JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is still going strong in its current anime run adapting Stone Ocean, and Joseph Joestar still stands among the biggest fan-favorite protagonists of the series. Voice actor Tomokazu Sugita can be thanked for that in regards to the anime adaptation, and he’s lent his voice to several other beloved series.
Whether it’s in small side roles like in Black Lagoon or recurring main roles like in Gintama, Sugita’s voice work is sure to be recognizable among longtime fans of the anime genre.
Stream On Hulu And Disney+
Gintama is one of the most beloved and long-running shounen series in both manga and anime formats. The series follows freelance samurai Gintoki Sakata and his friends as they take odd jobs to make ends meet, as well as getting entangled in bizarre and colorful adventures along the way. Given the leading man’s characterization, Sugita’s performance as Gintoki has been praised for consistently capturing over-the-top, yet fitting comedic relief.
It’s arguably also one of the most inventive shounen anime available in terms of setting, as it blends elements of Japanese history by taking place in the late Edo period while incorporating sci-fi elements and witty humor. On top of the TV series, Gintama has also spawned a slew of successful anime movies.
Stream On Netflix, Hulu, And Crunchyroll
Perhaps the most acclaimed and enduring shounen anime from Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine’s era of the “Big Three,” One Piece is an expansive and vibrant fantasy world. It also has a unique cast of characters to back this universe up, with Sugita playing the role of Charlotte Katakuri, a strong and no-nonsense Commander in Big Mom’s family empire, in one of the most well-received One Piece story arcs in both mediums.
One Piece villains are some of the most memorable characters to come out of this series, so it’s quite the compliment that fans took to his imposing performance as Katakuri, perfectly bringing to life one of the most colorful rogues and beloved arcs in this pirate odyssey. The story begins with protagonist Monkey D. Luffy embarking on a quest to find the titular treasure, but this sprawling epic fleshes out into a dense world of exciting heroes and villains, including Katakuri.
Stream On Hulu, Netflix, And Crunchyroll
Demon Slayer is one of the biggest shounen sensations in the mainstream anime space, and that’s in large part due to animation studio Ufotable’s visually stunning adaptation of Koyoharu Gotouge’s manga source material. Following Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke’s countryside ventures to defeat Muzan, the source of the demon outbreaks, has been a spectacle for many fans to see.
Sugita plays one of the world’s revered Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps., the Stone Pillar Gyoumei Himejima. He’s a religiously devout, tender, and compassionate member of the Hashira — as well as its strongest. Himejima’s character has a specific air of sensitivity and strength given those personality traits, and Sugita’s voice work does well to convince fans of all those qualities at once.
Attack On Titan
Stream On Crunchyroll, Funimation, And Hulu
Attack on Titan was many fans’ first exposure to anime, as the anime adaptation of Hajime Isayama’s manga that began in 2013 gripped audiences with its enticing dark-fantasy world. It centers on Eren Jaeger’s mission to join the Scout Regiment to avenge the tragic death of his other at the hands of a Titan.
However, it steadily unravels into so much more, combining dark fantasy, Game of Thrones-like political intrigue, and a riveting collection of mysteries at the core of this world’s story and lore. Sugita played Marlo Freudenberg, a fellow recruit in the Scout Regiment. Attack on Titan is easily one of the more serious shounen, and Sugita’s character, like several other supporting roles, helps add personality and worldbuilding that highlight the triumph and tragedy these characters push through.
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On the seinen anime front, Black Lagoon is one of the most over-the-top violent, and surprisingly introspective series. Black Lagoon follows a young Japanese salaryman who was tricked and used as a pawn for an illegal weapons trade deal, leading him to cast aside his life at home to join the titular mercenary group.
It’s wildly entertaining and brutally nihilistic at the same time, with Black Lagoon commenting on the vice-grip political institutions and organized crime have on the world. Sugita takes on the minor role of Lotton — a soft-spoken yet amusing bounty hunter — in season 2 and Roberta’s Blood Trail. Black Lagoon is unabashedly bleak, so Sugita’s character is a good way to inject some ironic humor in a brief role.
Stream On Crunchyroll And Funimation
Golden Kamuy is another well-received seinen series, with the manga source material having recently finished the story. The story revolves around Russo-Japanese War veteran Saichi Sugimoto as he attempts to discover a legendary Ainu treasure to help provide for his fallen friend and comrade’s family.
He meets and befriends an Ainu girl named Asirpa along his travels, in addition to a wider, diverse cast. Sugita plays the sadistic and unstable war veteran Kouhei Nikaido. It’s a particularly unhinged role for a series with such a unique balance of groundedness and levity, and Sugita exemplifies this grim, tortured character spectacularly. Golden Kamuy is praised for its cocktail of gritty drama, wholesome humor, and poignant social commentary on indigenous peoples and the horrors of war.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly
Stream On Hulu
Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball franchise is among the most nostalgic and loved anime around the world, and it’s often synonymous with the genre. It’s been an icon since the ’80s, and Dragon Ball Super: Broly was the first movie in the sequel series to canonize a fan-favorite villain.
The titular Broly was depicted in prior non-canon movies as a mindless villain, but this movie opted for a more sympathetic and misunderstood light. Sugita plays Lemo, a veteran of the Frieza Force tasked with finding strong combatants 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 vibrant characters both in the forefront and background, and Sugita’s Lemo is a refreshingly down-to-earth character for the lighter moments.
Buy On Amazon Prime Video And Apple TV
The wider Pokémon franchise is a multimedia juggernaut thanks to its line of video games, merchandise, and anime. For the latter, the franchise has a mainline anime series that’s been running consistently since the mid-late ’90s, but Pokémon Origins is a contender for the best anime.
Instead of the adventures of Ash, 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 the Rock-Type Gym Leader Brock in this 4-episode anime miniseries, providing a welcome and fitting new rendition of a classic character that complements this game-faithful version of the Pokémon world.
One Piece Film: Red
Watch In Theaters November 4th
Aside from the mainline anime and manga series, the next most exciting ventures in the One Piece franchise are the movies. One Piece Film: Red is poised for a western premiere next month, and it’s set to revolve more heavily 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 when it comes to 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 Hero
Watch In Theaters Now
Broly wouldn’t be the last time audiences hear Sugita’s voice acting in the Dragon Ball series, as he reprises 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 shined on Piccolo and Gohan instead. Nonetheless, Sugita’s character among the others serves entertaining background roles.
The two characters find themselves having to snuff out the resurgence of the Red Ribbon Army that Goku thwarted in the original series. Super Hero also manages to showcase how impressive CG animation can be when executed tastefully.