Conflating Fists and Faces

Continuing on from yesterday’s post about an anime-related dream, here’s another one I had recently. It’s actually longer than this overall but most of it makes no sense, so I decided to just focus on the anime-related aspect of it. Let’s just say it involved a gangster who wanted to propose to his girlfriend by singing the rap/reggae opening from some video game.

I was at some anime convention that  had Tange Sakura (voice of Kinomoto Sakura)  as a guest. We were in an auditorium and we somehow convinced her to speak in her Sakura voice (which was way different from her normal voice), but then I decided I wanted to take a picture of her. At first I realized I had no camera, but then remembered my cell phone. When I took the picture Tange Sakura exclaimed for me not to, but it was too late.

On my phone there ended up being three pictures. Two of them had her mid-expression so she looked ugly in them, the kind of thing that happens when you photograph someone while their eyes are blinking and such. The last picture I thought turned out well, until I realized that her “face” was a digitized and pixelated black and white fist of Ken from Street Fighter doing a shoryuken from a poster behind her. She said that camera phones were different in Japan and that in Japan if people were making funny faces at each other you knew that they were about to take pictures of each other but America was different. I said, “Ah forget it,” and just shook hands with her. It was a very satisfying handshake and I told her I’m a big fan.

As she left, she told me that the one problem she had with the con was that the genders were not separated in the hotel. I told her that it was indeed a problem with American cons and that the staff would try to fix it.

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Welcome Back, Tange Sakura

Kinomoto Sakura, the heroine of Cardcaptor Sakura, is one of the most beloved anime characters of all time. Full of energy, enthusiasm, and a drive to find happiness for everyone with mixed an innocent girlishness, Sakura became what is essentially the lofty goal of most moe characters. She tugs at the heartstrings in a convincing manner, gets you rooting for her as she goes out to face the next challenge, and is both believable and fantastic. A good portion of this power and majesty (at least in the anime!) lies in her voice actor, Tange Sakura.

Tange Sakura to certain otaku such as myself is one of the finest voice actors ever, due mainly to the convincing humanity she puts into her roles. But then a  few years back Sakura retired from the world of voice acting, right around time anime really started to take off around the world, leaving a small semi-generation of anime fans unfamiliar with her abilities. But now she’s back, and I have to say few things are as momentous in anime voice acting as the return of Tange Sakura. I don’t know why she left, or why she’s decided to come back, but it is welcome news.

So far she’s played a character in the video game Love Plus, with her first anime role since her retirement being the vampire Hatori Kanon in Anyamaru Tantei Kirumins (which if I were to try to translate into English would be something like “Animeow Detective Mascots”). It’s definitely Sakura all right, though she doesn’t get very many lines. She’s also working with a mix of relatively new voice actors, and some people she’s worked with before, namely Tanaka Hideyuki (Sakura’s dad in CCS). I wonder if anyone out there is watching this show just for her, and not say, because it’s directed by Kawamori Shouji (Various Macross seres, Escaflowne, Aquarion).

I would not be surprised if that were the case, and wouldn’t really mind anyone watching this show in particular for the voice actor(s).