Seiyuu Digest #29 – Yuichiro Umehara

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Seiyuu Digest is back once again and this time we present you with Yuichiro Umehara, the fast rising star in the seiyuu industry. Umehara is one of those seiyuu that had a sudden explosive rise in popularity, mainly due to the fact that he has a characteristic vocal tone. Still, the fact the one can refer to Umehara as a well-rounded seiyuu falls into his skills both as a seiyuu and as a singer.

 solidS - umehara, saito, eguchi, hanae 2015 (1)

One of the seiyuu that has been on the spotlight for quite some time now, Yuichiro Umehara is one of the seiyuu that has been steadily gaining popularity throughout the years. Over the past few years Umehara has been expanding his horizon in the seiyuu industry, making endeavors into singing. He has began to not only appear in anime, but he also has increasingly been making appearances in games and drama CDs, which in the majority of cases is a good thing, since one gets to ascertain just how talented this man actually is. Granted that popularity does not always mean talent, but that does not appear to be Umehara’s case.

Yuichiro Umehara

Kanji: 梅原裕一郎

Born: March 8, 1991

Occupation: seiyuu, singer, radio host

Height: 173 cm

Seiyuu career

Born on March 8, 1991, in Shizuoka perfecture, Umehara has debuted in 2013. When taking a look at the numbers it becomes quite apparent that Umehara has been one of the seiyuu that has quickly risen his popularity since his debut. Not following a rather common trend, he managed to get a role that made him become recognized or at least catch the eye of the fans and not simply evaporate into thin air after that occurrence. At 25, Umehara had an opportunity and grabbed it, hence why he has so much popularity nowadays despite all obstacles in his career.

2013-2014

The starting point

umehara-yuichiro-2015Although his career amounts to just a couple of years, unlike what would believe Umehara has been working hard to make himself known by the fans. Even if one mentions that he debuted in 2013, reality is that in that same year he did not have a single role in anime, which now does not seem so unusual, but at the time one can strongly believe just how frustrating it must have been for the newcomer. However, one year later Umehara was lucky enough to land on a main role in the famous anime Orenchi no Furo Jijou as the laid-back and lazy merman Wakasa. This role enabled him to get his first contact with some famous seiyuu such as Tatsuhisa Suzuki, Nobunaga Shimazaki and Kenjiro Tsuda. Not only did this role made it possible for Umehara to get some actual experience in anime but it was from this point onward that the hype around him started to grow, thus his quick rise.qjgadzz

Actually, it would be correct to say that at the starting point of his career he became a seiyuu with quite a lot of hype behind him. Now, when one hears something about a hyped seiyuu, it would be acceptable to believe that the person in question has the fame, but chances are that the talent is lacking, even so Umehara was able to prove those people wrong. Not only does he have the technique, but he equally has been improving his performance, as well as making sure to do the unexpected while being careful so as not to sound as the same in each and every character he portrays.

In the same year he also had other roles in famous anime such as Okami Shoujo to Kuro OujiChaika – The Coffin Princess, Yowamushi Pedal, Magimoji Rurumo and Riddle Story of Devil.

In 2015, Umehara was part of the cast in the popular anime Akagami no Shirayukihime (Snow White with the Red Hair) as Mitsuhide Lowen, a character with a protective yet out-going and caring personality, and also shares a strong bond with the main character Zen. Although at this point, he was not yet stuck to a specific type of character, it was refreshing to see him play a character that despite being quite capable still had a human side to him, specially in the comic scenes in the anime. Umehara reprised his role as Lowen in 2016.

Mitsuhide Lowen

Still in the same year, he appeared to have been caught in the momentum and keep on going strong. In Owari no Seraph he played René Simm, a secondary role that has some important air time, so although it is not the main character in the anime, we could say that it was an important role for him nonetheless. This role as a vampire was one of the first in his repertoire so it is understandable that the fans became curious about his performance. On the other hand since his character had little to no emotion when talking, we can only mention his performance that was on pair with the character’s personality and species, so to say. In this anime he was able to work with famous and very talented fellow seiyuu Miyu Irino.

Kuroo Hazama in Young Black Jack

Umehara seemed to be on a hot streak in his career as still in 2015, he was casted in the popular anime Young Black Jack as the protagonist, Kuroo Hazama. In this prequel that had a lot of hype pre-airing, the fans gave mixed reviews, as some claimed that the anime had not fallen short to the original anime, whereas others claimed that some episodes where not precisely connected with the previous which resulted in difficulties when watching the anime.

In Binan Koukou Chikyuu Boueibu LOVE! he played the main character En Yufuin. As character that loves to sleep one can pretty much foresee several moments of comic relief with his character. The parody anime focused on the main characters whose sole wish is to have a relaxed time while they hang out, but their plans are spoiled. Umehara has reprised his role in all the seasons that have come out up until now.

Following his momentum, Umehara was cast as Kazuki Kaionji in the popular sports original anime Battery, in Magic★Kyun! Renaissance as Teika Ichijōji, and in D.Gray-man HALLOW he was Legory Peck, a minor character. Lastly, Umehara is also a part of the cast in the currently airing anime Trickster, in which not only does he have the opportunity to work with other fellow seiyuu but he also had the chance to work with the famous superstar GACKT, who is also cast in this anime.

