Seiyuu Digest #108 – Chiaki Kobayashi

Chiaki Kobayashi Seiyuu Digest 108

Chiaki Kobayashi is already on a path to becoming a star, impressing with his unique voice and skills. It’s time to dive into his career in this Seiyuu Digest.

Chiaki Kobayashi

Chiaki Kobayashi

KANJI: 小林 千晃

BORN: June 4, 1994

OCCUPATION: Voice actor

HEIGHT: N/A

Chiaki Kobayashi was born on June 4, 1994, in Kanagawa, Japan, and is represented by Office Osawa.

Seiyuu

Since his teens, Chiaki Kobayashi has loved watching movies. Around that time, he started to want to become an actor.

As such, he enrolled in a film school intending to become an actor. However, realizing “I couldn’t become like Masaki Suda“, he gave up on acting.

This was when his focus changed.

Influenced by his love for anime movies, he decided to become a voice actor and gained experience in the field while attending university. He would end up debuting in 2017.

In 2021, in an interview with Newtype about his win of the Best New Actor Award, he was asked if his perception of the job of “voice actor” had changed since before his debut.

Kobayashi answered “Yes, it has changed. Initially, I aimed to be an actor, so there were aspects of the voice actor profession that I didn’t fully understand. I might have thought that perhaps voice acting is easier than on-screen acting. But, of course, that’s not the case. The more experience I gain, the more I feel the difficulty. My respect for senior actors who have expressed themselves through their voices only grows.

2017 – 2018

Slowly making a name for himself

He made his debut as a voice actor in 2017. In that year, he got minor roles in the anime series “Just Because!“, “The Idolmaster SideM” and “Detective Conan“.

2018 was another year of growth and learning. He got minor roles in anime series such as “Cells at Work!“, “Layton Mystery Tanteisha: Katori no Nazotoki File”, “Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS” and “Hi Score Girl”.

A year later, Kobayashi got minor roles in “Vinland Saga”, “Star-Myu: High School Star Musical 3“, “Piano no Mori” and “Fire Force”.

Other anime series he voiced characters in include:

  • Hakyuu Houshin Engi (2018)
  • Butlers: Chitose Momotose Monogatari (2018)
  • Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019)
  • Fruits Basket (2019)
  • Given (2019)
  • King of Prism: Shiny Seven Stars (2019)
  • Kenja no Mago (2019)

2020 –

Landing his first leading role + Rising popularity

Things changed around drastically and in 2020, Chiaki Kobayashi landed his first main role in an anime series.

Hiroto Kuga

He was cast as the calm and collected Hiroto Kuga in the mecha/action OVA series, “Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise 2nd Season“.

This was the first time Kobayashi got more than a few seconds of air time. This was also one of the roles cited behind his win of the Best New Actor Award at the 15th Seiyuu Awards.

The other role would be Makoto Edamura in the action/adventure anime series, “GREAT PRETENDER“.

Makoto Edamura
Makoto Edamura

Edamura is a self-proclaimed greatest con man in Japan, having a confidence and style in his cons that drastically contrasts with his usual awkward self.

With a unique accent and a character with a lot of layers to peel – and quite the character development running in parallel -, Kobayashi ended up delivering a performance that stood out. From this point on, the industry was with their eyes on him.

This performance was the catalyst for the Best New Actor awards at the 15th Seiyuu Awards.

Louis James Moriarty
Louis James Moriarty

Still in the same year, he was cast as the extremely devoted Louis James Moriarty, younger brother of William James Moriarty (CV: Soma Saito) -, Moriarty the Patriot‘s antihero.

Despite his calm and polite demeanor, he can be ruthless and ever borderline violent if his brother is in danger or if something is trying to mess up house Moriarty’s plans. This shift in tone – almost as if hitting a switch – was done in a really smooth way, with Kobayashi adding a layer of danger to Louis.

These roles were the start of a streak of leading roles for Chiaki Kobayashi.

Langa Hasegawa
Langa Hasegawa

In 2021 he landed a leading role as the stoic and usually quiet Langa Hasegawa in the sports anime, SK∞.

Asakaze
Asakaze

He was then cast as the rebellious and violent Asakaze, one of the main characters in the isekai anime, Sonny Boy.

Tomoya Sugisaki
Tomoya Sugisaki

That role was followed by Tomoya Sugisaki in the supernatural anime movie, Summer Ghost.

In the same year, Kobayashi reprised his role as Louis in Yuukoku no Moriarty Part 2.

Yuuichi Katagiri
Yuuichi Katagiri

2022 kicked off with more leading roles for him. He was cast as Yuuichi Katagiri in the psychological anime series, Tomodachi Game.

