A voice acting legend. The emperor of BL. Rocker. It’s time to cover the career of the multi-talented seiyuu, musician and founder of Axl-One, Toshiyuki Morikawa.
BORN: January 26, 1967
OCCUPATION: seiyuu, singer, narrator, CEO
HEIGHT: 172 cm
A note, this article was written in 2016 and is currently undergoing a deep update.
Some information below may be dated or not updated.
Late 80s and 90s
Having debuted at the age of twenty, one would think that Morikawa took his first steps in the industry a little late, but this was just the beginning of his packed schedule and busy as well as a successful career.
After debuting and waiting two years to have any work, his first role was a minor character in RPG伝説ヘポイ (RPG Legend of Hepoi), following that he had other roles however only four years after his first job he would manage to have his first role as the main character in the football anime Aoki Densetsu Shoot! as Kamiya Atsushi, in the same year he was in Mobile Suit Gundam V as various minor role characters.
As one would expect, after his first roles he got the attention of many people and therefore managed to get more and more roles, both as supporting and as main characters which only ended up being an advantage to Morikawa himself since he was able to get experience from the many and so different roles he had gotten so far.
In the following years Morikawa appeared in several anime as the supporting, but with some importance to the storyline, and as main character, in Yu☆Gi☆Oh! as Katsuya Jonouchi.
2000 – 2016
Right at the beginning of the decade, Morikawa had a role in Inuyasha as Naraku – the original role was from another seiyuu that, unfortunately, died before recording for the role, Morikawa filled in for him- Devil May Cry as Dante, in Sengoku Basara Two as Kojourou Katakura.
In the action and romance anime Hanasakeru Seishounen he voiced Li Ren Fang, in D.Gray-man he was Tyki Mikk, in the famous vampire anime Diabolik Lovers, More Blood he was Carla Tsukinami, just to name a few.
Most of these roles are characters that leave a deep impression on the viewer given the thought that Morikawa has a deep voice, he often ends up being with a more rough-looking character or even the bad guy in the story.
In 2011 he quit Visual Arts and alongside Jun Fukuyama he founded Axl-One.
3 years later would be the time for Morikawa to win the award for Best Supporting Role.
If it was not enough, he is also very famous for dubbing numerous characters in games, another means for him to improve throughout this year.
His first appearance was in the fourth year of his career in the industry with the game カニカニパニック(Kanikani Panic).
Since his debut in the game department, he has been appearing in at least one, if not more, games a year which is perfect for those who are craving to listen to a deep and extremely high-quality performance delivered from Morikawa himself.
He was also in the RAVE series as Gail Glory, in ときめきメモリアル Girl’s Side 2nd Kiss (Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side 2nd Kiss) as Takafumi Wakaouji, in CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII, one of his most famous roles of all-time in the game industry, as Sephiroth, in Death Connection as Luciano, Yakuza 5 as Tatsuo Shinada, in Bakumatsu Rock as Hijikata Toshizo, God Eater as Gilbert McClain, among others.
Some anime that previously had a game or vice-versa, in which Morikawa has a character was also dubbed by him in the adaptation, some examples of that are Diabolik Lovers Lunatic Parade and Devil May Cry, just to name a few.
If you thought Morikawa’s talent stopped there then you are gravely mistaken, he also dubs CGI movies, and I’ll explain what they are.
CGI movies primarily are your typical anime movies but brought to another level, meaning that the characters resemble more a living person than a cartoon, examples of that could be Final Fantasy Child Advent.
This type of movie requires a different and more precise technique since you have to completely synchronize the lines with the character’s mouth, despite the difficulties, Morikawa has mastered it.
And if that wasn’t enough he is the official voice for Tom Cruise’s characters, aside from the fact fast that he has also dubbed other well-known actors such as Adam Sandler, Owen Wilson, Keanu Reeves, Colin Farell, Jude Law, Brad Pitt, and the late Paul Walker.
Adding to the already considerably full repertoire, Morikawa still manages to be a frequent guest of the NeoRomance event, since the first edition.
Morikawa has also shown quite capable to narrate in an amazing fashion, the reason why he is so prolific in this department as well, some of his works include NHKBSプレミアム「SHERLOCK」(NHKBS premium “SHERLOCK”), ディスカバリーチャンネル (Discovery channel), however, the list is endless.
He’s the official Japanese voice of Tom Cruise.
Each time he dubs a character he manages to make even the most cliché ones appear to be something completely new and fresh, he adds a certain personality to the character and what is even better is that he does it really well.
It’s not uncommon for seiyuu to have a career as a musician, take the examples of Miyano Mamoru or Daisuke Ono. What isn’t that common is a seiyuu having a real rock band, and that is the case with Morikawa.
He started out in a band with Heaven’s Door, he also had two more projects, 2Hearts– not active-, and Black Velvet– still active. As a member of a band with Heaven’s Door, Morikawa as one would probably guess created rock music.
This first experience served as a first contact with the music industry, aside from the character songs he already sang, and to also awaken the desire to, in the future, have his own band.
Morikawa Toshiyuki & Heaven’s Door released three albums and also had the opportunity to participate in live performances. In 2008, the band ended.
2HEARTS (2004 -)
His second try in the music industry was in 2004 with 2HEARTS, yet another rock band. This time the members consisted in Morikawa himself and a fellow seiyuu Fumiko Tachiki.
This time around their record label was Lantis known to nowadays be behind famous groups/artists such as OLDCODEX, Granrodeo or even Daisuke Ono and Kensho Ono.
2HEARTS released a total of 3 singles and 6 albums, overall the bands’ genre ranged from blues to electronic rock or even hard-rock.
BLUE STEEL KNIGHT, for instance, is one of those tracks that have a little from the rock and the electronic genre. The last time they released anything was in 2010.
Black Velvet (2009 -)
Having debuted in 2009, Black Velvet is a rock band and its frontman in Morikawa, the rest of the members are Kazuya (guitar), Pros (bass), Ita-shin (keyboard), and Tadd (Backing vocals and DJ).
Morikawa’s band has a rock sound, but not any type of rock, it’s old-school rock, in fact, some might think that they resemble Guns n’ Roses, and truth be told they’re not wrong.
One of their most known tracks is I Still…, a romantic power ballad in which Morikawa makes good use of his deep voice to deliver us an on-point performance.
At the time the band had signed a contract with Geneonuniversal, currently, they are with Marine Entertainment.
To sum up, Black Velvet has released a total of three singles, 1 mini-album, and 2 albums, once again their genre has ranged from hard-rock to grunge, a mix that has not failed so far.
Morikawa is one of those seiyuu with lots of things that take up all their free time, be it for dubbing or recording, when he is working with his band, but he sill has the time to have lots of radio shows throughout the years.
He is an extremely prolific seiyuu in this department, with some of the radio shows under his belt being BLEACH “B” STATION, NARUTO Radio and「幕末Rock」WEBラジオ Rock or Heaven?.
And with this, we end this month’s edition of SEIYUU DIGEST. Morikawa is an extremely talented seiyuu with lots of experience to back up his qualities, not only in the seiyuu industry but also in the music industry or even as the founder of his own seiyuu agency Axl-One. We hope all of you enjoyed this edition and please stay tuned for next month’s.