A warm thank to everyone that participated on year’s THTFHQ Awards!
This year our THTFHQ Awards focused on celebrating the amazing music released this decade. No popularity came into question so fairer awards are impossible come around, as everyone is, in our books, a winner.
Below we take a look at our readers’ picks in the solo artists category, with a brief memo on the career of that seiyuu up until now and diving a bit on the most voted release by our readers in the poll we conducted from December 20 to December 22, 2019.
A note that, regardless of where they sit on this feature, no ranking was made between solo artists, only their releases got ranked within their repertoire and we elaborated on the results, talking about the most vote release(s).
Jun Fukuyama “dis-communicate”
Receiving 41,7% of the votes, dis-communicate was chosen. Jun Fukuyama has had an interesting career as a solo act. Before making his major debut with PONY CANYON in 2017, he had been releasing his own song + reading indie albums since 2009 up until 2013.
dis-communicate was released in 2019 and it is a single that continues to explore dance/electronica but adding a bit of edge with rock and pop elements. The vibe is darker and more mature, something that ended up attracting a lot of attention.
Mamoru Miyano “Encore”
Miyano’s fans had a tough choice to make. In just a decade, the prolific seiyuu released more than 20 CDs between singles and albums. Encore was the chosen by our readers, getting 23,5% of the votes in what was a tight fight in the end with Orpheus (20,6%). This single features Never Friends, one of our team’s favorite songs of the year.
Mamoru Miyano made his debut in 2007 with Kuon and since then has established himself as the most successful solo act among seiyuu. Sold out arenas, best selling albums and a continuous momentum have made him an unavoidable figure in the industry.
Hiro Shimono “Running High / Soul Flag”
Competition was fierce for a spot on this feature. Ultimately, Running High (2017) and Soul Flag (2019) share a spot here as each ended up with 24,4% votes.
Shimono made his major debut with PONY CANYON in 2016 with the single, REAL. He collaborated with Shinya, LUNA SEA’s legendary drummer, for Running High in 2017.
His music is a blend of pop and rock, with his latest releases leaning more towards bubbly, upbeat rock.
Soma Saito “quantum stranger”
quantum stranger. Album that we can not stop talking about. Album that our readers love. Soma Saito‘s 1st full-length album got 32,1% of the votes (with Date close behind at 23,2%). quantum stranger is currently the best selling album among male seiyuu and is one of those releases that need to be picked up with an open mind. This is a rock album with a whole lot of depth.
Soma Saito made his debut under SACRA (a division of Sony Music Entertainment Japan) in 2017 with the single, Fish Story. Since then he released a total of 3 singles, a full-length album and an EP, all of those ranking within Oricon Weekly’s top 10, making him the most consistent seiyuu when charts are involved.
Kazuki Kato “Answer”
This was yet another tough choice for our readers because Kazuki Kato was incredibly active in the first half of the decade and there is plenty of music to choose from. Ultimately it was Answer (14,8%) that got a spot on this feature. Kato is the type of artist that shifts from pop to rock to ballads with each release. Answer is one cool rock song yet with simplistic lyrics that end up working well with it.
Kazuki Kato made his debut as a solo artist in 2006 with Rough Diamond. Since then, the actor and singer went on a consistent career as pop-rock act with hits like Venom and Libido still standing out as his best tracks.
Shunichi Toki “Yakusoku no Overture”
Shunichi Toki‘s debut single, Yakusoku no Overture takes the cake. The single got 71% of the votes from our readers. The single explored a funk-pop tune with Latin vibes in the title track and gave us a laidback pop tune in Bokura ni wa atta yona.
Shunichi Toki made his debut under PONY CANYON in 2019 with Yakusoku no Overture. More recently, his second single, PARTY JACKER, was released.
Yuma Uchida “Horizon”
With 33,9% of the votes, Yuma Uchida‘s Horizon is your favorite release of his. Horizon is one of our albums of the year and we can only imagine that Uchida’s R&B pop sound and his versatility on the vocal end were valid reasons for Horizon to be such a well received release.
