Otaku USA Magazine
Do Looks Matter for Voice Actors? Akira VA Weighs In
Do Looks Matter for Voice Actors? Akira VA Weighs In

Mitsuo Iwata (left) alongside Akira co-star Nozomu Sasaki at TIFF2019.

You’d think voice actors would just have to sound good. But these days, Japan’s seiyuu increasingly appear at events and on TV, meaning there’s increasing pressure to look good too.

Is this fair? The latest person to weigh in on the question is Mitsuo Iwata, best known for playing Kaneda in the legendary anime film Akira.

Iwata was a guest on a show about the various issues facing voice actors, where he was asked if looks matter for his profession.

“It can be another weapon in your arsenal,” said Iwata. He went on to explain that in an environment like professional voice acting, in which everyone is already at such a high level, any small advantage can help you stand out and get the next job.

Iwata also responded to the fact that more children are now citing “voice actor” as what they’d like to be when they grow up.

He explained that in business terms, being a voice actor essentially means being a freelancer, and a very specialized artisan at that.

“It’s easy to get the false impression that it’s an easy job to do,” said Iwata.

Indeed: according to the show, some 90 percent of those who make a serious attempt at voice acting don’t end up being able to make a living.

On top of all that, fans complain about seeing your face, you might be the victim of sexual and power harassment, and Goku’s voice actress will diss you being a copy of a copy of a copy! This sounds like one of the hardest jobs out there.

Source: Otakomu

Matt Schley

Matt Schley (rhymes with "guy") lives in Tokyo, and has been OUSA's "man in Japan" since 2012. He's also written about anime and Japanese film for the Japan Times, Screen Daily and more.