Fans of anime would certainly be familiar with the term ‘seiyuu‘ (声優), or ‘voice actor‘ in Japanese. Voice actors have been a prominent presence in the Japanese entertainment scene for as far back as since the 1960s and many actors and singers have, in fact, learnt the ropes of the industry from a career in voice acting, eventually earning their stripes as an established artiste. To some extent, it is considered a sign of prestige to attain great success as a seiyuu, and many seiyuus today have an illustrious history of prior stage experience, with some even graduating from institutions specifically set up to train aspiring voice actors.
In part due to the rise in prominence of Japanese entertainment culture – especially anime – across the world, the voice acting scene itself began to see increasingly qualified entrants with comparable musical talent to more mainstream artistes. An emerging but major sub-genre within the larger sphere of Japanese music is anisong (short for ‘anime song‘), which refers to songs composed and used as opening and ending themes to popular anime series that are often released subsequently by their artistes in their singles or albums in a personal capacity. While many anisong themes were initially created by mainstream music artistes themselves, as time progressed more voice actors began to double up as singers as well, some eventually debuting with their own professional music careers, and it is not uncommon to see many of these anisong tracks draw from broad sources of inspiration from other genres such as J-pop, J-rock or electronic music.
With many more seiyuus today having singing roles as well in the animes they star in, and just as many beginning to make that crossover into the music industry as well, ‘seiyuu-singers’ are becoming an emerging new phenomenon that will hardly go away anytime soon. We at J-Network recommend ten of such voice actors and actresses who have started their own music careers and whose music is of sufficiently impressive merit, originality and interest, giving a reason to more fans who may be seeking to listen to more seiyuu-singers’ works to listen to these musicians. These ten names we have picked are already fairly big acts in the voice acting and music industry in their own right, with some of them having their own music units or bands who have become household names.
In our list below, we present five notable female and five notable male seiyuu-singers that have stood the test of time and established themselves beyond their voice acting roles to have an equally prolific music career. The seiyuus are listed in no particular order of merit, and are alternated between the female and male artistes.
Mention anime and almost everyone would have certainly heard of Nana Mizuki before. Arguably the most prolific of the female seiyuu-singers with the title of “Queen of Anisong“, this talented and accomplished artiste has a whopping seven out of eleven albums and sixteen singles placing top 3 in the Oricon charts before. With over thirty singles released so far since her debut as a singer in 2000, Nana Mizuki has been releasing an average of one album, and two to three singles each year, and has performed in uniquely themed live concerts annually, all of which sell out in fully-packed venues within merely a few hours from their announcement. Her trademark performances are well-known for their visually stunning special effects, with Nana herself frequently “flying” across the venue whilst singing her vocally-intensive and powerful tracks.
Fewer people, however, may know that Nana Mizuki‘s real name is actually Nana Kondo (her sister is in fact Mika Kondo from DaisyxDaisy). Born in 1980 in Ehime, she was trained to sing the challenging traditional enka (演歌) genre since she was five, and since then she has continued to experiment with almost every music genre, be it rock, pop, dance, electro or even operatic forms. She began her voice acting career at the age of 18 and since then has become the most recognizable name amongst female seiyuus. Nana Mizuki has the rare honour of being the first voice actress to perform at Tokyo Dome, having concluded her second performance there just a few weeks ago and she has participated in the NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen for six consecutive years (60th to 65th). Anime fans would remember Nana for her many familiar and iconic character roles, amongst which include Fate Testarossa from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series, Tsubomi Hanasaki from HeartCatch Pretty Cure! and Katniss Everdeen in the Japanese language dub for The Hunger Games trilogy. Nana Mizuki has also performed solo concerts in Taiwan and Singapore over the past few years to sold-out shows in both countries. She is also a regular at the iconic Animelo Summer Live.
