Not "What?"; the idiomatic continuation would be "and those who break it," but since I'm not here to carp or complain, whatever extension should remain taped up. I come instead to extol—particularly those voice actors whose mere presence in an anime serves with an Irrashaimase! flourish
carrots nicked-from-Haruhi ootoro heavenly enough to ransom even the most trope-burdened of clichés.
And no, this is NOT my seiyuu fanlistings page. That's still outstanding.
The catalyst for this post was the series of "10" seiyuu lists a number of bloggers published some time back. And while I can never produce a Top 10 list without it devolving into a litany that makes the metric scale shudder (the criteria for inclusion are predictably subjective and the skewed-in-favor-of-bishounen roster (and their credits) keeps on growing as I discover more seiyuu to worship), I will still essay a not caring about awards or anything else beyond roles shot at it.
- Chiba Susumu
- Hiyama Nobuyuki
- Inoue Kazuhiko
- Miyano Mamoru
- Mizushima Takahiro
- Namikawa Daisuke
- Sakurai Takahiro
- Seki Tomokazu
- Suzumura Kenichi
- Ueda Yuuji
NB: The first credit solicited and won my emotional investment (so older anime run riot). Additionals are portrayals which impressed me enough that I can remember them (when you factor in how forgetful I am, you'll understand what a feat that is).
The dual personality Chiba Susumu-san played in Ayashi no Ceres clinched it; everything else watched that included this seiyuu—whether starring or supporting such as Cfaddis in Crest of the Stars—was just so much like-it-liberal wasabi on the sushi.
He shines in roles that demand grim resolve (Ichinose Maki in Bleach; Amagi in Gundam SEED DESTINY) and villainy and/or psychosis: slight or over-the-top such as Rosiel in the Angel Sanctuary OAV; Hiead Gner in Candidate for Goddess; and Kugayama Takuma in Full Metal Panic! eps 9 and 10. And despite an earlier reported diffidence in tackling teenage roles, he did them justice (Aki, Tsujiai as well as top-billed Nagoya Chiaki/Kaitou Sinbad in Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne).
I don't know why his Kondou Isao character in Gintama surprised me so much, I already knew he did comedy—and with such Ouch!-My-tummy-hurts-from-LOLing! flair. Sai and Honjou Matsuri from the BL game series-based Sukisho are forever wub because of Chiba Susumu-san.
And speaking of BL, this seiyuu was once reported in Animonster as being caught unawares by the nookie scenes while recording a particular drama (not having been completely briefed by his production company). He relates that he was blithely giving a normal read before being stumped by the "Aah, aah, Aaah!" part. (Can't you just see that sweatdrop forming? ^^)
I would soo love to hear him in a BL drama.
- Gowa Yushiro in the-DVD-is-playing-as-I-write-this Gasaraki
- Muruta Azrael in Gundam SEED
- Shiro Amada in Kidou Senshi Gundam Dai-08 MS Shoutai OAV
I already sed that Hiyama Nobuyuki-san (sometimes credited as Hiyama Shuji-san) gave the more rational fangirl in me a mecha anime hero worth worshipping in Shiro Amada, but I should actually correct that. It was as Yushiro in Gasaraki that he did so. (TAs count as mecha.)
His hero characters heyday seemingly past, Hiyama Nobuyuki-san would later be cast in supporting roles (Balmung in the .hack series; Madarame Ikkaku in Bleach; Li Kouyu in the Saiunkoku Monogatari AKA Colourcloud Palace series; Shoujin Ritsuo in Stellvia; Viral in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann; Shougo in Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE eps 2-6). But the talent that established him as a seiyuu to reckon with not infrequently leaves the male lead whimpering in a corner (I refer to his Aires Blue portrayal in Infinite Ryvius here). And he does genial but thoroughly unredeemable bad guys (like Azrael which is reportedly one of his two favorite roles) superbly—I wish there were more of those.
It attests to my besottedness that I could pick out Hiyama-san (without a cast list) in the Okane ga Nai! BL drama (he was Torikawa Takaaki) and Escaflowne in a chou-chou-chou-chou!-minor role (at least it was credited).
Albeit clueless at the time, my introduction to Inoue Kazuhiko-san's work compared with being invited to a Japanese tea ceremony, with all the honor accruing from having been served by a master who has, through the years, perfected his craft. I am now properly grateful and deferential.
