With the 2015 anime year having come to an end, it is time to pay tribute to the seiyuus who made us laugh, made us cry, made us go kya, made us go kyun and made the anime watching experience all the more enjoyable.
So here is my list of bests and the notable! Do share if you agree with us in the comments!
Best Overall: Namikawa Daisuke
Namikawa had many roles in 2015 (Oremonogatari, Prison School, K: Return of Kings, etc.), but the one I’d most like to gush talk about is his role in Arslan Senki. Arslan Senki was one of 2015’s to watch series, with its array of characters and intricate plot keeping viewers coming back for more.
This series was made all the better by witty tactician extraordinaire Narsus, whose ingenious strategies added so much more oomph to the storyline. I always believe that when it comes to watching anime, a character is only as good as the seiyuu who brings it to life, and in this respect, Namikawa sure aced it. His brilliant performance was utter perfection; it was like he was made for the role of Narsus. That deep, confident tone he used coupled with the lilts in his voice really gave Narsus such a fun and likeable personality, and added so much depth to this already compelling character.
Best Drama: Hanae Natsuki for Kousei, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Hanae’s role as Kousei in Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (it ended in 2015, so still counts!) has got to be one of his best performances to date. Scratch that, his best performance to date. Hanae brilliantly captured the complexities of this character, and his performance had a profound way of provoking so many conflicted emotions from the audience, so much so that Kousei’s feelings were practically tangible. For making us feel all them feels in KimiUso, Hanae gets my vote for best drama seiyuu of 2015.
Best Comedy: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu for Souma, Shokugeki no Souma
The casting director hit gold with this casting – Matsuoka’s voice acting was the very embodiment of Shokugeki no Souma‘s Souma. In fact, Matsuoka gave us such a strong performance, that I cannot think of anyone else who could make a better Souma. While the rest of the Shokugeki cast fulfilled their roles spectacularly (shout out to TakaMina, who won all our hearts with her soothing portrayal of Megumi~~), Matsuoka built on that energy and pulled off one of 2015’s most hysterically funny performances.
While Matsuoka is no stranger to comedy (having induced many giggles as the quick-witted and ever so snarky Sora in No Game No Life), he was previously overshadowed by senpai seiyuus *cough OnoD, who had a particularly good comedy run last year cough* This year however, no other seiyuu was a close enough rival in this genre. As Souma, Matsuoka’s comedic moments were timed to perfection, inciting fits of laughter, giggles, chuckles, sniggers… hats off to you Matsuoka, for giving our abs such a workout, hats off to you indeed.
Best Supporting: Suzuki Tatsuhisa (aka Tattsun)
Tattsun killed it with his performance of Ban in Nanatsu no Taizai; he was so much in character that fellow costars had on occasion marvelled at how perfect he was for the role. Then he goes all playful and flirty as Hiiragi Shinya in Owari no Seraph. And then went on to wow us with that really obscure register of his in Subete ga F ni Naru (I am quite the avid fan and pride myself on being able to distinguish his voice. But admittedly, I had trouble discerning Tattsun’s voice in Subete and was shell shocked to have seen his name in the end credits). Tattsun not only nailed it with his performance of each and every character he was cast as in 2015, but he also showcased quite the range, proving his versatility one time a many.
Best Newbie: Umehara Yuuichirou
Now this is the token newbie mention. Admittedly, Umehara did not deliver any particularly outstanding performance. BUT his voice is reminiscent of senpai seiyuu Hirakawa Daisuke (which is nothing to complain about!). And that deep drawl he used in Owari no Seraph was all kinds of lovely. And he was such a sweetheart of an overprotective Mitsuhe in Akagami no Shirayuki Hime. Besides, have you not seen how adorable he looks? Okay okay, I know I am being totally biased, but ohwells~ *shrugs*
Best Antagonist: Kamiya Hiroshi (HiroC)
It’s HiroC. Enough said. I would have left it at that, but I figured there was absolutely no way a four-word section would get the green light. So here’s the write-up (not that I would ever turn down the opportunity to fangirl about HiroC)… Let’s all be honest with ourselves. Who would give the wretched, psychotic Izaya (I say this with utmost affection) the time of day if not for HiroC’s voice acting? His portrayal of Durarara’s Izaya makes us all love to hate the character.
Of course, this veteran seiyuu is known for, amongst many other things, playing psychos. And true to his reputation, his voice sent chills down the spine as the schizo Akashi in Kuroko no Basuke. But it does not stop there. Remember the dead-again, alive-again, dead-again fairy in Nanatsu no Taizai? The crazy one? Yes, that (far too) brief but extremely memorable character was courtesy of HiroC as well.
Notable Female Seiyuus: Kugimiya Rie & Hayami Saori
The focus of this post so far has been the male seiyuus. But let’s not forget the female seiyuus. While I do not make it a point to listen out to them, there are a couple who really stood out.
Kugimiya Rie. Kagura in Gintama, Suzuya in Tokyo Ghoul, Nora in Noragami, the Macbeth siblings in Kekkai Sensen, to name a few… Kugimiya has long cemented herself as one of the best in the business. And with the versatility she showcased this year, not just across the various characters she played, but in within one character itself, Kugimiya reminded us once again why she is the boss. She was all kinds of amazing. I have no more words. Just, amazing.
Hayami Saori. It’s no secret. I adore this seiyuu. So very much. Hayami is known for playing strong female leads, and 2015 was no different – Shirayuki in Akagami no Shirayuki Hime, Shinoa in Owari no Seraph, Urara in Yamada-kun to Nananin no Majou. Her gentle, whimsically dulcet tones put her a cut above the rest, with her performances soothing and delighting viewers all around.
Other notable mentions. And because my perspective of female seiyuus is rather non-existent, my fellow writers have very kindly offered some advice on this category. So a shoutout to seiyuus Kayano Ai and Murakawa Rie, who were voted best female seiyuus of 2015 by the other writers at Afachan.
So that’s a look back at the seiyuus of 2015. Now that 2016 is upon us, let’s keep an ear out for all them seiyuus out there. Because what is anime without them lovely, lovely voices? (^_-)—☆