”I don’t have any idea what other people’s image of perfection is.”

Sora Amamiya seems like a prime example of how modern Japanese voice actresses blur the line between anime performers and idols. As part of the three-person vocalist group TrySail, the photogenic 25-year-old Tokyo native has released seven singles and two albums, regularly appears in front of the camera on anime news and variety TV programs, and hosts the Momo Sora Shiina Talking Box radio program, along with fellow TrySail members and voice actresses Momo Asakura and Shiina Natsukawa.

Even Amamiya’s anime voice acting resume had an idol connection, as in addition to voicing Monster Musume’s Miia and Tokyo Ghoul’s Touka, she’s also portrayed Shiho Kitazawa in The Idolmaster, one of Japan’s biggest fictional idol franchises.

▼ Sora Amamiya performing live in concert

Idolmaster’s Shiho Kitazawa

But despite all that, Amamiya says she doesn’t like being called an “idol.” As a matter of fact, she’d go so far as to say she used to hate the term, filling fans in on her perspective during the November 25 episode of her radio program in a segment discussing the topic “Things I don’t want people to say about me.”

Amamiya told listeners:

I really hated being called an idol. Nowadays, there’s a whole section of the voice acting industry who’re called ‘idol voice actresses,’ but I don’t like being called one.”

“I didn’t like having to be the projection of someone’s ideal image, having that be my job. I don’t have any idea what other people’s image of perfection is.”

In Japanese, people use the English “idol” (with the corrupted pronunciation of “aidoru”) to discuss idol singers, but Amamiya reminded listeners that the word’s original meaning is as a symbol of worship. That’s a role with more weight than she wants to carry, and even if she was willing to, she wouldn’t know where to begin.

It takes all my effort just to chase after my own ideals, so I wanted to tell everyone else to just back off…I didn’t want to do ‘cute’ stuff. I wanted people to say I was ‘cool’ instead, so I didn’t want them to call me an idol.”

However, as her mixing of the past and present tenses shows, Amamiya’s strongest dislike of being called an idol was when she was first starting out in the industry (her first credited anime role was in 2012). In the roughly half-decade since, she’s softened her stance.

“But now I can understand that different people have different ways of thinking. Some people are nice enough not to call me an idol when I say I don’t like it, but I don’t want to interfere with how other people think, so now I’m more like ‘Say whatever you want.’ I think I’ve realty matured a lot in that regard.”

Still, should you ever have the chance to meet Amamiya in person, it seems pretty clear that she’d prefer you first use the term actress or singer, and only call her an idol third, if at all.

Source: Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso