I’ve been promising this post for a while now. I did a voice actor version some time ago and it was one of my favourite lists to put together. I think you guys enjoyed it too.
As we all know, an actor’s performance can really drag down an anime. There’s something heartbreaking about a painfully wooden performance in the middle of a wonderful story that rips you right out of the fantasy. On the bright side, I’ve seen more than a few characters go from boring to endearing on the strength of an actor’s charisma. Voice actors don’t have as much to work with as conventional actors. They can’t rely on body movements or smouldering looks to get their message across. So it’s doubly impressive when they manage to convey subtle emotion and complex feelings though inflection and tone alone.
And for me, these ladies do just that.
Today let us celebrate the artistry that goes into bringing some of our favourite characters to life. In no real order we have!
5. Aoi Yuuki
I don’t care how petty it sounds, I’m just going to put this right here. This young woman is shorter than me!!! A musician and traditional actress, Aoi unique voice has made her quite successful in the field. Here are a few selected roles out of the tons she has had:
- Hana – Ben-To
- Tsuyu – My Hero Academia
- Mina – Vampire Bund
- The Energetic Ringo – Daily Lives of HighSchool Boys
- Sosuke – Free!! (surprised? – I was)
- Victorique – Gosick
- Mihoshi – Gundam
- Russia – Hetalia
- Kino – Kino’s journey
- Futaba – Persona 5
- Iris – Pokemon
- Mélie – Radiant
- Shinra – Durarara!!
- Sunako – Shiki
- Borr – SSSS.Gridman
- Tanya – Saga of Tanya the Evil
- Oh yeah – she’s also Madoka in some magical girl show…
- She’s set to play Touka and Boogiepop in the upcoming remake and I am psyched for this!
Not to mention roles in March Comes In Like a Lion, ACCA 13, Asobi Asobase, Welcome to the Ballroom, Gangsta, Gintama, Goblin Slayer, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, Hyakka, Hyouka, Your Name, last exile, One Punch Man, Seraph of the End, Sword Art Online II, Tanaka-kun, Tokyo Ghoul, Snafu, Yuru Yuri, and I seriously skipped over most of them. This lady works!
The surprisingly raspy quality of her vocals, and the counterintuitive depth of her tone makes her suitable for a wide range of diverse characters. A small actress with a big voice! Irresistible.
4. Chiwa Saito
Miss Saito has been acting for some time which means she’s had the chance to amass a pretty impressive portfolio. One of my favourite random facts out there, is that she is part of a voice acting groups called “MORE PEACH SUMMER SNOW”. That’s the best name ever. I’m going to rname Buddy that. (His actional name if Sir Buddy Livingston Master Chief Brown). Sadly, she is taller than me.
- Yona – Yona of the Dawn
- Aika – Aria
- Hitagi – Monogatari series
- Sigyn – Break Blade
- Yuki – Vampire Bund
- Chloe – Fate/Kaelid series
- Natsumi – Keroro
- the fantastic Riko – Kuroko’s Basketball
- Louise- Gudam 00
- Anita – R.O.D. TV
- Kotori – rewrite
- Meru – Zetsoubu Sensei
- Nadeshiko – Yuru Yuri
- She’s also Homura in some magical girl show…I swear I didn’t know this before researching for this post. I never realized how much I liked the Madoka casting before!
Of course there’s like a billion more titles but I’m going to name these ones because, reasons: Amanchu, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Boccano, Berserk, Dog & Scissors, D-Frag, Daily Lives of HighSchool Boys, Gintama, Girls Bravo, Kino’s journey, Last Exile, Log Horizon, Lyrica Nanoha, Murder Princess (I just like this title) One Piece, Sward Art Online, I’m just going to stop now.
You can actually hear her sing in some roles and she truly has a beautiful singing voice. It has a rich timber and she obviously has a great ear for melody. If ever she chose to switch career paths to the musical instead, I’m sure she’d have a great future. We would miss her as an actress though so let’s not encourage that!
3. Megumi Hayashibara
A more classical voice actress and one of the best known in Japan, Megumi almost became a nurse instead. There’s a certain personality that goes along with choosing a career in nursing. Caring but also resilient. You can see that peek through a bit in Megumi’s character and acting choice. Then again, there are so many to pick from I could probably make an argument for any character type.
- Pai and IV – 3×3 eyes
- Ai – Detective Conan
- Haruko – FLCL Progressive
- Haruka – Love Hina
- Todomatsu – Osomatsu-kun
- Paprika and Chiba – Paprika
- Musashi – Pokemon
- Ranma – Ranma 1/2
- Lime – Saber Marionette J
- Anna – Shaman King
- Lina – Slayers
- Ai – Video Girl Ai
- Genkai – Yuu Yuu Hakusho
- Hello Kitty…this woman is Hello Kitty
- The incomparable Faye Valentine – Cowboy Bebop
- Probably best known as Rei Ayanami – Evangelion
She can also be heard in Blue Exorcist, Bakuretsu Hunters, Sailor Moon, Blue Seed, Chihayafuru 2, Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor, Macross Plus, Lupin III, Maison Ikkoku, One Piece, Project A-ko, Shadow Skill, the Doreamons, Tenchi Muyou, and obviously a million more shows.