In 2017, the adaptation to anime of the game Dynamic Chord feat. apple-polisher was green-lit and with that Umehara reprised his role as Shinobu Kurosawa, the leader and bassist of the band. Although the game was extremely popular one cannot say the same for the anime adaptation as many criticized it for the lack of air-time of the members of all bands in the franchise, the fact that the plot being a far cry from the original and the lack of effort put in the animation of the characters.

After a prolific year, Umehara kept the momentum up. In 2017 he was casted in Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul as Charioce XVII, probably one of the first characters he played that fell more on the antagonist side of the spectrum than anything else. As the king, Charioce XVII is adored by his followers as he has supposedly defeated their enemies, however when it comes to his popularity between the demons, the same cannot be told as he has imprisoned several and killed another handful all in the name of justice.

If one had to say, Charioce XVII appears to be a magnanimous king and to enjoy taking strolls in the city as he is disguised so as to see for himself what are the problems if there are any. Umehara‘s performance as a king as of quality.

Still in the same year, Umehara reprised his role as Kyoji Takajo, one of Beit’s members, in the anime The IDOLM@STER SideM as well as in Tsukipro The Animation as Dai Murase.

Other roles in Umehara’s repertoire include names such as Makura no Danshi (2016), Shōnen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50- (2016), Ikemen Sengoku: Toki o Kakeru ga Koi wa Hajimaranai (2017), Koisuru Shirokuma (2017), Star-Myu: High School Star Musical (2017), Caligula (2018), Black Clover (2018), Captain Tsubasa (2018), Dame Prince (2018), Gakuen Babysitters (2018), Darling in the Franxx (2018) and Tada-kun wa Koi o Shinai (2018).

Awards

In 2016, Umehara would have the first major year for him. If the fact that he started to have main character roles was not enough then one can without a doubt say that him having won the Award for Best Rookie Seiyuu might just have been another launching ramp in his career. The roles that made it possible for Umehara to be awarded were Wakasa in Orenchi no Furo Jijou and Kuroo Hazama in Young Black Jack.

Radio

Regarding any radio shows, we must say that Umehara has been in quite a few such as 終わりのラジオ from the famous anime in which he was cast Owari no Seraph. ガッチャマンクラウズRadio〜インサイト〜,  月刊 新・男前通信6月号〜月刊・梅原裕一郎 and 宏太朗と裕一郎 ひょろっと男子 are the radio shows in which he was the host or that he currently is. We must say that his voice really is indicated to working for the radio. His tone is soothing and relaxing so it is completely understandable is you enjoy it that much.

Music

When it comes to music, the trend is for people to want to know their seiyuu’s favorite music genre, so that’s what we’ll clarify for you out there. Umehara has quite the background when it comes to the music department. We must come forth and say it outright, his first contact was in his first and second year of high school he had contact with the band called Bump of chicken.

Beit (2014-)

One of the several games in the Idolm@ster franchise, Beit‘s members are Tomohito Takatsuka, Shun Horie and Yuichiro Umehara. The trio is known for having solid vocals and interesting instrumental pieces.

So far the unit has released World Tre@sure 04, Tomorrow Diamond, THE IDOLM@STER SideM ST@RTING LINE 03 Beit and THE IDOLM@STER SideM 2nd ANNIVERSARY DISC 02 Beit & S.E.M.

Akatsuki (2014-)

Akatsuki is one of the several unit in the Ensemble Stars! universe. With members such as Yuichiro Umehara, Shinnichiro Kamio, Keisuke Kaminaga this unit has a traditional sound and when adding their clear technique and talent, this unit is different from others for their uniqueness.

Since their debut they have released Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD Vol.4 AKATSUKI, Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD 2 Vol.4 AKATSUKI, Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD 3 Vol.8 AKATSUKI and ENSEMBLE STARS! ALBUM SERIES PRESENT -AKATSUKI-.

I♥B (2015-)

In 2015, Umehara joined the cast of the smartphone rhythm game, I-Chu. With Natsuki Hanae, Naoya Nakanishi, Junya Enoki and Toshiki Masuda, Umehara is a part of the idol unit I♥B.

Since their debut the group has released 7 singles: Fly Fly!Dear My Precious FriendMy destinyMirai FantasistaShinkai MermaidWe are I★CHU! – I♥B ver. and Let’s Go.

MEDICODE (2015-)

MEDICODE, visual-kei band part of the FlyMe project, collaboration between seiyuu and visual-kei artists, included popular names in the cast, namely Soma Saito, Takuya Eguchi, Yuichiro Umehara and Yoshitaka Yamaya. Despite the fact that Umehara is a member of the cast, his appearance has been limited to a drama CD context only, the front-man in all the releases has been Soma Saito.

