As promised the male version of my earlier article. While the female version was hard to write only because there are so many choices, the male version suffered from the problem of the lack of names. Male seiyuus seem to be much lesser in number than the female ones and only a few seem to have gained much fame in the industry.
But still, they are no less important than their female counterparts in breathing life in to anime and many of them have been crucial in to making anime such a high quality medium of story telling now. This list, while limited, combines some of my most respected and most talented male seiyuus of out time, in my humble opinion.
1. Norio Wakamoto.
-THE- voice of GOD, Norio Wakamoto posseses one of the most unique and recognizable voices in the industry. His voice is…. just in a class of it’s own and my best description of it would involve using literal amounts of the “GAR” word, over and over again. Plus, not only does he possess a godly voice, in real life, he was an ex-riot police and he’s martial expert as well, making him even more godly and deserving of respect. Over the years, he’s held a number of influential roles in anime, usually in a supporting or antagonist role, but whatever the role, he still remains as godly as ever.
Notable roles: Kouichiro “Coach” Ohta, Top wo Nerae!; Alexander Anderson, Hellsing series; Chiyo-chichi, Azumanga Daioh; Gargoyle, Yoshinaga-san’chi no Gargoyle.
2. Takehito Koyasu.
While Megumi Hayashibara may have been known as having more leading roles than any single female seiyuu can have in a lifetime, the true holder of the most number of roles held by a seiyuu firmly belongs in to Takehito Koyasu, numbering over 250 and still counting. While one cannot be an otaku without having watched at least one Megumi Hayashibara role, one cannot BE an anime fan without having at least watched a Takehito Koyasu role.
Notable roles: Mwu la Fraga, Gundam SEED series; Ilpalazzo, Excel Saga; Kururu, Keroro Gunsou; Fool, Kaleidostar.
3. Sugita Tomokazu
One of the most talented male voices around, Sugita Tomokazu is a master of voice acting. His voice can be equally caring, sarcastic, funny and serious whenever he wants it and he masterfully uses it to each of his roles, usually teenagers or gentlemanly ones. While he has been steadily gaining fame, his name truly exploded when he was casted in the hit anime, The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi.
Notable roles: Mayama Takumi, Honey & Clover; Kyon, The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi; Motosuwa Hideki, Chobits; Tsuchimi Rin, SHUFFLE! series.
4. Seki Tomokazu
Versatility is his forte, and it shows in Seki Tomokazu’s credits list. Another prolific male seiyuu, his list of credits is long and varied and he has played everything from a talented pianist to a caring elder brother and even a cosplay mania otaku. His voice has a good vocal range and he is known to use his smoking habit to suit his voice for the character if required. Some of his best work has been done alongside fellow seiyuu Ayako Kawasumi.
Notable roles: Sagara Sousuke, Full Metal Panic; Shi Ryuuki, Saiunkoku Monogatari; Kinomoto Touya; Cardcaptor Sakura; Chiaki Shinichi, Nodame Cantabile.
5. Kazuya Nakai
One of the GAR voices on this list, Kazuya Nakai has had relatively limited roles but those roles are probably some of the more memorable ones. He is well known for his deep voice which usually he uses in rowdy characters and also swordsmen roles.
Notable roles: Roronoa Zoro, One Piece; Mugen, Samurai Champloo, Karasu, Noein.
6. Jouji Nakata
Famed for his deep, GAR voice, which he has used to great effect on some of the most popular male leads in anime. He is a great voice actor and he has held a number of expressive roles requiring a good vocal range, which he has well provided and at the same time earning respect from many for his roles. Most famously credited as the voice of the GAR’est of vampires, Alucard yet he is also well known for his comical role as Giroro in Keroro Gunsou as well.
Notable roles: Alucard, Hellsing series; The Count of Monte Cristo, Gankutsuou; Giroro, Keroro Gunsou; James “Jack” Bukhar, Sentou Yousei Yukikaze.
7. Akira Ishida
Possessing rather high-pitched voice, Akira Ishida is famous for voicing effeminate male roles and also antagonist roles in anime. His voice is famous amongst many fangirls (personal experience) alongside fellow seiyuu Hoshi Souichiro as well and they have both co-starred a few times, most famously in the Gundam SEED series recently. His voice is a very versatile one and he has a really awesome vocal range, contributing in to voicing some of the most memorable and enigmatic roles in anime.
Notable roles: Nagisa Kaworu, Neon Genesis Evangelion (note that he appeared for only one episode); Athrun Zala, Gundam SEED series; Nagi Homura, Mai HiME; Cho Hakkai, Saiyuki series.
8. Hoshi Souichiro
Possessing an even more high-pitched voice than Akira Ishida, Hoshi Souichiro has voiced a number of leading roles in which his character is usually boyish or initially weak but turns extremely strong throughout the series. He is another fangirl favourite after Akira Ishida. Incidentally, some of his roles are one of the most popularly bashed characters amongst male fans.
Notable roles: Yamato Kira, Gundam SEED series; Son Goku, Saiyuki; Kusanagi Kei, Onegai series; Seiichiro Sano, Law of Ueki; Maebara Keiichi, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
9. Yuji Ueda
Another versatile male seiyuu, Yuji Ueda has been in numerous major roles throughout the years and his talent is such that it can be hard to recognize his voice at times. Having voiced almost everything ranging from weak simpletons to violent characters, his talent is the top of the class in the industry.
Notable roles: Urashima Keitaro, Love Hina; Tenkawa Akito, Martian Successor Nadesico; Morita Shinobu, Honey & Clover; Sagara Sanosuke, Rurouni Kenshin series.
10. Jun Fukuyama
Jun Fukuyama is a rather new name for me, but in the past year, he has made some memorable performances in Code Geass and Inukami. While his voice does not have any significant feel to it, his voice acting is top notch, evidenced by his performance in Code Geass and his credits list gave me a rather good surprise too.
Notable roles: Lelouch “Zero” Lamperouge, Code Geass; Kawahira Keita, Inukami; Tsubaki Issei, Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu; Kimihiro Watanuki, xxxHoLic.
Honorable Mention: Romi Paku
Yes, I know. She’s a female, but Romi Paku has voiced some of my favourite male characters in anime and she definitely has a manly voice, but she can also do well at female roles as well. One of the rare seiyuus to be talented in both male and female roles, Romi Paku definitely requires mention. She’s also from Korean descent and can speak fluent Korean as well.
Notable roles: Ueki Kousuke, Law of Ueki; Edward Elric, Full Metal Alchemist; Hitsugaya Toushiro, Bleach series; Osaki Nana, NANA.