Seiyuu Digest #34 – Yuki Kaji

kaji-digest

Considered by many as one of the best seiyuu of his generation, Yuki Kaji is no stranger to accolades, tough roles and exquisite performances that have rendered fans all over the world speechless. He started off his career humbly and has grown into the superstar seiyuu he is now. For this month’s Seiyuu Digest we take a look at Yuki Kaji‘s impressive career.

KANJI 梶 裕貴
BORN September 3, 1985
OCCUPATION seiyuu, radio host, narrator, singer, actor
HEIGHT 170cm

 

Seiyuu

16 year old Yuki Kaji

Kaji was born on September 3, 1985 in Tokyo, Japan. Although he was born in Tokyo his parents raised him and his younger sister in Saitama.

When Kaji was a junior high school student he decided that he wanted to become a voice actor, especially when he was told that “Whatever you learn about being a voice actor, every time you do your best, everything will be from your power alone.” Those words were enough to motivate him to work towards his dream of being a seiyuu. Years later, when he was a high school student, he immediately joined the theater department, developing basic acting skills.

Kaji later enrolled in Japanese Narration and Acting Institute where he specialized in narration and voice acting (animation).

Kaji in 2003

Kaji made his debut under talent agency Artsvision as a seiyuu in 2004, with the Playstation2 game “Teikokusensenki“. It took him some time until he got to make his anime debut. The opportunity came in 2006 through various small roles in Ouran High School Host Club as Ukyo ChikageLa Corda d’oro ~ primo passo ~, Kirarin Revolution and Fushigi star ☆ Futago Hime Gyu! (these being minor roles).

2007 – 2012

Making a name for himself

Yuki Kaji in 2007

Not even an year after getting his first roles in anime, Kaji grabbed his first ever leading role in the sports anime Overdrive. The rest of the year was uneventful with only a couple of minor roles in anime such as Night Wizard The ANIMATIONPotamoyoKishin Taisen Gigantic FormulaEl Cazador de la Bruja and Getsumen To Heiki Mina.

2008 enabled him with lots of opportunities to make a name for himself. He landed roles in anime such as Major (on its 4th season), Inazuma Eleven, Kyou Kara Mahou (3rd season), Yozakura QuartetYatterman, Noramimi (2nd season), Stitch!, yet fans remember or first knew him from his role as Finnian in Kuroshitsuji.

Finnian in Kuroshitsuji

Finnian could be a character that easily would go unnoticed but thanks to Toboso Yana‘s writing, fans got to know that this naïve chararacter has, in fact, a dark background – as most of the characters that surround the protagonists -, and his naïvité was due to having been imprisioned for a long time, not having contact with the outside world. Working under Ciel Phantomhive, Finnian grows to like the outdoors and put his insane strenght to use (although initially it led to some hilarious situations). He might be a crybaby at times but when needed, he’s a reliable character. Kaji‘s performance was spot-on. He was easy to relate to the character and understand its ways just from his honest acting. Even though Finnian is a secondary character in the Kuroshitsuji series, this is a character that Kaji‘s fans won’t forget as it was the first role he got on a wildly known anime that has enough exposure.

Kaji in 2009

In 2009, he was nowhere to be found when it came to anime. Besides his lead role in shoujo anime “Miracle Train“, Kaji was barely anywhere. What was he doing during that time? Had the competition caught up to him and was he losing his auditions thanks to that? Wasn’t he getting work from his talent agency? Nothing like that. Kaji decided to branch out. 2009 might have been an awful year for his fans, especially those that only follow his anime roles, but it was a year filled with opportunities: making his group debut, dubbing foreign series/movies, voicing in videogames or even hosting several radio shows. But it still wasn’t a good indicator for his career that he was getting less anime roles and that year had been prolific in talented seiyuu debuts.

If 2009 was his most idle year ever, then, in contrast, 2010 was his busiest year in his career at that time. From anime to OVA’s to special anime movies, he made an effort to land roles in everything.

He reprised his role as Finnian for the second season of Kuroshitsuji and landed roles in Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai-henOkami-San and Her Seven CompanionsBakugan Battle BrawlersBattle Spirits: Shounen Gekiha Dan, Air Gear: Kuro no Hane to Nemuri no Mori – Break on the Sky and Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor – Heaven and Earth.

 

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But let’s not forget his lead roles in Otome Youkai Zakuro as Ganryuu Hanakiri, SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors as Ryuubi “Liu Bei” GundamGoulart Knights: Evoked the Beginning Black as Nil AlmarsYozakura Quartet: Hoshi no Umi as Akina Hiizumi, that showed fans that his voice could fit whatever anime genre and character just with talent alone.

Walker Yumazaki in Durarara!!

