Guest writer: Darkrose#1437

How do you know an anime is good?

For some, a crucial factor is the soundtrack. For others, it might be the art style that makes or breaks a series. Although these are important, for me, the voice acting itself speaks more than those other aspects. After all, being a voice actor isn’t an easy job–you’re voicing a fictional character with whom you have to match the lip movements from the animation, as well as emotions and in some talented cases, mannerisms through sound effects. And yet there are a lot of voice actors who keep surprising us by how real the characters themselves can feel.

The anime industry nowadays is saturated with voice actors, but I’m going to talk about a few of the most popular voice actors and their lives. I will also spotlight two rising stars in the industry that I believe will hit great heights in their careers.


Yuki Kaji

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He was born in Tokyo in 1985 and grew up in Saitama. He’s been voice acting since 2004 and currently works for VIMS (ヴィムス) since 2013. VIMS (ヴィムス) was established on November 22, 2007 and deals with various types of production, casting, talent management, and fan club management, among other things. Before that, he worked for Artsvision.

He is most well-known for voice acting Eren Yeager, the main character of Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan).

What makes Yuki Kaji so popular? I myself really love how much emotion he can put into his characters, especially when he acts out Eren Yeager or Yukine from Noragami. However, others might think his voice is cute and with the characters he plays, it fits so well.

yukikaji_videography

Here is a link to a YouTube video showing more roles he has voiced:

Gaming World

Japanese voice actors aren’t just voicing anime or dubbing movies and series from all over the world, but also voice act in games. Yuki Kaji voiced in quite a few games over the years, but some more familiar games are the following: Final Fantasy XIII where he voiced Hope Estheim, the Hakuoki games (visual novels) where he voiced Kazue Soma and in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, he voiced Hero (Eight).

Trivia

  He is into culinary arts and photography. That being said, he’s actually one hell of a big eater; he could even eat everything on his dining table if he wanted. Despite that, his body stays ideal (magic).

  Ai Kayano compared him to a puppy once, as he’s pretty soft and submissive in person.

  He recently got married with his fellow voice actress Ayana Taketatsu on June 23, 2019. However, because of the company she works for, Ayana wasn’t allowed to marry before the age of 30. Yuki and Ayana were devoted to each other long before then, so as soon as she turned 30, they both announced their engagement. Don’t you find it sweet how Yuki Kaji waited for the love of his life?


Mamoru Miyano

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My personal favorite, he was born on June 8th, 1983 (making him only two years older than Yuki Kaji!). His hometown is Saitama, Japan. Among his talents, he is fluent in English, he can play the harmonica and the harp, and he can sing too! He got married in 2008 and not long after, his son was born.

His debut in acting began in 1990 but voice acting came much later: in 2001. His career as a musician started in 2007 with his album Kuon (久遠, lit. eternity or long distance). Currently, he works for Himawari Theatre Club and King Records.

Miyano is very well known for voice acting as Light Yagami from Death Note and Tamaki Suoh from Ouran Highschool Host Club. He has played characters from all walks of life through the years, be it an evil person, a stupid person, a goof ball, or a classic main character. I personally love it when he plays evil characters like Light Yagami or Shuu Tsukiyama from Tokyo Ghoul. He is also one of the top Japanese voice actors right now.

Mamoru Miyano is loved by many, for both his acting and his singing voice, but one of his most iconic moments is from Deathnote:

His goofiness shines best with characters like Tamaki Suoh or Ryuji Sakamoto from Persona 5: The Animation (and its extras). He also has singing characters like Tokiya Ichinose from Uta no Prince Sama series. Below are some more of his roles.

mamorumiyano_videography

Gaming World

Just like Yuki Kaji, Miyano has also voiced quite a few characters in the gaming industry. We already mentioned Ryuji Sakamoto, but he has also voiced Ignis from Final Fantasy XV. Of course there are many many more, but these are my personal favorites.

Trivia

  Despite being married, Mamoru refused to reveal his wife’s and child’s names, fearing for their safety.

  Mamoru Miyano is nicknamed Mamo, Mamo-chan and Momo by certain people and fans.


