Hi, I’d like to introduce you to an actor whose voice I’ve been listening to since childhood. I just never knew his name. Voice actors here in the states get a raw deal, and hardly any recognition. Sure, you remember characters from Voltron, Go-Bots, the Transformers, G.I. Joe–but did you ever remember the women and men who gave those characters voices?
In Japan, they’re called seiyuu, and they have their own dedicated fans that follow their shows. Famous seiyuu will bring more attention to a mediocre series. Similar to how Hollywood will attach big names to mediocre movies, animation companies will try to get big name voices for their projects.
Michael Bell is the voice of more than a couple of my favorite characters. He was the voice of Lance in Voltron, Duke in G.I. Joe, and a ton of other voice credits for the Saturday mornings of old.
In 1999 he caught my attention as the vampire Raziel, in the Soul Reaver series of games. He brought a hard edge to Raziel’s character, a noirish undertone that would have been lost with some yahoo off the street trying to channel the Count from Sesame Street. He made the game less a game, and more an interactive movie. I was driven to find out what happens to Raziel’s character, because I genuinely felt his need for revenge. Voice acting in this particular game is of particular importance, considering that Raziel doesn’t have the lower half of his face.
This makes difficult for him to emote.
I find it intriguing how he’s evolved away from the cartoons that I watched then, to the video games that I play now.