Walker Yumazaki in Durarara!! and Lion Vastia in FAIRY TAIL are two secondary characters that, on their own way, were extremely important into solidifying Kaji‘s rise to fame. Walker is well know as a passionate otaku and manga reader that is always trying to find a way to pair people up, invoking known anime tropes and showing his love for torture methods inspired by manga/novels. But don’t be fooled by his carefree, clueless air, when serious, Walker can be extremely dangerous and that’s exactly at those times that people remember Kaji‘s range and quality acting. He can be raging about the newest manga issue in one second and in the other he can be intimidating, all that coming from a character that at a first look, doesn’t look nor act dangerously.

Lyon in FAIRY TAIL

On the other side Lyon is more lighthearted. FAIRY TAIL is known for its mix of action, fantasy and comedic elements. Lyon was not Kaji‘s typical character. He’s cold, composed, quick witted and extremely proud of himself.

Despite his usual demeanor, Lyon tends to go overboard whenever he thinks about Juvia, attempting to impress her through various gimmicks, sometimes leading to pretty funny situations. Through Lyon, Kaji was able to reach a wider audience, he was now working on a wildly popular, mainstream shounen anime which is the dream of any seiyuu trying to make a name for themselves.

This exposure would prove to be a good thing for him in the years to come. What we got in 2011 and 2012 would definitely confirm that Kaji was starting to gain popularity and anime producers were also starting to take interest in his acting. Fans were hit by a storm with the heartwrenching sci-fi anime, NO.6.

The story, the characters and the performances by Yuki Kaji and Yoshimasa Hosoya left everyone in tears. It was impossible not to get invested in their story when the voice acting was so honest and relatable.

Kaji voiced Shion, a kind, idealistic and intelligent boy that find his ideals shattering piece by piece when he notices that the city he lives in is far from being perfect. The conspiracies and suspense kept everyone on the edge of their seats in 2011.

Other roles during this year include Konekomaru Miwa in Ao no Exorcist, Novelist in UN-GO, Akira in Kimi to Boku, Haruaki Yachi in C³ – CubexCursedxCurious, Yuuya Haibara in Danball Senki, Kouichi Tanemura in Hanasaku Iroha and Subaru Hasegawa in Ro-Kyu-Bu!. He reprised his roles in the Inazuma Eleven series as well as in Goulart Knights.

 

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Amata Sora (Aquarion Evol) is yet another character that his fans are fond of. It was also the catalyst for his now successful career. The series was received with mixed feelings both domestic and overseas, but Kaji‘s performance managed to stand out, earning him one of the most coveted awards in the Seiyuu industry in the following year.

Still in 2012, Kaji showed a different side to his acting as he took on the role of Haruyuki Arita  in the action/sci-fi anime, Accel World.

Even though his role as Tatara Totsuka in K was not as important as some of the other characters in the series, it’s essential to understand one of the factions we encounter in the anime. He was HOMRA’s mood maker, a laidback, friendly and charismatic person that influenced everyone.

 

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Shinsekai yori marks Kaji‘s return to sci-fi. This time around the series is not as heartbreaking as NO.6 was, but it still presented a good story, character growth and mesmerizing soundtrack. The anime was disregarded by most people during 2012’s Fall season – that was packed with gems. Avid Kaji‘s fans, and later other curious anime enthusiasts, watched the series only to be impressed by its quality mystery and his impressive performance as Satoru Asahina.

In the exact same Fall season, he was part of the cast of shoujo/drama anime Say “I Love You” as Kakeru Hayakawa.

His role as Issei Hyoudou in High school DxD is quite possibly one of the best known in his repertoire. He’s reprised the role 7 times since the series premiered in 2012.

Alibaba Saluja in Magi

2012 was marked by this role. Fantasy and adventure anime, Magi The Labyrinth of magic is still one of the best anime to premiere in the Fall season. Kaji voiced Alibaba Saluja, a young man that at, a first look, is greedy, but deep down he cares deeply for those that are unfortunate. He teams up with Aladdin – that saved him – and they embarked on a journey to conquer dungeons, a thing that he thought was impossible due to the fact that everyone that tried it, tended to not return. The anime was well received domestically as well as overseas, turning into a hit of that specific season. Kaji‘s acting ranged from though to comedic, in what was his most interesting role during 2012.

Other anime in which he landed roles includes Ixion Saga DTMobile Suit Gundam AGE, Shakugan no Shana III (FINAL), Daily Lives of High School BoysMysterious Girlfriend X, Bakuman (3rd season), Pokémon: Black & White: Rival DestiniesBLOOD-C The Last DarkBerserk: Ougon Jidai-hen I and IIIppatsu Hicchuu!! DevanderThis Boy Caught A MermanLupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu OnnaSakura Taisen: Kanadegumi, Danball Senki W, Chouyaku Hyakuninisshu: Uta Koi, and reprised his roles in Kimi to Boku and Inazuma Eleven.

 2013

Making it big

Kaji in 2013

2013 was the year in which everything changed for him. This was the year in which he became owner of a “Best Actor” award. He was able to be in every anime season with new characters as well as reprised some roles, mainly in Magi (The Kingdom of Magic), High School DxD, Ro-Kyu-Bu!SS, Berserk and White Album. He then returned for Yozakura Quartet‘s reboot series with the same character as the original series.

