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I've watched most of Tonari no Seki-kun, and all I can hear from his voice actor are grunts and groans, and a few other occasional sounds of panic or excitement.

Why does this require a voice actor at all?

I mention this because, in Non Non Biyori, the only male character didn't have any sounds associated with him.

Am I perhaps conflating the two character types together (one with an obvious role, and another with an obvious non-role)?

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1 Answer 1

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Well, somebody has to do the grunting.

It may sound like I'm joking, but I'm really not. I don't know if canned grunts or grunt SFX packages exist, but I don't think the producers would want to use them - Seki has to grunt in a number of different ways and in a number of different contexts, and when you get down to it, Seki's grunts can really be quite emotive.

You could, in principle, have Seki be completely soundless, but that would be unrealistic - unlike the dude from Non Non Biyori, he does interact with the other characters to a substantive degree, and if he didn't make a single noise, it would be kind of weird.

For illustrative purposes, I have compiled a collection of Seki grunts and related noises from episodes 1 and 2 (http://vocaroo.com/i/s0PuflktAAbw; do forgive the shoddy editing). I hope you will agree that this stunning performance on Shimono Hiro's part is reason enough to have a voice actor for Seki. For an even better illustration, watch episode 16 from roughly 4:20 until the ending credits (the part where Yokoi is messing with him) - he vocalizes a lot there.

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I think you may have a point there. While it does seem odd to have a voice actor that doesn't do any actual speaking, the grunting is plenty emotive. The recording you put together (you actually took the time to record that?) demonstrates that. Thanks for the answer. –  Makoto Apr 28 at 3:51
    
@Makoto Perhaps a good analogy here is Pikachu's VA in the Pokemon anime - all she does is say the word "Pikachu", but by jove does she do it in so many ways. (Of course, there's plot reasons for Pikachu to say "Pikachu", but the point I'm getting at is that a voice actor can do plenty without actually "saying" anything.) –  senshin Apr 28 at 3:53

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