We have another Featured Artist today, this time, the talented Seiyu (声優) and Singer, Junichi Suwabe (諏訪部 順一), of Tokyo, Japan! If you’re a long time fan of anime, there’s next to no doubt that you’ve heard Junichi at some point if you’re familiar with the original subtitled versions of the shows.
A Tokyo native, Junichi worked in film groups during his high school and college years before eventually becoming involved with narration and radio work. In 1999, he began working as a Japanese voice actor (seiyu), playing the role of Koji Fujiyoshi in “Great Teacher Onizuka”. From there, his work shot off!
Below are some of his more famous roles. How many do you recognize?
Seymour Guado – Final Fantasy X
Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez – Bleach
Frau – 07 Ghost
Ren Jinguji – Uta no Prince Sama
Undertaker – Black Butler
Akatsuki Kain – Vampire Knight
Cain Nightroad – Trinity Blood
Greed – Fullmetal Alchemist
Fuma Monou – X/1999
Keigo Atobe – The Prince of Tennis
Tseng – Final Fantasy VII Advent Children
Goemon – Gintama
Shinta Fukuda – Bakuman
Takashi Komuro – Highschool of the Dead
Daiki – Kuroko no Basket
Jae-Ha – Yona of the Dawn
Worick Arcangelo – Gangsta.
Viktor Nikiforov – Yuri!!! On Ice
Raikou Shimizu – Nabari no Ou
Bercouli – Sword Art Online
And these are only a handful legit picked out from hundreds! I first became interested in his work when I heard him as Frau in “07 Ghost” and since became amazed at how many things I did recognize him in. With a smooth, deep, and rich tone, Junichi is able to pull off very suave or mature characters as well as those with dangerous edges to them.
Check out some of my personal favorites of his acting roles!
Undertaker from “Black Butler” (黒執事)
If you’re familiar with Black Butler, you’ll know that in previous renditions in the anime, all Undertaker ever was known for was being a creep with a weird sense of humor, laughing all of the time. To see such a drastic switch was insanely impressive.
Grimmjow from “Bleach”
Greed from “Fullmetal Alchemist”
Frau from “07 Ghost”
I had to include some of his work as Frau (the blonde) in “07 Ghost”. If you’re not familiar with the series, you should become well acquainted with it. It’s one of my favorites and Junichi’s work as Frau played a huge part in getting me into this series.
Ren Jinguji from “Uta no Prince Sama” (Prince of Song)
One of the roles Junichi is best known for is that of Ren Jinguji from “Uta no☆Prince-sama♪”. UtaPri is famous for not only their Seiyu voicing the characters, but also singing for them as well, leading to many live performances by the actors of their songs at concerts as well. Check out Junichi singing above “Sekai no Hate Made Believe Heart” (“世界の果てまでBelieve Heart”) from the series!
Want to follow Junichi on Social Media as well as his other profiles? Check out his accounts below!
So why did I pick Junichi to spotlight this month? Well, other than the sheer amount of work that he’s done (and the fact that he’s a dog person lol), Junichi overcomes a unique challenge with his voice in his art form. His voice is very noticeably distinguishable. It’s unique. And thus, while playing multiple characters, some rather similar in personality at times, in the same medium, it becomes difficult to create a unique tone and way of speaking to keep the characters still sounding different.
Very few seiyu do this as well as Junichi, who embodies his characters’ cores. He’s rather fascinating to listen to in that regard. Because even though you can pick up that it’s still him, each character is different – each speaks a little differently, has different ways of saying things, and comes from a different place or background. Junichi communicates that very well through his acting.
I think we can all learn from Junichi too that finding your niche can take time, but once you do find it, you should go for it, embrace it, and keep pushing yourself to get better at it. Give it your all. And have fun with it! There’s no point in working in an art medium if you’re not finding ways to enjoy it (and Junichi’s social media is proof enough that he enjoys what he does). ^_^