The 15 Best Seiyuu Singers AroundJune 5, 2008 at 11:24 pm | Posted in Music, Seiyuu, _random rants | 8 Comments
…according to the great Yoruko-sama. XD
Ever since j1m0ne made a “My Top 10 Seiyuu Singers” post, I’ve wanted to make one as well but never got around to doing it. But here it is, the perfect way to break my blogging slump. Finally, after a bit of head-scratching and weighing the merits of various seiyuu, I came up with this simple little criteria:
1. Singing voice counts most. I cannot stress this enough. I do take song quality into consideration, but that depends on the abilities of the composer and lyricist, and not the seiyuu.
2. Must be active as a seiyuu…tarento who do occasional voice work don’t count (so Shoko-tan is out). Neither do retired seiyuu.
Anyhow, I’m not going to give away any names in the tags so…read away!
*Note: Yes, I know my entire list is female and that is not attributed to sexism. I’ve just never really been into male seiyuus’ songs, since many are just good at character songs. I do like Miyano Mamoru and Taniyama Kishou and a few others, but not enough for them to make my Top 15.
I left the names of songs I like by these seiyuu – if you have trouble finding any of them via YouTube/streaming sites, you can request a download link from me.
Also, for this Top 15 list, I will be going in order of preference.
1. Mizuki Nana
It all started back in 2004 with Hinata (Naruto) and Aria (Sister Princess). Intrigued by her shy-girl voice roles, I looked up some of her songs, and boy was I in for a surprise – such a strong, husky voice coming from such a petite frame! With Nana’s unique tone, trademark vibrato, and vocal versatility…you can say the rest of it has been LOVE & HISTORY.
Favorite songs: Innocent Starter and Secret Ambition have never grown old. Throw in Zankou no Gaia, ETERNAL BLAZE, and Futari no Memory for more variety.
2. Sakamoto Maaya
My first exposure to her work was the anime classic Purachina (one of the Card Captor Sakura OPs). I was actually very surprised to learn that she was originally a seiyuu. Though her Haruhi (Ouran) is what comes to mind first when her name is mentioned, it’s her notable clarity (and delicate sweetness with underlying strength) in her singing voice that truly made me her fan.
Favorite songs: I’m currently addicted to Triangler, but I think Yubiwa and Hemisphere are better ones to start off with. So are Loop, Kazemachi Jet, and Saigo no Kajitsu.
3. Inoue Marina
I’ll always remember her for her debut as Cosette (Le Portrait de Petite Cosette). Like Sakamoto Maaya, I think Inoue’s true strength is in her singing. She’s only put out 3 non-chara singles so far, but they’ve all been of varying styles – dark/moody to typical J-Pop to cute techno-pop à la Perfume. Inoue’s voice is pretty versatile too, and it’s very soothing.
Favorite songs: I’d say go with her J-Pop stuff. Her charasongs have been okay, but her OP/ED themes are far better. Let’s see…give Houseki, energy, and Beautiful Story all a listen.
4. Hayashibara Megumi
Hayashibara-sama was the seiyuu of the ’80’s and ’90’s. While her popularity may have died down a lot, she still gets a lot of love. I loved her portrayal of Anna (Shaman King) and the catchy SK theme songs are still rotated widely on my media player. She has a thin and liquid singing voice that can cover the span from ballads to shouty pop songs.
Favorite songs: I’m actually going to go with her less famous ones (no Evangelion here) and pick Trust You and Northern Lights. A Happy Life is good too, for her…well, happier side.
5. Tanaka Rie
Yet another seiyuu legend. She may be known mainly as Lacus Clyne, but I liked her Suigintou most. That aside, she (along with Nana) got me started on J-Pop, and even though I couldn’t sit through more than 7 eps of Gundam Seed, I loved all of her songs for the series. Rie’s singing errs on the softer, gentler side, but that doesn’t stop her from doing a good job with upbeat songs.
Favorite songs: I hear you everywhere was the very first Rie song I heard. Check out EMOTION, Fields of Hope, and Katakoto no Koi (duet w/ Sugita Tomakazu) too.
6. Nakajima Megumi
Out of the two newbie seiyuu I’m tracking this season (Omigawa Chiaki and Nakajima Megumi) I believe Nakajima is stronger. Cast as Ranka (Macross Frontier), while her acting is pretty solid, her singing voice is what impressed me the most. Nakajima has a very honest and unembellished voice. Fanboys will prefer her more moe side, but I think she’s more suited for slow songs.
Favorite songs: She hasn’t done much besides the Macross songs, but Aimo is a beautiful ballad. Oh, and her Watashi no Kare wa Pilot trumps Iijima Mari’s original in the older Macross’s.
