Seiyuu Digest #39 – Soma Saito

A rocker at heart, bookworm and passionate seiyuu, Saito has risen from the unknown kid back in 2013, into the man media, fans and music specialists are starting to rave about.

Still trailing carefully in the seiyuu business, Saito has been steadily growing in popularity and getting more, deserved exposure in the past 4 years. We take a look at the career of one of the hottest rising stars in the seiyuu and music businesses, Soma Saito.

Soma Saito
KANJI 斉藤壮馬
BORN April 22, 1991
OCCUPATION seiyuu, singer, TV show MC
HEIGHT 169,6 cm

Soma Saito was born on April 22, 1991 in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. He’s the oldest of three siblings. He’s got two younger sisters whom he mentions he didn’t get along with when he was younger, but now they are all on good terms.

When  Saito debuted as a seiyuu, he decided to change his family name’s kanji from 齊藤 to 斉藤 because the kanji 齊 was considered too difficult to understand, both its meaning and reading. Even though he changed the kanji for professional purposes. Both names are read in the same way, Saito.

Seiyuu

When Saito was in Junior High, he didn’t quite adapt well to the school he was attending, ending up missing school for a long period of time. During that time, he stayed at home watching anime, reading manga and novels. Anime and manga left a spark in him towards being a seiyuu, at the same time, novels left in him his passion for literature.

Even though he missed school, he ended up graduating from Oshihara Junior High, then enrolled at Yamanashi Prefectural Kofu Nishi High School.

Saito was dreaming about being a seiyuu, and his parents didn’t seem to object to his idea of becoming one. He mentions that his parents said that if he wanted to embrace this career, he’d have to shoulder everything about it, failure, successes and expenses related to it (mainly attending seiyuu, dance, acting and variety skills lessons like every other aspiring seiyuu).

He signed up for 2008’s 81 Produce audition as soon as he heard there was going to held an audition in that year. Known as one of the toughest and pickiest seiyuu agencies, especially when only the winner of those auditions can get signed by the agency (other agencies tend to accept the top 3), 81 Produce was the house for the incredibly talented seiyuu Takahiro Sakurai (now with INTENTION), Tetsuya Kakihara (now with Zynchro), Miki Shinichiro, Wataru Hatano and the rookie, Takuya Eguchi. The reason as to why he chose 81 Produce as the company to audition is unknown.

Soma Saito (17) in 2008 – Winner of 81 Produce’s audition

For the 2008’s edition, a total of 1,035 people participated. Only 33 went to the final audition to decide who would win and stay under the talent agency. A teenager coming from Yamanashi and going by the name Soma Saito won the 81 Produce’s yearly 81 Audition in 2008. In the judge panel were veteran seiyuu Tessho Genda as well as Tetsuya Kakihara.

After winning 81 Produce‘s audition, and now undertaking seiyuu classes, Saito participated in 33rd National High School Comprehensive Cultural Festival in 2009 – during his high school senior year -, ending up winning the Jury Special Award in the reading section.

Excerpt of article from Yamanashi Prefectural Kofu Nishi High School’s newspaper in 2009

That was yet another small step on his road towards being a seiyuu. Winning 81 Produce‘s audition and an award at a national recitation competition were just small steps towards his dream of being a seiyuu. Now, he had to develop a solid foundation and improve his skills in order to enter the seiyuu business and thrive.

2010 – 2014

Debut

Soma Saito’s official 81 Produce debut photo (2010 – 19 years old)

After training at 81 Produce’s Actors Studio for two years, Saito made his official debut as a seiyuu.

But looking at his repertoire, it’s rather confusing as to why there’s not a single role in 2010 and 2012. Well, that’s not strange nor confusing if you know the circumstances behind it.

Why was everything erratic about his career up until 2014?

Long story, short: he moved to Tokyo in 2010 because he got accepted into university, due to that he was working at two different places to pay for his living expenses. Juggling studies with work and a career as a seiyuu didn’t seem to work at the time for him so one of those had to stay on hold. Saito chose to pursue his studies over his seiyuu career up until he entered his senior year.

Saito was accepted in one of the most exclusive and respected universities in Japan, Waseda University. The private university is known for having 7 Japanese prime ministers as their alumni as well as several well known sportsmen, and it is ranked as one of the best universities in Japan. Saito graduated in 2014. He mentioned on an interview that he ranked among the best students in that year in his major, Literature.

This period of time – 2010 to 2014 – is perfect for everyone to understand how difficult it is to strive and thrive if you want to be a seiyuu and still make sure that if anything goes wrong, you have a safeguard, namely a degree in something.

Winning an audition and being hired to work under a seiyuu talent agency doesn’t mean you’re going to be famous, that is a given. It also doesn’t mean that work will come looking for that aspiring or rookie seiyuu. A rookie seiyuu has to earn it.

For Saito, winning 81 Produce‘s audition and being accepted into the talent agency were major steps towards being a seiyuu, but if he wanted to leave a mark in the seiyuu business, he knew he had to work a whole lot. A debut was a positive step towards it. However, at that time, he was juggling too much – studies, part-time, seiyuu classes and seiyuu work – all while trying to persue his passions.

Even it seems crazy, Saito chose his studies over his seiyuu career when everyone would easily say that it was the perfect time for him to make the best and most out of his debut. His career needed to flourish yet he was determined to complete his degree, only later completely devoting himself to being a seiyuu.

Soma Saito in 2013

That decision makes him a rare case in the seiyuu business. It’s not often that you find an aspiring seiyuu graduating from high school and juggling so much in order to persue his passions – various in Saito‘s case. Attend college, seiyuu school, work part-time in two jobs (he was working part-time as a bartender to pay for his living expenses and college tuition), study, practice singing alone –  because singing, now, more than ever, is a skill required for a seiyuu that aims to be popular -, debuting in the process, accept and perform several jobs as a seiyuu leaves little to no time to rest, nevermind sleep.

Saito in 2013 for AT-X special summer greetings

He was doing more than the average seiyuu would do. Hence early in 2010, he came to the realization that it was impossible to balance all those things and be productive in all of them at the same time. Deciding to focus on his studies, putting his seiyuu career on hiatus twice (2010 and 2012) is something that a rookie doesn’t dare doing because it’s hard to catch up and stay relevant in the business if you have little to no work during long periods of time.

During this 4 year span, Saito had a mix of secondary and minor roles on Sengoku☆Paradise Kiwami (2011), Pretty Rhythm · Aurora Dream (2011), Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy (2013), Kill la Kill (2013), Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince (2013), Servant × Service (2013), Tokyo Ravens (2013), Non Non Biyori (2013), Pretty rhythm · Rainbow Live (2013), Non Non Biyori (2013), Pokemon Best Wishes! Season 2: Decolora Adventure (2013), My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (2013) and Nijiiro☆Prism Girl (2013).

2014 – 2016

Ready to put his name on the map

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Saito decided on his senior year in college to gradually return to the seiyuu business. To make sure that he still got what it takes to be a seiyuu, he attended some extra classes at 81 Produce ACTORS studio, even appearing later in a promotional video for that school. Saito returned from hiatus with two important roles that would help shape his career: Tadashi Yamaguchi in Haikyuu (2013) and Twelve in Terror in Resonance (2014).

Tadashi Yamaguchi is part of the main cast in Haikyuu, although he doesn’t get that much spotlight in comparison with the leading duo. However, Yamaguchi was an instant favorite among the fans of the series. He was pivotal in some instances of the anime series, providing a good insight on the other side of Tsukishima Kei as well as his useful role as a volleyball player. Saito jokingly claimed during a radio show that due to this role (and the one in the otome game “Possession Magenta”), offers to play other roles that involved shouting and/or acting as a tsundere started coming his way.

