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Why Marin Kitagawa From My Dress-Up Darling Sounds So Familiar

"My Dress-Up Darling" is one of those rare anime that's worth watching twice-over just to experience both the original Japanese version and its excellent English dub. The cast and crew excelled at translating the cosplay-centric love story for English-speaking audiences, and voice actors Paul Dateh and Amanda Lee have received high praise from "My Dress-Up Darling" manga fans as the series' leads Wakana Gojo and Marin Kitagawa. But while this particular anime is notably Dateh's debut role as a voice actor, fans paying close attention to Lee's performance as Marin may feel that her voice sounds familiar. That's not much of a surprise, considering the voice actress's impressive resume.

Amanda Lee, also known by her nickname AmaLee, is a powerhouse in the modern-day pop culture scene. An experienced musician, she has produced numerous popular covers of songs from notable anime and video games, many of which can be found on her YouTube channel. Beyond music, Lee has racked up a startling number of credits as a voice actor for English dubs of popular anime and video games.

For the purposes of this article, only a selection of Lee's massive filmography will be highlighted, as delving into every single one of her appearances wouldn't be very reader-friendly. It's also worth noting that this Lee is not to be confused with another popular voice actress named Amanda Winn-Lee, who has worked on projects such as "Neon Genesis Evangelion" and "Persona 4 Golden." With those ground rules in mind, on to the list.

K-On! (2010)

Jumping back from a modern slice of life anime to a certain classic from the genre, one of Amanda Lee's first major voice acting gigs was for the English dub of the musical anime "K-On!" The show centers upon four high school girls that start a pop rock band together in order to save a music club at their school from getting dissolved. Extremely lighthearted and fluffy hijinks ensue along the way of their rapid rise to school stardom. 

Lee portrays Ushio Ōta, a recurring character who's a classmate and friend of the central four members of the band. She mostly appears throughout the second season of the show, where she's frequently seen cheering on her friends as they absolutely shred out on their guitars and other assorted musical instruments. Ushio is far from the only other high school girl that Lee portrayed before Marin, though, as will soon be apparent.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (2016)

While Amanda Lee has plenty of anime voice credits, how about one for anime video game? Specifically, a game for one of the most popular anime franchises of all time? Indeed, one of Lee's very first roles for a game came in the form of the 2016 fighting game "Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2." In many ways a love letter to the franchise, the game revisits some major moments from the across the various "Dragon Ball" anime, courtesy of an absolutely bizarre and convoluted time travel plot. 

If you wanted to play through "Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2" with a protagonist who sounds just like Marin Kitagawa, you're in luck. Lee's voice is one of the selectable options for players as they customize the central Time Patroller (a formidable members of Future Trunks' elite Time Patrol task force) that they'll be going through the story campaign with. As such, fans will either be hearing a ton of Lee throughout the game, or none at all, depending on their preferences.

As cool of a credit for Lee that "Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2" is, it's also not the only time that the voice actress jumped into a "Dragon Ball" video game. Three years later, she would return to provide additional voices for the action-RPG "Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot." With the nonstop slew of "Dragon Ball" projects across TV, film, and games these days, it's likely only a matter of time before Lee shows up somewhere in-universe once again.

Gosick (2017)

Amanda Lee got up to some gothic espionage in the supernatural adventure anime "Gosick." Set against the deep, dark shadows of 1920s Europe, "Gosick" sees its central duo of Japanese exchange student Kazuya Kujo and the ultra-intellectual girl Victorique de Blois solving mysteries. Though the anime originally released in 2011, Funimation finally granted it an English dub six years after the fact, and Lee joined the voice cast for the project. 

The voice actress appears near the end of the anime's run as a mysterious girl known only as The Orphan. The Orphan works as a spy for the Science Academy in their ongoing feud against the Ministry of the Occult, a major natural-vs.-supernatural conflict that Kazuya and Victorique get caught up in on several occasions throughout the series. Unfortunately, pretty much every single burning question that The Orphan's enigmatic nature invites doesn't get a satisfying answer. While she does help out the lead duo at one point, she's betrayed by her fellow spy and killed while on an assignment shortly thereafter. So it goes.