For the uninitiated, we recommend the following songs as an introduction to Nana Mizuki‘s discography:
– Innocent Starter, the titular track of her 10th single and the opening theme for Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha,
– Eternal Blaze, the titular track of her 12th single and the opening theme for Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s, considered by Oricon to be her breakthrough hit,
– Junketsu Paradox, the titular track of her 25th single and the ending theme for Blood-C,
– July 7 (7月7日), the final track of her eighth album Impact Exciter which actually was in fact released on the 7th of July,
– VIRGIN CODE, the first track of her second most recent album Supernal Liberty
Fans of Uta no Prince-sama would definitely recognise Kenichi Suzumura’s strong yet gentle voice. Known for his roles as Ryutaros in Kamen Rider Den-O, Atsushi Murasakibara in Kuroko’s Basketball and Sōgo Okita in Gintama, the Osaka-raised seiyuu-singer began his voice acting career in 1994, subsequently debuting as a solo singer in 2008 with his first single INTENTION. (He would eventually start his own talent agency by the same name of INTENTION, which also comprises popular seiyuu Takahiro Sakurai and Nao Toyama.) Suzumura has done a vast array of genres throughout his singing career, be it in his character songs and works under his own name. For his character songs, he has done hip-hop, enka, electronic party synth, heartfelt ballads and rock, a testament to his versatility as a singer.
Beyond his presence as a seiyuu, what is perhaps more significant are his accomplishments as a singer and musician. Born in 1974, Suzumura has performed both in many character songs and in his own songs alike in the duration of his music career thus far, and writes the lyrics to all his songs. He hosts the Original Entertainment Paradise (better known simply as OrePara) event every year with fellow seiyuu-singers in the same record label Showtaro Morikubo, Mitsuo Iwata and Daisuke Ono, and is also well-known as the character Masato Hijirikawa in the Uta no Prince-sama series, a visual novel and game franchise marketed towards a female audience which also stars other male seiyuus with notable singing ability. Alongside two other voice actors whom we have featured in this article as well, Kenichi Suzumura was ranked 3rd in a poll on male seiyuus with the best singing ability, after Mamoru Miyano and Kishou Taniyama. He will be releasing his twelth single later this year and already has three albums and one mini-album, but Suzumura is best known for his highly charismatic live performances which are arguably the best demonstration of the full extent of his vocal ability and his talent as a performer. Readers can refer to our reporters’ coverage of his two-day Manten Live 2015 concert (luna and sol). Suzumura has also performed overseas in Shanghai and Singapore as part of music festivals and in Taiwan for his own solo mini-concert and Anisong World Tour: Lantis Festival 2015. On the Japanese music festival side, he has performed for Animelo Summer Live twice in 2012 and 2013 and ANIMAX MUSIX in 2014.
For the uninitiated, we recommend the following songs as an introduction to Kenichi Suzumura‘s discography:
– CHRONICLE, the lead track of his 2nd album, Chronicle to the future
– Tsuki to Stove (月とストーブ), the titular track of his 6th single,
– Asunaro (あすなろ), the titular track of his 7th single and the ending theme to Heaven’s Memo Pad,
– Shiroi Karasu (シロイカラス), the titular track of his 9th single and the ending theme to Code:Breaker,
– Ao (蒼), the second track of his 9th single Shiroi Karasu
It is not rare for one to encounter male rock artistes in the music industry, but female rock singers are significantly harder to come across. Born in 1987, Eri Kitamura began her voice acting career in 2003, in turn starting her music career the following year in 2004. She is perhaps best known for playing Sayaka Miki in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, as well as other similarly iconic roles such as Saya Otonashi in Blood+ and Saya Takagi in Highschool of the Dead. (No one really knows why Kitamura has a history of performing characters with “saya” in their name.) The talented young singer has twelve singles and two albums to her name, with both of her studio albums placing in the top 10 of the Oricon chart rankings, and more recently, she formed the gothic pop-rock band ARTERY VEIN under the name VEIN together with Imami Asami as ARTERY in 2009, producing another five singles and one album of the same name as the band.
