Voice acting roles where children voice actual children

(permanent link) added: 2011-10-24 11:31:42 sponsor: Twentington (last reply: 2012-06-27 09:18:16)

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(Note: This is a split from "Cross-Dressing Voices".)

Sometimes in animation, a female voice actor will voice a young child character, possibly because it's not always easy to work with kids.

Other times, there just happens to be a good kid VA available for the job.

  • Grave of the Fireflies deserves special recognition for hiring an actual five-year-old actress to voice the protagonist's young sister.
  • The English dub cast of Nadia the Secret of Blue Water is notable for casting three actual kids in the lead roles, although one child actor has to do a sometimes-convincing, sometimes-overdone French accent.
  • The English dub cast of Beyblade is also voiced by kids who are more or less closer to the characters' ages.
  • Likewise, Hitomi of Vision of Escaflowne was voiced by a teen actress who was discovered through an extensive talent hunt aimed at finding a "real girl" to play her.
  • Nine to 14- then back to 9 up to 13-year-old Alphonse Elric from the English dub of Fullmetal Alchemist was voiced by 12-year-old Aaron Dismuke throughout the whole series. Played straight for the dub of Brotherhood, as puberty hit him pretty hard, and he's being replaced by Maxey Whitehead (though he's apparently playing some role).
    • Also, the 10- to 15-year-old Edward Elric was voiced by 38-year-old Vic Mignogna, even in the Whole Episode Flashbacks to when he was younger.
      • Something similar happens in the Spaniard dub with male actor Ricardo Escobar (15-year-old Edward) and female actress Blanca Rada (10-12 year-old Edward). Rada voices Ed in most flashbacks, but in some short ones (two-three lines tops), Escobar keeps voicing little Ed. The results are kinda jarring, since even though Escobar's voice is believable for a teenager (although a kinda deep voiced one at that), it definitely isn't for a little boy...
  • Similarly, when an established character remembers their childhood, a separate actress is often brought in to provide the younger voice; however, Soichiro Hoshi continues to voice Goku (Saiyuki) and Oujirou (Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer) in flashbacks.
    • The English dub actor Chris Patton has played the younger versions of two of his characters as well: Joshua Christopher in Chrono Crusade (who was played by a woman in the Japanese version) and Fakir in Princess Tutu. In the audio commentary for Chrono Crusade, it's revealed that they used a mixture of Chris speaking higher and some editing to make it work.
    • Similarly, in the dub of Naruto, Yuri Lowenthal voices Sasuke even when he was a kid and later he voiced Simon of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann both before and after the Time Skip, though not in the Distant Finale (which happen the same in the original language as well). The same goes for Rossiu, though only in the dub (while in the Japanese version he retains a female voice actor even when we briefly see him in his fourties)
  • Spaniard dub of Naruto is a MASSIVE exception example. Every single main male character over the age of 10 is voiced by a male actor, and most of them are believable. Javier Balas, Naruto's voice actor, explained in an interview that it was done like that because when the series arrived to Spain, in Japan the manga had already reached the Time Skip. Hence, they casted so every character could keep their voice actors after that point.
    • Which happen for all characters... except Sasuke. Before the Time Skip he was voiced by Adolfo Moreno, a 30-something voice actor famous for voicing Ash Ketchum from Pokémon, Sora from Kingdom Hearts II and Scott Pilgrim, among many others. However, after the Time Skip he was replaced by Eduardo Bosch, whose voice sounds way more mature... so much that some people believe they overdid it.
  • Akira Ishida himself is a popular inversion. His distinctive effeminate voice means he regularly gets parts normally played by women.
    • This has come to the point where he voiced an actual woman. Now that is something that you don't hear every day.
    • It's probably worth noting that Greg Ayres (the actor of Negi from Negima mentioned above) has been cast three times in dubs for young characters voiced by Akira Ishida in the original: Kaworu Nagisa of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Chrono of Chrono Crusade and Satoshi Hiwatari of D.N.Angel. In fact, Greg himself tends to be a walking aversion--he was originally hired as a voice actor in the first place because his natural voice sounds so young.