This role was a big tonal shift for Chiaki Kobayashi who, up until now, had been voicing calm and collected characters. His performance as Katagiri was something completely different from his usual acting, bringing to the spotlight a darker, sadistic edge.

The anime series ended up attracting a lot of attention both in Japan and overseas due to its high-stakes game concept in which one wrong step meant death.

Yuu Ominae
Yuu Ominae

He was then cast as Yuu Ominae, an outgoing and slightly cocky protagonist in the action-packed OVA series, Spriggan.

Hideto Tsuji
Hideto Tsuji

After that, he was cast in the sports anime series Shoot! Goal to the Future as Hideto Tsuji, the uninterested, calm, and collected protagonist.

Yuuji Sano
Yuuji Sano

Soon after, he landed a leading role as Yuuji Sano in the fantasy anime series, My Isekai Life: I Gained a Second Character Class and Became the Strongest Sage in the World.

Hayate Ichikura
Hayate Ichikura

Later in the same year, Kobayashi was cast as the introspective and clumsy Hayate Ichikura, one of the main characters in the OVA slice-of-life series, Cool Doji Danshi.

Mash Burnedead
Mash Burnedead

2023 arrived with what is, up until now, Chiaki Kobayashi’s biggest role in an anime series. He was cast as Mash Burnedead in the parody anime series, Mashle: Magic and Muscles.

The character is quiet, stoic, and often quite observant. As other characters creep closer, they start seeing his kind and innocent sides that deeply contrast with his

The anime series is a big parody of the battle shounen genre popularized by Naruto, Fairy Tail, Bleach, and more. As such, there is a lot of buzz around this series which keeps on nailing the snappy comments on tropes and exaggerating those at times for comedic value.

As far as comedic roles go, in 2023, Kobayashi got not only Cool Doji Danshi but also Marshle.

Ragna
Ragna

Still in the same year, he was cast as Ragna, the protagonist in the action anime series, Ragna Crimson.

Stark Frieren: Beyond Journey's End
Stark

Soon after he was cast as the charismatic, hard-working and compassionate Stark, one of the leading characters in the adventure anime series, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End.

Gabimaru
Gabimaru

In the summer he was cast as Gabimaru, the protagonist in the action anime series, Jigokuraku.

The anime is more serious in tone, not only in the acting – script included – but also with a lot of depiction of gore and violence. Even if still a sort of battle shounen at its core, the anime series showed different sides to Kobayashi’s acting.

Kiyoshi Adachi
Kiyoshi Adachi

Kobayashi kicked off 2024 with a main role in the BL (boy’s love) anime series, Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?!.

He voices Kiyoshi Adachi, a thirty-year-old virgin who has developed powers to read people’s minds whenever he touches them.

Still in 2024, he reprised his role as Mash in Mashle: Shinkakusha Kouho Senbatsu Shiken-hen.

He will also reprise his role as Gabimaru in Jigokuraku 2nd Season, as well as Makoto Edamura in Great Pretender: Razbliuto.

During the year, he will voice characters in Hananoi-kun to Koi no Yamai and Ao no Miburo.

Other anime series he voiced characters in include:

  • Darwin’s Game (2020)
  • ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka – Regards (2020)
  • Yu☆Gi☆Oh! Sevens (2020)
  • Yesterday wo Utatte (2020)
  • Heaven Official’s Blessing (2020)
  • Ikebukuro West Gate Park (2020)
  • Ahiru no Sora (2020)
  • 2.43: Seiin Koukou Danshi Volley-bu (2021)
  • Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken 2nd Season (2021)
  • Seirei Gensouki (2021)
  • Gunjou no Fanfare (2022)
  • Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Ultra Romantic (2022)
  • Vampire in the Garden (2022)
  • Vazzrock The Animation (2022)
  • Requiem of the Rose King (2022)
  • Arknights: Reimei Zensou (2022)
  • Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi (2023)
  • Kawaisugi Crisis (2023)
  • Kamierabi (2023)
  • Metallic Rouge (2024)

Awards

In 2021, Chiaki Kobayashi won the Best New Actor Award at the 15th Seiyuu Awards for his roles in the anime series, Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE and GREAT PRETENDER.

At that time, Newtype interviewed him, asking Kobayashi what his impressions were about getting the award. He answered, “I was extremely happy. Looking at the names of those who have won the Best New Actor award before, they are now actively working at the forefront. It made me feel like I can follow in their footsteps, and I was deeply moved.

At the same time, I remembered the words of my manager when I joined the agency, “Right now, you’re not anyone special, an uncolored raw gem. I hope you become ‘Chiaki Kobayashi,’ an actor who experiences various things through time.” I finally feel like I’ve taken that step towards becoming someone, thanks to encountering wonderful roles and being involved in projects, and you all discovering that.

