How long does a voice talent stay popular in Japan? There are some who seem essentially immortal, but when it comes down to actual press, it takes only five or six years for the landscape to change completely.
Japanese site Yaraon! crunched the numbers and rated voice actress popularity in 2009 vs. 2015 based solely on their mentions in articles on the site. Rie Kugimiya (Nagi in Hayate the Combat Butler) topped the 2009 list with 191 stories to her name. The rest of the list:
2. Miyuki Sawashiro (Fujiko Mine, Lupin III as of 2012) -- 182
3. Haruka Tomatsu (Naruko Anjou, anohana) -- 181
4. Mamiko Noto (Rin, Inuyasha) -- 163
5. Eri Kitamura (Sayaka Miki, Madoka Magica) -- 155
6. Yui Horie (Toru Honda, Fruits Basket) -- 154
7. Aya Endo (Sheryl Nome, Macross Frontier) -- 144
8. Ami Koshimizu (Kallen, Code Geass) -- 138
9. Aki Toyosaki (Chitose, YuruYuri) -- 132
10. Sayuri Yahagi (Suzu, Seitokai Yakuindomo) -- 127
Fast-forward to 2015, and the playing field has changed completely -- while many of these voice actresses are still quite popular, the top ten is completely different.
Leading the pack now is Maaya Uchida (Rikka in Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!), who appeared in a total of 168 stories. The rest of the list:
2. Ayane Sakura (La Pucelle, Magical Girl Raising Project) -- 167
3. Saori Hayami (Ayase, Oreimo) -- 140
4. Ai Kayano (Riri, Hand Shakers) -- 135
5. Ari Ozawa (Chiyo, Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun) -- 132
6. Hisako Kanemoto (Sailor Mercury, Sailor Moon Crystal) -- 125
7. Kana Hanazawa (Raphiel, Gabriel DropOut) -- 124
8. Shizuka Itou (Hinagiku, Hayate the Combat Butler) -- 121 (tied)
8. Risa Taneda (Rize, Is This Order a Rabbit?) -- 121 (tied)
10. Aoi Yuuki (Madoka, Madoka Magica) -- 120
None of the 2009 set has faded into obscurity by any means, but it's interesting to see who's the most talked about (and potentially what got them there) in recent years. Are any of your favorites on this list? Do you have a favorite voice actress you wish got more recognition? Let us know!
Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, blogs and runs interviews for (Re)Generation Who and PotterVerse, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl's Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.