So you might or might not know this but she is my favourite VA and singer in the entire planet (second favourite singer is Lee Hi) and it’s rare I remember names and their work to start with. I’m not very good with names or remembering titles, but when I become an hardcore fan I do indeed remember.
You might know Maaya Sakamoto from her roles as Hitomi Kanzaki in Escaflowne, Haruhi in Ouran HS Club, Ciel in Black Butler, Mari in Evangelion Rebuilt, Aerith in Final Fantasy 7, Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, Lightning in Final Fantasy 13, Shiki in Kara no Kyoukai, Aigis in Persona 3, Nino in Arakawa Under the Bridge, or a whole other host of works as shown in her Wikipedia and MAL page. You might also have heard her songs in CCSakura, Tsubasa Chronicles, Escaflowne, Record of Lodosss War, Wolf’s Rain, Earth Girl Arjuna, Rahxephon, etc.
She’s a veteran voice actress and singer, having sung and voice acted in her first leading role as Hitomi Kanzaki in Escaflowne when she was 15, where she sang with Yoko Kanno and from then on she never stopped singing or voice acting. She’s been doing it for 20 years now, and I really enjoy her voice.
As a singer, she is an angel. Whenever I hear her songs I am soothed by them, I prefer her emotional songs but she has some really catchy pop tunes that I groove to.
As a seiyuu/VA, she has a range that I enjoy. I actually didn’t recognise her as Ciel when I watched the first episodes, and got completely floored. I had thought it was a male to do Ciel’s VA, but no. There’s also something…more to her. Perhaps it is the roles she gets, or goes after, but I grow fond of them for their flaws and inequities. But perhaps that is because her delivery is so extremely good.
I’ll confess that I don’t much pend towards dubbed work, anime or game or songs, because I feel they remove the original layer of intentions. Why do I say this? Well, I pretty much disliked Lightning until I heard Maaya VA her and then realised she had this…frailty to her too, underneath the rougher exterior. Times where she let her facade drop and you saw she had doubts and insecurities. I saw my brother play the whole game in English and felt she was made of lead. I like dubs when they’re good, but strangely games and shows tend to give that one character a terrible voice that really dampens the overall impact. You know what I’m referring to, right? (⌒_⌒;)
Might be I’m also biased towards her, but I’m not such a hardcore fan I have watched all her works. I am hardcore, by my standards, but first I have to like the rest. So some series I haven’t watched because I tried and got turned off/bored, and same I haven’t gone around to them yet due to laziness.
Mind you, I stumbled upon her as my favourite by big coincidences. I had no idea she was Haruhi in Ouran, or that she was in Rahxephon beforehand. I never look at VA pages or anime besides the summary and genre tags. I loved her work in Escaflowne, but back then I had no idea MAL existed, and I could only find anime in YouTube divided in parts and quite illegally, and later on in other websites once I knew the term anime.
I can’t quite explain why she is my favourite. It’s not like she was the first Japanese actress or actor I heard, but she was the one that charmed me through the rawness and emotion in her character. All I can say is her voice is the type I like, in singing and in a character, and that her acting is flawless. Her comedic timing in Ouran was perfection, as was her sullenness as Ciel.
Because of being a big fan of her, I know trivia like she is the official Japanese actress for Natalie Portman, and have actually dreamt I was in a concert of hers and woke pretty WTF because that never happens to me amd after that the only other times I dreamt something similar was one with Gackt and another with Lee Hi (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
I know there’ll be people that don’t like her voice, or don’t find her voice stands out from the crowd, but whenever I hear her I can recognise her. Not because it’s always the same voice, but because I’ve been exposed to her range and can point it out. Which is hard for me to do with other VA unless I’ve heard them a lot or am intimate with their work.
One thing I admire is that not only she hasn’t had a hiatus musically or as an actress, but that she even acts and sings in plays while still doing the rest.
She’s also very beloved by CLAMP, she has sung songs for all of their work (if not all, at least 99% of them), and even has done some tidbit voices. I really loved when they drew her in their style as celebration of her 30th anniversary and 15 years of career. They also drew her a gift for her marriage with Kenichi Suzumura who she had acted with beforehand. They drew them as their characters in their work, her as Tomoyo from TRC and him as Kamui from X/1999. I’ve also seen the fanart of Aerith married with Zack, because of them voicing their characters~
All in all, I can say if you haven’t heard sing and act, then you should on that. Her bodywork is stellar, as is her music, and I actually got butthurt when for Nana anime they needed a singer that sounded like an angel and they didn’t even think of her. But that’s me as her fan ಥ⌣ಥ
Before going away, I’ll add I don’t really intend to do one of these for a male VA because I don’t have a male bias. I tend to not give a fuck or notice males all that much, strangely it’s always girls that stand out to me as VA and singers. What can I say? I find their voice and singing more pleasing, though I do enjoy male voices, but weirdly, no bias to speak of (҂⌣̀_⌣́)
I quite liked making this, so I might do more on people~
Have you heard about this VA before? Have you heard and seen her/his work? If so, I’d love to know what you think about her/him!