He shared the award with Masahiro Ito (Bushiroad/HiBiKi) and Shimba Tsuchiya (Himawari Theater Group).

7th Aniraji awards Chiaki Kobayashi Yusuke Kobayashi
Yusuke Kobayashi & Chiaki Kobayashi

In 2022, he won the Best Creative Radio Award at the 7th Aniraji Awards.

Radio

When it comes to radio work, Kobayashi mentioned, early on in his career, that he wanted to have his own radio show.

Of course, that didn’t come quickly but in 2021, he finally got the opportunity to host his radio show.

As a host, Kobayashi is a good listener, something that shows when he is either receiving guests on his radio shows or if he is co-hosting a show. He makes sure everyone is heard, making guests feel at home.

While he is mostly incredibly professional, he can create some shenanigans if co-hosting a radio show or receiving a guest. The closer he is with them, the crazier and more relaxed he is.

Expect him to be really friendly and entertaining throughout, bringing stories and interesting bits of information to any show he’s in.

Some of the radio shows he has been include:

GREAT PRETENDER The Swindlers' Banquet

Also stemming from an anime series is the radio show “GREAT PRETENDER The Swindlers’ Banquet“. Kobayashi co-hosted this radio show alongside Junichi Suwabe.

MAN TWO MONTH RADIO Chiaki Kobayashi no Chiori Futou

In 2021, Kobayashi was invited to be the host of MAN TWO MONTH RADIO, show in which seiyuu can handle their own radio show for two months before switching to the next seiyuu.

MAN TWO MONTH RADIO Chiaki Kobayashi no Chiori Futou (MAN TWO MONTH RADIO 小林千晃の千折不撓) was hosted in October and November 2021.

The show’s focus was “Don’t give up even if you fail a thousand times!“. It may have seemed like a formal program with that focus but in reality, Kobayashi talked about things he learned and wanted to learn, people he wanted to meet, and answered listeners’ questions.

Out of all the challenges he had, Kobayashi mentioned in episode 4 that he wanted to have a meal with fellow seiyuu Soma Saito but he didn’t dare to invite him. He ended up mentioning on episode 8 that actually, Saito got to know about what he had said.

According to Saito, as a veteran in the industry, he didn’t want to invite Kobayashi to not put pressure on or intimidate him. Instead, he preferred to be invited by him.

Kobayashi agreed with the feeling but he admitted he hadn’t found the right timing to extend the invitation, expressing the hope to achieve it and report on it in the final episode of the radio show.

And that’s what he did. In episode 9, he reported that he managed to invite Soma Saito, and after several schedule adjustments, they decided to go to a yakiniku restaurant to enjoy some good meat.

Out of all the happenings in the radio show, this was one of the most interesting stories as it all started with Kobayashi mentioning a veteran on his radio show, that veteran getting to listen to his wishes, and then extending an invitation ended up being something natural and that both parties were interested in.

And in 2021, Chiaki Kobayashi finally got the chance to host his radio show, “Chiaki Kobayashi no Blue Monologue“.

Whether it’s adventurous daily life, carefree holidays, or the monologue-like emotions felt by Chiaki Kobayashi, the program is designed to share inner thoughts with listeners.

Neu tensai gunshi Gakuto Kajiwara Chiaki Kobayashi

Kobayashi then joined fellow seiyuu Gakuto Kajiwara in Neu Tensai Gunshi.

Under the motto “Making the Industry More Interesting!”, Gakuto Kajiwara and Chiaki Kobayashi undertake various plans with the mission of bringing more excitement to the industry.

To eventually produce events, they will hone their skills and ideas behind the scenes.

Other radio shows include:

Games

Chiaki Kobayashi has been active voicing characters in games since 2019. Although he is still relatively new to this industry, he already has a couple of leading or main characters to his name.

You will find him voicing characters in RPGs, otome games, action, MMOs, mecha, between many other genres.

He’s lent voice to characters such as:

Deuce Spade in Disney Twisted Wonderland (2020 -)

Deuce Spade in Disney Twisted Wonderland

In 2020, Kobayashi joined the cast of the popular game, Disney Twisted Wonderland.

He voices Deuce Spade, a serious and straightforward mage who focused on becoming the best student and version of himself.

He is a former delinquent, however, despite his efforts to rein in his impulses, his delinquent tendencies may resurface in specific circumstances. When confronted with injustice or cruelty towards others, he is fearless, resorting to physical confrontation to address the situation.

Male Protagonist in Harvestella (2022)

Male Protagonist in Harvestella

A year later, he was cast as the voice of the male protagonist – the name is left to the player to choose – in the RPG, Harvestella.

