Seiyuu Digest #76 – Tomokazu Sugita

Quirky personality, booming bass voice, a repertoire of iconic roles in anime and games, and an awesome person, it’s no wonder that Tomokazu Sugita is beloved among seiyuu.

Tomokazu Sugita

KANJI: 杉田智和

BORN: October 11, 1980

OCCUPATION: seiyuu, narrator, actor, author, CEO

HEIGHT: 177cm

Tomokazu Sugita was born on October 11, 1980 in Saitama, Japan.

Estimated reading time: 44 minutes

Seiyuu

Young Sugita dreamed of being a temple priest or an economics teacher until he fell in love with voice acting.

According to Sugita, in an interview, when he was in middle school, he wrote the script for a stage performance at a school event and added sound effects plus background music to a recording of his own voice.

Hearing that, his older brother suggested he’d try out a job that would require the use of voice and speech. Now focused on become a voice actor, Sugita attended an audition to enter a voice actor training school however, he failed it.

In the following audition, he went all out and introduced himself in a manzai style to make a strong impression.

Manzai is a Japanese stand-up comedy involving two performers; one is called the “boke” (funny man), and the other is the “tsukkomi” (straight man), seeing how auditions for voice actor training schools are usually made solo, his presentation ended up being a mix of manzai and rakugo, which is even more impressive.

He passed the audition and thus joined Myuras entertainment agency.

While still in high school, Sugita won the Myuras & Animage Award at the Voice Actor Spring School sponsored by the Japan Narration Actor Institute. He then shifted from Myuras entertainment agency to Myuras Actors School, focusing solely on voice acting.

Sugita would end up making his debut as a seiyuu while in high-school. 17-year-old Sugita was making his dream come true by lending his voice to an announcement for Kamen Rider.

Contrary to most seiyuu, Sugita made his debut as a voice actor but that didn’t stop him from continuing his studies, juggling voice acting with high-school and even college (which he graduated from).

With the dissolution of his talent agency in 2001 – Myuras -, Sugita actually was freelance for almost a year before joining Atomic Monkey, talent agency founded by Tomokazu Seki.

He was represented by Atomic Monkey from 2002 up until 2020, when Sugita decided to leave the agency to found his own. 

1999 – 2005

Making a name for himself

Making a debut as a voice actor with only 17-years-old wasn’t a common thing back in 1999. Few were the voice actors making debuts that early on in their life.

Sugita joined the seiyuu industry when it was in a transition. Most of the voice actors were aged and there were few youngsters trying their luck at being voice actors.

Like most rookie seiyuu, Sugita had to go through several minor roles until a role with more air time and, especially, more dialogue lines, came his way.

That happened in 2003, when he landed a supporting role in the popular anime, Inuyasha.

Renkotsu in Inuyasha

Sugita was cast as Renkotsu, an expert military engineer and pyrotechnic. He’s a killer and part of the mercenary band Shichinintai.

On an interesting twist, Renkotsu actually doubted the intentions of the one that had revived him and the rest of Shichinintai, thus working against the mercenary band while being an active pain to deal with on the protagonist’s side.

When it came to the performance, Sugita delivered a classic 90s voice performance that wasn’t too theatrical or exaggerated.

Renkotsu ended up sounding smart and calculative. Although a brief performance, Sugita certainly had shown a bit of his talent in this performance.

Ryusei no Kira in Saint Beast

Kira or Ryusei no Kira in Saint Beast was Sugita’s first long-running role in anime.

Although not part of the main cast, Kira played an important supporting role in the story. Determined, serious, and protective, Kira was a constant in the 2 seasons and 2 OVAs it spawned.

Kensei Muguruma

In 2004, Sugita got his first role in a popular shounen anime series. He was cast as Kensei Muguruma, captain of the 9th Division in the Gotei 13 in the Bleach anime.

Despite the imposing demeanor and being easily irritable by childish behavior, Kensei ends up being a character important to Ichigo (the protagonist)’s growth and mastery of his talents and skills.

Sugita delivered a performance that embodied that gruff, imposing vibe but added a twist that made him, despite all that, reliable and trustworthy.

2006 – 2011

The big break

2006 would prove to be a special year in Tomokazu Sugita’s career. After years of showcasing his talents in minor and supporting roles, his time to shine was finally here.

Kyon in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

Sugita’s breakthrough role was as Kyon in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. There’s no denying it, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a critically acclaimed anime series both domestically as well as overseas.

Kyon was the starting point for what has been, so far, a career filled with snarky, sardonic, and cynical characters for Tomokazu Sugita.

He’s the main protagonist in the anime series (which spawned 2 seasons, 25 ONAs, and 1 movie), the only individual that doesn’t have any kind of psychic powers.

Gintoki Sakata

Also in the same year, he cast as Gintoki Sakata in the popular parody/action anime series Gintama, a role that, alongside the popularity garnered from voicing Kyon in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, made his popularity skyrocket.

Gintoki is a samurai living in an era when samurai are no longer needed and aliens have invaded Earth. He’s a fearsome fighter and a righteous person hiding behind his iconic fishy eyes and rather lazy and unmotivated behavior.

