Pregnant anime voice actress photo standees: A new frontier in otaku merch


Fans cheer as actress announces birth of first child, and now they can buy her “maternity goods” bundle too.

It’s no secret that a lot of anime voice actors’ and actresses’ promotion draws from the performer’s image as an attractive, romantically desirable individual. Because of that, it used to be the norm that vocal talent would keep their actual romantic relations on the downlow, so as not to spoil the daydreams of adoring superfans and risk losing their support/spending.

And while there are still anime vocal performers who are marketed that way, in recent years there’s also been an increase in the number who are unabashedly open about their personal lives, such as Asuka Nishi. The voice of characters such as High School DxD’s Ravel, Redo of Healer’s Anna, and Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?’s Anya, Nishi announced in April of 2011 that she had gotten married to a man from outside the entertainment industry, followed by another announcement last November that she was pregnant with their first child. Then, on Monday, the 35-year-old Asuka tweeted a photo of her newborn baby girl.

The tweet was quickly met with repeated cries of “Congratulations!”, and now fans have another way to cheer on the new mother, as official acrylic mini standees of a pregnant, maternity clothing-wearing Nishi have gone on sale.

The 12-centimeter (4.7-inch) standees show Nishi with a pronounced baby bump and a soon-to-be-a-motherly glow. They’re part of the Asuka Nishi Maternity Good Set, which includes a “baby on board” safety sticker (shown at bottom right in the above image and measuring roughly 10 centimeters from top to bottom and 9.5 from side to side) to be placed on whatever vehicle your infant has boarded.

Also part of the bundle is a “maternity key holder.” While the text written on it says, “I’m listening to Nishishi no Rajiji [Nishi’s Internet radio program],” the overall design and coloring closely resembles the straps expectant mothers in Japan put on their bags as a nonverbal request for kindness and consideration from fellow passengers on public transportation.

The set is priced at 6,600 yen (US$50) and can be ordered online here through voice actor/actress e-shop Phonon. Orders will be taken until midnight on April 24, with delivery scheduled for late May. If you’re a Nishi fan but miss the cutoff date, though, you can take heart in her statement that she plans to return to voice acting after taking some time off to recover and spend time with her baby.

Source: Phonon via Otakomu
Images: Phonon
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