A former musician turned seiyuu. An aspiring seiyuu turned into a star. KENN impresses everyone with his raspy voice and all-rounded acting and singing skills.
KANJI: 大橋 賢一郎
REAL NAME: Kenichiro Ohashi
BORN: March 24, 1982
OCCUPATION: seiyuu, singer, radio host, stage actor
A note, this article was written in 2016 and will undergo an update this year.
Some information below may be dated or not updated.
KENN, like many other seiyuu we’ve already mentioned in this series, is one of those people that don’t limit themselves to solely one area in the entertainment business.
If you have any doubts about KENN‘s repertoire we’ll give you all the pieces of information you need.
Be it games, anime, or even stage plays, he’s in all departments, giving his all so that they acknowledged “Ikemen” seiyuu, as fellow seiyuu Kenichi Suzumura likes to refer to KENN, a voice actor that has the looks as well as the skills to back it up. At the same time, we cannot forget that KENN is also a talented and skillful singer.
KENN debuted at a later than usual age, for a seiyuu, he was 22 when he had his first role in anime, as Jaden Yuki in Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Monsters GX, his first main role was an opportunity delivered on a plate for him to gain lots of experience since the very beginning of his career, and so he did. T
Three years later he was, in the famous anime series Katekyo Hitman Reborn! as Dino (primarily it was Kenta Kamakari’s role but the character ended up dying in the series), a character that had some relevance in the storyline.
In the following years, he did some other roles as the main characters, in 2010 he was Ronald Knox in Black Butler II, in 2013 he was Akito Kanbara in Kyoukai no Kanata (Beyond the Boundary), one of the most emotional anime of the season and also Futo Asahina in Brothers Conflict.
In 2014, KENN was Aya Kominato in the hyped shoujo and romance anime Ao Haru Ride and lastly, he was Gieve in Arslan Senki. We can pretty much say that he has experience in almost every genre of anime, making him a versatile seiyuu.
Regarding his work in the game department, we can realize that KENN has much more roles than in anime, some of his best-known characters are in Scared Rider Xechs Rev. as Mugetsu Hijiri, Marginal #4 as L Nomura, as Seichiro Sumeragi and Adamas, and in the Brothers Conflict‘s game as Futo Asahina, like he was in the anime adaptation.
As a stage actor KENN has quite a number of roles he has done, for example, is the stage play of Welcome to the Miracle ☆ Train ~ Oedo Line ~ as Fumi Roppongi.
He was also in Vitamin Z’s play, VitaminZ’s love in the summer festival Z !!!!!! as Tenjuro Narumiya, his character in the games of the series as well.
To give you guys some other pieces of information, KENN was also in the stand-up comedy stage of Smiley ☆ Spicky with fellow Miyano Mamoru, in Air Gear as Mikurakazuma, in Bido Roman Daikatsugeki Hakkenden as Shino Inusuka.
In the middle of his busy schedule, he still has time to squeeze some time to host radio shows such as the one he has with fellow seiyuu Daisuke Namikawa, (Namikawa Daisuke & KENN no radio senpaiyazo! ), that has been airing since 2013.
Another radio show he hosted was with Showtaro Morikubo, 快感[TO]Night〜KENN and 森久保祥太郎〜 ( Kaikan [TO] Night 〜 KENN ando Morikubo Shoutaro 〜).
KENN first started in the music industry when he was in a band called NaB’s in which he was in charge of synths and keys.
The band debuted in 2004 with the single believe ranked #85 on the Oricon charts, but the NaB’s quickly ended so it was the perfect time for to KENN debut as a solo artist and that’s what he did.
Making his appearance with a more refined and grown-up image we had KENN showing us a completely new side of him. In 2008 he had his first single, 塔頂者たち(Too itadakishatachi), out.
Only a year after that he already had another single, LIVIN’ ON THE EDGE.
Later on, he released his first album, KENN Vocal Album. Having worked with MIKOTO, a famous composer and most recently solo artist, his “sound” was rock, a genre that suits him like a glove.
KENN’s most recent CD, Dance in the Light, was not produced by MIKOTO – hence why KENN’s “sound” showed clear changes.
It was a good thing to listen to him once again as a solo artist, given the thought that he is a singer with so much potential that it is a shame he doesn’t release more often.
