Perhaps the 52-year-old voice of Inuyasha and Ranma should seriously consider a mid-life career change to manga artist?

If you grew up watching subbed anime from the 90s, chances are you’ve heard Kappei Yamaguchi’s instantly recognizable, uniquely nasal voice. He’s known for playing somewhat brash characters with hidden vulnerabilities, especially during his frequent collaborations with prolific manga artist Rumiko Takashashi, for whom he’s voiced the titular characters in Ranma ½ and Inuyasha.

His other signature roles include playing L in Death Note, Shinichi (Jimmy) Kudo in Detective Conan, and Usopp in One Piece. He’s even been playing the latter two continuously for 22 and 18 years respectively! After hearing his voice in hundreds of hours of anime episodes, Yamaguchi feels like an old friend to us — even though we’ve never met the guy.

▼ Manga artist Rumiko Takahashi (seated center) with the vocal cast of Ranma ½ at the Ranma ½ Cafe in Tokyo in February. Yamaguchi is standing behind her.

As Japanese netizens have discovered over the past few years, Yamaguchi is not just insanely talented with his voice acting skills, but also at replicating his favorite anime characters with a pen. 

He most recently popped up in some photos on the official blog of fellow veteran voice actor Toshiyuki Morikawa. Morikawa (who ironically played Yamaguchi’s character’s arch-nemesis Naraku in Inuyasha) portrayed One Piece antagonist Enel alongside Yamaguchi in the television special Episode of Sky Island, set to air in Japan on August 25.

Despite their fictional characters’ rivalries, in real life the two appear to be quite chummy. During the recording session, Yamaguchi apparently picked up a marker and began recreating Enel’s infamous “shocked” expression on the board:

“Kappei-kun is drawing Enel! Yahahaha!”

▼ A part of the original drawing from the
manga for reference. Not bad at all!

A few days later, Morikawa posted a follow-up message:

“Master painter Kappei Yamaguchi and Morikawa-san.”

This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, that Yamaguchi has demonstrated his artistic prowess. Just this May he posted the beginnings of a self-drawn portrait of Shinichi Kudo, the main character from Detective Conan, in celebration of the character’s birthday.

“I’m not gonna make it in time! Sorry, Shin-chan.”

A few hours later he uploaded the finished product:

“Happy belated, Shin-chan!”

Netizens were also quick to dig up another birthday tribute to Shinichi from three years ago:

In light of his impressive artistic skills, netizens posted comments such as the following online:

“Even the Shinichi sketch is really good.”
“He could animate and dub his own anime. Cool!”
“He seems like an ordinary middle-aged guy. I’m a bit let down tbh.”
“I think he could sell those over Yahoo! Auctions.”
“Voice actors should do voice impressions, not artistic impressions!” (Wow, what a party pooper.)

Follow Yamaguchi on his Twitter account to see what other creative endeavors he’s been up, including a recent foray into the world of rakugo (a form of comedic storytelling). We also certainly wouldn’t mind if he decided to create a portfolio of his artwork!

Source:  Toshiyuki Morikawa Official Blog via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@axl_mt_info