Seiyuu Digest #45 – Wataru Hatano

With almost 20 years of career on his shoulders, Hatano‘s shown his talents as a seiyuu, singer, radio MC and actor on multiple occasions. This month we take a look at the career of one of the most versatile and active seiyuu in the industry, Wataru Hatano

KANJI 羽多野 渉
BORN March 13, 1982
OCCUPATION seiyuu, singer, actor, radio host
HEIGHT 171 cm

Seiyuu

Wataru Hatano was born on March 13, 1982 in Asahi, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.  He attended Amusement Media Academy’s department of seiyuu and talent before joining 81 Produce. He’s the older of two siblings (has a younger brother that works at an IT company).

Unlike most seiyuu, Hatano was actually encouraged by his mother to be a seiyuu. He mentioned on an interview for Dengeki Girls Style that his mother is an avid seiyuu fan and early one made him interested in anime and seiyuu, starting to memorize and imitate lines and tones from anime he’d watch. As Hatano got an increasing interest for that field of work, hiss mother gave him the green light to pursue life as a seiyuu.

Upon completing high-school, Hatano left Nagano to go to Tokyo to attend voice acting school. Everyone on his family was supportive of his decision and he enrolled at Amusement Media Gakuin. After graduating he auditioned for 81 Produce and passed. After debuting as a seiyuu, Hatano never was one of those that consistently gets leading roles, quite on the contrary, he’s more constantly in secondary roles but he knows how to make those shine and take the spotlight from the main cast with his acting.

2001 – 2004

Rookie days, first leading role

Hatano made his debut as a seiyuu in 2001 with a role in Yobarete, Tobidete! Akubi-chan. Several other minor roles followed in anime such as Monkey Typhoon (2002), AVENGER (2003), Full-Blast Science Adventure – So That’s How It Is (2003), Cromartie High School (2003),The Galaxy Railways (2003), Kousetsu Hyaku Monogatari (2003), Tantei Gakuen Q (2003), Pluster World (2003), BLEACH (2004), MADLAX (2004), RAGNAROK THE ANIMATION (2004), Midori no hibi (2004), Tenjou Tenge (2004), Zoids: Fuzors (2004) and many others.

His first leading role came with Tomokazu Mikuri in the ecchi/comedy/action anime “Yumeria” (2004). It might have not been the best role for Hatano, however it was a much needed as a rookie seiyuu.

2005 – 2006

Being a secondary actor

2005 and 2006 were two impressive years in his career. It was the first time in Hatano‘s career that the had his hands full with work (with over 25 roles). Although none were leading roles, every single secondary or minor role contributed to polish his skills and getting his name on the map. During these two years, he was stuck being a secondary actor, with roles in Basilisk (2005), VIEWTIFUL JOE (2005), BLEACH (2005), Major (2005 – 2010), Honey and Clover (2005), ARIA The ANIMATION (2005), Gakuen Alice (2005), Fushigiboshi no☆Futagohime (2005), Starship Operators (2005), MÄR (2005), Eureka Seven (2005), NIGHT HEAD GENESIS (2006), Bartender (2006), Gakuen Heaven: Boy’s Love Hyper (2006), Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle (2006), Red Garden (2006) and many others.

Ritsu Kasanoda

His role as Ritsu Kasanoda in Ouran Koukou Host Club in 2006 is the best role he got to perform early in his career. The young Yakuza master, despite its scary face and having being trained to act tough, is actually caring and likes to help others. He ends up tangled with the Host Club only to be teased by its members for his name and/or looks. Hatano channeled perfectly the duality within the character, making Kasanoda a highlight in the series, even while being a secondary character.

2007 – 2009

The ecchi era

2007 arrived and with it came more roles, however in bigger productions than Hatano had ever been a part of. He also tried to have roles in almost anime genres, however, there was a genre that marked this period.

Yuto Ayase

Leading roles or secondary roles pivotal to the series’ plot started to come his way, however most pointed towards a specific anime genre: ecchi. His role as Yuto Ayase in Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (2008 – 2009), anime series that spanned two seasons, is one of the very first main roles from this “ecchi anime” streak in Hatano‘s career. Yuto accidentally discovers that the perfect main character – Haruka – is actually a closet otaku. Starting from there they develop a relationship based on their secret. This was a rather simple rom/com series that received good reviews by both Japanese and overseas viewers.

Junichi Nagase

Hatano then had a leading role in Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka (2008 – 2009), another ecchi anime however this one wasn’t as well received as the previously mentioned. The anime follows the adventures of Junichi Nagase and his odd relationship with two characters. Regardless to say that the “incest” theme made a lot of people step back from watching this anime series, even if there are comedy and romance elements in it.

Sam Houston

During this period of time, Hatano got a supporting role in “Terra e…as Sam Houston, performance that later earned him a Rookie award at the 2008 Seiyuu Awards. His performance as Houston impressed the viewers and fans of the anime series. The condition he had to portray wasn’t easy, yet his performance nailed every single detail

Harvar D. Éclair

Other relevant secondary role is Harvar D. Éclair in Soul Eater (2008). Harvar is an extremely loyal and careful partner to one of the secondary characters in the series. He’s also one of the elite students at Death Weapon Meister Academy.

Haruse

In 2009, Hatano was casted in 07-GHOST as Haruse, quiet and respectful character that although secondary, ends up playing a major role in the series.

Yahiko

He returned to Naruto Shippuden in 2009, this time not to voice minor characters, but to voice the younger version of Yahiko, pivotal character in a specific arc in the series.

Hatano had minor/secondary roles in Naruto Shippuden (2007), Darker than Black (2007), D.Gray-man (2007), BACCANO!  (2007), Blue Dragon   (2007), Saint Beast: Kouin Jojishi Tenshitan (2007), Shounen Onmyouji (2007), BLUE DRAGON (2007), Les Misérables: Shoujo Cosette (2007), Mushi-Uta (2007), Blade of the Immortal (2008),  Zettai Karen Children (2008),  Monochrome Factor (2008), BLASSREITER (2008), Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (2009), Miracle Train: Welcome to the Oedo Line (2009), Hanasakeru Seishonen (2010), Battle Spirits: Shounen Toppa Bashin (2010), Tears to Tiara (2010), among many other anime series.

