Well, we’ve finally finished talking about the characters in anime… now we talk about the people behind them: the voice actors!
I must say, I admire good voice acting. The way they can say words in such a way that they aren’t just saying them, but conveying meaning and depth and emotion with the intonation of every word, every syllable, every vocal sound, it amazes me. They are able to brings these characters truly to life for us, and that takes great skill, passion, and discipline.
I consider it one of the better compliments I have been given, when a friend told me that I would be a good voice actor. 🙂
That said… this is somewhat embarrassing to admit, but I wasn’t at all interested in the actors and actresses themselves when I was younger. I’ve always differentiated between the character and the performer, where they are not the same person, and I was only interested in the character, so I paid little to no attention to the performer. I got excited about the work, but I almost always forgot the people doing said work.
That has been changing, in these last several years. I’ve paid a bit more attention to the people behind the characters. I still don’t really get super excited by it… usually… but I used to not really know or care about the actors at all.
I used to not know who Mark Hammill was, or that he played both Luke Skywalker and the Joker. I used to not remember the names of Ian McKellan or Patrick Stewart. I used to not appreciate the name of Robert Downey Jr., until I heard the story of his mistakes and his eventual redemption, which gave us the greatest Iron Man we could have ever hoped for.
Now that I do know and care about all of that, to some degree, I call that a step in the right direction. I still prefer not to do anything that intrudes on their privacy, but I have a greater appreciation of the real people who make the fake people seem like real people. 😉
Unfortunately… that means I generally don’t really know much about individual voice actors. As such, there’s not that much for me to tell, ya know? So, there won’t be much explanation on my part for my picks of either actors or (next week) actresses, but there will be copious nodding towards their work.
I am indebted to Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and, as it happens, a Deviantart artist with the name of Melodiousnocturne24, for providing the material I am using in this post.
I will say that I focused on English dubs, rather than the original Japanese, because… well, I know even less about the Japanese seiyuu than I do about English voice actors. Besides, voice acting seems to be more looked down on in the West than in Japan, and I want to give some credit where it is due. 🙂
One last note: I tried to avoid anyone currently embroiled in politics or scandals or whatnot. This is intended to be a celebration of the craft and those who do it well, rather than a forum for political diatribe, ya know?
Now, with all that ado done, and in no particular order, as usual, and with far less elaboration on my choices than is usual, I present my picks for five anime voice actors!
1) Crispin Freeman
Just look at that resume! Wow!
My personal anime favorites: Alucard, Togusa, and Zelgadis. Though, I love his work in Young Justice as well. 🙂
2) Christopher Sabat
I remember the moment where I first heard Ayame’s voice on Fruits Basket, and thinking, “That’s Piccolo’s voice!” Comparing the two characters, I burst out laughing! 🙂 And, as it turns out, he’s also Zoro, Kuwabara, Elfman, and Armstrong, and… so many more?! Impressive!
3) Brian Drummond
I knew Tiger, Zechs, and Cisco were the same guy, but he’s also the original English voice for Vegeta? And Ryuk? Cool! And looking at the rest of these roles, he has a much greater range than I first thought! 🙂
4) J Michael Tatum
5) Scott McNeil
I know this one isn’t anime, exactly, but he’s all my favorite characters in Beast Wars: Rattrap, Dinobot, Silverbolt, and Waspinator. That alone would be diverse enough, but he’s also another Piccolo, and Duo Maxwell, and oh my goodness so many more! This guy is an incredible voice actor! How does one voice box do so many drastically different voices, for such a diverse range of characters? Amazing!
So, we’ll get to the actresses next week, but for now, that’s my five picks for male voice actors!
What do you think? I know I missed plenty, with only five picks to work with, so, who would you pick? 🙂