Seiyuu Digest #99 – Ayumu Murase

A vocal chameleon with an impressive vocal range, Ayumu Murase is one of the biggest talents in the voice acting industry in Japan.

Ayumu Murase

Ayumu Murase

KANJI: 村瀬歩

BORN: December 14, 1988

OCCUPATION: voice actor, singer

HEIGHT: 1,72 cm

Ayumu Murase was born on December 14, 1988 in Los Angeles, California and is currently represented by VIMS.

Seiyuu

Murase lived in the United States of America until middle school. While in the US, Murase’s voice was actually much higher than it now is. He mentioned that his voice was the same tone and pitch as the female seiyuu, Tomoko Kaneda.

One thing that didn’t change when Murase’s voice changed was his vocal range. He has, since then, a wide vocal range and can hit high notes with ease.

Upon returning to Japan, he lived in Aichi until graduating high school and then moved to Tokyo while attending university in Kyoto.

Due to his love of watching theatre plays, he aimed to become a voice actor and enrolled in the Japan Narration Actor Institute.

What would follow was a career with plenty of highlights and recognition across the board from both fans and fellow seiyuu.

A note that starting from here, there may be spoilers about some of the anime series Ayumu Murase voiced characters in. Read at your own risk.

2011 – 2013

The first steps and first leading role

Ayumu Murase made his debut as a voice actor in 2011 with a minor role in the anime series, Persona 4 the ANIMATION.

The rest of the year ended up being uneventful, with no other roles on the horizon, something that normally happens to rookie seiyuu.

Shun Aonuma
Shun Aonuma

However, Murase’s 1st leading role arrived earlier than most rookie seiyuu. In 2012, he was cast as Shun Aonuma in the anime series, Shinsekai yori.

Aonuma is one of the 5 main characters in the series and while in most of the series, he is voiced by female seiyuu Mai Todou, for his 14-year-old version, Ayumu Murase took over the reins to deliver a really solid performance.

Rui Ninomiya
Rui Ninomiya

A year later, he was cast as Rui Ninomiya, a young programmer with superb intellect, in the sci-fi anime series, Gatchaman Crowds.

A nice touch here is that the character is trilingual, being able to speak English, Japanese, and Chinese, something that Ayumu Murase can – and managed to – tackle pretty easily.

He reprised the role of Rui Ninomiya in 2014 for Gatchaman Crowds: Embrace.

In this period of time, he had a couple of minor and supporting roles in anime series such as:

  • Sakamichi no Apollon (2012),
  • Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (2012),
  • Sword Art Online (2012),
  • Naruto SD Rock Lee Youth Full Power Ninden (2012),
  • Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince (2013)
  • Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. (2013)
  • Love Lab (2013)
  • Nagi no Asu kara (2013)

2014

Shoyo Hinata, a spike to stardom

Shoyo Hinata
Shoyo Hinata

It wouldn’t take long until Ayumu Murase got his big breakthrough in the voice acting industry.

In 2014, he was cast as Shoyo Hinata, the protagonist in the popular sports anime series, Haikyuu!!.

Hinata is an upbeat, ambitious, and cheerful individual that is too passionate about volleyball, as such, he is not the best student, something he shares with the team’s setter and ace, Tobio Kageyama (CV: Kaito Ishikawa).

Over the course of 6 years, 5 seasons, and several OVAS and movies, fans of the series saw Hinata and the rest of Karasuno’s High growing before their eyes, shifting from a dysfunctional volleyball team into a team to be reckoned with, with each member then setting their sights in achieving their dreams in or outside of volleyball.

The anime series turned into a hit and Ayumu Murase’s career took an interesting turn, with him now being a sought-after talent for anime series.

Heito Isaku
Heito Isaku

The year, however, started with one of the most unusual and spine-chilling performances by Murase up until now. He was cast as Heito Isaku in the psychological anime series, M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane.

This was the first time that Murase showcased not only his vocal range on the lower end but also his emotional range as he gave life to Isaku’s psychopath personality.

Joker
Joker

Before the end of the year, Murase voiced the passionate phantom thief, Joker in the comedy anime series, Kaitou Joker. He reprised this role across 4 seasons from 2014 until 2016.

