Last year, a documentary film titled "Sono Koe no Anata e"
was released. The film looks back on the voice acting industry in the early days of Japanese animation, along with the life of Kenji Utsumi, the voice actor who portrayed Shenron in "Dragon Ball" and Raoh in "Fist of the North Star." It includes old footage of the first generation of voice actors marching in protest, including for improvements in their working environment.
Today, Kotono Mitsuishi and Junko Iwao talk about their experiences, and Megumi Ogata, who is of the same generation, expresses her concerns about the "invoice system"* on social media, perhaps indicating that the older generation that has been responsible for such activities have passed the baton on to them.
*(I have no idea what "invoice system" could possibly mean, so I left it as-is.)
The first generation of idol seiyuu know both light and shadow.
In a long interview with Hisashi Maeda for Mapion News, Kotono Mitsuishi, who touched on the subject of the Covid pandemic, was asked, "Just as you have learned from your teachers and seniors, do you mean that you are going to pass on your knowledge to the next generation?" In response to Maeda's question, Kotono answered with a reserved "I don't think I'm that much of a self-promoter."
It is true that her position as a freelance actor without an office is not strong in the Japanese entertainment industry. However, today, characters played by Kotono Mitsuishi are almost all in blockbusters, such as Eva and Sailor Moon, Hancock in "One Piece" and Rena Mizunashi in "Detective Conan." There is even a jinx that says, "Works with Mitsuishi Kotono in them will be long-runners."
And not only as an anime voice actor, but also as a live-action actor, after "Rikokatsu," he is scheduled to appear in next season's historical drama "Hikaru Kimi e" (To You, Hikaru). Last year there was "Haken Anime!" and Mamoru Miyano's appearance in the morning drama "Ranman." Young voice actors are making inroads into live-action dramas, and Kotono Mitsuishi's appearance in a historical drama will also be a big story. Just as she took over the role of Nobita Nobi's mother from her predecessors, I believe that she will not only take over the role, but also the role of the oldest generation.
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Kotono Mitsuishi and the rest of the first generation of idol voice actors have lived through an era in which these two sides were blended together, and they know both the light and the dark sides of this mixture, which cannot be categorized in one way or another.
The editor in charge at the time, Mr. Osano, continued, "I was surprised to find that 40% of Sailor Moon's readership was male. When the remake was produced in the 21st century, the returning fans were 90% female."
The term "first penguin" describes the first one to jump into dangerous waters where sharks may be present in search of fish. Kotono Mitsuishi, who was among the first to jump into the rough waters of the idolization of the voice acting world and is now taking on another major drama, may one day begin to spin words for her juniors who will follow in her footsteps.
"I've heard that the vocal cords are the organs most resilient to age." "I hope to do this job until I become a grandma."
Kotono Mitsuishi says these in the interview with Hisashi Maeda mentioned above. Whatever the years ahead bring, perhaps the time will come when the voice that has played characters that reached both men and women will one day recount the era in which she lived to her fans and pass on a message to the future.
Perhaps someday then, when the "first Usagi in the world to become Sailor Moon" begins to speak, the Usagi Tsukinos and her friends around the world will answer aloud, and Misato Katsuragis of all generations will smile and nod.