This character is caring and brave, determined to do anything to protect their friends.

Yashiro in Utakata no Uchronia (2024)

Yashiro in Utakata no Uchronia

In 2024, Kobayashi was cast – for the very first time – as the canon romanceable character in an otome game.

He voices Yashiro in Utakata no Uchronia.

He also voiced characters in the following games (list is not exhaustive):

  • Fate/Grand Order (2019)
  • Dragalia Lost (2019)
  • SD Gundam GGENERATION CROSSRAYS (2019)
  • Dankira!!! – Boys, be DANCING! – (2019)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links (2020)
  • A3! (2021)
  • Dragon Quest X Online (2021)
  • SHOW BY ROCK!! Fes A Live (2021)
  • Granblue Fantasy (2021)
  • Fire Emblem Heroes (2021)
  • The Alchemist Code (2021)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel Strongest Battle Royale!! (2021)
  • Shadowverse (2021)
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Arsenal Base (2022)
  • Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis (2023)
  • Cupid Parasite -Sweet & Spicy Darling.- (2023)
  • Monster Strike (2023)

between many more.

Narration / Dubbing

Contrary to many seiyuu who have 7 years of career – at the time of writing this feature, 2023 -, Chiaki Kobayashi actually has several narration credits.

He has lent his narration talents to various promotional videos and TV shows. Some of his credits include narration for:

  • Movie “Bungo Stray Dogs BEAST” trailer
  • Les Misérables teaser video
  • Count of Monte Cristo Nightmare Return Digest SP!
  • Tokyo Marathon 2023
  • Sherlock Untold Stories teaser video

between many more.

When it comes to dubbing, Kobayashi already has a couple of credits to his name dubbing foreign movies and TV shows. Some of his credits include:

  • SEOBOK
  • Andi Mack
  • BULL
  • NCIS ~Navy Criminal Investigation Team
  • AJ & Queen
  • Reporter Girl
  • Foundation
  • All About Washington

Drama CDs

When it comes to drama CDs, Chiaki Kobayashi has been active since 2019, lending his talents to both games, anime tie-ups, otome and BL drama CDs.

Some of his credits include (the list is not extensive, check his Japanese Wikipedia page for more credits):

  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train
  • VAZZROCK COLOR series
  • The Apothecary Diaries
  • Live us vol.1 – vol.6
  • Paradox Live franchise
  • Dear Vocalist UNLIMITED
  • Prince Letter(s)! From Idol
  • Aimu Prime Minister I’m Sorry Drama CD vol.1 and 2
  • Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] II.lost butterfly Original Drama CD
  • Perfumer ~My Perfumer~
  • FABULOUS NIGHT
  • Lost Virgin
  • Sugar Drug
  • Fake Fact Lips

between many more.

Music

His path in the music industry kicked off in 2021 when he started being cast in 2D music projects in the most varied of music genres.

He’s had the opportunity to showcase his singing skills with XlamV – the group in which, at the moment of writing this feature, he has been the most impressive – as well as rapping for Goku Luck in the Paradox Live franchise.

Chiaki Kobayashi was one of the biggest surprises in the 2D music scene in 2023.

He’s got a raspy undertone to his singing voice that is unique and honestly, that I love to find in male seiyuu. At the same time, sitting in a low tenor, high baritone range (I’m still not sure about his vocal range and it is not confirmed anywhere) he has been able to add a gentle touch to XlamV’s performances while, at the same time, sounding surprisingly mature. 

At the same time, he can sound incredibly violent and deliver powerful rap performances with Goku Luck in the Paradox Live. This is something that instantly impressed me. His flow is ridiculously good and smooth, something you rarely find in seiyuu taking their first steps in rap projects.

And especially for a seiyuu with little experience in the 2D music scene, Chiaki Kobayashi was showing all his aces right from the start. I was, and still am impressed.

He is as smooth as you can get as a singer and with that raspy undertone – something that can be a quirk or from his range which can be much lower than you and I know by now – he can make a room stop to listen to him.

Kobayashi shows a lot of room for growth but one thing is for certain, he’s got a lot of potential in him and it is only a matter of time before he starts attracting the attention of more big hitters in the 2D music industry.

He’s best known for being part of the following 2D music groups:

unknown order (2021 – 2022)

unknown order

In 2021, Kobayashi joined the cast of the ambitious mixed-media project, Live Us.

Live us was an original project mixed-media project following a dramatic story that would develop through voice dramas + music releases.

The project was an original idea by White palette, featuring character designs by bikku, world-building by Tetsuya Katsuzawa (Edge Works), and structure/organization by Rika Kihara.