2010

The breakthrough

Gajeel

In comparison with previous years 2010 was a rather quiet year, however, it was the year to brought one of the most iconic roles in Hatano‘s repertoire, Gajeel Redfox in popular action/fantasy/adventure anime FAIRY TAIL.

Tough exterior, rough, deep-toned voice mark the first impressions of those that start watching FAIRY TAIL. Gajeel is initially associated with a different guild before joining FAIRY TAIL and being one of its most reliable members as well as one of the most iconic gags due to his singing, unique laugh, passion for cats and emotional vulnerabilities. According to Hatano (during a live broadcast of Dance With Devils in 2015), Gajeel started a trend in his career: him voicing tough exterior characters with a soft interior and deep/rough and sometimes violent voice tones. Although he is thankful that his performance in FAIRY TAIL is commended, which made people look at his acting with different eyes, he would have loved if he hadn’t started being typecasted due to Gajeel’s popularity.

In the same year Hatano had roles in Kimi ni Todoke (two seasons), Katana and The Legend of the Legendary Heroes.

2011 – 2014

Establishing himself as one of the best secondary actors in the industry

Now with Gajeel’s popularity hovering, Hatano had everything in his hands to solidify his career with more consistency and great performances. It’s rather interesting to find that between 2011 and 2014, the roles that stood out the best in his career were the secondary ones, not the main roles. It appears as though Hatano tends to be casted for strong secondary characters that, somehow, drive the plot forward.

From 2011 to 2014, he had over 40 roles, most of those in anime, others in special OVA projects. Some of the anime in which he voiced characters include: THE IDOLM@STER (2011), Mobile Suit Gundam AGE (2011), TIGER & BUNNY (2011), Sekaiichi Hatsukoi 2 (2011), The World God Only Knows II (2011), Kamisama no Memochou (2011), Tono to Issho: Gantai no Yabou (2011), Dantalian no Shoka (2011), Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi (2011), Pretty Rhythm: Dear My Future (2012), HUNTER×HUNTER (2013), Dog & Scissors (2013), Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (2013), Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns (2014), Strange+ (2014), Terra Formars (2014),  Bakumatsu Rock (2014), Momo Kyun Sword (2014), Pretty Rhythm: Dear My Future (2014),

He reprised his role as Harvar for Soul Eater Not! (2014).

Murasaki

Aside from his leading role as Murasaki in Hamatora‘s 1st and 2nd seasons (2014), series to which Hatano performed the ending theme “Hikari”, all other leading roles (Ieyasu Tokugawa in Sengoku☆Paradise Kiwami (2011) , Arata Yakushiji in Battle Spirits: Heroes (2011), Hakuya Mitsumine in Mikakunin de Shinkoukei (2014) were rather bland and lacked something interesting.

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Secondary roles as Dashan Wang in Metal Fight Beyblade 4D (2011), Handa san in Shirokuma Cafe (2012), Spartos in  Magi: The Kingdom of Magic (2012) and Magi: The Kingdom of Magic (2013), Lutz in  Jormungand (2012) and Jormungand: Perfect Order (2012), Leon Kuze in Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse (2012), You Fujiura in  Zettai Karen Children – The Unlimited – Hyobu Kyosuke (2013), Tooru Masuku in Diamond no Ace’s first and second seasons (2013 – 2015),  Takumi Kibukawa in Kakumeiki Valvrave and Kakumeiki Valvrave 2nd Season(2013), Hiroshi Araya in Baby Steps 1st and 2nd seasons (2014 – 2015) and Reo Mibuchi in Kuroko no Basket 3rd Season (2014) encompassed the best work done by Hatano between 2011 and 2014. Variety and quality were added to his repertoire with these roles.

2015 –

Respected seiyuu status

While most seiyuu, when they enter their late 30’s, start to lose the spotlight to younger seiyuu or start taking on secondary roles that fit more with a “matured” voice, Hatano keeps his consistency, performing the same type of roles he’s been doing in his whole career but with an increasingly higher quality.

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2015 introduced us to his roles as Jaswant in Arslan Senki, Jirou in Kamisama Hajimemashita◎, Shinnosuke Toudou in Junjou Romantica 3, Sakuya Sazanami in Starmyu (1st and 2nd seasons), Metal Bat in One Punch Man Lindo Tachibana in Dance With Devils. This was a year in which Hatano had his hands in almost every anime genre, ranging from romance, musical, music, action, comedy and super heroes. There’s no two same performances among these characters which shows well his versatility.

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A year later, in 2016, he saw his role as Kai Fuduki finally getting animated, as Tsukiuta, Tsukipro’s franchise, was greenlit for anime adaptation. He reprised his role as Kai Fuduki in Tsukiuta。 THE ANIMATION. Still in the music-centric anime it is worth mentioning Hatano‘s role as Rui Anjou in Magic-Kyun! Renaissance.

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But not everything was about his performance in Tsukiuta, far from being his best to date. He then ventured to action/fantasy anime with his roles as Bak Chang in D.Gray-man HALLOW and Motojirou Kajii in Bungo Stray Dogs

Georgi Popovich

Hatano‘s role as Geogi Popovich in the international hit anime Yuri!!! on ICE appeared rather late in the series, yet it managed to impress or at least make people react to its overly dramatic/doom vibe.

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In 2017, Hatano joined the cast of the sports anime Yowamushi Pedal for its Glory Line and New Generation seasons as Ryuuhou Danchiku and Boku no Hero Academia for its 3rd and 4th seasons as Hitoshi Shinsou. He also reprised his leading role as Lindo Tachibana in the movie, Dance with Devils-Fortuna-.

In 2018, the smartphone game IDOLiSH7 was greenlit for anime adaptation. At the same time, it was greenlit an original Youtube series focused on TRIGGER’s foundation. “IDOLiSH7 Vibrato” is based on the spin-off manga “TRIGGER Before the Radiant Glory“.

This made Hatano return to reprise his role as Gaku Yaotome, TRIGGER’s leader, twice in the same year.

