"If we had some sort of machine which could imitate any voice, we'd only need one voice actor." Voice Actors
"We do; it's called 'Billy West'."
known for a wide range of voices, and therefore voicing Loads and Loads of Characters
. Basically if you can't say "Hey, It's That Voice!
", odds are, it was one of these people. Fact is, the industry is incredibly small, and there just aren't enough actors to cover all the exponentially increasing amount of characters and projects created each year. Being versatile is required.
Bonus points if the actor is able to avert Larynx Dissonance
and Not Even Bothering with the Accent
, but it's not vital.
Name comes from a nickname given to Mel Blanc
, who was responsible for nearly every classic Looney Tunes
character. (This is an exaggeration, however. He admits in his autobiography that he "only" did about 850 voices.)
with Talking to Himself
, if the actor does multiple roles on the same show.
Interestingly enough, the vast majority of voice actors and vocal work don't create "voices" but is largely using their own natural voice with slight tonal changes, pitched up or down. Thus it is still possible for a Pigeonholed Voice Actor
to ironically also have "a thousand voices," just people aren't aware of their versatility.
Not to be confused with Voice Changeling
or Voice of the Legion
Just choose a few key roles to give an idea of the actors' ranges. Save large lists for their own pages.
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- Megumi Hayashibara and Hikaru Midorikawa are so prolific that you could probably connect everybody else in anime to them within one or two steps.
- Koichi Yamadera, the voice of Spike Spiegel, Ryouga Hibiki... and Donald Duck. (No, really— that's him in the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts.) He's also the go-to guy for Japanese dubs of Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams. See The Other Wiki for a fuller listing.
- Hiroki Takahashi may not be the most prolific seiyuu around but he's certainly very varied. Cases in point being Monster Clown Hisoka from Hunter × Hunter, Genki Guy Kikumaru Eiji from Prince of Tennis, Superbia "Shouts all his lines" Squalo from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Butt Monkey Harima Kenji from School Rumble, Stoic Ryu from Street Fighter... and soft spoken Japan from Axis Powers Hetalia.
- Toshihiko Seki, who can range from cheerful fun guy to irritable badass to... quack.
- Akira Ishida is another guy that's everywhere but with a lot of range- but in particular, he once did a bit in Gintama in which the one character he voices had an elaborate daydream sequence. He literally talked to himself for something like 10 minutes, all in various male AND female voices. Whoa.
- Wataru Takagi (Yes, he both voiced and gave his name to that character). In what is quite possibly the greatest showcase of vocal talent in Street Fighter history, he pulls quintuple-duty as Gen, Birdi, Adon, Zangief, and Sodom in the Alpha.
- Yuichi Nagashima, aka Cho. This guy voiced Jaken, Hiroshi Uchiyamada, Elmer Fudd, Brook, Blitzwing, Gollum and Scooby-Doo.
- Aya Hirano is one of the few seiyuus that doesn't get typecast. She went from eccentric with Jerkass tendencies (Haruhi from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) to a obsessed, otaku highschooler (Konata from Lucky Star) to a Les Yay teacher (Yoko from School Rumble's second season) to an almost-godly little girl (Lumičre from Kiddy Grade) to a Stalker with a Crush (Misa from Death Note) to serious Action Girl (Chiko from The Daughter of Twenty Faces).
- Kotono Mitsuishi is known for performing a wide variety of characters, ranging from Sailor Moon and Excel Excel to Misato Katsuragi, Mireille Bouquet, Juri Arisugawa and Ebichu.
- Tomokazu Seki has voiced characters ranging from The Stoic Sousuke Sagara in Full Metal Panic!, to one of Those Two Guys Jun Kitagawa in Kanon, to Manipulative Bastard Big Bad Reiji Kageyama in Gate Keepers, to Hot-Blooded mecha pilot Domon Kasshu in G Gundam, to Animal Mascot Mepple in Futari wa Pretty Cure, to Large Ham Gilgamesh in Fate/stay night.
- Let's not forget he voiced Brandon "Beyond the Grave" Heat in Gungrave, as well as in the second game of the video game series, Gungrave: O.D. (Overdose)
- He is also Aloof Big Brother Touya Kinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura.
- You'd think Sanae Kobayashi is pigeonholed as either Tsunderes (Akira from Mai-HiME) or boys (the other Akira, from Hikaru no Go)... Go and say the same when you hear her as Naďve Everygirl Kumi Mashiba from Hajime No Ippo, the Yandere Lucy/Cutie Nyu in Elfen Lied, or the titular Action Girl from Madlax.