On the opposite side is his main role in the psychological thriller, Terror in Resonance. Regarded as one of the best anime of that season and year, Terror in Resonance impressed with its serious tone and realistic acting – instead of the usual hyped anime kind of acting. Shinnichiro Watanabe, legendary anime producer behind critically acclaimed classic anime such as Cowboy Bebop and Kids on the Slope, was helming the project. For Watanabe’s projects he looks for talent or a certain feel instead of the popularity of the seiyuu he casts. With that being said, Saito, still unknown to a wide majority of anime fans, managed to capture Twelve‘s essence during the audition. scoring this role thanks to his realistic and emotional acting skills. It was the perfect opportunity to impress.

On a first look, Twelve might seem like a jokester but the reality is that he has a contrasting violent and ruthless side. Throughout the series, it’s easy to understand that he’s a reliable friend with a genius mind and an interesting sense of justice. His interactions with Nine as well as other characters of the series are important to shape the character, showing a broader range of emotions from him. Saito‘s performance was certainly one to remember – as it was the other main cast’s performances -. Realism and emotion were required to make the world of Terror in Resonance come to life and Saito was well aware of that – as he later mentioned on a special interview included in one of the DVDs of the series -, this was not a simple anime, this was an anime that felt like a live action movie or  a TV series and the characters were complex, demanding realistic acting. It pulled you in with its believable and relatable storyline and characters. Twelve is quite possibly one of the best performances in Saito‘s repertoire. The broad range of emotions, his seriousness and top acting skills managed to impress a lot of people at that time – and still do.

These two roles opened the door for what would be Saito‘s first ever leading roles.

First leading roles

Tatsumi in Akame ga Kill!

The first leading role arrived in 2014. Saito was announced as the lead actor in Akame ga Kill!, in short a shounen anime focused on a band of assassins on a quest to overthrow a corrupt prime minister. Tatsumi sets out on a journey to make a name for himself as well as earn money for his village, accepting all kinds of jobs in order to accomplish his objective. Saito had in his hands a character that was kindhearted but, if prompted, also violent. Although the anime was nowhere near as popular as the manga actually is, it was still a good outlet for him to prove that there’s more to his voice and talent than what people knew him for in Haikyuu and Terror in Resonance.

Adlet Mayer in Rokka no Yusha

A year later, during the summer season and after winning his “Best Newcomer” award at the 9th Seiyuu Awards, Saito returned with a leading role on yet another shounen anime. Rokka no Yusha (2015), fantasy shounen anime, focused on six heroes chosen by the Goddess of Fate in order to stop the Demon God when it revives. Out of all the main roles Saito has got in his career, this character easily fits as one of the most interesting. Adlet is dubbed stupid by some of the characters in the series but that doesn’t stop him from finding ways to have fights within his grasp – and weak abilities -, all of that using his craftiness. Contrary to his role in Akame ga Kill!, Adlet is nowhere close being a powerful character, as a matter of fact, he’s one of the weakest, which strays away from the shounen “overpowering main character” cliché. The anime ended up being well received in Japan as well as overseas due to its suspense filled plot as well as interesting characters.

Swallow Cratsvalley in Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Seneki

Also in the same year, anime season and following the same adventure/shounen pattern was his role as Swallow Cratsvalley in Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Seneki (2015). Despite its rather promissing plot, cast and writers helming the project, this anime was a complete disaster. Swallow proved to be a weak, redundant hero stuck in a story that lacked a good pace, interesting set of characters and a decent plot. The bad reputation this anime got was enough to make Saito go unnoticed during that whole season as very few people actually bothered to watch this anime.

Rem Kaginuki in Dance with Devils

A season later and there was yet another leading role in Saito‘s ranks: Rem Kaginuki in musical/fantasy/romance anime Dance With Devils (2015). The anime although flawed had a different dynamic and flare than any previous Rejet project that had been greenlit for anime or OVA. There’s still the traditional plot of the evil guys looking for something rare that the main female character either possesses or is, a war is breaking or ongoing and there’s also a group of bishounens set to attack her by all means necessary, and we have that character that sets itself apart from that group and takes the lead in the romance department and wants to protect her. Almost all reverse harem clichés: checked.

What made this anime standout – even if just a little bit – was the fact that Rejet handled the mixing of supernatural/romance anime with a musical concept in an interesting way. The show was praised during 2015’s Fall season for this exact fact. Unfortunately, Rem might be the leading character but there’s little to no character development besides the character’s feelings for the main character. For those that watched the anime that was a lackluster point. However, for those that played the game, that plot hole was somehow filled.

Now let’s take a look into some noteworthy secondary roles during this 2 year span.

Kain in Kyoukai no Rinne

With an oldschool flare, the episodic comedy, slice-of-life anime Kyoukai no Rinne premiered in 2015, spanning a total of 3 seasons (2015 – 2017). Saito voiced Kain, a shinigami clerk that reveals itself as more uncooperative than useful with the main character due to a certain event in the past. This comedic role proved to be a nice change of pace from both his serious roles and the generic shounen ones he’d been getting up until then. The anime might have not sparked interest in many people due to its simplistic, episodic formula with 90’s inspired art, but it was a different addition to Saito‘s repertoire, necessary to display that he can also pull off a different set of roles, in this case comedic ones.

Taiyou Mukai in Diamond no Ace

Teito High School’s Taiyou Mukai in Diamond no Ace (2015) is yet another noteworthy mention. The confident pitcher proved to be a problem to deal with due to his technique, Saito‘s performance helped his not so likeable personality come to life incredibly well.

Soma Saito in 2015

Between 2014 and 2015 he had secondary roles in Aldnoah Zero (2014), Sidonia no Kishi (2014), Bakumatsu Rock (2014), Future Card Buddy Fight (2014 – 2017), Kaitou Joker (2014), Tribe Cool Crew (2014), Nourin (2014), Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (2014), 12-sai. (2014), Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note (2015) and Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (2015).

To add to the list he had several supporting roles in Wizard Barristers (2014), Kamigami no Asobi (2014), SUPER SONICO THE ANIMATION (2014), Pokemon XY (2014), Yowamushi Pedal (2014), Lady Jewelpet (2014),  Magi: Sinbad no Bouken (2014), Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (2015 – 2017), Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (2015), Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (2015), Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (2015), Ongaku Shoujo (2015) and Plastic Memories (2015).

2016

Saito in 2016 (from SolidS’ photobook)

2016 was an eventful year with an almost complete balance between the amount of secondary and leading roles for Saito.

He had roles across various anime genres, ranging from seinen to shounen, shoujo, adventure, mecha, slice of life and more.

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Some of the anime he was casted in were somehow popular such as Ajin (as Takeshi Kotobuki), D.Gray-man HALLOW (as Tokusa), Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu (as Jimsa), Magi: Sinbad no Bouken (as Vittel), PERSONA5 the Animation -THE DAY BREAKERS- (as Naoya Makigami) and Touken Ranbu Hanamaru (as Tsurumaru Kuninaga). These roles stood out from the rest during this year, with Saito showcasing improved skills and an impressive range.

As balanced as the amount of leading and secondary roles during this year was, the reality is that Saito‘s secondary roles were more memorable than his leading roles. One would think that with him as a lead actor in 6 different anime in 2016, some would stand out and perhaps shoot him to fame. The reality was quite different though. Most of the anime he was casted in to be the lead actor had flawed premises, confusing plots, uninteresting characters and/or lacked anything trully engaging and memorable that would lead to positive viewer reviews.

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Few people remember Saito‘s leading roles in Qualidea Code (as Ichiya Suzaku), Haruchika (as Haruta Kamijou), Bubuki Buranki (as Hiiragi Nono), Hagane Orchestra (as Chris), Divine Gate (as Aoto) and 12-sai.: Chicchana Mune no Tokimeki second season (as Yuuto Takao). 

