Anime voice acting used to be a job that afforded one a pretty high level of privacy and anonymity. Increasingly, though, to really succeed in the industry Japanese voice actors have to make themselves accessible to the fan community through video messages, public appearances, social media, and other ways to promote a personal brand that brings attention and interest to their roles and the series they’re part of.
But while anime itself is famously comfortable with sexualized content, that doesn’t mean that same acceptance extends to the individuals voicing its characters. Similar to the situation for idol singers, the most extreme bloc of anime fandom, which also provides an immense amount of the industry’s financial support, often wants to believe that its favorite voice actresses are living chaste lives devoted solely to perfecting their craft and pleasing their fans.
Recently, Emi Nitta, the voice of "Love Live!" protagonist Honoka, has been dogged by rumors that she appeared in an adult video prior to being cast in the tremendously popular anime franchise. While her talent agency has vehemently denied that she did any such thing, the situation has served as a reminder about how quickly the infatuation of the most obsessive and lucrative portion of a voice actress’ fan base can vanish. Apparently, the situation has at least one company so on edge that it’s taking preemptive action to avoid such a scenario.
Talent agency Walkure is looking to sign a crop of new voice/vocal performers looking for work in the anime, video game, idol, and pachinko machine sectors. It’s even holding auditions in Tokyo on May 14. Looking over the information on the event’s website, among the conditions applicants have to meet are provisions both legal and practical. For example, applicants must not be currently under contract with a competing agency, and must be willing to relocate or commute to the Tokyo area, where the majority of their work-related activities will be carried out.
But the list also includes this: “We reserve the right to reject applicants involved in illegal activities, or who have been engaged in adult videos or modeling.”
It’s especially noteworthy that while the exact wording shuts the talent agency’s door on those who are currently breaking the law, there’s no chance for redemption if you’ve been part of any pornography, even if you’re no longer in that line of business.
In Walkure’s defense, the very fans it’s trying to avoid upsetting aren’t exactly known for their understanding, forgiving nature. With no statute of limitations likely from the group it’s counting on to pay so many of its bills, including performers’ salaries, the agency seems to think it has no choice but to say that if pornographic work is a part of your past, you’re not part of Walkure’s future.
Source: Walkure via Hachima Kiko
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