The rest of the year would end up being incredibly busy with Murase racking up supporting roles in anime series such as:

  • Nobunagun (2014)
  • Noragami (2014)
  • Gin no Saji 2nd Season (2014)
  • Fairy Tail (2014)
  • Yu☆Gi☆Oh! Arc-V (2014)
  • Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (2014)
  • Hitsugi no Chaika (2014)
  • Nobunaga Concerto (2014)
  • Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji (2014)
  • Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (2014)
  • Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle (2014)

2015 – 2019

Consistency and avoiding typecasting

After shooting to fame, Ayumu Murase started to see an increase in the number of roles he got. But he also started to see some of the roles going in the same energetic and intense line as Haikyuu!!’s Hinata.

Still, he managed to have a variety of roles that put not only a focus on his skills and versatility as a voice actor but also tapped into different sides of his vocal range. As such, in a way, Murase managed to avoid being typecasting although initially, it seemed like he would end up going that way.

But avoiding typecasting was, indirectly, to stray away from voicing leading or main characters in anime. This led to Murase voicing fewer leading characters from this point on.

However, he voiced intriguing and, at times, very complex supporting characters that better highlighted his skills.

Haruka Sakurada
Haruka Sakurada

In 2015, he was cast as one of the main characters in the slice-of-life anime series, Joukamachi no Dandelion. He voiced the quiet and logical Haruka Sakurada.

Yuuto Ijika
Yuuto Ijika

A year later, he was cast as Yuuto Ijika in the fantasy anime series, Sousei no Onmyouji.

Confident, powerful, and a showoff, Yuuto is a character that strayed away from what Murase had done before.

While not always the spotlight in this series, the character ended up being perfect for Murase to showcase his emotional range and voice acting skills.

Hugh the Dark Algernon III
Hugh the Dark Algernon III

Still in the same year, Murase was cast as Hugh the Dark Algernon III, one of the supporting characters in the anime series, Servamp.

Allen Walker
Allen Walker

The biggest role of the year was, undoubtedly as Allen Walker in the popular shounen anime series, D.Gray-Man.

Murase was cast as Allen, replacing the original voice actress Sanae Kobayashi. This led to a wave of discontentment among the series’ fanbase as the original voice acting was iconic and pretty much everyone perceived the character to have that rather raspy yet youthful voice tone.

Being a voice actor with a similar edge to himself, Murase appeared as a natural replacement as the whole series decided to recast all characters despite not being a reboot.

Murase did the best in his portrayal of Allen. However, with most of the new cast not fitting with the characters they were voicing and fans not really that happy about all of this led to the series not having as much of an impact as expected.

Chuuta Kokonose
Chuuta Kokonose

Murase was back to voicing a leading character in an anime series as the kind yet hot-headed Chuuta Kokonose in ēlDLIVE.

The anime itself was not well received in Japan as well as overseas due to a weak story and character development, something that was reflected in the voice actors in this series whose performances went under the radar.

Mahmut Tuğrul
Mahmut Tuğrul

Still in the same year he was cast as the protagonist in the drama anime series, Shoukoku no Altair, the righteous and smart Mahmut Tuğrul.

Luck Voltia
Luck Voltia

Despite not being a leading role, his performance as the wacky and energetic Luck Voltia in the shounen anime series Black Clover was one of the highlights of the year.

With a complex personality that is borderline sociopathic, Voltia was perfect for Murase to showcase his emotional range, acting skills and the nuance that he can add to his performances.

Cartaphilus
Cartaphilus

And Ayumu Murase continued to voice deeply complex characters with his performance as Cartaphilus standing among the supporting cast in the anime series, Mahoutsukai no Yome.

Ryou Asuka
Ryou Asuka

And that trend continued in 2018, with Murase being cast as apathetic and calculative Ryou Asuka, one of the series’ protagonists and an anti-hero turned villain due to certain circumstances.

This shift in the character’s approach to the story ended up leading to interesting – at times, surprising – moments at the same time that highlighted Murase’s range tackling the tricky apathetic personality and later getting more emotional with his transformation into the series’ antagonist.

Asuto Inamori
Asuto Inamori

In the same year, he was cast as Asuto Inamori, the protagonist in the kids sports anime series, Inazuma Eleven: Ares.

Skip Banana Fish
Skip

In the Summer of 2018, Ayumu Murase was cast as Skip.

Welcoming, confident at all times, and trusted for his dependable skills, Skip is one of the most beloved supporting characters in the popular drama/crime anime series, BANANA FISH.

