Since his debut in 1993, Tomokazu Seki has been one of Japan’s leading seiyuu. Enjoying movies and TV shows as a child, he decided to take acting classes. However, he felt he didn’t have the confidence to be on TV, so he switched to voice acting and started taking voice acting lessons while still in high school. His break out as a seiyuu was in 1994’s G Gundam as Domon and since then, his career in anime and in Gundam has skyrocketed. So throughout his 25 year career, what are some of Tomokazu Seki’s greatest roles?
5. Keisuke Takahashi from Initial D
- Episodes: 26
- Air Dates: April 19, 1998 – December 6, 1998
Kicking off this list is Seki’s role of Keisuke from Initial D. He displays a sense of overconfidence and a hot temper, and it perfectly compliments Keisuke’s brother’s calm and calculated nature. As Keisuke, Seki excellently uses the harsher extreme of his voice to display that personality. When he gets frustrated, he really lets it all out. Whenever he wins, he’ll likely find a way to throw it in your face. Keisuke is someone who throws caution into the wind when it comes to other people, but whenever he’s in the presence of his brother, he looks up to him with respect. As the franchise progresses, you learn that he was in a gang, but Seki does a great job of still bringing out those particular qualities that make him intimidating. Lastly, prior to playing Keisuke, Seki didn’t have a driver’s license and voicing Keisuke actually inspired him to get one.
4. Shinichi Chiaki from Nodame Cantabile
- Episodes: 23
- Air Dates: January 12, 2007 – June 15, 2007
Due to the character being popularized by Hiroshi Tamaki in the live action, when Seki was casted in the anime, many Japanese fans and industrial insiders thought it was different from what they were expecting. In this romantic comedy about music, Seki perfectly captures Chiaki’s notoriously perfectionist personality, how harsh he can be on other people, but knows when to give praise. It is reported that Seki really worked hard on the role by studying French and practiced how to conduct orchestras in front of a mirror.
3. Chichiri from Fushigi Yuugi
- Episodes: 52
- Air Dates: April 6, 1995 – March 28, 1996
In comparison to others we have on this list, Seki tends to use a higher pitch for Chichiri. As Chichiri, he expresses a playful personality, but expresses maturity when necessary. Plus, we just love how he ends all of his sentences with (na) no da, and just made that particular grammar point of Japanese popular to international audiences. He exhibits an upbeat personality to hide his dark past and that is further symbolized with the physical mask he wears. However, when the character gets further development, Seki’s performance does an excellent job of letting out the emotions the character suppresses when that time comes. When Chichiri says goodbye to his resurrected friend/rival, you get to see the real Chichiri, and Seki’s portrayal does a great job of sucking you into the emotions he tends to hide and why he hides them.
2. Ichiro Miyata from Hajime no Ippo (Fighting Spirit)
- Episodes: 75
- Air Dates: October 4, 2000 – March 27, 2002
Coming in at a close second, we have Miyata from Hajime no Ippo. As Miyata, Seki tends to use the deeper and harder extreme to his voice just like in his portrayal of Keisuke in Initial D. Like Keisuke, Miyata has this particular focus on being the best (like no one ever was), and that performance perfectly captures that quality. He’s always all work and no play but has a distinct calm to him. He’s well seasoned in boxing due to his training under his father since his childhood and despite Miyata’s youth, Seki’s performance in explaining counters shows Miyata’s world class skills in that regard.
1. Gai Daigouji from Kidou Senkan Nadesico (Martian Successor Nadesico)
- Episodes: 26
- Air Dates: October 1, 1996 – March 25, 1997
As for our number one pick, it would certainly be Gai from Nadesico. Yes, we know his real name is Jiro Yamada (which is about as plain as John Smith, no offense to anyone with that name), but as he said, Gai Daigouji is the name of his inner spirit. Seki’s performance as Gai, despite his short but impacting presence, just made him the true heart of Nadesico. He was the ultimate mech fanboy living out his dreams. Thanks to Seki’s prior experience playing mech characters, he can express that in a way fans can relate. He masterfully balances the higher and lower extremes to his voice, and knows how to use it in a very comedic manner. We enjoy how Seki expresses Gai’s childlike enthusiasm and how he loves to make up names for his attacks.
In comparison to a lot of seiyuu who are known for exclusively one tone of voice such as Mamoru Miyano and Takehito Koyasu, depending on the character, Tomokazu Seki can present himself with a low and rough voice, or with a high pitch exciting voice to the point that you couldn’t tell they were the same person. He’s done the high voice for Chichiri (along with Kenichi from History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi), and the low voice for Keisuke. He can be calm, or he can be really aggressive. As for Domon, it’s a good representation of the in-between. He can do comedy, drama, romance, sci-fi, and just about every genre you can think of, and for that, he’s one of the most multi-talented seiyuu in the industry. We know this list was hard to make so we are cool if you disagree with this list, so if you have any other roles you wish to add, please feel free to do so in the comments!