Yuma Uchida made his solo debut in 2018 under KING RECORDS with the single NEW WORLD. Since then he has released 4 singles and a full-length album.
Makoto Furukawa “Miserable Masquerade”
What a single this one is! Makoto Furukawa‘s debut single, Miserable Masquerade takes the crown as our readers’ favorite release (67,4%). As one of the most exciting solo artists from the class of the 2nd half of the 10s, Furukawa impressed everyone with his powerful vibrato and versatility on top of exciting jazz and rock songs.
Makoto Furukawa made his debut in 2018 under Lantis with Miserable Masquerade. In 2019 he released the sophomore single, Chizu ga nakute mo modoru kara.
Daisuke Kishio “0F〜Love Forever〜”
Daisuke Kishio has long moved on from pop-rock and pop music in general but 0F〜Love Forever〜 remains our readers’ favorite release (52% of the votes). The pop-rock single was particular popular due to the seiyuu cameos in the music video.
Daisuke Kishio made his solo debut in 2012 with BIRTHDAY. 0F〜Love Forever〜 (2013) was the last single he released as a pop solo artist. Currently he is the frontman to the 4-piece rock band, DKHi!.
Toshiki Masuda “This One”
As it was unfair not to feature those seiyuu that recently made their debuts and only have one release under their name. Toshiki Masuda‘s This One is a rather impressive release with a quality and consistency that still gets us. We believe fans of his are currently eagerly waiting for the release of his 1st full-length album, Diver.
Toshiki Masuda made his solo debut in 2019 with This One. He is bound to release his 1st full-length album – Diver – in January 2020.
Daisuke Namikawa “HIYAKE! Dashing”
Daisuke Namikawa‘s HIYAKE! Dashing (20%) grabs a spot after a tough battle against My Treasure (19%).
The bubbly pop single was released in 2019 and fans were instantly fond of it.
Daisuke Namikawa made his solo debut in 2009 with the single ID, since then he has changed style and music genres explored, putting rock behind and embracing a bubbly, playful pop sound.
Nobuhiko Okamoto x Trignal “Hikari o ／Tic Tac Anniversary”
Nobuhiko Okamoto‘s collaboration with labelmates Trignal (by many called Nobunagal) is one of the highlights of the decade. Hikari o ／Tic Tac Anniversary took 17,5% of the votes in tough 3-way battle with 8piece (15%) and Sacramento (12,5%).
This was a surprising collaboration that ended up sounding so good. Okamoto played an important role in the creative process, penning lyrics and composing songs.
Nobuhiko Okamoto made his solo debut in 2012 with the single, Palette. Since then he has released several singles, full-length albums and mini-albums. He also embarked on solo and collaboration tours and is one of the most loved acts within Kiramune.
Hiroshi Kamiya “START AGAIN”
Easily Hiroshi Kamiya‘s best single released to date, START AGAIN won the popular vote and found a spot on this feature (16,1% of the votes).
Kamiya was changing a bit his sound and this release came at the right time. It was interesting it was fresh it was unlike anything he had released before and he was singing his best ever. It was the perfect release at the perfect time.
Hiroshi Kamiya made his debut in 2009 under Kiramune with the single, Hare no Hi. Since then he has released multiple singles, albums and mini-albums, all met with some success.
Miyu Irino “DARE TO DREAM / Live your Dream”
Like ourselves, our readers were torn between two impressive releases by Miyu Irino. DARE TO DREAM (2016) and Live Your Dream (2019) got each 18,4% of the votes. These are two releases of a quality like no other, setting him apart from his Kiramune labelmates and standing out among all the other competition.
Miyu Irino was the first solo act to join Kiramune. He made his debut in 2009 with the single, Soleil. Since then he’s changed a lot with his sound maturing and the messages passed in his lyrics and composition exuding it. Rock and jazz have been, as of late, his playground.
Junta Terashima “JOY source”
Junta Terashima‘s 2nd mini-album got 56,7% of the votes. JOY source was released in 2019 and features a compilation of pop-rock tracks with a feel good vibe.
