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Megumi Ogata Comments on Seiyū Awards Win: Voice Acting World Needs To Be More "Gender-free"

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Veteran voice actor of Shinji Ikari questioned the need for separating award categories by gender

On Saturday, voice actress Megumi Ogata won the "Best Lead Actress Award" for the 16th Annual Seiyū Awards. The award is given to the best leading performances from an actress during the year. In her acceptance speech, Ogata called for the voice acting world to become more "gender-free," saying that the time has passed for voice acting to be separated by gender.

She remarked that she was surprised to receive a "best actress" award this year, not only because of her age and the number of younger talent doing excellent work, but also because around 70% of her roles are young boys. "I have never really thought of myself as actress, per se," she said. "These days, we live in what's called a gender-free society, and in the voice actor world there are people who have come out [as LGBTQ+]. There are also many people, like me, who hardly think of themselves as 'women' at all as they live their daily lives."

She went on to say that "gender-free" could be considered the essence of voice acting because the performers, unlike live-action actors, don't share their faces when voicing their characters. She suggested that next year's awards do away with separate categories for gender. Nevertheless, despite having considered turning down the award, she decided to accept it as a way of affirming that lead voice roles for women don't need to be constrained by age.

"I think that accepting the award will have significance within this industry, so I have decided to accept it sincerely. I am sorry for being pompous. I really am very happy." She added that it made her even happier to hear that Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time won the "Synergy Award" for works that best show the talent of voice actors as a whole. "It was a uniquely rigorous environment in this industry. I am so happy to receive this award along with everyone who has worked on it for these past 26 years. Congratulations, and thank you."

Ogata made her debut as Kurama in Yū Yū Hakusho, and went on to play a variety of both male and female roles, including Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion) and Haruka Tenou/Sailor Uranus (Sailor Moon series). She has also provided the voices for ADA (Ingress), Tsubaki (Konohana Kitan), Yukito Tsukishiro/Yue (Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card), and Yūta Okkotsu in Gekijō-ban Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (Jujutsu Kaisen 0 the Movie).

Source: Nikkan Sports via Livedoor News

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