Seiyuu Digest #57 – Natsuki Hanae

Iconic roles. Unique voice. Natsuki Hanae has grown into one of the seiyuu industry’s most sought-out voice actors in just 3 years. But there’s much more to him than his work as a seiyuu. This month we take a look at Hanae’s impressive career.

Natsuki Hanae

KANJI: 花江夏樹

BORN: June 26, 1991

OCCUPATION: seiyuu, singer, TV and radio personality

HEIGHT: 173cm

Natsuki Hanae was born on June 26, 1991 in Kanagawa, Japan. He’s an only child. It is wildly known that “Hanae” isn’t his real family name but a pseudonym. Across Entertainment hasn’t disclosed his real family name.

Seiyuu

2011 – 2013

Debut days & First leading roles

Natsuki Hanae made his debut in 2011 with a minor role in Golden☆Kids. Contrary to most seiyuu, that tend to land minor roles and, occasionally, some secondary roles in the first years in their career, Hanae landed his first leading role a year after making his debut.

Atsuhiro Maeda

He voiced Atsuhiro Maeda in the music and slice-of-life anime Tari Tari in 2012. Maeda is a unique and exciting character in the series to which most viewers quickly grew attached to over the course of the series. His misuses and exaggerations of Japanese gestures led often to comedic results within the series making this one of the best fleshed out characters in the series with a solid performance by Hanae that made Maeda and even more enjoyable character.

In 2013 he showed more consistency and got roles in several anime projects that were or are still incredibly popular.

Haruichi Kominato

He joined the cast of Diamond no Ace in 2013. He voices Haruichi Kominato, Seido’s second baseman and one of the main characters in the series. Haruichi joined the baseball team following the footsteps of his older brother Ryousuke Kominato. He’s quiet and calm but sassy and blunt at times, leading to hilarious bickering between the main characters Sawamura and Furuya.

Diamond no Ace is one of the most popular sports anime in the past 10 years and has stemmed two seasons (one aired from 2013 to 2015 and the second season aired from 2015 to 2016). A third season is in the works and will premiere in 2019’s Fall Season.

Kiri Haimura

Still in the same year he voiced the main character, Kiri Haimura, in seinen and action anime, Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge. Hanae was praised for his acting that by some fans of the series managed to perfectly capture the character’s essence. The anime itself ended up being rather criticized, especially in comparison with other anime following the same “game/battle royal” theme.

Hikari Sakishima

Hanae also got the leading role as Hikari Sakishima in the drama and romance anime, Nagi no Asukara. Considered by many one of the hidden jewels in 2013, the unpredictable and unique Nagi no Asukara did a perfect take on the romance genre, straying away from most cliches and explored other conflicts between the two sides in question – humans living under water and those living on the surface. Hikari Sakishima is one of the protagonists in this series, being a central part of the romance in this series. The acting in this series was thoroughly commended.

Over this period of time, Hanae got minor and / or secondary roles in anime such as: Kimi to Boku (2011), Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo (2012), Joshiraku (2012), Sukitte Ii na yo. (2012), To LOVE-Ru Darkness (2012), Little Busters! (2012), AKB0048 next stage (2013), Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito (2013), Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru (2013), Samurai Flamenco (2013), Suisei no Gargantia (2013), Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (2013), Hataraku Maou-sama! (2013), Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko. (2013), Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai (2013), between many others.

2014 – 2016

Breakthrough

From 2014 to 2016, Hanae‘s popularity skyrocketed. He would end up being part of some of the most popular anime productions during that period and getting main roles – some of those iconic in his career – that would end up shaping his career and drive attention to his hard work.

Kal-el Albus

The first main role in 2014 was Kal-el Albus, former crown prince of the Ballesteros Empire, in the drama/romance anime Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta. The series focused in the relationships between the cadets, war and Kal-el Albus’ and Claire Cruz’s romance. Fans complained that the story was inconsistent, especially dealing with those three big themes that it had settled early on for this series.

Aside from this, the series had its tearjerker moments mainly provided by strong performances by Hanae and the rest of the series’ cast.

Inaho Kaizuka

Still in 2014, Hanae joined the cast of the mecha/action anime Aldnoah.Zero (2014). He voiced the series’ protagonist Inaho Kaizuka, calm and collected Kataphrakt pilot. Emotional detached and extremely intelligent, Kaizuka ends up being pivotal to solve certain conflicts between the two opposing powers – Earth and Mars.

