Known for his baritone and soothing voice, Takehito Koyasu has been another leading name in seiyuu since the 90’s. As a child, Koyasu enjoyed watching movies. When he was a junior high student, he happened to watch Sayonara Ginga Tetsudou 999, and the scene of when Tetsuro parts with a nameless guerrilla fighter before he departs on the 999 stood out to him. Thanks to that experience, it encouraged him to become a voice actor. In 1988, he made his debut as an extra in Don Don Domeru to Ron, but his career took off as it entered the following decade. Since then, his career has been full of iconic roles. So, what do we think are his best 5? Read our picks to find out!
5. Ryousuke Takahashi from Initial D
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 19, 1998 – December 6, 1998
To kick off our list into gear, we thought it would be appropriate to start with Initial D, where he plays Ryousuke Takahashi, one of Eastern Japan’s most feared street racers. His deep and calm voice perfectly captures not only his confidence, but his calm and collectiveness. Initial D is famous for using a lot of technical jargon to explain how the cars and road conditions work for a racer to succeed, and as Ryousuke, Koyasu does an excellent job of demonstrating how articulate Ryousuke is when it comes to that feature, and it makes the viewer convinced that he knows what he’s talking about despite that some of the stuff he shares would fly over the head of someone who doesn’t know anything about cars.
4. Zechs Marquise from Kidou Senki Gundam Wing (New Mobile Report Gundam Wing)
- Episodes: 49
- Aired: April 7, 1995 – March 29, 1996
Upon the uploading of this list, Koyasu has been casted in 10 separate installments of the Gundam franchise. But if we and a good percentage of hardcore Gundam fans were to pick what his best role within Gundam is, it would have to be Zechs Marquise, Wing’s homage to Char Aznable. Out of all the roles Koyasu has had throughout his career, many can argue that Zechs is his most complex. He starts off as an antagonist, then as something like an ally, and finally a rebel with a crazy cause. As Zechs, Koyasu manages to capture not only his complexity, but his charisma as an officer, his confidence as a soldier, and his fragility as a human being. Plus, he has excellent chemistry with Hikaru Midorikawa, Heero’s seiyuu, to complement each other’s personalities as men and as pilots.
3. Dio Brando from JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
- Episodes: 123+
- Aired: October 6, 2012- Ongoing
While Zechs was redeemable, but as Dio in JoJo, he is one of the most notorious villains in the history of anime and manga. Yes, other voice actors have played the character such as Nobuo Tanaka in the 1993 OVA series, Isshin Chiba for the Capcom fighter, and Hikaru Midorikawa in the ill-received 2007 Phantom Blood movie, but for the long-awaited anime adaptation longtime manga fans were truly waiting for, Koyasu breathes a fresh life into Dio. Not only can he play the most glorious of heroes, but the nastiest of villains. Although many fans can argue that Isshin Chiba did a better job of delivering some of Dio’s iconic lines such as “ZA WAARUDO” and/or “WWWRRRRRYYYYYYYYYY,” Koyasu’s delivery of “KONO DIO DA” in Phantom Blood after forcing a kiss onto Jonathan’s future wife solidified his contribution. It’s been a meme and the way he delivers it over dramatically is something you don’t see in most present day villains.
2. Hotohori from Fushigi Yuugi
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: April 6, 1995 – March 28, 1996
If there is one role that solidified him as an international star in the 1990’s, it would certainly be playing Hotohori in Fushigi Yuugi. Though he is an 18-year-old Emperor to a kingdom, Hotohori brings not only an appropriate charisma to the role but a maturity that not many people his age have. You see that he does care, but you also feel how his role as emperor has not only made him wise, but lonely and isolated. He sucks you into the character with the emotions he exhibits throughout the series, and it excellently makes him relatable to all audiences. Though many fans are cheering for Tamahome and Miaka to end up together, audiences can also understand Hotohori’s personal feelings for Miaka and his tension with Tamahome thanks to Koyasu’s performance.
1. Ran Fujimiya/Aya from Weiss Kreuz
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 9, 1998 – October 1, 998
What if we were to tell you that Koyasu created his own anime? Then guess what? He did with Weiss Kreuz, where he also voices the main lead, Ran Fujimiya, real name Aya, a mercenary. Though he has played crazy villains, Aya from Weiss Kreuz is a much darker character compared to some of the other roles we listed here. He is not as rambunctious and over the top like Dio, nor is he slightly cocky like Zechs. He’s really not much of a talker and has a more self-imposed isolated personality due to losing his personal tragedies. He is a very focused on avenging his family, and as Aya, Koyasu excellently exhibits how his dark past has consumed him, and how it affects his relationship with other people.
Not only does he just voice the characters, he sings (in character), too. For the Gundam Wing, Weiss Kreuz, and Fushigi Yuugi soundtracks, he has contributed image songs to the characters he portrays. His captivating voice is excellent for heroes, villains, and everything in between, which is why he has been successful in all of his roles. Beyond what we listed, what do you think are some of Takehito Koyasu’s best roles in anime, video games, or drama CDs?