A large part of Zelgadis's appeal, I
think, is his wonderful voice. Both the Japanese and English voices for Zel use
a deliberate, low voice which sounds almost evil. Zel is usually the calm one
of the group, and his two voice actors use that calm demeanor well. Contrast
this with Lina Inverse's voice in both versions: Lina's character is more
excitable and energetic, and her seiyuus' high voices suit her.
The Japanese seiyuu doing the voice of
Zel is Midorikawa Hikaru. If you've watched other anime, you've probably heard
him...Mr. Midorikawa does the voice of Tamahome in Fushigu Yuugi, Faust in
Saber Marionette J, Micheal Grant in Marmalade Boy, and Alan and Fiore in
Sailor Moon. These are only a few of my favorites, and his credits are much
more impressive than my brief list. Check out
Doi's Seiyuu page for more
information on this, or almost any other, Japanese voice star.
About Dan Cronin, Zel's first English
voice, not much is known. English voice actors rarely get famous doing
"cartoon" acting: usually, the only voices that people have heard of
achieved fame as television or movie actors, or as musicians, before being
signed to a voice role. Such outstanding, well-known voice stars as Yeardley
Smith and Christine Cavanaugh are very rare. AnimeOnline, an Online 'zine, is
trying to remedy this neglect by giving fans a place to write to their favorite
it out for the USVA database.
I really, really liked Dan Cronin's
voice in this role. It fit the character well. All things change, however, and now there's a NEW voice of Zel...
Crispin Freeman is the latest voice of Zel, taking over the role in Volume 6 of the Software Sculptors dub. I was terribly apprehensive when I heard that Dan Cronin had been replaced, but I'm happy to report that my fears were groundless! Mr. Freeman interprets the role a bit differently, adding a touch more emotion to his reading, but this also suits the character well. Zel is NOT emotionless, as those who have listened to Mr. Midorikawa well know. It may take a while for some fans to get comfortable with a more emotional Zel, but Mr. Freeman's voice is really quite incredible. He has a range unlike most English VA's...check out the voices of Hallas (Lina's bridegroom in episode 15) and the first actor in episode 16 and you'll see what I mean: all these roles are voiced by Mr. Freeman, and all are unique.
Mr. Freeman is also a very nice man. He responded to my email with a courteous, well-thought-out letter which showed his professionalism and knowledge of both anime and the art of voice acting. He's appearing in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge at the Neil Simon Theater in NYC, so check him out if you can! He's also done some work in the English Grave of the Fireflies and hopes to do more anime. He seems happy describing himself as an otaku, which is not something that can often be said about dub actors! I've turned into an unabashed Crispin-Freeman-promoter so be sure not to bring it up if you don't want to hear about him. :D
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