In the PreCure world, January is the most exciting time of the year. The previous year’s series entry is about to wrap up with an exciting conclusion, and at the same time, the fans are on their toes with the latest news and teasers regarding the upcoming series. While Suite Precure may not leave the same impact that Heartcatch did (or any other PreCure for that matter), it held its own throughout the course of its run, and certainly has created its own identity over the other continuities with regards to its cast and soundtrack. I can’t wait to see how the show ends, but even more so, I can’t wait for Smile PreCure to start airing. One of the main reasons for this is the inclusion of Marina Inoue in its cast.
With each iteration of Pretty Cure, there’s usually one or two well-known seiyuu in the main cast of characters. In the original Futari wa, we had Yukana (Chobits, Code Geass) as Cure White; in Fresh, Eri Kitamura (Toradora, Sora no Woto) was cure Berry; in Heartcatch, Nana Mizuki (Nanoha, Princess Tutu) was Cure Blossom; in Suite, Ami Koshimizu (Spice and Wolf, School Rumble) voiced cure Melody. In Smile, there were rumors that Aoi Yuuki, fresh off her role as Madoka in the well-received Puella Magi Madoka Magica would get the nod as one of the main characters, finally allowing her to portray a straight-up magical girl, instead of a
subversion aversion deconstruction reconstruction criticism not straight-up magical girl.
But as soon as those rumors were squashed, fans would have to “settle” for Marina Inoue as the vocal standout. One would only have to watch Skip Beat to assure themselves that they won’t have to settle for anyone; on the contrary, Marina’s contribution to Smile may be the best yet.
Marina’s role as Kyoko Mogami in Skip Beat saves the show from being an otherwise dull shojo romance. Kyoko, unlike a lot of other hapless female leads, is strong-willed and extremely emotional in multiple spectrums, and although her initial motivations stem from another boy, it’s more out of spite than squick-worthy romance. I chalk it up mostly due to the excellent character writing from the source material’s mangaka, Yoshiki Nakamura, but Marina executes Yoshiki’s vision of Kyoko almost perfectly. It’s a role that demands a dynamic range of emotion, a sharp tongue, and a whole lot of personality.
The way Marina switches from hateful spite (for former love interest, Sho) to hopelessly goofy (towards everyone else) is a display of command over intonation, as well as versatility and range. The tone of her voice matches perfectly with the highly exagerated facial expressions that her character makes. The wackier the art style goes, Marina keeps pace with each hammy line. She is so into her character that it creates a sort of hilarious meta-irony. In a show that (unrealistically) focuses on acting skill, I’m constantly forgetting that I’m listening to an actor portray a character who is perceived to be a poor actor herself. Marina is pulling off Inception-like skill here, at least with regards to voice acting. We don’t need to go deeper.
I can gush so much about how great she is in her role as Kyoko in Skip Beat, but her other roles are also quite noteworthy, and reflective of her vast character reportoire. From the kind-hearted and concerned Eve genoard in Baccano, to the poisonous obsessive compulsion of Chiri Kitsu in Sayonara, Zetsubo-Sensei, and hell, to the straight-faced-yet-doesn’t-give-a-fuck-about-how-utterly-ridiculous-her-show-is Rio from Rio Rainbow gate, Marina can do it all. Her remarkable in-your-face personality is a perfect fit in Smile PreCure, and I can see myself being a Cure March fan right from the first episode.
I can’t wait to cover this show, the excitment is bubbling up with every passing week. Smile PreCure and Marina Inoue FUCKING WHEN!?