The quality that so impressed me was the restraint he displayed in portraying the full spectrum of characters: protagonist (Eiri Yuki), antagonist (Aion), and supporting (among others, the
what-becomes-of-snow? Hatori and Tachibana no Tomomasa in the Harutoki series, the latter probably being the sexiest voice in anime outside of Eiri Yuki).
Other memorable roles: Ibaragi Sotetsu in Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto; Nefee, Nereis in Banner of the Stars; November 11 in Darker than BLACK - Kuro no Keiyakusha (ep 5); Gai Murakumo in Gundam SEED MSV Astray OAV Promo (BLUE FRAME).
- Kiba in Wolf's Rain
- Masaoka Ryou in Sokyuu no Fafner - Single Program - Right of Left- OAV
- Suou Tamaki in Ouran High School Host Club
The predictable fangirl staple, IIMSSM. Prior to becoming the madcap Tamaki in Ouran, Miyano Mamoru-san was already cast in lead roles—if less hysterical, they nevertheless came with equally flattening emotional baggage (WR's Kiba and Ryou from the Fafner OAV). It was as Ouran's King, however, that Miyano-san undoubtedly snared fangirls' hearts, and as the well-intentioned extremist Yagami Light in Death Note, he cemented it.
Miyano Mamoru-san seems to be everywhere whenever I turn around (Hakugen Rikuson, Koutetsu Sangokushi; Setsuna F. Seiei in the awaited-with-suppressed-till-blue breath Mobile Suit Gundam 00), but if you're looking for him in an earlier supporting role, try Noda-sensei in Alice Academy ^^
- Otoyama Kouta in Stellvia
- Christopher Armalite in Scrapped Princess
- Takemoto Takeru in This Ugly Yet Beautiful World
Although his voice has been likened to another stellar seiyuu's Hoshi Souichiro-san's, I discovered Mizushima Takahiro-san before Maebara Keiichi's VA when Mizushima-san played the obligatory love interest in Stellvia. He made it on my list of favorite seiyuu on the strength of that Shima-CHAAAN!!! role alone. Fortunately, Mizushima-san was also Christopher Armalite; Amatsu Tadahiro in Asagiri no Miko (where he likewise calls out Yuzu's name with full-on-angst); Sasakura Ryuu in Bartender; Michishio Nagasumi in Seto no Hanayome; and the titular Romeo in Romeo × Juliet. I was actually waiting for another angsty calling out of wub's name in this series (because if ever there was a series perfect for expressions of suffering / torment / agony / torture / pain / distress / grief / sorrow, RomeJuli would be it) and by episode 12, Mizushima-san didn't disappoint. That he did it again (albeit it was Petruchio's name he was crying out in episode 14) makes me want to snicker long and loud. *snickers long and loud*
- Fai D. Flowright in Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE
- Kamishiro Maiku in Onegai Twins!
- Kami-sama in Saiyuki Reload (eps 19-25)
Namikawa Daisuke-san is guaranteed-to-induce-heart-throb wub.
In any role (even as Elk in the desperately amiss Arc the Lad).
When Namikawa-san is the hero, he makes my heart ache; when he's the villain, he makes my heart ache; when he's the love interest, he makes my heart bleed.
I can't talk about this seiyuu without incoherence staging a coup, so I'll just list here his other roles that have prodded my husband into quizzically asking,
What's with all the sighs?: Akizuki Yojiro in Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto; Koyuki (Tanaka Yukio) in BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad; Leonard Testarossa in Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid; Kurono Kei in Gantz; Asaba Naoyuki in Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu; Sendou Tetsuya in Ouran (ep 22); Tou Eigetsu in Saiunkoku Monogatari; Iks in The Third: Aoi Hitomi no Shoujo; and Nanachi Takeo in the Yakumo Tatsu (Eight Clouds Rising) OAV.
Not content with that, I still want to hear Namikawa-san as Ichi in the Parfait-Tic! drama CD (even if I won't understand the dialogue).
It took a minor role as the scene-stealing, make-me-shiver-why-don't-you? adult Loki in Matantei Loki Ragnarok for me to actually sit up and start sniffing for other outings by this seiyuu, and seemingly, all of a sudden, I found him wherever a bishie lead or supporting chara popped up. Granted, I'd thought he was felicitously cast as the Knight of Sound Sasame in Prétear, but it was as the beauteous Orpherus Furst von Marmelade Nahe Gorz (doncha just love that mouthful?) in Meine Liebe that the Saku-pyon fangirlitis became terminal. (Blond? Uniform? Horses? Swords? Boots with platform heels? Who could resist?) Sakurai-san would continue captivating as the
Trapped In Another World (and, occasionally, trapped in the original one, too) Yuuri, the thoroughly human vampire Mochizuki Jirou in Black Blood Brothers, the snarky Kanda Yuu in D.Gray-man, and the eventually-emo Suzaku Kururugi in Code Geass - Hangyaku no Lelouch. And speaking of the last two characters, a more irreconcilable role dichotomy I could not have envisaged.