The series was initially hype due to the involvement of Gen Urobuchi (Fate/Zero, Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica, Psycho-Pass, etc) in the series as a script writer and how the series would channel two classic mecha anime Legend of the Galactic Heroes (1988) and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (1995). However, Urobuchi ended up only writing the series’ first 3 episodes before leaving production and the anime ended up drawing more comparisons with Code Gears (2006) than any of the two classic anime it was first being compared to while not showing glimpses of the greatness of any of the 3 anime previously mentioned.

Regardless, reviews were mostly positive in Japan and overseas. Hanae’s acting was praised, leading to him winning the Best Rookie Actor award at the Seiyuu Awards in 2015.

Yuta Ashu

2014 would also put Hanae for the first time in the cast of a music/idol anime. In 2015’s Summer season the ambitious music/idol project B-PROJECT premiered its anime adaptation. With music by Japanese pop legend as well as the series’ executive producer T.M.Revolution, B-PROJECT was riding on a lot of hype before its premiere. When the series premiered, it had mixed reviews mostly due to the series inconsistent animation, nonsensical, empty story and the flow of the 12 episodes series as a whole. With a lot of faults, the anime was still popular among female viewers.

Hanae voices Yuta Ashu, sociable and energetic member of the trio THRIVE, since 2015. Ashu is the group’s middle-ground, able to make THRIVE’s members – Goushi and Kento – work together instead of fighting. Due to the series’ episodic format and mostly nonsensical story, there was not much focus on the character’s intentions and back story.

Lavi

D.Gray-man HALLOW (2016) didn’t get the best reception by fans of the series. In the middle of what ended up being a controversial recasting of everyone involved with the D.Gray-man anime series, Hanae ended up being heavily criticized for his acting as Lavi (originally voiced by Kenichi Suzumura). Some complained about how far off his acting sounded and how polarizing Hanae and Suzumura’s voices were for the exact same role.

Even with he series carrying over from where the original had left off but that wasn’t enough to satisfy the fans of the series. D.Gray-man HALLOW failed to be as popular as the series’ first season, ultimately not even receiving a release on DVD (initially announced but later cancelled).

Ken Kaneki

Now, if there is a role that has put Hanae in the spotlight it is Ken Kaneki in the psychological/action/horror anime, Tokyo Ghoul (2014).

Equally praised and criticized, the truth is that 2014 was Tokyo Ghoul‘s year. The anime was a massive hit in Japan as well as overseas due to its mature themes, visuals and unique story. Ken Kaneki is the series’ protagonist, a literature student that, due to an encounter with a female ghoul, gets caught up in a bigger conflict than expected while dealing with internal conflicts. Hanae’s acting as Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul’s two seasons (2014 and 2015) as well as in the spin-off series Tokyo Ghoul:re (2 cours in 2018) were highly praised, especially how he conducted his acting in the drama scenes.

Kousei Arima

By many considered one of the best anime that aired in 2014, Shigatsu wa kimi no uso, even with its flaws, would end up being the anime that solidify him as one of the best seiyuu for roles in drama anime. It was also one of the most buzzworthy anime of the year taking into account the tragic, heartbreaking storyline, delicate themes explored and the emotional performances by Hanae, voicing Kousei Arima, and Risa Taneda as Kaori Miyazono.

Yuuta Hoshitani

In 2015’s Fall season, Hanae joined the cast of the music/slice-of-life anime, Starmyu. He voiced Yuuta Hoshitani, the series’ bright and cheerful protagonist. The story’s simplicity and lighthearted moments seemed to capture the fans’ attention and its popularity led to release of several OVAs as well as a 2nd season – that premiered in 2017.

Adding to these main roles are those of Asahi Kuromine in Jitsu wa Watashi wa (2015), Asuta Jimon in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda (2015), Qwenthur Barbotage in Heavy Object (2015), Merry in Makura no Danshi (2015), Yuuto Akama in Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku (2015), Rokuro Enmadou in Sousei no Onmyouji (2016), Kuzan Montoban in Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito 5 (2016) and Yoshiki Maeda in Gakuen Handsome (2016).