Captain Tsubasa‘s remake was greenlit as well for 2018. He was casted as Hikaru Matsuyama, a powerful defensive midfielder. He also scored a leading role in the comedy anime, Mahou Shoujo Ore as Sakuyo Mikage. The anime recieved mixed reviews, with some mentioning that the series’ humor was one of its best selling assets whereas others criticized the story and the whole “magical shoujo” concept. The anime failed to be on the spotlight during Spring 2018’s season.

Other anime include: Dive (2017), Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (2015), Jitsu wa Watashi wa (2015), Seiken Tsukai no World Break (2015), SERVAMP (2016), ReLIFE (2016), Time Travel Shoujo: Mari Waka to 8-nin no Kagakusha-tachi (2016), Kyoukai no Rinne (2016), ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (2017), Nana Maru San Batsu (2017), TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION (2017), Hitorijime My Hero (2017), Sakura Quest (2017), Killing Bites (2018), Fate/EXTRA Last Encore (2018), Sanrio Danshi (2018), Akkun to Kanojo (2018), Grancrest Senki (2018), Gundam Build Divers (2018), between many others.

Hatano already has a role scheduled for 2019. Ensemble Stars!‘s anime adaptation was greenlit and with it he’s going to reprise his in-game role as Adonis. He’s also going to voice a character in Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu., anime that still doesn’t have a set date of premiere.

Awards

2nd Seiyuu Awards (2008)

In 2008, at the 2nd Seiyuu Awards, Wataru Hatano won the “Best Rookie actor” award for his roles in “Terra e…” (as Sam Houston) and Saint Beast: Kouin Jojishi Tenshitan (as Tenshi Yuri). He shared his award with Tsubasa Yonaga.

Radio

Since early on in his career, Hatano has been a constant presence as a radio personality. He kicked off his career as a radio personality in 2006 with 4 radio shows: Kurahashi Tokiya × Saeki Kazuna CELL DIVISION no otoko hanashi-shitsu 13 (2006), Shukan shounen Fang (2006 – 2007), CELL DIVISION Keep on doing (2006 – 2007) and Okane ga nai Presents okane ga hoshii! ! ! (2006 – 2007).

After that, Hatano started to be the go-to seiyuu whenever there was a radio show. He was radio personality for Gekkan otokomae tsushin (2007), Konnya wa tokoton! Seiyuu oukoku (2007), CyberBoys City (2007), Shining Force Feather – Force MAX Full Open Radio – (2008 – 2009), Tokyo Anime Center RADIOw (2009 – 2010), Ponikyun Radio kyou kara motebu! ! (2009 – 2010).

羽多野・寺島Radio2DLOVE (2010)

In 2010, Hatano teamed up with Takuma Terashima for “Hatano Terashima Radio2DLOVE“, show that would turning into his longest and most successful radio endeavor. The radio show not only spawned several variety DVDs, radio CDs and merchandise, but it was also the catalyst for M.O.E‘s debut as a duo in 2011.

Fantasy Science, Outrageous Theory! (2016)

Hatano Wataru & Saito Soma Fantasy Science, Outrageous Theory! (photo from 2017)

In 2016, Hatano started to host the radio show “Fantasy Science, Outrageous Theory!” with his junior from 81 Produce, Soma Saito. For this radio show, the duo explores spiritual things, the occult, conspiracy theories and urban legends, all things that Hatano has mentioned that he’s curious about in several occasions. The show airs monthly on Nico Nico.

Wataru Hatano and Sato Takuya’s SCAT BABYS SHOW!! (2016)

“Wataru Hatano and Sato Takuya’s SCAT BABYS SHOW”

Wataru Hatano and Sato Takuya’s SCAT BABYS SHOW!!” kicked off in 2016. The rated R radio show is known for trailing risque/explicit themes without sugarcoating anything. Since its launch, the radio show has two awards under its belt. At the 3rd Aniraji Awards (2017), the show won “BEST SEXY RADIO” for a newcomer radio show. In the following year, at the 4th Aniraji Awards (2018), Hatano and Sato campaigned hard on their social media accounts in order for their show to win yet another award. The listeners answered their prayers and “SCAT BABYS SHOW” won “BEST SEXY RADIO” in the regular category (for already established radio shows).

In August 2018, Hatano teamed up with Junichi Suwabe to host 僕のマネーがこんなに増えるわけがないっ! (Boku no money ga konna ni fueru wake ga nai), radio show that gives tips to listeners on how to save money.

Other radio shows that Hatano has been featured or a host in include: STORM LOVER keihou! (2010 – 2011), VIRTUAL ADVENTURE 2 (2011), MFR-Mystery Frontier Reporters!! (2011 – 2014), Shimono & Hatano no “Reki sing ♪ Radio” (2012), Hamatora Radio from Cafe Noah (2013 – 2014), Diamond no Ace (2013 – 2015), Hana geki Rajiwo (2014), Hatano Wataru and Masuda Toshiki’s R-chuuuns! (2014 – 2015), Radio “Ensemble Stars!’〜 Yaan no mamono ni obieru koneko 〜 (2015), STORM LOVER keihou! Aratame! (2015 – 2016), Dance with Devils Shikou Gakuen dai san housoushitsu (2015), Kakuyomu housoukyoku (2016 -), Radio Fudanshi Koko seikatsu “Fujin-rui mina kyodai!!” (2016) and Anison HOLIC “81 Chan Hatano Wataru no ni jison! For girls” (2017 -).

Dubbing/Narration

Early on in his career, Hatano worked on dubbing for foreign movies/dramas. However, as great as his voice is for dubbing and narration, his credits in this field of work are far from being many. Some of his credits include work in ABLAZE, Octopus, A Single Man, CHAPPIE, Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation, Step Up 3D, Summer’s Blood, High School Musical 2, BALTIC STORM, Prom Night, Parang-juuibo, Live from Baghdad, Arsène Lupin,The Red Knight, 24 – TWENTY FOUR – (season 7), Cold Case, Nurse Jackie, Lovers in Prague, The MentalistWHITE COLLAR, GracelandPower Rangers Samurai, Beyond the Break, Private PracticeBrothers and Sisters and more.

