Experience anime on a deeper level by recognizing the talent behind the character voices. This article celebrates 10 most popular anime voice actors and actresses from the seasoned male veterans to rising female stars.
Anime has become a globally popular content form, with numerous factors contributing to its charm. There are many points of interest, such as story, characters, backgrounds, music, and its integration with reality, but one point many anime fans focus on is the presence of voice actors/actresses who provide the characters’ voices.
The impression of a character significantly changes with the voice. Many people around the world watch anime with subtitles accompanying the original Japanese voice acting. Anime voice actors, called Seiyu (声優) in Japanese, are attracting a lot of attention right now, and some even perform live shows. There are not a few fans who choose which anime to watch based on their favorite voice actors.
Here, I will introduce the most popular Japanese voice actors, both male and female. It’s also fun to be surprised when characters from different anime are voiced by the same actor. Let’s check out the best anime voice actors and the characters they play. By paying attention to anime voice actors, you can enjoy anime even more deeply.
1. Kana Hanazawa
Kana Hanazawa (花澤香菜) is one of the most popular and best female anime voice actors of all time, boasting considerable fame not only domestically but also internationally, particularly across Asia. Having started her entertainment career as a child actress, Hanazawa made her anime voice acting debut at the tender age of 14 in a television anime series aired in 2003.
In 2012, she also ventured into singing and has since performed several theme songs for the anime series she starred in. Picking the best character from the plethora of roles Hanazawa has taken on is a challenge and varies greatly among fans.
Recently, she is recognized for her portrayals of Mitsuri Kanroji in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Ichika Nakano in The Quintessential Quintuplets, and Rika Orimoto in Jujutsu Kaisen 0. Other iconic roles include Akane Tsunemori in Psycho-Pass, Kanade Tachibana/Angel in Angel Beats!, Mayuri Shiina in Steins;Gate, and Nadeko Sengoku in Monogatari Series. She is also a voice actor for the heroine Yukari Yukino in Makoto Shinkai’s film The Garden of Words, so she has a wide range of acting skills.
Kana Hanazawa is undeniably one of the most globally recognized female anime voice actresses. Her voice is distinctive; you instantly know it’s her, regardless of the character. No one is better at voicing cute characters such as Nadeko Sengoku from Monogatari Series. Intriguingly, her voice also perfectly suits characters with roles contrary to cuteness, like the swordsman Mitsuri Kanroji in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. In 2020, she made headlines with the announcement of her marriage to fellow voice actor Kensho Ono.
▽Check more characters voiced by Kana Hanazawa!▽
In this article (10 Most Popular Anime Voice Actors and Actresses), I've talked about the rising popularity of anime voi[…]
2. Natsuki Hanae
Natsuki Hanae (花江夏樹) is one of the most popular male anime voice actors of the past decade. He made a significant breakthrough by voicing the protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado, in the massive hit series, “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.” Making his voice acting debut in 2011, Hanae is associated with the talent agency Across Entertainment.
Apart from Tanjiro, Hanae is known for his versatility and talent in bringing a wide range of characters to life. His notable performances include Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul, 9S (YoRHa No.9 Type S) in Nier: Automata Ver1.1a, Shinpei Ajiro in Summertime Rendering, Masamune Makabe in Masamune-kun’s Revenge, and Elan Ceres in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury. His remarkable contributions to the anime industry continue to leave a lasting impact, further solidifying his position as a top voice actor.
Regardless of what anyone says, Natsuki Hanae has been the most popular male voice actor in the past decade. While his role as Tanjiro Kamado in the explosive hit Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is undeniably his most memorable, he has also skillfully played characters with completely different personalities, such as Shinpei Ajiro in Summertime Rendering and Makabe Masamune in Masamune-kun’s Revenge. Beyond main characters, he also excels in voicing distinctive supporting roles, like the Shark Fiend/Beam in Chainsaw Man.
3. Rie Takahashi
Rie Takahashi (高橋李依) is a notable female voice actor who emerged in the 2010s, represented by the 81 Produce agency. She is acclaimed for her unique expression, which has both a rare ability to take on any color and an unwavering sense of transparency, enabling her to continue thriving in various fields.
In addition, she has given life to a variety of characters, including the title character in Teasing Master Takagi-san, Emilia in Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, Ena Saito in Laid-Back Camp, Sumi Sakurasawa in Rent-A-Girlfriend, Mash Kyrielight in Fate/Grand Order, and Mirai Asahina/Cure Miracle in Witchy PreCure!.
One interesting anecdote about Takahashi is her role as Megumin in KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! where she herself devised the chants for her character’s explosion magic, a testament to her self-proclaimed “chuunibyou” tendencies. Takahashi’s work continues to captivate audiences, and her blossoming career in the 2020s is highly anticipated.
