TOP 15 SEIYUU WITH THE BEST SINGING VOICE – Editors’ picks

poll coverOur answer to the reader-powered TOP 15 SEIYUU WITH THE BEST SINGING VOICE is here.

After the fans’ votes on our 1st ever poll we got to see something that wasn’t totally unexpected – a popularity contest – although at the early stages the top 15 had some interesting names on it. But we also know that fans are biased – well, who isn’t right? – so we decided to make this version of the TOP 15 SEIYUU WITH THE BEST SINGING VOICE, a bias-free, analytical overview of today’s best seiyuu when it comes to singing technique and quality. And no, the obvious trio is not together occupying the first three places.

As with any top our decisions are bound to be completely different to most people’s ideas of what is good singing.

Things to have into account while reading this article:

  • The seiyuu featured was active in the music business (solo or unit, even character songs count) in 2015 (take this into account when you claim that some names are missing in this top – those seiyuu probably weren’t active at all this year)
  • We’re not ranking anyone based on how big their fandom is or how handsome they are – that would be completely ridiculous
  • We analyze a mix of:
    • Quality
    • Versatility
    • Single/Album/Mini-album impressions
    • If he adds a little extra to his performance – writing lyrics, composing music, etc
Let’s kick this off:

1 – Toshiyuki Toyonaga

toyonaga

Objectively speaking there’s no way in hell that Toyonaga wouldn’t be #1. And why is that? Looking into the series of events since last year’s “MUSIC OF THE ENTERTAINMENT” and “Reason…”, he’s been riding on a lot of momentum with no intention of stopping any time soon. “Day you laugh” is, alone, proof enough that he is a top tier singer. His vocal versatility is clear as water and his impressive, smooth and controlled voice is one of the many reasons Toyonaga is an undisputed first place. Singer, songwritter, arranger, composer and a powerful voice unmatched. 2015 was certainly Toyonaga‘s.

2 – Yoshimasa Hosoya

#4 - Yoshimasa Hosoya - 1158 Votes

Although he’s not active as a solo or unit musician, Hosoya is doing his job incredibly well, showing that, even with character songs, you can impress and put them on a whole other level. Few seiyuu manage to sing so naturally as he does, especially when it comes to high notes or showing his confident vibrato to everyone. With a unique tone and 100% perfect execution in all of his character songs in 2015, Hosoya is clearly worthy of this 2nd place.

[We’re still waiting for his solo debut.]

3 – Mamoru Miyano

#1 - Mamoru Miyano

Whenever there’s a top like this Mamo is always featured as #1. As most of you know, Mamoru‘s charms in an out of the recording studio are jaw dropping. Whether is going all out in one of his choreographies or if he’s doing an acapella, he never fails to impress. But contrary to the popular belief, this was just not Mamo‘s year. “Shine” was a mediocre single (although it sold like hot cakes) and “Frontier” was nowhere near the perfection of its predecessor “Passage.“. Still, his vocals are always in top form and just like Yoshimasa Hosoya, he’s one of those singers whose vocal execution is always on point – even when the instrumentals kind of ruin his hard work.

4 – KISHOW

#3 - KISHOW - 1338 Votes

To earn #1, KISHOW should have shown us something different or exciting but this just wasn’t his or GRANRODEO‘s year. GRANRODEO released the mild and slightly repetitive “PUNKY FUNKY LOVE” and their greatest hits. Nothing really shone for us – which is a pity, considering that KISHOW‘s vocals, when on their top game, are unmatched. He’s a vibrato master but just like some of the names below, he just didn’t make good use of his vocal prowess and played safe in 2015.

5 – Wataru Hatano

#19 - Wataru Hatano - 334 Votes

The suprise of the year is Wataru Hatano! We’ve been complimenting Hatano‘s silky, baritone vocals for quite a while but never did we hear something as impressive from him as “Kakusei no Air” is. This symphonic rock tune was the best way to showcase his vocal prowess with powerful low tones to highly emotional crescendos and high voltage performances. Incredibly talented and with a versatile tone, Hatano is on the rise and is certainly a name to be on the lookout in 2016.