  • Sixteen-year-old Tsukiyono Omi of Weiß Kreuz is played by Yuuki Hiro, actually the oldest of the four lead voice actors of the series; his youthful voice means that he is often cast as cute young boys.
    • If you can't get a woman to play a boy, you can get Yuuki Hiro.
  • In a complete inversion of the usual situation in Dragon Ball Z, Trunks was originally introduced as a 17-years-old, played by actor Takeshi Kusao. The role was not recast when Trunks later appeared as an 8-years-old; instead, Kusao used a higher, raspier voice for the character until he grew up again. However, the English version (and pretty much every other dub) cast a female as the younger Trunks.
    • Vegeta was played by his male actor, Ryo Horikawa in his young appearances. Most dubs use a female actor for this role, but the Funimation English dub, like the Japanese Version, used his adult actor, Christopher Sabat as the young Vegeta.
    • Christopher Sabat also voiced the child form of Piccolo in Dragon Ball, while in most other versions including the original Japanese version cast a woman for this part.
  • In the Singaporean, and Brazilian dubs of One Piece, Luffy's voice was done by male voice actors Chuck Powers and Vagner Fagundes, respectively. The Italian dub cast Luigi Rosa for the first 255 episodes and first five movies, with Renato Novara eventually taking over. Before it switched to subbed episodes, the European Portugese dub also used a male.
  • Averted in the Code Geass series. V.V. is voiced by Kazato Tomizawa, who was 10 years old when V.V. first appeared near the end of the first season.
    • But played straight in the English dub of the same series, in which he's voiced by Cindy Robinson, whose age is unknown but is quite female and definitely an adult.
  • Somewhat averted with Death the Kid from Soul Eater, who has two different VAs. In the drama CD, he was voiced by Takako Honda (a woman), while in the anime, he was voiced by Mamoru Miyano.
  • Another dub-only exception is Shinji in Neon Genesis Evangelion, and most character voiced by Spike Spencer (with a few exceptions which were old enough to be played by a male in both versions).
    • This trend was followed by most of the other dubs worldwide; in fact, the Japanese version seems to be the only one in which Shinji was voiced by a woman, which some fans perceive as Lost in Translation, as his effeminacy was a major point in his character development (not that kind...).
  • The 2008 Yatterman series marks the only time in the franchise's entire history (the live-action movie aside, for obvious reasons) that Gan/Yatterman-1 had a male actor (Hiroyuki Yoshino in this case); otherwise, he had a female actress.
  • For all things it did wrong, Nelvana's dub of Card Captor Sakura (Cardcaptors) at least averted this trope quite well with some characters. The 10-years old main character Sakura was voiced by then 11-years old Carly McKillip, while 10-years old Syaoran was voiced by then 14-years old Rhys Huber. When the second movie was brought over by Media Blasters the trope was again played straight, with Syaoran voiced by voice actress Mona Marshall.
  • The Harukanaru Toki no Naka De franchise has Kouki Miyata as 14-year-old Shimon Nagareyama, the youngest of the original Hachiyou. Like Yuuki Hiro, Miyata can convincingly voice younger male characters. By contrast, Sefuru the Oni, who is deduced by Shimon to be around his own age, is voiced by a woman (Yuu Asakawa).
    • In theory, all Hachiyou are voiced by men, so depending on your view, a few more of them can count as aversions, such as Inori (15 years old, voiced by Naozumi Takahashi) or Eisen (17 years old, voiced by Soichiro Hoshi), though Shimon is still the most noticeable case. The NeoRomance line does a good job when it comes to finding voices for the hordes of Bishōnen...
  • The children in Wandering Son are voiced by kids, though in Nitori's case his actors voice was breaking when he hadn't.

  • Chihiro from Spirited Away was voiced by an actual young girl in the English dub, then-11-years-old Daveigh Chase.
    • Yubaba's baby was originally voiced by an actual little boy (who was also in the Japanese dub of March of the Penguins) but was replaced in the English dub by a female voice actor.
    • Both Chihiro and Haku are voiced by children of their respective genders in the original Japanese version.
