JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure continues to be strong in its current anime adapting Stone Ocean, and Joseph Joestar is still one of the show’s biggest fan-favorite protagonists. Voice actor Tomokazu Sugita can be thanked for that when it comes to the anime adaptation, and he’s lent his voice to several other beloved series.
Whether in small supporting roles like in Black Lagoon or recurring lead roles like in Gintama, Sugita’s voice work is sure to be recognizable among longtime fans of the anime genre.
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Gintama is one of the most beloved and longest running shounen series in both manga and anime formats. The series follows freelance samurai Gintoki Sakata and his friends as they work odd jobs to make ends meet, while getting entangled in bizarre and colorful adventures along the way. Considering the main man’s characterization, Sugita’s performance as Gintoki was praised for consistently capturing over-the-top but appropriate comic relief.
It’s also arguably one of the most inventive shounen anime available in terms of setting, as it mixes elements of Japanese history by being set in the late Edo period while incorporating sci-fi elements. and witty humor. In addition to the television series, Gintama has also spawned a slew of successful anime films.
Stream on Netflix, Hulu and Crunchyroll
Perhaps the most acclaimed and enduring shounen anime from Weekly Shonen Jump magazine’s “Big Three” era, One Piece is an expansive and dynamic fantasy world. It also has a unique cast of characters to support this universe, with Sugita playing the role of Charlotte Katakuri, a strong, no-nonsense commander in Big Mom’s family empire, in one of the most compelling One Piece story arcs. well received in both mediums.
The One Piece villains are some of the most memorable characters in this series, so it’s quite a compliment fans paid to his commanding performance as Katakuri, bringing one of the most colorful rogues and rogues to life perfectly. most beloved bows from this pirate odyssey. The story begins with protagonist Monkey D. Luffy embarking on a quest to find the titular treasure, but this sprawling epic expands into a dense world of exciting heroes and villains, including Katakuri.
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Demon Slayer is one of the biggest shounen sensations in the mainstream anime space, and much of that is due to animation studio Ufotable’s visually stunning adaptation of Koyoharu Gotouge’s manga source material. Following the campaign adventures of Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke to defeat Muzan, the source of the Demon Outbreaks, has been a sight to behold for many fans.
Sugita plays one of the Demon Slayer Corps world’s revered Hashira, the Stone Pillar Gyoumei Himejima. He is a religiously pious, tender and compassionate member of the Hashira – as well as his strongest. Himejima’s character has a specific air of sensitivity and strength given these personality traits, and Sugita’s voice work does a good job of convincing fans of all of these qualities at once.
The attack of the Titans
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Attack on Titan was many fans’ first exposure to anime, as the anime adaptation of Hajime Isayama’s manga that debuted in 2013 captivated audiences with its alluring dark fantasy world. It centers around Eren Jaeger’s mission to join the Scout Regiment to avenge his other’s tragic death at the hands of a Titan.
However, it gradually morphs into so much more, combining dark fantasy, Game of Thrones-style political intrigue, and a gripping collection of mysteries at the heart of this world’s history and lore. Sugita played Marlo Freudenberg, another Scout Regiment recruit. Attack on Titan is easily one of the more serious shounen, and the character of Sugita, like several other supporting roles, helps add personality and world-building that highlights the triumph and tragedy that these characters cross.
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On the seinen anime front, Black Lagoon is one of the most violent and surprisingly introspective series. Black Lagoon follows a young Japanese wage earner who has been deceived and used as a pawn for an illegal arms trade deal, leading him to put aside his life at home to join the titular mercenary group.
It’s both hugely entertaining and brutally nihilistic, with Black Lagoon commenting on the vice grip of political institutions and organized crime on the world. Sugita takes on the minor role of Lotton — a soft-spoken but amusing bounty hunter — in Season 2 and Roberta’s Blood Trail. Black Lagoon is decidedly dark, so Sugita’s character is a good way to inject a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor into a brief role.
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Golden Kamuy is another well-received seinen series, with the manga source material having recently completed the story. The story revolves around Russo-Japanese War veteran Saichi Sugimoto as he attempts to uncover legendary Ainu treasure to help support the family of his deceased friend and comrade.
He meets and befriends an Ainu girl named Asirpa during his travels, in addition to a larger and more diverse cast. Sugita plays the sadistic and unstable war veteran Kouhei Nikaido. It’s a particularly lopsided role for a series with such a unique balance of groundedness and levity, and Sugita exemplifies this sinister, tortured character in spectacular fashion. Golden Kamuy is praised for its cocktail of gritty drama, wholesome humor, and poignant social commentary about Indigenous peoples and the horrors of war.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly
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Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball franchise is one of the most nostalgic and beloved anime in the world, and it’s often synonymous with the genre. He’s been an icon since the ’80s, and Dragon Ball Super: Broly was the first film in the sequel series to canonize a fan-favorite villain.
The titular Broly has been portrayed in past non-canon films as a mindless villain, but this film opted for a more sympathetic and misunderstood light. Sugita plays Lemo, a veteran of the Frieza Force tasked with finding strong fighters for the group, which eventually leads them to cross paths with Goku, Vegeta, and Broly. It’s a small part, but the Dragon Ball franchise is known for its dynamic characters in both foreground and background, and Sugita’s Lemo is a refreshing, down-to-earth character for lighter moments.
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The larger Pokémon franchise is a multimedia juggernaut thanks to its lineup of video games, merchandise, and anime. For the latter, the franchise has a mainline anime series that has been running steadily since the mid-90s, but Pokémon Origins is a contender for best anime.
Instead of Ash’s Adventures, Origins more closely adapts some of the best mainline Pokémon games by following Red’s quest to become the Elite Four champion and complete the Pokédex. Sugita takes on the role of Rock-Type Gym Leader Brock in this 4-episode animated miniseries, providing a welcome and appropriate new take on a classic character that rounds out this true-to-game take on the Pokémon world.
One Piece Movie: Red
Watch in theaters November 4
Besides the main anime and manga series, the most exciting next projects in the One Piece franchise are the movies. One Piece Film: Red is set to have a Western premiere next month, and it’s expected to revolve more around the legendary red-haired Shanks and an original character.
Uta is a renowned and talented singer performing at her highly anticipated live concert, with shocking revelations regarding her relationship with Luffy and Shanks proving to be the catalyst for the story. However, most anime movies also tend to make sure to work in guest appearances as fan service, with Sugita billed to return as the fan-favorite Katakuri for Red.
Dragon Ball Super: Super heroes
Watch in cinemas now
Broly wouldn’t be the last time audiences hear Sugita’s voice play in the Dragon Ball series, as he’s reprising his small role as former Frieza Force member Lemo in this year’s Super Hero. The likes of Goku, Vegeta, and Broly – and by extension Lemo – weren’t the focus of Super Hero, as the spotlight was instead on Piccolo and Gohan. Nonetheless, Sugita’s character among the rest serves entertaining background roles.
Both characters must quell the resurgence of the Red Ribbon Army that Goku thwarted in the original series. Super Hero also manages to showcase just how awesome CG animation can be when tastefully executed.