He reprised his roles as Haruichi Kominato in the 2nd season of Diamond no Ace (2015 – 2016) and Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul √A (2015),

Other anime he voiced roles in include: Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. (2014), Noragami (2014), Hamatora (2014), Kenzen Robo Daimidaler (2014), Strike the Blood (2014), Orenchi no Furo Jijou (2014), Sword Art Online II (2014), Overlord (2015), Absolute Duo (2015), Arslan Senki (2015), Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (2015), GANGSTA. (2015), Charlotte (2015), Shokugeki no Souma (2015 – 2016), Dragon Ball Super (2015), Baby Steps 2nd Season (2015), Active Raid: Kidou Kyoushuushitsu Dai Hachi Gakari (2016), Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan (2016), DAYS (2016), Divine Gate (2016), HaruChika: Haruta to Chika wa Seishun suru (2016), Prince of Stride: Alternative (2016), between many more.

2017 –

Further diversifying his repertoire

Coming off several popular anime and iconic roles, Hanae kicked off 2017 in a rather quiet fashion. He got several main roles in anime covering all seasons. From romance to music, drama and comedy, he tried to branch out while showing the same consistency he’d been showing since 2014.

Masamune Makabe

He joined the cast of the comedy/romance anime Masamune-kun no Revenge in 2017. He voiced Masamune Makabe, a good looking teen that vowed to get revenge on the girl that broke his heart when he was a kid. The anime is filled with shenanigans, some of those bringing laughter to the viewers, with both main characters constantly trying to trick the other as a way to exact their revenge.

Sieg

Completely contrasting is his role as Sieg in the drama/action/fantasy anime Fate/Apocrypha (2017). The anime is more on a serious, tragic tone and Sieg is far from being a character that has a comedic edge however, this contrast in performances is where Hanae showcased his range and quality as a seiyuu. Sieg is the very best example of a blank slate, initially not having a personality, ideals or any opinions but, as the story progressed, the character grew to have some depth. Hanae’s performance impressed first with the emptiness in personality and emotion and then with the gradual growth of its emotions. This tricky performance as Sieg was commended by fans of the franchise.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Although not the most popular anime nor anime adaptation of an otome game, Sengoku Night Blood (2017) is still an entry worth mentioning. Hanae voiced one of the series’ main characters, hinted in the anime that it is the story’s cannon, Hideyoshi Toyotomi. The anime adaptation was under heavy criticism due to its lazy animation, excessive lighting, confusing plot and massive cast that didn’t have much depth. Due to all this and more, this is one of the most forgettable roles in Hanae’s career.

Rikka Sera

In 2017’s Fall season, the anime adaptation of popular music franchise Tsukipro was greenlit. Hanae voiced Rikka Sera, SolidS‘ member in TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION. 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 Sera’s background or even about SolidS‘ formation. Despite the lukewarm response by overseas fans, the anime was popular even when competing in the same season and same genre – music – with the likes of THE IDOLMASTER SideM and Dynamic Chord.

Chakuro

Still in the 2017 Fall season, Hanae voiced the passionate and curious thinker Chakuro in the drama/fantasy anime, Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau.

Haru

In 2018 he voiced Haru in the anime adaptation of the smartphone role-playing game Last Period: Story of an Endless Spiral. Last Period: Owarinaki Rasen no Monogatari was well received due to how craftily it parodied Japanese RPG games and its cliches. Hanae was once again shining in a comedic role.

Shuhei Amamiya

Hanae’s biggest role in this period of time is Shuhei Amamiya in the drama/music anime Piano no Mori (2018). Amamiya’s anxiety and crippling inferiority complex as the series progresses make this one of the deepest roles he’s voiced since Kousei Arima in Shigatsu wa kimi no uso (2014). Although with not much focus in a series that is not adapting several story arcs from the original manga, and only voicing the character in the last episodes of the first season (the first half was focused in the childhood arc), Hanae’s performance was still commended for how natural and emotional it was.

Adding to this breakdown of main roles are: Aoi Nishina in the short anime Room Mate (2017), Taiyou Mitsuboshi in drama/horror anime Happy Sugar Life and Arthur Kakka in Hangyakusei Million Arthur (2018).