In narration, he only has only has credits on Namae de yobu natte! and Anisong Plus.

Acting

Wataru Hatano went to Tokyo to chase his dream of being a seiyuu but he never thought about being an actor. He’d thought about entering his high-school’s drama club but he found it too awkward so he never joined them. Years later Hatano got acting classes and already has two movies plus some improvisation performances under his belt.

Wataru Hatano (Center) as Michio Yoshizawa

He made his debut as an actor in 2007, in the live action boys love movie Takumi Kun seriesAnd the Spring breeze Whispers“. He played the role of Michio Yoshizawa, student at the all-boys high school Shidou Academy.

Kami Voice (Wataru Hatano & Yuki Kaji)

If there’s a movie we should mention when we talk about Hatano it’s “Kami Voice: The Voice Makes a Miracle” in which Wataru Hatano and co-star, Yuki Kaji impressed with their emotional performances. 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 put that career in jeopardy. The cast counted with the notable presences of Takuya Eguchi, Showtaro MorikuboMamoru MiyanoRikiya KoyamaRomi PakuDaisuke Namikawa and Yoshimasa Hosoya, among many others.

ADLIVE 2017

Hatano was announced as part of the cast of the annual AD-LIVE. He put to test his acting skills in the stand-up event. He was paired up with Tomokazu Seki in 2017.

AD-LIVE 2018

Hatano was announced as one of the members to join AD-LIVE’s special 10th anniversary. He is paired up with Yuki Kaji for a special stand up performance on 23/09/2018. For this edition, alongside their random line bag, there’ll be a narrator to shift and shape the stories in completely different ways, making a stand up performance being as unpredictable for the actors as it is with the audience.

Drama CDs

Hemade his debut on an original drama CD to which seiyuu Takehito Koyasu wrote the story. At that time he was still a vocational school student. Since then Hatano‘s been a constant presence in drama CDs, especially BL CDs (field in which he is considered a legend that almost all seiyuu need to have as a pair at least once). He has over 160 drama CD credits including otome and BL. He’s mostly known for voicing a wide range of characters although older brother types and rough, deep toned men are also pretty common in his repertoire.

Some of the the drama CDs he’s worked for include: I LOVE PET!!, S.Y.K, KISS×KISS collections Vol.26, Glass Heart Princess:PLATINUMSacrifice Vol.4, STORM LOVER series, 07-GHOST, CELL DIVISION, Dear Girl ~ Stories ~ Hibiki, Vassalord, 81 Label 1st 81 Produce 35th Anniversary Project Audio Drama CD, Mai kare 2, calling, scarlet, Spirits Tea, Rush!, -Links-, Mister romanticist’s love, YES IT’S ME, Tsukiuta, between many others.

Games

Hatano has his first voiced character in games in 2013 with a role in the RPG game, Earth Defense Force. Since then he’s got more than 120 roles in almost every game genre and platform there is.

Some of the games he’s voiced characters in include: ZOIDS TACTICS (2005), Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams (2006), KoiGIG〜DEVIL×ANGEL〜 (2007), ROCKMAN ZX ADVENT (2007), Hiiro no Kakera (2008), D.C. Girl’s Symphony (2008), Lucian Bee’s RESURRECTION SUPERNOVA (2009), Shining Force Feather (2009), STORM LOVER (2010), FAIRY TAIL PORTABLE GUILD (2010), Fate/EXTRA (2010), LEGEND of VALHALLA (2011), Glass Heart Princess:PLATINUM (2013), Jewelic Nightmare (2013), Solomon’s Ring (2013), Mermaid Gothic (2014), The Order:1886 (2015), Tsukipara (2017), between many others.

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His most notable roles in games include: Adonis Otogari, a quiet foreigner with imposing looks but with actual soft personality inside. He’s part of the rock group UNDEAD, in Ensemble Stars! (2015).

Perhaps the most popular character in games is Gaku Yaotome in IDOLiSH7 (2015). Gaku is TRIGGER‘s leader, once again with an intimidating aura but with an incredibly honest personality and passionate about his work.

Given the popularity of Dance With Devils (2016 and 2018) in Japan, Lindo Tachibana deserves a mention on this popularity overview of Hatano‘s game roles. Lindo Tachibana is the main character’s caring and over-protective cousin, as well as an exorcist. Lindo is one of the most popular characters in the DwD franchise, hence the mention.

Most recently, Hatano joined the cast of the incredibly popular franchise, A3!.

Chikage Utsuki

He voices Chikage Utsuki, a 26 year old elite office worker that is far more than what his polite smiles hint at. He’s part of the Spring Troupe.

Music

Hatano finally got the opportunity to debut as a solo artist in 2011. Since then he’s released 8 singles and 2 full-length albums, experimenting with the music genres he performs. Although the majority of his repertoire is filled with pop-rock tunes, on multiple occasions he’s experimented with rock, pop, orchestral rock, electronica, acoustic, jazz and funk. His music usually has a sweet and gentle vibe with easy-listening melodies and simple lyrics.

When it comes to singing technique, Hatano tends to have a smooth delivery, relying heavily on his mid and lower toned register. Vibrato is his go-to technique but he’s well versed, having a stunning falsetto and control over his higher register, making him a versatile and reliable do-it-all type of singer. He doesn’t often write lyrics for his music, although he does have credits as a lyricist on あなたへ (released in 2011 on Hajimari no hi) and “My Birthday Song” (released in 2013 on Kimi wa boku ga kaeru basho). He plays acoustic guitar for some of his songs.

He’s a consistent solo artist that tends to release at least one album or single per year. Although not an impressive chart topper, Hatano has a couple of releases ranked with Oricon Weekly’s top 30.

Hajimari no hi (2011)

He made his debut with “Hajimari no hi” in 2011, single that had him exploring pop and acoustic rock music. It featured his first ever lyrics credit (penned あなたへ). It ranked #36 on Oricon Weekly.

The single was followed by 流星飛行 (Ryusei hiko), released in 2012 and 君はぼくが帰る場所 (Kimi wa boku ga kaeru basho), released in 2013. Both singles ranked #38 on Oricon Weekly. Pop melodies were at the core of both releases.