This is, undoubtedly, the character Sugita is best known for voicing. And it was the start of Sugita’s rise to stardom within the seiyuu industry.

After voicing Kyon and Gintoki, everyone in the seiyuu industry had their eyes on Sugita’s work. He started to be sought-after by many anime directors and ended up passing several auditions that landed him a fair share of good and varied roles.

Brooklyn Luckfield

After voicing Brooklyn Luckfield in the Super Robot Wars Alpha game in 2000, the time had come for the game to get an anime adaptation.

It came in 2006. He reprised his role as Brooklyn Luckfield in Super Robot Wars Original Generation: Divine Wars.

Takuma Onizaki

Still in the same year, Sugita reprised his role as Takuma Onizaki in the popular otome game, Hiiro no Kakera.

Takuma Onizaki is the first guardian that the main character meets and it’s one with which she shares a fate with. Takuma is calm and collected, at times showing more maturity than older characters in the series however, at his core, he’s still a bit immature, picking petty fights with the main character.

Although initially cold and distant, Takuma ends up developing feelings for the main character, feelings that remain ambiguous until much later in the 2nd season of the anime.

Fans of the game were already pretty familiar with Sugita’s solid performance as Takuma. His voice is gentle and reassuring, making the character come across as reliable yet, at times, immensely powerful.

Yuichi Aizawa in Kanon

Still in the same year, Sugita was cast as Yuichi Aizawa in Kanon.

Yuichi Aizawa broke a bit of the trend that was going for Sugita – sardonic characters that, at the same time, were timid or cold and aloof – by being energetic and outgoing.

In a way, this was a role that, on many levels, was similar to Kyon in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

An individual with no powers finds himself in the middle of a cast filled with psychic powers or affected by something psychic, trying to help them in whichever way possible.

However the story goes towards an emotional route, counting with plenty of tearjerker moments, with Sugita delivering a solid performance.

Aureolus Izzard in Toaru Majutsu no Index

2008 arrived and with it came another batch of solid characters. He was cast in Toaru Majutsu no Index as Aureolus Izzard, a powerful magician and alchemist.

This was quite the interesting performance from Sugita, playing an antagonist in the series.

Raven in Hakushaku to Yosei

Changing things around, Sugita was cast in the romance/adventure anime, Hakushaku to Yosei as Raven, a butler working for Edgar, one of the main characters in the series.

This was a challenging role for Sugita as it required the opposite of what he’d been doing up until then which was acting with emotion and depth. For Raven, a character that was broken emotionally, having been treated like a war machine, he was emotionless.

Sugita pulled it off neatly, making Raven – a supporting character – shine whenever on the screen.

Leon Mishima in MACROSS FRONTIER

In another twist, Sugita was cast as Leon Mishima in MACROSS FRONTIER.

This was yet another antagonist role albeit slightly different from others he’d previously done. He’s calculative and manipulative, using all means necessary to get what he wants.

According to the anime’s producer, after sorting out the character design, everyone on the project wanted Tomokazu Sugita to be its voice actor. And he was.

Still in the same year, Sugita reprised his roles as Kyon no Kira in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’s 2nd season and Gintoki in Gintama’s 4th season.

Hoshi in Arakawa Under the Bridge

2010 introduced Sugita’s fans to the eccentric Hoshi in the comedy series Arakawa Under the Bridge.

Hilarious shenanigans ensue every time Hoshi is in a scene either showcasing his musical talents or whenever he goes head-to-head in his rivalry with the series’ protagonist, Riku.

Keisuke in Togainu no Chi

Still in 2010, Sugita reprised his role as Keisuke in anime adaptation of the visual novel, Togainu no Chi.

Growing up together with the series’ protagonist Akira, Keisuke acts really protective of him something that, further down the series, leads to him going bonkers on his behavior towards him.

2011 continue the trend of mixing serious with comedic roles in Sugita’s repertoire.

Hajime Kanzaki in Beelzebub

He voiced Hajime Kanzaki in the comedy / action anime series Beelzebub.

Hajime is sadistic and hostile towards both allies and rivals if he believes people are in his way.

Once again, as a trend with the characters Sugita voices, Kanzaki has a righteous side, is pretty loyal to his subordinates and will go as far as cooperating with others for the things he holds a lot of pride for.

Kazuyoshi Usui in SKET DANCE

Wrapping up the year on a good note, Sugita was cast as Kazuyoshi Usui in SKET DANCE.

Kazuyoshi is quite the character being – apparently – calm and collected yet he knows everything about everybody at school and does his talking through a computer.

Other anime series he’s voiced characters in during this period of time include:

  • Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage
  • Honey and Clover II
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei
  • Yumeiro Patissiere
  • Inazuma Eleven
  • The Legend of the Legendary Heroes
  • Starry Sky
  • VitaminX Addiction

2012 – 2019

A reference in the seiyuu industry

With a track record of outstanding performances in popular and cult anime alike, the seiyuu industry started to look at Tomokazu Sugita as a reference.

