2020 was another year with many anime broadcasts, releases, and streamings. Though having several titles postponed, due to the unprecedented situation of the spread of COVID-19, the year had a rich variety of anime.
We at Anime!Anime! conducted a readers’ survey about voice actors as the annual general election of anime. We asked the readers, “the most active voice actor”, who left a strong impression through taking part in popular titles, voicing main characters, or appearing in various media, such as TV shows and stage plays, and “your ‘fave’ voice actor”, who the readers became a fan of or want to recommend to others, for each gender.
There were over 3,000 votes received during the voting period from November 15 to December 13. The voters were mainly female with a gender ratio of 17% male to 83% female, and the proportion of each age range was 40% under 20, 30% in their 20s, and 15% in their 30s.
The first results to be revealed are “your ‘fave’ male voice actor” ranking.
■Voice actors who widened their activities were popular!
Topping the list was Shimono Hiro-san with roughly 20% of the vote. He kept his top position of “your ‘fave’ male voice actor” from last year.
There were many comments saying that they became fans of him through “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba”, which boomed even more in 2020, “Thanks to his role as Agatsuma Zenitsu in ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’, I think he’s now known not only to anime fans but also the general public. His wide range of performance, from high-toned cries to calm and cool tones, is amazing!”, “I got interested in Shimono-san himself through ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’, and now I love him for his personality!”, and “I became a fan after listening to ‘Kimetsu Radio’. Even I, who is not familiar with the voice acting industry, got hooked to him, so he’s defiantly my No.1 recommended voice actor!”
There were also many fans pointing out his activities out of anime such as, “He’s popular in various media, narrating for prime time TV shows and hosting online TV shows. There almost wasn’t a day that I didn’t hear Shimono-san’s voice”, and “His 1st album “WE GO!”, which is the culmination of his work as a singer, was also amazing.”
Fans especially rejoiced about his official Twitter account, which was created in August this year, and said, “He already has over 400,000 followers. My heart is soothed by his casual tweets he posts in between his busy schedule”, and “I was happy to hear his own words through Twitter.”
Coming in 2nd was Itou Kento-san with roughly 8% of the votes.
There were many votes with comments on “Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battel”, which started its anime series in October, “How he switches his emotional state in his role as the unstable Kannonzaka Doppo from ‘Hypnosis Mic’ was amazing”, and “I was introduced to him through his role as Doppo and was fascinated by his singing. He will be challenging new things such as the Fukui dialect and rakugo, so I’ll keep supporting him with close eyes on him!”
There were also some readers who became fans through his music, “I love the gap between his versatile skills, such as playing the guitar and composing music, and how he is a bit of an air-head.”
“I think this year was a year that Itou-san fascinated many people through his song ‘SEE YOU’, which was used as a campaign song for NHK, and publishing his first photo book, ‘step'”, is a comment that shows how his diverse activities led to his popularity.
Nakamura Yuuichi-san took 3rd place with just a few votes short of 2nd place.
He played many characters in 2020, and Gojou Satoru from the autumn anime “Jujutsu Kaisen” was especially popular, receiving comments such as, “He’s too cool”, and “The role fits him so well!”. There were some fans who completely fell in love with the character, saying, “I was excited to the point I lost my words!”.
In April, he started the YouTube channel, “Washagana TV”, with Mafia Kajita-san, and received votes from the streaming, “I like how he created a place to connect with his fans”, “I love hearing about his surprising hobbies and stories from his early days in the industry”, and “I love the pleasant personality he shows in the streamings, how he approaches his work, and the characters he plays. He’s become my favorite voice actor.”
There were many comments saying they’ve become fans through the voice actors’ activities out of anime in the “your ‘fave’ voice actor” survey. Fans seem to want to support their new challenges like starting Twitter, creating a YouTube channel, or publishing a photo book.
[Results of your “fave” male voice actor of 2020]
1. Shimono Hiro
2. Itou kento
3. Nakamura Yuuichi
4. Kamiya Hiroshi
5. Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
6. Ishida Akira
7. Hanae Natsuki
8. Saitou Souma
9. Furukawa Makoto
10. Eguchi Takuya
11. Miyano Mamoru
12. Murase Ayumu
13. Ishikawa Kaito
14. Sakurai Takahiro
15. Kaji Yuuki
16. Fukuyama Jun
17. Uchiyama Kouki
18. Sugita Tomokazu
19. Kimura Ryouhei
20. Okamoto Nobuhiko
(Voting Period: November 15 to December 13, 2020)