The band went on hiatus in the same year they debuted, only making a comeback later in 2017 with the second single “GABBY“, single that changed a bit the gears for MEDICODE, embracing a dramatic rock sound.

apple-polisher (2015 -)

Having debuted back in 2015, this band that was born from the game Dynamic Chord feat. apple-polisher. The band has been active ever since then. Other than the talented members in the cast such as Shouta Aoi (vocal), Takahiro Sakurai, Yuichiro Umehara and Yoshiki Nakajima, apple-polisher have a peculiar arrangement. Although the four characters are voiced, when it comes to the music been released, only Aoi has been credited as he is the vocalist. The other members are in the cast but take no part in the music department.

The band has released 4 singles – Against the Rules (2015), real sensation / this song is dedicated to you. (2016), BACK 2 SQUARE 1 (2017) and beat goes on/what have you done for… (2017) – and 1 mini-album everytime i see your face (2018).

SolidS (2015-)

In 2015, Umehara would be announced to be a member in the powerful unit SolidS, with fellow seiyuu Takyua Eguchi, Soma Saito and Natsuki Hanae. This group has had its ups and downs however the quality of their tracks is always top-notch, making them something we cannot disregard. Another point of focus within his debut in this unit is how much he has improved since their first release SolidS vol.1 up until now with WHITE. We must say, Umehara went from being okay to be on a whole other level having a lot of control over his voice and at the same time to be able to sing with so much emotion when needed.

umehara-yuichiro-2015-7

In his first tracks as a member of the unit Umehara‘s only appeal looked like it was only the fact that his vocal range enables him to since with a deep voice and more times than we would like to admit, he was overshadowed by the rest of the members. Now we’re not saying he didn’t sing well, however he didn’t stand out at all, take the example of TIGHT/NIGHT, Umehara barely gets any time to try to shine as himself. Aside from that slight problem, we must say that he, as the rest of the members, has managed to accommodate his way of singing according to the different genres in the unit’s tracks. Some of his best tracks to really demonstrate how he has improved are 人生ハードモード, Unmei o koeru”Venga” and Burny!!!. Even though, in these tracks Umehara still is overshadowed at times, one can definitely say now that when he has to sing he does so with more confident and technique than what he used to in the beginning is displaying good vocal control and perhaps even some flair to his performance, Umehara has taken his deep vocals to an upgraded level.

SolidS completely embraced their “sexy/mature” concept back in early 2016 and setting for a music genre or at least a blend of music genres that is now characteristic of them. Their sound is passionate and fiery, made to excite the listeners and while at it, snatch their hearts. Even if the unit took their time to find common ground in terms of sound, it wasn’t the only change this unit has suffered.

The group went on hiatus in June 2018, after Yuichiro Umehara was suddenly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. As news of Umehara’s recovery surfaced in July, Tsukipro announced the group’s return, resuming their take on the RE:START series.

ArtiSTARs (2016-)

ArtiSTARs

Alongside Takuya EguchiKENN, Yuki OnoShouta Aoi and Wataru Hatano, Umehara’s part of ArtiSTARs, pop outfit with a regal vibe.

They’ve performed live in 2017 for a special live event and so far have released 3 singles: “Please kiss my heart” (2016), “Magic-kyun! No.1☆” (2016) and “Sleeping Beauty” (2017).

Osiris (2016-)

One of the four main bands in the game Band Yarouze is Osiris, with a luxury cast Masanori Kobayashi, Yuma Uchida, Natsuki Hanae, Yuiichiro Umehara. Much like in similar cases, despite the fact that Umehara is a member of the band, namely Shin Koganei (drums), only Kobayashi sings in their releases.

The band has released Duel Gig, For you, FRONTIER, Re:incarnation, Beyond the Limit, Bloody Masquerade, Desire, Heavenly Breeze, Voice, Desire and Darkness.

Variety

Bar SolidS (2015)


Quite possibly one of the most difficult TV show segments to handle, Bar SolidS was marked by frank talk about women, music, dirty jokes and more, all with a drunk SolidS‘ cast back in 2015. Even after being heavily edited in post-production, the show was borderline rated R (sometimes really rated R thanks to Natsuki Hanae‘s dangerous wordplays).

Café SolidS (2016)

Cafe solids

Taking into account that Bar SolidS proved to be almost a disaster – not because it wasn’t a good show, but due to the fact that drunk seiyuu talking about women and rated themes was difficult to handle for the show’s producers -, the second season of SolidS TV show took a quiet and more controlled turn. Cafe Solids (2016) was alcohol free and focused more on each of the member’s interests in different periods of their lives. Even without alcohol, the group’s mood was laidback and fun.

Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo Kimi ni (2017 -)

In Saito’s tv show Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo Kimi ni that aired back in 2017, Umehara was invited to be the guest of one of the episodes. As there is no surprise Umehara enjoys taking care of his bonsai, his episode featured an agenda with his hobbies taken into account.

That was it for this edition of SEIYUU DIGEST. We hope you’ve enjoyed and please be sure to come back next month for another feature.

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Author: Nadine Silva

Reviewer and News editor at The Hand That Feeds HQ since 2012. Based in Portugal. Translation graduate. Hobbyist piano player.