Now that he’d made a name for himself, it was time to continue the good streak of interesting and, at times, funny roles in his repertoire.

Hidenori Tabata in Daily Lives of High School Boys

He voiced Hidenori Tabata, one of the 3 protagonists in the comedy / slice-of-life anime, Daily Lives of High School Boys.

He’s an extrovert and thus, the trio’s leader, leading the way for all the crazy shenanigans they get themselves into. Sugita was in his element for this role, fleshing Hidenori in a way that even his deadpan delivery was a highlight.

In the same year, Sugita reprised his roles as Gintoki in Gintama’: Enchōsen, Takuma Onizaki in the 2nd season of Hiiro no Kakera

Kagerou Shoukiin in Inu x Boku SS

2012 would end up being quite the strong year for Tomokazu Sugita. He was cast as the masochistic and eccentric Kagerou Shoukiin in the romance anime series Inu x Boku SS.

The off brand humor and running gags about Kagerou loving to be mistreated by the protagonist or calling everyone “human toilets” makes him one of the few characters to be genuinely funny, balancing with the series’ heavy tone mid-way through.

Reisi Munakata in K

If there’s a role that made a lot of people go crazy was Reisi Munakata in the action/mystery anime K. Calm and collected, extremely observant and smart, Munakata is not only the head of SCEPTER4 but also the Blue King.

Sugita’s bass voice and the character’s design made Munakata quite popular in the franchise.

Pace in La storia della Arcana Famiglia

He also reprised his role as the mood-maker Pace in the anime adaptation of the popular otome game, La storia della Arcana Famiglia.

He’s the type of character to use brawn over brains, resolving most of his issues with his fists.

Daisuke Nagase in Persona 4 The Animation

Sugita reprised his role as Daisuke Nagase in the Persona 4 game in its anime adaptation Persona 4 The Animation.

Despite his imposing built, Daisuke is calm and pretty reserved however, at times, irritable and blunt.

Among all the popular roles Sugita’s voiced in 2012, there’s one that had a massive impact, further solidifying his stance in the seiyuu industry as a reference, a voice actor that had, day in and day out, always the same quality in his acting.

Joseph Joestar in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

He was cast as Joseph Joestar in the popular anime, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

Joseph is the main protagonist of the 2nd arc in the franchise and is known for being hotheaded and confrontational as well as having an uncanny talent for predicting what others will say.

He’s also goofy and quite laidback, traits that Sugita fleshed out in a natural way.

2013 kicked off with another set of strong supporting roles for Sugita.

Marlo Freudenberg in Attack on Titan

He was cast in Attack on Titan as Marlo Freudenberg, a righteous recruit in the Scout Regiment and former military member.

Ragna the Bloodedge in BlazBlue Alter Memory

The BlazBlue game got its anime adaptation in 2013, with Sugita confirmed to reprise his role as Ragna the Bloodedge in BlazBlue Alter Memory.

Goto Hidenori in Samurai Flamenco

Still in the same year, he voiced the Goto Hidenori in Samurai Flamenco, a calm yet stern policeman that is put in the middle of the protagonist’s fight for crime as a “hero”.

Otori Raging

Surprising everyone, Tomokazu Sugita joined the Utapri franchise in 2013. He voices the eccentric Otori Raging in Utapri franchise since Uta no Prince-sama Maji Love 2000%.

After a couple of jam-packed years, things slowed down a bit in 2014, counting with fewer roles and, at the same time, less impactful ones.

Tadaomi Karasuma in Assassination Classroom

He voiced Tadaomi Karasuma in Assassination Classroom.

Tadaomi is an agent sent to monitor Korosensei, he’s known for being calm and kind yet strict and, on a first look, lacking emotions.

Despite being a supporting character in the series, Tadaomi is a regular presence throughout the series’ various seasons.

Tanaka Gundham in Danganronpa 3:Zetsubou-hen

2016 kicked off with a role in Danganronpa 3:Zetsubou-hen as Tanaka Gundham, character with an eccentric and dark personality that ends up being comic relief in the series.

Ron Muroboshi in NORN9

Still in the same year, Sugita reprised his role as Ron Muroboshi in the anime adaptation of the popular otome game, NORN9.

Escanor in Nanatsu no Taizai

Still in 2016, Sugita was cast in the popular shounen anime, Nanatsu no Taizai, as Escanor, character with quite a shift of personality throughout the day. His personality shifts from arrogant and boastful in the mornings to punny and submissive at night.

It’s not often that voice actors have to tackle drastic shifts in personality in the characters they voice however, it seemed like this role was made for Sugita given his range and comfort transitioning between voice tones and personalities in his performances.

Although a supporting role, Escanor was quite the highlight in the series, if not for its involvement in the story, at least for Sugita’s stellar performance.

2017 was a much quieter year for Sugita, toning down his load of voice acting work in anime. Although he does have credits in that year, nothing really stands out.

However, things change in 2018, with Sugita getting a role in the popular ONE PIECE anime series.

Katakuri Charlotte in ONE PIECE

He voiced Katakuri Charlotte, calm, serious and, at times, brutal, not losing anytime to solve his problems. He’s also one of the antagonists in the series.