- Chiwa Saito has, as just an example, voiced a Genki Action Girl, a perpetually angry member of the Quirky Mini Boss Squad, and a villainous Smug Snake, all in the same show.
- Kappei Yamaguchi is most often cast in the role of Shōnen heroes, such as Ranma Saotome, Inuyasha, Sai Saici, and Teddie, but his range is deceptively wide. One need look no further than his role as L for proof of this.
- Makiko Ohmoto has a wide array of voices, from The Ojou and motherly figures to Shōnen heroes, all the way to Kirby.
- Daisuke Namikawa is one of the voice actors pegged down in several roles that could be very much grate your skulls, playing the irritating Katz Kobayashi, the rough and wild Michael Trinity, the super loud-mouthed Miyamoto Musashi. However, he also had his share of straight, goody-two-shoes heroes such as the main character of Persona 4, Cornelius or the remake voice of Claude Kenni. Then, you've got the melancholic, manipulative Beta Baddie Ulquiorra Sciffer or the ultra-manipulative Big Bad Toutaku from Ikki Tousen amongst his portfolio. Then you'll never look at him the same again.
- He also does dubs of lots of famous actors like Brad Pitt, Anakin Skywalker, Elijah Wood...
- And he's Lucario.
- He also voices BOTH North and South Italy.
- Toshiyuki Morikawa does The Hero roles (Ryu, Takaya aka D-Boy), The Stoic roles (Kyosuke), Evil Bastard roles (Kazuya Mishima, Sephiroth)... very affable father that sounds so light (Forbessi) and loud-mouthed idiots (Nobunaga Kiyota).
- Miyuki Sawashiro is what some people call versatile, she can be voicing spunky boys with an cheery attitude like Milanor from Yggdra Union or Carl Clover from BlazBlue, a demanding Ojou such as Perrine or Shinku or cute bubbly Nekomimi girls like Nike or Mint. Younger characters are not her only forte either. Stripperiffic troubled Velvet and Little Miss Badass Woman Scorned Hotarubi would like a word for you.
- Takehito Koyasu has probably literally voiced a thousand roles... from a fallen prince who fights for world peace, to a displaced samurai piloting an apocalyptic machine with a lust for fighting. Even a comic relief Ascended Fanboy who wants to shoot fire. So, yeah...
- Try pigeonholing Nobutoshi Canna. This man has voiced Badasses in many flavors, from laid back bad asses (Midou Ban, Lancer), scary bad asses (Guts, Axel Almer (not the silly type), Cao Pi) or goof off bad asses (Silly Axel, Tasuki). If that's not enough, he also has two Bruce Lee Clone roles on his resume (Maxi, Lee Pai Long), or someone who sounds like a clown (Nnoitra Gilga). And, oh, you want to know who's behind the voice who yells "LISTEN TO MY SOOOOONGGGG!!!"? Yeah. Him too.
- He's also pulled off the sensitive young Nowaki in Junjou Romantica, a startling contrast with... well... pretty much every character listed above. Canna's capable of bringing the smoove when called upon.
- Kaori Shimizu manages to completely avoid being pigeonholed. Even though most fans know her for her matured, deep voice of smart women such as Akira, Signum and Lamia, she is also capable of voicing cutesy voices starting from the melancholic Lain, hysterical Lou, and weird Yuri Fan Hiyori.
- To make things more obvious, she is also capable of switching her voices from the deep one to the cutesy one in a split second (in Lamia/Aschen's case). Pigeonhole that!
- Not to mention convincingly voicing the three different personalities of Lain in Serial Experiments Lain. And this is her debut role.
- Recently, she has put her name as one of the cast of Tales of Hearts... as someone who is a prime candidate of a soft-spoken Mysterious Waif. Whoa.
- Ryōtarō Okiayu is certainly one hell of a man hard to peg down on his roles. One second he plays the roles of bumbling men who is often used for comedy relief, one second he plays villainous roles, one second he plays cool-headed guys, one second he plays The Stoic types, one second he... plays gay-voiced roles.
- Rie Kugimiya is more often a Pigeonholed Voice Actor, playing Tsudere characters such as Shana, Louise and Nagi but when allowed to step outside the Pigeonhole she shows surprising range such as Alphonse Elric and both Deadpan Snarker Kurosaki Karin and Emotionless Girl Nemu from Bleach.
