Seiyuu Feature: Mariya Ise

Next on our list is a Seiyuu with versatility. And I mean it.

You don’t see her name often as she has made her mark in the voice acting scene. For one, she rarely focuses on radio. Plus her discography is quite small having only sung 12 anime theme songs so far and the majority of them are her doing supporting vocals and rarely lead vocals. There may be other or personal reasons why she decided to take this route and the results are interesting.

Background

Mariya Ise (伊瀬 茉莉也) is affiliated with Across Entertainment. Like Kenjiro Tsuda, her goal is to be a director after watching Princess Mononoke from her elementary school days. It was not specified what kind of director she had in mind. While she didn’t get a role she dreamt of things took a different turn once she entered the industry. Along the way in 2015, she gave birth to her first child and three other Seiyuu substituted her ongoing roles during her pregnancy.

Appearances in Japanese Media

While most Seiyuu have their work built around on anime, she has a presence on video games, notably gacha games.

Mariya’s voice acting debut started as a supporting role on the 2004 shoujo anime Aishiteruze Baby as Ayumi’s friend. It wasn’t long until her main character debut came on 2006 as Ringo Noyamano from Air Gear and another breakout role in Yes! Precure 5 in 2007 as Urara Kasugano / Cure Lemonade. Her earliest video game debut is from a 2006 otome game called Water Rhythm 2 ~Scarlet Memory~ (水の旋律2 〜緋の記憶〜). The title is an automated translation as the otome game isn’t released in English however.

Her earliest roles tend to be on more feminine characters. No interview exists about why she voiced those types of characters. Think about it. Has there been one that tackles the topic?

The one character I consider her in-between role is Levy McGarden from Fairy Tail from 2009 to 2014. If you connect her character to the voice actress, it fits. Levy has a gentle exterior and her Edolas counterpart is rough and tomboyish. And fact of the day: this series is my gateway into anime as a medium. Yes, even though I was able to bear its clichés as much as I could handle but I never noticed her voice the first time.

These days she’s better known for voicing male characters.

They include: Killua Zoldyck from the 2011 Hunter x Hunter anime, Reg from Made in Abyss, and Ray from The Promised Neverland. She killed it in all of them. And if Mariya were to voice a female character now the personalities tend to be psychopathic or have a lot of issues like Sawa Nakamura from Flowers of Evil and Midari Ikishima from Kakegurui. She did a complete 180 in the best way possible.

Her subsequent roles in video games are reminiscent of her earliest roles like Hinako Akuta from Fate/Grand Order in 2015 and Magallan from Arknights in 2020. One thing I do not know is if the players actually recognize her voice since she sounds like another Seiyuu if she does female characters. Here’s a visualization of her characters just in case:

She may be one of the few female Seiyuu who can do characters of any gender. It’s a big advantage especially in a time where the norms are ever-changing. Another specific trait is her characters’ hair color tends to be blonde most of the time for female main roles but if it’s a different color that’s for supporting roles.

The only time she actually did lead vocals is this ED from the Pokémon XY&Z anime. It’s funny, her voice is high-pitched here but I can’t erase the fact of her more insane roles in my head. That’s Mariya Ise for you.


With two people now covered, next week the upcoming one may be familiar to some of you. Hint: the voice actor of Kamina.

More Seiyuu Features:


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