[Editorial Tuesday] Comparing 5 Seiyuu Relationships in Anime and Real Life

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One of the best parts of noticing which seiyuu plays what roles in which anime is, definitely, the surprise and, sometimes mind blowing, shock over the range of roles a seiyuu could play in the span of their careers. But once you’re getting to know the voices behind the characters of an anime you love, especially if the ones you’re following is quite a famous, prolific seiyuu with a huge repertoire of roles, you would probably begin to notice some sort of pattern or coincidences where your favorites end up working under the same title of anime, again and again. After all, anime is an industry, and the seiyuu working behind the scenes are part of them.

Nowadays, being a seiyuu doesn’t only mean voicing a character from behind a microphone—it entails a whole lot of extra jobs that gives more spotlight on the faces behind the voices. Radio shows, seiyuu events, and even music concerts—with the rise of the trend of idol seiyuu, they are increasingly facing the public as entertainers and celebrities, which also means putting their personal lives and relationship slightly more open to their fans through the numerous talks and interviews they give. Online platforms such as twitter also enables fans to follow their favorite seiyuu, and therefore see how they network and maintain relationships with fellow seiyuu. Fans have grown to know more about their favorite seiyuu’s friendships, rumoured relationships, and cliques.

In that regards, we’ve taken it into our hands to take a look at five seiyuu relationships as well as the kind of roles they take in anime where they work together—not only anime, sometimes, but also radio shows and even stage plays. Try to spot your favorites!

Miyano Mamoru & Irino Miyu

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Probably two of the most well-known male idol seiyuu nowadays, Miyano Mamoru and Irino Miyu have been friends from way back. Both of them were members of Himawari Gekidan, a theatrical group specializing in junior actors, and have been involved in a number of projects together before their careers as seiyuus took off. They have worked in a number of anime together, even though their characters don’t interact that much—one of the anime which they worked quite closely together was Gundam 00, in which Mamo voiced the main character Setsuna F. Seiei and Miyu voiced Saji Crossroad. Both seiyuu were also in Star Driver, where Miyu voiced Komori Natsuo, the late best friend of Mamo’s Tsunashi Takuto; and both also had roles in Karneval—Mamo as Yogi and Miyu as Yotaka.

That being said, the series where you get to see them working together the closest would be the Kingdom Hearts game series, which is still ongoing, where Miyu voiced the main character Sora and Mamo voiced his best friend, Riku, which was also his seiyuu debut role. Back then, Miyu was only in middle school and Mamo had graduated high school. They have both noted, in different interviews, that they grow up with their Kingdom Hearts characters, considering how they’re still called in to voice new installments of the game every few years. Despite their five-year difference in age, the two grew to be very good friends—in various occasions, Miyu had been heard calling Mamo familiarly with “Mamo-chan”. In 2014, both of them got roles in KREVA’s New Musical Saikou wa Hitotsu Janai 2014, and Mamo posted a bunch of pictures of himself and Miyu in his blog, saying that he was really happy that Miyu was there and that he was being supported by him. You can also see Miyu photobombing several of Mamo’s pictures!

Paku Romi & Kugimiya Rie

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There is no way the names of these two female seiyuu could feel unfamiliar to anyone who loves Fullmetal Alchemist. Yep, these two are the voices behind the Elric brothers; Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric, specifically, both in the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist and its remake, Fullmetal Alchemist brotherhood. Both Paku and Kugimiya were the only two that remained from the original cast. Paku had mentioned that in contrast to how she felt that both she and Kugimiya were being led back in 2003 by the mostly older original cast, for Brotherhood, it was the two of them who had to support and guide the new cast. Paku also stated that from the very first audition for Fullmetal Alchemist, she knew that Kugimiya was the person she’s going to do the show with, like they were destined for it.

Fullmetal Alchemist isn’t the only franchise they’re working in together though. There’s also Persona 4 series, which has multiple game installments and two different anime adaptations, where Paku voices Shirogane Naoto and Kugimiya voices Kujikawa Rise. Another series they worked in together was Hetalia, where they voiced Switzerland and Liechtenstein respectively. Apparently, the two are still keeping in contact even now when they aren’t working together. In a one-on-one talk between Kugimiya—lovingly nicknamed Kugyuu by fans—and Paku, Paku complained on how she feels kind of lonely that she couldn’t see Kugimiya often, to which Kugimiya jokingly answered she’d love to sleep over at Paku’s place, perhaps cook, and welcome her home like a good wife.

Ono Daisuke & Kamiya Hiroshi

The duo seiyuu with, perhaps, some of the strongest fanbase not only in Japan, but internationally as well, is well-known for their radio show together, Dear Girl~Stories~, which has been airing for a full nine years. Some of OnoD and HiroC’s notable roles they have together would be Shingeki no Kyoujin’s Erwin and Levi, as well as the heartthrob duo Heiwajima Shizuo and Orihara Izaya from the Durarara! series, and Midorima Shintarou and Akashi Seijuurou of Kuroko no Basuke. Being prolific seiyuu that they are, those aren’t even a half of the list of anime OnoD and HiroC have worked together in—the list goes on, including Kamigami no Asobi, Noragami, Brothers Conflict, Karneval, and Osomatsu-san.