Q-vier in Valvrave the Liberator

Kaji joined the stellar cast (Ryohei Kimura, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Jun Fukuyama, Mamoru Miyano, Mizuki Nana, Haruka Tomatsu, Daisuke Namikawa, Daisuke Ono, etc) of Valvrave the Liberator. His character, Q-vier might look like a joker at first, cracking jokes around everyone and acting in a carefree way. But that facade quickly disappears as he views war as a game, not following orders and enjoying brutally murdering people.

Youto Yokodera in Hentai Prince

He then branched out for comedy with his role as Youto “Hentai Ouji” Yokodera in The “Hentai” Prince and the Stony Cat.

And returned to shoujo anime with two polar opposites: Diabolik Lovers and BROTHERS CONFLICT.

Kanato Sakamaki in Diabolik Lovers

While Kanato is the typical problematic yandere character that most people love to hate, on the other side, Wataru is a cute little boy, the youngest in the Asahina household and the one everyone loves.

Wataru Asahina in BROTHERS CONFLICT

But these weren’t the biggest highlight for him. It was one specific series that really shot him to fame, that series that is as famous as the actors themselves: Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin).

Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan

As Eren Yeager, Kaji has managed to portray different kinds of emotions he did in the past or at least did a new, fresh take on those emotions. There’s anger, frustration, desperation, desolation, love, loss and madness, all of this encapsulated in the main character. The anime itself dwels a lot on those emotions due to its premise, but Kaji‘s performance made the character relatable. It was a honest performance that, sometimes, went a bit beyond what had been asked of him mainly because he wanted to deliver the most believable performance ever with this character.

Attack on Titan is major hit worldwide, and even if someone doesn’t watch anime, they sure know or heard  about

Kaji sporting a Survey Corps (Attack on Titan) jacket

it. The media often references this series as one of the best of the 21th century (that is open to debate) but one thing is certain, Kaji delivered one of the best performances in 2013 by a seiyuu during 2013 thanks to this character. All his effort was later rewarded with a series of awards that we’ll take about later on this Digest.

Other anime he was featured in include: Zetsuen no Tempest, Pokemon Monsters XY and Pokemon: Mewtwo – Prologue to AwakeningUnbreakable Machine-DollGalilei Donna, Maoyu Maou YushaBlood Lad and Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home.

By the end of this year, Kaji moved from Artsvision to VIMS, also a talent agency (Showtaro Morikubo, Taku Yashiro).

2014

Massively popular seiyuu

Now incredibly recognize by everyone in the seiyuu business as one of the top 10 best seiyuu, Kaji was set out to new adventures as more and more anime producers wanted him on their projects. 2014 wasn’t a bad year for him,  having a lot of work in anime/OVA’s/movies, dubbing, narration and even games. His schedule was now, more than ever, packed.

With 2014 came the announcement that the famous manga Kuroshitsuji was going to get a new anime season. Kaji returned to reprise his role as Finnian.

 

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Then we have a record amount of lead roles for him during this year in almost every genre possible. Black Bullet as Rentaro Satomi, Ao Haru Ride as Kou Mabuchi, Nanatsu no Taizai as Meliodas, Nobunaga Concerto as Nobunaga Oda, World Trigger as Osamu MikunoDonten ni Warau as Soramaru Kumo, Minna Atsumare! Falcom Gakuen as Adol Christin,

 

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His roles in Noragami as Yukine, Nisekoi as Shuu Maiko, Shigatsu wa kimi no Uso as Takeshi Aiza, Nobunaga The Fool as Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Barakamon as Kousuke Kanzaki, Haikyuu!! as Kenma Kozume, Diamond no Ace as Mei Narumiya, Tokyo Ghoul as Ayato Kirishima were given almost the same importance as the main characters, with Kaji delivering top tier performances.

Other anime include: Space Dandy, Detective Connan, Buddy Complex, Strike the Blood, Kamigami no AsobiShin-chanHoozuki no ReitetsuK MISSING KINGSOutbreak CompanyPokemon: Pikachu, Kore Nan no Kagi?Youkai Watch Movie 1: Tanjou no Himitsu da Nyan!, ZYPHER, between many others.

2015 –

Superstar status

In comparison with the packed 2014, 2015 was a pretty mild year for him. There were fewer roles under his belt and most of them were just him reprising previous roles.

He reprised his roles in K RETURN OF KINGSDIABOLIK LOVERS MORE,BLOOD, Durarara!!, Noragami ARAGOTO, High School DxD, Pokemon, Nisekoi, Tokyo Ghoul√A, Haikyuu!! (movie), Nintama RantarouMinna Atsumare! Falcom Gakuen SC and Youkai Watch Movie 2.

Notable roles this year include Hermes in Arslan Senki, role that brought Kaji‘s deep voice and threatening attitude back to the table.

Hermes in Arslan Senki

In the same year he dressed a super hero suit in parody/comedy/action anime One Punch Man as Speed-o’-Sound Sonic. Sonic is a character that comes out of nowhere claiming that his has an eternal rivalry with the main character. His efforts to defeat or shame him often end up being unintentionally hilarious.