Rie Takahashi is my personal favorite female voice actor in the current anime scene. Characters full of innocence, like Takagi-san from Teasing Master Takagi-san and Emilia from Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-, perfectly match her unique personality. Not only in slice-of-life anime like Ena Saito in Laid-Back Camp and Sumi Sakurasawa in Rent-a-Girlfriend, but she also delivers stunning performances in fantasy settings, such as in Fate/Grand Order and Witchy PreCure!.
4. Hiroshi Kamiya
Hiroshi Kamiya (神谷浩史) stands as one of the most distinguished male anime voice actors of the 21st century. Affiliated with the veteran voice acting agency Aoni Production, he made his debut in 1994 and has since carved a significant mark in the industry.
Kamiya’s extensive and celebrated career is dotted with numerous accolades, including wins at The Seiyu Awards, testifying to his exceptional talent and versatility. He is widely recognized for voicing several popular main characters in renowned series, such as Levi Ackerman in Attack on Titan, and Koyomi Araragi in Monogari Series.
Other memorable roles include Trafalgar Law in One Piece, Takashi Natsume in Natsume’s Book of Friends, Kusuo Saiki in The Disastrous Life of Saiki K., and Seijuro Akashi in Kuroko’s Basketball. Through a wide range of characters, Kamiya demonstrates his ability to master both dramatic and comedic tones, showcasing his unique voice’s depth and flexibility. His contributions to anime voice acting continue to be celebrated, underscoring his reputation as one of the industry’s leading talents.
Hiroshi Kamiya is a living legend and a symbol of modern male voice actors. His coolness stands out when he plays characters like Levi in Attack on Titan and Trafalgar Law in One Piece. Even though these characters aren’t the protagonists, they hold pivotal roles in their stories. He is also adept at infusing humor into his performances, as demonstrated by his role as Koyomi Araragi, the protagonist in Monogatari Series.
5. Inori Minase
The next spotlight in this article goes to the incredibly talented Inori Minase (水瀬いのり), a prominent voice actress affiliated with the talent agency Axlone. She made a sensational debut in 2010, winning the Grand Prix at an audition hosted by Sony Music Artists, and has maintained her momentum throughout the 2010s and beyond. However, Minase’s talents are not confined to anime voice acting alone. She has also demonstrated her abilities in multiple fields, including acting in drama series and singing.
Her rise to popularity in the anime voice acting world can be attributed to her stellar performances in major roles in popular series. Her role as Chino in Is the Order a Rabbit? in 2014 and as Rem in Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World in 2016, garnered her a lot of recognition and a Voice Acting Award.
Other notable characters brought to life by Minase’s compelling voice include Itsuki Nakano from The Quintessential Quintuplets, Shoko Makinohara from Rascal Does Not Dream Series (Aobuta Series), Mari Tamaki from A Place Further than the Universe, Hestia from Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, and Jun Naruse from The Anthem of the Heart. Each of these roles testifies to her dynamic range and consistent dedication to her craft.
Inori Minase is a versatile female voice actress, capable of portraying both adorable and more mature characters. Her voice as Rem in Re:Zero is so iconic that it is hard to imagine anyone else in the role. She skillfully differentiates her performance from reserved characters with emotional depth, like Jun Naruse from The Anthem of the Heart, to lively ones, like Hestia from Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?. Her ability to switch between such contrasting voices is truly impressive.
6. Tomokazu Sugita
As I continue my list of the best anime voice actors and actresses, I turn to the illustrious Tomokazu Sugita (杉田智和), who stands as one of the most seasoned voice actors in the current anime scene. Notably, Sugita is the President and Representative Director of his own voice acting agency, AGRS.
Sugita debuted as a television anime voice actor in 1999, marking a career that has spanned over two decades. His commendable work was recognized in 2009 when he won the Best Supporting Actor award at the 3rd Seiyu Awards.
Sugita’s fame skyrocketed in 2006 with his participation in two popular series that began broadcasting that year: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Gintama. In the former, he voiced Kyon, the narrative-driven protagonist, and in the latter, he provided the voice for the main character, Gintoki Sakata.
His exceptional talent as a narrator was once again put to the forefront in 2021 with his role in Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation. Beyond these, his unmistakable voice has become an integral part of popular series like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure where he voiced Joseph Joestar, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba as the voice of Gyomei Himejima, and One Piece in which he portrays Charlotte Katakuri.
Tomokazu Sugita brings a unique blend of dandy and deep tones to anime, laced with a touch of humor. His role as the narrator in Mushoku Tensei is unforgettable, evoking memories of his character Kyon in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
7. Saori Hayami
Continuing with my lineup of the best anime voice actors and actresses, I highlight Saori Hayami (早見沙織). She started her journey in the voice acting industry in 2006 while she was still a student, joining the talent agency I’m Enterprise.