He reprised his roles as Takumi Aldini in the 3rd season of Shokugeki no Souma (2017), Yuuta Hoshitani in Starmyu 2nd season (2017), Reita Toritsuka in Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan (2018), Yuta Ashu in B-PROJECT: Kodou*Ambitious (2019), Shuhei Amamiya in the 2nd season of Piano no Mori (2019)

Hanae also had secondary or minor roles in amime such as Demi-chan wa Kataritai (2017), ALL OUT!! (2017), Yowamushi Pedal: Glory Line (2017), Yowamushi Pedal: New Generation (2017), ONE PIECE (2017), Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! (2017), Gamers! (2017), Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu (2017), Zoku Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru (2018), Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (2018), Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen (2018), Inazuma Eleven: Ares no Tenbin (2018), Black Clover (2018) and more.

Awards

9th Seiyuu Awards (2015)

So far in his career, Hanae has two awards won at the Seiyuu Awards. First off, in 2015 he won the Best Rookie Actor award for his work in Aldnoah.Zero as Inaho Kaizuka. He shared the award with Ryota Osaka and Soma Saito.

11th Seiyuu Awards (2017)

In 2017, Hanae won the Best Personality award at the 11th Seiyuu Awards due to his work as main host of the kids TV Show, Oha Suta.

Radio

Since early on in his career, Hanae has been a host to several radio shows. As a radio personality he is known for his lively, laidback personality and funny remarks that easily make guests feel at ease or simply laugh without an end.

Hanae kicked off work as a radio host in 2013 with 4 different radio shows: Dansai bunri no crime edge no Crime Radio (2013), Ouhana (2013 -), Dengeki Taisho (2013 – 2015) and Daiya no A 〜 net Koshien 〜 (2013 – 2016).

Ouhana, radio show co-hosted with fellow seiyuu Ryota Osaka, is Hanae’s longest running radio show. It started in 2013 and after several DJCD releases and even a couple of music releases later, this radio show still airs weekly.

Senburaji

He also hosted Tokyo Ghoul’s radio show Ghoul Radio (2014 – 2015), Hanae Natsuki’s Voice Butler-Young Lady, Your Time- (2015), Gekkan shin otokomae tsushin 〜 Gekkan Hanae Natsuki (2015), Arslan Senki Radio (2015), A&G TRIBAL RADIO (2015 – 2018), Sentama radio (2015), Heavy Object Shogata radio (2015 – 2016), Active Raid radio (2016), Senburaji (2017 – 2018), between many other radio shows.

Games

Before making his debut as a seiyuu in an anime series, Hanae was already voicing characters in videogames. His first roles – minor ones – were in 2010 for XBrave and Starry☆Sky 〜After Spring〜. After this he started to voice characters in otome games and music games.

He’s voiced characters in games such as SNOW BOUND LAND (2013), AMNESIA World (2014), Clover Library (2014), Hamatora Look at Smoking World (2014), Medarot8 (2014), Rage of Bahamut (2014), Sangoku cross saga (2015), School of Ragnarok (2015), BAD APPLE WARS (2015), POSSESSION MAGENTA (2015), Dragon Ball Xenoverse (2015), Akashic Re:cords (2016), Collar×Malice (2016), Stand My Heroes (2016), Fate/Grand Order (2016), Shokugeki no Soma Saikyo no recipe (2016), League of Legends Japanese server (2016), Antique Carnival (2017), Star Trigger (2017), Crank-in (2017), Idol D・T・I (2017), ORDINAL STRATA (2018), IDOL FANTASY (2018), Shadowverse (2018), Cendrillon phalikA (2018), Op8♪ (2019), Crimson Clan (2019), Kaikan♥Phrase CLIMAX -NEXT GENERATION- (2019), Palette Parade (2019) and many more titles.

Yuki in Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku

His first leading role in a game was in Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku (2014). After that he’s managed to consistently voice a main character in a game on a yearly basis.

Some of his most prominent roles in videogames include:

Noah in Ai★Chu (2015 -)

Noah is a prince-like, foreigner character, member of  I♥B. This character has a duality. On the surface it is a friendly young man however, when angered, he tends to be scary, commanding and assertive.

