One of my most memorable moments as a fan came last October while watching Beyblade: Metal Fusion dubbed on Cartoon Network early one morning. The character whose image you see above, named Daidouji, was on the screen, and I joked that “he looks like he’d be played by Koyasu Takehito in the Japanese version.” Realizing that Koyasu is in everything and it might not be such a stretch, I then researched the matter and was stunned to find that he was, in fact, voiced by Koyasu.
The only thing I had to go on with this guess was the character’s appearance. Koyasu just happens to have an assload of characters that look exactly alike. Check out a few of these to see the image I had in my head when I pinned him as the voice of Daidouji.
This is Fool from Kaleido Star, whom I always think of for the first common element in Koyasu characters—long faces with small, devilish eyes. He also has a bit of the second common element, which is one or two strands of hair in front of the face.
Luck Gandor from Baccano! continues both trends. Long face, devilish eyes, and a strand of hair that this time particularly resembles Daidouji’s.
Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro has those traits yet again, but also brings in a third one: duotone hair. His even happens to be the same as Daidouji’s, but reversed.
Betterman Lamia has a few more strands of hair in his face and one extra color, but continues all of the trends nicely.
Excalibur. His legend began in the twelfth century.
These commonalities had such a strong effect on my perception of Koyasu that I recognized his character without hearing his voice nor knowing that he was in the show.
But in the case of Koyasu, the man’s played so many fucking roles that it’s easy to see why a lot of them would end up looking alike. Moreover, he’s one of the few seiyuu who shows up as a parody of himself in anime, to where the joke is almost just that he’s playing that character. But the trend of character look-alikes doesn’t stop with him.
Take a look at my “seiyuu card” for Fujiwara Keiji and see if you find any similarities between the characters…
Wild, right? Here’s a highlighted version for those who don’t feel like figuring it out themselves:
An amazing number of Fujiwara’s characters have almost the exact same face. The biggest commonality between them is rectangular eyes that always have two diagonal lines shooting from under them, usually matched with sharp, angular eyebrows. Besides that, they tend to have wicked slasher smiles—even the good guys like Maes Hughes and Fujimoto Shirou!
My favorite image to illustrate my point is the one of Fujimoto Shirou on that card. Shirou is a character from the upcoming anime Ao no Futsumashi, based on a manga that I really enjoy. Since the anime isn’t out yet, I had to use an image from the manga—yet the character perfectly fits into the Fujiwara mold. I can only rationalize this by thinking that when the people making the show saw that he had rectangular eyes with lines shooting from them and a slasher smile, they concluded that only Fujiwara could play the role (and hell, I would’ve picked him myself!)
The reason for this is probably quite simple—these guys are character actors. Even though personality-wise, there isn’t much similarity between Maes Hughes, Holland Novak, and Ladd Russo, they all have a certain attitude that lends well to Fujiwara’s voice. (Actually Hughes is sort of an enigma here since he’s played pretty differently from most of Fujiwara’s characters). Characters are usually designed to match their attitude, so this only adds up. Still, to see it happen on such a level is pretty fascinating.
I’m still trying to figure out why so many of Hanazawa Kana’s characters happen to have this unique style of dreadlock-like separated sections of hair that I’ve almost never seen outside of those few characters.