Like any other kid growing up in Asia, with Cartoon Network, it started out with Ninja Robots, which very few people seem to remember for some reason… Well, I barely recall the plot, so character names are pretty much out of the question. I can, however, still sing the opening song, almost word for word! Snippets of Doremon and unidentifiable scenes of Sailor Moon still run through my mind but like Ninja Robots it’s ‘plot what plot’ all over again.
But then when I was thirteen, I was introduced – via fanfiction, as Tumblr had yet to exist – to Inuyasha and I started thinking to myself, ‘hmmm, why don’t they show more of this on TV?’ Alas, I went through a couple years of browsing any anime show that tickled my fancy with its pretty art. Some notable mentions are Gravitation (my first foray into the shounen-ai genre) and, of course, the beautiful Studio Ghibli films, that I’ve watched and re-watched countless times.
My ‘big break’ so to speak, came with a very special show that’s still incredibly dear to my heart, and introduced me to a whole new world of utter anime abandon. Death Note was my very first serious anime love. I loved everything about it, from the plot to the art to the incredible soundtrack. But along with that came another love. For the very first time I found myself giving my heart away to my favourite voice actor, Miyano Mamoru. My very patient and very dear friends, Akatsuki and Kiseki can both bear witness to my insane and obnoxious fangirly-ness for all things Mamo-chan. My heart flutters just thinking of how fabulous he was as the infamous Yagami Light through all his mercurial emotions. Ouran High School Host Club followed soon after, with his hilarious portrayal of Suoh Tamaki.
While he’s very clearly my favourite voice actor there are others who deserve a notable mention because of their utter fabulousness and incredible skill. Fukuyama Jun is one such person, and I do my best to at least test the waters of new shows that OnoD and HiroC are in. I have a girly adoration for Junichi Suwabe’s incredibly deep voice as well, especially in another old-time favourite, Fullmetal Alchemist and his role as Ahomine Daiki in Kuroko no Basuke, which is basically magical basketball. The most beautiful character to ever exist? Ulquiorra, as played by Namikawa Daisuke.
I’m also keep my eye out for the utterly adorable Kaji Yuuki (Shingeki no Kyojin – what more needs to be said?) and Hiro Shimono, who was possibly the cutest Nai-chan I could ever ask for! There were many hours spent ‘aww-ing’ and squealing over that little bundle of love. The colourful, bright and very unique Chihayafuru introduced me to Yoshimasa Hosoya whose Fukui accent was lurrrvely.
I keep waxing lyrical about the boys but let’s not forget those fantastic females! I think Maaya Sakamoto was a first favourite for me when she played Haruhi. There’s just something so sugary and soothing about her voice. Romi Park and Hanazawa Kana are also long-time favourites. And one other who hasn’t gotten too much publicity is Mamiko Noto who I feel really did justice to a sometimes monotonous show, Jigoku Shoujo.
I could go on and on and on about other voice actors but by then I’d probably be trying too hard and the other girls have already spoken in length about them… I think voice actors are just like movie actors; they have the ability to make or break a character – and sometimes an entire show – for me. Is it a deal breaker for a show? Hmm…sometimes?
Anime has been more than just voice acting, though; it has let me invest in some very beautiful and heartwarming stories (Natsume Yuujinchou, AnoHana, NANA,) bite my nails in anxiety for others (SnK – ohh, boy, don’t get me started), and laugh out loud with my friends for ages (Ixion Saga, Daily Lives of High School Boys).
I’ve been watching anime for…ten years now (whoa) and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. It’s fun, it’s like a good book that whisks you away, it’s something to look forward to everyday, for me. And it’s even better now that I actually get to share it with my friends and now here on Koekara as well!
If you’ve got this far, well done. I had more to say but at the risk of being superfluous, I’ll stop for now. I’ll save my words for shows and voice actors who really deserve it!