A VO's Journey VO Blog 

Continue your voice-over education with weekly articles on voice acting, industry news, voice-over tips and tricks, marketing advice, tech features, and much more.

The Beginnerā€™s Guide to Becoming a Voice Actor for Anime

Jul 18, 2023
How to Become a Voice Actor for Anime

In recent years, the anime industry has emerged as a global entertainment powerhouse, capturing the imagination of audiences far beyond its Japanese roots. Coupled with this widespread popularity is the escalating demand for anime voice actors, 

But how does one go about entering this niche? If you’ve been asking yourself about the step-by-step process of how to become a voice actor for anime, you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re just getting started as a voice actor or you’re looking to branch out and explore different mediums and genres, we’re here to break down the basics of how, where, and what you need to get started.

Now, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the world of anime voice acting!


Close up of a blue and silver microphone


Understanding Anime Voice Acting

A subset of the broader voice-over industry, anime voice acting carries its own set of unique skills and challenges. First and foremost, it requires a strong performance capability paired with the dexterity to articulate complex narratives using vocal tonality and rhythm. 

When figuring out how to become a voice actor for anime, the biggest challenge lies not just in providing a voice, but in giving depth, personality, and emotion to animated characters that might already be well-known and beloved in other cultures.

In short, this specific industry calls for voice actors who can navigate the nuances of the original Japanese source material while, at the same time, translating it into a performance that resonates with international audiences. This means that, along with voice-over talent, you’ll also need a keen understanding of cultural subtleties and language idiosyncrasies – extending your role beyond mere narration and positioning anime voice acting as a subset of the industry that’s eons away from other types of voice-over work.

When it comes to anime, it becomes your job to capture the essence of multifaceted characters and deliver intricate storylines solely through the power of your voice.

Essential Skills for Anime Voice Acting

With all of this in mind, it’s clear that in order to effectively interpret the world of anime characters, a diverse skill set is required. 

Here's what you need to consider as you navigate the bumpy path of how to become a voice actor for anime:

1. Mastery of Voice Control

The realm of anime is filled with characters that span the spectrum from human to mythical creatures. As such, a voice actor's ability to control and manipulate their voice is critical. 

Think of a character like Goku from "Dragon Ball Z", for example, who has an array of vocal tones ranging from normal conversational tones to intense battle cries. The voice actor who takes on the role of Gocku must be prepared and properly trained to modulate pitch, control speed, and make tonal adjustments to suit the emotional state and situation of the character.

2. Understanding of Japanese Culture and Language Nuances

In anime, the cultural context and language rhythms can significantly impact a character's delivery. While fluency in Japanese isn't necessary, a basic understanding can greatly enhance your performance. 

That said, a familiarity with Japanese culture, social norms, and storytelling traditions can add authenticity to your portrayal. For example, honorifics, a significant aspect of the Japanese language, can indicate a character's respect or lack thereof for others, informing how their lines should be delivered.

3. Acting Skills

Voice acting is, at its core, acting. You're tasked with embodying the character, expressing their emotions, and motivating their actions – all without being seen. 

Take the character of Naruto Uzumaki in "Naruto", for instance. In cases like this, the voice actor must bring forth the character's emotional range, from his fiery determination to his moments of doubt and vulnerability. When it comes to anime voice acting, it's about becoming the character and telling their story effectively and accurately through just your voice.

A collection of anime cards on a wall


4. Reading and Script Interpretation 

Contrary to popular belief, voice acting isn't just about having a nice voice – it's about interpreting a script and delivering lines that feel natural and fluent. 

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that good reading skills and reading comprehension are essential for timing and enunciation. After all, understanding the story and the character's motivation within the narrative will allow you to prepare an appropriate vocal response. 

If a script involves a character like Rei Ayanami from "Neon Genesis Evangelion" – someone who is often stoic and detached – the voice actor must work to convey these characteristics through measured speech and a flat affect.

5. Recording and Editing Skills

Lastly, a fundamental knowledge of audio recording technology is crucial, especially if you're planning to self-record projects at home. 