Hiroshi Kamiya

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He was born in Matsuba, Chiba prefecture on the 28th of January, 1975. He made his debut in 1994 with Aoni Production, a voice acting talent agency founded in April of 1969 and based in Minato, Tokyo.

Hiroshi plays the iconic character Yato from Noragami/Noragami: Aragoto and Izaya Orihara from Durarara series. He is known to play characters that are either goofy or sociopathic like the two I just mentioned. Some people might know Hiroshi as well from the many many Fate series where he voice acts the character named Shinji Matou. I myself really love it when he just plays around with the characters he voices and doesn’t take them too seriously. It always brings a smile on my face whenever I hear his voice acting. This is also the reason why I really want you all to know this beautiful person.

Here’s a clip of him acting 21 different roles!

hiroshikamiya_videography

Gaming World

Just like the other two, Hiroshi has also voiced some characters from the Final Fantasy franchise over the years. Some examples are from Final Fantasy X where he voiced Letty and from Final Fantasy Agito where he voiced Machina Kunagiri. A more recent game he voiced is Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia as Clive.

Trivia

  He has a male cat named Nyanko-sensei. In the series Natsume Yuujinchou, Natsume’s cat is also named Nyanko-sensei.

  When he was little, he dreamt of becoming a bus driver.

  He’s not popular with voice actresses and he says he wishes to be.


Saori Hayami

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Saori Matsuo was born in May 1991 in Tokyo. She adopted the stage name Saori Hayami and she is a member of duet Blue Drops with Yoshida Hitomi. She made her debut in voice acting with I’m Enterprise in 2007, a voice talent agency in Japan which was founded in June 1993.

Being both a singer, narrator, and voice actress, she has played a variety of characters. Like Shinoa Hiragi from Owari no Seraph (Seraph of the End) or Kokoro from Darling in the FranXX.

Blue Drops is a Japanese pop duo consisting of Hitomi Yoshida and Saori Hayami, organized for the Japanese anime series Sora no Otoshimono (Heaven’s Lost Property). The group thus only made one song, known as “Ring My Bell.” The song and anime came out in 2009.

Because of her soft and soothing voice, she doesn’t play a wide variety of roles. However, she does play characters from all age groups.

Saorihayami_videography

Gaming World

She voices Eva Roux in the recently released game Code: Vein that is already loved by many and also Fan la Norne, lara in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Her first voice acting job in the gaming industry was in 2009 with the game Loveplus where she voices the character Manaka Takane.

Trivia

  Adam Westing: She was not given the role of Yumeko from Kakegurui because Saori is a very rude Stealth Parody on her standard characters, especially when she plays a Nice Girl type or Yamato Nadeshiko type of character. A Stealth Parody is a work that pretends to be a serious one, no matter how absurd or mocking the actual contents are.

*Adam Westing is when an actor/actress gets typecast into a certain type of character, essentially locked into playing only those characters since they don’t get taken seriously in any other roles.


Kana Hanazawa

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Kana was born in February 1989 in Tokyo. She began her career as a junior idol in Akiba, which lead to work in commercials and then later in voice acting. She currently works for Office Osawa Talent Agency, which was founded in April 1984 in Tokyo.

One example of an iconic character she has voiced are angel/Tachibana from Angel Beats! and Rize Kamashiro from Tokyo ghoul.


Kana is well known for playing characters that have a quiet or energetic personality. Her voice pitch is also very high, even for a woman. Here is a link to a video with some of the characters she voiced:

kanahanazawa_videography

Gaming World

Kana started her voice acting debut in games in 2007 with the game Getsumento Heiki Mina: Two of Project M, and voiced the character Nakoru Hazemi / Mīna Minazuki. One of the latest games she voiced in was Chang’e in the mobile game Destiny Child.

Trivia

  She made her debut in voice acting at the age of 14, voicing Holly Mad-thane in the original Last Exile.

  She has started appearing as an actress since she was in kindergarten. She made regular appearances in the variety program Yappari Sanma Daisensei.


Miyuki Sawashiro

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Miyuki was born in June 1985, Tokyo. She got married on June 2, 2014, on her 29th birthday, and she is also the older sister of seiyū Chiharu Sawahiro. Her voice acting career began in 1999, and she is currently working for Aoni Productions.