Yusuke Kitagawa in Persona 5 The Animation

Yet another cool, calm and collected character for Sugita yet with a hidden pervert side.

He reprised his role as Yusuke Kitagawa in the anime adaptation of the popular handheld console game Persona 5, Persona 5 The Animation.

Taro Kabakura in Wotakoi

Perhaps one of the most loved roles by Sugita in 2018 was Taro Kabakura in the popular romance/comedy anime Wotakoi.

Like all characters in the series, he’s an otaku, however, a very specific one as he only geeks about heroes and bishoujo (having a figure collection with many of those).

Optimistic and genuine in all his interactions, Kabakura is one of the most beloved characters in the series.

As an interesting fact: Tomokazu Sugita and childhood friend + fellow seiyuu Miyuki Sawashiro are voicing characters that are an item in this series, with their dynamic consisting of hilarious bickering and negotiations.

Gyomei Himejima in Kimetsu no Yaiba

As the go-to voice for strong or even quirky characters in shounen anime, it came as no surprise to find Tomokazu Sugita voicing Gyomei Himejima in Kimetsu no Yaiba (2019).

Gyomei is a supporting character with quite the important role in the series. He’s a Demon Slayer with a lone wolf personality and a foul-mouth as the final touch. He ends up mentoring Genya Shinazugawa.

Itsuki Aoyama in Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth

Another year, another game reprisal under Sugita’s belt.

He reprised his role as Itsuki Aoyama in the anime adaptation of the puzzle game Stand My Heroes, Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth.

Other anime series he’s voiced characters in during this period of time include:

  • Shirokuma Café
  • Ixion Saga DT
  • Gingitsune
  • Cuticle Detective Inaba
  • Saint Seiya Omega
  • Nobunaga Concerto
  • Nobunaga the Fool
  • Terra Formars
  • GODZILLA
  • The Irregular at Magic High School
  • Ace of Diamond: Second Season
  • Charlotte
  • Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches
  • Cheer Boys!!
  • D.Gray-man Hallow
  • Hatsukoi Monster
  • Osomatsu-san
  • Uta no Prince-sama Maji Love Legend Star
  • Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma The Third Plate
  • Black Clover
  • Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
  • Goblin Slayer
  • Golden Kamuy
  • Pop Team Epic
  • Phantom in the Twilight
  • King of Prism: Shiny Seven Stars
  • RobiHachi

2020 –

A new start

2020 would mark a new start for Tomokazu Sugita in the seiyuu industry. He left his longtime talent agency Atomic Monkey and went on to found his own talent agency, AGRS.

The agency branches out and houses not only seiyuu talents but also features character management – character designs by Tomokazu Sugita – and other creative projects.

Sugita acts as the company’s Representative Director as well as it is its 1st seiyuu talent.

Still, it is worth noting that 2020 was an atypical year for the seiyuu industry as recordings were disrupted due to Covid-19 restrictions and even lockdowns, some anime series were postponed and thus, many seiyuu – including Sugita – found themselves not working for at least 2 – 4 months in that year.

Zen (Victor) in Mr Love: Queen’s Choice

He reprised his role as Zen (Victor) in the anime adaptation of Mr Love: Queen’s Choice.

Once again, Zen is a character that fits right with the typical profile of the characters that Sugita usually voices: imposing characters with a strong sense of justice and bottled-up emotions.

The anime ended up not adapting the game’s story piece by piece, instead changing its ending and thus, stripping away a critical moment in the story that was starred by Zen.

Still, it was a solid performance, the best among all members in the cast.

Kang ManSeok in The God of High School

Sugita was cast in The God of High School as the violent and imposing participant of G.O.H Tournament in the metropolitan region, Kang Man Seok.

Ango Sakaguchi in Bungou to Alchemist: Shinpan no Haguruma

He then reprised his role as Ango Sakaguchi in anime adaptation of the smartphone game Bungou to Alchemist, Bungou to Alchemist: Shinpan no Haguruma.

Shuu Bi in Back Arrow

2021 kicked off on a quiet note, with Sugita getting a role in the Back Arrow anime as Shuu Bi, a former High Diviner and magistrate of the Imperial Palace of the Republic of Rekka.

Sugita is confirmed to voice Tobikichi Usahara in Uramichi Oniisan as well as return as Kensei Muguruma in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War.

Other anime series he’s voiced characters in during this period of time include:

  • Shadowverse
  • ID: Invaded
  • Appare-Ranman!
  • Bakuten!!
  • Gintama: The Final

Awards

At the 3rd Seiyuu Awards in 2009, Tomokazu Sugita won the Best Supporting Actor award.

His performances as Kivat-bat the 3rd in Kamen Rider Kiva, Leon Mishima in Macross Frontier, and Raven in Hakushaku to Yosei were pointed out as the reason he won the award.

Veteran seiyuu Kazuhiko Inoue shared the Best Supporting Actor award with Sugita.

Radio

Radio work has been a big focus of Sugita’s since his debut as a voice actor.

