Note 3/25/05: No strip today, so the rant is on the forums. Click here to read it.
Holy crap, I actually wrote a rant longer and more rambling than a Fred rant. That's impressive. And what's more impressive, part two of this crazily long two-part rant is still longer than it. Sorry for those expecting stories about Greg Dean's wedding and how I'm getting old--that'll wait until Friday, I will continue to vomit out random information that interests me.
So when I left off yesterday, I'd just finished talking about some female voice actresses who didn't change their names when making the transition from pr0n to more mainstream work. And I realized as I was sitting down to write the next rant, "Hey, wait, male seiyuu do that all the time when doing boy's love/yaoi stuff, don't they?"
I honestly had no idea, so I consulted fellow prevert Puu, who knows much more about this thing than I do, due to the fact that she doesn't have the pesky Y chromosome getting in the way of her urge to watch guys humping other guys.
What follows is a transcript of the conversation I had with her, and if you don't want to hear about it and want to move on to the KOTOKO part, feel free to search for the word "continued".
Dom: do you happen to know why male seiyuu tend to keep their stage names for the yaoi?
Puu: why's that?
Puu: or are you asking me why?
Dom: I'm asking you
Puu: actually, not all of them do
Dom: what, you think I study yaoi greatly?
Note: My time spent studying the visual culture of pornography, both heterosexual and homosexual, doesn't count.
Puu: there's a lot of uncredited yaoi porn
Dom: /me writes that down
Puu: but if you listen, you KNOW when Koyasu is moonlighting for dom/sub military porn
Puu: for example
Puu: nakata jouji, too, now that I think about it
Note: This link leads to a page discussing homosexual pornography--if you don't want to look at it, don't. The images are work-safe, but you may not want to click, just in case
Puu: reading the details of that anime might scar your eyes, but the last paragraph mentions that everyone knows koyasu was in this
Puu: and I'm quite sure nakata jouji was in this
Puu: but they aren't listed in the credits
Puu: koyasu can't disguise his voice
Puu: but that's an older yaoi smutfest, full of pixellated glowing cones
Puu: nowadays, everyone goes by their real names
Puu: I have heard so many soul-scarring yaoi drama tracks that people send me
Dom: any idea why?
Puu: I'm not sure
Puu: except maybe they know there's good money to be made in it.
Puu: although japan isn't the gay fantasyland that yaoi fangirls imagine it to be, the BL genre has enough visibility and generates enough income for it to be worth attaching your name to a piece of BL merchandise
Puu: yeah, I mean, seriously, nowadays BL (Note: BL = Boy's Love)CDs advertise their famous seiyuu contents
Puu: instead of just "GAY PR0N HERE"
Puu: it's "WHO WANTS GAY PR0N WITH INOUE KAZUHIKO AND MIDORIKAWA HIKARU, LADIES???"
Puu: it's pretty impressive how, er, talented some of them are.
Puu: I even get embarrassed listening to it!
Puu: dude, morikubo shoutarou! jesus christ!
Dom: any reason you think it doesn't affect their careers?
Puu: hmmm, well
Puu: I guess it's just that everyone's doing it nowadays
Puu: and hell, in japan, wasn't there that wrestler who did gay porn on the side?
Puu: did it ruin his career when he was outed?
Dom: there was that baseball player, Tadano
Note: Tadano is still playing baseball. Everyone knows about the gay porn thing he did, though, and they mostly... make fun of it, really.Puu: or whoever, right
Puu: since everyone does it, and it makes money, you can't go, "that one seiyuu does BL dramas, how shocking!"
Puu: and hell, teenage girls eat it up
Puu: and everyone else can ignore it if they want
Puu: but then, that's just my wild guess
So there you have it, a fellow prevert's view from the other side of the chromosome.
Okay, my normal rant continued:
What REALLY started my fascination with the movement from work in pr0n to mainstream stuff was last year, when Geneon Entertainment announced that they'd signed up KOTOKO, by far the most popular singer in the I've stable. I've is a relatively small Hokkaido-based music studio. In 1999, they started making a name for themselves by doing openings for H games--and coincidentally, that was the year I turned 18 and went to college, not in that order.
Anyway, my first exposure to I've came through fellow prevert and former roommate UkiyaShun, who bought Regret after hearing some of their music in his H games (one of which he lent me, and started MY whole sordid foray into H games... the jerk). They've released five collection CDs (Short Circuit, I'm told, doesn't count as one of their collections because it includes only two of the I've singers), and a whole host of singles and soundtracks. I own three of them myself: Disintegration, Lament and Outflow.
I've's (oh, God, I just wrote the word "I've's", the English language is going to kill me when she finds out) music is popular for two big reasons. First, trance DJ-turned-producer Takase Kazuya knows how to put together REALLY catchy electronic music. Second, the female vocalists in the I've stable (including, but not limited to, KOTOKO, Kawada Mami, Shimamiya Eiko, SHIHO and Utatsuki Kaori) are pretty damn good singers.
I've's (uggggh, I wrote it again) popularity among the porn game audience is probably what led their work in Onegai Teacher, since that work borders on porn anyway (kidding!). But Onegai Teacher was an exception to the rule--I've kept plugging away doing music for adult PC games, releasing independent CDs, and such.
This brings us back to the part where Geneon signed KOTOKO to a contract and announced that it would be releasing an album. This announcement absolutely floored me. I mean, KOTOKO is a good singer and all, but she also writes the lion's share of I've's (crud, I wrote "I've's" again) lyrics. And often, these lyrics are not tame. I mean, I still snicker whenever I play the Haa Haa Telepath opening to people, and they go "wow, that song's really cute" before I explain to them that the song's title translate to "Even though it's my first time, I'm really sensitive". Then I translate the lyrics for them, and laugh at them when their eyebrows meet their hair line.
Heck, I'd seen message board posts hailing how "eroi" KOTOKO's lyrics are. And suddenly a relatively well-known label picks her up, advertising her I've past to drum up interest.
Sure, she hadn't ever acted in the games, so her career before "going clean" isn't quite the same as the other examples I've cited. But if you listen to what she's actually singing in half of her songs, it's almost as bad as the acting. So I wondered how the hell it was going to work. I mean, they couldn't exactly use her in everything, could they?
A couple months later, she sang the opening song to a children's show, Mahou Shoujotai Arusu (AKA Tweeny Witches).
That blew my mind too--I had no real explanation. Intellectually, I know that she's capable of writing and singing really cutesy songs, but... well... a couple months after that, she did the opening song for Nee-chan to shiyou yo! 2 (AKA Let's knock boots with big sister! 2.
In interviews with KOTOKO that I've read, they overlook her previous in much the same way as Kuribayashi Minami. It's just a few jokes and footnotes, nothing more.
Heck, when Geneon roped Kawada Mami out of the pr0n world and into Starship Operators, interviews with HER did the same thing.
I just don't get it. You'd think that a background heavy in pr0n would have at least some negative impact on one's career, necessitating a name change. But Geneon and the I've girls feed off of it. It might be the "Talent is mightier than porn" explanation. It might be the more callous "hey, any publicity is good publicity" theory.
But it just breaks any explanation I might come up with to see I've still chugging away for the H game scene, then turning around and working on magical girl shows, science fiction dramas, and everything in between. And no one cares.
How do these maintain both halves of their careers without having to hide behind a pseudonym? Is it just the fact that Japanese culture is much more accepting of these things (HA!)? I just don't know.
So there you have it. A lot of information about my obsession and not much explanation--I won't apologize, if I had all the answers I wouldn't be fascinated by the subject. If you'll excuse me, I think I'll put Re-sublimity back in the CD player and wonder what information I'm missing.