Saito was initially the voice of Yuno in Black Clover. He voiced Yuno in 2016 for a special episode. He was later replaced by Nobunaga Shimazaki in 2017 when an anime adaptation was greenlit.

Among the various secondary roles he scored in 2016, his roles as Corteo in 91 Days and Daichi Saito in WWW.WORKING!! also stood out. 91 Days had a dark, serious tone, bringing a story of revenge and mafia to the table. Corteo was a pivotal character in the series despite only being a secondary one. On the complete opposite of the spectrum is WWW.WORKING!!, comedy, slice-of-life anime. Saito voiced Daichi Saito, a traumatized bodyguard that ends up working at Wagnaria.

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Other secondary roles include: Nobuhiro Yoshisada in Battery, Oogi Mitsuteru in Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu, Yukinojou Tachibana in KING OF PRISM and Sei Yuzuriha in Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince Movie: Kakusei no Idenshi.

The fright: Tonsil issues

Soma Saito in 2016

On September 2016, Saito was met with one of the things that seiyuu most worry about: throat or tonsil issues. He could have not disclosed what happened after all – most seiyuu like to keep the details private – but he did disclose them on Voice Newtype No.64, issue in which he was not only the cover boy but also the main focus of the whole issue. He mentioned that he realized his tonsil was swollen while recording for a BL CD. Because of that and the pain associated to it, he went to the hospital for a checkup. He mentioned hearing the doctors talking behind doors while he was in the waiting room and what was being said frightened him. The doctors were saying his condition wasn’t normal and he started to fear the worst – to have to leave the seiyuu business.

Thankfully, the reason as to why his tonsil had swollen was nothing too serious or that demanded him to leave the seiyuu business. Apparently he didn’t have enough flow of saliva. By the doctor’s initial diagnosis he needed one week of recuperation at home. After recovering, Saito was already back with multiple schedules under his belt.

2017 –

The Rising Star

Saito in 2017 for Seiyuu Junon

Saito‘s popularity skyrocketed in 2017.

Whether it was due to the various 2.5D idol projects he’s a part of, or his debut as a solo artist that gathered the attention of several media outlets that were far from taking an interest in covering seiyuu music releases besides the really popular ones – i.e. Mamoru Miyano, Shouta Aoi, OLDCODEX and GRANRODEO -, or even the media that started to label him as a “man who is way too beautiful“, making people more interested in his looks and, of course, in his work, 2017 was the year in which Saito finally started to see his popularity grow exponentially with his efforts finally starting to pay off.

With more leading roles coming his way at the same time that he tried to expand his career to other areas, all eyes started to focus on him. One could say that 2017 was a satisfactory year for him however, the tendency for some of his leading roles being lackluster or in lackluster series was still there to hinder a bit his plans to be recognized and popular in the seiyuu business.

The first couple of months in 2017 and some isolated events during the year weren’t that kind to Saito, at least when it came to anime.

Anime such as Fuuka (as Makoto Mikasa) and Hand Shakers (as Tazuna Takatsuki) are among the worst released in the past year. Fuuka was immediately bashed due to its overly ridiculous and predictable plot, on the other hand, Hand Shakers was also criticized for not sticking to its plot/lore. Plot holes, a rather incestuous relationship, among other issues lead to poor reviews. Even though there were poor reviews for both anime series, Saito‘s acting was still commended in both cases.

Still in the middle of this rough patch in his repertoire, we find his role in DYNAMIC CHORD as Soutarou Haruna. The anime was met with a lot of criticism due to lazy animation, lack of plot – and if there was one, it was far from being related to the original stories for each band. Soutarou wasn’t nowhere near being a main character and even as a secondary character, he felt more like an extra. Lack of lines and exposure made this character basically invisible to the fans.

Soma Saito in 2017

If that wasn’t enough, the year closed with the return of Dance with Devils (with a special movie). Saito reprised his role as Rem Kaginuki, yet his role started to feel less like a leading role and more like a secondary one. As most people that have watched the anime might have noticed, the adaptation focused mainly on Rem‘s route, yet it didn’t disclose anything regarding the character besides its exterior and a glimpse of the character’s true nature. That issue was somehow solved with the games – from which the movie Dance with Devils-Fortuna- was based on to wrap up each route -, however, according to those that attended the movie screenings, Rem‘s side of the story in Fortuna was sloppily worked as opposed to some secondary characters that received lead character treatment, which bewildered his fans. Many voiced their dissatisfaction at the treatment Rejet gave to Rem‘s story, making it sound more like he was voicing a secondary character instead of the main one. Some worried that Saito had actually prepared himself in vain to reprise all scenes – or at least the main ones according to the game -, only to end up having most of those cut from the movie’s final recording.

Soma Saito in 2017

Aside from these hiccups, Saito‘s 2017 had some interesting roles across the board. Glenn Radars in Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records, Hermes in Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series, Casshern in Infini-T Force, Tsurumaru Kuninaga in Katsugeki Touken Ranbu and Tsubasa Okui in TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION.

Glenn Radars in Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records

Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records was adapted from a light novel, airing during the Spring season. Saito voiced Glenn Radars, a substitute teacher that despite his lazy vibe, he’s, in fact, a reliable magic teacher and fighter.

Hermes in Kino no Tabi

The role as Hermes in Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series caught some people off guard. Saito was in charge of voicing a motorcycle, one that complains a lot to boot. The series is commended on its stunning and unique visuals as well as its unsual concept.

Casshern in Infini-T Force

For those fans of oldschool anime, the characters in Infini-T Force are well known to them. Casshern had its debut in anime in 1973. In 2017, a CGI anime series featuring several popular oldschool heroes was greenlit. Saito was announced as the voice actor for Casshern, one of the most popular characters in this series.

Tsurumaru Kuninaga in Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Already a well known and loved character in the Touken Ranbu franchise, Tsurumaru Kuninaga was one of the leading characters in Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, anime series that premiered in July, 2017. Completely different in tone in comparison with its predecessor, “Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru“, Katsugeki introduced the fans to an heavy action oriented plot. Saito‘s performance as Tsurumaru exceeded everyone’s expectations, standing out from the rest of the cast with a cool air and poise.

Tsubasa Okui in TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION

The Fall season kicked off and with it was Saito‘s role as Tsubasa Okui in TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION brought to the spotlight. Tsubasa is part of SolidS‘, quartet focused on a mature and elecrifying sound. Due to the fact that the anime series focused more on the slice-of-life aspects for its plot/concept/pacing, fans could understand little about Tsubasa’s background or even about SolidS‘ formation, yet, Tsubasa more than often served as a comic relief character (on SolidS’ side), showing a little bit of his personality.

Other credits in anime in 2017 include: Vatican Kiseki Chousakan (Lauren Di Luca), Jigoku Shoujo, Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta, Seikaisuru Kado, Warau Salesman NewSword Oratoria: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side, GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation and Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni.

Soma Saito in 2017 (photo by Kiki-voice)

2018 kicked off rather quietly with Saito scoring 4 roles on this Winter season.

Saito is currently voicing Luze Selen El Philizar in the romance/comedy anime Dame x Prince Anime Caravan, Yuu Mizuno in the slice-of-life Sanrio Danshi, Tenn Kujo in the anime adapation of the popular rhythm game IDOLiSH7 and reprised his roles as Namazuo Toushirou as well as Tsurumaru Kuninaga in the new installment of Touken Ranbu, Zoku Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru.

Saito will return to reprise his role as Casshern in the theatrical anime Infini-T Force.

In 2017 the PS4 game “Caligula” was greenlit for anime. The anime is scheduled to premiere in 2018. He will reprise his role as IkeP.

For the upcoming Spring season, he already has one role confirmed in the upcoming season of the sports anime Inazuma Eleven: Ares no Tenbin (as Kirina Hiura).