In contrast of Shizuo and Izaya’s explosive relationship in the anime, OnoD and HiroC are actually really, really close friends. Like, extremely close. It isn’t a surprise to see OnoD tweeting about HiroC who went to the toilet an hour ago and still hadn’t come back. HiroC is known to love pushing OnoD around, teasing him and bullying him good-naturedly all the time, but OnoD is also the first person HiroC would usually share things with. They give each other birthday presents, and HiroC considers OnoD like a family. DGS radio program was certainly what had brought them to be very close friends—OnoD now asks to bring HiroC’s cat home and HiroC regularly refers to OnoD’s mother in the program. They certainly have gone a long way!

Sugita Tomokazu & Nakamura Yuuichi

If there’s a pair of seiyuu that are known to be really, really good friends that nearly all of their colleagues see them as a package, that would be Sugita Tomokazu and Nakamura Yuuichi—fondly nicknamed Sugitan and Youkyan. Both of them regularly (and consistently) refer to, flirt with, talk about, and make fun of each other in any platform available: various events, their own Tokyo Encounter program where they play video games together and gossip over fellow seiyuu (yes, it’s their thing), their Twitter accounts, even other seiyuu’s radio program. Sugitan and Youkyan’s back-and-forth over on Twitter would definitely send you laughing yourself silly.

They’re the bestest of friends! Mizuki Nana once said how after recording sessions, Youkyan would receive phone calls from Sugitan and the conversation of “I’m done with work, where are you? What are you doing?” would ensue. A lot of fellow seiyuu—veterans and new ones—have commented about what close friends these two are, especially on how Sugitan always talks about Youkyan. They were the kind of best friends who, as some of their colleagues noted, have gone through a lot of things together.

In contrast to their close friendship, it seems that most of their roles in anime where they work together don’t really reflect this fact. Since both are prolific seiyuu with a rather large repertoire of roles, Sugitan and Youkyan have worked together in various anime, but their characters don’t usually have a lot of interaction. Take Uta no Prince-sama, for example, where Youkyan voices the cross-dressing male idol Tsukimiya Ringo while Sugitan only joined the series in the second season as a rival agency’s president, Raging Otori. There’s also [K], where Sugitan voiced the Blue King Munakata Reishi, while Youkyan gets the role of a Red Clansman, Kamamoto Rikio. It’s not always the case, of course, in Gintama, Sugitan played the main character Sakata Gintoki, while Youkyan got to voice the main antagonists of Kintama Arc, Sakata Kintoki.

Suzumura Kenichi & Sakamoto Maaya

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Perhaps the most popular power seiyuu couple known nowadays, Suzumura Kenichi and Sakamoto Maaya got married on August 18th 2011. Among the big titles where they have roles together are Gundam SEED Destiny, where Suzumura voiced Shinn Asuka and Maaya voiced Lunamaria Hawke, Ouran High School Host Club where Maaya played the heroine Fujioka Haruhi and Suzumura played Hitachiin Hikaru (after being cast as Hitachiin Kaoru in the drama CD released before the anime), and of course, Final Fantasy VII series as Zack Fair and Aerith Gainsborough. They also starred together in Kara no Kyoukai as Kokutou Mikiya and Shiki Ryougi, and are also involved in several other anime together including Captain Earth, Coppelion, and Star Driver.

You might have noticed that the most of the roles mentioned above have romantic interest relationships with each other. Suzumura and Maaya’s marriage was a pleasant surprise for their fans, and they’d gotten a lot of well-wishes upon the news of their marriage. In the Final Fantasy VII 15th Anniversary Event, Maaya, who couldn’t attend the event with her husband, sent them a video message instead, and their fellow seiyuu, Sakurai Takahiro and Ishikawa Hideo, proceeded to tease Suzumura after the message ended, congratulating him on his marriage. Gundam SEED Destiny radio program was what kicked started Suzumara and Maaya’s relationship, where they first really talked to each other. In his blog announcing their marriage, Suzumura mentioned how he felt very lucky to be able to married such an intelligent and gentle woman like Maaya.

Suzumura does seem to get the brunt of the teasing, both from their friends and fans, but it is very sweet to see him get flustered on his Unison night radio program as he talks about Maaya, including how they spend Valentine’s and White Days and Maaya’s birthday this year! This year’s Valentine’s Day episode had Suzumura write two messages—one for Maaya, which congratulated and praised Maaya on her latest live concert, and one for his “wife”, which expressed his thanks for Maaya’s willingness to listen to him, and wait for him so that they could have dinner together despite him coming home late.


Conclusion

The five relationships presented in this article is, in no way, adequate in illustrating how networking and relationships between and among seiyuu could be. Being professionals and entertainers in the same field of work doesn’t always mean sunshine and rainbows of friendships. There have also been seiyuu who get in conflicts with others, who were formerly married but then got divorced, and various scandals that marred some seiyuu’s reputations.

However, there are also adorable, long, friendly threads of tweets exchanged over twitter or casual mentions in seiyuu blogs that would remind you that yes, these seiyuu were once working in an anime together (the seiyuu of Prince of Tennis series are particularly good at this), or that yes, these seiyuu are really good friends in real life, too. It gives an extra warm feeling whenever you find out that these seiyuu get to work together under the same title again—a privilege you don’t get if you’re unaware of the faces behind the voices.

Did you spot your favorite seiyuu in this article? Or do you have some other seiyuu relationship stories to tell? Let us know in the comments!

Roti Susu

Writer

Author: Roti Susu

Roti Susu here! An aspiring writer who has spent more than half of her life actively writing in various fandoms. Currently living in Japan as a student, I'm a fujoshi who enjoys karaoke, watching a wide range of anime, reading manga and playing RPG games, and am also very much into seiyuu.

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