Eri Kitamura is perhaps best known amongst fans of her music for her symphonic rock and symphonic metal sound, a refreshing break from the usual genre and style adopted by most female artistes in Japan. Most recently, she has even experimented with steampunk in her 2012 album RE;STORY. She also lends her voice to the vocaloid CUL-REBIRTH, and does manga illustrations in her spare time as well. Fewer may know that Kitamura has her own clothing line, Ghost + Chest, designing apparel for both men and women alike with a goth-inspired black and white colour scheme. Kitamura has performed in Anime Festival Asia 2014 in Singapore, bringing her rock hits to the tropical city. She has also performed for Animelo Summer Live and ANIMAX MUSIX.
For the uninitiated, we recommend the following songs as an introduction to Eri Kitamura‘s discography:
– Before the Moment, the titular track of her debut single and the opening theme to Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Pure, where she played the character Seira,
– Tsuyogari (つよがり), the titular track of her 2nd single and the opening theme to the third season of Zatch Bell!,
– Guilty Future, the titular track of her 4th single and the first opening theme to Kodomo no Jikan (こどものじかん),
– RE;STORY, the titular track of her first studio album
– Rinrei (凛麗), the titular track of her 13th and latest single and the ending theme for Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons
The 1975-born seiyuu and singer is best known as the vocalist and lyricist for rock band GRANRODEO under the stylized stage name KISHOW, together with his guitarist and composer Masaaki Iizuka (better known as e-ZUKA), and confesses to prefer being a vocalist than a voice actor on his own website. The band, which first debuted in 2005, already has 24 singles and 6 albums to their name, with one collaboration with FLOW in the 2014 release “7 -seven-” as well. KISHOW‘s latest two albums Crack Star Flash and Karma to Labyrinth have placed 3rd on the Oricon charts before and he has produced anime soundtrack albums as well to various popular anime series including Togainu no Chi, Kuroko’s Basketball and Code:Breaker. The duo released their band’s commemorative album “DECADE OF GR” just last year to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his music career.
Having performed his own fair share of iconic anime character roles such as Tatsuya Himuro in Kuroko’s Basketball, Crow in Show by Rock!! and Ikki in Amnesia, KISHOW‘s music draws inspirations from other big names in heavy metal such as Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax, and his extensive discography showcases the signature hard rock and metal sound of GRANRODEO whilst popularizing many of his songs with the anime viewing crowd. KISHOW‘s own vocals are well-recognized as easily being the best amongst voice actors in Japan, with a poll on male seiyuus with the best singing ability ranking him in top place and music blog The Hand That Feeds according him that same honour. His impressive vocal range and technique, coupled with the sheer versatility in genre of songs he performs, is a clear sign of his superior ability as a singer and musician, with ballads and pop tracks sung alongside his more recognizeable rock and metal fare. KISHOW is also known for voicing Natsuki Shinomiya in the Uta no Prince-sama series alongside other prominent male seiyuu-singers featured in this article as well. While e-ZUKA may not be a seiyuu himself, he has contributed in no small part too in producing the signature music with the recognizable heavy guitar riffs we now associate with GRANRODEO alongside KISHOW himself. GRANRODEO has been performing at Animelo Summer Live and ANIMAX MUSIX on a near regular basis for years already and is most likely to continue doing the same in the years to come.