Junta Terashima made his solo debut in 2019 under indie label, dreamusic. Since then he has released two mini-albums, all being solid outlets to showcase his underrated, versatile vocals while embracing pop-rock.
Yuki Kaji “sense of wonder”
As all of you should now by now, Yuki Kaji had a solo career. Our readers’ favorite release is sense of wonder (63,9% of the votes), single released in 2012. This release was marked by laidback pop tunes, something that was contrasting to what he’d had done by then – as part of the rock group, G.Addict. The song had all songs penned by him.
Yuki Kaji made his debut as a solo artist under Lantis in 2012 with sense of wonder. He ended up releasing another single – Hello! – before shelving his career as a solo artist.
Shugo Nakamura “Here comes The SUN”
Shugo Nakamura‘s Here comes The SUN is the only single released in this decade as he only this year made his break as a solo artist under Lantis.
Here comes The SUN is one of the most exciting releases in 2019 and the most consistent debut release we’ve reviewed this decade. If things keep up for Nakamura, a bright career as a solo artist awaits him because this single as a testament to his quality and talent as a singer-songwriter.
Kenichi Suzumura “HIDE-AND-SEEK”
This choice came as a surprise to us even though HIDE-AND-SEEK (32,5% of the votes) is Suzumura’s best single, we expected fans to go the popular route and choose Shiroi Karasu.
HIDE AND SEEK was released in 2016 and is a playful rock release, mixing acoustic music with ballads, adding his flair with his versatile vocals that keep, year after year, impressing us.
Kenichi Suzumura made his debut as a solo artist in 2008 under Lantis. He’s released countless singles, albums and mini-albums and his live tours are always well received. Although not as popular as other solo acts, Suzumura makes up for it by consistently releasing entertaining music, not afraid of being serious or playing around with his sound and or his image.
Daisuke Ono “Deep & Holic”
Daisuke Ono is one of the most active seiyuu as solo acts. He has been consistently releasing music, the wide majority playful and exploring jazz and disco. He’s shown a constant maturity in his approach to his solo career and it culminated in the recently released single, Deep & Holic (22,2% of the votes). The competition was tough, with Endless Happy World (17,8%) and DELIGHT (13,3%) following close behind.
Daisuke Ono debuted as a solo artist in 2007 with hinemosu. Since then he has established himself as the most popular solo act – of seiyuu background – under Lantis. Jazz and disco are the music genres that fuel his music.
Showtaro Morikubo “PHANTOM PAIN”
Easily the darkest release on Showtaro Morikubo‘s repertoire, PHANTOM PAIN is our readers’ favorite (19,4% of the votes). This is a banger and its gritty and industrial vibe are something that work so well with Morikubo’s trademark heavy guitar playing and incisive vocals.
Showtaro Morikubo debuted as a solo artist in 2001 with Zui. He is well known for his exciting brand of hardrock and dark vibe. Never changing yet ever evolving, Showtaro Morikubo is an ear-catching singer-songwriter. The definition of a cool and edgy rocker.
Daisuke Hirakawa “dice”
Although this sounds like a distant story, Daisuke Hirakawa was, indeed, a solo artist under Lantis in the early 10s. Our readers’ favorite release is the gentle pop single, dice (50%). Hirakawa’s soothing vocals and surprising quality as a singer led to the release of his second mini-album, dice. Still remember as his best, it is no wonder it got a spot on this feature.
Daisuke Hirakawa made his solo debut under Lantis in 2009. He would end up releasing 2 singles and 2 mini-albums before putting an end to his solo career in 2012.
Takuma Terashima “Nameless Story”
Indeed one of Takuma Terashima‘s most popular releases, Nameless Story (27,3%) finds its way in this feature. This release was marked by a softer take on his rock sound, with acoustic guitars playing a big role in that change.
Takuma Terashima debuted as a solo artist in 2012 with the single, magic words. He is known for being a pop-rock artist but, over the years, he has experimented with pop and electronica.