It was also announced that Ensemble Stars! was greenlit for anime adaptation. The scheduled date is still not confirmed so it’s impossible to pinpoint if it’ll premiere in 2018 or only in 2019. He will reprise his roles as the twins Aoi Hinata and Yuta Hinata.

2018 is already looking like an interesting year for him, with several leading roles, some of those in insanely popular franchises – e.g. IDOLiSH7 and Touken Ranbu -. This might be the year in which he further increases his popularity and visibility in the seiyuu business, provided that the perfect catalyst for that reaches or is within his grasp.

Awards

9th Seiyuu Awards in 2015

His hard work was starting to be recognized. In 2015, at the 9th Seiyuu Awards, Saito won the coveted “Rookie/Newcomer” award. Given that he had debuted in 2010, 2015 was the last year he was eligible to win this award (awarded to seiyuu that debuted in past 5 years). His roles as Tadashi Yamaguchi in Haikyuu and Twelve in Terror in Resonance left a deep impression in the judges. Alongside him in that category were Ryota Osaka and Natsuki Hanae. This award put Saito on the watchlist for most anime producers, earning him more roles than usual up until then.

Radio

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Since he was in high-school, Saito has delved into hosting radio shows. His experience in the area instantly shows whenever he has radio work. Laidback, with good sense of pacing and filled with sassiness, Saito often makes the radio shows he’s in, an entertaining listen.

Some of the radio shows he’s worked in include: Nishiyama Koutaro & Saito Soma Happy Radio (2013), Eguchi Takuya and Saito Soma Genji Monogatari’s Happy Radio! (2014 – 2015), Future Radio Buddy Fight (2014 – 2016), MAN TWO MONTH RADIO Saito Soma’s SOmaniac! (2015), Dance with Devils Shirokuen Gakuen The Third Broadcasting Room (2015 – 2016), Haruchika~Haruta and Chika’s let’s radio ~ (2015 – 2016), Monthly New · Men’s Communications August Issue ~ Monthly · Saito Soma (2015), Radio Divine Gate (2015 – 2016), Future Radio Buddy Fight SSS (2016 -), Nippon Reading Academy (2013 – 2016), 91 Days WEB radio “9 minutes 10 seconds radio” (2016) and Saito Soma・Ishikawa Kaito’s Damepuri RADIO (2018 -).

In 2016, Saito started to host his radio show “Fantasy Science, Outrageous Theory!” Saito is known for his love for the occult, conspiracy theories and urban legends and this was the perfect opportunity for him to share a bit of his knowledge. Wataru Hatano, his senpai from 81 Produce, joined him on this special radio show, sharing the same love for those themes as his junior. The show airs monthly on Nico Nico.

Recently Saito and Kaito Ishikawa started hosting “Saito Soma・Ishikawa Kaito’s Damepuri RADIO“, radio show that is as chaotic, random and fun as the anime series actually is. This radio show was one of the most anticipated at the start of 2018 due to the fact that not only both are popular, but also because it’s the first time the well known close friends are hosting a radio show together.

Drama CDs

When it comes to drama CDs, he is not the most active seiyuu but he’s starting to rack up more roles since 2015.

He’s got several BL as well as otome CDs under his belt but not enough to say that his focus is mainly on this area of the seiyuu business.

Saito Soma in 2017 (Recording for Oresama Residence drama CD)

He tends to work often with Otomate Records and Rejet.

Dance With Devils, CRAZY CIRCUSDear VocalistPOSSESSION MAGENTAMajestical cr[L]own, Oresama ResidenceGenji Monogatari, MofudollinJewelry Kiss, DOLLSCollarxMaliceMidnight Jiang Shis, Dynamic Chord are just some of the franchises he’s recorded drama CDs for. The list is clearly longer for both otome and BL CDs.

Games

Saito in 2015

When it comes to games, Saito‘s credits exceed 65. This is the only area in which he’s been consistently active since his debut in 2010. His first ever roles were actually on videogames. Although he’s branched out to several game genres such as RPG, otome, action and rhythm, Saito is more commonly found voicing characters on otome driven games.

He’s got roles in games such as: SANGOKU CHAOS ~ Mikuni CHAOS ~ (2010), Star project (2011), Grand Blue Fantasy (2014), DYNAMIC CHORD feat.Liar-S (2015), DAME × PRINCE (2015), Future Card Buddy Fight Friendly Explosive Fight! (2015), Cafe Cuillere (2015), POSSESSION MAGENTA (2015), Doraemon Nobita’s Eternal Space Book (2015), Tokyo Otome Restaurant (2015), Touken Ranbu  (2015), LORD of VERMILION ARENA (2015), Dance with Devils (2016), Collar x Malice (2016), Caligula (2016), Sanrio Danshi (2016), Divine Gate (2016), World of Final Fantasy (2016), Ayakashi Musubi  (2017), CARAVAN STORIES (2017), KING OF PRISM Prism Rush! LIVE (2017), Knight Blood (2017), IDOLiSH7 Twelve Fantasia (2018), Fortissimo (2018) and Caligula Overdose (2018).

Rhythm games have been a constant in his repertoire since 2015, most of them are now incredibly popular. I ★ Chu (as Tatsumi Madarao), TSUKIPARA (as Tsubasa Okui), IDOLiSH7 (as Tenn Kujo), Ensemble Stars! (as the Hinata twins), Yumeiro Cast (as Takuma Haiba) and KING OF PRISM (as Yukinojo Tachibana).

Tenn Kujo

One of Saito‘s most iconic game roles is Tenn Kujo in IDOLiSH7 (2015). Tenn Kujo is TRIGGER‘s center and main vocal, a perfectionist at heart that, despite his cold and poised looks, is just sassy, likeable and with an immense love for his job, group mates and brother. Tenn is often ranked as the fan favorite character in the franchise.

If we’re talking about popular characters in Saito’s repertoire Tsurumaru Kuninaga has to be mentioned.

Among the vast Touken Ranbu (the game) cast that has over 30 seiyuu, Tsurumaru quickly earned a big fanbase. The character has been repeatedly voted as a fan favorite in the franchise and it is often found on year-end polls for “favorite characters”.

Some argue that Saito‘s popularity boost is due to this character’s impressive and vast fanbase.

Narration/Live reading/Acting

Saito hasn’t gotten much opportunity to do narration for TV shows or even dub foreign movies (he’s only got three credits on this department), however, since 2016, he’s been showing his skills in the area.

Being the fixed narrator for Takuya Eguchi and Koutaro Nishiyama‘s “Oreiya”, show that has been airing on TOKYO MX since 2016, Saito put not only his narration skills to test but made a great use of the opportunity to showcase what a sassy narrator with a fancy for making fun of others is like behind the mic. Since 2016 he’s been narrating Planetarium “Seasons ~ Stars falling in the water ~”.

He’s also done some work in the audiobook market. So far he has narrated 5 books: “Kirishima, I quit club activities“, “Sanada Tsuyoshi“, “Deltora Quest“, “Tenchi Shimbun” and “Yamanashi“.

Mentioned by Saito as one of his favorite things to do in the seiyuu business, live reading is something that he hasn’t done much since his debut. Recently, in 2017, he started to embrace more live reading plays. He wrote on his blog that those are the ones that remind him of those days when he wanted to be a seiyuu. Recitation Play TARO (2017), Nippon Reading Academy (2013 – 2016), Reading play Cinderella trial ~ love is red poison ~Midsummer recitation festival!, are just some of the live reading events he’s participated in.

Recitation play Taro in 2017

Acting is far from being his primary or even secondary focus but he’s done some acting work before. Alongside other 81 Produce’s talents, Saito appeared on one of Wataru Hatano‘s music videos as an extra.