    • An adult man JasonMarsden voiced Haku in the English dub.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Lock and Barrel, the male ghoul children, are voiced by Paul Reubens (better known as Pee Wee Herman) and composer Danny Elfman.
    • Likewise in the Kingdom Hearts series, they were voiced by Jess Harnell and Jeff Bennett.
  • In An American Tail, Fievel was always voiced by a little boy: Phillip Glasser in the first two movies and Thomas Dekker in the Direct-to-Video sequels when Phillip Glasser got too old.
  • In Monsters, Inc., toddler Boo was voiced by Mary Gibbs, the little daughter of Pixar employee Rob Gibbs. The crew followed Mary around with a microphone and assembled Boo's lines from the things she said while she played.
    • Other child characters in Pixar films, like Andy and Sid in Toy Story, Dot in ~A Bug's Life~, Nemo in Finding Nemo, Dash (but not Violet) in The Incredibles, Russell and Ellie as a child in Up, and Bonnie in Toy Story 3 were also voiced by kids.

[[folder: Puppet Shows]]
  • One who is familiar with the trope would think that the squeaky-voiced 4- to 6-year-old Elmo on Sesame Street is voiced by a woman. No, he's voiced by Kevin Clash, an African-American man who is almost 50. Clash also performs Hoots the owl.
    • He also voiced the mischievous Baby Sinclair from Dinosaurs whom like his name suggests is a baby, with a voice similar to Elmo's.

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • Sonic games originally averted it with Tails, who was voiced by the then-teen Corey Bringas in Adventure 1 and 2 and William Corkery in Heroes, Battle and Advance 3 after Bringas hit puberty. He's then been voiced by women from 2005 on.
  • In the original Lunar game for the Sega CD, Lunar: The Silver Star, 15-year-old protagonist Alex is actually voiced by a then preteen Ashley Parker Angel. For the first remake, Silver Star Story, Working Designs was considering on replacing Angel because he hit puberty, but they let him return anyway, feeling that this "new" Alex was a bit more "grown-up" than the original. This trope is played straight for the third remake, Silver Star Harmony, where Yuri Lowenthal plays Alex.
  • Fourteen-year-old Sora in Kingdom Hearts and its sequel was voiced by then-14-year-old actor Haley Joel Osment. When the sequel was released five years later, Haley's voice had obviously changed. However, Sora also had aged enough between games to justify the lower pitch. All in all, a rare VA example of both actor and character experiencing a puberty voice change.
    • However, Re: Chain of Memories, which takes place right where the first game ends, Haley's still playing Sora. He, of course, sounds too deep.
  • The English version of Persona 4 is an exception of sorts with Naoto. At first it is thought Naoto is a teenage male with a pretty appearance, so the female voice actor (Susan Dailan in the United States, Romi Paku in Japan) makes it confusing. It turns out she really is a girl, which startles the main characters quite a bit.
  • Klonoa is voiced by Eric Stitt for the English dub of the Wii remake of Klonoa 1.
  • Baby Mario and Baby Luigi are voiced by the 54-year-old Charles Martinet, as per their adult counterparts.
  • In ~Dissidia: Final Fantasy~, The Onion Knight, a Kid Hero who's explicitly the youngest of the heroes. (Which puts him at fifteen or younger) Was voiced by the 19 years old at the time Aaron Spann.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • Aang of ~Avatar: The Last Airbender~ is voiced by Zachery Tyler Eisen (b.1993). Another main character, Toph Bei Fong, is voiced by Jessie Flower, who turned twelve the very same year her character was introduced. Any other kids their age or younger are voiced by children of the same gender and approximate age, and most teenager are played by same gender voice actor that are usually at least a bit older (for instance Sokka is 15 and his VA was 18 when they started).
    • A new interview reveals that the series creators "really wanted" a real kid to play Aang, rather than Crossdressing Voices, and that as Eisen's voice has been deepening, the show's sound people have been artificially pitching it up, without the creators even noticing.
      • The practice is spoofed in the episode "The Ember Island Players". When the Gaang goes to a play featuring them, Aang is shocked to find that the actor playing him is a woman. Later, Toph ends up being played by a big burly man (she's delighted).
