Since the end of the 90s, Masaya Matsukaze has been an international household name to gamers and anime fans alike. However, his breakout in the world of acting wasn’t as a seiyuu, but as Shun Namiki, the blue ranger in Denji Sentai Megaranger, which became Power Rangers In Space outside of Japan. As a seiyuu, he debuted as Sakuya Ookuchi in Kaizan Blues in 1999. Since then, his career has exploded all over the place, and for a time, he ran a café for seiyuus in Akihabara. So, throughout his twenty year career, what are some of Masaya Matsukaze’s best roles? Read our selections to find out!
5. Shin Hyuuga Shaing from Code Geass Boukoku no Akito (Code Geass: Akito the Exiled)
- Episodes: 5
- Air Dates: July 16, 2012 – February 6, 2016
In this edition to Code Geass, Masaya Matsukaze plays the lead antagonist, Shin, the brother of the titular Akito. As an elite soldier, Shin is confident in a manner that breeds arrogance, but considering his position and background, he is someone motivated by power. Matsukaze gracefully captures the multifaceted nature to Shin making you wonder if he’s truly a villain, or a tragic individual who genuinely shows remorse for his sins from time to time. Then, there’s the side to him that can snap and show no mercy. Despite his treachery, Matsukaze manages to capture all the qualities that make you hate him as the antagonist, but still love him as a human who is capable of truly caring about others when you see him interact with his unit and adoptive family.
4. Teru Mikami from Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Air Dates: October 2006 – July 27, 2007
Introduced in the last arc, Teru Mikami, an ambitious prosecutor who spoke highly of Light as Kira, gets to possess the Death Note to deliver his brand of justice. Considering the systematic personality of the character, Matsukaze portrays him as calm, collected, unassuming, and with sociopathic tendencies. As a compliment to his personality, every time he writes a name in the Death Note, he follows it with a verbal sakujo, or delete, in English. Every time he says it (as he writes it with wave motions), he expresses it as if it’s a duty given to him by (his) god. The way Matsukaze expresses Mikami’s feelings by being disconnected with humanity truly demonstrates how great of an actor he is.
3. Blues from Rockman.exe (Megaman: NT Warrior)
- Episodes: 56
- Air Dates: March 4, 2002 – March 31, 2003
Just like how Megaman is called Rockman in Japan (as a reference to rock music), Protoman’s original name in Japanese is Blues (also a music reference). As a program, he is mechanical in his personality since he is programmed and trained that way. He portrays him in a manner in which he is not only systematic, but how he is also confident and strong. However, he does display impatience whenever Rockman tries to be preachy and as opposed to listening to him, he is prone to just starting a fight with him. He is mission focused and doesn’t like to waste time, and Matsukaze masterfully gives us his personality in a way you can be frightened of him, and also enjoy him.
2. Ren Ichimoku from Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl)
- Episodes: 26
- Air Dates: October 5, 2005 – April 5, 2006
In the world of anime, Ren Ichimoku probably has to be Matsukaze’s biggest role. In comparison to his other roles listed here, he speaks a little more upbeat to reflect his teenage appearance (even though he’s two centuries old) and humor. At times, he can be serious and is always the first to notice when something smells fishy. He likes to joke around but at the same time, the character demonstrates a distinct sense of curiosity and wanting to learn about the world of humans, and even for real life humans, sometimes we just don’t get why people are the way they are. So, think of him like a Vulcan from Star Trek, but with more humor. Plus, his chemistry with Ai’s voice actress Mamiko Noto, compliments his character effectively well.
1. Ryo Hazuki from Shenmue
- Platform: 26
- Publisher: October 5, 2005 – April 5, 2006
- Developer: Sega AM2
- Release Date: December 29, 1999 (Japan), November 7, 2000 (US)
If there is any role that made Matsukaze an international star, it certainly has to be Ryo Hazuki from Sega’s cult hit, Shenmue. In addition to voicing Ryo, he also did the character’s motion capture. Yes, the English voice acting has been bashed for every reason you can think of since its release, but the Japanese version to Shenmue offers a more authentic experience, and Matsukaze’s performance hits the mark! As Ryo, he is a hotheaded teenager who is focused on avenging his father and enjoying arcade hits of his time. Matsukaze masterfully captures Ryo’s rage and his teenage hormones that can’t make him think straight. The first time you hear him scream OYAJI upon his father’s death, you can connect with his loss, even if you can’t understand Japanese. Through the Japanese version, Matsukaze’s portrayal of Ryo feels very believable, and his chemistry with the rest of the cast works excellently to bring out his charisma as a leading actor.
In addition to being an actor, Matsukaze also enjoys practicing martial arts, playing the guitar, and winter sports. He is a man of many unique talents. While he has been playing Ren in the anime to Jigoku Shoujo for the past decade, he also played a character in the live action as well. In the time he has been a seiyuu, he also has revisited in the Super Sentai genre a handful of times by voicing costumed characters. So in addition to our picks, what other roles of Masaya Matsukaze do you think we missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments!