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When you’re playing a game or watching anime, do you ever recognize a familiar voice that you’ve heard elsewhere? Chances are, the same actor is behind both voices.
Some voice actors manipulate their voices in unexpected ways. Put a human face on certain characters, and the results can be shocking. Let’s take a look at some of these faces—you’d never guess that these talented voice actors are actually behind your favorite characters.
1. Linda Young
Shockingly enough, Linda Young is most famous for her voice of the villainous Frieza in the Funimation dub of the Dragon Ball series. That’s right, Frieza’s iconic gritty voice is done by a woman, not a man.
Although Frieza has been voiced by men in other adaptions, Young really brings the character to life. I don’t know about you, but it sounds pretty painful to maintain a voice like that for hours-long recording sessions!
2. Steve Blum
Steve Blum has voiced dozens of characters. In fact, he probably stars in your favorite anime or video game, and you don’t even realize it. He has a distinct voice characterized by deep and gravelly undertones.
I would list all the media that Blum has been in, but that list is way too long. Some of his most famous voices consist of Spike from Cowboy Bebop, Mugen from Samurai Champloo, and Zabuza from Naruto. He’s even had roles in Tom Clancy: Ghost Recon, Call of Duty, Mass Effect 3, Diablo III, the Final Fantasy series, and much more.
3. Troy Baker
Troy Baker also assumes several roles in the anime, cartoon, and video game industry—he typically voices young adults and portrays them with plenty of attitude.
Baker’s known for playing Joel in The Last of Us, Sam Drake in the Uncharted series, Revolver Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Rhys from Tales from the Borderlands, and Kanji Tatsumi in Persona 4. He puts a ton of effort into each character, making them seem like a real person.
4. Nolan North
Like Troy Baker, Nolan North also has a role in the Uncharted series. North plays as the central figure of the franchise: Nathan Drake. He has a very flexible voice—sometimes his voice sounds rich and full, and at other times, he’ll use a higher pitch or even mimic an accent.
Along with Uncharted, you can also find North acting in Assassin’s Creed as Desmond Miles, in The Last of Us as David, and in the Batman: Arkham series as the Penguin. Take a good listen to the video above, and you might be able to detect the similarities between his different voices.
5. Romi Park
Romi Park frequently plays teenage boys in anime, and she does a fantastic job at it. She disguises her voice so well, that you’d never imagine that she’s behind the voice of several male characters.
Her most notable role is Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist. However, she also plays female characters that are a bit rough around the edges, such as Nana Osaki from Nana and Teresa of the Faint Smile in Claymore.
6. Kamiya Hiroshi
If you’ve ever watched a subbed anime, you’ve probably heard Kamiya Hiroshi’s voice at least once. In addition to playing the cold and distant Levi Ackerman from Attack on Titan, he also stars as Mephisto Pheles from Blue Exorcist, Yato from Noragami, and Trafalgar Law from One Piece.
Hiroshi has the kind of voice that blends perfectly inside of an anime. It’s casual enough that it can suit just about any young male character—that’s probably how he’s landed a role in dozens of different anime.
7. Tara Strong
Tara Strong is perhaps one of the most well-known voice actresses to date. You’ll probably recognize her from some of your favorite childhood TV shows, playing prominent female (and male) characters from your youth.
The voices she uses range from high-pitched or raspy, and sometimes deep and monotone. You can find her voicing Timmy Turner in the Fairly OddParents, Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls, Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony, Ben Tennyson from Ben 10, and even Raven from Teen Titans.
8. Masako Nozawa
If you got the chance to watch the subbed version of Dragon Ball, you’ll likely remember Goku’s famous childhood voice, played by Masako Nozawa. Amazingly enough, Nozawa has been voice acting since the 1960s, starting with her appearance in the first version of Astro Boy.
Nozawa plays a huge role in the Dragon Ball series—not only does she star in older episodes, but also makes a comeback in the newest ones. In Dragon Ball Super, she plays Son Goku, Son Gohan, Goku Black, Vegetto, Goten, and Gotenks.
Finding the Perfect Pitch
It’s safe to say that I’m pretty envious of what voice actors can do with their voice. These talented actors assume so many identities, and give each character a totally different sound. Once I see the face behind my favorite character’s voice, the reveal never fails to shock me.
See if you can spot some of the above voice actors when you tune into these amazing cerebral anime series.