Naozumi Takahashi “VOICE RENDEZVOUS”
Naozumi Takahashi is a talented seiyuu that, unfortunately, goes often under the radar of seiyuu fans. VOICE RENDEZVOUS (20% of the votes), album released in 2014, brought to the table his energetic pop sound, playing around with electronica while impressing with his vocal range.
Naozumi Takahashi made his debut in 2002 with Rainy day／Sky light no light. Since then he has released 21 singles and 11 full-length albums, under KOEI (2002 and 2003 releases) and Realize Records (2003 -).
KENN “Tsukiakari no Rapsodia”
KENN has had an on-and-off career as a solo artist. For fans of his, the long hiatus periods are always a dread to deal with however, it is KENN’s fancy pop-rock music that always ends up making up for being away for so long.
Tsukiakari no Rapsodia is our readers’ choice with 23,8% of the votes. With a popular title track featured in Meiji Tokyo Renka Meikoi, the song was an instant fan favorite. Add to this jazz and ska vibes with KENN’s buttery vocals and, well… is there something more tasteful than this?
— KENN@ 「一夜ノ永遠ニ君想フ」7/24発売 (@KENNstaff) November 23, 2018
KENN made his debut as a solo artist in 2008 with the single, 塔頂者たち (Toucho Shatachi). MIKOTO has been a longtime collaborator of his, having contributed with several compositions over the years for KENN’s repertoire.
Kensho Ono “FANTASTIC TUNE”
Kensho Ono‘s debut single, FANTASTIC TUNE is the chosen by our readers with 46% of the votes.
FANTASTIC TUNE introduced fans to Ono’s music through a series of exciting rock tracks that would end up marking his career.
Kensho Ono debuted as a solo artist under Lantis in 2014 with FANTASTIC TUNE. His repertoire is filled with great entries – highly recommended to check his full-length album, Take the TOP -, and rock music has been his element since debut.
Kenji Nojima “Gift”
2010’s Gift is our readers’ choice of best Kenji Nojima release in this decade with 31,5% of the votes. This was Nojima’s debut as an indie artist, a release that showcased his talents as a singer with enviable control and vibrato as his greeting cards.
Kenji Nojima debuted as a solo artist in 2010. His career has been spent under indie labels. However, in 2014 he eventually jumped to EM2 Record for only a year before going back to doing the music he loves self-producing his music as an indie act.
Tetsuya Kakihara “I for U”
What a release this is! Tetsuya Kakihara‘s 2018 I for U makes this feature with 17,6% of the votes. I for U is a stunning release, with carefully crafted songs that explore new sonorities and put his singing chops to test. One of the highlights of 2018 and of the decade.
Tetsuya Kakihara made his solo debut under Kiramune in 2010 with the single, Still on Journey. Although initially a pop artist with a heavy focus on electronica, Kakahira changed his sound and image in 2015 with the release of Saichaina. Since then he has been on a consecutive run of solid releases, showing that he has found his colors and has matured as a performer.
Tasuku Hatanaka “FIGHTER”
Tasuku Hatanaka‘s FIGHTER is a popular release that is incredibly popular among his fans. 42,9% of our readers were dazzled by this new image and sound that Hatanaka was donning. FIGHTER is a fierce pop release filled with danceable tunes, fancy phrases and addictive choruses.
Tasuku Hatanaka debuted as a solo artist in 2018 under Lantis. He has been keen on an electro-pop sound but when needed, he puts his singing skills to test and impresses with his falsetto in cool ballads. According to Lantis he is, alongside labelmates Makoto Furukawa and Shugo Nakamura, part of the new generation of talents that will impress.
Wataru Hatano “You Only Live Once”
Despite the cheesy title, Wataru Hatano‘s You Only Live Once is a hit song through and through. Featured as the ending song from the anime sensation of 2016, Yuri!!! on Ice, Hatano – as h.wataru – saw his popularity reach an all time high. 31,3% of our readers are still jamming to this song.
Wataru Hatano made his solo debut under Avex Records in 2011 with the single, Hajimari no Hi. He has consistently released pop-rock music and has, over the years, featured some of his song in anime series. He’s best known however for being the leader of TRIGGER (as Gaku Yaotome).
