Introduction: Last night, during a conversation with Ghostlightning, I found myself unable to really remember everything I blogged about this year or everything I watched, to which he replied that ‘you need help.’ He also pointed out my huge number of posts, though, noting that I had probably written ‘about 200 posts this year.’ He was dead wrong, though, because as of (but not including) this posting I have written 323 posts in 2009. I made a joke about how I ‘could do forty-two posts by the end of the year for a 1:1 post-to-day ratio’, and since jokes about this blog have a startling habit of becoming reality, I decided I really wanted that ratio.
So here’s the deal – it’s too early for my top 100 anime list to be ready, but hey, why should I have to talk about individual works? After all, while I’m a fan of many anime, my top 40 shows hardly coincide with the ‘top 40 things I’m a fan of.’ That’s the purpose of this list – I’ve taken all my fandoms and put them in order of how big of a fan I am to create a top 40. So what you’ll see is directors, shows, franchises, actors, and so forth, placed together in a big list. The only thing you WON’T see is music – the way I think about music is too different from the way I think about other media, so it’s not here. If any of that’s confusing, then just read the posts, and it should all come together.
Because this is a list of fandoms, it can be difficult to talk coherently about, so I’m going to use a format. I’ll talk about 1. The History of My Fandom, 2. The Reasons For My Fandom, 3. The Nature of My Fandom (this will be seen more further down the list.) 4. The Level of My Fandom. So let’s get started!
The History of My Fandom
I think it would be rather difficult to trace my actual fandom of Rie Kugimiya. I would probably have first heard her as Nagi Sanzenin in Hayate no Gotoku and then as Touko Matsudaira in Maria-sama ga Miteru and Nene Kusagano in Potemayo, but I watched all three of those shows before I started really hearing the voices of shows I watched in Japanese, so I can’t remember anything about the performances (well, Nagi I can, but I’ve seen eps more recently, too.) I would have known about her from her roles as Louise and Shana, the latter of which was one of the early anime characters that I really became a big fan of, but I still can’t say I would have had a real opinion of her, even if I can remember her Shana voice somewhat.
What got me to know and look out for Kugimiya is just that she was so popular – because she always played similar characters, everyone came to know her for it and use her name a lot, so she’d be hard to miss. When did I start loving her? It would be easy to say ‘Aisaka Taiga’ because I know that it’s one of my favorite vocal performances, but I want to say that in my early days, I probably just took to loving Kugimiya solely for the fact that she was Nagi and Shana, whom I love. I know I was looking for her in particular when I watched Dokkoida?! were she did an excellent performance as Edelweiss. I also know that I liked her performance as Alphonse Elric in FullMetal Alchemist and her epic role as Mimi in Mnemosyne. I can’t really remember any of those performances well now, though.
So for all intents and purposes, I am going to say that the biggest reason I love her is for her performance as Aisaka Taiga in Toradora, easily one of my favorite voice roles of all time. Ever since that role, I’ve been actively seeking her out, or otherwise laughing and grinning when I spot her voice randomly in a show I’m watching (such as with Mika Kujiin in Kanamemo or Yuuki Kataoka in Saki). Besides Taiga, my second-favorite Kugimiya role is as Kagura in Gintama, which I am still watching and loving for a great number of reasons, not least of which is it’s amazing vocal cast.
The Reasons For My Fandom
As stated in my fandom’s history, there are only a couple of roles I really remember from Kugimiya, but they are among my favorite. I love her mostly for Taiga – she brought the life to this role. Taiga is a character with layers (like an onion and definitely not like a parfait) who needs to be able to sound angry at times, happy at others, and to be able to drool in a fantasy or cry in a fit of anguish. She’s hurt, but she’s also really strong. The greatest asset to Kugimiya’s voice in this role is that she perfectly exemplifies the strength of Taiga’s character even in her most hurt moments, that made her such a wonderful character. Though I have to say, one of my favorite parts of this role is still the first episode where Taiga has a cold. Showing a range of emotions through the filter of having a cold is powerhouse, IMO.
She brought similar depth to Nagi Sanzenin. Many would say that Nagi (and Taiga and Shana and Louise for that matter) were just a bunch of tsundere (I still need to do my post on the uselessness of the term ‘tsundere’) but while I can’t claim any greatness of the other two’s characters, I will say that Nagi Sanzenin has some real depth. She’s a child who doesn’t really understand herself or the world, and I think Kigimiya captures her childhood splendidly.
I could say very much the same about Kagura from Gintama, who is equally childish but far different. Kugimiya is so great in this role that it’s impossible to imagine someone else’s voice for Kagura. She’s a totally oblivious kid with a foul, foul mouth and terrible grammar and with a joke delivery that is just plain odd and always hilarious.
The Nature of My Fandom
I love Kugimiya enough that I may be more willing to watch a show if I know that she is in it, especially if she is playing a real character and not just a parody of her voice (though honestly I could probably watch Saki just for taco~). I almost did not put her on this list, however, because I simply have not heard enough of her roles. I was able to convince myself of my fandom based on my ability to pick out her voice and the potential growth in fandom after hearing more of her, but I really should see more. I still want to see her in all of the following: Chokotto Sister, Bleach (well I heard her 2 lines in Diamond Dust Rebellion, and I’m not sure I’ll watch any more of this shitty anime adaption), Fairy Musketeers, Figure 17, Ghost Hunt, 2×2=Shinobuden, Umineko no Naku Koro Ni, and Utawarerumono.
The Level of My Fandom
At this time, I would consider my fandom for Kugimiya to be somewhat mid-level. There are other voice actors whom I like more (who I’m sure will be on this list~) and the other ones whom I love are not necessarily worlds below her, with her simply being at the top of whatever favorite list I would have for voice actors (this one needs to be updated heavily). After I see more of her roles, or she plays in another main character/emotional role, I may find her rising up the ranks.