On the radio Sugita is as people know him: friendly, playful and always with an otaku reference to throw people off.

Sugita’s first steps in radio were with Saint Beast Kemonotachi no HEAVEN’S PARTY in 2003. The show was on air until 2010.

That would be the radio show that showed how entertaining he was as a host, holding his own pretty well and making everyone around him comfortable from the get-go.

After that, Sugita started to be invited to several radio shows as well as host his own, some of those long-running radio shows about all things anime and games.

Some of the radio shows he’s best known for include:

Super Robot OG Net Radio Umasugi WAVE (2007 -)

Super Robot OG Net Radio Umasugi WAV

Almost 15 years later, Super Robot OG Net Radio Umasugi WAVE is still going strong. This is Sugita’s longest running co-hosting gig on radio.

The radio show was created initially to promote the Divine Wars anime but, as time passed, Tomokazu Sugita, Masaaki Endoh, Mai Aizawa, and Rie Saito continued to host it with a different focus: feature and promote up and coming video game titles in that universe.


Sugita Tomokazu no Anigera Deidon (2009 -)

Tomokazu Sugita and Mafia Kajita

In 2009, Sugita started hosting the anime/games themed radio show, “Sugita Tomokazu no Anigera Deidon“.

With regular guest Mafia Kajita, Sugita has been consistently covering all things games and anime on this radio show, even inviting fellow seiyuu to talk about the projects they were cast in.

This is one of Sugita’s most popular and long-running radio shows.


JOESTAR RADIO (2020 – 2021)

Since 2020, Tomokazu Sugita, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Daisuke Ono, Yuki Ono, and Kensho Ono co-host JOESTAR RADIO, radio show covering all things JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

The show ran from 2020 up to March 2021.

The radio aired in preparation for what was announced later in April 2021 during the special event, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: The Animation Special Event ~ JOESTAR The Inherited Soul.

Other radio shows include: Kamen Rider Kiba web radio “Kibaraji” (2008 – 2009), SAY YOU Channel KISS Of Voice! (2009 – 2010), BlazBlue Official WEB Radio “Bururaji” (2009 -), Kazuhira Miller’s “Kazuraji.” (2010), Sengoku Taisen Ibunroku (2011), Daily Lives of High School Boys WEB Radio (2011 – 2012), Gatchaman Crowds Radio ~ Insight ~ (2015), PERSONA5 the Animation Radio “Kai Talk!” (2018), between many more.

Games

When it comes to this medium of entertainment, it is hard to find another seiyuu as prolific as himself.

With over 200 credits in video games, Sugita is an undeniable name that you’ll have an insanely high chance of coming across while playing a game.

Whether otome, action, RPG, ecchi, adventure, horror, he is everywhere, being one of those voices that fans will instantly recognize.

But first things first.

Getsuei Academy Kou

Sugita not only voices characters in games but he also has his own game based on a doujin light novel he wrote. “Getsuei Academy Kou” was adapted into a visual novel released in 2013.

Brooklyn Luckfield in Super Robot Wars franchise (2000 – 2007)

Brooklyn Luckfield

His first steps in this side of the industry – voicing characters – were in 2000. He got the role of Brooklyn Luckfield in Super Robot Wars Alpha.

He would end up reprising this role 8 times between 2000 and 2010 (5 in games and 3 in anime/ONA), making this one of the most popular characters that Sugita has voiced.

Kazuhira Miller in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010 – 2014)

Kazuhira Miller
Kazuhira Miller

Between 2010 and 2014, Sugita voiced Kazuhira Miller, a member of the Militaires Sans Frontières and a recurring support character in the Metal Gear series.

Alvin in Tales of Xillia series (2011 – 2012)

Alvin

In 2011, Sugita joined the extremely popular Tales of franchise by voicing Alvin in Tales of Xillia series.

Alvin is one of the playable characters in the game, counting with a laid-back and welcoming demeanor that contrasts with his gruff and tough look, as pointed by some characters he comes across in the games.

Sugita’s acting perfectly captured Alvin’s whole “my pace” vibe, fleshing him out to be one of the most interesting characters in the Tales of Xillia series.

Ragna The Bloodedge in BlazBlue: Chronophantasma (2008 – 2018)

Ragna The Bloodedge
Ragna The Bloodedge

In the opposite direction was Ragna The Bloodedge. Sardonic, rude at most times, and extremely stubborn, on a first look, Ragna is not a typical character you’d find Sugita voicing.

However, as people played the BlazBlue games, it was noticeable that deep down, Ragna had a soft side to himself as well as he was compassionate.

This gap between looks and personality is something that has marked Tomokazu Sugita’s career, counting with plenty of voiced characters that have such constrasts.

Chrom in Fire Emblem franchise (2012 – 2018)

Chrom

In 2012, he was cast as Chrom, the main protagonist of Fire Emblem Awakening.

He would eventually reprise that role 6 other times over the course of 6 years, with 2 of those being within the Fire Emblem franchise.

The other 4 were on Smash Bros games and other fighting games by Capcom.