Toru Muhyo
Toru Muhyo

He was then cast as Toru Muhyo in the mystery anime series, Muhyo to Rouji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho.

The anime itself wasn’t particularly remarkable however, one of the highlights was the voice acting in which Murase showed that his being chosen as the series’ emotionless and genius protagonist had been perfect casting.

Kazuki Yasaka
Kazuki Yasaka

In 2019, Ayumu Murase was cast as Kazuki Yasaka, one of the main characters in supernatural anime series, Sarazanmai.

Tori Himemiya
Tori Himemiya

Still in the same year, he reprised his role as fine‘s Tori Himemiya in the anime adaptation of the Ensemble Stars!! franchise.

Iruma Suzuki
Iruma Suzuki

One of the biggest roles of the year for Murase was the hilarious pacifist Iruma Suzuki in the comedy anime series, Mairimashita! Iruma-kun.

Maki Hokari
Maki Hokari

Making great use of Murase’s vocal range, he was cast as Maki Hokari, a soft-spoken girl that frequents the underground bar, Pipe Cat, in the anime series, Kabukichou Sherlock.

Now, this is one of those performances that start really innocent and quickly turn into something else.

I won’t be spoiling this as the series is well worth checking out and Hokari’s “transformation” is something that will impress due to Murase’s emotional and vocal ranges.

In this period of time, he had supporting roles in anime series such as:

  • Kamisama Hajimemashita (2015)
  • Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (2015)
  • Durarara!!x2 Shou (2015)
  • Show By Rock!! (2015)
  • Gangsta. (2015)
  • Durarara!!x2 Ten (2015)
  • Overlord (2015)
  • Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou (2015)
  • Super Lovers (2016)
  • Ajin: Demi-Human (2016)
  • Battery (2016)
  • Bungou Stray Dogs (2016)
  • Sakamoto desu ga? (2016)
  • Shounen Maid (2016)
  • Masamune Datenicle (2016)
  • Hatsukoi Monster (2016)
  • Bananya (2016)
  • Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru (2016)
  • Yuri!!! on Ice (2016)
  • The iDOLM@STER SideM (2017)
  • Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Happy Kiss! (2018)
  • Senjuushi (2018)
  • Overlord III (2018)
  • Yarichin☆Bitch-bu (2018)
  • rozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (2018)
  • Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san (2018)
  • Diamond no Ace: Act II (2019)
  • Dr. Stone (2019)

2020 –

Established as a chameleon in the voice acting industry

Continuously showcasing that he is a highly technical voice actor and a wide vocal range, and impressive acting skills that put him comfortable voicing young, soft-spoken characters as well as wicked villains, Ayumu Murase established himself as a reference and a chameleon.

2020 however, was a peculiar year, with a global pandemic completely stopping the world from March to May. The anime industry stopped almost completely and as such, many seiyuu saw their workload drastically reduced.

Murase was, like many, hit by these sudden changes but he still managed to grab some roles throughout the year.

Yuu Mashiro
Yuu Mashiro

He was cast as the gentle and kind-hearted Yuu Mashiro in the sports series, number24.

Echo Reck
Echo Reck

He was then cast as Echo Reck, the protagonist in the sci-fi anime series, LISTENERS.

Due to its inconsistent story and setting, the anime ended up going under the radar in a year that, was actually, quite weak in terms of quality anime premiering.

Akira Kemono Jihen
Akira

2021 kicked off with a supporting role as the energetic yet fragile Akira in the anime series Kemono Jihen.

Mashiro Tsukiyuki
Mashiro Tsukiyuki

He was back to sports anime again, this time with a major supporting role as the airheaded yet passionate Mashiro Tsukiyuki in the anime series, Bakuten!!.

Manabu Soutouin
Manabu Soutouin

Shifting things around, Murase was cast as Manabu Soutouin in the mystery anime series, Pretty Boy Detective Club.

Akira Shiroyanagi
Akira Shiroyanagi

And back to voicing characters with dubious moral alignments, Murase was cast as the prodigy Akira Shiroyanagi in the survival anime series, Battle Game in 5 Seconds.

2023 kicked off a bit quietly with supporting roles in anime series such as Trigun Stampede, Kyuuketsuki Sugu Shinu 2, Skip to Loafer and Ooyukiumi no Kaina.