In 2017, Saito was announced as part of the guest cast of BADASS PSY-KICKS, stage play created and performed by fellow seiyuu and friend, Subaru Kimura‘s theatre troupe. The play premieres in February, 2018.

Music

If there’s one thing Saito‘s fans know is that he’s extremely well versed as a singer, especially when you take into account that he never attended singing classes like most seiyuu do nowadays.

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His low, high and mid-tones are well controled and polished, he can rap, do screamo, add some falsettos and a little bit of vibrato if required. He can be unrecognizable in some songs, and he adapts well to almost every music genre. From what we can ascertain, taking into account all the reviews we’ve made of projects of his or in which he’s a part of, he’s a well rounded singer that can adapt to almost every tone as his range is versatile, plus he still has a lot of untapped potential in himself.

A solo debut for the books

Fans had been anticipating this news for quite a while. Now that Saito was starting to be an on-demand seiyuu, it was the right time to make a solo debut. He debuted as a solo singer in June 2017 with the single “Fish Story“.

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He mentioned that he wanted to rebel “against today’s pop music”, presenting an eclectic and rich sound with three distinct tracks included in the release. The single ranked high on Oricon daily and earned him his first ever top 10 on Oricon Weekly (9th place).

Soma Saito “Fish Story” release event in June 2017

Not long after the first single’s release was announced, Sacra Music made yet another announcement: Saito was to return with a second single in September 2017, making the best use of the momentum he got with the first release as well as the hype surrounding him. “Yoake wa mada/Hikari Tatsu Ame” was going to be featured as the opening theme for Touken Ranbu, popular anime and game franchise in which Saito voiced Tsurumaru Kuninaga, one of the most popular characters in the franchise.

If his debut single ranked high on Oricon, this one ranked even higher in what was a mix of high music quality, newfound popularity, raving reviews, specialists’ praises and exposure to the masses that watched live the episodes of Touken Ranbu without skipping the high tension intro credits. The results were impressive. Saito scored another top 10 on Oricon (7th place on Oricon Weekly) with “Yoake wa mada/Hikari Tatsu Ame“, breaking every record from his debut and even setting one for all solo male seiyuu. Saito is the first ever seiyuu to have his first two releases featured on Oricon Weekly within top 10. He proved all doubters wrong with this impactful, record-setting rookie year as a solo artist.

SolidS

SolidS started out from songs and a drama CD, then a photo album, live events, culminating on the anime adaptation that aired during 2017’s Fall season. This group founded in 2015 has grown and evolved over the years.

As a group, SolidS have suffered all kinds of changes. The group we now listen to isn’t the same one that debuted back in 2015. Their sound was completely revamped and suffered multiple changes over the years to what it is right now. For those that haven’t been following the group since their debut, the first releases will sound out-of-place or even over the top ridiculous compared with the music they now release. That is because Tsukipro and John Zeroness, the unit’s composer/producer, were still trying to figure out what would fit the unit and make us say “this sounds just like a typical SolidS song!“.

SolidS live at S.Q.P -SQ PARTY 2017 SUMMER-

SolidS embraced completely 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 characteristical of this group. 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 only the only change this unit has suffered.

Saito joined the group with passeable singing skills, however, his growth throughout the years can be easily understandable if one listens to the debut release from SolidS and, for example, “Burny!!” or “Oka Ranman“. He improved his singing skills in the span of 2 years, evolving from the consistent role singer that could help the group sound leveled and in tune, to the singer he is today, in charge of high notes, most of the times overshadowing the powervocalist Natsuki Hanae and even displaying rapping skills on par with Takuya Eguchi‘s iconic ones. He evolved from a role singer, someone that could be relied on if they needed extra support to make up for Yuichiro Umehara‘s weak vocals (now are a thing of the past), into quite possibly the most complete singer within the group.

TRIGGER

trigger

Since 2015, Saito is, alongside Wataru Hatano and Takuya Sato, part of TRIGGER, unit from the IDOLiSH7 franchise. Considered by many as one of the most complete 2.5D groups currently in the business, this unit’s teamwork is something that impresses on record – on a live context fans will have to way to see their first ever live performance this summer. In a group in which strong bass vocals are common, Saito’s tenor vocals are the spice needed for this unit to standout in the middle of a crowded 2.5D idol market.

Ever since their debut, TRIGGER have released a couple of singles the top charting album “REGALITY“, released back in 2017 and currently the holder of the “Highest Ranking album on Oricon by a seiyuu/2.5D unit” title. This feat was all over the news in Japan (Oricon, Animate Times and more) as well as overseas, celebrating a rare feat in the seiyuu business, a #1 on Oricon Weekly.

2Wink

2wink

2wink are part of the Ensemble Stars!‘s universe since the game’s release in 2015. Saito is in charge of voicing the Hinata twins. When it comes to the performances, he was given by the producers the option of voicing and singing as both twins with just one tone – to make it easier for him to perform -, or have a distinct tone for each of the twins, hence changing completely how the duo sounds. Saito chose the later. Aoi and Yuta sound completely different and on record, the performances are distinct and nothing alike what he has been doing in other 2.5D idol projects.

2wink‘s songs are known to being upbeat and playful, most of them resorting to heavy synth based instrumentals. Since 2015, the unit has released 3 singles part of the Ensemble Stars! unit song CD series.

MEDICODE

Saito in 2015 for MEDICODE’s photoshoot

This is the iconic moment when everyone got to listen to Saito rolling his R’s or even showcasing his screamo skills. MEDICODE, visual-kei band part of the FlyMe project, collaboration between seiyuu and visual-kei artists, might haven’t been the most buzzworthy project with him helming it, but it sure is a pearl. The band debuted in 2015 with “CARMA“, song that right from the bat left everyone in awe. It was Saito performing a visual-kei rock song – a first time. And he was rolling his R’s, a bit like how the gazettE’s Ruki does (that Kansai quirk), to top it all, he was doing screamo parts. All of this was unexpected but it was strangely satisfying and impressive for everyone that had the time to check their first release. The unit went on hiatus on the same year they debuted and only made a comeback later in 2017 with the second single “GABBY“.

PENTACLE★

Created with the main cast of Dance With DevilsSoma Saito, Wataru Hatano, Subaru Kimura, Kondo Takashi and Daisuke Hirakawa – and recently Tatsuhisa Suzuki -, PENTACLE★ released several singles featured in the anime series as well as the games. So far the unit released “Mademo★iselle“, “覚醒のAir starring PENTACLE★” and “BL(U)CK BASIS”. The unit’s new single “光れCAROL” is going to be released in March 2018.

Fling Posse

Hypnosis Mic Fling Posse promotional photo 2017

Rap crew part of the Hypnosis Mic large scale rap battle project. Saito is part of Fling Posse, crew representing Shibuya. As Phantom/Gentaro, Saito showcased his rapping skills – that have been showing for quite some time. He’s been doing rap parts for SolidS for quite some time and even impressed Shintaro Asanuma and his fans in the past with an unexpectedly good freestyle rap; in 2017 with Fling Posse we got to see more of his potential as a rapper. He performed “Scenario Liar”, song that had an introspective feel. It felt like listening to a story unfold through Saito‘s flowy and steady rapping.

The performance demanded rapping, rhythm, good pacing and, to top it all, good control over his high notes because the chorus sections were made for that. Although the song ended up being somewhat uneventful in comparison with the others on the release, this was the first proper taste fans got of Saito‘s rapping skills in an exclusive rap environment.

T-Backers

T-Backers is a seiyuu unit created by Saito and that includes Koutaro Nishiyama and Takuya Eguchi. The unit debuted in 2017 with the song “Kachofugetsu”, the official theme song for Saito‘s “Wagokoro o Kimi Ni”

Writing

If there’s something Saito enjoys just like being a seiyuu, watching Italian movies, drinking alcohol or reading, is writing.

