Our answer to the reader-powered TOP 15 SEIYUU WITH THE BEST SINGING VOICE is here.
After the fans’ votes on our 1st ever poll we got to see something that wasn’t totally unexpected – a popularity contest – although at the early stages the top 15 had some interesting names on it. But we also know that fans are biased – well, who isn’t right? – so we decided to make this version of the TOP 15 SEIYUU WITH THE BEST SINGING VOICE, a bias-free, analytical overview of today’s best seiyuu when it comes to singing technique and quality. And no, the obvious trio is not together occupying the first three places.
As with any top our decisions are bound to be completely different to most people’s ideas of what is good singing.
Things to have into account while reading this article:
- The seiyuu featured was active in the music business (solo or unit, even character songs count) in 2015 (take this into account when you claim that some names are missing in this top – those seiyuu probably weren’t active at all this year)
- We’re not ranking anyone based on how big their fandom is or how handsome they are – that would be completely ridiculous
- We analyze a mix of:
- Single/Album/Mini-album impressions
- If he adds a little extra to his performance – writing lyrics, composing music, etc
Let’s kick this off:
1 – Toshiyuki Toyonaga
Objectively speaking there’s no way in hell that Toyonaga wouldn’t be #1. And why is that? Looking into the series of events since last year’s “MUSIC OF THE ENTERTAINMENT” and “Reason…”, he’s been riding on a lot of momentum with no intention of stopping any time soon. “Day you laugh” is, alone, proof enough that he is a top tier singer. His vocal versatility is clear as water and his impressive, smooth and controlled voice is one of the many reasons Toyonaga is an undisputed first place. Singer, songwritter, arranger, composer and a powerful voice unmatched. 2015 was certainly Toyonaga‘s.
2 – Yoshimasa Hosoya
Although he’s not active as a solo or unit musician, Hosoya is doing his job incredibly well, showing that, even with character songs, you can impress and put them on a whole other level. Few seiyuu manage to sing so naturally as he does, especially when it comes to high notes or showing his confident vibrato to everyone. With a unique tone and 100% perfect execution in all of his character songs in 2015, Hosoya is clearly worthy of this 2nd place.
[We’re still waiting for his solo debut.]
3 – Mamoru Miyano
Whenever there’s a top like this Mamo is always featured as #1. As most of you know, Mamoru‘s charms in an out of the recording studio are jaw dropping. Whether is going all out in one of his choreographies or if he’s doing an acapella, he never fails to impress. But contrary to the popular belief, this was just not Mamo‘s year. “Shine” was a mediocre single (although it sold like hot cakes) and “Frontier” was nowhere near the perfection of its predecessor “Passage.“. Still, his vocals are always in top form and just like Yoshimasa Hosoya, he’s one of those singers whose vocal execution is always on point – even when the instrumentals kind of ruin his hard work.
4 – KISHOW
To earn #1, KISHOW should have shown us something different or exciting but this just wasn’t his or GRANRODEO‘s year. GRANRODEO released the mild and slightly repetitive “PUNKY FUNKY LOVE” and their greatest hits. Nothing really shone for us – which is a pity, considering that KISHOW‘s vocals, when on their top game, are unmatched. He’s a vibrato master but just like some of the names below, he just didn’t make good use of his vocal prowess and played safe in 2015.
5 – Wataru Hatano
The suprise of the year is Wataru Hatano! We’ve been complimenting Hatano‘s silky, baritone vocals for quite a while but never did we hear something as impressive from him as “Kakusei no Air” is. This symphonic rock tune was the best way to showcase his vocal prowess with powerful low tones to highly emotional crescendos and high voltage performances. Incredibly talented and with a versatile tone, Hatano is on the rise and is certainly a name to be on the lookout in 2016.
6 – Shouta Aoi
Another name that managed to impress us was Shouta Aoi. His first full length album “UNLIMITED” and his single “Murasaki” were powerful releases, showing us different sides of Shouta‘s talents. A high note master, Shouta managed to impress us with how versatile he is, especially with how well he fits rock music and how hautingly beautiful he can sound with a piano alone. With total control over his vibrato and falsetos, he proved that he’s a fearless all rounder.
7 – Showtaro Morikubo
If we talk about Showtaro we need to talk about rock, and with that greeting card he showed us some great hardrock tracks – interestingly enough, none of those were the title tracks. Knowing that this a year full of experiments for him, in the process his music suffered and his performances didn’t match the usual quality that we’re so used to. His experimental rock, his abillity to adapt to concept changes – especially with FOCUS – and his on point piercing vocals still made us feature him on this top. For a singer with an incredible amount of talent – singer, lyricist, composer – we’re baffled that he’s not higher in this top and that was because he chose KISHOW‘s route – played safe and didn’t show us anything new or jaw dropping as he did in previous years. Still a force to reckon with.