He is also set to voice Crimson in the anime series Ragna Crimson, Pastry Mille Morteln in Okashi na Tensei, Dal in Migi to Dali, and Hajun in Paradox Live THE ANIMATION.

In this period of time, he had supporting roles in anime series such as:

  • Kakushigoto (2020)
  • Infinite Dendrogram (2020)
  • Kyoshin to Hyouka no Shiro (2020)
  • Ikebukuro West Gate Park (2020)
  • Osomatsu-san 3rd Season (2020)
  • Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season (2021)
  • I★Chu: Halfway Through the Idol (2021)
  • World Trigger 2nd Season (2021)
  • Shakunetsu Kabaddi (2021)
  • Vanitas no Karte (2021)
  • Pokemon Evolutions (2021)
  • Megaton-kyuu Musashi (2021)
  • Ousama Ranking (2021)
  • Goodbye, Don Glees! (2022)
  • Ryman’s Club (2022)
  • Ame wo Tsugeru Hyouryuu Danchi (2022)
  • Chainsaw Man (2022)
  • Nanatsu no Taizai: Ensa no Edinburgh (2022)

Awards

Ayumu Murase Seiyuu Awards

At the 10th Seiyuu Awards in 2016, Murase won the “Rookie/Newcomer” award.

He shared the award with Yuichiro Umehara and Shunsuke Takeuchi.

Radio

Witty and incredibly fun, Ayumu Murase is all about delivering high quality entertainment in all the radio shows he is either hosting or guesting.

When co-hosting, if he is close to the other seiyuu, do expect him to be sassy and tease them a whole lot. He’s witty which leads to hilarious shenanigans as he manages to pick up the smallest details and make fun of those in unexpected ways.

On the other side of the coin, Ayumu Murase is also incredibly professional, being able to conduct a serious radio show or being a graceful and interesting guest.

This duality makes him quite the interesting radio show host and guest.

Below you will find some out of the various radio shows he has hosted or co-hosted.

Haikyuu!! Karasuno Koukou Hosobu! (2014 -)

Haikyuu!! Karasuno Koukou Hosobu!

This is, undoubtedly, Murase’s longest-running radio show. Since 2014, Ayumu Murase and fellow seiyuu Kaito Ishikawa co-host Haikyuu!! Karasuno Koukou Hosobu!, radio show stemming from the popular sports anime series, Haikyuu!!.

Over the years Ishikawa and Murase have developed a budding relationship that makes each broadcast a treat to listen to. From daily life stories to talk behind the scenes – recordings and funny stories -, the duo always has a blast.

They have an interesting dynamic that often shows when they have fellow seiyuu as guests.

The radio show is incredibly popular, having spawned several DJCDs and still running even after the anime series wrapped up.

Murase-kun to Yashiro-kun (2015 -)

Ayumu Murase, Aoi Shota (guest) and Taku Yashiro

In Murase-kun to Yashiro-kun, fans can listen to Ayumu Murase and fellow seiyuu Taku Yashiro talking about problems and finding a way to solve them.

In fact, one of their corners is about dieting and gaining weight, which by the way is, respectively, Murase and Yashiro’s problem, so if there is one thing this radio show gives off is a relaxed vibe.

Kawahara Yoshihisa to Murase Ayumi no Sekaiju Web Radio (2016)

To promote the game Etrian Odyssey V, Yoshihisa Kawahara and Ayumu Murase, the game’s protagonists teamed up for the special web radio show “Kawahara Yoshihisa to Murase Ayumi no Sekaiju Web Radio“.

The radio show aired on Atlus’ official YouTube channel in 2016.

IDOLMASTER SideM Radio 315Night! (2019)

Alongside Mofumofuen’s members Shogo Yano and Keisuke Furuhata, Murase guested on the radio show IDOLMASTER SideM Radio 315Night! in 2019.

As per usual with this radio show, it was entertaining and filled with a great, warm vibe, fun corners, and a lot of crazy shenanigans.

Other radio shows in which he guested or co-hosted include:

  • Gatchaman Crowds Radio (2015)
  • Okami Shoujo to Rajiouji (2014 – 2015)
  • SHOW BY ROCK!!# radio (2016)
  • ēlDLIVE Genre no Radio (2017)
  • Shoukoku no Altair (2017 – 2018)
  • Mushishi and Rosie’s Magic Law Consultation Office Muhoroji Radio (2020)

Games

Due to his wide vocal range, impressive emotional range, and top voice acting skills, fans will be pleased to know that you can basically find Ayumu Murase voicing characters in all kinds of videogames from otome/romance to fighting, RPGs, strategy, sports, fantasy, and action.