Higekiri in Touken Ranbu (2015 -)

Higekiri is part of the cast of the popular anthropomorphic sword raising game, Touken Ranbu. Although not a main character per se, Higekiri is one of the most loved characters in the franchise.

Iori Fujimura in Yumeiro Cast (2015 – 2019)

Iori Fujimura is one of the main characters in Yumeiro Cast. He is part of Yumeiro Company. Known for his earnestness and diligence as a performer, he completely devotes himself to what he has to do, being an expert in Kabuki. This character has an interesting range of emotions. As much as he sounds polite in most occasions, This character has an interesting range of emotions. As much as he sounds polite in most occasions, the character eventually goes beyond that shifting to anger, jealousy and sadness as soon as he finds himself helpless in fear or frustrated.

Ray Cephart in Band Yarouze! (2016 – 2019)

Ray Cephart

Ray Cephart is Osiris‘ playful guitarist. He’s known for his cheerful yet bossy personality. He’s often butting heads with Makoto Kurusu (voiced by Yuma Uchida) due to him being a “dreamer” instead of a realist.

Yuta Ashu in B-PROJECT (2017 -)

The energy booster of THRIVE, Yuta Ashu is a bubbly and friendly character that often serves as a mediator between the group’s two other members, Kento and Goshi. His childlike demeanor, clumsiness and upbeat personality make him one of the most charming characters in the franchise.

Hiyori Tomoe in Ensemble Stars! (2018 -)

Hanae joined the cast of the popular smartphone game Ensemble Stars! in 2018. He voices the bright and cheerful Hiyori Tomoe, character of royal background and member of the duo, Eve and the quartet Eden.

Senri Nitto in DREAM!ing (2018 -)

In 2018, Hanae joined the cast of DREAM!ing, smartphone that features music as one of its selling points.

The game counts with a fantastic cast that includes Natsuki Hanae, Makoto Furukawa, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Shouta Aoi, Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Yuma Uchida, Shunichi Toki, Toshinari Fukamachi, Shinnosuke Tachibana, Tetsuya Kakihara, Yusuke Kobayashi, Tasuku Hatanaka, Yoshiki Nakajima, Shunsuke Takeuchi, Naru Hamano, Yuto Suzuki and Tomohiro Yamaguchi.

Senri Nito

Hanae voices Senri Nito, a bright, sociable character that knows exactly what others want to hear. He’s often found butting heads with Takaomi Shishimaru (voiced by Yuma Uchida) over the smallest of things.

Dubbing/Narration

Being incredibly busy voicing characters in anime and games, lending his voice to multiple music groups and hosting multiple radio and TV shows has made narration one of the fields in which he has the least work.

Hanae only has two narration credits under his belt: OHA OHA Aniki (2016), Youth high school 3rd year C group (2018).

Drama CDs

Drama CDs haven’t been one of Hanae’s career priorities but he has still voiced characters for a wide variety of projects and franchises in this field.

Some of his easily recognizable roles in Drama CDs include his performance on Rejet’s Dear Vocalist franchise. He voices (2)you, Jet Rat Fury‘s vocalist known for his drive and talent but also for his, at times, lack of tact when dealing with his girlfriend (the listener). In the group drama CDs, (2)you is often put in situations in which his maturity and reason always make him stand out from the chaos that other characters create (i.e upon Dear Vocalist’s characters were handed money for their trip, (2)you quickly snatched the money to control excessive spending from other members).

He has been a part of the Dear Vocalist franchise since its inception in 2015. So far that includes the following Drama CDs: Dear Vocalist entry no.6 (2015), Dear Vocalist Riot entry no.5 (2016), Dear Vocalist Drama CD Survival Wars #1 (2016), Dear Vocalist Wired entry no.6 (2017), Dear Vocalist Drama CD Survival Wars #2 (2017), Dear Vocalist Xtreme entry no.4 (2018), Dear Vocalist Drama CD Survival Wars #3 (2018) and Dear Vocalist Drama CD Survival Wars #4 (2018).

More CDs are planned to be released both in new CD + drama series titled Evolve, as well as the Survival Wars series.

SolidS 6th drama CD (2019)

Other role that also stands out with ease is SolidSRikka Sera. Tsukipro started with music and drama CDs and it was through here that most fans of the group got a glimpse of what each member is all about.

