five screens: rie tanaka roles

Air Gear 2

The only thing that’s keeping me tuned into Air Gear is Rie Tanaka as Simca. She’s using a voice style that I haven’t heard before… it’s more down to earth yet flirty. It’s not sweet and cheery like Mariel. It’s not crazy and playful ike Suigintou. It’s not “I’m just doing it for the $” like Lacus. It’s not wooden like Saki. It’s not even the backstabbing Tomoe voice, even though Simca warrants it. The closest is probably Dual‘s Mitsuki, yet it’s the opposite personaltiy type. It’s like Rie Tanaka reached down into her bag of tricks and came up with another style. Bravo.

She’s probably the most versatile top tier seiyuu. If she were a pitcher, she would have the 90+ mph fastball (Suigintou), a very well-controlled slider (Mariel), a wicked curve (Chii), and a servicable change-up (Meer). By comparison, most “starter” class seiyuu only have two or three voices. Inoue Kikuko has exactly two, her fastball — Belldandy (Agnes, Mizuho) — and her curveball — I-No (Carmen99, Orudina). Closers like Mamiko Noto have basically just a fastball, but they do it well. I mean, close your eyes… Yakumo, Enma Ai, Hecate, Chizuru, Nodoka, and Ana all sound the same. (Though if Ana sent Miu to hell, it would have been the greatest anime moment since Eri killed Harima and ran off with Yakumo to open a flower shop on San Francisco’s Castro street.)


Top Five Rie Tanaka Roles

Honorable mention to Lacus, who was mailed in very badly, and Sanada, who was just a train wreck. It’s one thing to be nekomimi… it’s another to be nekomimi meido… it’s yet another to be nekomimi meido lolicon lesbian. Just too over the top, and I think even Rie Tanaka couldn’t get a grip on the voice. It’s like sticking her on the Kansas City Royals.

5. Meer (Gundam Seed Destiny)


Clingy voice coupled with a bit of starlet and a small dash of craziness. It’s like Rie Tanaka got a mulligan for Lacus… I still think that her Meer voice would have been great for Lacus but then we’d be deprived of the “waktashi-wa” that Despot Lacus uses.

4. Chii (Chobits)

Chobits 1

If there’s one thing that I remember from Chobits, it’s that Chii says about a total of two words, but each time she says something different. Kinda like R2D2 only with “Chii” and “Hideki” instead of quick beeps and long beeps.

3. Tomoe (Mai Otome)


Utterly crazy evil conniving lesbian bitch, and her work as Tomoe in the last five episodes of Otome or so was a clinic. Every aspiring seiyuu looking for work as the next utterly crazy evil conniving lesbian bitch needs to study these last few episodes and fast forward through the father/daughter incest. Just doesn’t get enough screentime… I mean… Harukua and Yukino got more… or else she’d be ranked higher.

2. Mariel (Hanaukyo Maid La Verite)

La Verite OP

Vastly underrated as Mariel and just is the polar opposite of her Tomoe voice. She also sings the OP, which she should have done for GSD and been a better than Wings of Word… I should let it go. I really should. Bonus points for the Chii cosplay.

(Actually, something completely lost in this Kanon remake debate is that the last series to be remade after three years? Yep, La Verite. I’ll stab myself with a ballpoint pen now.)

1. Suigintou (Rozen Maiden/Rozen Maiden Dreams)

Rozen Maiden 12

I mean… what else would be here? It’s a no-hitter with that laugh as a 100+ mph fastball.

25 Responses to “five screens: rie tanaka roles”

  1. I recognize three of the five. I have yet to finish GSD and I do think that Chii should be higher since it was probably a more difficult job given the lack of vocabulary in Chii’s memory.

  2. I don’t know if I’d rate Mariel quite that high, but all in all those five roles were STELLAR.

    I have great hopes for a possible season 3 of Gundam Seed featuring Lacus in a role similar to Durandal’s in Destiny.

    But I definitely agree that Suigintou is hands down her best role ever, absolutely perfect in every way.

  3. Completely agree. Suigintou was perfection and Tomoe’s MPD was just delicious. I’ve also seen the first episode of Air Gear and while I didn’t like the episode, I thought Rie Tanaka’s voice as Simca was indeed one of the highlights of the episode.

  4. I haven’t watched all of these but I am kind of relieved to see that you put Suigintou in first place, if she had an even better role that would have been somewhat inhuman.
    And I am actually inclined to watch Air Gear just for Rie Tanaka…must be strong and resist the temptation. ;)

  5. Hmm. Now that I think about it, who else can do more than three roles? Megumi Hayashibara? Yukana? Dunno.

  6. Yeah she’s great but not the only one with more than 3 types of voices. I haven’t verified this with hard facts, but according to memory, we have Orikasa Fumiko, Chiba Saeko and Satsuki Yukino.

    And Noto has truly one voice, but it’s the Voice of Promised Victory.