And, of course, expect to find him voicing sweet, youthful characters, to female ones and even go the opposite way and voice deep, intense characters.

There are literally no limits to Ayumu Murase’s voice acting in games.

He’s lent voice to a couple of iconic characters such as:

Kokoro Hanabusa in I-Chu (2015 – 2019) & I★CHU: Étoile Stage (2020 – 2021)

Kokoro Hanabusa
Kokoro Hanabusa

In 2015, Ayumu Murase joined the cast of the idol grooming/rhythm game I-chu. He voiced Kokoro Hanabusa, member of the idol unit POP’N STAR.

This character is two-faced, being extremely arrogant when in the company of other idols but an absolute sweet fanservice machine in front of his fans.

Tori Himemiya in Ensemble Stars! (2015 – 2019) / Ensemble Stars!! Basic / Music (2020 -)

Tori Himemiya

Ensemble Stars!! is a story-driven game – also with a rhythm game component since 2020 with the launch of the dual game Ensemble Stars!! Basic / Music – that easily shot to popularity with its solid story and rich music released outside of the game.

In the story, Murase voices Tori Himemiya.

Tori is a noble with a rich and angelic voice. He is a member of the regal idol unit fine in the Ensemble Stars!! franchise.

Venti in Genshin Impact (2020 -)

venti
Venti

Easily the most iconic and memorable character Ayumu Murase has voiced in games is the free-spirited Venti from the wildly popular Genshin Impact.

He’s one of the first characters that players will come across in the game and he serves as the storyteller for a big chunk of the first story chapters due to his importance to the overarching story.

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

  • Granblue Fantasy,
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth,
  • Touken Ranbu,
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon,
  • Final Fantasy XV,
  • Street Fighter V,
  • Captain Tsubasa: Dream Team,
  • Fire Emblem Heroes,
  • Super Bomberman R,
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2,
  • Dragalia Lost,
  • Bleach Brave Souls,
  • Fate/Grand Order,
  • Helios Rising Heroes,

between many more. For an extended credits list in games, I welcome you to visit – although far from complete – his Japanese Wikipedia page.

Narration / Dubbing

When it comes to narration, although Murase doesn’t have many credits in this field, since 2018 he has been more active, now having done voice over for TV shows on NHK and Fuji TV.

As far as dubbing goes, he has credits dubbing characters in foreign movies and TV series such as:

  • Maze Runner
  • The Nice Guys
  • Jurassic World
  • The Dark Tower
  • Aquaman
  • Shazam!
  • Uncharted
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Daredevil
  • The Flash
  • Euphoria
  • The Crown

between many more.

Drama CDs

When it comes to drama CDs, Ayumu Murase has plenty of work in tie-up drama CDs for anime series and games, otome drama CDs as well as boys love (BL).

Some of his credits include voicing characters in drama CDs such as:

  • Haikyu!!
  • Hatsukoi Monster
  • GANGSTA IV
  • SERVAMP
  • Oresama Teacher
  • Yankee Shota to Otaku Oneesan
  • Paradox Live
  • Shiteruyo. series
  • Yarichin Bitch Club
  • sick
  • Kimi to boku to sekai no hotori series
  • Jiraikei danshi Suzu-kun

Music

There are very few male seiyuu that you can call vocal chameleons. Seiyuu that excel in performing various music genres, have wide vocal ranges, and make sure to “be” the characters they sing as whenever they work with 2D groups. They have impressive skills as singers, with a vast array of techniques at their disposal.

They are genuinely rare talents among male seiyuu. Seiyuu that make you have a double-take at the credits in the song to check who really is performing.

Ayumu Murase fits the description in more ways than one.

He’s best known for using his tenor high range but what is surprising is that he’s actually got a full baritone range on top of it.

Murase has a unique vocal range.

It is among the widest for male seiyuu. He’s got the full baritone and tenor ranges and can tap into the bass range with relative ease. That’s unheard of.

That alone makes Murase one of the most unique singers among male seiyuu and I am not talking about his singing tone but his vocal range.

