Anime Voice Talent Highlight #7: Kei Tomiyama

#7 Kei Tomiyama

One of the classic anime voices of the 70s and 80s, Kei Tomiyama's tragically short life was nevertheless fruitful in his industry. Already well-known by the seventies for his role as the wrestler eponymous Tiger Mask, an character who has endured as an anime icon for decades, he went on to play a few other very notable roles. His tender, sincere voice at times belied his often firey delivery.

Anime Voice Talent Highlight #6: Masako Nozawa

#6: Masako Nozawa It's hard to imagine a voice talent who delivers with more warmth, charm, and sincerity than Masako Nozawa. Though she's basically well-known only for a single character (and his look-alikes), it's that one iconic role and equally iconic performance that makes her worthy of highlight. That role, for those of you in a cave for the past twenty four years, is Son Goku from Dragon Ball/Z/GT.   Nozawa has been acting since the age of 2. And at the age of 75, continues to deliver strong as the main hero of the animated version of Akira Toriyama's mega-hit manga, Dragon Ball. It was Toriyama himself that chose her back in the early days of the anime, later finding himself hearing her voice in the role when he was drawing.

Anime Voice Talent Highlight #5: Ryo Horikawa

#5: Ryo Horikawa A voice actor with a lot of presence, Ryo Horikawa (born Mokoto Horikawa) had a strong presence in the 80s and 90s in Japanese animation. He's probably best known as the wicked prince of all Saiyans, Vegeta, in Dragon Ball Z, but he was acting before and has been doing work since. Starting with his bishonen roles, we have the feminine Andromeda Shun in Saint Seiya and Reinhard von Lohengramm in Legend of the Galactic Heroes. He has a certain gentleness in these roles, though is fully commanding when necessary. His Reinhard especially is full of a sort of confident calmness, but is capable of great anger, too. This great anger is put to good use in one particular role. The role, of course, is Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z.

Anime Voice Talent Highlight #4: Yasuo Yamada

#4: Yasuo Yamada It may seem silly to highlight a voice talent who's known for playing one particular role, but when this particular VA's performance in the role is so iconic, and has spanned decades in that role, it's perfectly appropriate to me. Especially when the character he's known for playing is a favorite anime character: Arsène Lupin III! How do I describe Yasuo Yamada's Lupin voice? It's hard, because his Lupin adapts to the tone of the feature. The first television series had a bit of a darker tone to it than the rest of the franchise, much like the manga it was spawned from, until later episodes. Lupin's voice changed subtly throughout the show, but Yamada always played him cooly but with a bit of playfulness.

Anime Voice Talent Highlight #3: Kotono Mitsuishi

Anime Voice Talent Highlight #3 Kotono Mitsuishi
#3: Kotono Mitsuishi
Throughout the 1990s, Mitsuishi Kotono permeated the voice talent pool. Performing as both the strong heroine, the crazy ditz, or sometimes, both at once, Kotono always delivered strongly, and continues to do so today. But what is more remarkable, the roles she played, or the performances she brought to them? Likely, it's the latter. Starting out as an elevator girl at what was at one time the tallest building in Japan, the Sunshine 60, she eventually became an office lady, but was forced to quit. Then, in 1989 she started doing voice work in an OVA for a popular tennis-themed anime.

Anime Voice Talent Highlight #2: Nozomu Sasaki

Anime Voice Talent Highlight #2: Nozomu Sasaki
The voice of several young men characters in anime, Nozomu Sasaki has been featured in anime for nearly two decades. The two types of roles he tends to play are young, socially awkward or conflicted teen boys or, in a few cases, villains and/or anti-heroes. He is not without range, however, his voice transforming perfectly into the personalites of the characters he plays. Of one type of role, he played characters such as Mackey Stingray, Hathaway Noa, and Julian Minci, young men whose life revolves around role models and the learning process.

Anime Voice Talent Highlight #1

Anime Voice Talent Highlight #1: Yoshiko Sakakibara

Yoshiko Sakakibara has been in some of the greatest female roles in anime. During the 1980s, she was a staple of anime, as ubiquitous as Megumi Hayashibara during the 1990s or Rie Kugimiya in the past decade. Playing largely powerful, strong-willed women, leaders and stateswomen, Sakakibara's carefully measured tone and leveled pitch, even in histerics, make her an indispensible talent in the industry for over two decades.

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