Moments when English voice acting brought anime characters to life

Moments when English voice acting brought anime characters to life

Anime is popular for its technique of portraying a story through animated art. However, what actually puts life to the character into these animated motions is the voice acting. While the style of animation is important, voice acting in anime allows us to understand the emotional depth of the character. Especially with English dubbing that allows the anime to be enjoyed by international audiences. And thus in this article we are going to explore moments when the characters were brought into life by English voice acting

Moments when English voice acting brought characters to life

Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop)

Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop anime
Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop anime (Image via Sunrise Studio)

Spike Spiegel, the smooth-talking bounty hunter from “Cowboy Bebop,” owes much of his charisma and depth to Steve Blum’s masterful voice acting. Blum’s delivery not only matched Spike’s laid-back demeanor but also matched with the jazzy punk theme of the series. From witty one-liners to moments of introspection, Blum’s voice work breathed life into Spike, making him an iconic figure in the anime world.

Light Yagami (Death Note)

Light Yagami in Death Note
Light Yagami in Death Note (Image via Madhouse Studio)

In the psychological thriller Death Note, we see Light Yagami‘s character going from a studious school boy to a man with God complex. His journey is vividly brought to life by the voice acting of Brad Swaile. Swaile captures Light’s descent into darkness with precision, conveying the character’s complex emotions and moral conflicts. Especially while dubbing the maniacal laughter of Light or his inner monologues, Swaile’s voice perfectly matches with the overconfident persona of Light.

Erwin Smith (Attack on Titan)

Erwin Smith in Attack on Titan
Erwin Smith in Attack on Titan (Image via MAPPA Studio)

The commanding presence of Erwin Smith in “Attack on Titan” is elevated by the powerful voice acting of J. Michael Tatum. Tatum’s deep and authoritative voice perfectly complements Erwin’s leadership qualities. His voice acting reached the peak, when Erwin’s last speech “My Soldiers….” Was delivered. Though the complete AoT dub has been nearly perfect, Erwin’s inspirational speeches and strategic brilliance are made even more impactful through Tatum’s skillful portrayal.

Pain (Naruto)

Pain’s Pain in Naruto anime series couldn’t be expressed well enough without Troy Baker’s compelling voice acting. Baker captures Pain’s calm persona and inner turmoil, creating a character that is both intimidating and empathetic. Pain’s speech about the cycle of hatred was brought to life with Baker’s outstanding performance. 

Madara Uchiha (Naruto)

Madara Uchiha in Naruto Shippuden
Madara Uchiha in Naruto Shippuden (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Another notable character from “Naruto,” Madara Uchiha, is given a commanding presence through Neil Kaplan’s voice acting. Kaplan’s deep and resonant voice perfectly suits Madara’s stature as an undefeatable villain. If you ever feel demotivated Kaplan’s “Weakness disgusts me” would be enough to get you back at work. The intense and calculated delivery of lines by Kaplan contributes to the imposing aura of Madara, leaving a lasting impression on us.

Honourable mention

Every character in Ghost Stories

A still from Ghost Stories
A still from Ghost Stories (Image via IMDb)

“Ghost Stories” takes a unique approach to English dubbing, offering a comedic and irreverent take on the original script. 

  • The voice actors, including Greg Ayres, Monica Rial, and others, showcase their comedic timing and improvisational skills. 
  • The result is a hilarious and entertaining dub that has gained a cult following. 

Each character’s personality is amplified through the voice actors’ playful performances, turning “Ghost Stories” into a one-of-a-kind experience for English-speaking audiences.


Voice acting allows us to understand the characters at emotional level, the dubbed version also gives the opportunity to explore the meticulous details of the anime art. However it is important to note that the preference for Dub or Sub anime may differ from person to person. The English voice acting mentioned in the above list may not be enough as the art and techniques of VA is also developing with each addition to anime. As we dive in the anime universe there are more such characters to come.

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