[Zyl] Shizuka Itou at STGCC 2011

As per normal, no photo-taking/video recording were allowed the moment she came on stage

It’s been more than a month since I went to STGCC for the express purpose of seeing/hearing Shizuka Itou live and now I finally have some time to do a quick write up of the experience. First, I owe many thanks to SaiNano for getting me into the VIP area; we were literally just within single digit metres of the main stage.

Going for live events can be risky for one’s fandom. When you normally experience the product of a performer, it’s usually been gone over, prior to consumer release, by production staff with all their technical wizardry to make a product that could be quite different from what a live performance or appearance can deliver. I’m glad to say that I’ve come away from this encounter as an even bigger fan of Shizu-sama.

The first surprise was how pretty she was in real life. Her publicity shot for this event and even the cover photo of her mini-album, Devotion, seems to over-emphasize the oblong longness of her face. Maybe it was her bright smile. Or maybe it was her blue yukata with yellow flower prints. Or maybe her solid voice performances. In any case she came across, right from the moment she walked on stage, as a performer with quite a lot of charisma and stage presence.

The second surprise, also noted by sentinel011, was how long the live dub session was. Almost ten minutes of the birthday present finale in Hayate no Gotoku!! Ep 13 right from the moment Hinagiku woke up to the balcony scene. I particularly enjoyed seeing how she ran through the gamut of facial expressions as she worked her way through this very popular climatic scene without a hitch.

There were no surprises during the Q&A session; it was obvious that her management and staff would weed out all the questions that were potentially provocative or reveal anything that could constitute breach of contract (e.g. non-disclosure of forthcoming roles or really juicy insider gossip). Nonetheless there was still some of the wit and mischievousness that filters through into her more interesting characters that was on display that afternoon – like when she expressed surprise that she had been sent down to Singapore to do this event and was really worried that no one would turn up to see her. To which some members of the audience called out: Masaka! (No way!) and Arienai! (Impossible!) Like me, they’d probably had shown up (and had been camping in the audience area since two sessions ago) just to see her.

Another answer that tickled me was, in response to a query about what kind of future roles she’d like to do more of, her preamble went along the lines of: “For some reason, I’ve been doing a lot of tsundere school council types lately…” Not that she wasn’t grateful for them or didn’t enjoy them but, for a change of pace (and probably to expand her CV), she’d love to be more successful in her singing career (ooh my favourite anisong ever by Shizu-sama has to be PROCESS sung as Momiji Miyabe in Wagaya no Oinarisama Ep 13) and do more silly, happy-go-lucky, bimbo-type characters.

Speaking of such, her final single line request was for Amagami SS’s Haruka Morishima-senpai’s nyaning. Verily she nearly caused a moe massacre of the audience as many of us struggled to stuff our souls, escaping through our mouths, back into our bodies. There was, of course, a request for a line from Hinagiku and another popular character that I can’t recall. If I had the presence of mind to put in a request beforehand, I would have asked for something along the lines of: “Mumumumu de arimasu” from Wilhelmina in Shakugan no Shana. There were also requests for lines from Okamisan’s Ryoko and Saki’s Takei Hisa – to which someone in the audience loudly wisecracked that these shows aren’t even licensed and not available on Animax which is the main medium by which most Singaporeans watch anime from offline sources.

Despite her popularity, the anime industry can be pretty unforgiving towards seiyuu. Besides having to tread carefully so as not to trigger the numerous hostility switches of the otaku fanbase (*coughAyaHiranocough*), Shizu-sama also talked about how she continues to work hard to audition for roles. The good news is that she’s got at least two roles in the upcoming seasons so I’ll be looking forward to that. The bad news, from my perspective, is that I could not enjoy her leading roles in a supposedly major anime (Hildegarde in Beelzebub) simply because the anime was just unbearable bad and I couldn’t watch it beyond the first episode. I also grumbled out loud about how she was dropped as the voice of Akiha Tohno and replaced by Hitomi in Carnival Phantasm. (To which, a member of the NK-DS staff sitting next to me replied: “That’s because there’s NO Tsukihime anime!!” LOL)

In sum, I had a great time and MOAR POWAH to Shizu-sama! And on a final note, here’s photos of the crowd just before and about five minutes after Shizu-sama’s STGCC Spotlight:

All set for some Shizu-sama LIVE


Ok, time to go home now.