It speaks of how much I fangirl Saku-pyon that I watched six episodes of Zombie-Loan, simply because he was playing Tachibana Shito. He also starred in quite a number of drama CDs (I'm now on the look out for the Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden drama because he gave life to the gender-bending Uruki), a goodly portion of which are BL/YAOI titles I heart muchness, among them as Kazuki Yuichi in Sono Yubi Dake ga Shitteiru (Only the Ring Finger Knows) by Kannagi Satoru-sensei & Odagiri Hotaru-sensei and as Taki in Tateno Makoto-sensei's Yellow (see this Wikipedia entry for the rest of the listing).
- Sagara Sousuke in Full Metal Panic
- Van Fanel in Escaflowne
- Chichiri in Fushigi Yuugi
For a while there, Seki Tomokazu-san's place in this list was actually jeopardized (by Matsukaze Masaya-san). However, fangirl "betrayal" did NOT win out (SekiTomo-san was one of the first seiyuus I ever fanlisted; in any case, I will prolly rave about Matsukaze-san elsewhere) and the actor extraordinaire once quoted as saying,
Put some effort into it. Be diligent about each role, remained.
That kind of commitment alone would've sufficed to make him stay, but more significantly, I believe that the anime and seiyuu industries wouldn't have been the same, had A-lister Seki Tomokazu not nabbed all those roles that nearly stereotyped him as perpetually the hero. Of course, he also plays antagonist roles—I refer to his being cast as Kageyama Reiji in Gate Keepers here (you can tell I have a marshmallow spot for this GONZO anime)—but c'mon! The guy literally made Gundam SEED's irascible Yzak Joule! A portrayal enshrined as canon in almost all SEED fics I've read. (OK, I know that might not be much of a validation for some, but still...) He brings a certain je ne sais quoi (what he probably meant by
effort) to all his roles—making each or all something to relish, which is quite an achievement by any measuring standard.
Other memorable roles that locked in my respect for this performer: Oshima Tokio in Arjuna; Sohma Kyo in Fruits Basket; Gram River in Mars Daybreak; Suzuhara Touji in Neon Genesis Evangelion; Chiaki Shinichi in Nodame Cantabile; Shi Ryuuki in the Saiunkoku Monogatari series (and the NHK special in which he did an impromptu Ryuuki reading with co-star Kuwashima Houko-san); Takayanagi Masataka in Tenjho Tenge; Kuraki Fuzuchi in Yakumo Tatsu OAV (like GK, you can see how fuzzy I am about this nearly obscure title through its twice-mention in two seiyuu write-ups).
- Narumi Ayumu in the now-this-is-playing Spiral~Suiri no Kizuna
- Shirou Kamui in X (TV)
- Shigure Eiji in Gravion
There was a time when I couldn't start a day without listening to Suzumura Kenichi-san as Spiral's
The melody of logic plays the notes of truth Ayumu— that's how much of an impact his angsty but resolute depiction of the overshadowed little brother of the too-brilliant-to-be-believed detective Narumi Kiyotaka had. And since I was also fangirling Kira Yamato at the time, I kept wishing that SuzuKen would be cast in a Gundam anime; my joy knew no bounds when I found out that he was top-billed in Gundam SEED DESTINY as Shinn Asuka (let's leave out whatever happened to that storyline after the duo of Fukuda Mitsuo and Morosawa Chiaki got through with it, the pain of which lingered like the torment Yzak suffered after his wounding by Kira—which just shows that you really should be careful about what you wish for).
In any case, with his role as Kamui in the X TV series and as Tohno Shiki in Lunar Legend Tsukihime, both somber characters portrayed with so much delicious low-keyness being followed up (in my viewing, anyway) by the pretending-to-be-gay Shimazaki Kousei in Onegai Twins! and genki Eiji in Gravion, I found I was ambivalent about this thespian "flexibility" on SuzuKen's part: I suffered through mingled pleasurable shock (Kousei) and a lot of cringing (Eiji).