    • At first the trope seems to be played straight with Smellerbee, but later we learn that the character is a girl.
  • Most child characters in Hey Arnold! were voiced by actual children, and most of the boys' voice actors were replaced many times over the series run; Arnold himself had four. (Gerald's voice actor is an exception. There's even an episode that explains why his voice changed, "Gerald's Tonsils".)
    • In addition to Arnold, Curly and Eugene were voiced by several actors; one of the Eugenes (Ben Diskin) went on to become an adult voice actor despite having to be replaced. However, a few of the actors for the boys were kept all the way through along with Gerald: Harold, played by a post-pubescent, as the character was 13; Stinky, whose voice did break, though it was simply ignored and not justified like Gerald's was; and Sid, who managed to evade puberty for the entire five-season run, until the last three episodes, produced years after the rest of the fifth season. He was replaced, appropriately enough, by his younger brother.
    • The first actor to play Arnold was given a new recurring role after his voice dropped, as the fifth-grade bully Wolfgang; the second Arnold made a one-shot appearance as his cohort, Ludwig.
  • Ten-years-old Nigel, Hoagie and Wally of Codename: Kids Next Door are voiced by adults, but male ones. (In fact, Ben Diskin, who voices Nigel and Hoagie, was one of the child actors who voiced Eugene in Hey Arnold!.)
  • Mac from ~Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends~ is voiced by Sean Marquette, who, surprisingly, was not replaced after he had gone through puberty, but instead had his voice digitally pitched up. Though it is still obvious if one compares episodes from Season 1 to episodes afterward. Marquette had also previously been on the Nicktoon Rocket Power.
    • This example is particularly interesting when one realizes that Mac's 13-years-old brother, Terrance, is voiced by a woman (Tara Strong) even though the character has a fairly deep voice.
  • In Goof Troop all the characters are voiced by actors from the same gender, except Max who is voiced by Dana Hill.
  • The Possible Twins, Jim and Tim, from Kim Possible, are both played by Shaun Fleming. He was 12 while recording season one, when the "tweebs" were 10. According to producers, Tim and Jim got a redesign and height boost in season four, either to justify Shaun's voice change or to justify a new actor.
    • In the end, Disney went with a new actor, also a young boy: 13-year-old Spencer Fox, better known as Dash from The Incredibles. Of course, by season three, Fleming's voice had obviously broken, and no attempt was made to hide it. This had the bizarre result of the "tweebs" looking older but sounding younger than they had in the previous season.
  • Charlie, Lola and all the characters on Charlie and Lola are voiced by actual children. Although the children refer to adults, even asking them questions, no adult voices are ever heard.
  • In Hanna-Barbera's Little Rascals series, Shavar Ross and Scott Menville were young boys (age 10 or so) cast as Buckwheat and Spanky, respectively. The dwarf actress Patty Maloney, who had played furry male roles in the 1970s, was aptly cast as Darla Hood.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy is almost a perfect exception: All but one of the boys are played by male voice actors. Kathleen Barr voices Kevin, who just happens to be the most masculine regular in the cast.
  • Code Lyoko contains both straight examples and exceptions. One such exception is the character of Odd Della Robbia, played by Matthew Geczy, who is in his 40s. He also holds the distinction of being the only Lyoko Warrior (unless you count William) voiced by a male.
  • A lot of the more recent Nick Jr. animated titles seem to go along with ensuring that actual children portray child characters now. The Backyardigans and Go! Diego, Go! are two of the more notable examples. The weird part is, Uniqua in the former is voiced by a girl, but has a fairly deep voice for her gender and age.
  • The three main characters in Danny Phantom (Danny, Sam, and Tucker) are all voiced by appropriate gender counterparts as are the rest of the cast; even getting kids to play any major children guest-starring in the series.
  • All of the main kids in Recess were also voiced by like-gender children (apart from Spinelli, voiced by the 40-something Pamela Segal). Apart from TJ, who went through four actors during the show's course, the voices stayed the same throughout the show.