6 thoughts on “[Zyl] Shizuka Itou at STGCC 2011

  1. You forgot to mention how paynig just S$10 bucks for shizuka sama was a steal!

    1. Aw shucks, now I feel kinda bad…

      Though I got a very very good deal and it almost certainly did not eat into Shizu-sama’s appearance fee, I would like the organizers to, at least, not have a financial disincentive to bring her to Singapore again.

  2. It’s too bad that despite her extensive CV, career history and many talents, Shizuka Itou (or Shizu-sama, if you prefer) just doesn’t have the fame of newer seiyuu like Aki Toyosaki or Aya Hirano. Unfortunately it seems the “Shizu-Sama Doctrine” doesn’t have anywhere near the followers it should. I don’t know if it’s because she has done ero-voice overs before (though that list would include such seiyuu like Hitomi Nabatame, Yuu Asakawa, Yuuko Gotou, Miki Itou, etc.).

    Perhaps she should take a page from Yuu Asakawa and try visiting a Western convention to drum up some more fan interest. I would agree that her role as Akiha Toono (along with how excellent Hitomi Nabatame was as Arcueid) should not have been replaced in Carnival Phantasm.

    One song of Shizuka Itou’s you should check out is “Sora no Sabaku.” That’s a refreshing break from the cheerful stuff you normally hear, and it really makes good use of her vocal talents.

    1. It’s quite a puzzle why Shizuka Itou isn’t more popular. I suspect it could be how her early successes were limited in various ways e.g. Tama-nee (but ero-voice over), Rei Hasekura (overshadowed by Miki Itou, Kana Ueda and, of course, Megumi Toyoguchi), Akiha Tohno (anime was not well received) etc. Her really big break has come only relatively recently, i.e. Hinagiku.

      re: Carnival Phantasm replacing her and Hitomi Nabatame as Akiha and Arcueid respectively, my speculation is that the production company could be leveraging on the success of the Melty Blood game (from which the replacements VAs were put into Carnival Phantasm) esp when compared to the relatively poor reception accorded to the Tsukihime anime. Also given that Melty Blood and Carnival Phantasm are both much heavier on parody compared to the Tsukihime anime, the moveover of the voice casts between the former two makes sense. Still… I can’t help grumbling…

      Thanks for pointing me to Sora no Sabaku – enjoyed the song on nico nico video (and all the comments) very much.

      1. Yep, fame is a fickle mistress. On one hand you have seiyuus like Shizu-sama who have worked hard for a long time but are at best middling on the fame scale, and on the other hand you have the stars of K-On! who were instantly rocketed to extreme fame over a single show that arguably doesn’t have anywhere near the character depths that Shizuka Itou has done.

        But what about her other starring roles, such as in series like D.Gray-man, El Cazador de la Bruja, xxxholic, or Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi? Were they not enough? Is it because they don’t fall into the “so cute” stereotypes that otaku crave, since her voice is deeper than most female seiyuu but isn’t quite as deep as Atsuko Tanaka’s or Romi Park’s?

        (I must say that the stereotypes really don’t do anyone any good. It limits the series that get made and robs seiyuu of the credit they deserve. Arguably, Shizuka Itou’s tsundere routines have a lot more depth than the current “Queen of Tsundere” Rie Kugimiya does.)

        Back to her music, I believe Sora no Sabaku works because it plays to her strengths (you can hear traces of the voice she used for Tama-nee in it), and because it stays with her vocal range. Kamen no Hakuraku (from her role as Wilhelmina Carmel from Shakugan no Shana) also works for the same reasons, but isn’t as good in my view because she keeps the same voice throughout (which does keep in line with her character in that show, but still). Salvia Farincea (from her role as Kaori Kanzaki in To aru Majutsu no Index) is odd because Shizuka Itou is hardly recognizable there. Yumemiru Sainou (from her role as Lenalee Lee in D.Gray-man) doesn’t work well in my view because it tries to shoehorn Itou into a high-pitched cute voice that her voice isn’t well suited for.

        Regardless, she really ought to do more conventions and put out more well-composed music CDs. Having the fans on your side (while keeping your private life under wraps) can be a good thing.

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