He joined the cast of unknown order, a 4-piece rock band with vocals by Shugo Nakamura.

The lineup was the following:

During their activity, the band released the single “Sunrise“.

For this project, Kobayashi only participated in the drama parts.

The project went silent in 2022 and since then there have been no news or music releases, with fans assuming this project was shelved without notice.

As it is, given the long silence only after 1 year of activity, it doesn’t bode well for this band or the project itself.

In 2022, Chiaki Kobayashi joined the cast of Brave Child, a pop-rock band fronted by Joshua (CV: Nobunaga Shimazaki) and part of the Dear Vocalist franchise.

He made his first appearance in the UNLIMITED CD series (7th season of drama + music CDs) in this franchise.

Brave Child consists of:

  • Vocalist: Joshua (CV: Nobunaga Shimazaki)
  • Bass: MATSU (CV. Chiaki Kobayashi)
  • Guitar: SOTA (CV. Takuma Nagatsuka)
  • Drums: YUKI (CV. Tetsuya Kakihara)

For this band, Chiaki Kobayashi only voices MATSU in the drama CDs. He doesn’t participate in the “you and vocalist” part drama CD, only the “band” drama CD.

He is set to appear in the 8th season of the CD series titled HEADLINER, kicking off sometime in 2024.

I’m sorry (2021)

I’m sorry

In late 2021, he joined the cast of the 2D music project, I’m sorry.

あいむ総理ぃ I’m sorry (Aimu Sorii I’m sorry) or simply I’m sorry was a 2D music project created and with an original concept by the talented seiyuu, mangaka, and CEO, Shinnosuke Tachibana, with character designs by Murashige and produced by ONEder Inc..

Chiaki Kobayashi was cast as Bea. The rest of the cast included:

Despite the initial interest in this project – for it is an original concept by a seiyuu – the project met its end only a couple of months later, without releasing any official music.

Goku Luck (2021 -)

Goku Luck

In 2021, Chiaki Kobayashi teamed up with Makoto Furukawa, Shinnosuke Tachibana, and Shogo Batori to form the rap-rock quartet, Goku Luck.

He voices MC anonymous or Kenta Mikoshiba.

The team made its first appearance in “Paradox Live Opening Show-Road to Legend-“.

The team arrived with a cool rap-rock sound led by Makoto Furukawa’s imposing, surprisingly powerful rap flow and carried itself in an imposing way until the chorus.

This was the very first time I listened to Makoto Furukawa and Chiaki Kobayashi rapping, and at the time I reviewed this song I thought they were absolute beasts.

Furukawa surprises with a natural, deep rap flow and charisma while Kobayashi has a cheeky, almost joking demeanor. There’s sarcasm in his performance but what impressed me the most was how natural and smooth his rap flow sounds.

Despite an awkward chorus and unusual lines distribution, the team showed a lot of potential with their edgy and aggressive rap-rock sound.

In May 2022, Chiaki Kobayashi alongside Shinnosuke Tachibana and Shogo Batori at Paradox Live 2nd LIVE DOPE SHOW. Makoto Furukawa (MC Hancho and the team’s leader) was not in attendance.

This was the first time that the team performed live, quickly leaving a big impression with their rough and violent sound and rapping.

Still in 2022, the group participated in “RAGE“, the first entry in the Paradox Live -Road to Legend- CD series.

The group performed “Fight For Liberty“.

The team ended up being beaten by Akkan Yatsura, advancing to the consolation stage and aiming at grabbing a spot as a wild card in the final battle in the legend in the Paradox Live franchise.

The fight was on to see who was the team – defeated in the first round – that would get that wild card to join in the final battle.

VISTY, AMPRULE, 1Nm8 and Goku Luck fought it out. Goku Luck had a resounding win with “Trigger” in Paradox Live -Road to Legend- Consolation Match “SHOWDOWN”.

The team moved to the final match in the battle in Road to Legend, meeting BAE and cozmez in what would be a fierce battle until the end.

In May 2023, the Paradox Live franchise held a new live show and this time, everyone was in attendance.

Goku Luck made its first performance as a 4 piece at Paradox Live Dope Show 2023.

Chiaki Kobayashi Paradox Live Dope Show 2023
Chiaki Kobayashi at Paradox Live Dope Show 2023

The live show was held at Makuhari Messe Event Hall on May 21, 2023, and featured day and night performances.

They performed “STRONGER“, “Trigger” and “Fight For Liberty“.

Paradox Live -Road to Legend- FINAL “REVOLUTION” arrived in October 2023. Goku Luck performed “S.W.A.G.“.

Despite being a beloved song by fans, that was not enough to get Goku Luck the win.

