Last time I saw a female centered seiyu/voice actor anime that I am aware of aired was Sore ga Seiyuu! in 2015. I have not seen Girlish Number yet though. The former was a look in the life of aspiring seiyu girls. This next show has a similar premise but with elements of The Idolm@ster mixed in. Now it is time to say something I wanted as soon as I decided to cover this show. This is my cue to review CUE!
Genres: Comedy, Slice of Life
Themes: Voice Acting
Number of Episodes: 24
G-Rating: The brand-new voice actor office “AiRBLUE” has no track record or experience. Aspiring voice actors with rich individuality are signed on to the office. They do their best to achieve their dreams, but it’s a tough world out there. No matter how much they practice, not everyone will pass the audition.
As mentioned in the introduction this particular seiyu show has elements of The Idolm@ster, meaning the talent do more than take voice acting gigs. They tackle other activities or side-jobs such as radio podcasts, stage plays and old reliable themselves, idols. This also explains how the anime manages to tell the story of SIXTEEN girls, by dividing them into groups of four and tying their story with other members of their group. Sometimes these relationships are more than friends/best friends. Also the first half focuses on eight girls while the other on the others along with a bit about the three adult women. Actually only one of the three get some kind of a backstory.
Back to the other activities. SgS had the heroines do more than voice act too but here viewers must keep in mind that because of this not all episodes will deep dive into voice acting. It is more about the work life of Japanese seiyu in general. Some of the things they have to do to get noticed, grow their fan base and get other auditions in case they can do more or were not accepted in a previous attempt. While the other activities are nice the highlights are of course seeing the voice actors do their thing. Their highs and lows, successful auditions and setbacks, multiple retakes, difference between newcomers and veterans, how the girls find their inner spark and blow everyone away with their passionate performances (This happens more than once but it is different each time), seeing the seiyu being their characters to life, the bond between seiyu and their characters etc. All great stuff. The final episode did make me go “Huh. Interesting they waited till the end to cover this challenge not just seiyu but everyone goes through. Still a pretty good finale”.
This being a multimedia anime has its benefits such as our heroines being able to show more parts of themselves they could not during auditions. They all have their tropes, quirks and stories to tell from interpersonal and intrapersonal struggles such as family relations, struggling to believe in their own abilities, advantages and disadvantages of personal habits on the job and of course relationships with each other among other things. With sixteen cuties and hotties to follow viewers are bound to find one or more favorites. Personally liked fifteen with only one being iffy. Back to quirks and tropes it felt like the four groups were specifically divided to accommodate four anime girl archetypes in each one:
- A quiet one
- An energetic one
- A tsundere
- The voice of reason
Some have more than one of the above mentioned traits but generally all groups include these archetypes. Naturally none of the “quiet ones” are identical for example. They’re just the soft spoken members of their groups.
The presentation is solid. The sixteen girls are a nice blend of cute and sexy along with their three fetching mentors. The animation does not ask for much so do not expect to be blown away. It does a solid job. In the second half the cast wear new outfits which is a cool addition besides a second OP and ED to indicate the start of the remaining girls’ journey. How viewers feel about them comes down to personal taste. The soundtrack is solid too.
Main event time. As hinted earlier some of the girls have a more than friends/besties connection that either builds up over time or is already established and eventually explored. Because the first and second halves focus on their own sets of girls do not expect the relationships to get a lot of screen time. Basically what we do get is lovely just do not expect a lot of it throughout the show. For example Haruna and Maika show they are soul mates often in the first half but barely get to shine in the second as it is another couple’s turn in the spotlight. Other couples hinted in the first half show a stronger bond in the second. Basically it works just do not expect a consistent focus.
Overall CUE! is a fun and chill look at the lives of aspiring seiyu/voice actors and the other activities they do to get noticed. While the other activities such as podcasts and stage plays are fun the highlights are the voice acting sessions. With a main cast of sixteen seiyu and three mentors viewers are bound to find one or more favorites. The presentation is solid and the yuri is lovely but because the focus on the cuties is divided in two halves do not expect the lily screen time to be consistent. It is not a game changing anime but personally I am glad it exists because every now and then I need anime like these that will not set the entertainment world on fire but because they are enjoyable their existence is much appreciated. Recommended to fans of Girls’ Club shows and peeps intrigued to check out another anime about cute and sexy seiyu.