Miyuki began with the role Puchi Charat from Di Gi Charat. She has also voiced characters like Kira Kousuke from Btooom! and Kurapika from Hunter x Hunter 2011. In my opinion, Miyuki is the one that displays the most talent in her acting. You can really hear the emotions of the characters she portrays. She has voiced adults and children, both male and female. It is an amazing talent she possesses.

Miyuki has done a lot of voice acting over the years. but her dubbing performances in movies and series are noteworthy as well. She has performed for productions like Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight, My Little Pony and Over the Garden Wall. She is especially well loved for her performance as Kiva La in the Kamen Rider. She is also actively involved in dubbing international Hollywood movies like Suicide Squad and Thor.

miyukisawashiro_videography

Here is also a link to some of her voice acting:

Trivia

  Sawashiro had enrolled herself in an exchange program at Pennsylvania, where she learned to speak fluent English. In her spare time, she regularly watches English musicals and visits the United States to continue learning the language.

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Special Spotlight

Shouta Hayama

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Born in November, 1995, he only just started his voice acting career with the role of Dougo Ichirou from Binan Koukou Chikyuu Boueibu Happy Kiss!

At the moment, he has only voiced in this one anime and in the mobile game called Grand Summoners, playing Io. He has also acted the character Ultraman Fuma in a live action called Ultraman Taiga.

Despite his young age and inexperience in the anime community, he got to sing the opening of the anime he also voiced in. Although he has only voiced one character thus far, I see a lot of potential in this young man. His voice is a lot like Yuki Kaji in a sense. It has a high pitch which I find lovely to listen to.

Link to opening:


Gakuto Kajiwara

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Born in November 1994, only one year older than Shouta Hayama, he was born in Osaka Prefecture.

Although completely new to the voice acting community, he has the amazing opportunity of voicing the main character of the now new and famous shounen anime Black Clover, which is still airing. Being given the role of Asta is a huge deal for a beginning voice actor. It is an amazing presentation to be able to get the lead role in an anime despite barely having any experience in voice acting.

Some other roles that were given to Gakuto are Kine from Domestic na Kanojo (My domestic Girlfriend) and Shinra Kusakabe from Enen no Shouboutai which is also still airing.

To show you the talent of Gakuto if you haven’t seen Black Clover yet. Here is a link to a clip of him voicing Asta:


Final Thoughts

I hope I got you all a bit more interested in all the voices behind the characters and that you got some interesting info out of it all. I had a lot of fun writing this article as I really respect all these seiyū who help make our anime and our gaming experience truly amazing and even more worthwhile.


Sources

sojapan.jp/2015/04/top-20-seiyuu-2015-10000-anime-fan-poll/
vims.co.jp/company.php
myanimelist.net/people/672/Yuki_Kaji
artsvision.co.jp/
9gag.com/gag/aoN62Vw/seiyuu-highlight-kaji-yuki
matsuri.5ch.net/voiceactor/
ultra.fandom.com/wiki/Mamoru_Miyano
miyanomamoru.com/profile/
liveabout.com/seiyuu-definition-144822
kingrecords.net/company.html
aminoapps.com/c/anime/page/item/mamoru-miyano/Rqtv_IwVW85El0bE8PWP0DgEDePR1r
ttte.fandom.com/wiki/Aoni_Production
finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Hiroshi_Kamiya
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroshi_Kamiya
seiyuu.fandom.com/wiki/Kamiya_Hiroshi
myanimelist.net/people/869/Saori_Hayami
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saori_Hayami
last.fm/music/blue+drops/+wiki
imenterprise.jp/company.php
tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/SaoriHayami
tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AdamWesting
myanimelist.net/people/185/Kana_Hanazawa
imdb.com/name/nm2573928/trivia
myanimelist.net/people/99/Miyuki_Sawashiro
thefamouspeople.com/profiles/miyuki-sawashiro-35365.php
animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=162947
myanimelist.net/people/47774/Shouta_Hayama
myanimelist.net/people/46066/Gakuto_Kajiwara
animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=159160

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