BAE would end up winning the Road to Legend final.

VS AMBIVALENZ (2021 – 2022)

VS AMBIVALENZ

VS AMBIVALENZ is a 2D music project by NIZISTA (best known for HANDEAD ANTHEM).

It was launched with a unique survival show format in which only 7 out of the 14 members would make it to the final group.

The cast includes Shintaro Asanuma, Makoto Furukawa, Chiaki Kobayashi, Reiou Tsuchida, Tasuku Hatanaka, Kengo Kawanishi and Ayumu Murase.

All seiyuu lend their voice to 2 characters in this franchise. And 1 of the characters that each seiyuu voiced would not make it to the final group.

Chiaki Kobayashi voiced JINTARO and CION. The characters had polarizing vibes – one more outgoing and the other quieter – and completely different singing styles.

In 2023, it was decided that Kobayashi would be voicing JINTARO, a member of XlamV.

The group made its debut in 2021 with “Go My Own Way”.

They arrived with a sound that was nothing like what you’d listened to up until then from 2D idol groups.

The care for quality music and technical performances was there. The balance between vocals was insane. Their sound was upbeat and tasteful while the soundscapes were aesthetically pleasing.

The highlight of this release was “Restart“, song that put the spotlight on Ayumu Murase, Reiou Tsuchida, and Makoto Furukawa’s vocals.

“Restart” is pretty much flawless on all fronts, not to mention insanely catchy.

Still in the same year, the franchise released its 2nd CD in the 1st season (out of 2 to decide who were the 7 members making it to the final lineup).

VS AMBIVALENZ’s “PreOrder” was not a perfect entry, especially when its first CD was quite impressive, but it still had its awesome moments, more quality on the vocals, and music almost for all tastes.

You have trap music, hip-hop, and R&B in the electrifying “PreOrder”, enka, Eurobeat, and pop in “Ai no Uta” and then an emotional EDM-meets-hip-hop tune in “Fight-or-Flight”.

Team Classic‘s NAGOMU and CUC (CV: Shintaro Asanuma), ISSEI, and MIO (CV: Kengo Kawanishi), and JINTARO and CION (CV: Chiaki Kobayashi) delivered the best performance to date in the VS AMBIVALENZ with the emotional “Fight-or-Flight“.

6 voices, 3 of those high, 3 of those are comfortable baritone or low tenor vocals. You have this balance right off the bat in this song.

This was a lineup that was impressively well balanced, bringing 3 singers that can pull off those high notes in the chorus. What they did together was bloody brilliant and, to this day, makes this song one of the biggest highlights there is.

This is one of those songs that you can’t just describe. You really need to listen to it to understand just how amazing it is.

2022 arrived and with it came the 2nd and last CD season for this 14-member lineup.

In “VSA Musical”, the franchise tackled songs that felt like a musical, showcasing a more intense and dramatic side to each performer.

VS AMBIVALENZ “VSA Musical” is, just like its title, all about its musical sound. The first two songs are presented in a way that it feels like you’re watching a musical play unfold.

You have different acts within each song, the songs progress through a mix of talk parts and singing and the cast made sure to deliver performances with a lot of drama.

However, as interesting as each song is, I feel like when you listen to both tracks (over 7 minutes long each), many things are lost in translation and would fare better when performed on stage rather than on sound only. Highlights on the vocal end belonged to Makoto Furukawa, Tasuku Hatanaka and Ayumu Murase.

The three were relentless on the vocal end, fitting perfectly with the technically dramatic style of singing that was required in all songs.

VS AMBIVALENZ

Later in 2022, the 14-member group wrapped up its activities with the release of “Still On Journey”.

After this, in a final vote, the fans decided who would be a member of the 2D idol group, XlamV.

XlamV (2023 -)

XlamV

After a full year of activities to determine the final 7-member lineup for VS AMBIVALENZ, fans made their choice.

The once 14-member lineup – with seiyuu voicing two characters representing a color – turned into the 7-member unit XlamV (read: Kranve) ready to shine.

“XlamV” is a word that combines “climb” and the Roman numeral “XIV” (meaning 14), meaning those of have won the audition but also paying homage to everyone that participated.

The “V” in the name also means “VICTORY”, including the vow to surprise the world and aim to become an idol group that will reach the top.

The full lineup is as follows:

XlamV

The group announced the release in April 2023 of their debut digital single “From me“.

From Me” broke away from clichés for pop tunes by 2D idol groups, avoiding a high-tension EDM sound while highlighting each member’s vocals at all times.

The composition is daring enough to change keys midway and evolve in front of you, creating a pure and clean singing experience that shows a different focus, and a different determination for XlamV.