Hanae often voices energetic or delicate characters in otome franchises. He is a prominent name among Otomate and Rejet’s projects.

Other projects he has been a part of include: Yumeiro Cast, B-PROJECT KING of CASTE~Sneaking Shadow~, Band Yarouze! Duel Gig series, Starry☆Sky in winter, Starmyu, Arslan Senki, 100 Sleeping Princes & the Kingdom of Dreams, Prince of Stride, fortissimo, AMNESIA series, CRAZY CIRCUS, Honeymoon, √HAPPY+SUGAR= series, Private Tactics, Love on Ride and more.

Music

One of the most unique singers among male seiyuu, Hanae has been impressing with his versatile vocal range, high singing tone and technique. Over the years, Hanae has been part of several 2D idol and band projects and regardless of project, he always brings his best to the table.

Solo career

Although he hasn’t done a proper solo debut, Hanae did join Nippon Columbia in 2016 and released two singles.

Released in 2016, the singles 青春は残酷じゃない (Seishun wa zankoku janai) and こころ (Kokoro) were featured (respectively) as the opening and ending themes for Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan (2016). Both singles explored a pop-rock sonority that has its times of brilliance as well as its downs.

Overall, fans were excited that Hanae was getting a shot – even if not official – as a solo artist.

Ouhana (2014 -)

Ouhana, duo comprised of Ryota Osaka and Natsuki Hanae, made their debut in 2014 with the single Yujou Revolution / After School.

The duo then made their comeback in 2017 with the single Senkou agitator. Both releases featured the theme and ending songs for their radio show, Ouhana.

SolidS (2015 -)

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 and is, since day one, the most popular and best selling group in the Tsukipro – SQ and ALIVE – franchise.

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

Hanae joined the group and easily stood out for his unusual, high-pitched vocals that even made fellow SolidS’ member Takuya Eguchi questioning the producers during recording. Eguchi mentioned on Bar SolidS (2015) that he was puzzled when he first listened to the recorded version of one of SolidS’ debut songs and wanted to know who had such a voice or if that voice was really coming from a man.

Hanae at S.Q.P -SQ PARTY 2017 SUMMER-

Known for his soft singing tone and unusual high register, Hanae stood out within SolidS. He was, right from the start, the star in this group. Vocally there’s nothing lacking as he’s not only skilled, but also knows perfectly how to make a song resonate with the listener with his passionate performances.

The group went on hiatus in June 2018, after Yuichiro Umehara was suddenly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. The group didn’t cancel their performance at TSUKIPRO LIVE 2018 SUMMER CARNIVAL in 2018 and performed as a trio instead while rocking Dai (Yuichiro Umehara)’s colors.

As news of Umehara’s recovery surfaced in July, Tsukipro announced the group’s return, resuming their take on the RE:START series.

THRIVE (2015 -)

Toyonaga joined the cast of B-PROJECT in 2015. He’s a member of THRIVE, unit consisting of Natsuki Hanae, Toshiyuki Toyonaga and Kazuki Kato. Since their debut, the group has released 3 singles – Dreaming Time (2015),  Maybe Love (2016) and Needle No.6 (2017) – and 1 mini-album – Chokan Destiny (2018).

THRIVE -> Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Natsuki Hanae and Kazuki Kato

THRIVE have performed live thrice: B-PROJECT Kodou Ambitious BRILLIANT PARTY (2016), B-PROJECT Summer Live 2018 – Eternal Pacific – and THRIVE’s first live tour (2019).

Dear Vocalist: (2)you (2016 -)

In 2016 Hanae was announced as the face of Dear Vocalist, drama + music CD series created by Rejet.

He voices (2)you, Jet Rat Fury’s vocalist known for his drive and talent. (2)you’s songs are centered around a strong rock sound. Fast paced rock tunes, ballads and exceptionally, electronica, are some of the things one should expect from his music.

Natsuki hanae @ CR69Fes.2018「Dead or Alive」

So far Hanae has performed for 4 singles – all part of the respective 4 drama CDs released up until now – and 1 Best of album.

Natsuki hanae @ CR69Fes.2018「Dead or Alive」

Hanae performed live for the first time as (2)you on CR69Fes.2018「Dead or Alive」, Dear Vocalist‘s first ever live show held at Akasaka Blitz in Tokyo on 30/09/2018. He performed I need your love, Relationship and day after day.