7. Chihara Minori
While many of her fans out there are simply an anti-Hirano faction, I consider myself a genuine fan, albeit a new one. She piqued my interest when I heard her as Nagato Yuki, and surprised me with her singing. Minorin’s got a bouncy (don’t know how else to describe it) and energetic singing voice that you’ll either love or hate, and I guess it was instantly the former for me.
Favorite songs: Her CONTACT album as a whole was wonderful, but Junpaku Sanctuary stood out the most. Also, her rendition of Hare Hare Yukai is every bit as good as Hirano’s.
8. Hirano Aya
Aya’s upcoming first album is titled Riot Girl, but any l33t seiyuu fan should know she’s already causing a riot. I have mixed feelings about her; she IS talented, but she is also a bit overrated. Her unique singing voice is like molasses candy – syrupy on the inside, coated with a hard sweet edge. A good singer compared with most seiyuu, but still a bit weak against actual singers.
Favorite songs: Stick with her Suzumiya Haruhi stuff (God knows… and Bouken Desho Desho?). If you want to try her J-Pop songs, the best bet would be Neophilia.
9. Nanri Yuuka
Nanri’s been on the J-Pop scene for so long that I forgot she was actually a seiyuu! Though my obsession with FictionJunction YUUKA has faded somewhat, I still enjoy Nanri’s distinct bubbly voice and mourn for the split of tiaraway. I love Nanri to pieces, and the only reason she’s not higher on this list is because of criteria #2 – lack of substantial and recent roles.
Favorite songs: You can’t go wrong with Honoo no Tobira and Akatsuki no Kuruma, but if you want to try something a little less well-known, romanesque has a nice flamenco flair to it.
10. Horie Yui
Horie Yui’s got pretty much the same voice all the time in both singing and voice acting but it’s that trademark cute voice that makes her so popular. Her singing voice is sweet in a fluffy way – it sort of reminds me cotton candy. Her voice quality does sound like she can go off pitch easily, but 90% of the time she’s spot on, and listening to her songs never fails to cheer me up after a particularly gloomy day.
Favorite songs: I started off with her Sister Princess hits Love Destiny and Tsubasa, and Be For You, Be For Me from Love Hina, but I also love Mushroom March and Hikari.
11. Tamura Yukari
Tamura’s the queen of sweetness and cutesiness, and the second seiyuu ever I obsessed over. I went through a phase freshman year where I couldn’t stop listening to her songs. Tamura’s voice is different from Horie’s – it’s sharper, and more like hard fruit candy. Her lower range is fantastically spooky too, both in singing and voice acting (Furude Rika for the win!).
Favorite songs: Definitely Koiseyo Onna no Ko, Douwa Meikyuu, and Hoshizora no Spica. Try SAGA ~Rinne no Hate ni~ for her lower range and nice voice acting snippets.
12. Makino Yui
Some blogger may have likened her to a leaking helium balloon, but I find her voice endearing. She sounds more like a water nymph to me, because of the watery quality and fresh youthfulness her voice possesses. And while this has nothing to do with her voice, she can play the piano really well – I always have respect for seiyuu who are musicians as well as vocalists.
Favorite songs: Undine, Jasmine, and Amrita are all good. you are my love was a simple yet emotional piano ballad. synchronicity was a not-so-typical Makino song, but I liked it.
13. Paku Romi
I think I’ve referenced Ed Elric so many times whenever I’ve brought up her name that my own head is going to explode. There’s no doubt she’s a talented seiyuu, but I didn’t expect her to be a decent singer as well. I’m a sucker for female seiyuu who can pull off male voices even when singing. I almost picked Saiga Mitsuki, but Paku has a smoother voice and better pitch.
Favorite songs: Naked Flower had a great arrangement and was a good step into the J-Pop realm for her. Asu e no Basho (one of her Ed Elric songs) is probably the one I listen to most.
14. Kobayashi Sanae
I didn’t really give her much of a second glance when I stumbled upon her two years ago, but after hearing Allen Walker (D.Gray-man), I’ve been looking out for her roles more. Singing-wise, Kobayashi has a voice that’s both clear and fuzzy; it’s a bit raw and she’s better at character songs, but there’s a lot of untapped potential. Give her voice lessons, and she could go far.
Favorite songs: Ankoku no Tsubasa and Kira are her best character songs, and Eien no Inori wo Sasagete shows off her vocal ability; she almost sounds a bit like Sakamoto Maaya.
15. Kuribayashi Minami
And last, but not least…Kuribayashi Minami. She’s the main exception to my “active seiyuu” role, since I don’t think she’s done much in general. I haven’t been following her as avidly as I have in the past, and while her songs have mainly been hit or miss, I still love her singing voice – it’s mainly a typical pop voice without anything notable, but hey, she’s good at what she does.
Favorite songs: As cheesy as Dream Wing was, it was one of the first anime songs I’ve heard, so it has nostalgic value. Crystal Energy is probably one of her best to date.