Anime Academy

Profile by av-Kain 

 

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Enjoying a well-deserved break

Not much is known of Takayama Minami’s childhood, let alone details of her personal life. All that we do know about her is her public persona, which was catapulted to celebrity status by her prolific career as a seiyuu and singer. Takayama was born on May 5th, 1964 in Tokyo. Her birth name is actually Izumi Arai, but along the way she decided to change it to Takayama Minami, and she is often referred to merely as Minami. It would not take her long to establish herself as one of the top seiyuu in the business, given her amazing ability to portray a wide range of personalities, be it man or woman. Her most popular roles to date are as the psychotic Dilandau in both Vision of Escaflowne and A Girl in Gaea, the scheming Tendo Nabiki in Ranma ½ and its sequels and as the determined and innocent Kiki in Kiki’s Delivery Service. Other less known, but still highly regarded, roles are Conan in Detective Conan, Yamamoto Yohko in Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko, Adama in Bubblegum Crash and Ascot in Magic Knight Rayearth.

Despite her many prestigious accomplishments in the realm of voice acting, Takayama Minami will be probably always be best known for being ½ of the super J-Pop duo Two-Mix. Recognized as a giant in the Japanese music industry with its combination of catchy lyrics and thumping techno and dance beats, Two-Mix has made its presence known in just about every facet of Japanese entertainment. However, it would take Takayama a while before she would find her niche as a musician.

Wanting to expand her horizons as a composer by producing music by utilizing synthesizers, Takayama would find her perfect match when she was introduced to Nagano Shiina. Nagano, at the time that he first met Takayama in the early 1990s, was already an accomplished lyricist and composer, having provided material for top-billed J-Pop singers. He had also written a few songs for Pulse, Hayashibara Megumi’s album. Having just left his position in the band RE-X, Nagano was taken with Takayama’s abilities as a composer and singer, and the two formed their first band ES CONNEXION; Nagano-san was on keyboards, Takayama provided vocals and other members played various instruments. After a string of mostly live performances, the members of the group went their separate ways in 1994.

 

Takayama-san can do crazy...
Takayama-san can do crazy…

Soon after, Takayama and Nagano would reunite and release their first single Just Communication in 1995 under the name Two-Mix. Takayama’s soulful singing voice, a voice that made her popular and respected as a seiyuu for her emotional roles, and Nagano’s touching lyrics proved an instant hit in Japan; Just Communication soon found itself the opening song for Gundam Wing. Showing their critics that Two-Mix is not merely a one-hit wonder, the pair followed up their success with their second single Rhythm Emotion, which became Gundam Wing‘s second opening song. Soon to follow were appearances on OSTs for Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, Detective Conan and Rurouni Kenshin, among others.

Today, Two-Mix has not only become a staple in the Gundam soundtrack universe but also for live-action shows and movies such as Gojira Oukuku, Super Soccer and Ousama no Brunch. In 2000, Takayama and Nagano concentrated their efforts on the Infinity Project, a compilation of dance tracks such as remixes of Rhythm Emotion and Lupin III tunes. Their signature sound (heavy on bass with rapid-fire synth beats) became a staple in the latest dance crazes in Japan, predominantly ParaPara and Dance Dance Revolution. In just a few short years, Two-Mix’s popularity has seen a meteoric increase and shows no sign of waning anytime soon.

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… as well as sweet and innocent.

Not satisfied with being confined to just a seiyuu (though she has proven she is among the very best in that field), Takayama Minami’s vocal talents are put to better use in all manner of entertainment. Her unmitigated success transcends anime, and she has become a fixture and an icon in Japanese popular culture. Just like her personal life, only Takayama Minami knows what lies ahead for her careers as a seiyuu and as a member of Two-Mix. Whatever it is she decides to do, however, you can bet there will be millions listening.