Although sound engineers might take care of the job depending on the size and budget of the project, being able to navigate software like Pro Tools or Audacity, as well as understanding the basics of soundproofing and microphone techniques, can save the team time and ensure your recordings are of professional quality every single time.

Investing in Voice Acting Training

Embracing the journey of how to become a voice actor for anime often involves investing in training that will sharpen your skills and offer a deeper understanding of the craft. 

That being said, let's delve into some options that can elevate your anime voice-acting prowess:

Online Courses and Workshops

The internet is a trove of resources where you can access dedicated courses and workshops that focus specifically on anime dubbing techniques. Academies like A VO’s Journey offer programs that often cover topics such as character analysis, tempo and energy, lip-sync dubbing, and scene performance – equipping you with the tools needed to excel in this niche.

Plus, online platforms offer the added bonus of flexibility, meaning that you to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule, no matter where you’re located.

Mentorship from Experienced Anime Voice Actors

Another valuable way to deepen your understanding and skills is through mentorship programs from experienced voice actors. A mentor can provide personalized guidance, share industry insights, and offer constructive feedback on your performance – all of which can aid you in finding more work and getting a callback. 

At A VO’s Journey, we currently offer various mentorship options for beginner and experienced voice actors looking for a little extra guidance. Additionally, voice actors like Crispin Freeman, renowned for roles in series like "Naruto" and "Ghost in the Shell," also offer voice acting lessons and webinars where you can glean from his extensive experience.

At the end of the day, investing time and resources in training can boost your journey to becoming a successful anime voice actor, equipping you with the necessary skills, insights, and confidence to excel in this unique field.

How to Gain Experience and Become A Voice Actor for Anime

In addition to gaining the necessary skills, there are plenty of other elements that can help guide you in how to become a voice actor for anime. 

For one, it’s important that you record a demo showcasing your vocal range, versatility, and ability to convey character-specific emotions. Once it’s ready, make sure to triple-check it to make sure it sounds professional - remember, this is your aural calling card!

Networking Within the Anime Industry

Forming connections within the industry can provide invaluable opportunities and insights. That’s why engaging with online forums dedicated to anime and voice acting and joining professional networks can be a great way to get your name out there. 

Additionally, attending anime conventions can also be a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the industry, meet professionals, and learn about upcoming auditions or jobs.

Popular Platforms to Find Anime Voice Acting Jobs

There are numerous online platforms out there that cater specifically to anime voice-acting jobs. Some of these include Voices.com, Academy Voices, and Voice123

In addition to these digital platforms, anime studios often host open-call auditions, providing a chance to showcase your talent.

Success Stories of Anime Voice Actors

Taking inspiration from successful anime voice actors can offer valuable insights into how to become a voice actor for anime. The pathways to success may vary, but these stories often share themes of persistence, passion, and dedication to honing their craft.

For example, Sean Schemmel, the renowned voice behind Goku in the "Dragon Ball" series, began his journey in radio and gradually transitioned to anime dubbing. Despite facing several challenges and rejections, Schemmel's relentless determination and exceptional talent led him to voice one of the most iconic characters in anime history.

Similarly, Tara Strong, who has voiced different characters, including Raven in "Teen Titans", started her career in voice acting at a young age. Despite the competitive nature of the industry, Strong’s versatility, vocal range, and constant pursuit of improvement have led to her remarkable success.

What do these tales of success have in common? They highlight the importance of resilience and continuous learning in the world of anime voice acting. Because whether you're starting with small roles or facing setbacks, remember that each experience is a stepping stone toward your ultimate goal.

Stepping into the Spotlight: Your Journey as an Anime Voice Actor

Embarking on the path of how to become a voice actor for anime is a thrilling adventure marked with challenges, competition, and ultimately, immense gratification. 

This journey demands more than just a love for anime – it requires passion, grit, and a relentless willingness to learn and grow.

anime character with sword


However, don't be daunted by the potential hurdles ahead! Arm yourself with knowledge, hone your skills, and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of anime. 

This is your chance to unleash your voice and let the anime universe resonate with your unique sound – it's showtime!