Winner: Saori Hayami
- Maaya Uchida
- Miyuki Sawashiro
Both Maaya Uchida and Miyuki Sawashiro contributed greatly to Noragami Aragoto (as Hiyori and Bishamon, respectively) as well as Yamada-kun and Charlotte, reaffirming their status as some of the most in demand voice actresses in Japan at the moment. However, as good as they are, most of their roles were either reprisals or similar to their previous work, while the winner played many new characters and improved upon her previously impressive track record.
The quality of the series Saori Hayami lent her voice to varied considerably in quality, from great (SNAFU TOO!, Owarimonogatari) to good (Snow White, Yamada-kun) to mediocre (Euphonium, One Punch Man) and even to plain bad (Gunslinger Stratus, Rolling Girls). However, her soothing and subtle voice demonstrated great versatility across all of these characters, from Snow White and Shiraishi’s welcoming and bright tones to Yotsugi and Fubuki’s more severe and calculated lines. Her involvement in One Punch Man and central role in Snow White should hopefully propel her further to star-level status, like the two voice actors mentioned above. Her stand-out and possibly career-defining role, however, came in the form of her layered and developed portrayal of Yukinoshita in SNAFU TOO!, where she depicted stellar emotional range far surpassing that of her performance in the first season, helped greatly by the change in staff and design choices, of course. Her range and emotional clarity have made her a favourite of mine in the industry, and I greatly anticipate future performances from her.
Sadly, this year also marked the untimely passing of voice acting veteran Matsuki Miyu, who passed away from acute pneumonia at age 38. Even in the weeks leading up to her death, she was still working and popular with A Boring World Where The Concept of Dirty Jokes doesn’t Exist and Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya, which aired in the summer of this year. Her contributions to anime will be greatly missed by myself and many others.
Rest In Peace Matsuki Miyu