Just because you’re 50 years old doesn’t mean you can still play teenagers, but that’s what Hikaru Midorikawa, one of anime’s leading voice talents, does best. You might know him due to his soothing and seductive voice whether he plays a hero or a villain. As for why his voice is the way it is, he can keep his distinct pitch due to a certain unevenness with his throat. Some also speculate it is also due to his Tochigi prefecture accent. Either way, with that voice, he can sound excited, like a Casanova, or a serial killer.
As to why he became a seiyuu, he watched the original Gundam series as a child and it inspired him to be one. Despite the objection of his parents, he persisted on never giving up his dreams and found domestic and international success. So throughout his career in anime and games, what are some of Hikaru Midoriakwa’s best roles? Read our top 5 to find out!
5. Android 16 from Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: April 26, 1989 – January 31, 1996
As some of you may know, Midorikawa inherited the role of Tenshinhan after the tragic passing of the legendary Hirotaka Suzuoki. However, his breakout into the world of Dragon Ball was that of the nature loving Android 16. As opposed to playing handsome characters, Android 16 is bulky, asexual, sports a Mohawk, and appropriately comes across as stoic to reflect that 16 is fully mechanic with no trace of humanity within him. Even so, he discovers his humanity by exploring the world and bonding with the wonders of nature. To reflect his size, he speaks in a much deeper and serious voice. As required, he doesn’t exhibit too much emotion, but still finds a way to convince viewers that he truly cares about the animals, and manages to find his own sense of free will.
4. Kaede Rukawa from Slam Dunk
- Episodes: 101
- Aired: October 16, 1993 – March 23, 1996
Another notable character he’s remembered for is that of Kaede Rukawa from Slam Dunk. The character is a perfect opposite to Sakuragi’s (the main character) brash and boastful personality, and his chemistry with Sakuragi’s voice actor, Takeshi Kusao, perfectly exhibits their differences and similarities. With his deeper performance, he compliments Rukawa’s calmer and more focused qualities. He’s anti-social and wants to be left alone, but in a fight, he’d probably lose to Sakuragi, but on the court, he’s just as selfish as Kobe Bryant. Like Kobe, Rukawa does exhibit a competitive spirit, but Midorikawa exhibit his confidence with a quietness that makes you intimidated of him as he shows off his well-rounded skills.
3. Heero Yuy from Shin Kidou Senki Gundam Wing (New Mobile Report Gundam Wing)
- Episodes: 49
- Aired: April 7, 1995 – March 29, 1996
As we previously stated, the original Gundam was what inspired Midorikawa to pursue a career in voice acting. Even though he did play supporting roles in V Gundam and G Gundam, as Heero Yuy in Gundam Wing, he finally got his break in playing a leading character. As Heero, he masterfully gives a cold, distant and very precise performance in regards to how mission obsessed the character is. He is quiet and never really raises his voice unless he has to. His voice does come across as friendly to the ladies, and even when he tells Relena that he’ll kill her, she still can’t help but like him and we’re sure it’s because of that voice. While the character comes across as anti-social, he does exhibit his care for others when he battles Zechs, his main rival in their final battle as we see that knows what he is doing is not for the sake of accomplishing a mission, but for peace.
2. Ein/Hayate from Dead or Alive 2
- Platform: Multiplatform
- Publisher: Koei Tecmo
- Developer: Team Ninja
- Release Dates: February 29, 2000
Ever since the second game, Midorikawa has served as the voice of Ein, or Hayate, for Tecmo’s Dead or Alive series. Like many characters on this list and as stated in the intro, Ein is a good looking young man. For some people, Midorikawa’s voice is probably the equivalent to the bouncing breasts or the swimsuits of this series as a turn on. Since the character is introduced as an amnesiac, Midorikawa plays him in a manner where he is very insecure about himself and has trouble interacting with the people around him, even when Kasumi and Ayame, his true sisters recognize him as Hayate. As the character develops, you see him more as your typical honor driven martial artist, and Midorikawa does an excellent job of showing his true kindness and dedication to his family and art.
1. Tamahome from Fushigi Yuugi (The Mysterious Play)
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: April 6, 1995 – March 28, 1996
To many 90s anime fans, if there is any role that solidifies Hikaru Midorikawa’s legacy, it has to be Tamahome from Fushigi Yuugi, who probably rivaled Tuxedo Mask as the anime heartthrob of that era. As a matter of fact, Yuu Watase, the original manga’s author, created him with Midorikawa in mind. Tamahome is the role that solidified him as the one who could play anyone’s dream man. He can comfort you, humor you, and anger you all at once. He could stick to his deeper voice like his other roles, or speak in a more upbeat tone when appropriate. Tamahome is a very multi-dimensional character and Midorikawa found a way to performance that quality along with the character’s good looks.
Lastly, we’d like to give some honorable mentions to his roles as Ali from Sailor Moon R, Zelgadis from Slayers, Shou Amabane from Burning Rangers, Proto Zero from the Gundam Gihren’s Green strategy game series, and Gridman from both the original Gridman tokusatsu series and SSSS Gridman. Will he ever lose that distinct voice with age? Let’s hope not! So what are some roles you think we missed? Please leave them in the comments!