From her debut, Hayami has been involved in numerous theme songs and character songs, showcasing her versatility as a singer. Her exceptional performances led her to win the Best Supporting Actress award at the 10th Seiyu Awards in 2016. Hayami is known for her calm and clear voice that lends a unique charm to her characters. Recently, she has taken on main roles in globally popular series, such as Shinobu Kocho in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and Yor Forger in Spy x Family.
Hayami’s wide range of roles includes several main heroines: Yukino Yukinoshita in My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected, Shoko Nishimiya in A Silent Voice, Yumeko Jabami in Kakegurui, Miho Azuki in Bakuman, and Yotsugi Ononoki in Monogatari Series. These performances underline Hayami’s talents and position her as an integral figure in the anime industry.
Saori Hayami’s talent is not restricted to a certain type of role. She has performed as a range of characters from young girls to high school teens and adult women, depicting a broad emotional range from quiet to exuberant personalities. While she often voices ethereal characters like the spirit in Sekirei and the fairy in Witchy PreCure!, she equally excels in playing androgynous characters, such as Yotsugi Ononoki in Monogatari Series. This range is a testament to her versatile acting skills.
8. Shoya Chiba
Shoya Chiba (千葉翔也) has emerged as one of the fastest-growing male voice actors in recent years, showcasing his remarkable talent in a diverse array of roles. Represented by the talent agency Toy’s Factory, he got his start in popular series like Seraph of the End and Haikyuu!! around 2015, although they are supporting roles.
His big break came when he was cast as Kiyotaka Ayanokoji, the protagonist in Classroom of the Elite in 2017. His streak of memorable performances continued in 2021 when he played the cool-headed Shinei Nouzen/Undertaker in 86-Eighty Six.
Chiba particularly excels in portraying ordinary boys in slice-of-life series, demonstrated by his performances as Yuito Aoi in Iroduku: The World in Colors and Kotaro Azumi in “Tsuki ga Kirei”. These roles reveal his ability to breathe life into characters with a down-to-earth charm and relatability.
While Chiba has already made his mark in recent popular series like Classroom of the Elite and 86-Eighty Six, his momentum is only growing with an increasing number of performances each year. He is definitely one of the voice actors to watch, as his future in the industry looks extremely promising.
9. Akari Kito
Akari Kito (鬼頭明里) is a shining hope among the next generation of female anime voice actors. Affiliated with Racoon Dog, she made her debut in 2014 with the role of Aika Maki in Invaders of the Rokujouma!?.
Her fame skyrocketed when she portrayed Nezuko, the sister of the protagonist Tanjiro in the hit series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba that started in 2019. Additionally, she also debuted as a singer in the same year. In 2021, she won the Best Supporting Actress award at the 15th Seiyu Awards.
Notable roles include Suzune Horikita in Classroom of the Elite, Kanata Konoe in Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, Adachi in Adachi and Shimamura, Kotoko Iwanaga in In/Spectre, Seiun Sky in Uma Musume Pretty Derby, and Kate in Shadow House.
In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Akari Kito masterfully portrays Nezuko, a challenging role with almost no dialogue. Her rendition of Nezuko has surely drawn many fans to the series. Looking forward, I anticipate her continued exploration and portrayal of diverse characters in the anime industry.
10. Yuki Kaji
As indisputably one of the best male anime voice actors in the field, I highlight Yuki Kaji (梶裕貴). Affiliated with VIMS talent agency, Kaji made his television anime debut in 2006 with Twin Princess of Wonder Planet, and gained his first lead role as Mikoto Shinozaki in Over Drive the following year.
In 2009, Kaji won the Best New Actor Award at the 3rd Seiyu Awards, followed by many more accolades, including the Best Leading Actor Award at the 8th Seiyu Awards in 2014 and the Anime Grand Prix Voice Actor category at the 36th Animage Awards. A personal highlight in 2019 was his marriage to Ayana Taketatsu, famous for her roles as Azusa Nakano in the K-On! series and Kirino Kosaka in Oreimo.
Undeniably, Kaji’s most iconic role is as Eren Yeager, the protagonist of Attack on Titan. Further showcasing his versatility, he performed two roles in the series The Seven Deadly Sins that began in 2014, playing both the protagonist Meliodas and his brother Zeldris.
Other memorable performances include Shoto Todoroki in My Hero Academia, Osamu Mikumo in World Trigger, Alibaba Saluja in Magi, Kenma Kozume in Haikyu!!, Nishikata in Teasing Master Takagi-san, and Sabito in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Kaji’s exceptional range and talent continue to impress, securing his spot as one of the best in the industry.
While Kaji Yuki is undeniably best known recently for his transformative role as Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan, his talent expands far beyond this iconic character. He also displayed his versatility by playing a significant supporting role as a police officer in Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering with You. Even in non-leading roles, Kaji’s performances prove pivotal and leave a lasting impact, further attesting to his exceptional talent and range as a voice actor.
To enjoy the world of anime more deeply, let’s pay attention to the characters and voice actors and actresses!
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