A game for 2016: Pick that Voice!!

This has long been something of a game for me, ever since I first got into seiyuu about ten years ago. For many years, I was only able to recognise male voices—what can I say? Compared to those high pitched voices of most female Japanese seiyuu, I much prefer listening to the guys talking. But around the end of 2014, I started picking out some familiar ladies’ voices as well, namely Kayano Ai and Nakahara Mai in SHIROBAKO. And so, I decided to play a little ‘Pick That Voice!’ game.

The rules are simple. First, I can only count the people that I did not know were in the cast before I started watching. This usually cuts out my three favourite seiyuu—Sakurai Takahiro, Nakamura Yuuichi and Hosoya Yoshimasa—since I actively seek out shows they’re in (^^;; ). Nevertheless, since Sakku in particular seems moving into the ‘veteran seiyuu’ group, he’s showed up in a lot of key ‘bit parts’ over the last few years. In fact, what makes this game fun for me is that a lot of the voices I recognise are the people who broke out about 5-10 years ago, which is when I really got into seiyuu—many of them have now reached the industry tier where they show up ‘unexpectedly’ for roles spanning one/two episodes. I get quite a kick out of picking them out when they show up.

About halfway through 2015, I also decided to try picking out the seiyuu doing the ‘kaneyaku’, that is, the background characters with lines of dialogue. I’ve seen one or two English-speaking fans speculate about seiyuu having completely uncredited cameos, but I’ve never actually come across that. Instead, these bit parts are often played by the seiyuu in minor or supporting roles (see episode 2 of Seiyu’s Life). The first time I learned about this was in the Macross Frontier commentary for episode 1, but I also remember there being a Durarara!! episode commentary in which the commentators discussed how You-kyan and JunJun were a riot ad-libbing a couple of background characters in one scene. If you’re up for it, who’s the voice actor doubling up in the following Sound! Euphonium clip?

Getting back to the point, the deal with this game is that I have a list of seiyuu to choose from–the cast of the show itself. This is probably one of the better ways to test my ear for newer talent, which I am almost ashamed to say that I’m still pretty bad at. The only one I can recognise somewhat realiably is Hanae Natsuki…and only because I’ve heard him in something like five roles over the last year. I’m fairly confident about picking Amamiya Sora’s ‘light’ voice, but I know that she has at least one other, deeper one that I have yet to hear. After them, the only other ‘under 30s’ I’ve picked at least twice are Irino Miyu, Kayano Ai and Kaji Yuuki…

The only problem with this game is that it can be difficult to find out whether you’re right or wrong. FukuJun was kind enough to confirm his Amagi Brilliant Park kaneyaku in the episode 14 commentary, but this is the exception rather than the norm. The only way to confirm it would be through other fans…so if anyone wants to test their ears out, do let me know!

Fall 2014

Score: 9 seiyuu in 10 roles

Hiyama Nobuyuki: SHIROBAKO
Kayano Ai: SHIROBAKO x2
Nakahara Mai: SHIROBAKO
Yoshino Hiroyuki: SHIROBAKO
Ishida Akira: Parasyte 8
Hoshi Souichirou: Ace of the Diamond 58
Hirasawa Daisuke: Ace of the Diamond 58
Sakurai Takahiro: Knights of Sidonia 1
Koyasu Takehito: Knights of Sidonia 1


Hosoya Yoshimasa (little league coach) and Hanae Natsuki (Miyuki’s JCH friend, shirt number #18) in Ace of the Diamond 47. And I believe that Kaji Yuuki and Asanuma Shintarou play a couple of Mizuki’s JCH sempai.


Score: 20 seiyuu in 30 roles, though I missed 7 other roles that I really should have picked

Hayami Shou: Assassination Classroom 2
Miyano Mamoru: Death Parade 6
Yoshino Hiroyuki: Parasyte 18 (missed him in ep 1 though)
Miyata Kouki: SHIROBAKO 19
Sakurai Takahiro: Death Parade 8
Fujiwara Keiji: Death Parade 8
Sakurai Takahiro: SHIROBAKO 23

Ohkawa Tohru: The Legend of Arslan PV, The Legend of Arslan 2
Yoshino Hiroyuki: Seraph of the End 5
Nakamura Yuuichi: Food Wars 8
Koyasu Takehito: Food Wars 8
Inoue Kikuko: My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU, Too 10
Suzumura Kenichi: Ace of the Diamond S2 11