Hikari (2014)

Things turned around for better when, in 2014, Hatano released the single “Hikari“. Rock music took the forefront and, in result, fans were presented with a heavier and edgier sound, a first in his career. This single came as a breath of fresh air in his career, one that was starting to look too predictable and comfortable at that time. Embracing a heavier brand of rock, adding power chords, exciting riffs and powerful drums was more than enough to turn a few heads to this song, single and his career.

The title track was featured as the ending theme for the anime “Hamatora“. This was the first time Hatano had one of his songs featured in anime (either opening or ending theme). But not everything about this single was about exciting rock. Hatano brought to the table jazz music as well, the first full-fledged incursion to the genre. This different approach to his music and the fact that the song was featured in an anime made “Hikari” rise on the charts and reach “29 on Oricon Weekly, the highest he had ever ranked on the prestigious chart.

From this point on, he started experimenting with different music genres, trying to showcase his versatility, as well as to pique the interest of those that were still not fans of his.

W (2014)

Still in the same year, Hatano released “W“, his first full-length album. For this album he worked with Hyadain, popular solo artist and producer. Between old tunes, some of those rearranged as unplugged versions (Hikari) and new compositions spanning a variety of music genres from rock to pop, “W” is a solid entry in his repertoire, even if within those 14 tracks, only a few were new and the other others were versions of versions. The track “I’m a voice actor” included in this release was penned by Hatano.

Kakusei no Air (2015)

Kakusei no Air” (覚醒のAir) was released in 2015 and his biggest hit so far in his career. The title track was featured as the opening theme for the romance/musical anime “Dance With Devils” and quickly gathered a lot of attention with the powerful, orchestral rock sound, that not only fit well with the anime series, but was also a unexpected in Hatano‘s solo career.

The single ranked #14 on Oricon Weekly, and still stands as his most successful release to date.

The success of “Kakusei no Air” didn’t follow him when “Unmei no CODA“, single also featured on “Dance With Devils” (this time around on the PS Vita game), was released in 2016. The inconsistencies in the title track, result of and odd combo of ELEMENTS GARDEN and Daisuke Iwasaki’s clash of ideas put Hatano in an unfamiliar place performing dramatic lyrics on top of dance oriented track. Looking back at the previous release, “Unmei no CODA” was a serious downgrade and that was noticeable with the way the single dropped on the charts to #23 on Oricon Weekly. Most were unimpressed with the title track, however the single still had its redeeming point in “Wasuremono“, an emotional ballad that proved that simplicity really is key when the vocals are already impressive.

Still in 2016, Hatano released “You Only Live Once“, song featured as the ending theme for the hit skating anime Yuri!!! On ICE. However, this time around he wasn’t presenting himself as the singer “Wataru Hatano” but as “w.hatano“, which some consider as a deviation from his solo career (hence not counting it as a single he released under his own name).

You Only Live Once” is undoubtedly Hatano‘s most popular song, however it isn’t his best performing one on the Oricon Charts. The single peeked at #22 on Oricon Weekly (physical sales).  However, when it came to the Billboard charts (combined streaming, physical and download sales), this song impressed with its reach, hitting #11 on Billboard Japan’s Hot 100.

Caravan wa Philia wo Kanaderu (2016)

9 months later, and still in 2016, Hatano celebrated his 5th anniversary as a solo artist with a gift to his fans, the mini-album “Caravan wa Philia wo Kanaderu“. Although the album’s quality vastly surpassed that of “W“, the reception was lukewarm, which led to this mini-album ranking #40 on Oricon Weekly. This was the last time overseas fans got to watch, listen and purchase his music.

The AVEX ban

In February 2017, Avex instructed all online retailers to stop selling their goods to overseas fans. That drastic measure came as a means to counter piracy, however it ended up hurting more the artists and franchises within the Avex Pictures sub-label than it helped the label cash in more on their work. Avex was already known as an over protective music label but things got out of hand when Yuri!!! on ICE (from now on, YOI) turned into a massive hit (the anime is part of Avex) and, all of a sudden, fans from all over the world were downloading illegally both the anime series and the music associated with it. It is speculated, and the circumstances point towards it, that this measure took place to protect those sales figures from the YOI franchise.

Being signed under Avex Pictures, Wataru Hatano was caught in the middle of this complicated situation, having his music all of a sudden blocked from being sold to overseas fans. Although overseas purchases don’t even make 5% of his sales (the majority of his fan base + purchase that are effectively consumers and purchase his music are in Japan), Hatano still felt those changes put into place by Avex in his music. Aside from his music being featured in anime after this ban took place, and those 1 minute previews on Avex’s youtube channel, there were changes to his sales numbers and Oricon Weekly’s ranks.

Heart Signal (2017)

Hatano marked his return to the music industry in the summer of 2017 with “Heart Signal“, single featured as the opening theme for “Hitorijime My Hero“.

For this single, he was back to electronic music, channeling “You Only Live Once” vibes (its from the same composer DJ GENKI) but the response was rather lukewarm. The single ended up peeking at #29 on Oricon Weekly.

A couple of months later and still in 2017, “KING & QUEEN” was released. The title track was featured as the main theme for the movie “Dance with Devils-Fortuna-“. Jazz and pop-rock took over this single, a return to Hatano‘s earlier days as a solo artist.

KING & QUEEN” peeked at #24 on Oricon Weekly.

wataru hatano futuristic

In 2018, Hatano announced the release of his sophomore album, “Futuristic“.

Cell Division

Footage from CELL DIVISION first divided the DVD in 2006

In 2006, Wataru Hatano teamed up with Tatsuhisa Suzuki as the R&B pop duo, Cell Division. During their short-lived career the duo released two singles: “Song on morning” (2006) and “One Night Stand-愛体” (2007).

DEVIL×ANGEL

Daisuke Ono and Wataru Hatano in 2007

Perhaps one of the most obscure seiyuu projects Hatano has ever been a part of is “DEVIL×ANGEL“. The four piece band consisting of Daisuke Ono (vocals), Wataru Hatano (guitar), Hisayoshi Suganuma (bass) and Koichi Tochika (drums) debuted in 2007 following the release of a game with the same title. The quartet released the single “BATTLE LOVE” and ended up touring in 2008 (KoiGIG~DEVIL×ANGEL~ FlyingMarch).

