When you're watching anime, have you ever stopped to wonder whose voices you’re hearing?
Whenever a character sings, laughs, shouts or cries on-screen, somewhere behind the scenes there is a seiyuu (or voice actor) doing the same. Thanks to their professional work, countless 2D characters are now that much closer to reality.
In celebration of their contributions, here are some introductory seiyuu fun-facts:
Four legs good, two legs better
Dogs, cats, birds, reindeer, pokemon, you name it - in anime, most creatures and monsters are still voiced by humans. Here's a random selection of seiyuus with a few furrier roles under their belts:
Wouldn't it be fun to find out what Pikachu could have said besides "pika pika"? Ikue Otani brings to life the adorable yellow pokemon, as well as One Piece's reindeer Chopper and the spherical cat Poyo from Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki.
Emiri Kato is probably an expert on felines by now, after voicing Blair of Soul Eater and the notorious Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
( ／人◕ ‿‿ ◕人＼ Contract? )
The ever-energetic Junko Takeuchi of Naruto fame also voices the puppy Akamaru from the same title, as well as Digimon Adventure's Gomamon and the rabbit Kuromi from Onegai My Melody.
Nope, that's my day job
In the midst of their busy schedules, some prolific seiyuus still manage to dabble in other careers. Some, like the four main seiyuus of Weiß Kreuz, form seiyuu bands and have successfully released music CDs.
Occasionally, it's the other way around. Atsushi Tamura, the voice of Eyeshield 21's Yoichi Hiruma, landed his role after gaining fame as part of a famous comedic duo.
Besides the more glamorous jobs, some seiyuus also do announcements for supermarkets, railway stations and even professional wrestling matches. Wouldn't it be cool to hear your favourite character's voice on the train?
Boys won't be boys
It's a given that seiyuus don't often look like the characters they voice. We're used to them having different hair colours, height, age... but a complete change of gender?
Well, why not? It may come as a shock to some fans, but cross-gender voicing happens to be quite common. A typical example would be young boys voiced by women, since they usually have higher-pitched voices than grown men. So it's no wonder that so many shonen anime heroes happen to have female seiyuus!
But cross-gender voicing is not always easy. Besides taking on boyish personalities and speech styles, some female seiyuus have even had to portray deeper voices after a timeskip (ouch).
Unfortunately for the men, this industry trend doesn't often go the other way, for obvious reasons.