Sonic vs Saitama in One Punch Man

Other anime include the parody, chibi Shingeki! Kyojin Chuugakkou, Blood Blockade Battlefront, Ushio to ToraSuper Short ComicsSoukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor – ExodusTantei Team KZ Jiken NoteHoukago no PleiadesAir Bound and Osiris no Tenbin.

Kaji in 2016

As soon as we enter 2016 we notice that Kaji is now carefully chosing his roles instead of accepting everything and packing his schedule with meaninful roles. He was part of AjinKubikiri Cycle: Aoiro Savant to Zaregototsukai, Owari no Seraph (only in a special OVA), Koutetsujou no Kabaneri3-Nen D-Gumi Glass no KamenDimension W and Boku no Hero Academia.

 

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He then got main roles in Joker Game as Hatano, Kiznaiver as Katsuhira AgataOccultic;Nine as Yuuta GamonAce Attorney as Ryuuichi NaruhodouClassicaLoid as Mozart, SERVAMP as KuroJoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Diamond wa Kudakenai as Kouichi Hirose, Tsukiuta the animation as Kakeru ShiwasuBananya as Bananya, Gantz:O as Kei KuronoZutto Mae kara Suki deshita.: Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai as Souta Mochizuki, Norn9 as Kakeru Yuiga and Fukigen na Mononokean as Hanae Ashiya.

He reprised roles in Accel World (movie), Pokemon (movies), Durarara!! (ova), Arslan Senki (second season), Nanatsu no Taizai (second season) and Youkai Watch Movie 3.

Kaji in 2017

In 2017, Kaji‘s focus has been on theatrical anime (movies). His versatility does the job as he continues to snatch roles in the most varied animation genres possible/available: slice of life, sci-fi, psychological, drama, action, comedy, fantasy, seinen, shoujo, shounen, kids, adventure, he adapts to every single genre and character without any problems and manages to deliver precise and engaging performances. Some of the movies he’s been a part of this year include: Blame!, Kuroshitsuji Book of the Atlantic, PEACEMAKERHaikara-san ga Tooru Movie 1: Benio, Hana no 17-saiDonten ni Warau Gaiden: Ketsubetsu, Yamainu no Chikai, Godzilla: Kaijuu WakuseiGou-chan. Moko to Chinjuu no Mori no Nakama-tachiKoutetsujou no KabaneriGenocidal OrganKimi no Koe wo TodoketaiUchiage Hanabi and Shita kara Miru ka? Yoko kara Miru ka?.

Even if his main focus has been on theatrical anime, Kaji is still doing anime work. Dive!! (main role as Tomoki Sakai), Doraemon, Yowamushi Pedal NEW GENERATION, Ao no Exorcist Kyoto Fujouou-henSaiyuuki Reload Blast, Konbini Kareshi (main role as Nasa Sanagi) and will be starring in the anime adaptation of otome game Code:Realize: Sousei no Himegimi (that will premiere this Fall).

Games

Kaji @ Diabolik Lovers event in 2014

He has one of the most impressive repertoires when it comes to this entertainment medium. He’s literally everywhere when it comes to videogames. Like we’re mentioned earlier, Kaji made his seiyuu debut through a video game, “Teikokusensenki” in 2004. Since then his roles in videogames, especially in the shoujo/otome category, have only increased with each passing year.

From 2004 to 2007, his roles in videogames were practically scarse. After 2007, he started to appear on a lot of otome games, initially by Otomate, QuinRose and 2pb and most recently by Rejet.

Crimson Empire ~ Circumstances to serve a noble ~, Kanuchi black wingLucian Bee’s series, Uta no Prince-sama ♪STORM LOVER, Diabolik Lovers series, Renai BanchoAngelique Magical Love’s Six KnightsTOKYO Yamamote BOYS series, Grimm the Bounty HunterBLACK WOLVES SAGA series, Brothers Conflict series, Norn9, Ayakashi GohanCode: Realize ~ Princess of Genesis ~KLAP !! ~ Kind Love And Punish ~, Kamigami AsobiCollar × MalicePsychicEmotion 6Code: Realize ~ The future of blessing ~ are just some of the otome games he’s got under his belt.

Credits: Animate TV/ Kaji @ Otomate Party in 2016

But let’s not forget that Kaji is actually in other kinds of games, those that cater to a whole different demografic. Makai Kingdom: Chronicles of the Sacred Tome (2005), Cococan (2006), Soul Nomad & the World Eaters (2007), Suikoden Tierkreis (2008), Tears to Tiara: Kakan no Daichi (2008), Record of Agarest War Zero (2009), Inazuma series (2009 – 2012), Kuroshitsuji Phantom & Ghost (2009), Final Fantasy XIII (2009), God Eater series (2010 – 2014), Durarara !! 3way standoff series (2010 – 2015), SD Gundam – The Three Kingdoms – Brave Battle Warriors Shinsengishira Taisen (2010), Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2011), Final Fantasy Type 0 (2011), Blue Exorcist Labyrinth of Phantom (2012), FAIRY TAIL (2012), Accel World (2013), Gintama’s Sugoroku (2013), JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle (2013), Lord of Vermilion III (2013), Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven (2014), Arslan Battle x Musou (2015), PSYCHO – PASS (2015), Tales of Zestiria (2015), World Trigger borderless mission (2015), Noragami ~ God Margin ~ (2015), Hyrule Warriors (2015) are just some of the many games in which Kaji is credited.

