Otaku 101: 10 male seiyuus every aspiring otaku should know.

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.

26 Comments

  1. t Said,

    June 7, 2007 @ 11:56 pm

    you must try watch gakuen heaven(very good seiyuus in the cast list)

  2. Sigel Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 12:03 am

    Can you please explain what exactly a “GAR voice” is. I’m not that familliar with terms used by otakus to define stuff

  3. random passerby Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 12:23 am

    GAR ain’t really an otaku term. It’s just something that refers to the manly quality of a person/character. It’s usage has evolved over time into the adjective form, as it originally was a corrupted form of the verb “to be gay”.

    Here’s urban dictionary’s two best entries on the verb form:

    1. To like a male character or individual for being a cool, powerful badass.

    Derived from a typo (‘gar’ instead of ‘gay’) on 4chan’s /a/nime image board when referring to Archer from the H-game and anime series “Fate Stay Night”.

    “I’m gar for Archer.”
    “Of course. Everyone’s gar for Archer.”

    2. A term used towards male characters and individuals who are so overwhelmingly manly that your own masculinity is absolutely *buried*, leaving you naught but a whimpering, swooning girl-child before them.

    Originated in 4chan’s /a/ board. A poster was describing his feelings towards the Fate/Stay Night character Archer, and mistyped “gay” as “gar”.

    “Episode 14 left me totally gar for Archer.”
    “You are gar for badasses, but gay for traps.”

    I’ll leave it to the rest of you to define the epitome of what GAR really is, since I know you’ll have fun with it.

  4. thegreencrayon Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 12:25 am

    dude, where’s miyano mamoru? he’s new, but he’s good!

  5. Haesslich Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 12:32 am

    I’d probably have to go on a limb and suggest that, at least with most of those seiyuu, that GAR depends on the role, no matterhow masculine the voice is.

    Incidentally, Akira Ishida also voices Mutsumi 623 in Keroro Gunso, whose introduction in the anime was a self-parody becaUse of a prvious role – Nagisa Kaoru.

  6. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 12:52 am

    “GAR” is well, quite a subjective term. I shouldn’t have used it on hindsight, but in all simpleness, GAR voice = rough, deep, manly voice.

  7. tj han Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 2:06 am

    You missed out Ueda Yuji’s best role ever.. SEXY COMMANDO!!!!!!!!!

  8. clazy Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 2:21 am

    Ah nice list, I would have chosen most of the same guys as you did. Takehito Koyasu ftw. Tomokazu Sugita ftw.

  9. Farplaner Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 2:38 am

    I think Hikaru Midorikawa belongs in this list…

  10. jpmeyer Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 3:51 am

    Akira Kamiya!

  11. Reika Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 3:56 am

    I agree with thegreencrayon — Mamoru Miyano should be on the list (so what if I’m totally crushing on Mamo-chan XD)

    But I disagree with your statement that there are a lot less distinctive male seiyuu — you miseed Kappei Yamaguchi, Miki Shinichiro, Takahiro Sakurai, Suzumura Kenichi… all of whom are in multiple anime series season after season.

  12. omo Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 5:31 am

    Midorikawa is not on the list. Boo. Hoishi is a noob, drop him.

  13. Sakura Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 6:09 am

    omo: Midorikawa was in his prime during the days of Gundam Wing and Fushigi Yuugi. He’s out of sight, out of mind. Lelouche’s VA is more greener and more of a noob than Hoshi so why not take out him out first.

  14. DKellis Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 7:22 am

    Yeah, I was kind of wondering where Hikaru Midorikawa was.

    If Romi Paku is in this list, then I’ll have to throw in another couple of honourable mentions, of Megumi Ogata and Motoko Kumai. Although I have to admit that this is entirely due to my CCS fixation.

  15. omo Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 7:33 am

    Sakura: fangirls are so unfaithful :(

    By the way Midorikawa is still doing voices even today, just not for the smash hits.

