Well this is another one of those things I said I’d get around to and there’s been enough changes from the last time I ever mentioned it online, so here it is: My list of favorite male english voice actors in anime. I’m keeping it strictly anime voice actors because well…if I just went english male VA’s in general and included people primarily in western animated stuff this would a veeeeeeerrrrryyy different list. I’ll get to my list of top female VA’s a later date but for now this is it. I tried to include performance samples for whatever I could find so any of these don’t have one I apologize in advance. Anyway, enjoy ^_^
10) Robert McCollum
Notable Roles: Shinobu Sensui (YuYu Hakusho), Jellal (Fairy Tail), Shinya Kogami (Psycho-Pass), Ginti (Death Parade)
Robert McCollum has done voice work for Funimation since the days of yore and yet isn’t one of their larger name VA’s which is kind of a shame because his work is pretty great. He has a pretty cool voice and does good work in snarky and anti-heroish roles like Kogami or Kurusu in Future Diary though his best area of expertise is in villains. His portrayal of Sensui in particular carries a cold calculation and insanity while still feeling somewhat sympathetic and it’s what helped to make the character one of the most memorable anime villains of all time. Robert McCollum’s repertoire is solid and as far as villain voice actors go, he’s one of my favorites.
9) Josh Grelle
Notable Roles: Kenichi Shirahama (Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple), Armin Arlet (Attack on Titan), Nobuchika Ginoza (Psycho-Pass), Femt the Lord of Depravity (Blood Blockade Battlefront)
Well Josh Grelle actually IS one of Funimation’s more celebrated VA’s so there’s not much I can say about him that hasn’t been said already but he does great work. While he’s primarily known for doing shonen hero-ish voices, he has a pretty impressive vocal range and his roles extend from teenagers, adults, cross-dressers and even occasionally villains, bringing an impressive amount of character to each of them. He’s also one of a handful of primarily Funimation centered VA’s that sometimes goes further down Texas to do work at Sentai Filmworks as well, and his work has started to become pretty common. Certainly not anything to complain about though, as he’s more than earned his current popularity and is definitely one of Funimation’s finest
8) Patrick Seitz
Notable Roles: Wolfgang Grimmer (Monster), Ira Gamagoori (Kill la Kill), Dio Brando (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure), Sweet JP (Redline)
Patrick Seitz is one of the ultimate chameleons of anime. Odds are pretty good that if you’ve listened to a California-based or Funimation dub anytime in the last 5 or 6 years, Patrick Seitz was either in it, or somehow involved in it working behind the scenes as a script writer or director(sadly not so much the latter which is a shame since he’s a pretty good one). Yet somehow despite the insane amount of stuff he’s been in, he blends into shows so perfectly that you hardly ever hear complaints about how over used he is. It just lends to how impressive his work is as he’s played an incredibly wide range of character archetypes from nice guys to manly men, to depraved villains with a shonen hero role probably being the kind of role he hasn’t done (and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if he actually could pull it off). Exactly how standout his performances are tend to vary on the relevance of whatever character he’s playing to the show itself but when he brings his A-game his work is phenomenal and he stands as one of the most prominent VA’s in the biz
7) Eric Vale
Notable Roles: Casshern (Casshern Sins), Solf J. Kimblee (Fullmetal Alchemist), Director Tamaki (Deadman Wonderland), Trunks (Dragonball Z)
Much like with Patrick Seitz above, Eric Vale is also a chameleon of sorts when it comes to anime roles and has been doing work for Funimation since the days of the old Dragonball Z dub. He’s done a great variety of work across the board including heroes, villains, introverts, dads, psychopaths and the occasional corrupt businessman, with one of my personal favorites being his Desert Punk just because how comically underhanded it is. A lot of his performances carrying a certain level of humanity to them that comes across as very natural sounding, but he can certainly cross the line into full blown ham when he needs to and his extremely level of versatility makes my favorite among Funimation’s talent pool
6) Liam O’ Brien
Notable Roles: Garra of the Desert (Naruto), Kenzo Tenma (Monster), Lunatic (Tiger & Bunny), Nephrite (Sailor Moon)
Liam O Brien’s something of a veteran among the California talent pool and has done a variety of works over the years, with a lot of them carrying a certain level of humanity to them much like with Eric Vale’s roles though his performances tend to resonate a bit more. While he’s done a lot of different roles including pacifists, anti-heroes and even little boys at one point (yes that was him as the main character in Duel Masters) like with Robert McCollum he utterly excells at doing villains, bringing equal amounts of ham and depth to each of them, playing them up for all their worth. His expertise in those roles makes him my favorite in that particular area, but he’s pretty good at doing everything else and almost never fails to deliver.
5) Johnny Yong Bosch
Eh well…no one’s ever really accused me of being original when it comes to these things (usually the opposite) but darn it do I really need to be? Johnny Yong Bosch’s work pretty much speaks for itself as he’s one of the most well known voice actors in the industry and certainly one of the most popular. His main forte is generally shonen hero-ish roles, which he does really well, though his roles certainly branch out beyond that including anti-heroes, little boys and most recently quite a number of villainous roles. The performances he brings usually range from super solid to outstanding and there’s usually a pretty good level of intensity to each of them. It’s easy to see why he’s made such a big name for himself over the years and it’ll likely stay that way for quite a ways to come.