  • The main kids in The Off-Beats segments on Nickelodeon's KaBlam! were voiced by young children, most notably Mischa Barton as Betty-Anne Bongo. The later episodes had several of the kids' voices sounding a bit lower, including the females (who were voiced by girls). The only adult voice actor was series creator Mo Willems, who voiced September the dog and Grubby Groo.
    • Both Henry and June were done by teens, which is obvious due to their changing voices through the show's run.
    • Loopy and Larry of Life With Loopy were also done by teens.
  • In the DCAU, Teen Titans, The Batman, and ~Batman: The Brave And The Bold~, any Robin has only ever been voiced by a boy (in the case of DCAU Dick Grayson and Teen Titan Robin, an adult man; of course, Dick started as a college student in the DCAU and of unspecific-but-still-sufficient age in Teen Titans).
  • The title character of Chowder is voiced by Nicky Jones (age 12).
    • Panini, Gorgonzola and Ceviché are also voiced by children.
  • Averted in Capeta. For the first arc (first 14 episodes), the title character was voiced by Naoto Adachi, who was 12 years old at the time.
  • All of the male children in South Park aside from the kindergartners and lead sixth grader are voiced by men, mainly by series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, they use computers to speed up their voices so they sound like kids.
  • In The Bullwinkle Show, Sherman of "Peabody's Improbable History" was voiced by the 40-some-years-old Walter Tetley, whose voice never matured -- officially due to a hormonal condition. Legend, however, says that his mother actually had had him castrated at a young age. Look up castrati, and learn that this practice is Older than You Think.
  • In The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, the title character is voiced by Mark "Thurop" Van Orman.
    • Originally, Flapjack was supposed to be voiced by Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens, but Reubens never appeared for an audition, so Van Orman took over.
  • In ~Bobby's World~, 4-6-years-old Bobby Generic was voiced by the then 30-some-years-old Howie Mandel. Every other male child in the series including his older brother Derek (after his original voice actor grew up) were voiced by women.
  • All of the Peanuts characters were played by children through all of their animated specials; in the first (A Charlie Brown Christmas), the actress playing Sally was so young she could not read the script and had to have her lines cued to her.
    • Played straight occasionally with Peppermint Patty, who had two young boys voice the character in some of the first specials that character appeared in.
    • Charlie Brown was also voiced by a girl, Erin Chase, in This Is America, Charlie Brown.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, their male counterparts the Rowdyruff Boys are voiced by men; Rob Paulsen voices Brick and Boomer and Roger Jackson voices Butch.
  • Almost completely averted in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy with the exceptions of Irwin, Pud'n, and Nergal Jr. all of the male children are voiced by men.
  • Completely averted with the 12-year-old cast of Doug. Nearly all of the boys with the exceptions of Chalky and Al and Moo in the Nickelodeon version were voiced by 40-year-olds Billy West and Fred Newman. In the Disney version, most of the characters voiced by West, including Doug and Roger, were replaced after he left, but still voiced by grown men.
  • Voice actor Dick Beals voiced many young boys in several cartoons: 8-year-old Ralph Phillips from Looney Tunes, 10-year-old Davey Hansen from Davey and Goliath, Gumby, 8-year-old Arthur Spacely from The Jetsons, Buzz Conroy from Frankenstein Jr.., Reggie Van Dough from Richie Rich, Jon's nephew Rosco from Garfield and Friends, and many others. His convincing childlike voice came from the fact that he has a glandular problem which prevented him from growing past the age of 10 and retained his high-pitched voice. Beals continues to do child voices in radio shows and occasionally guest stars in cartoons in his early 80s.
  • Daws Butler occasionally played young boy voices in Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, The Jetsons (as Elroy) and several others. He was also Raggedy Andy in a few specials and the voice of Chilly Willy when he spoke.
    • After Butler died but before the Jetsons movie could be recorded, another grown man, Patric Zimmerman, voiced Elroy.
  • Cleveland Jr. from Family Guy and The Cleveland Show was originally voiced by Mike Henry and later by Kevin Michael Richardson.
  • 12-year-old Finn from Adventure Time is voiced by Jeremy Shada, who was 13 when the voice recording first began.
  • All the child characters on TaleSpin were played by actual children.
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