6 – Shouta Aoi

#8 - Shouta Aoi - 731 Votes

Another name that managed to impress us was Shouta Aoi. His first full length album “UNLIMITED” and his single “Murasaki” were powerful releases, showing us different sides of Shouta‘s talents. A high note master, Shouta managed to impress us with how versatile he is, especially with how well he fits rock music and how hautingly beautiful he can sound with a piano alone. With total control over his vibrato and falsetos, he proved that he’s a fearless all rounder.

7 – Showtaro Morikubo

#6 - Showtaro Morikubo - 905 Votes

If we talk about Showtaro we need to talk about rock, and with that greeting card he showed us some great hardrock tracks – interestingly enough, none of those were the title tracks. Knowing that this a year full of experiments for him, in the process his music suffered and his performances didn’t match the usual quality that we’re so used to. His experimental rock, his abillity to adapt to concept changes – especially with FOCUS – and his on point piercing vocals still made us feature him on this top. For a singer with an incredible amount of talent – singer, lyricist, composer – we’re baffled that he’s not higher in this top and that was because he chose KISHOW‘s route – played safe and didn’t show us anything new or jaw dropping as he did in previous years. Still a force to reckon with.

8 – Kenichi Suzumura

#5 - Kenichi Suzumura - 919 Votes

Another great voice that didn’t live up to his reputation in 2015. Kenichi Suzumura, owner of a one-of-a-kind voice and powerful stage presence, just didn’t put enough effort this year in his solo career. His single “Tsuki to taiyou no uta” was mild, way too mild to cause a ruckus or to impress anyone, lacking that energy and charisma Suzumura‘s releases usually have. Regarding his vocals we know that he’s one of the top seiyuu singers and his unquestionable talent always manages to find some place to shine. His power mid tones were nowhere to be found this year hence his drop in the rankings.

9 – Kenji Nojima

nojima kenji

The only seiyuu that self composed an album this year is the sweet vibrato master Kenji Nojima. Easily one of those seiyuu that is overlooked on his singing talents, Nojima made two releases: the major debut single “Any Day Shuffle” and his indie story album “いつかどこかの僕について“, this one being one of the best albums (taking the stroy tracks we might as well call it a mini-album) of the year. This last release showed an impressive growth in Nojima‘s vocal control – he’s sounding better than ever and more solid on his high notes. Composer, lyricist and one of the best sounding voices in the seiyuu business managed to be on the upper hand despite the little to non existent publicity with his album.

10 – Tatsuhisa Suzuki

#2 - Tatsuhisa Suzuki - 1480 Votes

For many of you this might be an unfair place to feature Ta_2 but this year is easily one of the worse in terms of his vocal display – but if we’re talking about popularity the story would be completely different. Tatsuhisa is owner of one of the roughest, sexiest and surprisingly enough, sweetest voices in the seiyuu world. Still, with all the OLDCODEX hardrock galore, there was little to no space for him to showcase his – now hidden – talent that was his greeting card back in his Cell Division days. We’re not saying for Tatsuhisa to change OLDCODEX‘s sound but to bet a little more in impressing others with his high notes, vibratos and falsetos, something we barely saw this year.  He’s a fantastic singer but with screamo alone he’s not going to earn any spot in the top 3.

11 – KENN

#7 - KENN - 770 Votes

A master at singing songs sexily, KENN almost didn’t make it into our top. His single “Dance in the light” was in our opinion, overhyped and didn’t match our expectations. Betting on singing inside his confort zone, KENN sounds exactly the same as when he solo debutted and that isn’t a good thing. We know that he sings amazingly – proof of that is that the majority of his character songs really make an impact. It’s a pity that he doesn’t try new things when his versatile, melodic and emotional vocals are right there waiting for some time to shine.

12 – Miyu Irino

#20 - Irino Miyu - 294 Votes

Another seiyuu whose voice and talent are highly underestimated. Miyu is known for writing the majority of his lyrics as well as playing acoustic/electric guitar in some of those, to add to this, he’s an incredibly talented and trained singer. We feel as if Miyu has one of the most unique voice tones in the music industry and is by far Kiramune’s trump card. An all-rounder that is gradually showing us that he’s got a lot more talent than what people know him for, proof of that is his beautiful “月と僕の距離” where he showcased his vocal control in a track stripped down of distractions. Solid singer with a whole lot of space for improvement.

