To grace this 8th Seiyuu Digest we turn ourselves towards an actor that, besides all his hard work portraying some of the most memorable characters in some of our favorite anime and games, is still one of the most underrated seiyuu in the business. We’re talking about none other than our eternal tsudere Takashi Kondo.
|BORN||May 12, 1979|
|OCCUPATION||narrator, seiyuu, radio personality, singer|
Coming all the way from Okazaki, Aichi, Takashi Kondo, born on May 12, 1979, might be one of the so-called “cult” seiyuu. He’s incredibly well known in the seiyuu community but somehow he hasn’t had that many anime roles given to him in the past few years. He’s currently under management from Vi-Vo, talent agency more focused on narration.
Somehow a talent like Kondo‘s stays hidden as anime directors usually choose the most searched / new / trending seiyuu. Either way, Kondo has shown us time after time how hardworking and detailed he is in the portrayal of his assigned characters – that turned out to be some of the most memorable ones, even though those took on a supporting role in the series they were featured.
And when he is granted with main roles, his deliverance and approach to the roles is clearly something very few seiyuu archive. But being a seiyuu is not everything for Kondo, as he has also solo debuted back in 2008, a thing that fans highly anticipated since his singing was, and is, of great quality. Call it skill or natural talent but one thing is for sure: his talent is worthy of featuring him as part of the seiyuu royalty.
Since debuting as a seiyuu back in 1999, Kondo has practically done everything in the business. Known for his adaptability to almost every genre available: shoujo, shounen, seinen, BL, you name it – he’s done all of those genres (and others) and always presented his fans with some of the most impressive performances ever, always raising the bar for young seiyuu following his steps.
What is probably one of Kondo‘s best roles to date and was his big break in the seiyuu business was his portrayal of the carefree, exuberant and occasionally stoic Train Heartnet in 2005 anime Black Cat. Interesting enough, if it wasn’t for his success in “Black Cat“, maybe few people would know him today. And why is that?
Few people know that Kondo graduated from “Amusement media general school” with the prospect of being a professional narrator. Anime wasn’t in his horizon until the offer for “Black Cat” came in.
The success with the series served as a starting point for Kondo to be named one of the rising stars in the seiyuu industry back in 2005. Since then he’s voiced a multitude of characters, some of them more iconic and with more exposure than others.
With a voice almost like “custom made” to play antagonists and stoic characters like Hibari Kyoya in Katekyo Hitman Reborn as well as comedic, tsundere but still serious when needed characters like Ritsu Onodera from Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, Kondo shows everyone that his versatility is no joke.
The details in his portrayals are something that always mesmerizes his fans as well as his vocal range – which is wide and versatile. He’s responsible for many reactions like this “I can’t believe he voiced … and then … Those sound completely different!“. Yeah, those sound different, it’s Kondo‘s technicism and versatility that make his characters sound like polar opposites from each other. How awesome it is that Kondo has voiced “Ritsu Onodera“, “Hibari Kyoya“, “Suigetsu Hoozuki” and “Subaru Sakamaki” and each one of these memorable characters sound nothing like the next one?
He’s been part of some of the most known series in Japan: Naruto, Fairy Tail, Bleach, Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Diamond no Ace, Toriko, between many others, a proof that he’s still one of the most sought after seiyuu when it comes to big franchises.
When we change our focus to dubbing and narration we find out that Kondo is incredibly active in that area. With credits in major TV series like Heroes, BONES, Sex and the City, UNDERWORLD, 24, True Blood, The Kite Runner, between many other shows, Kondo shows not only a wide variety of “characters” as well as show genres. A wide variety of CM’s and news segments (for NHK and TBS) are also narrated by Kondo.
But anime and live action dubbing are not the only areas of work for him. As a seiyuu he’s has more work in the drama CD and game industries. He’s known for being in a never-ending list of drama CD’s – both otome and BL – and is part of the stellar seiyuu roster working with Rejet, having been part in several of that company’s CD’s. Kondo is mostly known as Subaru Sakamaki the sadist, tsundere vampire from Rejet‘s drama CD/game franchise “Diabolik Lovers“.
In the gaming industry Kondo is known for being part of the “Tales of” franchise. TALES OF XILLIA 2 and TALES OF THE WORLD TACTICS UNION are the two games where his character Ludger Will Kresnik, one of the fans’ favorite characters, is featured.
But that isn’t all there is to his gaming “corner”. If we turn around and focus on otome games instead of the international hits, we find that Kondo is a common choice for otome game casting directors. To sum things just a bit, Rejet and Otomate are the two big game developers that more often cast Kondo in one of their creations. DIABOLIK LOVERS series, Scared Rider Xechs series, S.Y.K, Alice=Alice, Reine des Fleurs, Hyakka Yakou, between many others.
The solo career
Making his solo debut in the aftermath of his major hit with Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Kondo kicked off his music activities. With his debut album titled “a little wonder” back in 2008. The track “Sakura Addiction“, featured on Katekyo Hitman Reborn‘s soundtrack and as the series ending theme, reached the Oricon charts, archiving a modest #7, remaining in the charts for quite some time, earning the title – at the time – of “longest running track in Oricon charts by a seiyuu“.
Kondo is known for his highly technical, by the book singing. It’s not in any way plain – as I might have made it sound – but he really impresses with his low notes, his natural higher ones and the vibrato in a mix that instantly grabs your attention. Check “Pride” from the Scared Rider Xechs series alongside fellow seiyuu Rikiya Koyama to get that taste of his low toned vocals. But, besides that velvety, gentle voice, trademark to Kondo‘s singing, fans have already listened to him singing in quite some exquisite voice tones. An example would be the track “コガネイロ” from the Tsuki Uta series and “無敵のTwinkle★Star” in Scared Rider Xechs series in which he sings in a higher key than usual.
But after that success with “Sakura Addiction“, Kondo hasn’t released anything solo wise, which comes off as a bit strange. Who knows if he’ll be back with more music in the future?
Kondo is well known as a radio personality, having hosted so far a vast amount of shows. From the anime radio shows he’s hosted since his debut we find: RADIO BLACK CAT – hosted in two cours between 2006 and 2007 alongside Misato Fukuen; Yonezawa-kun to himawari no kyara radio in 2007 alongside Matsumoto Kana; Radio Rode in 2008 and 2009 alongside Nobuhiko Okamoto; Sekaiichi hatsukoi 〜 WEB rajio no baai 〜 (2011 – 2012), alongside Shinnosuke Tachibana and Nobuhiko Okamoto; Kondo Takashi no Momonga from early 2011 to late 2012. Others include BLink hōsōkyoku in 2011 alongside Yoshihisa Kawahara and Seiyuu Nico Power Radio in 2011 alongside co-star in Katekyo Hitman Reborn Ilda Toshinobu.
Kondo Takashi no Momonga radio show was later compiled and released in CD’s according to the guests. Some of the guests included: Kousuke Toriumi, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Daisuke Hirakawa, Kenjiro Tsuda and Hiroki Yasumoto.
Currently he’s not active as a radio host as his main focus is more centered around games and voice acting/dubbing.
And with this quick overview through Kondo‘s 16 year career we not only got to know some of his iconic roles as well as the wide variety of things he’s doing/done besides voice acting in anime. A versatile actor that deserves not only more recognition but also more roles, mainly in anime as it’s the main outlet to get your name known as a seiyuu in Japan.
And that’s it for May’s Seiyuu Digest. Be on the look out for next month’s!