Seiyuu (声優)A person who provides voice-overs for characters and narration for various types of media. Includes anime, video games, audio dramas, radio, live-action stints, and dubbing for non-Japanese media. Sometimes even has a discography on the side.
One fact you need to take note: the extra letter “u” is important in written Romaji. If you type it with only one your search result will lead you to a Japanese supermarket and department store chain. The wonders of language.
Now, here’s a commercial to start things of:
The video above features Kenjiro Tsuda (津田 健次郎) himself, the leading Seiyuu for the upcoming anime series The Way of the Househusband or Gokushufudou in Japanese. This is only an advertisement for the manga and he’s already preparing for his one of many big roles and he’ll only get more famous from this point on when the anime finally drops.
Now you’re asking: “Wait, he’s a Seiyuu. Why is he doing live-action?” If I’m the guy, I’ll go: “Why not?” Having an opportunity of a lifetime won’t come by once again. Plus he’s the best person to land the role.
Before he got the chance to try out voice acting Kenjiro actually considered to be a film director after graduating at Meiji University for studying theater literature. His current agency is at Amuleto (アミュレート). It’s rare to see a man with such dedication.
Appearances in Japanese Media
Comparing the mediums anime, theater, and films, they are different on their own but they have a connections by a thin veil: voice. I do wonder how an actual film directed by him whether anime or live-action would look like because I would so use my money to support him all the way.
Kenjiro’s very first voice acting debut started on the 1995 baseball anime series H2 as Atsushi Noda. This started one of his many ventures into the industry as he also worked on theater, television dramas, commercials, narration, and many more. His first voice acting as a main character is Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters in 2000. I for one was surprised by this fact. To think he’s already making a name for himself way back even before voice acting became a big deal. And his next major role is Sadaharu Inui from The Prince of Tennis. At that time he’s already voicing a husbando for anime fans too.
As part of a Seiyuu’s job, Kenjiro also tried out radio starting at the Nippon Cultural Broadcasting, Inc in 2003. Most of his works there involve promoting his character in any anime he was cast in. Normally this is the part where you’ll get behind-the-scenes content of how the character came to be. He does have programs that don’t talk about anime such as the internet radio show Futsū ni Tsuda Kenjirō (Normally Kenjiro Tsuda) since 2017.
The first time I actually heard his voice in anime is his 2015 performance of Nicolas Brown in Gangsta. He solidified my respect for him for being able to voice a canonically badass deaf character. And according to this interview, he researched with the recording director to the Federation of the Deaf in Tokyo as preparation.
To know his range, he even voiced Fire Emblem/Nathan Seymour in Tiger and Bunny but he didn’t had that much screen time for a major character. Most of the time he’s best-known for his quiet but raspy voice that oozes sex appeal. To some, he can be a great antagonist. Once you hear him, you know the anime is getting better, even on shows that don’t put effort on other places. He’s an all-around Seiyuu, with opportunities coming everywhere. Other characters he voiced include:
At one point it all comes full circle. He got the chance to be a short film director for the Actor’s Short Film project on November 24, 2020. His work is called GET SET GO. More information can be found here (in Japanese). It would be nice if more of his work is available to more people. No word on any release date of when the short film would be released but his existing roles for voice acting in anime will do.
This will be one of many Seiyuu to be featured as we go on. Is this the first time you’ve encountered his voice? Does he have any “bad” performance you can think of? Let me know in comments!