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7 Most In-Demand Japanese Voice Actors 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.

Two weeks ago we revealed this year's voice actress champ Maaya Uchida. Let's see what the standing is for male voice actors this year.

5. Ryota Ohsaka Ohsaka joined the cast of Haikyū! this year as Keiji Akaashi, the foil to Fukurōdani Academy's emotional ace Bokuto. In fact, many of Ohsaka's characters this year can be noted for their level-headed demeanor, including heartthrob prince Zen in Snow White with the Red Hair, forward player Chihiro Mayuzumi in Kuroko's Basketball, and protagonist Ikki Kurogane in Chivalry of a Failed Knight. Ohsaka already has three roles lined up for next month's season; as the silver-haired Hajime Izumino in Prince of Stride: Alternative, as Masaya Hinata in the sci-fi series Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm, and returning roles as Zen and Yōta Oshimoto in Teekyū.

5. Natsuki Hanae Hanae was a newcomer only three years ago when he starred in P.A. Works' Tari Tari. He career started out slow, following up that role as the lead in The Severing Crime Edge and a role in P.A. Works' A Lull in the Sea. Once 2014 got rolling, so did Hanae's career and it doesn't show signs of stopping. He starred as Sōma's self-proclaimed rival Takumi Aldini in Food Wars!, the vampire-loving Asahi Kuromine in Actually, I Am…, the carefree mechanic and protagonist Qwenthur Barpotage in Heavy Object, and as the eye-patched ghoul Ken Kaneki in the horror hit Tokyo Ghoul √A. He'll be returning as lead DigiDestined Taichi Yagami in the Digimon Adventure tri. Ketsui film next year.

4. Mamoru Miyano Mamoru Miyano is a busy guy. He has a wildly successful musical career to maintain on top of his voice acting duties. This year he became the first solo male voice actor with a #1 ranking single on the daily chart. That single so happened to be the opening theme song for the Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love Revolutions television anime series. Accomplishing that, on top of starring in over 20 roles this year is nothing short of applause worthy. Several of the characters he voiced seemed to not so subtly rib at the actor, including Amai Mask in One-Punch Man and Shūzō in Show By Rock!!. He didn't shy away from villains either, playing the very creepy Shū Tsukiyama in Tokyo Ghoul √A, the obsessive Prince Demande in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, and Gilthunder in The Seven Deadly Sins.

3. Takahiro Sakurai Sakurai had an impressive run this year, but he's been an industry staple for awhile now. He stood out early this year by playing the complicated antagonist and monk Bernard in Maria the Virgin Witch. He would play a completely different villain as the cruel vampire Ferid Bathory in Seraph of the End. Sakurai mixed it up this year with a wide range of roles from the irritable teen detective Akechi in Ranpo Kita: Game of Laplace, to the earnest music instructor Noboru Taki in Sound! Euphonium, and the sardonic assassin turned schoolboy Yūji Kazami in The Eden of Grisaia.

3. Yūichi Nakamura Nakamura won fans this year in One-Punch as Mumen Rider, a character that exemplifies the idea of "everyday heroes" and an earnestness to do what's right even without amazing superpowers. Nakamura was also cast in a number of supernatural harems this year, including The Testament of Sister New Devil and its BURST sequel. He also starred as secondary protagonist and Lieutenant Colonel of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army Guren Ichinose in Seraph of the End, Nekoma HIgh's "scheming captain" Tetsurō Kuroo in Haikyū!, the gender-bending idol manager Ringo Tsukimiya in Utano☆Princesama Revolutions, and the formidable Sairaorg Bael in High School DxD BorN.

2. Yoshimasa Hosoya Hosoya started off the year as the hot-headed counterpart to Decim, Ginti, in Death Parade. As the year went on he'd star as the comically topless Rom in Show By Rock!!, the soft-spoken ace Asahi Azumane in Haikyuu!!, Tekkadan's up-and-coming leader Orga Itsuka in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, and the trident-wielding Makoto Narumi in Seraph of the End. Overall, he played 23 prominent roles this year and is set to appear in Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, Ajin, Digimon Adventure tri. Ketsui, Bungo Stray Dogs, and Terraformars Revenge next year.

1. Daisuke Namikawa Taking the top spot with 27 roles is Daisuke Namikawa. Namikawa took major roles in fan-favorite shows (Prison School, Lupin the Third, Haikyu!! Second Season, Digimon Adventure tri. Saikai, Boruto -Naruto the Movie-) and niche titles (Kare Baka: Wagahai no Kare wa Baka de R, The Laws of the Universe Part 0, Makura no Danshi). Some of his stand-out roles this year include his return as Yashiro Isana in K: Return of Kings, the perfectionist setter Tōru Oikawa in Haikyu!! Second Season, and the egotistical 15th shogun Nobunobu Hitotsubashi in Gintama.

The new poll: How many manga series did you buy this year? Since manga is sold by individual volume, answers should only refer to different series. So, 20 volumes of One Piece = 1 series. You do not have to have bought a manga from beginning to end.

The old poll: What's your opinion on the Naruto: Next Generation countdown?

  1. I'm not interested 29.2%
  2. Disappointing, Naruto is played out 27.2%
  3. I wish it was new manga by Masashi Kishimoto 10.5%
  4. I'm really excited no matter what it is! 10.1%
  5. I wish it was a new movie/anime series 7.5%
  6. I'm glad it's a new manga but not by Masashi Kishimoto 5.0%

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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