Five Favourite Yasumoto Hiroki Roles

This will most likely be the last seiyuu listicle for a while – as much as I’ve enjoyed writing these, I don’t want to get stuck in a rut.

Yasumoto Hiroki was yet another seiyuu I first took notice of thanks to ‘Yuri!!! On Ice’ and its big seiyuu stage event. The good humour he showed in being assigned to the ‘Nothing But Cute’ group alongside Murase Ayumu really endeared him to me as a performer, and soon I was hours deep into a YouTube crawl, listening to his radio programmes with Hosoya Yoshimasa, and tons of other seiyuu events and specials.

He’s possibly best known for his roles in ‘Hetalia: Axis Powers’ and ‘Bleach’, and is another actor whose deep voice leads to lots of macho-man roles. But, as always, I like the roles where he plays against type or manages to do something surprising.

1. Yuuri, ‘MegaloBox’

Okay, the first one on the list is a gruff macho-man – possibly the most macho, as an augmented boxer tipped to be a world champion. But the role has emotion, as Yuuri breaks his connections with his ‘owner’ and his prominent role in the MegaloBox tournament, undergoing powerful withdrawals from his fighting augmentations in order to face Gearless Joe with only his own boxing skills.

I wish the two of them had had more screentime together, because their interactions in and out of the ring were a treat to watch, and made this much more than just another sports anime.

2. King, ‘One Punch Man’

Okay, it’s late enough that I don’t have to tag the spoilers here. King is one of the top-ranked S-class heroes in the world of OPM. Physically imposing, not just because of his height but also the three scars across his eye and the ominous rumble of the ‘King Engine’, he’s actually (surprise!) a complete coward who’d rather fight video game monsters than real ones. 

He makes for a fun new friend for Saitama, expanding his tiny social circle and helping the seemingly emotionless Saitama experience frustration and defeat. It’s also an interesting performance from Yasumoto, as King actually sounds nothing like how you’d expect such a big, imposing guy to look.

3. Full Face, ‘Skull-Faced Bookseller Honda-san’

I really liked the use of masks in this show to hide the identities of the co-workers (and for someone like me who struggles to keep track of characters in a large cast, it’s a great way to remember everyone!). Full Face (the one in the motorcycle helmet) doesn’t appear often, and when he does, it’s hard to tell that it’s actually Yasumoto. It’s fun to hear him playing a regular guy instead of one of the manly fighter-types he’s often cast as.

4. Christophe Giacometti, ‘Yuri!!! On Ice’

Chris is a very polarising character among YOI fans. Personally, I think he’s a great counter to the younger skaters; like Georgi, he’s spent his career being a runner-up to Victor, but he’s still managed to enjoy his success. He’s clearly having fun doing what he’s doing, and I wish we’d gotten to see more of his friendships with both Victor and Yuuri. 

I’d definitely recommend watching the Yuri On Stage event too, for his insight into preparing for the role and simply to see an actor enjoying a role he’s so well suited for.

5. Lord Zundar, ‘Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!’

Don’t ask me why I have to finish these lists with the gag-characters. It’s just a thing with me. I love seeing talented actors handle these types of roles. Lord Zundar is an extraterrestrial being who wants to rid the world of love, recruiting betrayed and lonely teenagers to do his dark bidding. He’s also a tiny green hedgehog who likes to sit in teacups and pockets.

Yasumoto doesn’t have to do anything other than be his typical badass-baritone self for this role, as that’s the source of the comedy. Still, it’s wonderful to see this adorable little pet planning world domination. (Note: avoid the third season of this show where Yasumoto returns to play a different evil animal – it’s really not worth it.)

Honorable mentions: 

Agni, ‘Black Butler’ – while I have…Thoughts about the anime industry’s casting of Japanese actors as black or south Asian characters, at least the original cast didn’t go the way of the English dub and add in any dodgy accents. Agni gets some great drama and some fun scenes too.

Shirogane, ‘Meganebu!’ – I just love this show in general, but the teachers can be as fun to watch as the kids in the Glasses Club. Do check it out if you haven’t seen it before.

Do you have a favourite Yasumoto role? Do you prefer him in the macho badass-baritone roles, or the fun playing-against-type ones? Is there a show he’s in that you think I need to watch? Let me know in the comments!

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