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6 Most In-Demand Japanese Voice Actresses of 2015

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Last year we counted the most in demand English voice actors and actresses after Nikkei Entertainment published a similar list for the Japanese voice acting industry. We're keeping up the tradition by stepping into Nikkei Entertainment's shoes, and also factoring in films and direct-to-video anime on top of the shows that premiered this year.

The rules are pretty simple. I utilized Anime News Network's encyclopedia to tally primary and secondary roles in every anime that premiered this year to see which voice actresses were the most popular. Long-running shows were not included and the same role for shows that aired in multiple cours were only counted once. For instance, the cast of Durarara got a single vote instead of individual tallies for Durarara!!×2 Shō and Durarara!! ×2 The Second Arc.

Last year Miyuki Sawashiro dominated with 20 roles followed by Kana Hanazawa with 17. Let's see what the standing is this year.

4. Kana Hanazawa Well, right out the gate there's an upset. This wasn't a bad year for Hanazawa, in fact her number is the same as last year with 17 roles. She starred as the angel Ezekiel who comes to question the methods of Heaven in Maria the Virgin Witch and returned to voice the unpredictable Marimo Bandō in the Teekyu comedy anime. She also took a turn as a magical girl when Kosaki Onodera transformed into Magical Pâtissier Kosaki-chan in this year's Nisekoi:. Kanazawa has her fair share of upcoming roles next season. She'll star as the female protagonist in the bishonen foot-race anime series Prince of Stride Alternative, is signed on to voice Yūka Kobayakawa in the anime adaptation of the Shōjo-tachi wa Kōya o Mezasu visual novel, and will return as the tough-as-nails Hana in the Prison School OVA.

3. Aoi Yūki Aoi Yūki's roles this year were numerous and diverse, from a blood-sucking loli villain in Seraph of the End to the stoic Flamie Speeddraw in Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers. She showed off her singing chops in the popular sci-fi idol battle series Senki Zesshō Symphogear GX and creeped out audiences as the masked half-Ghoul Kurona Yasuhisa in Tokyo Ghoul √A and the equally psychotic Clementine in Overlord. Yūki's has the versatility to switch between young, innocent characters and sinister, dark roles. She'll put the first skill to use as the missing classmate Kayo in the time-travelling mystery ERASED next month.

3. Ayane Sakura Ayane Sakura kept it cute this year with her long roster of moe characters. She starred as the bubbly Cocoa Hoto in Is the order a rabbit??, the aspiring armed detective Akari Mamiya in Aria the Scarlet Ammo Double A, little sister Haru Onodera in Nisekoi: and the fun-loving Natsumi Koshigaya in Non Non Biyori Repeat. As for the upcoming year, Sakura isn't currently attached to any shows but will reprise her role as Yuzuki Kurebayashi in the Selector Destructed Wixoss film.

3. Miyuki Sawashiro Last year's top voice actress rounds out the three-way tie for 5th place. She returned as "The Headless Rider" Celty Sturluson in Durarara!!'s second season and the oddity-inflicted Suruga Kanbaru in Owarimonogatari. Much of her work this year involved returning to popular characters (Noragami Aragoto, Lupin the Third, Utano☆Princesama Revolutions, Persona 3 the Movie #3 Falling Down). She did, however, made her debut in the PreCure franchise as brainwashed-washed-villain-turned-ally Cure Scarlet in Go! Princess Precure.

2. Yoko Hikasa Hikasa took second with 19 roles this year and she already has six lined up for next year. She voiced two battle-hungry ladies: Lafter Frankland, the blonde wife of a mafia liaison in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans and aptly named Fighter in the less serious Bikini Warriors. In fact, quite a few of her roles this year included women who aren't scared of throwing their weight around. The mysterious princess Nachetanya (Rokka) hides behind piercing magical attacks and the dark elf Yao Ha Ducy (GATE) can manipulate both people and a sword.

1. Maaya Uchida Uchida edged ahead of Yoko Hikasa with 20 total roles this year. She led the cast as the teenage girl Hajime Ichinose in Gatchaman Crowds insight and showed off her abilities to switch between an idol and a delinquent by voicing both Misa and Yusa Nishimori in Charlotte. She supported Bell in the dungeons as Liliruca Arde, another character that has a bit of a split personality. She rounded out the casts of fanservice anime series High School DxD BorN as the angelic Irina Shindō and the tomboyish Haruka Momochi in World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman. Uchida ranked sixth last year and is lined up to return as Shino Kuribayashi in GATE and voice Koito Minase in Kyoto Animation's Myriad Colors Phantom World.

The new poll: How many anime series did you buy this year?

The old poll: What Winter 2016 anime are you anticipating the most?

  1. Assassination Classroom 31.2%
  2. Durarara!!×2 Ketsu 23.9%
  3. Snow White with the Red Hair 20.7%
  4. GATE 19.5%
  5. Ajin 15.6%
  6. Fairy Tail Zero 13.6%
  7. ERASED (Boku dake ga Inai Machi) 10.9%
  8. Dimension W 7.1%
  9. Prince of Stride Alternative 4.5%
  10. Norn9: Norn + Nonette 4.5%
  11. HaruChika 4.2%
  12. Active Raid: Kidō Kyōshūshitsu Dai-Hakkei 3.6%
  13. Dagashi Kashi 3.6%
  14. Myriad Colors Phantom World 3.6%
  15. Nijiiro Days 3.4%
  16. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash 3.4%
  17. Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū 3.3%
  18. Schwarzesmarken 2.9%
  19. Sekkō Boys 2.4%
  20. Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation 2.3%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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