4) Yuri Lowenthal
Notable Roles: Sasuke Uchiha (Naruto), Barnaby Brooks Jr. (Tiger & Bunny), Pip Bonaparte (Hellsing Ultimate), Suzaku Kururugi (Code Geass)
On the note of VA’s who generally specialize in shonen hero-ish roles, here’s Yuri Lowenthal (whose characters incidentally happen to either be best bros, mortal enemies or some combination of the two whenever he and JYB are in the same show). While he’s certainly played his share of varied roles over the years from bros, to suave playboys, even including deeply voiced villains like Victor from Buso Renkin (though to be honest I think we’d all rather forget about that one) his expertise is by and large in young hero roles. His work in that area ranges from the classical archetypal hero to brooding angsty teens and rival characters, playing all of them with a strong level of emotional intensity (and sometimes reaching for that even where it’s barely need). For a long time he was more or less the definitive VA for the California talent pool in that regard until the niche was filled by Bryce Papenbrook and while he’s generally more prominent in western animation these days, he still pops up in anime from time to time, and his roles are typically a stand out.
3) Crispin Freeman
Notable Roles: Alucard (Hellsing), Itachi Uchiha (Naruto), Kyon (Haruhi Suzumiya), Jeremiah Gottwald (Code Geass)
Yet again I’m not terribly original but it’s another case where I really couldn’t care less about that. Like JYB, Crispin Freeman’s one of the most celebrated actors when it comes to anime in english, and it’s not hard to grasp why as he boasts one of the most impossibly cool sounding voices ever, and brings the performances to match. Though he’s garnered his massive reputation courtesy of his Alucard baritone, he actually has a pretty solid vocal range and can handle a variety of roles from smooth sounding adults, gruff middle aged men, young teens and then back to the infamous super baritone that made him iconic. There’s a certain degree of power to his voice that really stands out and it makes all of his roles that much more memorable, and it’s partially thanks to it that he’s endured as one of the best VA’s out there.
2) Ben Diskin
Notable Roles: Joseph Joestar (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure), Misaki Yata (K: The Animation), Sai (Naruto), Takaharu Fukuroda (Kill la Kill)
Ben Diskin is a very interesting case as far as anime voice actors go as he was largely more involved in western animation before branching out into anime whereas it’s usually the opposite case with California based voice actors. Perhaps it’s because of this that he’s gone largely unnoticed by the fandom at large until recent years and it’s really a shame as he’s proven to be one of the most impressive VA’s out there. He boasts an incredibly level of vocal range and is one of the few anime VA’s who I’m convinced could voice multiple roles in a show with none the wiser as he can do everything from little boys, to angsty teens and gruff baritoned characters with each of them sounding distinctly different from one another. More impressively he’s really great at playing all of these varying roles to their absolute fullest and when he gets to go full on ham, he can deliver on completely show stealing performances and sounds like he’s having a great time doing it. Again it’s sort of a shame that he went somewhat underrated for so long so I’m hoping that having finally gotten a lead role in something as large as Jojo’s, he’ll be getting a lot more attention in the future.
Notable Roles: Spike Spiegal (Cowboy Bebop), Mugen (Samurai Champloo), Orochimaru (Naruto), Guilmon (Digimon Tamers)
Welp we all knew this was coming and I don’t think it should really come off as that much of a surprise to anyone so rather than talk again about my unoriginal choices I’ll just get down to it. Steve Blum is one of if perhaps not the most celebrated english voice actor in anime, and to the point where even some of the most die hard sub elitists out there have respect for the man’s work. Though his claim to fame in anime will likely always and forever be Spike from Cowboy Bebop, his vocal range extends far, far beyond that as he’s done young heroes, deep voiced villains, dads, a creepy pedophile snake man and even an adorable little dinosaur…thing, with each of them having a high level of distinction from each other much like with Ben Diskin above. Though of course the default voice he’s commonly associated with it also carries an impossibly natural sounding level of cool to it, and helped somewhat in making him the icon he is today. One of the best things about his work though is that while I can more or less pick a favorite role from the other VAs on this list, Steve Blum has done so many incredibly sounding performances that picking just one is borderline impossible for me and even his legendary Spike Spiegal is well matched by a lot of his other roles. Call him overrated if you want, but Steve Blum’s become the voice acting icon he is for a darn good reason, and his work continues to stand the test of time.
And there you have it, my current list of favorite male anime voice actors. Though as always I wouldn’t be surprised to see it look pretty differently within the next couple of years as that’s the nature of things when it comes to that and there’s plenty of promising newer talent on the horizon. Now hopefully I can get around to doing my female VA list before the week is up though I have a feeling it’ll be harder finding worthwhile clips for that one…