For the uninitiated, we recommend the following songs as an introduction to Kishou Taniyama‘s discography:
– ROSE HIP-BULLET, the titular track of his band’s 14th single and the opening theme to Togainu no Chi,
– Can Do, the titular track of his band’s 16th single and the first opening theme to Kuroko’s Basketball,
– RIMFIRE, the titular track of his band’s 17th single and the second opening theme to Kuroko’s Basketball,
– DARK SHAME, the titular track of his band’s 18th single and the opening theme to Code:Breaker,
– TRASH CANDY, the titular track of his band’s 24th single and the opening theme to Bungo Stray Dogs
Often nicknamed affectionately as “Ayahime“, Ayahi Takagaki is known for being a part of the four-member pop idol unit Sphere (スフィア), alongside fellow voice actresses Haruka Tomatsu, Minako Kotobuki and Aki Toyosaki. Born in Tokyo in 1985, she has voiced a wide variety of character roles of all sorts of archetypes, and is perhaps most known for her roles as Chris Yukine in Symphogear, Lisbeth/Rika Shinozaki in Sword Art Online and Erika Karisawa in Durarara!!. Having most recently released her 9th single “Rebirth-day” and her second studio album “individual” just last year in 2015, some may know that Ayahi Takagaki had actually graduated with a major in operatic singing from a music college, and her vocal prowess shows up in many of her songs, such as Life, Inori or Justice.
Standing at only 151cm in height, Ayahi Takagaki certainly has a much larger-than-life presence as an established artiste in the entertainment industry. She has some songs sung in English in her discography, a throwback to her experience in operatic training which requires students to attain some proficiency in the language. A fair number of her tracks have actually drawn significantly from traditional Japanese cultural and musical influences, incorporating shamisen (a Japanese string instrument) and shakuhachi (a Japanese flute) instrumentals in the openings to some of her songs as well alongside other songs with orchestral backings and other contemporary instrumentals. She is known for her many ballads and opera songs, a trademark of her signature music style, and has even experimented with gospel music at one point. Her discography comprises a mix of her own original tracks as well as covers of existing songs by other artistes. Amongst others, she has also included the title song The Sound of Music from the Oscar Hammerstein musical of the same name in her single Kaze ni Naru (風になる), a cover of Josh Groban‘s You Raise Me Up in her first single Kimi ga Iru Basho (君がいる場所), and the song Think of Me from The Phantom of the Opera musical in her fifth single Tsuki no Namida (月のなみだ), to name just a few in a series of English language songs incorporated as the third track of her single releases. Takagaki has also performed overseas with Sphere in Singapore for Anime Festival Asia 2012 and will be performing as a solo artiste in this year’s edition of Animelo Summer Live.
For the uninitiated, we recommend the following songs as an introduction to Ayahi Takagaki‘s discography:
– Meteor Light, the titular track of her 4th single and the ending theme to the first season of Senki Zesshō Symphogear,
– Tsuki no Namida (月のなみだ), the titular track of her 5th single and the opening theme to the otome game Jyuuzaengi ~Engetsu Sangokuden~ (十三支演義_〜偃月三国伝〜)
– Next Destination, the titular track of her 6th single and the ending theme to the second season of Senki Zesshō Symphogear,
– Yume no Tonari (夢のとなり), the 12th track in her first album “relation“,
– The tracks in her mini-albums “melodia” and “melodia 2“, which include songs such as Amazing Grace, Time to Say Goodbye, Que Sera Sera and All I Want For Christmas Is You.
If you’re looking for what is perhaps the ultimate pinnacle in musicianship in the Japanese seiyuu-singer scene, look no further than Showtaro Morikubo. A brief glimpse at his official website is enough to demonstrate his very wide range of musical talents as a lyricist, vocalist, composer, drummer and guitarist all rolled into one. His songs themselves are a reflection of this, with the unique and unconventional themes covered in them which promise to be just as thought-provoking as they are great to listen to casually.
While most of his releases are produced in a solo capacity across his extensive music career since his debut in 2001, Morikubo also has his own band, Mosquito-Milk, where he is both the lead vocalist and guitarist. He is known for his signature hard rock sound and dark themes featured in the three albums and twelve singles of his solo discography thus far. Morikubo is also remembered for his voice acting roles as Shikamaru Nara from Naruto, Kadaj from Final Fantasy VII and Yūsuke Makishima from Yowamushi Pedal. In addition, he is also a member of AN’s All Stars, a popular seiyuu unit, together with Hideo Ishikawa. Some of his songs even have rap segments in them, yet another one of Morikubo‘s many music talents. Morikubo also stars in Uta no Prince-sama as Kotobuki Reiji.
