THTFHQ AWARDS 2022: Rising Star of the Year

Surprising performances, continuous improvements as singers, and a whole lot of talent to spare. These are the top Rising Stars in 2022.

From January 15 until January 22, 2023, readers and viewers of THTFHQ voted for these awards that value, first and foremost, talent and quality over popularity.

Nominees were shortlisted by The Hand That Feeds HQ and a winner emerged in each category.

To avoid petty fights between fans and disrespect towards seiyuu and their fans, no votes are disclosed in any of the written features covering THTFHQ AWARDS 2022.

If you want to check the abridged version of the complete results of this year’s edition, those were unveiled on episode 130 of SEIYUU LOUNGE, THTFHQ’s weekly podcast all about male seiyuu music and 2D groups.

Without further ado, these are the seiyuu that made it to the top 10.

#1 Yuya Hirose

Yuya Hirose

Yuya Hirose has been making waves in the 2D side of the music industry. In the past 3 years, the talented seiyuu has been growing as a singer however, let’s be realists for a second and admit that, when he started out singing for 2D music projects, he already had a ridiculous high level of quality in his performances.

So while he was already incredibly skilled right from the start, people have slowly started to notice him and his singing skills.

If you’re not aware of it, especially if it is the very first time you’re coming across him, Yuya Hirose has a unique tenor voice with an insanely delicate delivery. Think of his voice as really soothing and delicate, with a bit of youthful touch to it. However, if need be, he can bring in the heat and power to his performances and go for something more aggressive.

Despite these skills, Hirose is not a massive versatile singer, at least, he hasn’t shown much outside of his natural singing range.

This is something that remains to be shown or seen in a live performance but I have no doubts, especially when comparing with similar tenors – Toshiyuki Toyonaga or Soma Saito – that he does have that versatility in him, he has just not had the opportunity to showcase it.

Hirose has been shining in the last couple of years as the center for ZOOL in the IDOLiSH7 franchise – I believe this is the 2D music project he is best known for being in, at least, at the moment of recording this episode. 

He’s also part of the 5-vocal rock band EROSION in the CARNELIAN BLOOD franchise and the fancy host club HIMMEL in the FABULOUS NIGHT franchise.

Power and technicality are just two out of the various things he always brings to his performances for 2D groups.

And after an outstanding set of performances in 2022, this is your Rising Star of the Year at THTFHQ AWARDS 2022.

From this point on, the seiyuu mentioned are not ranked (the order in which they appear below doesn’t correspond to the place they ranked in the final voting):

Jin Ogasawara

Jin Ogasawara had a fantastic 2022.

As a solo artist, Ogasawara released a total of 6 digital singles – all part of a series – that explored different music genres, singing styles, and composers.

The talented seiyuu and solo artist embarked on a special digital single series that had him playing around with his vocal range – and impressing everyone while at it -, at the same time that he explored new music genres and mixes that may end up shaping his sound as a solo artist going forward.

He was performing in falsetto, head voice, he was doing R&B riffing, he was rapping, and performing clean singing. He tried whisper style and in all of those he was sounding bloody amazing.

When it comes to 2D groups, Ogasawara was mostly active with Gambét in the GAMDOL franchise and GYROAXIA in the FROM ARGONAVIS franchise. He also joined the visual-kei meets neo-sengoku franchise, MAGATSU NOTE, and took on upon himself the challenge of performing heavy visual-kei rock.

And in all of these groups, Ogasawara was shining.

Shoya Chiba

Shoya Chiba

Shoya Chiba had a weird 2022.

The year kicked off strongly with performances with EROSION, O★Z, 1Nm8 and TOKYO COLOR SONIC!! however… what people didn’t know was the fact Chiba was struggling with nodules in his vocal cords.

He ended up undergoing surgery in June and returned to full-on singing in August.

However, most of the momentum he was carrying was off by then and some of the 2D music projects he is a part of either went on a hiatus – PERFECTION NOISE and GAMDOL – or didn’t release music in the rest of the year – O★Z – and thus, the later half of 2022 was rather quiet in terms of performances by Chiba.

He was active with KiLLER KiNG in B-PROJECT and HighXJoker in the IDOLMASTER SideM franchise.

Still, Chiba delivered stellar performances in songs such as “Hakusha“, easily one of the most emotional and heavy songs released in 2022 by a 2D group/band with a performance that will make chills run down your spine.

With recovered and refreshed vocal cords, improved technique and control, and a versatility that impresses, Shoya Chiba is ready to take over 2023 by storm.

Shun Horie

Shun Horie made sure to leave a mark in 2022.

The talented seiyuu, owner of a unique raspy tenor voice led the way for SparQlew’s groovy album “neon”, was a force to be reckoned with in Anthos*, was active in the FABULOUS NIGHT, VAZZROCK, VISUAL PRISON and THE IDOLM@STER SideM franchises between many more projects.