M.O.E.

Coming from their radio show “Hatano・Terashima Radio2DLOVE“, Wataru Hatano and Takuma Terashima debuted as a unit in 2011.

M.O.E (MUSIC OTAKU ENTERTAINMENT) are known for performing covers of popular anime songs. So far the unit has released 8 mini-albums: Oretachi no uta o kiku CD (2011), Motto egao ni naru CD (2012), Ai ga tsunagatte iku CD (2013), Ano hi ni yumemita CD (2014), Ano kando o subete no hito ni okuru CD (2015), Otona ni natte mo o chamena CD (2016), Kimi to issho nara melody mo yuki ni naru CD (2017) and Meccha kakkoi CD (2018).

Procellarum

In 2012, Hatano was announced alongside Ryohei Kimura, Shouta Aoi, Tetsuya Kakihara, Takashi Kondo, Kensho Ono, as part of Tsukino Production’s pop unit, Procellarum. So far the group has released 2 singles: “ONE CHANCE?” (2015) and “LOLV -Lots of Love-” (included in the Tsukiuta. THE ANIMATION Theme Song CD). The best of album “Shirotsuki” was released in 2016 featuring solo songs for all members of the group. 

As Fuduki Kaithe male representative for the month of July within Procellarum, Hatano got to 3 solo songs (Sayonara Yume Hanabi in 2013, Beast Master in 2015 and Mare~Kimi to Tsudzuru Koukai Nisshi~ in 2017) and 2 duets with Ryohei Kimura (Kimi ni Hana wo, Kimi ni Hoshi wo and Celestite in 2014).

UNDEAD

In 2014 he joined the cast of Ensemble Stars!. He’s part of UNDEAD alongside Toshiki Masuda, Yuki Ono and Kei Hosogai.

The quartet, known for their passionate and dark rock sound, has released so far 3 singles – Vol.1 “UNDEAD” (released in 2015), Vol.1 “UNDEAD” 2 (released in 2016) and Vol.6 “UNDEAD” 3 (released in 2017) –  and a full length album “Ensemble Stars! Album Series UNDEAD” (released in August 2018). The album claimed #1 on Oricon Daily and jumped to #3 on Oricon Weekly (over 48.000 copies sold in one week), showing the group’s popularity and sales power.

PENTACLE★ 

Created with the main cast of Dance With DevilsWataru HatanoSoma SaitoSubaru Kimura, Kondo Takashi and Daisuke Hirakawa – and recently Tatsuhisa Suzuki (wasn’t originally part of the group) -, PENTACLE★ have released several singles featured in the anime series as well as the franchise’s games. So far the unit released the singles “Mademo★iselle“ (2015), “覚醒のAir starring PENTACLE★” (2015), “BL(U)CK BASIS” (2016) and “光れCAROL“ (2018).

TRIGGER

Since 2015, Hatano is, alongside Takuya Sato and Soma Saito, part of TRIGGER, unit from the IDOLiSH7 franchise. Considered by many as one of the most complete 2.5D groups currently in the industry, and their teamwork is something that impresses on record and live. The concepts of “flawed” and “soulless” are not present in their music/performances. For those that listen to their songs, it’s easily understandable that the unit has fun performing their songs. There’s a sense of unity as well as competition when it comes from their performances – TRIGGER‘s story aside. There’s a chemistry between all three seiyuu that makes them a unit to anticipate with each comeback, as they keep further improving their performances and quality.

TRIGGER are known for their suggestive lyrics and addictive, powerful sound and Hatano‘s low, melodic tones are the heart of this group. As Gaku Yaotome, Hatano is the leader of TRIGGER, being the member Sato and Saito rely on in order to further push themselves and improve vocally.

TRIGGER (Wataru Hatano, Soma Saito and Takuya Sato) @ Secret Night event in 2017

Ever since their debut, TRIGGER have released a couple of singles and 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 what was a rare feat in the seiyuu business, a #1 on Oricon Weekly.

TRIGGER‘s “DAYBREAK INTERLUDE” was the chosen track to promote this album, with a music video being released at the same time as the album.

The album has an impressive record on Oricon, staying on the Weekly Charts’ TOP 100 for 23 weeks straight.

TRIGGER on Cool Voice vol.25

The trio was on the cover of Cool Voice in 2018, issue in which they shared their thoughts on the franchise, the success of “REGALITY“, expectations for the first live event (that took place at Met Life Dome in July, 2018) as well as their thoughts on the on-going anime series. This was the first time the trio promoted (physically) as TRIGGER, officially transforming this unit from a 2D idol to a 2.5D idol group.

Still in 2018, TRIGGER released their second single “Heavenly Visitor / DIAMOND FUSION“, another single that entered top 10 on Oricon Weekly.

TRIGGER are one of the few 2.5D units to have all their singles/albums ranked within the top 10 spots on Oricon Weekly.

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TRIGGER performed live for the first time on Road to Infinity (held on 07/07/2018 and 08/07/2018).

ArtiSTARs

ArtiSTARs in 2017

In 2016, Hatano joined the cast of the musical anime, Magic Kyun. Alongside Yuichiro Umehara, KENN, Yuki Ono, Shouta Aoi and Takuya Eguchi, he’s part of ArtiSTARs, pop outfit with a regal vibe.

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

Spring Troupe

A3! Spring Troupe

Earlier in 2018, Hatano was announced as part of the additional cast for the hit game A3!. He joined the Spring Troupe, consisting of Kodai Sakai (leader), Yusuke Shirai, Koutaro Nishiyama, Shintaro Asanuma, Masashi IgarashiChikage still hasn’t released any solo song nor participated in troupe songs (that have been released up until now).

BRBRookies!

In 2018, and related to his addition to the A3! cast, Hatano joined BRBRookies!, unit consisting on the seiyuu to all 4 new characters in the series. The complete lineup for this group includes: Wataru Hatano, Tasuku Hatanaka, Seiya Konishi and Satoshi Hino. They released the jazzy “GOLDEN ENCORE!“ in June, single that skyrocketed their way to the top spots on Oricon Daily during its first week of sales.