For the uninitiated, we recommend the following songs as an introduction to Showtaro Morikubo‘s discography:
– The Answer, the titular track of his debut single and one of the opening themes to the Rockman X6 game; easily Morikubo‘s most iconic song by far,
– begin the TRY, the titular track of his 2nd single and the second ending theme to the Rockman.EXE anime,
– Lazy Mind, the titular track of his 3rd single and the ending theme to the Rockman X7 game
– Moonlight, the second last track of his first studio album Zui (髄) and another of the opening themes to the Rockman X6 game,
– DoPaMiNe, the fourth track of his 2nd studio album Kyo (叫)
This name should be a familiar one to many fans around the world: Maaya Sakamoto has an illustrious career in the voice acting industry and has also performed the opening and ending themes to many popular and nostalgic anime that most of us would remember. Born in 1980 in Tokyo, the renowned singer-songwriter, composer, actress and voice actress took on her first voice acting role at the age of 13, and would subsequently break into the world of theatre with her debut role as Éponine in the Japanese version of Les Misérables. She also took on the lead role of Jerusha “Judy” Abott in the Japanese musical adaptation of Daddy-Long Legs. Most recently, she performed at the prestigious Saitama Super Arena indoor arena on the occasion of her 20th anniversary. Outside of entertainment, Maaya Sakamoto is also a published essayist and holds a degree in sociology from Toyo University.
She is most known for her roles as Shiki Ryōgi in Kara no Kyoukai, Haruhi Fujioka in Ouran High School Host Club (for which she was nominated for Best Leading Actress at the first Seiyuu Awards), and Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell Arise. While her personality marks a stark contrast from her husband, fellow prolific seiyuu-singer Kenichi Suzumura, the two share more in common than they might think: their music is known for their originality, authenticity and personal touch. Sakamoto is easily one of the most established names in contemporary Japanese music, having debuted with her first single in 1996 and her first album the following year in 1997. She has nine studio albums, three mini-albums and a whopping twenty-seven singles thus far, and her 2011 album “You can’t catch me” peaked at number 1 on the Oricon charts, making her yet another one of the seiyuu-singers to attain this honour. Of particular note, one of her albums is entirely composed and written by her, and is aptly titled “Singer-Songwriter“. Sakamoto has performed in various mainstream music events such as COUNTDOWN JAPAN and ROCK IN JAPAN FESTIVAL among others.
For the uninitiated, we recommend the following songs as an introduction to Maaya Sakamoto‘s discography:
– Universe, the second last track of her 2nd mini-album 30minutes night flight,
– Platinum, the titular track of her 6th single and the third opening theme and last episode ending theme to Cardcaptor Sakura,
– Hemisphere, the titular track of her 10th single and the opening theme of RahXephon,
– Ame ga Furu (雨が降る), the titular track of her 17th single and the ending theme to Linebarrels of Iron,
– Shikisai (色彩), the second track of her 26th and second most recent single and theme song of Fate/Grand Order
Miyu Irino may have been a relatively newer entrant to the music scene, having debuted solo in 2009, but he is certainly no stranger to the entertainment industry. The talented artiste became a stage actor at the tender age of four years old with Himawari Theatre Group, and found his first voice-acting role just three years later at the age of seven. Irino is best known for voicing Sora, the main protagonist in the Kingdom Hearts video game series, Haku from the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away, and Syaoran from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. Beyond anime character roles, he has also acted as Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables and starred in the 2015 run of the Japanese version of the Titanic musical, amongst some of his many roles in theatrical productions. What’s more, Miyu Irino has a flair for dance as well, adding to his work in ballads, pop-rock, bright pop, jazz, electro and even rap; what’s not to like about this multitalented performer?