Drama CDs

Kaji in 2016

Drama CDs are always a medium that all seiyuu want to delve in, Kaji is no exception. Over the years he was voiced all kinds of characters with all kinds of traits and quirks. If you thought he can’t voice all kinds of characters, you’ll be surprised to find that he is, in fact, extremely versatile, having voiced yandere, tsundere, high and mighty, righteous, imposing, quiet and event his prince-like characters and all of them sound unique.

Kanato Sakamaki

Major highlights include his role on Rejet‘s Diabolik Lovers as Kanato Sakamaki. The series has branched out from game to drama CDs to anime (3 seasons), gathering a lot of fans along the way despite its controversial themes.

Still under Rejet, Kaji delivered an impressive performance with his portrayal of Sanji in the post World War inspired series: Taishou Guuzou Roman「Teikoku Star」.  He’s practically one of Rejet‘s household names with more than 6 different games/drama CD collections under his name (Tokyo Yamamote Boys√ HAPPY + SUGAR = DARLIN’Lacrimosa and BLACK WOLVES SAGA series).

Other drama CDs include: Issho ni Gohan, Servamp, Tsukiuta, STORM LOVER series, Norn9, NO.6Brothers ConflictLucian Bee’s series, NisekoiSaint BeastSword Art · Online, ActorsAyakashi Scarlet  and Royal Ouji Gakuen, between many others. If we talk about Kaji‘s BL CDs roles, then the list increases to double.

Dubbing/Narration

Yuki Kaji in 2012

Narration and dubbing are two other areas in which he is incredibly prolific. Korean dramas, Hollywood movies, western television series, documentaries, commercials, you name it, he has dubbed something that you love.

For those of you that are fans of Korean dramas, although not official, in Japan, Kaji is the only one to dub Korean heartthrob, Park Bogum.

Kaji promoting Cantabile Tomorrow 

Cantabile Tomorrow (adaptation of popular manga Nodame Cantabile) and “The Admiral: Roaring Currents” are two of the works of Park Bogum that have been dubbed in Japan by him. He also dubbed Chadol (Park Shiwoo) in historical Korean series “Iljimae“, Detective Squirrel (Lee Junho from 2PM) in Korean action movie “Cold Eyesand a minor character in “Alone in Love“.

Kaji promoting “Stonewall” dubbing. Click the image for his video message.

Regarding his dubbing of western television series and movies, the credits list is vast. Almost Famous, StonewallPrincess Protection ProgramFright Night 2, Fury, Boogeyman 2, The SeekerDon’t Breathe, Medium, LOST, The OC, Hannah Montana, Hawaii Five-0, Dr. HOUSECSI: Miami, CSI: New York, Gossip Girl, Criminal Minds, NCIS: New OrleansKAMEN RIDER DRAGON KNIGHT100 Things to Do Before High SchoolJericho, between many others.

He’s also dubbed foreign characters in animation series such as Star Wars, BatmanRuby Groom and Adventure Time. When it comes to narration, Kaji‘s repertoire has, between commercials and shows of any kind, more than 50 credits.

Radio

If we’re talking about Radio shows then we need to talk about the wildly famous Shinomo Hiro & Kaji Yuki’s Radio Misty.

The show aired between 2008 and 2010 for a total of 99 episodes. They released 14 DJCD’s, 2 drama CDs, 5 DVDs and hosted several events over that short time frame.

The duo released a single as unit しもかじ (Shimokaji). The single was titled “Tomorrow’s Wind“, song that was featured as the show’s opening theme from episode 34 until the end. The b-side track “Misty Moon” was featured as the ending theme for the exact same episodes. This unit was a one-time project, with the end of the radio show, the unit disbanded.

That is, by far, Kaji‘s radio highlight. Other radio shows he’s hosted/been a guest include: Kuroshitsuji I and II (2010 – 2011), Yozakura Quartet STB Cherry Blossoms Town Broadcasting, Shingeki no KyojinYuki and Tsubasa no Hiyoko (2008), Yuki Kaji’s solo in HawaiiOver Drive (2007), VOICE CREW (2009), Kaji Yuki’s Face (2009 – 2010), GUILTY CROWN RADIO COUNCIL (2011 – 2012), Magi Radio caravan (2012), Servamp Tsushin (2016 – 2017), and many others.