Wataru Hatano & Takuya Sato

This is his most recent music endeavor. In May 2018, Wataru Hatano and Takuya Sato announced that they were going to perform the opening theme for their radio show “SCAT BABYS SHOW“. Although the duo has worked before in variety shows and even in the same 2.5D unit (TRIGGER), this is the first time that they’ve teamed up as a duo to release music together. Their first single “Scat Babys Show!!” is set to be released during the summer of 2018.

Aside from all his solo and 2.5D/seiyuu units work, Hatano has more than his fair share of character songs under his belt. The extensive list of character songs includes performances for: Noble Bullet, Hamatora, Love Cuisine, Kuroko’s Basketball, Kamisama Hajimemashita, Ace of Diamond, Photograph Jouney, THE UNLIMITED, Glass Heart Princess, FAIRY TAIL, STORM LOVER, Lucian Bee’s RESURRECTION SUPERNOVA, Monochrome Factor and more.

Photobook

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In May 2017, Hatano released his first photobook in partnership with KIKI-VOICE, “Wataru Hatano 5th anniversary ☆ artist book Grateful“.

This special photobook was released to celebrate his 5th anniversary as a solo artist. It includes five interviews about “the artist Wataru Hatano” (with seiyuu and close friends Daisuke Ono, Takamasa Ohashi, Takuma Terashima as well as musicians Yosuke Yamashita and Satoru Kuwabata and sound director/producer Yukio Nagasaki), a 10.000 word long interview with Hatano, 5 different photoshoots, Hatano’s “Fukei Sanpo” serialization corner, his discography, live memories and a special message to his fans.

Variety

Over the years Hatano has hosted and guested a variety of TV shows, guested in multiple events (related to anime or just seiyuu in general) and most of all, showed his impressive variety skills every time he had a chance to.

Anison ★ Cafe Yumegaoka (2009)

In 2009, Hatano made his debut as a TV show host with Anison ★ Cafe Yumegaoka. Hatano was the main MC (the cafe master according to the show) for this unique voice actor show from January 14 – September 25, 2009. Each episode counted with guest seiyuu, most of those up-and-coming or rookie seiyuu, to work together in various corners that included games and talk parts.

Anime joshi-bu (2007 – 2012)

Hatano joined AT-X’s Anime joshi-bu in 2007 as the show’s “navigator”. The show focused on showing a more candid side to voice actors, as well as promote various otome-oriented contents such as games and anime series. Hatano joined the show in 2007 and left with the end of the shows’ second season in 2012.

Anime joshi ochicafe-bu (2011 -)

Anime joshi ochicafe-bu

Hatano met once again Hiroyuki Yoshino (that had also been part of Anime joshi-bu) for Anime joshi ochicafe-bu, TV show that started airing on AT-X in 2011 and counted with three MC’s Hiroki Yasumoto, Hiroyuki Yoshino and Wataru Hatano. For this show they’d invite female guests and have cooking contents between them.

MARINE SUPER WAVE LIVE (2011 – )

MARINE SUPER WAVE LIVE (MSWL) is a music show that features Marine Entertainment’s seiyuu units/bands (D.A.T, ELEKITER ROUND O, TAKA, M.O.E, Black Velvet, etc).

As part of M.O.E (alongside Takuma Terashima), Hatano has participated in the all editions since 2011.

MARINE SUPER WAVE LIVE (2012 -)

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As part of “Hatano Terashima Radio2DLOVE“, Hatano got to attend MARINE SUPER WAVE R, event that gathers several seiyuu radio shows in the same place to play games, do some skits and promote their shows.

8bit BROTHERS (2014)

In 2014, Hatano co-hosted with Takuya Sato the exclusive Nico Nico show 8bit BROTHERS. On this show the duo revisited retro games in what ended up a thoroughly entertaining show that ended up running for one year.

Diamond no Ace All Star game I (2014)

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Hatano participated in the first Diamond no Ace All Star game I, event that put the cast of the anime series playing baseball (but adapted in order to make it a crowd pleaser event featuring penalty games). He surprised everyone aiming for home runs every time he was at bat.

Real Treasure Hunt at German Village in Tokyo (2015)

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Paired up with fellow 81 Produce talent Soma Saito, Hatano took part in the Real Treasure Hunt at German Village in Tokyo. The pair’s chemistry, wittiness and quick thinking got them incredibly close to victory, if only they hadn’t overlooked something.

Regardless, the duo provided some hilarious moments, with both dissing Takuya Eguchi for his “Werewolf” personality (tricking others as he pleases to win games), later trying the same tactic against Yuki Kaji and Tsubasa Yonaga or Saito‘s fear of heights kicking in midway through their treasure hunt.

Jinrou Battle 

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In 2014 and 2017, Hatano participated on Marine Entertainment’s variety series “Jinrou Battle“. This variety show that has seiyuu playing the party game “mafia/werewolf”. In a battle of wits, trying to outsmart the others is rather difficult especially when the other seiyuu are already familiar with ones lying quirks.

Hatano participated in two DVDs for this series “Jinrou Battle ~ Jinrou VS Yusha ~“, in which he was eliminated in the earlier rounds despite being one of the werewolves and  “Jinrou Battle ~ Jinrou VS Eiyuu ~

Later in 2017, Hatano participated in the live “Jinrou Battle Lies and Truth~ Jinrou VS Ouji ~ event.

Hatanorururu (2016 -)

Hatanorururu (still from 2017)

In 2016, Hatano kicked off his monthly Nico Nico show, “Hatanorururu“. This is a laidback show in which Hatano invites fellow seiyuu to chat with them (following or not a theme), promote their shows/work with some laughs in the mix.

Wataru Hatano and Sato Takuya’s SCAT BABYS SHOW!! Pero-sei (2016 – )

Wataru Hatano and Sato Takuya’s SCAT BABYS SHOW!! Pero-sei 2017

In 2016, SCAT BABYS SHOW!! got to try a different format, adding a viewable radio format to their popular show.  Wataru Hatano and Sato Takuya’s SCAT BABYS SHOW!! Pero-sei airs weekly on Nico Nico.