Over the years he hasn’t stopped writing, although he’s never published a book. It is well known that when Saito was in high school, he wrote and submited a novel to a contest and ended up winning an award for it. He mentioned on his personal blog that the title of his novel had a rather confusing/advanced kanji reading which led to a funny as well as awkward event. The award’s announcer called him out to the stage to receive the award but the name of the book ended up being wrongly pronounced. Saito mentioned that it was incredibly embarrassing for him as he had to correct the announcer. At the same time, and before people would think that his writing talent or even the award had been something big and important, Saito mentioned that the cerimony was simple, in a small venue and the award hadn’t been anything special.

Saito Soma’s “At Wits’ End” promotional photo (2017)

After debuting as a seiyuu and getting his name on the map – his award at the 2015’s seiyuu awards might have been crucial for this – Saito started to write special feature columns for several seiyuu magazines. Saito Soma’s “At Wits’ End” on KIKI-VOICE.jp (online and physical), Saito Soma’s “Healthy, Cultural Bare-minimum Living” on Voice Newtype (physical only), Saito Soma’s “Books in the book” (斉藤壮馬「本の中の本」) published on Seiyuu Men are the three columns he’s currently writing.

Variety

Saito Soma no Wagokoro o Kimi ni (as MC)

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Saito Soma no Wagokoro o Kimi ni is his first ever TV show MC experience as well as his first own TV show. The announcement was made in July 2017 and the show started airing in September 2017. Natsuki Hanae, Yuichiro Umehara, Subaru Kimura, Kaito Ishikawa among other close friends of his guested on the show. The show’s pace and vibe is completely laidback, between visiting shrines, beer theme parks, bonsai museums and tasting local delicacies, this show is known for its slow pace and feel good vibe. Saito Soma no Wagokoro o Kimi ni is also house to T-Backers, seiyuu unit created by Saito and that includes Koutaro Nishiyama and Takuya Eguchi.

Oreya (as narrator/guest)

Oreiya

Since the show’s premiere in 2016, Saito is Oreya’s narrator (and even guested on the show), show hosted by fellow seiyuu, friends and 81 Produce talents, Takuya Eguchi and Koutaro Nishiyama.

Voice Academia (as guest episode 9 – 2013)

When Saito was starting to make his gradual return to the seiyuu business he guested on BS Fuji’s “Voice Academia“, television show focused on seiyuu.

Animemashite (as co-host)

In 2014, Saito co-hosted TV Tokyo’s Animemashite, show focused on the anime and seiyuu scenes, with fellow seiyuu Toshiki Masuda. The recording was split into two, with a part of each episode focusing on each seiyuu, their likes, ambitions and what was the catalyst for them to enter the business. The show’s concept allowed the seiyuu to interview each other and then interview other guests – that went there to promote their shows and/or music releases.

Tokyo Otome Restaurant (guest)

In 2015, Saito guested on Tokyo Otome Restaurant. The show based on the smartphone game (now discontinued) with the same name was hosted by fellow seiyuu Showtaro Morikubo and Natsuki Hanae. Guests would help out cooking a recipe with given ingredients – without any help at first (they could win hints on how to cook certain ingredients or techniques they needed or simply get more or different ingredients depending on clearing challenges). Saito guested on the show from April 1, 2015 to December 23, 2015.

Tsukipro Channel: Bar SolidS

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). Saito unveiled on this show his knowledge of alcoholic drinks from his days as bartender – even introducing “Sidecar” to his fellow SolidS members.

Tsukipro Channel: Cafe SolidS

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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 unveiled on the show that he used to have a rock band in middle school in which he played guitar and sang, and showed everyone his massive love for books.

Oha Star Super Live (regular guest)

From April 6, 2015 to April 1, 2016, Saito guested on kid’s show Oha Star Super Live as OHA Danchou Soma. The show counted at that time with other seiyuu on its regular and guest cast ranks. Among those names were Koichi Yamadera and Natsuki Hanae. Due to its nature, the show and Saito‘s role are the basis of several iconic memes. It was the first time that Saito was part of a television show’s regular guest cast.

Comic BAR RENTA! (guest episodes 3 and 4)

In 2017, Saito guested on Shuuta Morishima‘s Comic BAR RENTA!, show that airs on TOKYO MX. Following the premise of the show, the guest performs alongside the host a short part of a comic.

Random facts

Loves his job and does everything seriously

He is known for his extreme sense of responsability and seriousness towards every single role he’s casted in. All roles are important ones and he performs every single one of them as if they were leading roles. Saito is often praised for his professionalism and diligence. He’s known as the type of seiyuu that isn’t ashamed of doing BL work and proudly talks about it, he’s also the kind of seiyuu that won’t say “no” to a project as long as he can fit it on his schedule. But he’s also the type to vent his frustrations, even if undirectly, when he feels a work of his isn’t doing well or deserved a different treatment, e.g. Dance With Devils – Fortuna back in 2017 (Cool Voice vol.24).

Hobbies

His hobbies include reading, walking, singing, writing, watching movies – foreign, especially French and Italian that he mentioned he watches those with subs in Japanese instead of dubbed -, playing musical instruments (mainly guitar), cooking – he often lets his fans know about a new recipe he’s working on, ending up sharing the results on his personal blog. He often mentions the music or movies/series he’s into as well as gives suggestions to his fans based on his experiences. He’s known for being a curious person with lots of interests and pastimes.

Seldom goes to karaoke but when he goes…

On SOmaniac!, Saito received a mail from someone that had a friend that insisted in singing Bon Jovi songs whenever they went to karaoke. He was a bit surprised saying “That’s almost like my recordings for Akame ga Kill!, you’re always screaming!”. He mentioned that he, on the other side, always sings Maroon 5 and Sting’s songs if he goes to karaoke. On another episode of the radio show, the subject was brought to the table again. Saito mentioned that he seldom goes to karaoke because he’s got no free time and even whenever he has some, he prefers to go drink with his friends.

Social butterfly

Some of his known friends in the seiyuu industry include Kaito Ishikawa, Kensho Ono, Yuma Uchida, Natsuki Hanae, Koutaro Nishiyama, Tetsuya Kakihara, Takuya Eguchi, Subaru Kimura, Yuichiro Umehara, Kouki Uchiyama, Shuuta Morishima, Ryohei Kimura (he mentioned that they like the same movies and mystery books), Wataru Hatano, Takuya Sato, Taku Yashiro, Mark Ishii, Shouta Aoi, between many more. He’s incredibly close with his fellow SolidS’ members as well as close to everyone in TRIGGER. However, the most famous friendship is with Kaito Ishikawa.

Close friends with Kaito Ishikawa

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The two have been close friends since Terror in Resonance back in 2014. Ever since then, they have been more than often casted in the same anime and game projects, time and time again showcasing their incredible chemistry whenever there’s an opportunity. Their friendship is so tight to the point that Ishikawa mentions that one day, before his birthday, he was feeling lonely so he decided to invite Saito for a drive. Saito although stuck with work used his free time to join him for a late-night drive to Odaiba.

When they arrived at Odaiba’s park, they noticed that there were only couples in there and the mood was too romantic. Even so, Ishikawa mentions that going there and walking around the park with Saito was refreshing and that he was glad both had been there. This story started as a huge rumor in the seiyuu industry in 2015 but was later confirmed by Ishikawa on Kensho Ono’s Tabitomo in 2016 when both were guesting. They mention each other regularly on radio shows or events and/or attend each other’s radio shows whenever there’s time. If fans doubted their friendship, Kaito even mentioned on “Saito Soma’s Wagokoro o kimi ni” that he found Saito as his ideal as a person, the one he looks for inspiration.

