Good Voice Acting is One of the Most Important Aspects of a Good Anime

Voice acting is a fun job!

In my opinion, voice acting in anime is something that’s taken too lightly by a lot of anime fans. On one end of the spectrum, we have the extreme elitists, who claim to only care about story, animation, character development and other “highly relevant” aspects of an anime. The other end seems to care more about voice acting – but from what I’ve seen, their focus is mostly about the actors/actresses themselves and their voice quality and not their acting skills. So here I am to try and give the voice acting scene its rightful due.

Anime is all about voice. And by voice, I mean the overall feel of the anime and how much one can enjoy it – how well the anime “speaks” to you. Voice can come from a lot of things – including direction, animation style, content and voice acting, as long as those things contribute to the feel and entertainment value of the show.

The paragon of godly voice acting.

Without a doubt, voice acting contributes A LOT to one’s enjoyment of a show, whether you want to admit it or not. How the voice actor/actress manages to get into his/her character in a show is particularly important. To give a very recent example, Nyarlko: Another Creeping Chaos wouldn’t be half as good as it is now if the one voicing Nyarlko (Kana Asumi) did a sloppy job. Anyone can see that Miss Asumi is enjoying her role as Nyarlko, and she’s really getting into her wacky character.

Other examples of great voice acting in anime include (big spoilers ahoy!) Okarin from Steins;Gate, JACK from Nichibros, Lelouch from Code GeassChiyo-chichi from Azumanga Daioh, and Homura from Madoka Magica. I praise these characters not because I’m partial to the people voicing them. The effort and dedication that these voice actors/actresses put into their characters is no less than amazing.

Anime needs good voice acting, no exceptions. Anime in general doesn’t really have the animation prowess of those American or French cartoons, except maybe KyoAni, ufotable, PA Works or Madhouse. As such, they have to make up with this handicap with other things, like interesting plots, good direction, cute drawings and high quality voice acting.

So voice acting really shouldn’t be looked down upon. It’s every bit as important as story, direction and animation. If anything, I think I enjoy voice acting in anime the most out of every other element the medium has.

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26 Responses to Good Voice Acting is One of the Most Important Aspects of a Good Anime

  1. bd77 says:

    A good voice gives a character an added dimension and “soul”.

  2. True, but at the same time, I don’t think there is any such as an “unimportant” aspect. Character, story, voice, sound – they’re all important. Any of them being out could ruin an anime even if the rest are great.

    • @fkeroge says:

      But you have to admit, for some shows like, say, Nyarlko, where I think almost every aspect is sub-par, the voice acting really gives me reason to continue watching it.

  3. Kuuki says:

    The thing with voice is that it gives life to a character, hearing a voice that doesn’t fit the character is a letdown for me and it takes away a lot of my enjoyment of the anime.
    (Case in hand : Deadman Wonderland)
    There are some voice actors that are so good that just the tone of their voice make me feel something, even if I don’t understand what they’re talking about (the joy of RAW anime)

    • @fkeroge says:

      Yeah, I think Romi Park wasn’t really a good choice for Ganta, but then again, I think Deadman Wonderland is absolute garbage.

      True that. Back when I still depended on subs for my anime, I was still enthralled by some of the great seiyuus.

  4. baka~ says:

    Good voice acting can literally “carry” an anime even if the plot sucks or the animation quality is subject to criticism. Among the examples mentioned above, I believe that the best example of this imo is Danshi Kokusei no Nichijou. The story, if read on paper, is simply boring. All in all, there’s nothing really worth of interest for that anime but having powerhouses like Sugita carry the entire gag is proof of how enjoyable a lame anime could be. There’s also Arakawa UTB and Denyuuden which, imo, holds weak story/plot but was carried by quality voice acting.

  5. Cytrus says:

    Voice acting is one of the keys to suspension of disbelief. It’s just that the voice acting standard for anime is very high, and we rarely get a performance horrible enough to make the viewer realize what he gets in other, top-tier series.

    • @fkeroge says:

      Agreed. We rarely get bad voice jobs in anime, or even American cartoons. Maybe that’s why the voice acting parts of cartoons are under-appreciated.

  6. thoughtcannon says:

    I agree with all. My only problem is when someone whose voice they don’t like voices a character and they call it bad acting.

  7. Many of these comments agree on one thing and that voice acting is important. I would imagine that voice acting is more important if you can actually understand japanese. As someone who watches most of my anime subtitled, I find voice acting less valuable some other factors of the show. Then again I can see how certain voice actors can change my opinion of certain series.

    • @fkeroge says:

      Think of this scenario: you have an English-dubbed anime and you have already watched the original dub. I guarantee that the quality of the voice acting will greatly affect your enjoyment of the show.

      • Ah, good example. The tone of english dubbed anime is usually very different than the tone of the anime when I originally watched it subtitled. I better understand what you are saying now. *bows out*

  8. hiroy_raind says:

    I agree on that some fans worry more about WHO is voice acting rather than HOW they voiced the character. As much as I love Sawashiro Miyuki, I will admit that her voice acting in Umineko no Naku Koro ni VN & game was a bit lacking.

    Tomokazu Sugita is flat out awesome when he’s allowed to let loose. Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou is certainly one of the better example in anime, but I also heard him going nuts on Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker radio show (messing with Nana Mizuki’s song for the game) and Blazblue Radio (where he call Noel’s VA, Kondou Kanako, as Condom. Some of the episodes are translated to English in Youtube. While I don’t play the games, I had a blast watching it).

    • @fkeroge says:

      I admit, I’m partial to a lot of voice actors/actresses in anime, particularly Mamiko Noto, Norio Wakamoto, and Chiwa Saito. But aside from their voices being good, they also have great acting skills. I guess some people just don’t really notice voice acting very much because most non-Japanese anime fans rely on subtitles.

  9. Azure says:

    May be my biased opinion but just watch Madoka and Symphogear together… I’m still regretting not instantly dropping Symphogear when Yuki Aoi began speaking.

    And then you also have people who specially watch a show just for a particular voice actor (been there and done that although that was a long time ago)…

    • @fkeroge says:

      Aoi Yuuki got too creative with her role as Hibiki, though and it ended up being a slight mess. She’s making up for it with her role as Shizuno in Saki.

      • Azure says:

        ORLY? I half contemplated to watch Saki until I remembered she was voicing in it.
        Unfortunately this Saki spin off happens to be about my least favorite character I’m finding it difficult to even muster enough enthusiasm to read up on it much less sit down through an episode.

  10. Voice acting is important, but I take it for granted and same with animation. I expect it to be good quality and will only notice when the quality is lacking. If I don’t like the voice of one character it won’t affect the whole anime, but it’d have to be really bad. When it comes down to it, the story or it’s selling point of the anime is the most important to me.

    • @fkeroge says:

      Many people don’t realize that good voice acting is the foundation of how good an anime can be. I don’t think Madoka Magica, Steins;Gate or Code Geass would be as well-received as they are now if it weren’t for the voice actors/actresses bringing lots of emotion and dedication to their jobs.

  11. Nopy says:

    I haven’t seen many people look down on voice acting, it’s an essential part for the enjoyment of anime. In fact, I know a lot of people complain about the voice acting for English dubs because they lack feeling and emotion. The day English dubbed anime gets voice acting on par with the original Japanese or with Disney cartoons, I’d be very happy.

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