  16. Hinano Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 8:02 am

    Fukuyama Jun was also Kazuki in Busou Renkin :D

  17. Kisara Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 9:29 am

    I agree with the Midorikawa Hikaru comment, though he hasn’t been doing as much lately. I’d say Miki Shinichirou should be on it, as he’s had a LOT of roles, and he’s still taking a bunch on. (Miki plays Kisuke Urahara on Bleach, Kojiro (James) from Team Rocket on Pokemon, Takumi Fujiwara of Inital D, among TOOOONS of others)

  18. Syaoran Li Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 10:55 am

    Tomokazu Seki-sama and ayako Kawasumi-sama…. those two are made to be together and do great things…

  19. Son Gohan Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 10:04 pm

    I can’t believe you didn’t mention Kappei Yamaguchi, one of the most prolific male seiyuus ever. He did Ranma, Inuyasha, Usopp and Shinichi Kudo, just to mention a few. He is above 40, but he still did a great job recently as Death Note’s “L”.
    I also agree with the people who said that Mamoru Miyano (Kiba in WR, Tamaki in Ouran, Light in DN) deserves to be on that list.

  20. sagematt Said,

    June 8, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

    Incidentally, some of his roles are one of the most popularly bashed characters amongst male fans.

    Meh, they should play Ever17, he makes up for Kira and even more. He releases all of his GAR potential.

  21. Cardcaptor Said,

    June 9, 2007 @ 1:17 am

    Actually, Wakamoto probably got famous from Shapiro Keats in Dankuuga. (Wait… How old is that series by the way?) You should also mention the “Catch my heart, very melon” in Gatch Bell (‘cuz that’s the most godly thing he did, EVAR), and his role as Onsokumaru in Shinobu-den.

  22. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    June 9, 2007 @ 4:06 am

    Ok, I missed quite a number of male seiyuus… I’ll admit my list is pretty based on my own anime interests, and I’ve rather sworn off shounen stuff… OTL.

  23. Matrim Said,

    June 9, 2007 @ 10:55 pm

    You have omitted Toshihiko Seki from your list…and he is the only really good Seki, not Tomokazu. Yes, I am exaggerating quite a bit but Toshihiko is the best male seiyuu for villains, IMHO, and he can also voice other types of characters very well. He is marvellous as villain in Trigun and Gundam SEED.

    Other than that, pretty good list.

  24. Kaioshin Sama Said,

    June 15, 2007 @ 2:25 pm

    Agree with the list for all but Sugita Tomokazu. I find him to be completely talentless and only capble of the sarcasm bit. His role is basically sarcastic asshole who flips out occassionally. Even when he is trying to do the caring thing it still comes across as sarcastic and empty, for example in the scene in Kanon where Makoto is dying. I don’t really see him going anywhere special, but then again people seem to like him for some strange reason so he’s probably going to be around for a while. I really can’t stand his voice overall either so I mostly try to avoid whatever he is in unless its something I really want to see like Bokurano or its a bit role like in Pani Poni Dash.

    Kudos for mentioning Takehito Koyasu though. The guy’s list of credits and jobs is staggering and even though he has an instantly recognizable trademark deep voice, he can still change his pitch, tone and overall demeanor when the time comes, which is why he succeeds and Sugita Tomokazu fails.

  25. Bata-kun Said,

    January 15, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

    Late, but how could you have missed Yamadera Kouichi-san? He is one of the funnest seiyuu to hear regardless if it’s his funny voice or his deep voice. He’s that dedicated of a seiyuu.

    Morikawa Toshiyuki-san is another seiyuu you omitted. Granted, he does not have much of a prolific anime portfolio, but he is another seiyuu to take note of. Oh and for you gamers, without this guy, many characters wouldn’t sound right at all for you.

    Kamiya Akira-san, the Ootsuka duo of Chikao-san and Akio-san, Hayami Shou-san, Okiayu Ryoutarou-san, Sasaki Nozomu-san, Taniyama Kishou-san, Morikubo Shoutarou-san, Itou Kentarou-san, Kusao Takeshi-san, Nanba Keiichi-san, I can go on and on. Alright. I’ll stop. XD

  26. Sapilaut Said,

    May 4, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

    Not one mention of Yamaguchi Kappei? You guys failed

    And yes, Miki Shinichirou should also be there

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