It turns out, our voices aren’t simply made for videoke nights. From Inka Magnaye to Liza Soberano, here are ten Filipinos who brought animated characters to life.
In the colorful world of animation, there exists a remarkable yet often overlooked group of artists: the voice actors behind our beloved characters. While animated characters express themselves through vibrant visuals and engaging storylines, it’s the voices breathing life into these personalities that often remain in the shadows, their immense contributions understated against the spotlight cast on the finished product.
The silent heroes behind the microphone infuse these animated creations with soul. They imbue characters with emotions, depth, and distinct traits that resonate deeply with audiences, creating personas that become integral to our entertainment experience. What’s more, some of these talented individuals are Filipino, showcasing that the country’s voice extend beyond singing competitions.
Scroll down for a few Filipino voices responsible for breathing life into iconic animated characters, whose origins might surprise you. From Inka Magnaye to Lea Salonga, scroll through to discover whose voices you might have encountered on screen.
Dante Basco – Prince Zuko
Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Only later did we realize that a Filipino was the voice behind one of the main characters from the animated series. Dante Basco, a distinguished Filipino-American film, television, and voice actor, is widely celebrated for his iconic portrayal of Prince Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
His ability to convey Zuko’s development from a conflicted antagonist to a multifaceted hero earned him praise from fans worldwide, leaving a lasting impact on our childhoods and the world of animation. In case you missed it, he can also be heard as General Iroh in The Legend of Korra, Kwok Wong in The Proud Family, and in various games such as Scarface: The World is Yours and Mortal Kombat X.
Among the talented pool of voice actors, Dawn M. Bennett stands out as a half-Filipina English dubber and director, leaving an indelible mark on the animated industry. With a career spanning major to minor roles across anime, movies, and OVAs (Original Video Animations), Bennett’s drive and dedication have earned her acclaim. Her roles have ranged from endearing characters to intense and commanding personas, captivating audiences with her nuanced performances.
Dawn Bennett’s extensive body of work isn’t something that can be simply binged in a single day. However, her most notable portrayals include Frosch from Fairy Tail, Frederica Baumann in Re:Zero, Frieda Reiss in Attack on Titan, and Kale from Dragon Ball Super.
Deedee Magno Hall – Pearl
In Steven Universe, the Crystal Gems stood tall as stalwart protectors, composed of beings devoted to preserving harmony across galaxies. Among these extraordinary entities was Pearl, cherished for her depth, strength, and unwavering loyalty to Pink Diamond. What added an extra layer of appreciation for this trusted confidant was the fact that her character’s essence was brought to life by a Filipino talent.
Deedee Magno Hall’s portrayal of Pearl beautifully brought out the nuances of Pearl’s personality, securing her place as one of the most beloved characters in the animated series.
Eric Bauza – Looney Tunes
Every great character needs an equally great catchphrase, and the Looney Tunes cartoons are brimming with witty humor, magical moments, and some of the most dynamic duos on television known for their lines. Here’s a fun fact: the current voice behind Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, Tweety, and Pepé Le Pew is one person — and he’s Filipino!
Eric Adrian Bauza is an award-winning Canadian-American voice actor and artist. Born of Filipino descent, we couldn’t be prouder when he received a Children’s and Family Emmy Award for his voice performance as one of the voices behind an all-time fan-favorite animated series.
Inka Magnaye – Scarab
If you feel like you’re seeing Inka Magnaye everywhere on social media, chances are you’ve also heard her voice outside the silver screen, and not just for a commercial or voice over. From Philippine Airlines to radio stations, she’s elevating her presence to the next level within the DC Multiverse.
With her distinctive vocals, Magnaye lent her voice to Scarab in the latest DC movie, Blue Beetle. In the film, Scarab is an alien technology and artificial intelligence that suddenly chooses a recent college graduate to be its symbiotic host. Aside from the fact that she voices the alien for the Philippine release of the movie, Inka also included a few Filipino phrases as a treat for Pinoy fans.
Lea Salonga – Mrs. Kusakabe
This list wouldn’t be complete without Lea Salonga. While we’re already familiar with her contributions to classic films like Aladdin and Mulan, did you know about her impact in Studio Ghibli? She portrayed Mrs. Kusakabe, the nurturing mother of Satsuki and Mei Kusakabe, and the wife of Tatsuo Kusakabe in My Neighbor Totoro. Her voice and versatile performances continue to captivate audiences across various cinematic universes, solidifying her undeniable status as a multifaceted artist in the realms of film, Broadway, and animation.
Liza Soberano and Shay Mitchell – Alexandra Trese
In a captivating collaboration, both Filipina-blooded actresses Liza Soberano and Shay Mitchell were tapped to voice the character of Alexandra Trese in the highly anticipated Netflix animated series, Trese.
Soberano lent her voice to the character in the Filipino version, while Mitchell portrayed the character in the English version. Their involvement added an exciting layer of authenticity and diversity, promising a dynamic portrayal of the iconic character across multiple language adaptations. Based on the Filipino comic series of the same name by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, this casting choice stirred immense anticipation among fans, highlighting the cultural significance and Pinoy Pride of the animated series.
Mark Ishii – Bellri Zenam
Mark Ishii, a Filipino-Japanese voice actor, has made a significant impact in the anime industry, breathing life into pivotal characters in popular series. Notably, Ishii has lent his voice to main characters like Bellri Zenam in Gundam Reconguista in G, a notable installment within the revered Gundam franchise, and Chrono Shindou in Cardfight!! Vanguard G, an anime intertwined with its distinct trading card game.
Beyond these roles, the voice actor also portrayed a minor character in the original Japanese version of When Marnie Was There, a celebrated animated movie by Studio Ghibli. As if his résumé wasn’t impressive enough, Mark Ishii added the Best New Actor Award at the 2019 Seiyuu Awards to his long list of accomplishments.
Ronnie del Carmen – Bernie Lumen
Filipino-American filmmaker Ronnie del Carmen has made a memorable mark with his contribution as Bernie Lumen in Elemental. While renowned for his minor roles in acclaimed Pixar films such as Soul and Inside Out, his latest portrayal in this movie sets the screen ablaze (yes, pun intended). His portrayal stands as another testament to the rich and multifaceted contributions of Filipino artists in global entertainment.