Despite the young age in which he entered the entertainment industry, it would however be unwise to write all that early accomplishments off as merely symptomatic of him being a “child prodigy”, for Irino has proven to have outlived that reputation and developed a prolific career in acting, voice acting, and music alike. Within his record label Kiramune, which comprises of other popular artistes such as Daisuke Namikawa, Tetsuya Kakihara, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Nobuhiko Okamoto and Hiroshi Kamiya, Irino himself is often considered the best singer by far within the group in terms of vocal ability and technique. He would eventually form a duo in 2010 with seiyuu Hiroshi Kamiya under the unit name “KAmiYU“, allowing him to showcase his singing in a collaborative setting as well. To date, he has released one album, five mini-albums and two singles, and his 2014 release “E=mc²” has seen critical acclaim that considers the work to be “Miyu Irino at his best”. Not unlike fellow seiyuu-singer Kenichi Suzumura, Miyu Irino has a similar penchant for experimenting widely in his music style and works, and the young singer is already featured in many lists ranking Japan’s voice actors with the best singing voice alongside other more established names in the music scene. He is also considered to be one of the most versatile voice actors, playing roles ranging from the darker ones to more light-hearted ones. Perhaps, one could say this is a tribute to his given name “Miyu” (自由), which happens to mean “freedom“. Irino has performed for LisAni and also performs for Kiramune Festival (KiraFes) annually as well.
For the uninitiated, we recommend the following songs as an introduction to Miyu Irino‘s discography:
– Zero, the second track of his 2nd mini-album Advance,
– cocoro, the titular and final track of his 3rd mini-album,
– Asayake (朝焼け), the first track of his latest single Uso to Mirai to,
– Soredemo Nao (それでもなお), the third track of his 4th mini-album E=mc²,
– Tsuki to Boku no Kyori (月と僕の距離), the second last track of his 5th and most recent mini-album Boku no Mitsuketa Mono (僕の見つけたもの)
Best known as the lead vocalist of fripSide, a duo specializing in synthpop and trance, Nanjou Yoshino is a familiar name for many in particular due to her roles as Eli Ayase in the fictional idol group μ’s (pronounced “muse“) from the Love Live! The School Idol Project franchise, Rekka in Cardfight!! Vanguard and Maria Ōsawa in CANAAN. Fans of Love Live! will surely remember her decision to continue to perform in the recent Love Live! μ’s Final LoveLive!～μ’sic Forever～ on the 31st of March and the 1st of April earlier this year at Tokyo Dome despite a knee injury, which won the admiration of many including non-Love Live! fans alike for her courage and determination.
Affectionately known as “Nanjolno“, Yoshino is known for more than being the artiste with the best vocal ability within μ’s, and has been more than able to carve out a space for herself in the music industry. She has one album, one mini-album and four singles to her name as a solo artiste and was featured in the Senki Zesshō Symphogear original soundtrack albums, with her latest album N no Hako (Nのハコ, literally “N’s Box“) to be released on the 13th of July, 2016, later this year and her latest single Zero Ichi Kiseki (ゼロイチキセキ, literally “Zero One Miracle“) to be released next month on the 25th of May, 2016. She is the lead vocalist of fripSide which has released three albums, eleven singles and four independent (“indie“) singles under the band’s name. Her music style is remarkably unique in comparison to many popular artistes in the industry, and her vocals are well-recognized with a CHARAPEDIA poll putting her in third place alongside other prominent female seiyuu-singers. Yoshino has performed for ANIMAX MUSIX and Animelo Summer Live both as herself and as a member of fripSide. Her performances with fripSide have also been taken overseas to Anime Festival Asia at Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
For the uninitiated, we recommend the following songs as an introduction to Nanjou Yoshino‘s discography:
– only my railgun, the titular track of her first single as the vocalist of fripSide and the opening theme to A Certain Scientific Railgun,
– Heaven is a Place on Earth, the titular track of her 3rd fripSide single and the opening theme to Hayate the Combat Butler,
– sister’s noise, the titular track of her 6th fripSide single and the opening theme to A Certain Scientific Railgun S,
– Decade, the titular track of her 3rd fripSide album,
– Fortissimo – The Ultimate Crisis, the 3rd track of her 3rd fripSide album “Decade” and the theme song of Fortissimo//Akkord:Bsusvier
Standing at an unusually tall height of 1.82 metres, Mamoru Miyano’s presence in the entertainment industry arguably matches his physical profile. Miyano is easily considered to be amongst the most prominent of male seiyuus with as much as eleven character roles in some years and a total of more than a hundred castings so far. Amongst his most well-known roles include Light Yagami from Death Note, Setsuna F. Seiei from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Tamaki Suoh from Ouran High School Host Club. After 17 years as a voice actor with a series of awards under his belt, Mamoru Miyano debuted as a singer in 2007 and would later become just as recognizable in the music industry as he is as a seiyuu.