 

Production Credits:

.hack//GIFT – Mia
.hack//integration
– Mia
A-ko The Versus
– little Gail, C-ko’s servant
Aika – Golden Delmo Bianca
Angel Links – Secu/Tary
Anime Himitsu no Hanazono – Collin, Patty
Apocalypse Zero – Aoki
Asobotto Senki Goku – Mioto
Bubblegum Crash – Adama
City Hunter – Asaoka Mei
Cooking Papa – Makoto
Crayon Shin-chan – Keiko
Cyborg Soldier 009 – Artemis
Demon Hunter – Rikudou Yama
Descendant of the Dark – Minase Hijiri
Detective Conan – Edogawa Conan, Nakamori Aoko
Detective Conan: Captured In Her Eyes – Edogawa Conan
Detective Conan: Count Down to Heaven – Edogawa Conan
Detective Conan: Crossroad in the Ancient Capital – Edogawa Conan
Detective Conan: Magician of the Silver Sky – Edogawa Conan
Detective Conan: The Fourteenth Target – Edogawa Conan
Detective Conan: The Last Magician of the Century – Edogawa Conan
Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street – Edogawa Conan
Detective Conan: The Timed Skyscraper – Edogawa Conan
Eatman ’98 – Thelma
Explorer Woman Ray – Mami
Gasaraki – Ataka Rin
Hakkenden – Inuzaka Keno
Happy Moomin Family – Muumin
Hikaruon – female student
Hime-chan’s Ribbon – Kamikura Ichiko, Kobayashi Shintarou
Iczer-3 – Atros
Kakugo no Susume – Aoki
Kikaider – Chigusa Sakamoto
Kiki’s Delivery Service – Kiki, Ursula
Kirby: Right Back At Ya! – Knuckle Joe
Kodomo no Omocha – Ohki Tsuyoshi
Kodomo no Omocha OAV – Ohki Tsuyoshi
Kyou Kara Maou! – Annisina
Macross Zero – Nora Polyansky
Magic Knight Rayearth – Ascot
Magic Knight Rayearth II – Ascot
Magical Taruruuto-kun – Honmaru Edojou
Magical Taruruto-kun: Moero! Yuujou no Mahou Taisen – Honmaru Edojou
Mahou Senshi Riui – Jiini
Maria-sama ga Miteru – Former Rosa Gigantea
Maria-sama ga Miteru: Spring – Former Rosa Gigantea
Mermaid’s Scar – Mana
Midori no Makibaou – Katsu
Mr. Ajikko – Youichi Ajiyoshi
Mushrambo – Mushra
Nintama Rantarou – Rantarou
Oi! Ryouma – little Sakamoto Ryuuma
Pokémon – Hiroshi
Princess Arete – Ample
Psychic Force – Emilio
Ranma ½ – Tendo Nabiki
Ranma ½: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China – Tendo Nabiki
Ranma ½: Nihao My Concubine – Tendo Nabiki
Ranma ½ OVA – Tendo Nabiki
Rayearth OVA – Ascot
Record of Lodoss War – Shiris
Rumic World: Mermaid Forest – Mana
Shaman King – Hao
Shimajiro – queen fairy
Shonen Ashibe – Ashibe
Shoukouji Sedy – Roy
Slayers Perfect – Chibi Rowdy
Slow Step – Nakazato Minatsu
Sol Bianca: The Legacy – Jani
Space Pirate Captain Harlock: Outside Legend – The Endless Odyssey – Noo B
The Soul Taker – Date Mio
Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko – Yamamoto Yohko
Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko OVA – Yamamoto Yohko
Tanoshii Moomin Ikka – Moomin Troll
Tekken – Nina Williams
Those Who Hunt Elves – Reipia
Tsuyoshi Shikkari Shinasai – Mai
Ultraman Kids – Tar
Vision of Escaflowne – Dilandau Albatau, Prince Ceido
Vision of Escaflowne: A Girl in Gaea – Dilandau Albatau
Wakakusa Monogatari – Tommy
The Weathering Continent – Lakshi
Whisper of the Heart – Kousaka-sensei
Yaiba – Kurogane Yaiba
Ys – Young Adol, Feena
Yu Yu Hakusho – Mukuro


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