And in all of those, he showcased his control, the unique singing tone, and the delicate way he approaches his lines then to deliver them with immense power.

He showed a whole lot of talent and even when he was not in the spotlight – especially with 2D groups -, he subtly stood out among all the other members.

Tetsuei Sumiya

Tetsuei Sumiya

Tetsuei Sumiya stole the show in the summer with the release of TOBARI‘s “In – Black with high purity” and the dark, emotional song “Setsunateki Blast”.

The power and, at the same time, the smooth way with which Sumiya delivered that performance is mesmerizing.

He was active with pioniX, TOBARI, VISTY (Paradox Live franchise), and FAM (ENLIGHTRIBE franchise).

Sumiya continues to show his versatility, performing songs in a wide variety of music genres from rock to pop, ballads, hip-hop, and punk-rock.

He’s a star in the making and definitely deserves your attention.

Seiichiro Yamashita

Seiichiro Yamashita continues to improve as a singer, delivering solid performances both as a singer and rapper for Anthos* (Hana-Doll* franchise) and WITH  (Pripara franchise).

While he was not as active in 2022 as he was in previous years, Yamashita still showed how well blends with other singers.

Even within lineups that are ridiculously stacked with talent on the vocal end – like Anthos* -, Yamashita kept up with the group and showed improvements that helped him shine in songs such as a “Mirage in Mirage”.

Yuki Sakakihara

Yuki Sakakihara continues to show the talent he has and the potential to deliver outstanding performances.

In 2022, he was active with Bad Ass Temple in the Hypnosis Mic franchise, Shura Jodo and ALBA in the HANDEAD ANTHEM franchise, εpsilonΦ in the FROM ARGONAVIS franchise, and Gambét in the GAMDOL franchise.

While Gambét and the GAMDOL franchise are now on a sort of a hiatus and the HANDEAD ANTHEM franchise hasn’t released new music in a while, his performances with Bad Ass Temple – a mix of rapping and visual-kei rock performances – and εpsilonΦ – with his high vocals and insane energy – impressed most people.

Hinata Tadokoro

Tadokoro Hinata

The booming, highly technical bass vocals of Hinata Tadokoro continue to impress.

The talented seiyuu and member of pioniX and infinit0 (in the TSUKIPRO franchise) as well as Neo Basara (in the FABULOUS NIGHT Franchise) showed a little bit of everything in 2022.

He was singing ballads, pop tunes, rapping and performing rock music. He played around with his vocal range, delivering performances in his pure bass vocals up to faux tenor.

Something that continues to impress is how he can pull off such high notes with such a deep singing voice. He does so effortlessly and has the charisma and power to naturally lead the way, something especially noticeable in pioniX and infinit0’s performances.

2022 was a solid year for Tadokoro but it is still a pity very few people pay attention to his skills when he is so, so good.

Takeo Otsuka

Takeo Otsuka has talent however he is extremely underrated. I’ve yet to understand how someone with his voice continues to be underappreciated.

Still, for fans of his awesome voice and smooth singing skills, Otsuka was active as the face and voice of the 2D music franchise FABULOUS NIGHT as Gilgamesh, leader of ChronoStasis.

He continues to dazzle with sweet vocals and plenty of control. The quality is there however, I feel like most fans of the franchise are more easily drawn to the proven, well-known talents than himself, which is a pity.

In 2022, SCHWARZE KATZ was barely active and the group has since gone silent.

C.FIRST, group part of the IDOLMASTER SideM franchise, released music but yet again the hype that was there at the beginning, seems to have faded away and there is not much interest shown in the group as of now.

And perhaps the biggest new 2D music project he’s joined is the TECHNOROID franchise as a member of Mechanica Metallica. The franchise seems to be creating a niche so it may not end up blowing up as initially expected by many so… it’ll be a question of time to see if people take any interest in Otsuka’s performances with the group.

While he may have gone under the radar for many of you, truth is, Takeo Otsuka was quite busy in 2022 and continues to deliver quality performances in all 2D music projects he is a part of.

Ryota Suzuki

Ryota Suzuki has been making sure people notice his skills, especially given how good of a singer he is.

He has been primarily active as part of EROSION in the CARNELIAN BLOOD franchise and he has been making sure he impresses everyone.

As the leader of the 5-vocal rock band, Suzuki has been showing more and more of his abilities to blend in, harmonize and switch with ease between a supporting or leading vocal position.

He was also active as part of THE LAST METAL’s Venomous 8 however, the franchise was little to no interested in putting the spotlight over the seiyuu’s vocals and thus, Suzuki lost a fantastic opportunity to impress, not because of his fault but the project’s fault.

Still, his charisma on stage is electrifying and the way he harmonizes with other singers shows that Suzuki has a lot of talent in himself and plenty more left to uncover.

Thank you to everyone that voted at the THTFHQ AWARDS 2022! A new edition will be held in January 2024 so make sure to follow THTFHQ on social media for notifications when the voting starts.

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Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silva
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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