番組

番組 – bangumiProgram or show. Produced shows that are broadcast for a specific purpose, primarily for entertainment and promotion. It’s a very popular form of media and most seiyuu often find themselves hosting or guesting in one or more shows at any given time because it gets their name and personality out there, while providing an easy way to promote their work and interact with fans.

There are many different types of bangumi: It may broadcast via TV (放送番組; hōsō-bangumi), Radio (ラジオ番組; radio-bangumi), or Internet (配信番組; haishin-bangumi). It may be pre-recorded or live. It generally runs for 30 minutes to 2 hours, though the preparation time involved means it takes more out of a seiyuu’s time. It may have a regular (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) or irregular schedule. It can have a single host or a rotating cast. It can be done solo or in a group setting. It may be audio-only or with video. It might not even be recorded in a studio, as is the case for some variety programs (バラエティ番組; baraeti-bangumi).

Differences vary between studios and programs but they’re essentially full productions with a proper staff (director, producer, script writer, etc.) and a channel (チャネル; chaneru) that houses the content. They are usually independent in that they broadcast from a platform (such as Onsen, Hibiki, Niconico, A&G) but are not directly affiliated with them. Most broadcast their main content for free, only requiring a subscription to view extra content and archive videos. Programs that become popular tend to hold events and public recordings (公開放送; kōkai-hōsō), and produce merchandise.

It is not the most high-paying work but it is a consistent source of work for a seiyuu especially if they’re not finding luck in auditions because it allows them to stay relevant while growing their fanbase at the same time. It connects them with viewers or listeners, not to mention develops communication skills that they can carry over to other projects. Some seiyuu might even owe their popularity to these programs, especially the ones who are really good at it. More often than not, because a program tends to be long-running (especially for non-anime ones) and personality-driven, a seiyuu can establish rapport with people they meet and work with, leading to the possibility of more work in the future. Sometimes, those opportunities come from influential people who happen to follow their work.

For fans, this is one of the easiest ways to get to know a seiyuu. They will often talk about their work and personal life candidly or through questions and segments that bring out their personality. Some are more open than others but generally, you learn more here than anywhere else, including breaking news. They’re also fun: you can send mail that may be read live (see mēru and futsuota), you can send comments that will make the host laugh (it really does help them), you learn quirks and in-jokes that become part of that seiyuu’s persona.

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