Music

G.Addict: The first group experience

G.Addict in 2009

Kaji, alongside fellow seiyuu Kazuma Horie, Atsushi Abe and Takuma Terashima, debuted as part as pop-rock seiyuu quartet G.Addict. The quartet was signed under Lantis, label known for their pop-rock acts such as GRANRODEO and OLDCODEX.

G.Addict in 2010 promoting “everlasting note”

G.Addict were formed with the single purpose of releasing music for the Goulart Knights project. The group made their debut with the pop-rock mini-album “signal” in 2009. After that, they released two singles in 2010 (everlasting note and monochrome/prism) and the full length album “HIGH-END” in 2011 before going off grid. The group disbanded in the same year.

Solo endeavor

Away from a group in which he had to split lines between members and straying away from an edgy pop-rock sound, Kaji made his solo debut under Lantis with the single “sense of wonder” in 2012.  The single reached #11 on Oricon, the best result he has achieved in the charts.

In the same year he released the second single “Hello“. This time around he embraced a fan friendly pop sound that led the single to #14 on Oricon. Although we can say that both singles were fairly successful in the charts, Kaji‘s solo career soon came to a halt.

Even if his career as a solo artist has been on hiatus since 2012, Kaji has never declined any opportunity to sing character songs or be part of seiyuu units. He’s got an extensive playlist under his name thanks to that.

The duet with Wataru Hatano in “Day By Day” from otome game “Isho ni Gohan” (2012) is one of the most surprising songs in his repertoire. It was quite possibly the first time he was singing such an upbeat dance song. Putting aside the song’s “autotuned” vocals (especially Hatano‘s), the energy and their harmonies managed to impress a lot of people. He also sang character songs for Rejet‘s otome game “BLACK WOLVES SAGA” (Blood Nightmare and Last Hope). The songs “Deep Despair” and “Tears” were featured in-game. He’s got character songs for BROTHERS CONFLICTDIABOLIK LOVERSIXION SAGA DTNORN9, Tokyo Yamamote Boys, STORM LOVERAttack on Titan, SERVAMP and many other anime/games.

Recently he sang Lotte‘s Lady Borden icecream theme song alongside Shouta Aoi and Kensho Ono.

Over the past few years he’s been part of several seiyuu units.

Trickstar

Trickstar consists of Yoshimasa Hosoya, Tetsuya Kakihara, Showtaro Morikubo and Yuki Kaji. The quartet is part of smartphone otome/rhytmic game “Ensemble Stars” and so far have released 3 singles. “Rebellion Star“, song featured on Trickstar‘s first single “Vol.8 “Trickstar” has a CGI animated music video.

 

Six Gravity

Six Gravity are part of Tsukino Production‘s Tsukiuta series. The unit consists of Yuki Kaji,Kousuke Toriumi, Toshiki Masuda, Tomoaki Maeno, Yoshimasa Hosoya and KENN. Like most of Tsukino Production‘s units, Six Gravity have released a lot of music as group as well as in cross units. Between their 6 drama CDs and the unit’s 3 singles and 1 Best Of album, as Shiwasu Kakeru he even got the opportunity to release 3 solo singles and two collaboration/cross unit singles.

SYRUP

More recently (2016), Kaji joined best friend Hiro Shimono for Rejet’s unit SYRUP. The unit is part of Rejet‘s project “Forbidden Star“. They released two singles “Sweet Labyrinth” and “KIRA KIRA CIDER“. The unit is currently on hiatus.

Acting career

Wataru Hatano and Yuki Kaji in Kami Voice

A bit like Daisuke Namikawa, Rikiya Koyama and Kishow, Kaji has also done some acting work. Most fans might recall the movie “Kami Voice: The Voice Makes a Miracle” in which Kaji and Wataru Hatano delivered powerful performances as our protagonist duo. The movie is an adaptation of a famous manga written by Yoshiki Sakurai and Team G.V. and illustrated by Kuroko Yabuguchi. The live action premiered on November 19, 2011.

The movie is deeply connected with the seiyuu life and shows the hardships one has to face to enter and strive in that field of work, especially when something goes awry that can hinder that career forever. The cast counts with the notable presences of Takuya Eguchi, Showtaro Morikubo, Mamoru Miyano, Rikiya Koyama, Romi Paku, Daisuke Namikawa and Yoshimasa Hosoya, among many others.

In 2014, Kaji was invited by Kenichi Suzumura to be part of Ad-Live.

Kaji during Ad-Live 2014

Suzumura is the founder of AD-LIVE, the annual standup event that kicked off in 2012. The main idea behind this project is to display a completely different side to stand-up comedy, making it more unpredictable and incredibly random at times (thanks to that bag full of weird cues that they carry during the play).

 

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Kaji has been part of three editions (2014, 2015 and 2016) and always managed to showcase his witty sense and good on-the-spot acting skills.

Awards

Kaji @ Magi event in 2014

Kaji is no stranger to winning awards and being on top spots of popularity contests. Ever since 2009, his popularity has grown exponentially and his performances have, time and time again, impressed both fans and specialists in the area earning him several awards.