This was the first of 3 digital singles, and everyone was excited to see and hear them.

XlamV This my way

This is my way” takes listeners on a captivating journey, guided by atmospheric synths and the warm R&B-style riffs of Tasuku Hatanaka.

XlamV’s “This is my way” showcases a potent fusion of EDM and pop, characterized by its pristine production, ethereal soundscapes, and a strong focus on the vocal performances.

Once again, the group’s vocal abilities shine brightly, solidifying XlamV as one of the most harmonious and cohesive 2D groups in today’s 2D music scene.

The third single was “Groovy Night” and yet again, XlamV was creating music no other 2D group was up until then.

XlamV "Groovy Night"

Groovy Night” embodies a downtempo, mature nu-disco sound, and the vocals follow suit with their melodic and warm delivery.

While Tasuku Hatanaka, Makoto Furukawa, and Ayumu Murase provide ad-libs and riffs, the spotlight is on Kengo Kawanishi, Shintaro Asanuma, Reiou Tsuchida, and Chiaki Kobayashi.

They bring a funky energy to the forefront, making the song ridiculously groovy for the listener. “Groovy Night” is an addictive entry in XlamV’s repertoire and another exciting look at the group’s potential going forward.

And the time was here for the release of the 1st EP “Climb“.

XlamV climb

XlamV’s journey, starting with 14 members and refining to a final 7, has been amazing.

The series of digital singles culminating in the EP “Climb” proved they are the big surprise of the year and one of the best 2D groups active in 2023.

On the vocal end, Makoto Furukawa impresses with his evolution as a singer, while Chiaki Kobayashi’s warmth and consistency shine throughout. Tasuku Hatanaka stands out as the driving force behind the group’s performances.

At the time I reviewed this EP, I wrote in the reviewChiaki Kobayashi continues to be a show-stealer for me. He is confident in his performances and the warmth he carries on his vocals always end up attracting my attention. He is also surprisingly consistent and cohesive in his performances (in comparison with the few 2D group experiences he had before joining the group).

XlamV’s “climb” easily stood out as one of the top 10 CDs released in 2023, showcasing their stylish sound and talent.

XlamV raise

After that, the group released two additional digital singles “Said that” and “Mikan“, leading up to the release of their 2nd EP “Raise“.

Variety

When it comes to variety shows, Chiaki Kobayashi may not have many appearances but in the few he shows a mature, calm, and professional self at all times.

Still, don’t be fooled by his calm because he can easily join any crazy shenanigans the hosts or other guests may start. And that’s when things get even more entertaining to watch.

Below you will find some of Chiaki Kobayashi’s appearances in variety and or talk shows.

Kobayashi Chiaki’s Demon King Path (2020 -)

Kobayashi Chiaki's Demon King Path

Since 2020, he has hosted his solo game variety show Kobayashi Chiaki’s Demon King Path.

This is a live show airing monthly in which Kobayashi, who admires demon kings more than heroes, aims to become the strongest demon king and levels up with everyone.

In this solo show, Kobayashi reveals more about himself, especially things his fans may not know, making it a must-watch for those who want to know more about him on a deeper level.

Some of the seiyuu who guested on his show or the events include Shoya Chiba, Toshiki Masuda and Soma Saito.

Say you to Yoasobi (2021 – 2023)

Chiaki Kobayashi has been one of the most regular guests on the talk show, Say You to Yoasobi, having guested once in 2021, twice in 2022, and once in 2023.

He has been invited to the show to talk about the anime series he was cast in.

And for all the episodes he appeared in, there was always something crazy going on – usually a challenge – that showed a comedic side to Kobayashi.

One of the most hilarious appearances was in 2021 when he played an otome game – created just for this episode – in which he had both Hiroki Yasumoto and Tomoaki Maeno playing some of the romanceable characters.

This episode was memorable, from making choices to laughing to no end with the outcome – and the over-the-top acting by Tomoaki Maeno, who was playing the romanceable character in his version of the game.

Yashiro & Kobayashi’s Game Tourism ♪ ~ Presented by Otomate ~ (2021 – 2022)

Alongside fellow seiyuu Taku Yashiro, Chiaki Kobayashi co-hosted the otome game-centric show, Yashiro & Kobayashi’s Game Tourism ♪ ~ Presented by Otomate ~.

In collaboration with the female-oriented romance game brand “Otomate”, Taku Yashiro and Chiaki Kobayashi worked as employees of the travel agency “Otomate Travel”, specializing in “Game Tourism”.

The show focused on planning journeys to various game worlds.

In the first half of the program, they provided information about the latest titles from Otomate and delivered a variety of content.