- Sayaka Ohara definitely, despite mostly playing mothers, she voiced Large Ham Beatrice in Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Hot Witch Yuuko in Xxx HO Li C and, Magic Knight Erza in ''Fairy Tail.
- Especially noteworthy in Umineko no Naku Koro ni where she voices not only Beatrice III/Yasu but also: Beatrice Castiglioni, Beatrice Ushiromiya and Clair Vauxof Bernard while making them all sound unique.
- Jun Fukuyama, has voiced Magnificent Bastard Lelouch, Extreme Masochist Sado Taro, Brilliant but Lazy Ryner and Large Ham Leopard.
- Nurarihyon No Mago deserves special mention in showing off his range since he voices both of Rikuo's forms, showing off both the young boy style that he started out with and the more mature voice that became more prominent after landing his role in Code Geass.
- Ayako Kawasumi, from the stoic Saber to the gentle Princess Henrietta, then the Alpha Bitch Saki Tenjouin.
- Houko Kuwashima is very prolific and has an amazing range, making it hard to find two of her roles that sound the same. Who would have thought that Yurika, Kagura, Sango, and Fllay are all voiced by the same person?
- Katsuyuki Konishi has proven that he can do quite a variety of characters. From cold and calculated robot-ninjas to the Leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime and all the way to the most Badass badass to ever exist in anime. Coincidentally, all three examples have some kind of leader-role...
- Tetsuya Kakihara has also proven to be able to do a good number of voices. His probably most famous roles are Simon the Digger and Natsu Dragneel, though he's also done a lot of other voices. In particular, check out how he did Jin Kisaragi and Hakumen.
- Nobuyuki Hiyama should get some credit too. Sure, his voices doesn't differ much between two characters in the same situation, but his sure can go from completely calm to yelling in the most awesome way you'll ever hear within seconds, and drastically change his voice in the process.
- Yuki Kaida has voiced Bishōnen Cute Bruiser China, Plucky Girl Friend to All Living Things Taiwan, and the Narrator from Axis Powers Hetalia. Then there's Dude Looks Like a Lady Extreme Omnivore Shusuke (Shuusuke? Syusuke?) and his Cool Big Sis Yumiko from Prince of Tennis. And Hot-Blooded Badass Adorable Abe Masahiro from Shonen Onmyouji. While usually typecast as a young bishounen (usually with some form of hidden baddassery, she has had quite a variety of roles.
- Pika Aizawa, who is reportedly a student training to become a professional voice actress, has played a total of 26 characters so far in her fandub of the Touhou fanime Fantasy Kaleidoscope. (Its episodes are initially released without voice acting, only music, sound effects and Japanese subtitles.)
- In a non-voice actor example, singer Jun Togawa can go from sounding like a child to a very deep voice to sweet teenager to operatic singing, often within the same song.
- Jorge "El Tata" Arvizu has dubbed, among others, Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone; Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Maxwell Smart (including the 2007 film), and Choo-Choo Benny the Ball.
- Gerardo Reyero was known for using his bass-baritone voice in ultra serious, by-the-book roles (Cyclops from X-Men, Mamoru "Darien" Chiba from Sailor Moon, Jun Uozumi from Slam Dunk). That, until he did a fantastic work as the loud, cheerful and energetic Large Ham Gai-sensei in Naruto, and then the Bunny-Ears Lawyer Ukitake from Bleach...
- You might be able to recognize Patricia "Patty" Acevedo's sweet soprano voice very easily, but even then, you can't forget she's done young boys (Kissyfur, Yaiba Kurogane from Yaiba, Chaozu from Dragon Ball Z), Magical Girls (Usagi/Serena from Sailor Moon, Sally from Magical Sally), sweet yet strong girls (Alexis/Asuka from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Lisa Simpson, Lizzie Devine), cynical young ladies (Rosa from Cyborg009), mother roles (Chi Chi from Dragon Ball Z), or spoiled little kids (Angelica Pickles from Rugrats), or Yanderes (Ryoumou from Ikki Tousen), or even badass Action Girls (Princess Adora aka She Ra Princess Of Power).
- Arturo Mercado has voiced Shaggy, Yoda and Lando, Fred Flintstone, the Beast, Hamm, Petrie, Darkwing Duck, Simba, Bob the Builder, Zarbon from Dragon Ball Z... AND MANY OTHERS. He's in his early 70s, and his range is comparable to the aforementioned Jorge Arvizu.