In 2009, his roles as Akina Hiizumu in Yozakura Quartet and Finnian in Kuroshitsuji, despite secondary, managed to impress and earned him his first ever award. “Best Rookie actor” was split with fellow seiyuu Nobuhiko Okamoto at the 3rd Seiyuu Awards. This was the stepping stone Kaji was in need of, it put him on the map.

Not long after winning that award, Kaji was the recipient of “Male Character Voice Prize” at 2011’s Famitsu Awards (the cerimony was held in 2012). In the same year, he was nominated for the “Best Actor” category at Newtype’s Anime Awards, but he didn’t win.

That’s when we reach 2013 and find the pinnacle of Kaji‘s award winning career. If there was something to win during that year, it was going to be his. At the 12th Tokyo Anime Awards, he won “Best Voice actor” award due to his roles in Aquarion Evol and Accel World. At the 35th Anime Grand Prix he also won the “Best Voice Actor” award due to his role in Accel World, this voting was entirely fan driven (through letter and email). If those awards weren’t enough, Kaji managed to score his first ever “Best Actor” at the 7th Seiyuu Awards.

7th seiyuu awards in 2013 / Credit: Animate TV

A combination of three “Best Actor/ Voice actor” awards in the same year. Kaji was the first one to win these many awards of such importance in the same year. Once again Newtype’s Anime Awards curse kept going on with Kaji being nominated for the exact same category as the previous year, and once again failing to win it.

Yuki Kaji and Mamoru Miyano at the 8th Seiyuu Awards in 2014

No one was expecting the feat to be reprised but Kaji managed to, one year later, snatch yet another “Best Actor” award at the Seiyuu Awards this time because of his role as Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan.

Kaji is one of the very few seiyuu that has managed to receive two “Best Actor awards in their career and is the first one to actually receive those consecutively in the annual Seiyuu Awards (7th Seiyu Awards and 8th Seiyu Awards in 2013 and 2014).

8th seiyuu awards in 2014

But that’s not all. Ever since 2013, he has never left the top 10 spots in Charapedia‘s “Top 20 Most Popular Seiyuu” or any other tops created by seiyuu magazines or media outlets.

Random facts

Close friends with Hiro Shimono

Their friendship is well known among seiyuu fans. Both of them have worked together more times than we can count with our fingers. Interesting enough, they bonded quite well to the point that they have more variety shows together than any other known seiyuu duo up until now. They are drinking buddies and Shimono always points out just how caring Kaji is. In several occasions, Shimono had more than he could drink and Kaji had to take care of him, driving him home and even bathing him. Shimono approves him as a nice guy to hang out with.

Entirely dedicated to his craft

Kaji goes way beyond what most seiyuu go. He mentioned on the first Attack on Titan event (press presentation and cast announcement event) that he didn’t want to act Eren with only using his personal excitement, he wanted his acting to be passionate, the best way to depict the character. When voicing characters, he doesn’t spare any expense and always manages to deliver the best performances. His dedication and passion to voice acting unfortunately has taken him to the hospital. Back in 2012, Kaji was recording lines as Eren in Attack on Titan and had to be taken to the hospital to get his throat treated due to excessive straining of the vocal chords (mainly due to Eren‘s well known screaming and yelling).

More than a simple student

Back in his days as a student, Kaji was a student council president. Now, that’s a way to put his eloquence and charisma up to test.

Cover boy

 

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Alongside Mamoru Miyano and Hiroshi Kamiya, Kaji is one of the few seiyuu to have graced the covers of seiyuu magazines more than 15 times in their career. Pick-Up voice, Voice Newtype, VAW, Cool Voice, Seiyuu Junon, Voice Animage are just some of the well known magazines in which he got the main feature and cover (solo or with other seiyuu).

Photobook galore

 

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Kaji is no stranger to releasing photobooks. He released his firs photobook in 2012. ライフ (Life) brought fans closer to him through several photos and special interviews.

 

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Two years later, Kaji released his second photobook titled “KajiKame“. The photos were taken in Okinawa. With peaceful landscapes and breathtaking locations, Kaji‘s delicate gaze and mature expressions impressed a lot of fans.

 

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In 2015, he released the photobook リライフ (Relife). Kaji‘s third photobook sold out almost immediately. The photobook included several photos a long interview and 100 questions answered.

Has a driving licence but…

Kaji went on Takahiro Sakurai‘s television show “Kako Warai” back in 2016 and shed some light over his passions and wishes. He went on to say that he has a driving licence and even purchased a car for himself but hasn’t had the opportunity to use any of them because of his busy schedule.

Almost adopted by… Mamoru Miyano

Yuki Kaji and Mamoru Miyano in 2016

Miyano has confessed in several occasions that he likes Kaji a lot and that if he could, he’d adopt him in a heartbeat. Both of them are close friends almost since early on in their seiyuu careers and have been in multiple anime series together.

