ichigo) and answered a question from someone regarding “being scared”
And K’s answer was “WARAE” or “to laugh!”.
BLEACH B STATION
Tell me advice to stand on stage.
Everyone get up!
The majority of her explanation in Shumei Doki is about a strong mentality, or there is “little matter”.
I found a hilarious photo regarding the “laughing” advice in connection to the program and I have yet to find it (and I am totally upset about it).
Using the voice
The diaphragm, which is the piece of muscle underneath your ribcage that supports your lungs and the flow of air, has an important function in breathing, thus your voice. Another important factor for your use of voice is your larynx. To put it simply, the muscles you contain in neck and chest must coordinate equally. This is necessary when singing, using the muscles in continuum.
Your vocal cords (in laryx) function by vibrating from air and making sound. Because you breathe outward while speaking, laryx goes down and your cords close. Avoid touching the back of something with tongue (or muscles). To not stray far from the point and not into science, the point is that breathing is highly important. You have a versatile voice capable of making sound, including tone change. So confidence shall be a factor in a good performance because it’s both physical and mental. Inflection is important as well; not just voice but the use of speech.
Listen to a contrabass flute of different range of “low” notes.
A mental effort is a significant factor within a performer not just for the practice and conveying for a character, but to avoid self-indulgence, and to know what to expect from such a job (ie: difficult products, criticism/ugly remarks, etc). This also includes your mistakes. Also, a confrontation of a physical and mental disorder. There should be a step-by-step patience and motivation.
Part 2 and further elaboration should come another time.