Murase can sing in a high key as does with fine in Ensemble Stars!! and Mofumofuen in the IDOLMASTER SideM franchise.

He can go low as he does as part of BAE in the Paradox Live franchise.

He can sing in baritone range as he did for CrystalCross in the Band Yarouze! fanchise.

He can sing in English and Japanese and transition between both languages seamlessly. He’s even singing in Korean as part of BAE.

It is crazy how talented he is.

He is a vocal chameleon. And those are really hard to come by. Ayumu Murase is in a stellar company alongside Toshiyuki ToyonagaTakuya EguchiTomoaki Maeno, and Soma Saito.

And even after writing this all, Ayumu Murase is still quite underrated as a singer.

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

fine (2014 -)

fine

fine are the unit in the Ensemble Stars franchise composed of the members of the student council, this unit is the most successful, formidable, and undefeated unit of the school.

Attesting to the group’s reputation is the star-studded lineup that includes Hikaru Midorikawa, Takuya Eguchi, Ayumu Murase, and Kotaro Hashimoto.

The group is known for their toned-down pop sound focused on sounding delicate yet, and this is quite the contrast, imposing at the same time.

The unit’s first release was in 2015 with Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD Vol.3 fine and since then fine has released: 

The quartet so far has released:

  • Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD 3 Vol.3 fine (2015),
  • Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD 2 Vol.9 fine (2017),
  • Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD 3 Vol.3 fine (2017),
  • ENSEMBLE STARS! ALBUM SERIES PRESENT -fine- (2019),
  • Ensemble Stars! ED Collection Vol.3 (2019),
  • ES Idol Song Season 1: fine (2020),
  • ES Idol Song Season 2 (2021),
  • “Crossing×Heart” FUSION UNIT SERIES 04 (2021),
  • ES Idol Song Extra: fine & Eden (2022),
  • “Ghostic Treat House” ES Idol Song Season 3 (2022),
  • “Starlight Parade” COVER SONG SERIES 06 (2023).

The group would end up making its 1st ever live event appearance at Ensemble Stars!! Starry Stage 4th -Star’s Parade- July in 2022.

POP’N STAR (2015 – 2021)

In 2015, Ayumu Murase joined the cast of POP’N STAR, idol group in the 2D mixed-media franchise, I-CHU.

POP’N STAR counts with vocals by Ayumu Murase, Kouhei Amasaki, and Kazutomi Yamamoto. Since its debut, the group released 8 group songs and a couple of solo tracks.

CrystalCross (2016 -)

CrystalCross is a duo, part of the Band Yarouze! franchise, consisting of twins Yuu and Shou who faced scrutiny from certain people because their mother is a Japanese woman who came back to Japan after migrating to America for a long time.

CrystalCross are FairyApril’s rivals, especially due to the fact that they come from the same major music label, although FairyApril left the label since then.

The band included:

  • Yuu (vocals) – voiced by Tsubasa Yonaga
  • Shou (vocals) – voiced by Ayumu Murase

CrystalCross’ Show (CV: Ayumu Murase) with “Top of the World”. For reference, CrystalCross was an electro-rock/synthwave duo with a lot of energy in their music.

Now, this is quite a rare, unknown track but it is, by far, my favorite performance by Ayumu Murase, showing how much of a vocal chameleon he is.

He goes for a powerful performance resorting to a faux baritone register – thus, an unusually lower range –, showcasing just how versatile and skilled he is as a singer.

To top it all off, he was tackling tricky lyrics that mixed Japanese and English, while smoothly shifting between his clean singing and rapping. To say that he was flawless would be an understatement.

Yes, you’ll tell me “But he’s doing that with Paradox Live’s BAE, there’s nothing new about it!

Well, if you check the date when this song was released (2018), you’ll notice that it was actually the very first time Murase tackled lyrics like that and delivered such an impressive dual performance.

That’s why this is a song that I thoroughly recommend. Murase was already dazzling everyone since 2018, showing his singing skills and massive vocal range.

Mofumofuen (2016 -)

Mofumofuen

In 2016, Ayumu Murase joined the cast of THE IDOLM@STER‘s male version, IDOLM@STER SideM.

He was cast as Kanon Himeno, Mofumofuen’s member. Shogo Yano and Keisuke Furuhata complete the lineup for this unit.