Takahiro Sakurai is like a father figure to him

Takahiro Sakurai and Yuki Kaji on “Kako Warai” in 2016

If Mamoru Miyano wants to adopt Kaji, then Takahiro Sakurai has already beat him to it. Back in the day when Kaji was striving to get his name known in the seiyuu business, he faced a lot of difficulties. But there was one person that, upon seeing such a young seiyuu struggling, immediately volunteered to help. Kaji mentioned that, if it wasn’t for Sakurai‘s kindness, lending him clothes and gaving him rice during those years, life as a seiyuu would have been even more difficult. When the pair reunited on screen for Sakurai Takahiro’s no Kako warai, Kaji mentioned that he’d come to Sakurai for advice when work was hard or when he was uneasy. Sakurai would say “You’re (a) good (seiyuu). Don’t worry.“, he mentioned that those words alone would make him strive to work even harder.

Gamer

Like many seiyuu, Kaji is a gamer. He tends to enjoy playing RPG’s (role playing games) and adventure games. He can’t play fighting games because he doesn’t know what to do and starts punching/pressing random buttons.

Extremely outgoing personality

Kaji might look like a serious person on a first glance – especially in photoshoots with his intense stare -, but in reality he’s actually extremelly outgoing. Fans can only notice this when there’s seiyuu/anime/game events, that time of the year when Kaji‘s beagle self can be seen. There’s literally no one that isn’t charmed by his outgoing and friendly personality.

Exhibit A: Back in 2012’s OTOMATE PARTY (promoting the first Diabolik Lovers game), Kaji met Hikaru Midorikawa for the first time in person – despite having worked in the same projects more than once – and they instantly clicked, forming an impromptu boyband/duo to everyone’s surprise.

Hikaru Midorikawa and Yuki Kaji @ Otomate Party 2012

But it wasn’t just with Midorikawa (who is a quiet joker) that Kaji clicked fast. Ryohei Kimura, Daisuke Ono, Jun Fukuyama, Takahiro Sakurai, Mamoru Miyano, Takuma Terashima, Kensho Ono, Shimono Hiro, Kishow, all are insanely fond of Kaji and his bright and fresh personality. If anyone catches any of these seiyuu together with him in the same event, it’s safe to say that whatever was prepared, won’t be followed and fans will simply laugh themselves to tears.

Magi cast in 2013 (Haruka Tomatsu, Ryohei Kimura, Yuki Kaji and Kaori Ishihara feat. Daisuke Ono in the back)

The results are always fun. Exhibit B: if you’re a fan of the anime series and have watched/attended their events, you’ll notice that every single event of the Magi series has always been chaos, even the first cast presentation event (from the gif above), that usually is quiet and full of nervousness among most seiyuu, was a bundle of fun.

Magi Kouyasai Maharagan event in 2013 – Kaji showing his original djin “Elizabethun”

In 2013, during the Magi Kouyasai Maharagan event the impossible happened. On the same stage were Kaji, OnoD, Sakurai, Kensho, Fukuyama and Kimura. The event is still regarded as one of the most hilarious ever, with all cast acting like they were on a sugar high.

Kaji always manages to light up the stage with his personality and, at the same time, he’s a friend magnet in the seiyuu business.

With this rather long overview of Kaji‘s successful career, we complete yet another Seiyuu Digest. See you next month!

 

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8 responses to “Seiyuu Digest #34 – Yuki Kaji

  1. Thank you so much!! Can’t believe I didn’t see this earlier, I’ve been waiting for this xD
    P.S. He’s slimmed down so much recently cause he picked up kick-boxing and gym… So he’s gonna make an even better cover boy than ever HAHA

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    • You’re welcome!! Glad you like it! Oh, I did notice Kaji is incredibly slim right now but I didn’t know it was from kick-boxing… But I agree, he’s going to be a better cover boy 🙂

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      • Yeppp!! He mentioned it in his radio (≧∀≦) that he’s always wanted to try out some sort of martial arts because he wants to understand his ‘fighting characters’ a bit more. He’s also been cutting down on dinner/supper, thanks to his realisation that “I didn’t actually need this much calories just to sleep” HAHAHA I know some of his fans that are also starting to diet for dinner after hearing that lolll I should stop my ranting here XDDD

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        • Unfortunately, I haven’t been up to speed with what Kaji is doing right now but taking up some martial arts is a good thing. He looks healthier right now. It’s funny though that his fans are following his healthy habits 🙂

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          • That’s absolutely understandable 😀 I mean, it’s already amazing how you guys are able to make such detailed digests for so many different seiyuus! Thank you so much, it’s been really helpful!! (*cough* especially for people like me who’s too fixated on just one seiyuu and can hardly make time for others…) Just reading your digests makes me feel a lot more knowledgeable! :))))

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          • Thanks! We put in a lot of work on each piece so that everyone can get to know more about their favorite seiyuu! That was one of the reasons why we created the Seiyuu Digest corner. And I should thank you for spending the time to give us more information – that we were completely unaware of – and visiting our website! Thank you 🙂

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  2. Thank you sooo much! I was so excited to receive a notification that you wrote about Yuki Kaji! I’m really, really, really happy right now. Thank you~

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