Osiris (2015 – 2019)

In 2016, Hanae joined the cast of the ambitious, rock-oriented rhythm game, Band Yarouze!. He voiced Ray Cephart, Osiris‘ guitarist. Since the band’s formation up until 2019, Osiris released 6 digital singles, two Duel Gig Albums and 4 individual singles (the songs were later included in DUEL GIG EXTRA, best of album released in 2018).

Eden / Eve (2018 – )

Adam (2 members on the left) + Eve (2 members on the right) = Eden

Natsuki Hanae joined the Ensemble Stars! franchise in 2018. He’s simultaneously part of the two men unit Eve, alongside Yuma Uchida, and is part of Eden, unit that includes Junichi Suwabe + Ryota Osaka (part of Adam) and Yuma Uchida.

DREAM!ing (2018 -)

Hanae joined the DREAM!ing franchise in 2018. He performed alongside the game’s main cast in the franchise’s first single, “TAKE A DREAM!!”.

He’s also going to perform on BLACK OUT/HAPPY ENTERTAINER Yume Live CD Kuro Ryo VS Shiro Ryo, single scheduled to be released in March 2019.

Variety

When it comes to variety, Hanae is one of the seiyuu with the best sense. Going from professional to entertaining to chaotic in a heartbeat, he always lits up any variety show/broadcast he’s a part of. His attitude makes other guests comfortable but it provides with plenty of laughing material when the hosts can’t deal with his shenanigans. Aside from his upbeat, friendly behavior when he’s a guest, he’s also established himself as a natural host with his work in the kid’s show Oha Sta.

Animemashite (2014)

In 2014, Hanae co-hosted TV Tokyo’s Animemashite, show focused on the anime and seiyuu scenes, with fellow seiyuu Seiichiro Yamashita. 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.

Diamond no Ace All Star game I (2014), II (2016) and III (2018)

All Star I (2014)
All Star II (2016)

As part of the series’ main cast, Hanae has attended all of Diamond no Ace‘s All Star game events. Despite his efforts, he ended up showing a knack for getting impressive hits that went to the “out” zone, making his team get an out as well give himself a punishment.

Bar SolidS (2015)

Quite possibly one of the most difficult TV show segments to handle, Bar SolidS was marked by frank talk about women, music, dirty jokes and more, all with a drunk SolidS‘ cast back in 2015.

Even after being heavily edited in post-production, the show was borderline rated R and sometimes it was incredibly close of being rated R much to due to Natsuki Hanae‘s dangerous wordplays. Hanae even challenged Soma Saito for a rap battle but due to how much both were drunk, Saito refused to accept it.

Tokyo Otome Restaurant (2015)

Natsuki Hanae and Showtaro Morikubo were chosen as the hosts for Tokyo Otome Restaurant. The show, based on the smartphone game (now discontinued) with the same name, ended up being more entertaining than initially envisioned by most fans.

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).

All seiyuu featured in Tokyo Otome Restaurant guested on the show that spawned 24 episodes split into 2 seasons.

Oha Sta (2015 -)

Hanae started as a regular on Oha Sta, kids’ morning show that was hosted by Koichi Yamadera. In 2018, Hanae replaced Yamadera as the show’s main host. Due to his work in Oha Sta, Hanae received the award of “Best Personality” at the 11th Seiyuu awards in 2017.

Mayonaka no nyago (2016)

Natsuki Hanae and Soma Saito on Mayonaka no nyago in 2016

In 2016, Natsuki Hanae co-hosted with Soma Saito the midnight show Mayonaka no nyago. Mainly a show created to promote shoujo manga, Mayonaka no nyago ended up being more than what people could have asked for. Live reading, showcasing drawing skills, weird ments, taking photographs, frank talk and a laidback vibe made this episode feel incredibly special for fans of both seiyuu.

Cafe SolidS (2016)

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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. Hanae unveiled on the show his passion for collecting masks and steampunk themed items.

Real treasure hunt in Yokohama (2017)

In 2017, Hanae participated on Marine Entertainment’s well known Treasure Hunt variety show. He was paired with Taku Yashiro and what followed was a series of going off track in their quest, trying to use some sticks Hanae picked up from the floor in order to fool the game’s officials, participate in a fake wedding, among other things.