THE IDOLM@STER SideM 3rdLIVE TOUR ~GLORIOUS ST@GE!~ LIVE Blu-ray Side SENDAI DAY1

The group is known for its bubbly, upbeat, and uptempo pop sound, befitting the character’s age. Since its debut, Mofumofuen has released multiple singles, collaborations, and cross-unit CDs.

Ayumu shows yet again his chameleon vocal range by being unrecognizable as Kanon.

Everything you think you know about how Ayumu sounds will be challenged and tested as you listen to Mofumofuen’s songs and… won’t be able to believe those high, bubbly, and young vocals are his.

THE IDOLM@STER SideM 3rdLIVE TOUR ~GLORIOUS ST@GE!~ LIVE Blu-ray Side SENDAI DAY1

Up until now, the trio has released two singles, THE IDOLM@STER SideM ST@RTING LINE-13 Mofumofuen (2016) and THE IDOLM@STER SideM 5th ANNIVERSARY DISC 03 W & Café Parade & Mofumofuen (2020).

Aside from these singles, Mofumofuen has participated in several cross-unit and solo song projects within the franchise.

The trio has participated so far in several IDOLMASTER SideM stages:

BRAVE HEARTS (2018 – 2019)

SQUARE ENIX announced in March 2018 that the company was going to launch its first-ever idol game IDOL FANTASY.

Ayumu Murase was announced as part of BRAVE HEARTS, a unit consisting of Makoto Furukawa, Kentaro KumagaiYusuke ShiraiToshiki Masuda, and Arthur Lounsbery.

The group performed pop/rock music however, they never got the opportunity to release a single or an album before the game ended distribution in 2019.

BAE (2019 – )

BAE
BAE

The biggest and most hyped project he joined in 2019 was, undoubtedly, PARADOX LIVE.

Alongside Gakuto Kajiwara and 96neko, Ayumu Murase is part of the hip-hop-meets-pop team, BAE.

The team’s debut song, BaNG!!! was released in 2020 as part of the franchise mini-album, Paradox Live Opening Show.

And everyone was surprised by this group, especially Ayumu Murase. As Hajeun, Murase raps smoothly in English, Japanese, and Korean.

This brought a lot of attention to the group and particularly to Murase that was showing that he not only is a vocal chameleon – in this case rapping in a deep, aggressive way – but also he can shift between three different languages, sound clean, and clear in all of them without dragging down the pace of the song.

Murase was making everyone’s heads turn to BAE.

BAE then went to take part in the Stage Battle series, counting with entries in the DESIRE and PRIDE battles.

In “DESIRE”, the group released “AmBitious!!!“, song that came as a surprise. While pop plays a big part in their sound, tropical elements were the last thing I’d expect to be listening to from them.

And in “PRIDE”, BAE performed “EmBlem!!!“, easily one of the most stylish songs by the group, mixing R&B with minimalistic, dreamy electronica.

The power and charisma in this performance, not to mention the tasteful instrumental were big highlights that propelled the group to win this face-off with The Cat’s Whiskers.

Early in 2021, the franchise held the 1st live show “Paradox Live Dope Show“ however, in what has turned into a trend, Ayumu Murase has never performed live with BAE, instead, his vocals play in the background for the live performances, leaving only Gakuto Kajiwara on stage as 96neko is shrowded in mystery in the back.

As such, BAE has never been impressive in a live setting, much due to the fact that only 1 – at times only 2 – member actually performs live for the group.

This weird arrangement that BAE has going on when it comes to the live performances makes a lot of fans wish the group ever gets a chance to be all on stage for a full-on groovy performance.

The group later participated in VIBES, going against Akkan Yatsura.

The group performed “F△Bulous“, another groovy entry in which deep bass is king however with ridiculously addictive verses, the chorus to this song falls short in comparison. Still, it was a strong performance that made the battle with The Cat’s Whiskers quite interesting.

Also in the same year, Murase skipped as well attending the special event Paradox Live 2nd anniversary Fes..

The rest of the year was reserved for the best of albums in the franchise: “TRAP” and “LIVE“. Later in the same year, BAE’s members participated in the Shuffle Team Show CDs (2 releases).

The group’s members made quite the impression in “Shuffle Team Show vol.2” packing 3 outstanding shuffle group performances with “The Sound Of Voltage”, “Why do you like me??” and “Rats & Nobles”.