Six Gravity (2012 -)
Six Gravity are part of Tsukino Production‘s Tsukiuta series. The unit consists of Kousuke Toriumi, Toshiki Masuda, Yuki Kaji, Tomoaki Maeno, Yoshimasa Hosoya and KENN.
Like most of Tsukino Production‘s units, Six Gravity has released a lot of music as a group as well as in cross units.
Between their 6 drama CDs and the unit’s 3 singles and 1 Best Of album, Satsuki Aoi even got the opportunity to release 3 solo singles and two collaboration/cross-unit singles.
The group was on hiatus from 2017 to late 2018, however, Tsukipro announced the franchise’s return in November 2018.
The franchise will return with a solo CD series and its anime adaptation was renewed for a second season (date to be determined).
Marginal #4 (2013 -)
Toshiki Masuda, Yuto Suzuki (leader), Takahashi Naozumi, and KENN teamed up as Marginal #4 in 2013. The unit made a thunderous debut with 100万回の愛革命, single that lived up to all the hype surrounding it at that time. The unit had an addictive pop-rock sound that easily impressed.
Marginal #4 rose in popularity with singles such as LOVE★SAVIOR (2013), Masquerade (2013), CHU CHU LUV♥SCANDAL (2014), and Red Hot Saga (2014), setting itself as one of the most exciting 2.5D units in Japan.
The unit ended up performing live for the first time on Rejet Fes 2013, a performance that wasn’t released on DVD and still remains a unique experience for those that got to attend Marginal #4’s stage debut.
However, that status didn’t last longer and later in 2014 the group started to struggle with their identity and sound.
Marginal #4 faced a major slum between 2014 and 2016 with all-new singles released during that period being complete disasters – Bingo!!!! (2014) and UFO (2015) -, plagued with overcrowded compositions, lacking vocal performances, and a weird overall feeling that something was missing from the unit’s original exciting yet alluring sound.
In 2016, with the releases of YO-HO! and IV aile, Marginal #4 started to show signs of trying to overcome those struggles. However, the group still lacked consistency, something they were only able to regain with Choooose me (2017).
Since their debut, Marginal #4 have released 2 best ofs, 11 singles, 1 solo series, shuffle units releases, and performed live more than a handful of times, the most recent being the headlined show 「Marginal#4: Kiss kara Tsukuru Big Bang」Presents Pythagoras Production LIVE “Big Bang Fes”.
KENN has been a reliable member of the group, adding his own allure and flair to the group’s performances since day 1. When it comes to a live setting he falters at times, with consistency on the vocal end wavering a bit if things get too complex on stage, other than that he is overflowing with energy and you can always count on him to have a smile on his face at all time.
The group’s last release was GiVeMe (2018), since then the unit has embarked on shuffle unit and solo releases.
IDOLiSH7 (2015 -)
The game was an instant hit due to its well-done blend between a rhythm game and its story components.
This wasn’t like other idol games out there, focusing on delivering a rich story alongside high-quality music, ending up attracting a lot of people to this game with that formula.
KENN voices Tamaki Yotsuba, a hot-headed, passionate member of MEZZO and IDOLiSH7 that has awesome dancing and variety skills.
Since their debut, IDOLiSH7 has released several singles as a unit, cross units, special sub-units, and solo tracks, all of them well-received by their fans. Back in 2016, IDOLiSH7‘s first-ever full-length album “I7” set a record among seiyuu/2.5D units.
It was the first-ever album to score a #2 on Oricon Weekly in the album category. The album had an impressive number of sales, sweeping the charts when most people doubted they would be able to pull off anything like that at that time.
That feat showed the franchise’s popularity when it was only promoting itself through the game and music (no live events nor anime adaptation plans at that time). Their record was later broken by none other than TRIGGER, a rival/friend unit also from this franchise.
IDOLiSH7 performed live for the first time at IDOLiSH7 ROAD TO INFINITY, live show event held on 07/07/2018 and 08/07/2018 at MetLife Arena.
Abe was twice as active as everyone else, performing both as part of IDOLiSH7 as well as MEZZO.
Vocally, KENN can be a force to be reckoned with. He’s got a unique raspy voice that can go as high as a tenor can however with a baritone edge that is extremely appealing.
To top it all off, KENN is a showman as a performer, always making sure he impresses on stage – as well as on record – with ad-libs, fanservice, and little details that showcase just how confident and charismatic he is as a singer.