This duo stole the show with their balance of reason – Yashiro – and enthusiasm/craziness – Hanae – that led to some of the most hilarious antics in the whole variety DVD shot in Yokohama.

Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo Kimi ni (2017 as guest)

1st guest: Natsuki Hanae

Natsuki Hanae was the first guest of Soma Saito’s healing variety show, Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo Kimi ni. The two episodes were aired in September 2017. Hanae and Saito visited a Shinto Temple as well as visited a Beer Museum and tasted some delicacies. Aside from this both engaged in a more personal, casual topics, ending up playing around and showing their friendship and comfort around each other.

Tokyo Ghoul:re Promotion Broadcast (2018)

In 2018, after Tokyo Ghoul:re‘s anime started airing, the variety show Tokyo Ghoul:re Promotion Broadcast kicked off. Hanae is the main host however there have been some instances in which Yuma Uchida and Kaito Ishikawa have hosted in his place. Out of all the episodes he’s hosted, the epitome of awesome/crazy is found in the 2 episodes that featured Mamoru Miyano and Megumi Han as a guests.

If Hanae is known for being impossible to tame when he’s a variety show guest, watch what happens when Hanae had to deal with Miyano – that was in character from time to time – trying to mess up his hosting with ad-lib after ad-lib.

Facts

Mask Collector and Steampunk enthusiast

In 2016, on an episode of Café SolidS, Hanae showed two of his passions: mask collecting and steampunk. He has over a dozen unique masks (including a custom-made Kaneki mask) as well as several one-of-a-kind steampunk watches.

Passionate gamer + The best youtuber among seiyuu

Hanae has never hid his passion for gaming. He mentioned a couple of times – in interviews and variety appearances – that he used to play games as a kid and still does. Fans might be familiar with his game highlight videos he posts at times on his official twitter account.

These videos offer a brief look at his gaming skills as well as his unique shenanigans that even shock his friends playing along with him. The videos on his personal youtube channel edited and compiled by Hanae himself.

He posted gameplay videos with featuring some of his close seiyuu friends such as Takuya Eguchi, Kensho OnoSoma Saito and Shintaro Asanuma, turning himself into a full-fledged, popular youtuber that draws thousands of fans to his channel.

He’s not part of a competitive gaming team but he’s often invited to attend gaming competitions and is close to some competitive League Of Legends players. Some of the games he plays include APEX Legends, Kingdom Hearts, LoL and Dead by Daylight.

His cats are his kids

It’s no surprise to any of his fans that Hanae has a passion for his two cats.

His twitter account has daily photos of the two cuties more than it has talk about his work, going to the point that Hanae even re-wrote his bio to mention that his official twitter account isn’t a “cat bot” profile.

SolidS’ brotherhood

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Hanae, Eguchi, Saito and Umehara tend to hang out quite often. From hanging out at a bar and visiting each others’ homes, 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.

Friendly rivalry with Soma Saito + Unofficial Soma Saito fanclub president

Piano no Mori Livedoor News interview 2018

What started as a friendship is now a friendly rivalry. Natsuki Hanae and fellow seiyuu Soma Saito are incredibly competitive between themselves, especially when both audition for the same anime and same roles.

Saito mentioned in 2018 that he and Hanae had both auditioned for the lead role of Kai Ichinose in the drama anime Piano no Mori. After the audition, and before knowing who the directors had chosen for the lead role, Hanae texted him saying that he wasn’t going to lose that role to him as well as playfully mentioned that he should prepare himself for the outcome of that audition. Hanae ended up failing the audition for Ichinose and, instead, got the role of Shuuhei Amamiya but, as a good sport as well as a rival, he congratulated Saito as well as announced his plans to avenge that loss, saying that the next role that both audition for will be his.

Both Saito and Hanae later confirmed that they acknowledge themselves as rivals, as well as friends.

More recently, in one of Hanae’s gameplay videos with Soma Saito, he acted as most fans call the president of Soma Saito’s fanclub, constantly reacting like a fanboy to every whisper, action or whatnot, making Saito laugh throughout his broadcast.

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

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Author: midorin

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Currently based in Macau SAR. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to completely dedicate herself to writing about male seiyuu music.

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