- Márcio Simőes does comic characters such as the Genie, Hades, and Daffy Duck; Badasses such as Samuel L. Jackson and Jack Bauer; leaders like Horatio Caine, Jean-Luc Picard, and Donatello; and even villains such as Lex Luthor and David Xanatos.
- Guilherme Briggs is usually a Large Ham - his favorite roles to play were Freakazoid! and Dagget - but he also does serious roles such as Mewtwo from Pokémon, Superman, Optimus Prime and Dr. Manhattan.
- Alexandre Moreno is also usually over-the-top (Pinky, Puss in Boots, Chris Tucker, Max) or comedic (Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller) but does the odd serious role (the first Red Ranger, Michael Corleone, Jude Law).
- Marco Antônio Costa is the voice actor for George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and also... Plucky Duck, Bonkers D. Bobcat, Hugh Neutron, Rex, Stimpy and Woody Woodpecker?
- Orlando Drummond voices some comedic characters, as Alf, Scooby-Doo, Dynomutt Dog Wonder and Hong Kong Phooey; cool old guys as George Burns and Santa Claus and badasses as Popeye, The Thing and Venger. He also dubbed comedic and badass variations of a same character: Cringle/Battlecat in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983).
- Roger Carel is (or has been) Astérix, ALF C-3PO, Winnie-the-Pooh (and Rabbit and Piglet), Captain Caveman, Basil of Baker Street, Rincewind, and a whole bunch of Hanna-Barbera and/or Disney characters.
- Canadian French actor Richard Darbois is Batman, Captain Harlock, the Genie, Oogie-Boogie, the Kurgan, Barf, Hook, Madmartigan, Buffalo Bill, Buzz Lightyear, Russ Cargill, Bruce and Shan-Yu. He also doubled Harrison Ford, Richard Gere and Jeff Goldblum, among others.
- Anders Matthesen has more than once been the entire cast of his shows.
- Lars Thiesgaard has been Pumbaa, Dexter, IM Weasel, Johnny Bravo, Pegleg Pete, Piglet, Gargamel, The Red Guy, Professor Utonium, Bob the Builder, Scooby-Doo, the Tasmanian Devil (as well as Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny), Don Karnage, Top Cat, The Joker, Yoda, Barney Rubble, and Pinky... among MANY others.
- Gyula Szombathy voices (or has once voiced) Donald Duck, Goofy, Goofy's narrator, Porky Pig, Pepe Le Pew, Frasier, Popeye, Kaa from The Jungle Book, Scuttle from The Little Mermaid, Fagin from Oliver & Company, Gizmoduck from DuckTales, Mambo from Teen Titans, Mung Daal from Chowder, and Billy the rat from Cat City (Macskafogó). He also voices Steve Martin in the Pink Panther movies.
- István Mikó voices Winnie-the-Pooh, Genie from Aladdin, Ray from The Princess and the Frog, Bernard from The Rescuers, Archimedes from The Sword in the Stone, Barney Rubble in one of the several dubs of The Flintstones and is the official Hungarian voice of Robin Williams.
- József Kerekes voices Peter Griffin from Family Guy, Donkey from the Shrek franchise, Dale from Chip and Dale, Wildcat from TaleSpin, Barney Rubble from a VHS-only Flintstones dub, Lumpy Space Princess in Adventure Time, Pesto from Animaniacs, Drix from Ozzy and Drix, Roquefort from The Aristocats, Chester from Kids Next Door, Jimbo Kern from South Park's early seasons, Verminious Snaptrap in T.U.F.F. Puppy, Kowalski from Madagascar and its Sequel and spin-offs, and is the official Hungarian voice of Jim Carrey.
- Gábor Seder provides the voices for Futurama's Bender, Quagmire from Family Guy, Rolf from Ed, Edd n Eddy, Heatblast, Ghostfreak and probably a bunch of other aliens in Ben10, Dr. Blowhole from The Penguins of Madagascar, Ling-Ling from Drawn Together, all life-stages of Emrick the Petalar and several Lizard soldiers in Thundercats2011. There is way more, but those are in his regular voice.
- As Mike in Total Drama, Seder shows his true range because of the character's split personalities.
- Swedish voice actor and comedian Dan Ekborg is a strange case, in that he is both this trope and a Pigeonholed Voice Actor. He is Pigeonholed in the sense that he is always cast as humorous characters, good or evil. Instead he uses his wide vocal range solely for the Rule of Funny, most famously in his role as Genie.