In the second half, which was a paid segment, the two engaged in further challenges, bringing laughter, tears, and heart-fluttering moments as they tackled entertaining themes.

Masuda Toshiki to Kobayashi Chiaki no Kareinaru Recipe! (2022)

Masuda Toshiki to Kobayashi Chiaki no Kareinaru Recipe!

In 2022, Chiaki Kobayashi teamed up with fellow seiyuu and friend Toshiki Masuda for the cooking variety show, Masuda Toshiki to Kobayashi Chiaki no Kareinaru Recipe!.

This show focused on having a serious cooking challenge in which the seiyuu learned and/or showcased their cooking skills.

For this entry, Toshiki Masuda and Chiaki Kobayashi showed off their cooking skills to create the perfect “curry rice”.

According to Seiyuu Grandprix, “In this cooking adventure, bone-in meat, slowly sautéed with plenty of vegetables, takes center stage, creating a curry with a distinctive flavor enhanced by carefully selected spices and butter. Enjoy the superb recipes skillfully prepared by the friendly duo of Toshiki Masuda and Chiaki Kobayashi!“.

Mr. Toshi Densetsu (EP.60 – 2023)

Chiaki Kobayashi Mr. Toshi Densetsu

In 2023, he was invited to BS TV’s show, Mr. Toshi Densetsu. This show focuses on bringing weird or borderline horror stories to life through live reading.

Before and after the reading, the seiyuu invited for the show talk about how when they first met, their work as well as their impressions on the story they were going to act.

The story is not rehearsed and the actors can’t check it before they get to act it, making the acting and the emotions conveyed, all the more interesting.

In this episode titled “For Whom Do I Cry?” (誰がために僕は泣く), the story focused on the phenomenon of spirits possessing the human body, commonly known as “possession.” These spirits come in various types, ranging from the spirits of the deceased to the lingering grudges of living beings, known as “Ikiryo” or “Tamashii no Katachi”.

The acting in this short story was quite impressive as Kobayashi and Asami Seto gave their all in a story as twisted as they got.

First Magazine Cover

Chiaki Kobayashi TV Guide VOICE stars vol.21
Regular cover

In 2022, Chiaki Kobayashi was invited by TV Guide VOICE STARS to grace the cover of its vol.21 issue.

This was the first time Kobayashi graced the main cover of a magazine. At that time, he left the following comment about this opportunity:

When I received the offer initially, I was surprised, like, ‘Why me!?’ (laughs), but it turned out to be my first experience gracing a cover in my life. Looking at the distinguished seniors who have adorned the covers in the past, they are truly remarkable individuals. Joining them makes me feel even more nervous than being chosen as the lead in an anime. I honestly think, ‘Is it really okay for someone like me…?’ But being able to freely capture expressions that are unique to me at this moment, and leaving words that only I can say now, I believe that’s something special. I hope many people get a chance to see it.

Since then, Kobayashi has had the opportunity to grace the main cover of various male seiyuu-centric magazines.

Facts

Contrary to many seiyuu active in the industry… he’s doing his thing

Usually, seiyuu tend to follow a style or are inspired by some seiyuu, with that ending up influencing the way they act, the type of roles they audition for, and even how they present themselves.

However, since his debut, Chiaki Kobayashi has been doing his own thing, not following or being inspired by any seiyuu. As such, he has a distinctive acting style even down to his singing/rapping skills for 2D music projects.

This mindset started thanks to the words of his 1st manager at Office Osawa.

According to Kobayashi, in an interview, he wasn’t particularly influenced by specific voice actors. His first manager told him that he was chosen because of his inherent qualities, and advised him not to try to become someone else, just be himself.

This advice had a significant impact on him and since then he has had one of the most distinctive voices and acting styles among his generation of seiyuu.

Had the chance to meet some of the greatest seiyuu in the industry

Among the people he met in the voice acting industry, he was most delighted to meet Yoshitsugu Matsuoka.

He has admired Matsuoka’s work in various productions since he aspired to be a voice actor, and meeting him in person was, according to Kobayashi, a touching experience.

Plenty of hobbies

According to his official profile at Office Osawa, Chiaki Kobayashi lists his hobbies and skills as movie watching, solo travel, record collecting, and martial arts.


With this, THTFHQ wraps up another Seiyuu Digest. In the meantime, don’t forget to check past Seiyuu Digests – HERE.

For media, PR, and business enquiries, please email me at: info@handthatfeedshq.com

Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder, content creator, and music reviewer. Basically, the only person managing everything at The Hand That Feeds HQ. Stumbling upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" in 2011 was the start of this journey. If music is thought-provoking or deep, you may find her writing almost essays (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). She's the producer and host of the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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