If you were to make a Mt. Rushmore of female seiyuu, Kotono Mitsuishi is certainly a must have. For many fans who have been around since at least the nineties, they’ve been aware of her name since she’s the voice of Sailor Moon and Misato from Evangelion (SPOILER ALERT! THEY MADE THE LIST!). Since 1989, she’s been active as a seiyuu and was under the tutelage of the voice of Gokuu, Masako Nozawa. After making her debut in the final edition to Ace wo Nerae, her career took off. Other than what was previously mentioned, what are her top 5 roles? Read our list to find out!
5. Murrue Ramius from Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED (Mobile Suit Gundam SEED)
- Episodes: 50
- Air Dates: October 2, 2002 – September 27, 2003
Compared to her iconic role as Sailor Moon, as Captain Ramius, Mitsuishi appropriately uses a deeper voice to make the character mature and authoritative. Thanks to that performance, she’s very believable as a military officer who knows how to keep her crew in line, but she is willing to break protocol when the ends justifies the means. While she excellently shows a tough exterior that can make an enlisted soldier shake in his boots, audiences get to see her feminine side as well thanks to the presence of ace pilot Mu La Flaga, who ends up wooing her. Thanks to the performance of Takehito Koyasu, that character’s respective voice actor, they share a very believable chemistry.
4. Juri Arisugawa from Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
- Episodes: 39
- Air Dates: April 2, 1997 – December 24, 1997
Mitsuishi may have played the most iconic Shoujo character of all time, but shortly after, she also voiced a supporting character in Revolutionary Girl Utena, Juri Arisugawa, the captain of the fencing team. In comparison to a large majority of her work, Juri is probably the darkest character she’s ever played. She has a very tough exterior and is very motivated. Mitsuishi uses a deeper voice as Juri, but not in the same way as Ramius. As Juri, there is an appropriate darker and more masculine quality to her performance that makes her look thought on the outside, but vulnerable on the inside. She may come across as villainous just to make her seem like a rival, but deep down inside, she’s still a good person, which is why this portrayal is a worthy addition to this list.
3. Urumi Kanzaki from Great Teacher Onizuka
- Episodes: 43
- Air Dates: June 30, 1999 – September 17, 2000
Mitsuishi has played junior high girls in the past (which we’ll get into), but as Urumi Kanzaki, it’s a completely different animal that makes you love her an actress even more. As Urumi, she’s genetically created to be the ultimate genius, and thanks to those smarts, she exhibits a crazy sense of self-confidence and superiority complex. She appropriately uses a higher voice as Urumi, but not as scratchy as Usagi’s. Even so, her high intellect gives her a different sense of authority and makes her peers and her instructors frightened of her since she’s cold and calculating. In addition, she is very manipulative and loves to pray pranks, but deep down inside, she’s still an insecure little girl. Thanks to her chemistry with Onizuka’s seiyuu, Wataru Takagi (along with quality writing), she manages to find a creative way in bringing that out when he time comes.
2. Misato Katsuragi from Shin Seiki Evangelion (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
- Episodes: 26
- Air Dates: October 4, 1995 – March 27, 1996
As we shared earlier, Misato made the list. In case you (probably) didn’t know, it was her casting that made the character designer intentionally change her bangs to resemble Usagi’s as a tongue-in-cheek reference. Even so, Misato is probably the most multi-dimensional role in her career. Just like Ramius, Misato has an officer ranking is a member of NERV. As a soldier, she’s armed and dangerous so if you lay a hand on her, you’ll end up in a body bag. But outside of work, she just loves to cut back and is totally undomesticated. She loves her Yebisu beer and her cup noodles (worst roommate). Even so, she genuinely cares for Shinji like a little brother and does what she can for him, and she can be easy or strict when necessary. You see her tough side and her vulnerabilities throughout this series and Mitsuishi’s performance knows how to bring it out to the point that you forget that she’s Sailor Moon.
1. Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino from Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon)
- Episodes: 200
- Air Dates: March 7, 1992 – February 8, 1997
As any fan could guess, our number one pick is that Sailor Moon. It may not be her most mature role, but when you compare her performance to what we listed here, it shows how truly multi-talented Mitsuishi is. As opposed to the deeper and more commanding voice she uses as Ramius and Misato, as Usagi, she’s really not that commanding, and that’s not a bad thing. She’s not academic, uncoordinated, and is very emotional, just like how some 14-year-olds are, and that distinct pitch she captures as Usagi is the essence of who she is. But when she transforms, she’s willing to put in her best effort. What she lacks in brains, she makes up for with heart, and that’s what makes the character memorable and relatable. When necessary, Mitsuishi can bring out the best qualities to Sailor Moon and make audiences connect with her. The fact that audiences of all genders, races and ages can connect with her when it comes to her values of love and friendship is why we have her at number one.
In addition to our top 5, what other roles of Kotono Mitsuishi are worthy of mention? If you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comments!