Ron Muroboshi in NORN9 (2013 – 2016)

Ron Muroboshi

Within the otome game’s industry, one of Sugita’s most popular roles is the suspicious yet friendly Ron Muroboshi in the NORN9 game franchise.

Aside from the main entry in the game series, he’s reprised the role 3 additional times: NORN9 VAR COMMONS (2014), NORN9 LAST ERA (2015) and NORN9 ACT TUNE (2016).

Yusuke Kitagawa in Persona 5 (2016 – 2020)

Yusuke Kitagawa

In 2016, Sugita was chosen to voice Yusuke Kitagawa in Persona 5. The critically acclaimed game has 4 additional games, tying up or expanding upon the story of Persona 5.

Yusuke Kitagawa is one of the playable characters in the game. He’s passionate about art, with everything he does, in a way, influencing his aesthetics and further contributing for his growth as an artist.

He’s quite eccentric yet level-headed and mature, leading to others relying on him. This character paired with Sugita’s voice and acting skills easily stood out in the game.

Zen in Mr Love: Queen’s Choice (2019 -)

Zen (Victor)

In 2019, Tomokazu Sugita was chosen to be part of the Japanese dub of the popular smartphone game Mr Love: Queen’s Choice.

He voices Zen in the Japanese version (for those that play the English version: Victor), CEO of the Loveland Financial Group and one of the 4 romantic interests of the main character (the player).

Strict, results-driven and cold – particularly in the earlier interactions -, Zen is a gentleman and, deep down, a caring person looking for someone he met in the past. Throughout the game, the players get to know his past, connections to the player character, powers as well as his intentions.

Sugita’s performance fleshed out pretty well how Zen grows and slowly opens to the main character, showing a gentler and caring side to his, otherwise, cold facade.

Aniyan Kunyan in Final Fantasy VII Remake (2020)

Aniyan Kunyan

In 2020, Sugita was cast in the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII Remake. He voiced Aniyan Kunya, a dancer and side character in the game.

Jesse in The Last of Us: Part II (2020)

Jesse

Still in 2020, Sugita was chosen to participate in the Japanese dub of The Last of Us: Part II.

He was in charge of dubbing Jesse, one of the supporting characters in the game, having a bit of importance to Ellie’s main quest.

Other games he’s voiced characters in include:

  • Bleach the King of Fighters SuperNOVA2 (2007)
  • Corpse Party Blood Covered (2008)
  • Togainu no Chi (2008)
  • Kamen Rider: Climax series (2009)
  • Samurai Warriors 3 (2009)
  • Starry Sky (2009)
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (2012)
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle (2013)
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (2017)
  • Catherine: Full Body (2019)
  • Death Stranding (2019)

For a more extensive list of the roles Sugita has in games, please refer to his official Japanese wikipedia page.

Acting

Despite being in one the busiest periods in his career as a voice actor – 2010 – 2016 -, Tomokazu Sugita still found some free time to show a bit of his acting chops.

Wonderful World (2010)

Tomokazu Sugita’s first role as an actor was in Daisuke Namikawa’s director debut movie “Wonderful World”.

He played the role of a priest alongside a star-studded seiyuu lineup that included Mamoru Miyano (in the leading role), Showtaro Morikubo, Daisuke Namikawa, Tomokazu Seki, Rikiya Koyama, and more.

Corpse Party Book of Shadows (2016)

Tomokazu Sugita on the set of Corpse Party movie

In 2016, Sugita appeared a student corpse in the live action movie adaptation of Corpse Party, Corpse Party Book of Shadows.

He’s also got acting credits in DearGirl〜Stories〜THE MOVIE -ACE OF ASIA- and Lychee Light Club.

Narration / Dubbing

Tomokazu Sugita has been active as a narrator since the start of his career.

His trademark bass voice is an asset for narration and his tone, diction and delivery work pretty well for this type of voice acting.

He’s a well-known narrator for Nippon TV and NHK’s TV shows and documentaries however, he’s done narration work for a wide variety of TV stations.

Some of his narration credits include KAMEN RIDER DRAGON KNIGHT, Asian Ace, MUSIC JAPAN, Tabi suru Chef no Gyoten Recipe, KEYABINGO!, Rising Star Hiyaku no Himitsu, between many more.

Sugita is a familiar name for fans of the Kamen Rider tokusatsu franchise. He’s voice characters in more than 10 movies/series in the franchise.

Expect him to lend his voice to a lot of TV and radio commercials as well, being pretty common finding him voicing game commercials.

When it comes to dubbing, Sugita has plenty of credits under his belt. He usually dubs characters played by actors with deep, bass voices with Chris Hemsworth, Brandon Routh, and Brendan Fraser being actors he dubs with some frequency.

Among his dubbing credits are movies/foreign TV series such as Men in Black: International, Shazam!, Power Rangers, Pacific Rim, Dolittle, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Monster Hunter, THE KING OF FIGHTERS, Glee, ARROW, THE FLASH, The Emoji Movie and more.

Drama CDs

When it comes to drama CDs, Sugita has one of the biggest repertoires.