But it seems I DO like Suzumura Kenichi-san when his characters call for serious under-acting (I find him more credible in these roles). I watched Gokusen on Animax—a series I'd been staying far away from for its (superficial) similarity to GTO—when I heard him as the character Sawada Shin. Additionally, I was thoroughly impressed by his dysfunctional Atori in Noein - Mou Hitori no Kimi e. And if I haven't learnt to savor his more lighthearted roles (I worry about his reported portrayal of Daiya in that Parfait-Tic! CD I'm still trying to beg, borrow, or pilfer), at least, I don't stay away from them anymore.
And because I'm obsessed with the manga Special A by Maki Minami-sensei, I would also like to experience SuzuKen's interpretation of Takishima Kei in the Valentine's special drama CD released last 23 February 2007.
- Amiboshi, Suboshi in Fushigi Yuugi
- Kakyou Kazuki in X (TV)
- Sagara Sanosuke in Rurouni Kenshin
How a chameleon really blends with its surroundings aside, I'm still comparing Ueda Yuuji-san to this most famed of lizards (with all due respect, naturally) for sheer adaptability to a wide range of roles, despite a naturally gravelly voice. Gentle, psychotic, tortured, tough, stereotype shounen, whimsical, even vicious—Ueda Yuuji-san does them with compelling believability. Perhaps you might be convinced if tell you (or perhaps you don't need persuading at all) that I discovered Ueda-san first in Fushigi Yuugi and X, so stumbling over him as Sano in RuroKen set up the investment that endures till now. Note that Ueda Yuuji-san wasn't the seiyuu whose position on this list was threatened (see Seki Tomokazu); now that's what I call hitzusen.
And yes, I call myself an Ueda Yuuji-san fangirl despite never having watched Love Hina, in which he plays the lead Urashima Keitarou.
My list of his memorable roles: Yue Katou in Angel Sanctuary OAV; Chris Hawken in Arjuna; Tachibana Kyohei in Bakuretsu Tenshi; Inoue Sora in Bleach; Rowen in Elemental Gelade; Morita Shinobu in Honey and Clover; Sanbonmatsu Bantaro in the Jubei-chan series; Takamizawa Shuichi in Midori Days; Pierre Takida in Stellvia; Joey Toy in The Third - Aoi Hitomi no Shoujo; Hamel/Chestra in Violinist of Hamelin
*reviews list* Hmm. Not a lot (if any) GAR voices. *shrugs* I never claimed that my picks were based on "manly voices," not that I don't admire them. 中井 和哉 Nakai Kazuya-san (Mugen in Samurai Champloo) and 小杉 十郎太 Kosugi Juurouta-san (Kanou Somuku in Okane ga Nai!!) come to mind and deserve a spot in A fangirl's list of male seiyuu—the went-crazy-with-listing version (that's prolly where you'll find the seiyuus conspicuously left out here).
As I overemphasized at the outset (a distant memory now ^^), I can't recall any seiyuu who didn't make the watch. That is, except for ONE: 森久保 祥太郎 Morikubo Showtaro (when did the spelling change from "Shoutarou"?) as Takano Kyohei in Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge. Nabeshin direction notwithstanding, Morikubo Shoutarou-san to me was a miscast and I can never read Hayakawa Tomoko-sensei's manga with the same enjoyment again. The converse though applies to Takenaga (杉田 智和 Sugita Tomokazu-san) and Ranmaru (野島 裕史 Nojima Hirofumi-san), who both will make an appearance in the expanded list.
~nik who will also do a female seiyuu list, if only to update the preview here
My gratitude to the bloggers who inspired me to blow away the dust that had settled on one of the first lists I ever did as an anime blogger.
- Otaku 101: 10 female seiyuus every aspiring otaku should know.
- Otaku 101: 10 male seiyuus every aspiring otaku should know.
- Ten Favorite Voice Actresses
- 10 Female Seiyuu All Otaku Should Know
- Top 10 Seiyuu I Feel Like Talking About
- Top 10 Female Seiyuu... My Way.
How do I end up "stalking" certain seiyuu?
- The acting ups the emotional investment (or revives a zombie wannabe of a series; that there use of "zombie" is deliberate. See Sakurai Takahiro)
- Credibility in the role
- Sheer winsomeness (of voice, though I won't reject an RL comely seiyuu)
Instant voice recognizability is a hit-or-miss. Usually a hit, but there have been times when an immediately placeable voice has ruined a viewing.