8 – Kenichi Suzumura
Another great voice that didn’t live up to his reputation in 2015. Kenichi Suzumura, owner of a one-of-a-kind voice and powerful stage presence, just didn’t put enough effort this year in his solo career. His single “Tsuki to taiyou no uta” was mild, way too mild to cause a ruckus or to impress anyone, lacking that energy and charisma Suzumura‘s releases usually have. Regarding his vocals we know that he’s one of the top seiyuu singers and his unquestionable talent always manages to find some place to shine. His power mid tones were nowhere to be found this year hence his drop in the rankings.
9 – Kenji Nojima
The only seiyuu that self composed an album this year is the sweet vibrato master Kenji Nojima. Easily one of those seiyuu that is overlooked on his singing talents, Nojima made two releases: the major debut single “Any Day Shuffle” and his indie story album “いつかどこかの僕について“, this one being one of the best albums (taking the stroy tracks we might as well call it a mini-album) of the year. This last release showed an impressive growth in Nojima‘s vocal control – he’s sounding better than ever and more solid on his high notes. Composer, lyricist and one of the best sounding voices in the seiyuu business managed to be on the upper hand despite the little to non existent publicity with his album.
10 – Tatsuhisa Suzuki
For many of you this might be an unfair place to feature Ta_2 but this year is easily one of the worse in terms of his vocal display – but if we’re talking about popularity the story would be completely different. Tatsuhisa is owner of one of the roughest, sexiest and surprisingly enough, sweetest voices in the seiyuu world. Still, with all the OLDCODEX hardrock galore, there was little to no space for him to showcase his – now hidden – talent that was his greeting card back in his Cell Division days. We’re not saying for Tatsuhisa to change OLDCODEX‘s sound but to bet a little more in impressing others with his high notes, vibratos and falsetos, something we barely saw this year. He’s a fantastic singer but with screamo alone he’s not going to earn any spot in the top 3.
11 – KENN
A master at singing songs sexily, KENN almost didn’t make it into our top. His single “Dance in the light” was in our opinion, overhyped and didn’t match our expectations. Betting on singing inside his confort zone, KENN sounds exactly the same as when he solo debutted and that isn’t a good thing. We know that he sings amazingly – proof of that is that the majority of his character songs really make an impact. It’s a pity that he doesn’t try new things when his versatile, melodic and emotional vocals are right there waiting for some time to shine.
12 – Miyu Irino
Another seiyuu whose voice and talent are highly underestimated. Miyu is known for writing the majority of his lyrics as well as playing acoustic/electric guitar in some of those, to add to this, he’s an incredibly talented and trained singer. We feel as if Miyu has one of the most unique voice tones in the music industry and is by far Kiramune’s trump card. An all-rounder that is gradually showing us that he’s got a lot more talent than what people know him for, proof of that is his beautiful “月と僕の距離” where he showcased his vocal control in a track stripped down of distractions. Solid singer with a whole lot of space for improvement.
13 – Soma Saito
Well, this is one of those choices that people might argue about. Soma Saito is experiencing a rise to fame at the speed of light and one of the areas where’s he’s been requested the most is the character song’s universe. He’s already sang several character songs and is even part of seiyuu unit SolidS where he showed that his vocal talents. Jazzy rock, pop and even visual kei – yes you heard me, visual kei hardrock – fit him well but it was his visual kei persona that managed to make our jaws drop in awe. Fly Me project with the single “MEDICODE” opened up a door for Saito to shine. Showing us something we’d never thought we’d see coming from him, he took the wheel and gave us an electrifying performance in the great the gazettE fashion, even showcasing kansai ben in his rolled “R’s” and defying a screamo part in “CARMA“. Saying that he impressed is an understatement. It’s undeniable that Saito is a rising star and that we’ll listen more to his sweet mid-toned voice in the future but he still needs a lot of polishing before reaching a menacing status in the music business.
14 – Tetsuya Kakihara
He’s the seiyuu that has grown the most in 2015. Kakihara showed us that he’s one of Kiramune‘s big names with the releases of the mesmerizingly beautiful “SAICHAINA” and his first full length album “Orange“. He’s not often said to be a good singer but the way he delt with his faults was amazing. He developed his control to the point where he doesn’t sound forced, he’s also sharper in rock songs, approaching them with more power and emotion in his vocals. He might not be skilled in high notes or lower ones but his mid-tones were alone enough to impress us this year.
15 – Takuya Eguchi
Active as part of Yutaku II, Trignal, SolidS and rêve parfait, this was a year full of Eguchi and we couldn’t help but to be satisfied with it. Eguchi is one of those seiyuu that goes barely unnoticed when it comes to singing but his skills are no joke. Ranging between mid and high tones, he alone delivers solid performances but when you add an extra element into the mix – rap skills (further explanation is on Trignal’s “Mission”) – you get a one-of-a-kind performer. Eguchi is a bundle of talents that fits almost any music genre you throw at him.
And that’s it for our take on the TOP 15 SEIYUU WITH THE BEST SINGING VOICE poll results.
Although we took a slightly different approach from the TOP 15 SEIYUU WITH THE BEST SINGING VOICE, we still grasped the essence of it, adding more technical elements to the mix.
We hope you enjoyed this quick tour to what we think are 2015’s seiyuu with the best singing voice. There’s more next year!