Nobody expected anime TV series "Kemono Friends" to be a hit. A low-budget late-night short-form anime with crummy CG, it was originally green-lit as part of the promotions for a mobile game which was cancelled before the anime adaptation even premiered.
And yet, "Kemono Friends" went on to become massively successful, touching the hearts of anime fans of both the human and penguin varieties. So with the series’ second season now in development, the expectations are higher, and the production team is holding an open audition for potential voice actresses to portray part of the cast of cute animal girls.
▼ Teaser for "Kemono Friends Season 2"
However, as pointed out by Japanese Twitter user @fanzell_lolott2, some of the information applicants are required to provide is pretty surprising.
The form (which can be found here) starts out pretty simple, asking for the applicant’s name, address, and age. But then it delves into physical attributes, with boxes in which the applicant needs to enter her height and weight, before asking for her bust, waist, and hip measurements. And yes, these are required fields, meaning that refusing to tell the producers how large your chest is means you can’t submit the form.
It’s also worth noting that while the applicant’s measurements are a must, the section for academic and professional experience is optional, and can be left completely blank (though the box for “hobbies/special talents” must be filled in).
“This is so creepy…” tweeted @fanzell_lolott2.
But while asking aspiring voice actresses for their measurements is unusual, it’s pretty much the norm for live-action acting and modeling in Japan. It’s also worth pointing out that, as per the "Kemono Friends" application site, the producers aren’t looking just for voice actresses, but for members of a new idol unit, which in today’s industry means the voice actresses will expected to perform on stage in front of fans of the anime at promotional events. That puts them closer to the sphere of mainstream, in-front-of-the-camera entertainers, which in the Japanese show business world usually means having to fit with mainstream ideas of beauty. As such, actual voice acting talent is likely just one of several criteria applicants will be evaluated on, and perhaps not even the most important one, prompting other Twitter users to comment:
“Even though we call them ‘voice actresses,’ nowadays their looks are considered really important too.”
“They’re definitely looking to have the voice actresses on TV programs, so ultimately it’s more about their looks than their voices.”
“They’re probably hoping to go on having stage shows even after the second season finishes, so they’re going to be concerned about their appearances.”
Of course, many would argue that attractiveness isn’t something that can be determined by three body measurements, which is likely why the application requires a photograph as well (although this is common for just about all jobs in Japan, including non-glamorous positions like office worker or convenience store clerk).
As their sub-culture celebrity status continues to grow, it’s likely that making it big in anime voice acting will increasingly resemble making it big in live-action acting, in that acting talent alone isn’t always enough to land the most coveted parts…or positions on a basketball team.
Sources: Kemono Friends audition application site, Twitter/@fanzell_lolott2 via Jin
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