Monday, October 29, 2012

Voice Actress Spotlight – Yoko Hikasa

Yoko Hikasa
日笠 陽子
Born: 7/16/1985

Behind great anime are memorable characters that stick with you long after the series ends. A great character is comprised of well-written dialogue, interesting character design, a wonderful dynamic with the rest of the cast, and a great voice actor. The role of the voice actor is to turn the script into reality by bringing the characters to life and add personality through intonation. One of my favorite Japanese voice actors is Yoko Hikasa. Since 2007, she has brought to life some of my favorite characters through her wonderful voice acting such as Mio Akiyama from K-On, Shino Amatsuka from Setokai Yakuidomo, Houki Shinonono from Infinite Stratos, and many more.

Her iconic character, Mio Akiyama
Yoko Hikasa was born in July 16, 1985 in the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan. Her inspiration for becoming a voice actor was watching Sailor Moon at a younger age. Afterwards, she joined a voice actor training school and was scouted by the voice actor talent management firm I’m enterprise, the same firm that manages talent such as, Rie Kugimiya, Yukari Tamura, and Hiro Shimono. She started doing work in anime in 2007 with the role of Minamo Negishi in Sketchbook. She continued to do minor work in anime until her big breakout role as Mio Akiyama from K-On in 2009. The popularity of Mio led to increased exposure in the anime community and she released four singles and participated in two albums as “Mio.” Since then, she has done notable female roles such as Shino Amatsuka (Setokai Yakuidomo), Houki Shinono (Infinite Stratos), Seraphim (Kore was Zombie desu ka?), Minami Kawashima (Moshidora), Rias Gremory (High School DxD), and Erica Brandeli (Campione). Due to her popularity as a voice actor, she continues to take many notable roles.

Erica (Campione!)
She has done a variety of characters, but her most popular character is still Mio Akiyama from K-On; she was able to bring out the shy Mio and turn an iconic character into a memorable one with her great performance. Part of her popularity is that she has voice acted a variety of “sexy” characters and has done a great job in balancing the performance to make them memorable. Unfortunately, her success in that role also means that she is type casted in that role in most of her major projects; similar to how Rie Kugimiya is put in tsundere character roles. Her talent like many Japanese voice actors is her versatility and adaptability in her roles. Mio and Seraphim are very different characters, and she was able to bring both to life effectively with her talent and skill. Odds are that if you heard both roles that you could not tell that it was the same voice actress. She continues to voice some of my favorite characters in anime and while she is now type casted, she does bring each character to life in their own way. I hope she continues her string of success, and I hope that she becomes a guest of honor in an accessible North American anime convention.

Kris Zoleta started working in Anime Expo as a staffer in Manga Library. He worked in Staff Service in Anime Expo 2006 and became the manager of Manga Lounge from Anime Expo 2007-2010. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the 501(c)(6) non-profit behind Anime Expo and is one of the most recognized cosplay photographers in the West Coast. 

Yoko Hikasa's Blog
K-On! Official Website

Rias (High School DxD)
Vampire Ninja Seraphim (Kore wa Zombie desu ka?)


Mio said...

OMG!!! Thank you for writing this. I LOVE HER!

Anonymous said...

Do Kana Hanzawa next!!!

KrisZ said...

That's a good idea, my cousin is a huge fan of Kana Hanazawa. I am thinking about doing a profile on her and the queen of Tsun herself, Rie Kugimiya.