13 – Soma Saito

saito soma 2015 (6)

Well, this is one of those choices that people might argue about. Soma Saito is experiencing a rise to fame at the speed of light and one of the areas where’s he’s been requested the most is the character song’s universe. He’s already sang several character songs and is even part of seiyuu unit SolidS where he showed that his vocal talents. Jazzy rock, pop and even visual kei – yes you heard me, visual kei hardrock – fit him well but it was his visual kei persona that managed to make our jaws drop in awe. Fly Me project with the single “MEDICODE” opened up a door for Saito to shine. Showing us something we’d never thought we’d see coming from him, he took the wheel and gave us an electrifying performance in the great the gazettE fashion, even showcasing kansai ben in his rolled “R’s” and defying a screamo part in “CARMA“. Saying that he impressed is an understatement. It’s undeniable that Saito is a rising star and that we’ll listen more to his sweet mid-toned voice in the future but he still needs a lot of polishing before reaching a menacing status in the music business.

14 – Tetsuya Kakihara

#11 - Tetsuya Kakihara - 559 Votes

He’s the seiyuu that has grown the most in 2015. Kakihara showed us that he’s one of Kiramune‘s big names with the releases of the mesmerizingly beautiful “SAICHAINA” and his first full length album “Orange“. He’s not often said to be a good singer but the way he delt with his faults was amazing. He developed his control to the point where he doesn’t sound forced, he’s also sharper in rock songs, approaching them with more power and emotion in his vocals. He might not be skilled in high notes or lower ones but his mid-tones were alone enough to impress us this year.

15 – Takuya Eguchi

egutan

Active as part of Yutaku II, Trignal, SolidS and rêve parfait, this was a year full of Eguchi and we couldn’t help but to be satisfied with it. Eguchi is one of those seiyuu that goes barely unnoticed when it comes to singing but his skills are no joke. Ranging between mid and high tones, he alone delivers solid performances but when you add an extra element into the mix –  rap skills (further explanation is on Trignal’s “Mission”) – you get a one-of-a-kind performer. Eguchi is a bundle of talents that fits almost any music genre you throw at him.

And that’s it for our take on the  TOP 15 SEIYUU WITH THE BEST SINGING VOICE poll results.

Although we took a slightly different approach from the TOP 15 SEIYUU WITH THE BEST SINGING VOICE, we still grasped the essence of it, adding more technical elements to the mix.

We hope you enjoyed this quick tour to what we think are 2015’s seiyuu with the best singing voice. There’s more next year!

Author: midorin

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. After a 6 month stint in Macau SAR, I am back to being based in Cascais, Portugal. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to completely focus on writing about male seiyuu music.

8 thoughts

  1. As a Toyonaga Toshiyuki fan I am absolutely thrilled to see that you picked him as #1.
    To me he is probably the most brilliant singer in seiyuu business right now and I say that despite knowing the quality of many others’ voices. It’s just that in 20 years, no seiyuu has impressed me over and over again with his singing the way Toyonaga did and it makes me incredibly sad to see that he almost never gets the recognition he deserves simply because he’s not ‘hot’ enough or doesn’t voice as many popular characters as others do. I mean, I really like Hosoya, for example, but his voice just always sounds the same and while he has that dreamy vibrato most of his songs just leave me unsatisfied. His voice just doesn’t have enough power to blow me away. Mamochan is great and to me his Steins Gate character song is still one of the most amazing seiyuu songs to date BUT his solo stuff just doesn’t impress me much. He is one of the most talented and brilliant and he definitely deserves a top spot but most of his solo songs just aren’t my cup of tea and sometimes the tone of his voice he often uses there makes me cringe. XD