SolidS’ brotherhood

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Saito, Hanae, Eguchi and Umehara tend to get together quite often. From hanging out at a bar near Saito‘s apartment, to guesting on each other’s shows, narrating or sponsoring each other’s works or just simply mentioning each other and/or working together on the same anime projects, the SolidS members’ friendship is one of the most interesting and well known in the seiyuu business.

“He’s indecent!”

Genji Monogatari’s radio circa 2014

Since his early days in 81 Produce, Saito has been in the care of Takuya Eguchi, senpai who dotes a lot on him. Eguchi mentioned on Genji Monogatari’s radio show back in 2014 that he thought Saito acted in a rather indecent way, especially when both went together to shop for clothes. “He might not look like it but he’s indecent on the inside. The outside is okay, but the inside is a problem!”. He mentioned that whenever both went shopping for clothes, Saito would always start talking comfortably with female store clerks, discussing what fits him best or what they think would suit him best. As a result Eguchi mentions that Saito‘s charming behavior sometimes got him discounts on his purchases but annoyed him a whole lot. “Just do your shopping normally! Do you really have to behave like that?”

The monster rookie and record setter

Yoake wa mada/Hikari Tatsu Ame

On 15 September 2017, Saito set a record among seiyuu. His 2nd single “Yoake wa mada/Hikari Tatsu Ame” sold 18,983 copies on its first week (rank #6 on Oricon daily), earning him the second top 10 on Oricon Weekly chart in his debut year. The single remained for 7 weeks straight on the charts, ultimately selling a bit over 28.000 copies in total. Saito set the record in the seiyuu business as the only singer (coming from a seiyuu background) that has managed to, during his rookie year, grab not only one but two top 10’s on Oricon Weekly. He’s also the first seiyuu that, as a solo artist, has his debut release within top 10 on Oricon Weekly.

His record and successful debut as a solo artist even impressed the members of popular veteran Japanese boyband A.B.C-Z when he guested on their radio show back in November 2017.

The lowkey rocker and classical music lover

Saito mentioned on Dear❤Vocalist Entry №3 Judah’s cast talk that he always wanted to be part of a rock band. That’s an old dream of his that he wants to make true if time allows. On an Ensemble Stars! interview, he mentioned that even though he couldn’t join a music club during his school days, mainly because his high-school didn’t have one, he formed a band with his friends outside of it in which he sang, played the guitar and composed lyrics, performing several times outside of a school context. The band specialized in cover songs.

He’s mentioned that his favorite classical music composer is Debussy and his all-time favorite artist is Elliot Smith. His playlist usually includes a lot of American indie rock, progressive rock, punk rock, metal, visual-kei rock, classic rock and classical music. Some of his favorite artists include: Rolling Stones, T-REX, Bump of Chicken, The Doors, Block Party, Libertines, U2 and Marilyn Manson.

Surprisingly good rapper

On Ensemble Stars’ NicoLive “Monthly Ensemble Studio”, hosted by Shintaro Asanuma, Saito managed to draw a punishment that wasn’t what anyone would expect.

“Freestyle rap”

Facing this unexpected request, Saito nervously asked if any of the previous guests had drawn that punishment to which Asanuma evaded sarcastically. Noticing that he couldn’t get away from the punishment as he had been set up, Saito asked for a backing track to avoid any awkwardness during his short performance. Impromptu beatboxing did the trick and what followed caught Asanuma, the show’s staff and the fans watching the show off guard. They weren’t expecting him to be that good.

Fling Posse

In September 2017, Saito was announced as part of the Rap Battle project “Hypnosis Mic”, part of Fling Posse. He performed “Scenario Liar” resorting to a completely different rapping technique than his usual. The mix of singing, rapping and talking made a story about lies and life materialize.

Actually, back in 2015 on SolidS‘ vol. 3, he rapped for the fast paced and danceable “Chronoah” alongside Takuya Eguchi. That was the first glimpse of Saito‘s rapping skills that his fans got. For SolidS’ “Burny!!!”, single released in October, 2017, Saito showcased his rapping skills, shining in the middle of the group with his groovy flow and natural performance.

Pocari connoisseur

Saito is not your average Pocari sweat consumer. He mentions that he can tell apart with his eyes closed if the Pocari he’s drinking is from a PET bottle or an alluminum can. He even added that he can’t live without drinking it.

Used to play basketball

On Bar SolidS, Saito said that he was part of his middle school’s basketball team.

Bookworm

It’s well known that Saito is an avid reader. Back in 2014, alongside Toshiki Masuda on Animemashite, he confessed that he has books everywhere around his house. Kaito Ishikawa also confirmed this saying that he has different kinds of books depending on the room you’re in. Saito is such a bookworm that he purchases his favorite authors’ books in paperback to read while commuting but then purchases the hardcover versions because, according to him “those have a different feel that can’t be replicated by the paperback versions”. On SOmanic!, he said that he takes books with him no matter the place or occasion and is always reading something whenever he has free time. Back in the day when he was a young kid, he preferred to stay at home reading books rather than going to amusement parks or anything of the sort.

Some of his favorite authors include Raymond Carver, Arthur Conan Doyle and Daniel Alarcón. His all time favorite author is Takehiko Fukunaga. He reads a little bit of everything but his favorite genres are mystery and sci-fi.

Fear of almost anything

On SOmanic! Radio, Saito surprised everyone by saying that actually he’s afraid of many things. He can watch horror movies the problem for him lies in the aftermath, he can’t help but act strangely and doubt any noises he hears, ultimately leading to him laying on his bed covered and unmovable.

If the issue with horror movies doesn’t seem like much, he kept talking about his fear of heights. As a kid, he always rejected any outings that involved going to theme parks and ride attractions. He specifically can’t ride on jet coasters or ferris wheels – if his words weren’t enough for everyone to believe them, a couple of months later, Saito participated in a special treasure hunt at the German village in Tokyo (for the variety DVD Real Treasure Hunt) and unfortunately had to ride the Ferris wheel.

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Even with Wataru Hatano (his pair for the game) there trying to soothe his fear, Saito couldn’t help but panically say that they were “too high”. The result was a frightened Saito clutching onto the handrails inside of the ride, refusing to get up or moving around. On Saito Soma no Wagokoro o kimi ni, when Natsuki Hanae guested (1st episode), both went up some stairs to visit one Shrine. Midway through, Saito was glued to the railing and couldn’t even dare to look back without loosening his grip on the handrail.

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Adding to his list of fears is the fear of bugs. He said that ever since he was a kid he has always been afraid of them. He’s not fond of them at all but he’s changed from screaming when he spots one, to simply avoid it quickly and without much fuss.

He’s also mildly afraid of dogs and cats. He mentioned that it’s not that he hates them, it’s just that he can’t get close to them.

Saito wrapped up the “fear” corner saying that he’s a man of many fears, and there are a lot that weren’t mentioned on the show or it would take up all broadcast time.

On a completely different note, he mentioned that he actually likes going to haunted houses because it’s fun and mentioned that one time he went with Kaito Ishikawa and all he could hear were Ishikawa’s cries for help.

He’s blunt

Saito in 2017 (Crea magazine)

On several occasions, he mentioned that whenever he likes something he immediately says it without a filter or care for the consequences. Tetsuya Kakihara was thoroughly shocked to find out this side of him on his radio show back in 2016 (Unisong radio). He assumed that Saito would be the stereotypical Japanese man and avoid being blunt but he’s the quite the opposite. Saito mentioned that when loves someone he’ll say it directly to that person’s face without hesitation. And that isn’t exclusive to people, he also does it with things he likes, startling people that might be close by and not understand why he’s proclaiming his love for something out of the blue.

