*Editing note: How the hell did I get Sword and Rosetta’s seiyuu mixed up? Don’t know. Don’t ask, either, but the changes have been made. Yikes!*
It was preciesely a year ago to this very day when I wrote about my excitement about the official announced cast of Smile PreCure, and while most of my initial hype was for Marina Inoue’s role as Nao Midorikawa/Cure March, I found myself awed by Hisako Kanemoto’s portrayal of Yayoi Kise/Cure Peace, a performance worthy of being one of 2012’s best among seiyuu.
In fact, the entire cast of Smile did a wonderful job with their assigned roles. PreCure is generally very strong with regards to voice acting, and despite vocal standouts such as Yukana (Chobits, Code Geass) as Cure White, Eri Kitamura (Toradora, Sora no Woto) as Cure Berry, Nana Mizuki (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Princess Tutu) as Cure Blossom, Ami Koshimizu (Spice and Wolf, School Rumble) as cure Melody, and of course Inoue Marina (Minami-ke, Gurren Lagann)the main ensemble of Cures are strong as a singular unit.
Doki Doki PreCure is no different. With the official cast announced over the weekend, I am excited to see a cast that may not have as much star power as previous iterations, but appears strong, top-down. Let’s take a look at each of the seiyuu involved with the new show.
Hitomi Nabatame as Aida Mana/Cure Heart
Of all the seiyuu announced in Doki, Hitomi Nabatame has the most extensive resume, credited for roles such as the sporty Mikoto Sou in School Rumble, the bottle fairy-flame haze Margery Daw in Shakugan no Shana, and most recently, Cryska from Muv-Luv Alternative. She even has history with the PreCure franchise, having voiced one of Nagisa’s lacrosse teammates in Futari wa Pretty Cure. My favourite Hitomi-voiced character, however, would be Saori from Ore no Imouto, in which she portrayed a tall, level-headed otaku girl with a unique brand of fandom for anime.
Hitomi shows great range with the variety of roles that she has played, although she has never really broken out into the upper echelon of popularity among seiyuu. She will have her work cut out for her, as the history of PreCure leads is a storied one which includes the likes of Ami Koshimizu and Nana Mizuki. I have no worries about her abilities, and am sure that she will live up to the tradition of the lead heroine.
Minako Kotobuki as Rikka Hishikawa/Cure Diamond
Minako doesn’t appear to have many roles in anime relative to her more experienced counterpart in Hitomi, but her immense popularity stems from her role as Tsumugi Kotobuki from the wildly successfull K-ON!, as well as her membership in the renowned seiyuu group, Sphere. Ever since her breakout with Mugi, she’s enjoyed success in a number of other shows like Tiger and Bunny (as Blue Rose), A-channel (as Yuuko Nishi) and most recently, Aikatsu (as Mizuki Kanzaki).
Her role as the aloof top idol Mizuki in Aikatsu is of particular note, as experience in the show itself lends very well to a show like Doki. Both are aimed at similar audience demographics and are year-long projects. While Minako has only seen work in shorter series, roles in Aikatsu and Doki make for a very busy 2013. Will she elevate herself to the superstardom of fellow Sphere alumni Aki Toyosaki? Probably not, as PreCure isn’t exactly the launching pad for popularity, but you can rely on her to not only do justice to Cure Diamond’s character, but perhaps become the most popular character in the show.
Mai Fuchigami as Alice Yotsuba/Cure Rosetta
Mai Fuchigami is pretty new in the seiyuu business, having to date only a single notable role starring Miho Nishizumi from the 2012 hit series Girls Und Panzer. That said, don’t be fooled by abilities. There’s a pretty good set of chords in that girl, and if Panzer is any indication, she can go from a shy wallflower to a determined fighter in an instant. That said, the disconnect that Alice from the rest of society due to her rich background lends reasonably well to that distance that Miho has early on, though not precisely due to the same reasons. She’ll have to adapt slightly to the mannerisms of an ojou-like girl, which is probably more suited for a girl with experience with Miho’s partner in tankery, Hana Isuzu, but given that Mai came out of “nowhere” to star in such a prominent role, I’m not worried one bit.
Doki Doki brings an interesting alternate challenge outside of voicing the actual character itself, and that’s with regards to the process of voicing a character for an entire year. The process is long and full of adjustments along the way, and almost every PreCure has some instances of actresses getting better throughout, such as Misato Fukuen’s role as Cure Happy, which got a lot better. This gives me a lot of optimism for Mai’s Alice, as she’ll be given the opportunity to get even better at the business.
Kanako Miyamoto as Makoto Kenzaki/Cure Sword
One would think at first glance that Kanako Miyamoto would be just as new to the seiyuu scene as her panzer-faring counterpart, Mai, but a separation of a few months and having one or two more series under her belt makes all the difference in the world. With Naru Arata from Eureka Seven AO and Mikoto from Tanken Driland on her resume, I’m already quite sold on Kanako’s ability as a seiyuu. Furthermore, as I mentioned with regards to Cure Rosetta’s seiyuu, The demands of a long-running show is a wonderful experience for newbies to the industry, and not only does Tanken Driland provide the best starting point, but the production of that show lends well to PreCure, since they are both aimed at kids and have lots of action going on.
Comparing Mikoto to Cure Sword is a lot more interesting than comparing to Cure Rosetta, which is what I did mistakenly when I wrote this post yesterday (I still regret everything!), but this casting decision makes a whole lot more sense in my eyes, having watched the few episodes of Driland when it was first airing (and still is at this point). Mikoto is a fish out of water, yet a very capable fighter with a strong moral conviction. Makoto’s background with the Trumps Kingdom makes her more familiar with the PreCure mythos than the others, but requires her to adapt to the life amongst the humans in Ada’s world. I wouldn’t be surprised if I kept misspelling Makoto as Mikoto in my posts as the series progresses, sigh.
Doki Doki! PreCure’s cast is a ragtag bunch of individuals who are highly talented despite a relative lack of star power compared to previous years. While names can sell a show to fans, it’s the performance that counts in the end, and PreCure as a whole has always been excellent in this regard. I can’t wait for February to come!