    Anyway, back to Toshi-kun. For those of you who really want to know why he more than deserves #1, listen to the following songs and check out the quality and versatility of his singing voice:
    – Nagori Yuki (character song of Mikado from Drrr!!x2)
    – Music of the Entertainment (from ‘Music of the Entertainment’)
    – 通常特別收录 (the secret track of his album ‘Music of the Entertainment’)
    – Siren (from ‘Music of the Entertainment’ … basically all of ‘Music of the Entertainment’)
    – Reason (from ‘Reason’)
    – Asagao no chiru koro ni (ACTORS Songs collection)
    – Yuudan no Ribbon (ACTORS 3)
    – Awauta and Zennoukan (Dear♥Vocalist entry #2 Momochi)
    – Aku no hana (Lagrange Point)
    – Ai to iu kotoba wo nikumu hibi ga eikyu ni tsuzuitemo ore wo yurushitekure (XD … Lagrange Point)
    I could go on and on because his songs are ALL brilliant in their own way but the ones I mentioned above left the biggest impression with me AND were all released in 2015.

    On another note, I have to agree that KENN’s album and single were anything but impressive which is very sad because he’s such a great talent. 😦 I wish he would deliver what he normally does with his character songs coz holy moly, some of those are just amazing and to me, give a lot of the names in the top ten a run for their money.
    I mean Lost One no Goukoku (ACTORS 2)? BRILLIANT! Sadly it’s 2014 .. :/ I really look forward to his entry #4 of Dear♥Vocalist and hopefully he’ll be as amazing as I know he can be. 🙂

    I’d actually pay some good money to get a Toyonaga Toshiyuki & KENN duet … I really would. *_*

    I’m also very pleased Aoi Shouta, Showtaro and Wataru Hatano made the list! *_*

    Like

  2. Loved reading this, you guys put out a really interesting list! I have to agree with most of your picks and comments, and Toyonaga Toshiyuki really did stand out this year since his self-composed songs were absolutely amazing and blew me away – not to mention all the work he did with ALIVE and Lagrange Point!
    I have a suggestion though – instead of calling it “Best singing voice” you could change it to something like “Standout seiyuu of the year (music edition)” since I think by saying “best” it’s always going to incite fan feelings, and “singing voice” to me brings to mind preferences about vocal tone, colour, and music genre which again are just such subjective things and take away from elements like releases and versatility which you guys seem to focus more on. Maybe by changing the list name it would leave more fans happy (or not lol)! But regardless, great work this year guys!

    Like

    1. Mmm gotta agree here. I mean going by THTF’s criteria, it’s not necessarily the best singing voice (which after all is very subjective), but more like the most impressive musical activity in the given year. It’s just more accurate titling and one that probably better expresses the nature of this ranking. Your choice anyway, still a great list~! ^^

      Like

    2. Yeah we already thought about changing the name – it kind of fit our idea at first but if we intend to do it more times it can’t be by the same name. Thanks for the suggestions 🙂 Happy holidays!

      Like

  3. I second so many of these choices xD but I’m especially pleased that Aoi Shouta made the list. Both UNLIMITED and MURASAKI were solidly impressive releases which, as you aptly put it, demonstrated his versatility. His performance during Anisama also really blew me away; it’s hard to believe that that bold performance was his first Anisama stage.

    (Speaking of Shouta, one of the reasons why he stood out for me on this list is because of these two videos: 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXyV2HfOg-M and 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Orn1k2rQjo
    Such a standout performance of “Ai Uta”)

    Like

  4. I can’t beleive Ono Daisuke didn’t make the list. He has been quite active in the music industry especially in the last two years.

    Like

  5. Hey, I really respect your choices, and I think they’re very fair, but you completely forgot to mention Granrodeo’s Memories, which also came out this year? And I think it’s a pity because the review seemed really positive, especially considering that you went as far as to call say “It has all the right elements together not only giving us that vintage rock sound that has been GR‘s trademark for 10 years, but also has the punch and power that only KISHOW‘s lyrics and vocal execution have.”. Is it really okay to just ignore all of that and bump Kishow down to 4th because of his weaker entries, rather than bring him up with the stronger one?
    And don’t worry, I understand he can’t always be TOP 3 and all, but this feels like it’s missing something important. ^^’
    Still, thanks for your own ranking, which I do find fair in most cases! (Although poor Tatsu because I actually thought it was a great year for his more hardrock-ish sound, which after all constitutes Oldcodex.)
    PS-I’m not picking a fight, they’re your choices, I just slightly disagree in some places xD

    Like

Comments are closed.