A post in the ‘Forty Fandoms‘ series.
The History of My Fandom
Kazuya Nakai is a more recent addition to my list of fandoms, but a strong one nonetheless. Like most voice actors, I would have heard him in some roles before I knew who he was or really listened to voices at all, such as his roles as Karasu in Noein and as Mugen in Samurai Champloo (though in both cases I noted the character having a great voice, and the latter I want to rewatch for this reason) as well as his roll as Shizuka Doumeki in XxXHolic. My fandom of Nakai largely came to be when he was brought to my attention by No Name, who is also a big fan. Thanks to No Name I knew him as the ‘guy who played Zoro in One Piece,’ though I didn’t really come to know his voice until his awesome role as Date Masamune in Sengoku Basara.
I have now seen much more of One Piece and a significant amount of Gintama, wherein his roles as Roronoa Zoro and Toushirou Hijikata respectively have convinced me of his awesomeness. I am now always on the alert for his voice and would be more than willing to watch something based on his involvement (The fact that he’s in Gundam X, Jyu Oh Sei, and Letter Bee – all shows that I enjoyed based on the first few episodes – makes me want to continue all three. He’s also apparently the main character in Battle Programmer Shirase, which I’ve heard is quite good.)
The Reasons For My Fandom
Now, I can’t speak for every Nakai role, since I haven’t seen all of them, but I will admit that his voices in all of the roles I’ve seen were damn near the exact same (give or take deepness). And I don’t just mean that he uses the same voice for all of them – the characters are almost all badass, snarky, tough-talking samurai, not-one-but-two of which are known for their ability to wield an inhuman amount of blades at once (and another who’s just known for his generally unconventional fighting style.)
However, I don’t see any problems with this because he has perfected the role. He’s created a completely unique voice that is recognizable as being no one but him. It’s a voice that screams ‘badass of the highest caliber,’ because it’s not only rough, mean, and foul-mouthed (yakuza fans will tell you that these voices come a dime a dozen) but it’s got that extra edge to tell you ‘he’s not just any badass, he’s a Kazuya Nakai-voiced level badass!’ And, of course, that level of badass is high above the rest, almost up to Norio Wakamoto level (though that level is, of course, unreachable.)
Nakai also knows how to do comedy, often being both a tsukkomi and a boke as Zoro and Hijikata. However, my favorite of his roles probably remains Date Masamune for his epic broken English (‘AA YUU REDI GAIS?! PUT YA GUNS ON!!!”) – though it’s a tough decision to make, really.
The Nature of My Fandom
I have yet to actually watch a show for the sole purpose of hearing his voice, but I wouldn’t put it past myself to do so (see the above list of shows I am thinking of doing this for.) I do however actively listen for his voice in the shows that I know he stars in and he is a large part of my enjoyment of some of those shows (really, one of the greatest strengths of both Sengoku Basara and Gintama are their amazing vocal casts.) Nakai is the sort of actor that I can’t help but always love and will be on the look out for in all of his future roles and past ones I’ve yet to witness.
The Level of My Fandom
I would consider myself a relatively high-level fan of Kazuya Nakai. While I haven’t yet seen all of his roles, I think it’s pretty likely that I will. I am just full of joy when I hear his voice. It helps, too, that No Name is such a huge fan of him, because the two of us end to dual-fanboy him for MASSIVE DAMAGE.