Within IDOLiSH7, KENN doesn’t get to shine much because he’s neither the main vocal nor part of the leading vocals within the group however the group does have a truckload of power at its core because of his vocals. In a live setting, fans can expect his energy and bubbly personality to show, making his performances always a treat to watch and listen to.
He does shine a whole lot with MEZZO, sub-unit that, due to its format (it’s a duo), enables him with plenty of opportunities to shine.
Tamaki Yotsuba released a sweet entry for IDOLiSH7‘s solo series 12 SONGS GIFT.
At the time “Four Leaf Ring” was released, I wrote in its review that “if there’s one thing that is common sense among the franchise’s fans is that KENN is easily one of the best vocalists in IDOLiSH7. He’s the owner of unique smoky and honeyed vocals that instantly make his performances enjoyable, on top of that, he’s got a perfected singing technique that few seiyuu within IDOLiSH7, can rival. His performance in “Four Leaf Ring” is engaging and lively, capturing the listener’s attention as soon as he tackles the first notes. In the end, KENN delivers a strong, melodic performance that fits well the instrumental’s groove, embraces the story behind the lyrics, and envelops the listener in a warm vibe. It is a performance filled with flair and gentleness.”
In 2019, KENN participated in IDOLiSH7 REUNION, live show that, for the very first time welcomed ZOOL on stage.
After the group having released several singles both for the anime adaptation as well as the game, it was announced in 2021 that IDOLiSH7 was going to release its 2nd full-length album.
Excitement was through the room among fans of the franchise.
“Opus” was released in January 2022 and blew everyone away with the group’s growth.
When “Opus” wraps up you have, indeed, the group’s best album to date. One that illustrates the growth IDOLiSH7 has gone through in the last couple of years, looking fondly to those memories while with an optimistic outlook for the future.
A couple of weeks later, IDOLiSH7 held its first-ever one-man live show.
IDOLiSH7 LIVE BEYOND “Op.7” was held at Saitama Super Arena (as well as livestreamed in over 15 countries around the world) on January 22 and 23, 2022.
As part of the celebrations of the 7th anniversary of the IDOLiSH7 franchise, it was announced a special cast event to take place in August 2022 as well as the release of group songs to celebrate their debuts.
At the same time, and following the 5th season of the story in the game, IDOLiSH7 are going to release a new single titled マロウブルー (Mallow blue).
The group is also confirmed to perform the opening theme for the 2nd cour of IDOLiSH7 Third Beat that will premiere in 2022.
MEZZO (2015 -)
As Tamaki Yotsuba, KENN is part of IDOLiSH7’s sub-unit, MEZZO.
The unit is known for its heart-wrenching and beautiful ballads and consists of Sogo Osaka (CV: Atsushi Abe) and Tamaki Yotsuba (CV: KENN).
Since its debut, the group has been all about its unique dynamic and harmony on the vocal end with Abe and KENN showcasing their singing skills – that more often than not go under the radar within IDOLiSH7 -, in a wide variety of songs that include ballads (frequent early on in the group’s career), rock, pop, jazz and R&B tunes.
In 2018, MEZZO left everyone in tears with what is, to this day, one of the most beautiful ballads ever released by a 2D group, “Ame“.
After releasing several singles since its debut in 2015, MEZZO finally released its 1st full-length album “Intermezzo” in 2021.
The CD included previously released songs, some fan favorites, as well as a couple of new songs. Among those and depending on the edition fans purchase, there are solo versions of the leading track 未来絵 (Mirai e).
MEZZO’s “Intermezzo” is the long-awaited 1st full-length album that everyone hoped would be good and it actually exceeded those expectations.
Growth is at its core but there’s plenty of depth in their songs as well as surprising performances by the duo’s vocals, KENN and Atsushi Abe.
Atsushi Abe & KENN no Kyo wa Benken desu!! (2020)
In 2020, KENN teamed up with fellow seiyuu, IDOLiSH7 and MEZZO member, Abe Atsushi for a trip to Hokkaido.
阿部敦とKENNの今日はべっけんです!! (Abe Atsushi & KENN no Kyo wa Benken desu!!) was released on DVD in 2020, including footage of their winter trip to Hokkaido to enjoy the snow, its delicacies as well as other activities.
This is it for this month’s SEIYUU DIGEST, hope you enjoyed it, and please do look forward to next month’s.