Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Greatest Roles in Voice Acting (ever)

Voice actors have it hard. Their anonymity is directly proportional to their ability. Their job is to not get noticed. The less you realize that the voice pumping through your speakers emanates from a source more human than the Princess of Fairyland, the better. To honor these individuals, I have decided to compile a list of voice actors and the roles they played that I personally feel are just plain awesome.

5. Steven Jay Blum as Spike Spiegel

Cowboy Bebop may just be one of the greatest animes ever adapted for American release. Kick ass action, kick ass music, kick ass stories, and major kick ass voice acting. Props go all around to the crew on this, as every single one of them pulled out great performances, but Blum manages to just nail Spike. I've seen other animes with Blum in the cast, and he doesn't seem too versatile in his voice work. He's got one delivery, and he knows how to deliver it. And that delivery just so happens to fit the character of Spike just fine. With equal sounds of late night soul tunes radio host, apathetic punk ass teenager, and monotone intimidation, the voice doesn't just sound like Spike, it is Spike.

4. Tom Kenny as Spongebob Squarepants

Now, I can't stand spongebob. In fact, spongebob can go fuck himself in his ambiguous ass. He is one of those cultural icons that has an emphasis on the 'cult'. In a million years, aliens will sift through our civilization's ashes and find spongebob plushies, totems to a yellow and porous demi-god. But Kenny...fuck me man. I didn't know human vocal chords had the elastic fortitude to truly encapsulate the sound of three midgets burning in a fire. But he pulls it off. He's pulled it off for six seasons now. And any man that can create a voice that iconic, that annoying, that...amazing, deserves a little credit from the writhing masses that feed their money to the gaping maw of cartoon capitalism.

3. Jeremy Irons as Scar

Jeremy Irons is one of those Shakespearean actors that always gets cast as the bat shit loco sorcerer in any mid-budget fantasy bullshit blockbuster release that got shat out of the coiled intestine of hollywood. And he is awesome sauce incarnate. You may remember his role as Scar in the Lion King. Or, at least you remember his voice, as it most assuredly echoed in your darkest thoughts and chased you through your foulest dreams leaving your youth a twisted enigma of nightmares. Or maybe that is just me. Either way, Jeremy Irons is the fucking mother hardcore, and should be worshipped as such. If I ever make it big in in life, I will make a TV show called The Classics With Jeremy Irons, and all it will be is a mid-shot of Jeremy Irons reading the collected works of Shakespeare, H.P. Lovecraft, and Chuck Palahniuk. I would watch that show to death.

2. Kari Wahlgren as Haruko

Yes, that is actually a picture of Kari Wahlgren. Yes, she is super fucking hot. Yes, I was surprised too. Voice actors tend to be a group of people that embody a certain kind of fugly. They have faces made for radio. However, they consistently have an inner beauty so pure and bright, that one cannot resist their charms. Voice actors are like truffles, hard and crisp on the outside, but smooth and creamy on the inside. And although I would blow Billy West or Rob Paulson (his name is robert paulson, his name is robert paulson, his name is robert paulson...) just for a taste of that creamy nougat (ha! ha! double entendre), with Kari Wahlgren, one does not need to compromise. I mean c'mon, if I was a few years older I'd be all over that. Oh yeah, she's a real good voice actor too. She played Haruko in FLCL, and I honestly can't imagine a voice so perfectly fitted for a role. I mean, just listen man. That voice made me fall in love with a crazy manipulative space bitch. It may be the best voice ever. But, sadly, as awesome as it is, it is relegated to merely "the best female voice ever". Now the best voice ever, and damn, what a voice, is none other than the king pimp of the universe himself...

1. David Hayter as Solid Snake

Was there ever a doubt in your mind? With the exception of giant douche and relatively talented Tommy Talarico, everyone on the planet can acknowledge the fact that David Hayter created the Best Voice Ever when he took on the role of Solid Snake. Like Kari Whalgren, David is surprisingly do-able. Be you man, woman, animal, vegetable, or mineral, you have to admit that you would tap that. But what is striking about this man rests not in his loins, but in his throat. For you see, David Hayter has immaculate vocal chords, incapable of the guttural utterances we mortals have the gall to call speech. In eldrtich times, they rested in the throat of an Angel, the personal messenger of God. When Lucifer's pride railed against His throne, the Angel fell, and the heavenly speech that resided in him was gifted to a worthy human successor. That man was David Hayter, and he has deigned to let us simple wretches eavesdrop on the sounds of heaven. We shall erect monuments in his name, and buy Sony brand Playstation 3s when MGS4 comes out, all for a that trickle of beautiful noise.

Really Kickass Honorable Mention: Mike Patton as the Darkness

The Darkness is a game of cycles. Cycles of orgasmic pleasure and cycles of unparalled tedium. But through it all, you get to hear a voice that gurgles up from the pits of hell. The voice of the Darkness. If Hayter is heaven, then Patton is hell. Now, I'm a follower of the indie music scene, and have known about Patton's crazy vocal antics for quite some time. I thought it was interesting, but nothing special. Contrary to his horde of adoring fans, I don't think his stuff is anything to get your panties moist over. But his rendition of the Darkness in the video game of the same name is really amazing. Really really amazing. I would say 60 bucks is worth it just to hear his undulating pitch from gravely bass to tweaking treble. And, he hates wolfmother. So do I. It's good to have common ground.


Salem MacGourley said...

I humbly submit Tara Strong

and the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron, Peter Cullen and Frank Welker.

And the entirety of the Big Finish crew, with special mention going to Nicholas Briggs, voice of the Daleks, Cybermen, and wholly one/fifth of the inhabitants of the Doctor Who universe.

Tau Hecht said...

I stand by my top four, but I sincerely regret putting Steve Blum anywhere near a 'best of all time' list. In all honesty, it was blackmail.

The problem with making sweeping edicts in list form is that it leaves a lot of unrequited awesome. Richard Horvitz is all around amazing, and Kevin Conroy is the goddamn Batman. I chose these people (exception: Blum) because I knew I could write some cool stuff about them. You don't get an opportunity to mention burning midgets and elastic fortitude in the same sentence everyday you know.

Also, David Hayter co-wrote the first two X-Men movies (the good ones), and his screenplay for The Watchmen is the basis for the upcoming movie adaptation, so I really had to give the man some hardcore full frontal nerd love.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you should have totally put the Dalek dude in there. Who else could make a tin can terrifying?