At BronyCon 2012, I had the pleasure of attending two voice actor panels. Listening to their stories made me appreciate all of the work the men and women behind the mics put into bringing our beloved characters to life.
Their work is so important, it’s given birth to a database, Behind The Voice Actors – similar to IMDB, but geared specifically to the voice acting industry.
Here are some of my favorite voice actors and actresses in the industry:
Charles Martinet – The Voice of Dragons & Plumbers
Known For: Skyrim (Paarthurnax) and literally EVERY Mario game EVER. Literally every single one that needed a voice. Martinet IS Mario (and Luigi).
Why he’s awesome: He may only do one character, but the fact Martinet has 191 credited roles, with only 5 of them NOT in a Mario-related game, proves this is one busy guy. I also have to give him credit- to go from “It’sa me, Mario!” to the epic, resonant voice of Skyrim’s most important dragon means this guy has some serious voice acting chops.
Jennifer Hale – The Voice of Authority
Known for: Mass Effect franchise (FemShep), Avatar: The Last Airbender, Tales of Symphonia (Sheena), Metal Gear (Naomi Hunter), Brutal Legend (Ophelia), Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Powerpuff Girls (Miss Keane), and Justice League.
Why she’s awesome: Jennifer Hale has played a large number of important leading ladies spanning over a history of three decades. However, her work as the female voice of Commander Shepard has earned her a well deserved spot as one of the most talented voice actresses in the biz. While many who played Mass Effect never heard her voice, the diverse vocal difference between Paragon and Renegade Shepard is really impressive.
Claudia Black – The Voice of Seduction
Known For: Uncharted Series (Chloe), Dragon Age: Origins (Morrigan), God of War (Artemis) and Gears of War 3 (Samantha Byrne).
Why she’s awesome: Claudia Black has voiced two of the most famous & sexy women in games in recent history. She is also the queen of the awesome accents. Chloe Frazer, one of the best characters to come out of Uncharted, has one of the world’s sexiest Australian accents. In similar fashion, the wild witch Morrigan (easily one of the most prolific characters BioWare ever designed) had an accent to kill. Also, Morrigan’s sarcastic inflection is one of the best I’ve ever heard in gaming.
Johnny Yong Bosch – The Voice of the (Anime) Action Hero
Known For: Bleach (Ichigo), Code Geass, Eureka 7, Fullmetal Alchemist, Naruto (Sasori), Last Exile, Paradise Kiss, Persona 4, Samurai Champloo, Trigun (Vash) and Wolf’s Rain (Kiba), Devil May Cry 4 (Nero), Eternal Sonata (Fugue), Soul Caliber V, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and most of the Naruto games.
Why he’s awesome: Johnny has voiced some of the greatest characters from anime to come stateside. Most people would recognize him from Bleach as Ichigo, but he also impresses with roles like Sasori from Naruto and Vash from Trigun.
Also – he was the Black Power Ranger, how is that not awesome?!
Tara Strong – The Voice of Everyone Ever
Known for: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (Twilight Sparkle), Lollipop Chainsaw (Juliet), Fairly Oddparents! (Timmy Turner), Ben 10 (Various), Codename: Kids Next Door (Mushi), Family Guy (Meg), Justice League (Various), Powerpuff Girls (Bubbles), Samurai Jack (Various), Rugrats (Dil), Ultimate Spiderman (Mary Jane), Teen Titans (Raven), Batman: Arkham City (Harley Quinn), Final Fantasy X/X-2 (Rikku), Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (X-32), and Ninja Gaiden (Rachel).
Why she’s awesome: She’s one of the most famous voice actors, especially given her diverse range & her cult-like internet following. She has over 360 voice credits to her name, impressive for someone only working since the late 80’s. Her vocal range is unparalleled- young girls, boys, ponies and temptresses have all used her voice. Strong has voiced some of my favorite cartoons & games from childhood, and after meeting her last weekend, she is definitely a voice actress I admire.
– E. B.