Hiroyuki Yoshino “DRAMATIC SURF COASTER”
Hiroyuki Yoshino released the acoustic pop-rock single, DRAMATIC SURF COASTER, in 2016. Our readers chose this good vibes release as their favorite with 25% of the votes.
Hiroyuki Yoshino made his solo debut under Kiramune in 2013 with the single, Get Set. He is known for his laidback acoustic sound.
Takuya Sato “DAY & NIGHT”
Another great release was picked by our readers. Takuya Sato is an underrated solo artist with quite some good releases under his belt. Our readers’ favorite is DAY & NIGHT with 50% of the votes, release that impressed us back in 2017. Up until now, this is his best release, filled with ear-catching rock tunes and surprising vocal performances.
Takuya Sato made his solo debut in 2015 under FRONTIER WORKS with the single, Set Sail. Sato is known for his mature and energetic pop-rock sound. His vocals are on the baritone range and he is incredibly skilled as a singer, with a sweet R&B-ish flair on it. He is best known as a member of TRIGGER (as Ryunnosuke Tsunashi).
Yuki Ono “WINTER VOICE FRIENDS”
Although THTFHQ Awards are not a reflection of our team’s tastes – even if the wide majority of releases featured on this article coincide with our picks-, we were praying Yuki Ono’s fans would pick this album. WINTER VOICE FRIENDS is a stellar release. Indie production and a quality that far exceeds everything that Yuki Ono released under Lantis. Justice was made for Ono – after 3 god-awful releases and concepts – and he is now making the best of his talents, sounding better than ever.
Yuki Ono had an unfortunate 3-year stint with Lantis. He debuted with Party Man in 2015 before leaving the company in 2018. Since then he has written and composed songs from himself and finally got to showcase how blessed he is on the vocal end.
Natsuki Hanae “Seishun wa zankoku janai”
According to Natsuki Hanae himself, he never made a major debut as a solo artist. Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan’s opening theme, Seishun wa zankoku janai, gets as spot on this feature after getting 67,6% of the votes. The single explored acoustic pop-rock melodies, creating a rather soothing and laidback vibe befitting of Hanae’s well known angelic vocals.
Natsuki Hanae released two singles under Nippon Columbia. He never officially made his solo debut. Best known as a member of THRIVE and SolidS.
Kouki Miyata “Colorless Paesaggio”
With a unique performances and a fancy pop sound, Kouki Miyata‘s Colorless Paesaggio makes its way to this feature. The album, released in 2017 is our reader’s favorite with 72,7% of the votes.
Kouki Miyata made his solo debut under Nippon Columbia in 2014 with 白鳥ブリコラージュ (Hakuchou Bricolage).
Shouta Aoi “Tone”
Shouta Aoi‘s Tone was released in 2019 and counted with its title track featured as an opening theme for Kono oto tomare. It got 23,4% of the votes in what was a fierce battle with Eclipse (21,9% of the votes). Tone is a bubbly release, straying away from his somber pop-rock sound that had taken over previous releases.
Shouta Aoi has a unique story as a solo artist. He made his debut as SHOWTA, in 2006 and was a solo act until 2009. He then signed with Broccoli in 2013 and changed his stage name to Shouta Aoi. In 2016 he moved up to the big league and joined KING RECORDS. Aoi’s trademark is his unique singing tone and range. Bubbly pop, rock and ballads are just some of the music genres he has performed over the years.
Soichiro Hoshi “Little World”
Pappi gets a spot on this feature with LITTLE WORLD (60% of the votes), album released in 2014. Pop and electronica played a major role in shaping this release. It features the occasional ballad and enka track, impressing his fans with consistent performances.
Soichiro Hoshi debuted as a solo artist under KING RECORDS in 2014. He’s known for his feel good pop-rock songs and gentle vocals.
The second part of THTFHQ Awards 2019, featuring the best releases by bands and seiyuu units in this decade, will follow.