  7. Well, there’s also Kawasumi Ayako who is kind of on a different level as she seemingly has only 1 voice, but somehow, it always feel slightly different. After a while, you can always tell its her, but sometime you sort of miss it on initial impressions. And if you look at her list of characters, sometimes you’ll be a tad surprised.

  8. Ayako Kawasumi has like two-ish voices. I didn’t know that it was her in Zegapain or Fate/Stay Night, at first.

  9. Jason, me thinks you forgot to mention another honorable role Rie Tanaka has done: Yomi from Azumanga Daioh.

    If anything else, her Yomi role should over top the “greatness” of Lacus anyday. Plus Azumanga Daioh definitely would not have been as funny without Rie’s take of the straight-man Yomi!

  10. Omg how can you say that about Lacus >_

  11. Sorry moy, I forgot. Yomi is the exactly polar opposite of Suigintou… quite amazing.

    And the more I listen to Kawasumi, the more I think she has exactly one voice, the Mahoro, and tries to change inflections, but she always slips back to Mahoro after a few lines. She even sings in the Mahoro voice for Ichigo Complete.

  12. Why does Sunrise keep casting the Azumanga Daioh seiyuu in “crazy bitch” roles in the “Mai-series?” I dearly hope they don’t get their hands on Tomoko Kaneda and Yuki Matsuoka and force them into acting some sort of despicable character.

  13. I dearly hope they don’t get their hands on Tomoko Kaneda and Yuki Matsuoka and force them into acting some sort of despicable character.

    Eh? Why?

    That makes no sense.

  14. And the more I listen to Kawasumi, the more I think she has exactly one voice, the Mahoro, and tries to change inflections, but she always slips back to Mahoro after a few lines. She even sings in the Mahoro voice for Ichigo Complete.

    Chikane begs to differ.

  15. Chiba Saeko… I used to think she had a lot of voices, too. After rewatching some shows I came to the conclusion she only has 2 voices (and then sligh variations of those): the deep voice (a la Natsuki) and them the other one (Dokuro/Chika).

    As for Tanaka, remember UFO Princess Valkyrie! :D She’s quite crazy in that one too.

  16. I would like to cast a vote for Yomi too. It was a great performance (which left some big shoes for Nancy Novotny to fill – on her debut, no less!). Rie Tanaka also recorded a striking character song for that character.

    Chii, I thought, underutilized her. Sure, she squeezed the maximum from that citrus, but it was not much to begin with.

    I am glad Mrs. Tanaka continues voice acting, because at some point it looked as if she were abandoning it for the singing career.

  17. I loved her Yomi role – earthy and rich, but sarcastic when necessary, so she could go from tired to ascerbic in about two seconds flat. :D As far as seiyuu go, she’s my favorite both for how she plays her roles with a voice that CHANGES (Kikuko Inoue, who I also enjoy, uses the same voice again and again between roles… but I still love listening to her). Plus, her habit of cosplaying as her characters is cute. :D

    For an example of this, I refer to the Simca pics she has on her diary right now… and her past Suigintou pictures.

  18. And Kotono Misuishi… she also has some versatility, but I don’t see her about as much these days. Ebichu anyone?

  19. For people who don’t know, her website is at:

    Image Hosted by

  20. Well, I’d say that Tanaka Rie is among my top seiyuu star list. But if you want versatility, I think Kuwashima Houko fits the bill best. Seriously, Houko is the only seiyuu I know that can voice a mature woman and a young bitch at the SAME time in one anime! Anyone remembers Fllay, the Gundam Seed Bitch and Natalle, the other Gundam Seed Spinster? Yup both done by Houko.

    The other seiyuu I prefer is non other than Inoue Kikuko. She does the most perfect voice as Belldandy the Goddess, the sluttiest mature female teacher Mitsuka in DearS and the best yoyo-slinging mercenary Carmen 99 in Gunsword.

    But my top position has to go to Sakamoto Maaya. She’s not really versatile in her roles (I can’t shake off Escaflowne’s Hitomi and GSD Lunarmaria) but I just love her sweet heavenly voice while singing.

  21. Between that and her Suigintou cosplay, she is the Queen as far as I’m concerned. :D Heck, she even makes Animal Crossing DS fun – like when she showed a picture of her ‘avatar’ as Lacus.

    As far as Kawashimi Houko… don’t forget Noir as Kirika. :D

  22. Do not forget Megumi Hayashibara. Shes one of the best.

  23. Hayashibara-sama!! hmm…i REALLY don’t see Megumi doing anime much these days anymore tho…

    sux, really miss her voice especially as Anna from Shaman King, Rei from Eva, Lina from Slayers, Ranma, etc.

  24. Tomoe in ZWEI OVA 2. Watch.

  25. Interesting views from everyone. … Some I just can’t understand probably because I’m still sane. Don’t worry I’m working on it. I’ve liked all her roles so far but the one that shot straight into the void of my heart and pulled what little bit of humanity was left in me was Suigintou from Rozen Maidens. Looking for the second season but the way the first season ending made want to study black magic so I can assimilate myself into the anime to help.

Leave a Reply