Nakahara Mai: Game of Laplace 1
Fukuyama Jun: Snow White with the Red Hair 1
Konishi Katsuyuki: Snow White with the Red Hair 1
Koyasu Takehito: Game of Laplace 3
Endo Aya: Braves of the Six Flowers 6
Inoue Kikuko: WORKING!!! 7
Ishida Akira: Braves of the Six Flowers 7
Fukuyama Jun: Game of Laplace 8
Inoue Kikuko: Durarara!!x2 20

Kaji Yuuki: One Punch Man PV
Nakamura Yuuichi: One Punch Man PV
Fukuyama Jun: Ace of the Diamond 26
Suzumura Kenichi: Osomatsu-san 1 (I knew who the six brothers were before I even started watching…)
Ishida Akira: Sakurako-san 1
Namikawa Daisuke: One Punch Man 2
Hirakawa Daisuke: Sakurako-san 4
Miki Shinichirou: One Punch Man 5

Sawashiro Miyuki: Parasyte (I, er…forgot…)
Fujiwara Keiji: Seraph of the End 5 (I got impatient and wanted to check Yoshino…)
Noto Mamiko: Food Wars 8
Ono Daisuke: Seraph of the End 9
Sawashiro Mizuki: One Punch Man 2
Koyasu Takehito: Sakurako-san
Hayami Shou: Gundam IBO


Ono Daisuke: Seraph of the End 9 and 10
Sakurai Takahiro: Sound! Euphonium (Trombone section leader)
Fukuyama Jun: Amagi Brilliant Park 14 (Red Koala) – he also voices the shark, and a couple of others!
Nakamura Yuuichi as one of the newscasters in Durarara!!x2 13
Miyano Mamoru and Fujita Saki are the ones voicing all the new chatroom members in Durarara!!x2 17
It’s Kururi (Kanemoto Hisako) & Mairu (Kitamura Eri) in the chatroom in the first half of Durarara!!x2 18
And Kamiya Hiroshi at the end of Durarara!!x2 23

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

3 Responses to A game for 2016: Pick that Voice!!

  1. sikvod00 says:

    I was able to get 3/4 VAs in the first video, in order of their appearance. I still had to look up their names by referencing shows I knew they were; still terrible with most Japanese names! Daisuke Hirakawa has a distinct, nasally voice and starred in the infamous School Days. Kaji Yuuki is super popular and another blogger I follow can barely stand him in most shows. Not a fan of Shimono at all, but he and stars in the Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai series. That show happened to have one of my favorite female VAs, Kanae Ito. :3 Like you, I’d watch shows (at least try to) she was in.

    Do you ever get fed up with VAs who you normally enjoy listening to but have so much exposure? That happened to me with Sawashiro Miyuki and Kana Hanazawa. There was 1-2 season where they were in 90% of the shows! I don’t care how good your voice is, that kind of over saturation bugs me…

    If you’re up for it, who’s the voice actor doubling up in the following Sound! Euphonium clip?

    I totally missed Sakurai Takahiro voicing two people in the same scene, lol! As a fan of his, you must have noticed immediately.


    • karice says:

      I only got three in the first video myself — Shimono Hiro I normally don’t recognise, but it sounded a little like Aoba (Durarara!!) and perhaps Nori (Ace of Diamond), so that’s who I decided to go with. It’s the last one I didn’t recognise. For the second lot, though, I only recognised the last two…

      Hm…not ones that I enjoy listening to. But that’s most likely because I don’t actually watch that many series each year, so I’ve never heard them ‘everywhere’, so-to-speak. It probably helps that I don’t particularly love any female voices. Sawashiro Miyuki and Kayano Ai are probably the two I like best, but since I avoid certain types of shows, even when they appeared in 25-30% of all new series (*), I was never overexposed to them.

      (*) The average number of anime that are broadcast each cour is around 25-30, which gives us around 100-120 new shows a year. But according to Japanese fans, the most prolific seiyuu tend to get somewhere between 20-25 roles a year. So it’s probably mostly that you saw many series that they were in…

      I totally missed Sakurai Takahiro voicing two people in the same scene, lol! As a fan of his, you must have noticed immediately.

      Yeah (^^;; That was pretty obvious. I think I was so taken aback that they’d had Sakku effectively having a conversation with himself that I replayed the scene to make sure that I hadn’t heard wrong…


  2. Pingback: Reflections on Winter and Spring, and Pick that Voice!! Part 1 | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

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