Throughout his career, Sugita has been active in this field, voicing, in his early days as a voice actor, characters in BL and drama CD adaptations of manga.

Most of his roles in otome drama CDs were reprisals of roles in otome games – La storia della Arcana Famiglia, Angelique, NORN9, etc. – but he’s still got a fair share of characters in original drama CDs.

As time passed, Sugita slowly stopped doing work in the BL scene as well as slowed down on lending his voice to otome drama CDs or drama CD adaptations of manga. He still does work in drama CDs from time to time though.

He’s got over 70 credits in drama CDs. He’s voiced characters in drama CDs such as:

  • Togainu no Chi,
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker – Heiwa to Kazuhira no Blues,
  • Maid Sama!,
  • Broadcast o tsuppashire!,
  • Plus 20 cm no Kyori,
  • Butoh no Techo ~ Un Carnet de Bal ~,
  • Nekrato Holic,
  • Chinmoku no Okami,
  • Shitsuji no tokken,
  • Candy Quartz apartment,
  • Egoist Prince,
  • Are you Alice?,
  • La storia della Arcana Famiglia,
  • Angelique series,
  • Weiß kreuz Wish A Dream Collection 4 〜FIRST MISSION〜,
  • SHUFFLE!,
  • Starry☆Sky,
  • Saint Beast,
  • CELL DIVISION“HUG&KICK”
  • NORN9,
  • VitaminX

For an extended credits list featuring all his work on drama CDs, I thoroughly welcome you to check his official Japanese Wikipedia page.

Music

Sugita was never in the music industry nor been part of any music projects within the seiyuu industry. However, he does have credits in character songs for anime series such as BLEACH, SKET DANCE, IXION SAGA, and VitaminX.

For those more curious about Sugita’s singing, his tone is low, making the best out of his trademark deep bass voice. He’s not a particularly skilled singer but fares rather well whenever he has to perform a character song.

In 2019, Sugita co-penned lyrics for Yuki Ono’s かつて僕だった君へ, song included in the album “Winter Voice Friends“.

Variety

Chaos. Loads of chaos and witty remarks. That’s what you can expect from Tomokazu Sugita on variety shows.

He’s a natural when it comes to these, being relaxed at all times, cashing in on things other seiyuu may say and use those against them, explore the borderline between acceptable content for minors and more, to is a natural on variety events.

From being a cool host to completely messing up everything, even leaving other seiyuu wondering what is happening and in what they’ve put themselves in, Sugita is incredibly loved for his quirkiness that more often than not leads to hilarious events and or footage.

He’s got plenty of credits on variety shows, so let’s cover some of the most iconic and/or recent credits of his.

Tokyo Encounter (2010 – 2014)

The most iconic variety show Sugita has co-hosted is Tokyo Encounter.

The TV show aired on AT-X from 2010 up until 2013 and counted with the Yuichi Nakamura Tomokazu Sugita combo as the MCs.

In this show, both talked about everything otaku: games, anime, and even invited fellow seiyuu to join them playing games.

The show is at the core of some of the running gags going for Sugita as well as the Nakamura – Sugita duo such as the Norio Wakamoto imitations, Sugita’s deep appreciation for fellow seiyuu Houko Kuwashima.

The show wrapped up in 2013 but counted with a special episode that aired in 2014.


Tokyo Encounter 2 (2014 -)

The Sugita – Nakamura duo returned to co-host the 2nd season of Tokyo Encounter. The premise remained the same: geek about video games, voice acting and anime while bringing in seiyuu guests.

Since 2014, Tokyo Encounter is one of the most popular and beloved TV shows hosted by seiyuu.


Ryuichi Kijima’s Kono Buta Yarou (guest in 2019)

In 2019, Tomokazu Sugita guested on Ryuichi Kijima’s Kono Buta Yarou.

In between Sugita’s usual shenanigans with the dummyhead mic as well as teasing and trolling Kijima to no end while with a straight face, both had a blast and fans were in tears.


Comics More presents Ito Kento to erabu! Denshi Comic taisho (guest in 2019)

Still in the same year, Tomokazu Sugita guested on Comics More presents Ito Kento to erabu! Denshi Comic taisho, variety show hosted by Kento Ito that counts with talk about manga that was submitted to Denshi Comic Taisho 2020.


Tomokazu Sugita / AGRS official YouTube channel (2020 -)

Tomokazu Sugita official youtube channel

Tomokazu Sugita not only turned into the CEO of his own company in 2020 but also kicked off his own Youtube channel. On his channel, fans can find talk about anime, games, v-tubers, and more.

Facts

If it were me, I would remember the face of everyone there forever

The abuse of power and bullying by the director and the cast of Kokoro Connect towards Mitsuhiro Ichiki is well known. The anime’s director as well as Takuma Terashima and Hisako Kanemoto however, stated that it was all but a “practical joke”.

Mitsuhiro Ichiki, still a rookie, auditioned for Kokoro Connect only for it to be a hidden camera prank and, as a matter of fact, there was no role to audition for. After backlash from fans, Ichiki actually got a role however as the “publicity chief” for the anime, visiting venues across Japan to promote it.