Diamond no Ace All Star game II (2016)

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Two years later after the first event, Hatano participated on Diamond no Ace All Star game II. He once again showed that he’s great at the bat with several important plays during the event.

Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo Kimi ni (guest)

6th guest: Wataru Hatano

In 2018, Wataru Hatano was the final guest for Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo Kimi ni, healing variety TV show hosted by fellow 81 Produce talent, Soma Saito. They visited a shrine, talked about their close relationship and learned Rakugo.

Oreya (guest)

Also in 2018, Hatano guested on Oreya, show hosted by fellow 81 Produce talents, Takuya Eguchi and Koutaro Nishiyama.

Random Facts

Best friends with Takuma Terashima

Over the years, fans noticed Hatano and Terashima‘s friendship flourishing from mere co-workers into the tight bond they now have. Both have worked multiple times on the same projects, host radio shows or appear on variety shows together. It got to the point in which both seiyuu actually joked about getting married to each other. When Terashima announced his marriage in 2017, Hatano went to his personal twitter to congratulate his friend but at the same time making fun of their relationship “I though I was the one you were getting married with!“.

The most active kid

Hatano was incredibly active when he was a kid. He mentioned on several radio shows that he was part of the basketball club (junior high), manga club, broadcasting club, played for his hometown baseball club, took swimming and judo lessons, learned to play guitar. No one would notice that this active kid actually had asthma (Hatano still has asthma).

Used to have bad luck in romance

For multiple times on Radio shows (Kuuchuu Buranko, CELL DIVISION, Storm Lover, etc) and TV shows (Sakurai Takahiro’s kako warai Christmas, AT-X Club, etc) Hatano mentioned that he was fairly unlucky when it came to romance. He was cheated on multiple times, slapped on his face by women that misunderstood his intentions (he went out with them as friends and apparently they thought the opposite), was dumped “close to 10 times” in his life, one of those on a late night call that made him go to a recording – in the following day – with his eyes still swollen from crying his heart out. Due to his busy career and, even before being a seiyuu, busy life, Hatano found himself multiple times rescheduling dates or even going as far as sending gifts to his girlfriends by mail because he couldn’t meet them due to a recording (he mentioned this on Sakurai Takahiro’s Kako Warai).

Things changed and Hatano got married in 2018 with fellow female seiyuu Mai Hashimoto, finally finding happiness and putting an end to his unlucky streak.

Loves his family

He admires his grandmother (that brought him up because both of his parents worked when he was a kid) and always mentions his family in an endearing and passionate way. He’s incredibly close to his younger brother – with whom he’d watch his favorite anime shows. He went as far as to pay for his younger brother’s college tuition when he was taking his first steps as a seiyuu in Tokyo. Although his brother works in Kanagawa, Hatano still manages to find some time on his schedule to at least meet him regularly for a meal.

Cries easily

Hatano is the type to get really emotional, really fast. He mentioned that he cries at the movies and when he’s touched. Fans could see that in the most recent event he took part in “IDOLiSH7 Road To Infinity” in which fans mentioned that he, Soma Saito and Takuya Sato (TRIGGER’s members), hugged each other and cried by the end of the event.

Suffers from Low blood pressure

Due to having low blood pressure (hipotension), Hatano tends to faint easily. In a special event for the OVA Angel Feather, he mentioned that he gained a nickname when he was a kid due to his condition, 生きた俺 (Ikita-ore). In the past he’s fainted on trains and after drama CD recordings (catching his co-stars and staff off guard).

Loves his job

On an interview for MOCA news about him guesting on Soma Saito’s “Wagokoro o kimi ni”, Hatano mentioned that he likes being overworked. Even after work he tries to polish his skills, work on getting all details right for an upcoming anime he’s got to record, practice his lines and mannerisms, etc. A couple of years ago, on a radio show, he mentioned that when confronted with the classic dating ultimatum “me or work“, Hatano would, without stopping to think, choose work over romance.

Close friends with Soma Saito and Takuya Sato

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It’s not surprise that Hatano is close to both Soma Saito and Takuya Sato. Hatano took Saito under his wing in 2015, in an attempt to boost Saito’s popularity (had been away from the spotlight for a couple of years) and make him more comfortable on variety and radio shows. Both bonded quickly, with Saito mentioning that he looks up to Hatano for his knowledge and fantastic personality. Both have been casted multiple times in the same anime (Dance with Devils, IDOLiSH7, etc) and part of the same units (TRIGGER, Pentacle) which further solidified their friendship and trust.

The same thing can be said about Hatano and Takuya Sato. Both know each other since 2011 (drama CDs) and have worked multiple times together on variety and radio shows (Scat Babys Show!!), anime and are even part of the same unit (TRIGGER). They bonded quickly and showcase an impressive chemistry whenever they’re working on the same thing. Between them there’s mutual admiration and respect.

Dotes on his juniors

Hatano is also known for his gentle nature, which makes it harder for him no to dote on his juniors. Takuya Eguchi, Soma Saito, Koutaro Nishiyama, Yoshiki Nakajima and Kento Ito are just some of his juniors at 81 Produce that mention that he’s always affable and available to help and/or guide them. He doesn’t hesitate to promote his juniors we pride, which makes him easily the most lovable seiyuu within 81 Produce. He’s also known for his closeness with almost all male seiyuu under 81 Produce (Kento Ito, Shinnichiro Kamio, Nitta Anju, Yoshiki Nakajima, Wataru Komada, Koutaro Nishiyama, etc).

#10 Most popular BL seiyuu in 2018

In 2018, at the BL Awards, Hatano was voted as the 10th most popular seiyuu in BL. Known as one of the best seiyuu in this genre, with more than 70 credits (alone in BL) and being respected by all seiyuu working in BL, Hatano was a certain fan favorite to enter this chart.

With this we wrap up another Seiyuu Digest. Next month there’s another one. In the meantime don’t forget to check past Seiyuu Digests (some of those recently updated) – HERE.

Last updated on 19/10/2018

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