As Hajeun, Murase participated in the heavy hitter dark trap tune “Rats & Nobles“.

He teamed up with cozmez’s brothers voiced by Yusuke Kobayashi and Toshiyuki Toyonaga, giving way to one of the franchise’s best rap songs to date.

Welcoming new teams in the franchise, the Paradox Live franchise released a special CD titled “Paradox Live Opening Show-Road to Legend-“.

The team released the passionate tune “W△vin’ FL△g“. While the team tweaked their sound a little bit, those changes were not enough to stand out, much less in comparison to previously released songs of theirs.

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

The group performed “We △re The Future“.

The team ended up beating AMPRULE, advancing to the next stage aiming at becoming the next legend in the Paradox Live franchise.

Kicking off 2023, the trio is going to participate in “WILL“, round 2 entry in the Road to Legend CD series, with the song “G△L△XY∞“.

This time around, they are going up against The Cat’s Whiskers.

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.

Ayumu Murase voiced AUGURI and FUTABA. Both characters tapped into Murase’s higher vocal range

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.

Team Cyber’s 39YEAH↗ & REI (CV: Makoto Furukawa) and AUGURI & FUTABA (CV: Ayumu Murase) brought trap, R&B, and rap in “PreOrder”.

This song shines more on the vocal end than it does in its instrumental. Makoto Furukawa and Ayumu Murase have to tackle clean singing, R&B riffing-style singing, and rapping in this song, making it one of the trickiest performances in this franchise so far.

On top of that, you got here two ends of the spectrum on the vocal end – with Murase’s delicate tenor vocals and Furukawa’s powerful baritone/bass vocals -, working in perfect sync.

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 voting, the fans decided who would end up being 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 the excitement was there for everyone to see.

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 arrived 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” proves 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.

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

Incredibly smart, with a lot of attention to detail while, at the same time, quite fun and entertaining, Ayumu Murase is always a treat to find in variety.

Over the years he has participated in some anime shows in which he clearly shows those characteristics of his. You can expect him to get really crafty in events such as the Jinro battle ones or get rather quirky and sassy in others.

However, he doesn’t frequently feature in variety shows and that shows in the very few credits he has in those.

Some of the variety shows he has participated in include:

Jinro Battle ~ Jinro VS tantei ~ (2015)

In 2015, Murase participated in Marine Entertainment’s popular Jinro Battle variety show.

In Jinro Battle ~ Jinro VS tantei ~ (人狼バトル~人狼VS探偵~) he tried his best to beat the game however, much to his disappointment, ended up being eliminated twice.

The cast included Shouta Aoi, Toshiki Masuda, Hiro Shimono, Kenichi Suzumura, Kousuke Toriumi, Kenji Nojima, Hirofumi Nojima, Tetsuya Kakihara and Hiroki Takahashi.

Say you to Yoasobi (2020)

Ayumu Murase Say you to Yoasobi

In 2020, he was invited to the popular seiyuu talk and variety show, Say you to Yoasobi.

He was received by Daisuke Namikawa and Kaito Ishikawa and went on to talk about summer activities back in college as well as what he now loves to do.

He shared some of the languages he learned and the food he loves.

TALKING STAND MORINOTH (2021)

Ayumu Murase TALKING STAND MORINOTH
Ayumu Murase @ TALKING STAND MORINOTH

In 2021, Murase was invited to Showtaro Morikubo’s talk show, TALKING STAND MORINOTH.

In it, he talked about his career, the challenges, and victories as well as shared stories and curiosities about himself, all in a laidback environment.

Facts

Quite skillful with languages

Ayumu Murase was born and studied in the United States of America until middle school, however, he claims he cannot speak English.

But his understanding of English and his diction are really good as you can check in the very few times he speaks English on radio shows and variety shows as well as by how natural his English diction is in BAE’s and CrystalCross’ songs.

At the same time, he has a third-class Chinese proficiency certification.

And while he doesn’t have a certification in it, Murase has a really good Korean diction – once again something you can attest from his performances with BAE in the Paradox Live.

He admires…

The veteran seiyuu and narration legend, Ryusei Nakao. He became the inspiration for Murase to pursue voice acting.

At the same time, he admires fellow seiyuu Matsuoka Yoshitsugu, who is quite close in age to him and with whom he has worked frequently.


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