On Sugita’s game-centric radio show “anigera”, a fan mail mentioned the rumors and that’s when Sugita got curious and asked Ichiki about what had happened.

For those that listened to that episode 2 things we noticeable: what happened to Ichiki was pure bullying and the people responsible had only gotten a slap in the wrist for it and Sugita, who is usually laidback and upbeat, was livid.

After quietly listening to the story, Sugita said:

If it were me, I would remember the face of everyone there forever

Since then, it is well known Tomokazu Sugita’s complete disregard for Takuma Terashima, the voice actor that led the charge on the cruel “practical joke” that almost destroyed the hopes of the young and still inexperienced voice actor at that time, Mitsuhiro Ichiki.

Whenever Sugita is on the same event as Terashima, he does not interact with him and even if prompted by Terashima to comment on something, he ignores him.

Fans saw in Sugita not only a talented voice actor but also a person with strong morals, standing up for fellow voice actors suffering from the abuse of power that lingers.

Although not intentionally, Sugita got a lot of respect (more than he already had at that time) as he stood up for Ichiki, not stopping him from telling the story on the radio and even going as far as commenting on it about how he’d deal with the situation.

Sugita didn’t care for his “image” when he made that comment, he was protecting a fellow seiyuu that just wanted to make a name for himself by working hard through an honest route.

He showed that he is on the right side of the industry.


Close friendship with Yuichi Nakamura

When someone mentions the best known friendships in the seiyuu industry, Tomokazu Sugita and Yuchi Nakamura’s is one of the very first to be mentioned.

They met in 2002 on the set of Dennou Boukenki Web Diver. Sugita was surprised to find someone his age at the recording. They quickly hit it off and became friends.

They have a similar sense of humor, something that you can easily tell from their dirty jokes as well as dropping anime/games references out of the blue on Tokyo Encounter or even at events they attend together.

Their budding relationship is something that has escalated to the point that it got so popular that even fans can’t imagine one without the other close by. Anime directors also noticed that and Sugita + Nakamura are frequently cast in the same anime series (at times, playing characters opposite to each other).

Fellow seiyuu joke around with their closeness, with Sugita helping fan the flames playfully claiming to be “Nakamura’s backup wife“.


Childhood friends with Miyuki Sawashiro

It is well known how close are Tomokazu Sugita and Miyuki Sawashiro.

They know each other since they were young teens. Sugita and Sawashiro attended the same training school at that time and since then they are close friends.

It is also well known that, years prior to Miyuki Sawashiro’s marriage, Tomokazu Sugita proposed to her.

This, of course, ended up being a running gag between both of them – especially talked about in any events both happened to attend at the same time – but also something that showed just how much the two are close to the point that joking about it was totally fine.


Cosplaying as his second nature

If you’re familiar with Tomokazu Sugita, you’ve probably come across photos of him cosplaying Gintoki (from Gintama), Hoshi (Arakawa Under the Bridge), or even going all-out for his female V-tuber look (all with the pink ponytails and everything), between many other characters.

Sugita enjoys cosplaying and has done it plenty of time, much to his fans’ amusement.


Healthy Rivalry with Tomokazu Seki

Despite having been part of Atomic Monkey – talent agency owned by Tomokazu Seki – for a decade, Tomokazu Sugita has always considered Seki as his rival.

The reasons: they share the same given name and Sugita sees in Seki a genuinely talented voice actor and actor.


Master of imitations

It is well known among Sugita’s fans that he’s a master at impersonating fellow seiyuu.

His best-known impersonations are of Showtaro Morikubo, Toru Furuya, Shuichi Ikeda, Banjo Ginga, Unsho Ishizuka, Kaneto Shiozawa, Rikiya Koyama, Show Hayami, Takehito Koyasu and Norio Wakamoto (known for his unique booming voice).


Friends with Hideo Kojima

Tomokazu Sugita and Hideo Kojima

This is no surprise for fans of Tomokazu Sugita.

His friendship with the visionary video game designer, director, producer and writer is well known.

It goes back to the time that Sugita first worked on Kojima’s METAL GEAR SOLID games – METAL GEAR SOLID PEACE WALKER -, Metal Gear Solid V, and keeps going strong as both recently worked together, with Sugita voicing Wandering MC (in the Japanese dub of the game) in Death Stranding.


Ambitious and active

Despite Sugita being well known for his passion for anime and games, his teen self was like that but with an extra: he was extremely active and ambitious.

He was head of the tennis club at his junior high school and, while in high school, he was part of the Shorinji Kempo club (1-dan). He was also passionate about various fields, namely teaching, design and even thought about being a temple priest before coming across voice acting.

Young Sugita was ambitious and those ambitions carried over to his adult self, with Sugita being more than just a voice actor, even writing light novels and producing games.


With this, we wrap up another Seiyuu Digest. In the meantime, don’t forget to check past Seiyuu Digests (some of those recently updated) – HERE.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hello. I liked your article about Sugita-san’s career, but his role as Escanor in Nanatsu no Taizai (I think it was in 2018) is not mentioned.

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