Favorite seiyuu: Koichi Yamadera and Tetsuya Kakihara

Soma Saito and Tetsuya Kakihara @ Unisong Radio 2016

On Animemashite, Saito mentioned that his favorite seiyuu is the veteran, Koichi Yamadera. He also said that he respects Tetsuya Kakihara (former 81 Produce seiyuu). His respect for Kakihara is due to the fact that he was one of the few seiyuu supportive of him while he was attending 81 Produce’s Actors seiyuu school, and even when he was auditioning to enter 81 Produce. He recalls Kakihara saying that he would not forget his name and hoped to meet him at recordings when he got a chance to debut. Time passed and when Saito was casted in the same anime as Kakihara, he was surprised that Kakki came immediately to greet him. “You made it! I told you I wouldn’t forget about you!” Saito mentioned that gesture showed just how amazing and nice Kakihara is, he mentioned that he found even more respect for him because of it.

Loves manga

On several interviews as well as radio shows, Saito said that he loves reading manga regardless of genre. He mentioned that when he was young, he was a fan of Shounen Jump’s manga as well as he enjoyed reading shoujo and seinen. His love for manga enabled him to have a great time as part of the Broadcasting club at his high-school. Since there were barely any guys part of that club, he mentioned that through shoujo manga he shortened the distance to his female club mates.

Hates summer

Saito said on SOmanic! that he hates summer. He’s really sensitive to heat and quickly starts sweating. During Real Treasure Hunt at the German Village in 2015, Saito struggled with the heat and humidity while travelling in the van with Wataru Hatano and the show’s staff. Japanese summer is a mix of rain, hot weather and humidity. He finds it annoying hence why he prefers any other season aside from it.

Refreshing looking guy that was once afraid to look people in the eye

On ミュ〜コミ+プラス (radio show), during his Yoake wa mada/Hikari Tatsu Ame promotions in 2017, the show’s MC mentioned that Saito has refreshing/soothing looks that give off a “rich boy” vibe. Not long after saying that, the MC concluded that looks can deceive. As soon as Saito started talking and getting more comfortable with the show, the MC noticed that he is slightly different from his image – “a bit crazy” according to the MC – which immediately tainted that soothing image of his. Saito said that’s normal about him, adding that people are often surprised to know how he truly is behind his looks and aura.

On a rather old interview, Saito mentioned that his looks right now and his when he was a student are slightly different. Back in the day he used to be afraid of looking people in the eye so he grew his bangs longer (photo below) than his current, trademark hairstyle.

Soma Saito during his highschool years

He also added that he’s the type to worry about everything and is usually incredibly nervous, hence his trademark shaky hands while holding to scripts or microphones.

“I want people to find me sexy”

Soma Saito in 2017

Saito‘s fans label him as the gentle and cool type that looks artsy and intelligent. At the same time, the media labels him as one of the most handsome in the seiyuu business, even as “the beautiful guy“. Some television channels have even labeled him as “美人過ぎる声優”  (voice actor who is too beautiful). However, Saito begs to differ. He mentioned on A.B.C-Z’s radio show back in 2017 that he’d prefer people to find him sexy instead of someone cool, gentle or beautiful.

On Saito Soma and Ishikawa Kaito’s Dameraji (2018), Saito mentioned once again that from now one he wants to be viewed as sexy, which prompted Kaito to make fun of his wish.

Smart and witty despite denying it

Real Treasure Hunt at the German Village in 2014

Soma has showed a couple of times just how smart he really is. During the Real Treasure Hunt at the German Village he showed, alongside Wataru Hatano, just how quick witted and smart he is, helping solving some of the riddles in a way that even Hatano was surprised. Still, on Kensho Ono’s Tabitomo, he said that he might look like the smart type but “Only the characters I voice are intelligent”.

Obssessed with a certain “popular guy” pose

Everything started to make sense by the time Kensho Ono’s Tabitomo was recorded (2015). The famous pose that Saito had been doing up until then – and he still does it – was explained. When Ono asked the guests, Kaito Ishikawa and Soma Saito what was the pose that they’d automatically associate with a popular guy, Saito showed everyone his “popular guy” pose.

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Since 2013, whenever Saito has to pose for photos, that pose is in 50% of them. He’s really taking to heart that “popular guy” pose.

Sadist with an angel’s face

On Haikyuu radio, Saito mentioned that he “likes seeing other people’s terrified face“, hence he loves taking people with him to visit haunted houses as well as he never loses an opportunity to tease others over the smallest of things.

Labels himself as the typical arts and literatures guy

Saito mentioned on a special Ensemble Stars! interview that when he was a student, he wasn’t the kind to be loud, ask for attention or the sort. He was independent and was mostly alone at school. But him being alone didn’t mean people were bullying him or that he didn’t have friends, he mentioned that if he wanted to join a football game, the guys at school would let him join however because he always liked reading more than playing any kind of sports, he’d spend most of his school breaks reading books.

Saito @ Broadcasting department in 2009 (photo from his high school’s newspaper)

He wanted to join a music club while he was in high school but unfortunately, there was no such club at the school he attended. He then decided to join the Broadcast and Literature clubs. Since he was interested in voice acting, the broadcast club was a good fit for him and the literature club was a right choice for his reading passion. His passion for books came from his mother reading picture books to him all the time when he was a kid. He fell in love with the stories, that’s when his love for books took over his life completely.

And with this we conclude Soma Saito‘s Seiyuu Digest.

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4 responses to “Seiyuu Digest #39 – Soma Saito

  1. Wowwwwwwwwww This is amazingly well-organized details about Soma!! Thank you so much for your hard work. I recently started studying Japanese mainly because of SOMA. I LOVE HIM so much and you know what, I think love him more now after reading your writing! I laughed so badly when you mentioned his “popular boy poses”. hahaha you got it XXX) I personally call him having 中二病(in a nice/cute way, of course) whenever he mention or just does that kinds of poses.
    What I most like is SOMA’s acting in Zankyou no terror and Haikyuu, but recently I heard some BLCD of his and they were so great. I almost cried as his acting was so touching and emotional. I hope we keeps doing BLCD even though he became so much popular now. Also, I’m listening to DAME X Prince radio these days and it’s just CRAZY….I enjoy it even though I only understand 40~50% of what they are saying. Ah, also I am also crazy about his musical talent… surprised to hear his rap in hypnosis MIC as it was so much soma but very new at the same time. Among his singles, I like ‘stand alone’ and ‘hikari Tatus Ame’.
    I am so glad that SOMA is getting popular these days and I love his challenges in various fields such as music, writing and play. But what I love most is his voice… I hope I can see his acting as main role in a great anime work very soon. Thank you for your post again!

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  2. I love how detailed most of the seiyuu digests are not only with the information but also the opinions that you gave in here. It truly shows how dedicated and passionate you are in creating this. I had so much fun reading the digests and I can’t seem to stop reading all of them in one week. I can’t wait for more! I do hope that you could update some digests that seem to have little information and your thoughts on their work and the seiyuu themselves. This is just my suggestion though, you can ignore it if you want. It’s just what I feel as a fan of this website that has been very informative and filled with honest and valuable opinions.

    But in the end, I will eventually love every digests this team post so, you do you 😀 Thank you for the hard work! All of us appreciate it so much

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  3. To Midorin san:
    Thank you and your team for what you guys done, and the digest of Soma! Since I become a reader of your blog I’ve been looked forward to it. As a fan of soma and voice actor it is so glad to see more people talking about him and his seiyuu friends. I’ll keep looking forward to more good articles from your blog. Thank you and your team again for all article about seiyuu!
    Not a native English speaker, please forgive any wrong grammar and spelling 😉

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    • Thank you so much for your words! This digest was a labor of two and half months so to find people reading, commenting and sharing it makes the whole effort worthwhile. And thank you for taking the time to read our articles! Don’t worry about spelling, everyone has their misses – regardless if you’re a native speaker or not -, also your English is actually good. Thanks for your patronage and hope you continue to enjoy the contents on our website 🙂

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