Born in 1983 in Saitama, Miyano has released fourteen singles with his 15th and latest one titled, “SHOUT!”, to be released on the 11th of May 2016, and five albums of which three of them have placed within the top 10 in the Oricon charts. His first appearance on NHK’s Music Japan in 2013 would establish him as a seiyuu-singer comparable in musical calibre to other mainstream acts, and Miyano holds the additional record of being the first male seiyuu to perform solo at the prestigious Nippon Budōkan and Yokohama Arena. While many songs in his discography remain within the pop genre, Mamoru Miyano has demonstrated a flair in singing other genres as well. His duet with the equally prolific Kenichi Suzumura in the song “Original Resonance” within the Uta no Prince-sama series marked one of the few instances of Miyano venturing outside of pop to experiment with a new sound, and showcases the full potential of his powerful vocals. Mamoru Miyano is also no stranger to non-anime viewers: he was voted as the most well-known male seiyuu alongside Kenichi Suzumura in a survey with 23,338 participants in Japan from the general population. His vocal prowess itself is well-documented, with his name often showing up in the top three positions in polls and lists on voice actors with the best singing ability both in Japan and outside of Japan. Miyano, as the quintessential and iconic male seiyuu-singer, has performed annually in Animelo Summer Live and even did a duet with his fellow label-mate Nana Mizuki for an awesome duet of Scarlet Knight and Orpheus.
For the uninitiated, we recommend the following songs as an introduction to Mamoru Miyano‘s discography:
– Refrain, the titular track of his 5th single and the “POWER PLAY” song for “MUSIC FIGHTER” (音楽戦士),
– Orpheus, the titular track of his 7th single and the opening theme to Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 1000%,
– NEW ORDER, the titular track of his 11th single and the opening theme to the second season of Wooser’s Hand-to-Mouth Life,
– Break it, the titular track of his 12th single and the opening theme to Cardfight!! Vanguard G,
– HOW CLOSE YOU ARE, the titular track of his 14th and most recent single and the ending theme to Ajin: Demi-Human
It does not stop at these ten. We at J-Network hope that more people will consider listening to the many artistes in the Japanese music industry, including those who may not be anime fans at all. In demonstrating that seiyuus, who are traditionally more associated with their characters than with their music, are becoming very much a force to reckon with in the mainstream music scene. We look forward to seeing a bigger place for anisong seiyuus in the greater setting of contemporary Japanese music that will add more unique and innovative value to Japanese entertainment culture and the music of the world as well.
Article written by grayingmantis and Astrid.
Information in the article was sourced from the following pages:
Oricon website acknowledging Eternal Blaze as Nana Mizuki’s breakthrough hit;
A survey in Japan with 23,338 participants on the most well-known male seiyuus;
A poll in 2011 on male seiyuus with the best singing ability;
Official website of ARTERY VEIN, GRANRODEO, and Showtaro Morikubo, Yoshino Nanjou and official Facebook page of Kitamura Eri,
Various sources from JpopAsia, MyAnimeList, Generasia, CHARAPEDIA and The Hand That Feeds.