This lady’s body of work speaks for itself. I have to say I was already pretty amazed that spunky, opinionated Faye, with her womanly register and quiet monotone Rei were played by the same person, add in Hell Kitty to the mix and my mind is a little broken…and then you have comedy queen Ranma. This is the type of career you look up to!
2. Romi Park
Did you know that Romi studied Korean in university. I just find that intriguing, obviously she’s always liked languages. Ok I’m beating about the bush so let me just say it, miss Park’s performance was one of the best parts of FMA: Brotherhood for me. I literally caught myself in the middle of scenes just going, OMG the acting is phenomenal. I’ve heard great things about the English language cast but you really are missing ouy if you didn’t catch this performance.
- Tōshirō Hitsugaya – Bleach
- Teresa – Claymore
- Akane – Danganronpa
- Tanaka – Daily Lives of High School Boys
- Igarashi – Deadman Wonderland
- Kenichi – Cyber Coil
- Ken – Digimon
- Sena – Eyeshield 21
- Natsume – Gakuen Alice
- Walter – Hellsing Ultimate
- Switzerland – Hetalia
- Angelina – Black Butler
- Taiga – Major
- Falis – Murder Princess (love this title)
- Temari – Naruto
- My precious, precious Naoto – Persona 4
- Jiro – Pokemon
- Syrup – Precure
- Alma – Radiant
- Zoe Hange – Attack on Titan
- Everyone’s favourite rocker Nana Osaki – Nana
- And of course Edward Elric – Fullmetal Alchemist
And if that wasn’t enough, you can hear her in Air Master, Beelzebub, Blue Dragon , Clannad After story, Detective Conan, Devil May Cry, Garo, Granblue Fantasy, Hunter x Hunter, Kill la Kill, Lupin III, Gundam 00, One Piece (everyone is in this), RahXephon, Sengoku Basara, RDG, Samurai 7, Terra Formars (cause it’s terrible), Aquarion, White Album
Romi Parks has the most devastatingly emotional voice I know. She often plays calm, cool and collected genius type characters (a lot of boys as you can see) but when an emotional contrast is needed, she really knows how to deliver, making her characters feel so real and raw. One of the greatest performers in my opinion, she tends to make me want to see a show just to hear what she can do with the character.
C,mon, she Ryuko from Kill la Kill. Always loved that sexy alto voice! Apparently she was also both Hiro and Naomi in the recent Darling and the Franxx. I loved her as Ibuki in Danganronpa. She was Kallen in Code Geass, Holo in Spice and Wolf and Yuiko in Persona. Obviously I’m skipping over st of her work including some very big roles. I suggest you look her up! The only reason she isn’t on the list proper is that I simply haven’t seen that many of her shows even though a lot are very popular.
1. Megumi Ogata
OK fine so this is a subjective choice. Well they all are really, it’s my top 5 list. Fact is, I’ve been a fan of Megumi Ogata for a long long time and I’m just always going to be. She’s the first voice talent I ever learned about and I absolutely love her work. Sure, she might have voiced a few of my anime crushes but surely that did not influence my choice in any way…. She’s much taller than me.
- Ayato – Angel Beats
- Haruka (Sailor Uranus) – Sailor Moon*
- Jun – Captain Tsubasa
- Yukito and Yue – Cardcaptor Sakura*
- Makoto – Danganronpa
- Nagito – Danganronpa***
- Shinji – Evangelion*
- Izumi Rio – Searching for the Full Moon*
- the terrifying Fairies – Humanity has Declined
- Cranberry – Raising Project*
- Ichigou Fujimoto – Magical girl Ore
- Ken – Persona 3
- Yukimura – Samurai Deeper Kyo*
- Akagi – Slam Dunk
- Valkyrie – UFO Princess Valkyrie
- Yuugi – Yu Gi Oh!*
- Karuma – Yuu Yuu Hakusho*
And just o drive the point home, here are a few more at random. If you want to full list, you’ll have to look it up. I just can’t type that much! Bleach, Detective Conan, et Backers, Great Teacher Onizuka, Kino’s Journey, Magic Knight Rayearth, Tamayura, Tokyo Mew Mew,
Megumi Ogata is a revered veteran in the field. Comparing Nagito to Makoto (purposefully similar characters with a lot of very similar lines) will reveal her mastery on inflection and subtle vocalisation to embody a character way beyond their dialogue. Anyone still under the illusion that voice acting is simply reading your lines, please see master Ogata’s work!
Good list isn’t it!?! I discover new voice talent all the time mind you. I’ll be watching a show and suddenly realize that the actor is doing fantastic work. And I’m always so happy when I discover a new favourite. So please, share yours with me!