My Favourite Anime Staffers. Voice Actors Edition
The third and final entry in this series goes to the often thankless Ladies and Gentlemen that dub the foreign cartoons we love so much. I decided to pick VA over Seiyuu because frankly I do not have the Japanese proficiency to tell how well an individual is voice acting. Ive only ever seen one episode Raw and understood it but that was a special case.
Im going to list a handful (or more) Voice Actors that really impressed in my Journeys through dubbed Anime and Hopefully by highlighting thei strong points the stigma that anime dubs suck just might be extinguished.
Credits: Holo (Spice & Wolf), Rei Ayanami (Evangelion 1.11 & 2.22), Ennis (Baccano), Natsuki (Summer Wars) etc
Brina Palencia is fairly new to the Anime dubbing profession and this is a good thing. The intence competition for roles in modern anime has sky rocketed the quality of English dubs, not too long ago companies would hire actors through word of mouth alone and while some gems were discovered that way a whole lot of dirt was in that pile too. I first heard Brina in the series Baccano! in which she played the quiet yet bad ass Ennis. This role was not so challenging as Ennis had very few lines and was rather monotone. However, the scenes in which she had to express emotion worked well and it didnt feel forced either perphaps this is the reason she was picked to play Rei Ayanami in the Rebuild series.
Her best role to this date IMO is still Holo in Spice & Wolf, I decided to watch the series dubbed despite having a stellar Japanese cast because of the quick pace at which they spoke. There was also a lot of ‘technobable’ as well because more often than not the two characters would go on and on about economics, currency, how to make trade and all that boring stuff. Holo is an outspoken character and the best way to describe her would be charming, A level headed Haruhi Suzumiya if you will. Brina has proven that she has range and for me that is the best proof that an Actor is superb.
Credits: Graham Specter (Baccano!), Greed (Full Metal Alchemist), Tasuhiro Sato (Welcome to the NHK) etc
Chris Patton has been in the business for a while and has had a fair number of lead roles. My personal favourite would have to be Graham Spector from baccano, this title may pop up a few times but at this point almost evryone knows that Baccano is known for having an excellent dub so please indulge me. Graham is an eccentric character that is very loud and violent, the Seiyuu picked for this role was non other than Tomokazu Sugita…yes my favourite Seiyuu known for roles such as Kyon and Gintoki. Chris played Graham to the T and I would argue may have even played the role better than Sugita.
His most popular role would have to be Greed from the FMA series, the snarky attitude and snappy one liners he performs are some of th most memorable lines from the series. Chris is a talent I hope gets to play more roles because there is nothing worse than a badly played crazy bad guy.
J. Micheal Tatum
Credits: Isaac Dion (Baccano!) Sebastian Michealis (Black Butler), Lawrence Kraft (Spice & Wolf), Kaji (Evangelion 1.11 & 2.22) etc
Tatum got his first role in Samurai 7 after he was “forced” into an audition by one of his aquaintaces, he adutioned for over 4 hours and at the end was told he had just done a couple of episodes for the character Rikichi. Tatum is the perfect example of one of the gems found during the early years of anime dubbing, he went on to do much more pivotal and succesful roles and in the process became an Anime fan.
The roles he played in Baccano!, Black Butler and Spice & Wolf are so dearly loved and have such a huge following. Tatum is usually type cast as the deep voiced older male but will often break the mold by doing a few comedy stints here and there. Ofcourse Isaac Dion is a perfect example of this Ill let the video speak for itself.
Credits: Haruko (FLCL), Saya & Diva (Blood+), Celty (Durarara!), Kagami (Lucky Star), Fuu (Samurai Champloo) etc
A veteran in the business though many may not know this due to her frequent changes of her Alias. The best way to sum up Karis’ performaces would be the term professional. With just as many Video game roles as Anime she has grounded herself as an A list go-to Voice Actor if you need that lead female no matter what type of range is required. My personal favourite role of hers would have to be Kagami from Lucky Star But her role as Haruko in FLCL would have to be the one that made her a fan favourite thanks to the series long run on Toonami.
Credits: Holland (Eureka 7), Alucard (Hellsing), Shizuo (Durarara!), Itachi (Naruto), Kyon (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) etc
To avoid an excessive amount of fanboying and gushing I will keep this short. Crispin Freeman is one of the very few voice actors whose name can appear on a trailer to pull in fans. Also he is Kyon.
Credits: Faye (Cowboy Bebop) Haruhi (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), Konata (Lucky Star) Bulma (Dragon Ball) etc no really etc
If Anime dubbing had a queen Wendee Lee would be it. The fact that she didnt have to audition for a role as pivotal as Faye Valentine way back in the day speaks volumes. Her Resume would be a hell of a drag to type heck it would even take a while to read it and that only the anime side. She has done numerous roles in Video Games and Western animation as well, maybe you remember Kiva from MegasXLR? yup that was her.
My favourite Wendee Lee role would have to be Haruhi Suzumiya hands down or maybe Konata? I dont know.
Credits: Mikuru (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), Orihime (Bleach), Mikuru (Eden of the East), Eureka (Eureka 7), Yui Hirasawa (K-on!)
Stephanie Sheh is the embodiment of the stereotype that most American female actors have the the really high squeaky voice in English dubs. While there is some slight truth to this ahem*Orihime* I can easily overlook it because of the other work she has done. Eureka 7 was the first anime I enjoyed dubbed and it is no co incidence that a lot of the actors on this list were in that show. Her role as Eureka is definetly her best role and yes you saw right she is the English Yui Hirasawa and guess what folks, I approve.
oh yeah found a way to plug K-on! in another post 😛
Johnny Young Bosch
Credits: Lelouch( Code Geass), Ichigo (Bleach), Izaya (Durarara!), Renton (Eureka 7), Vash (Trigun) etc
Johnny Young Bosch is the name you see thrown around a lot when people complain saying dubs have the same 10 guys in everything. Well as much as this criticism may be harsh its also fairly true, Harsh in the sense that yes JYB is in virtually every anime you watch dubbed but is this a bad thing? another thing to note is that he hasnt done that many roles he is just cast in all the big titles. I will say however he is yet to prove his range as an actor but when your current skill are good enough to land you any lead role in Anime do you really need to have range?
My favourite JYB role is NOT VASH! that was bad casting, sure it was his first but he just doesnt sell the comedic side of Vash not to me anyway. His best role is Lelouch from Code Geass, his voice just seems to really suit the anti hero types really well and is most likely the reason why he landed the Izaya role in Durarara! Oh did i mention he was the Black Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers?
There are many Many other great voice actors i could have addded to this list, a lot of up and coming ones like Cristina Vee, Micah Solusud, Maxey Whitehead and some well established ones like Kyle Hebert, Yuri Lowenthal, Michelle Ruff, Luara Bailey and many many more. Good dubs do exist, exceptional ones are a dime a dosen thats true but the quality in recent years has definetly gone up. I hope the stigma that Dubs have soon vanishes because in all Honesty they do NOT suck.