One Piece (2018)

"One Piece" has been running for so long and has introduced so many characters that it frankly may be a harder task for anime voice actors to actively avoid portraying someone in the series. That's particularly true for the English dub of the show, which has lagged roughly seven years behind the original release and still has hundreds upon hundreds of released episodes to adapt. Thus, it was a big moment when the dub finally reached the "Fish-Man Island" arc in 2018 after it originally aired around 2011. Notably, the dubbed arc sees Amanda Lee recur as a very important character.

Throughout this part of the series, Lee serves as the voice of Otohime, the mermaid queen of the Ryugu Kingdom who appears in several flashback sequences to events that take place before the start of "One Piece." Otohime is shown to be a benevolent and sympathetic ruler, calling for unity among the disparate fish-human races of the sea. Unfortunately, this is another character of Lee's who meets a bitter end, as Otohime is unfortunately assassinated by the political dissident Hody Jones. Of course, Luffy and his crew see to it that justice is served to the villain in the present day and Otohime is finally avenged.

Overlord (2018)

Going from the semi-human Otohime to a character who's even less so, we have Amanda Lee's next role of note in the popular isekai anime "Overlord." The series follows an virtual reality-based MMO player in the distant future who gets trapped within the world of the game when the servers are shut down. Slowly but surely, the protagonist, Ainz Ooal Gown, comes to rule over the inhabitants of the game world. While "Overlord" is a big name in its own right, some fans may also recognize the show as being one of the four main anime to cross over as part of the comedy series "Isekai Quartet."

Beginning in the second season of the show proper, Lee portrays the leader of one of the many mythical races dwelling in the world of the MMO — the albino-colored lizardman chief Crusch Lulu. She and her people, including her romantic partner Zaryusu, attempt to fight against the overwhelming influence of Ainz, but are ultimately overpowered. She surrenders to the protagonist, who promises to protect her tribe with a benevolent hand so long as she obeys his orders. You know, typical "Overlord" stuff.

Black Clover (2018)

Between appearances in the universes of "Dragon Ball" and "One Piece," Amanda Lee has appeared in some of the most beloved shōnen anime out there, and she ticked another off her list when she lent her voice to the English dub of "Black Clover." The series follows the story of the young boy Asta, a child gifted with anti-magic in an otherwise magical world who joins a misfit squad of adventuring knights called the Black Bulls. In a bit of a twist, Lee actually portrays two completely separate characters that the Bulls cross paths with throughout the anime. 

Lee first appears very early on in the series as the voice of Luca Scarlet. Luca is the younger sister of Rebecca, a girl who participates in a blind date with Asta. Though the two don't hit it off at first, they become friends after Asta saves Luca after she mysteriously goes missing. Many episodes later, Lee pops up again, this time as the voice of Finnes Calmreich, the good-natured romantic interest of Black Bulls member Finral Roulacase. Flashback sequences to Finral's past reveal that though the two have been set for an arranged marriage, the knight joined the Black Bulls in order to prove himself as someone worthy of her love. Very sweet, indeed.

A Certain Magical Index (2018)

"A Certain Magical Index" has a certain Amanda Lee in its English voice cast. Set in an alternate world where magical powers are commonplace, this particularly bingeworthy fantasy-action anime chronicles the adventures of a teenage boy named Touma Kamijou who has the ability to temporarily stop others' powers with a touch of his hand. Naturally, such an ability lands Touma in a lot of drama, and he makes plenty of enemies and friends over the course of the series.

Luckily for Touma, one important ally that the lead has in his corner is the teenage magician girl Itsuwa. First played by Krishna Smitha when she debuted in Season 2, Lee took over the role for Season 3. A shy yet steadfast supporter of Touma's, it's not long before Itsuwa develops feelings for the main hero. She's far from a passive love interest, though, as her prowess with her mystical spear and her impressive tact in the heat of battle make her an absolute force to be reckoned with.

Tokyo Ghoul: re (2018)

"Tokyo Ghoul" has made a name for itself as one of the greatest horror anime of all time. Set in a world where cannibalistic ghouls hide amongst the human populace of Earth, the series sees the half-human-half-ghoul Ken Kaneki as he navigates the building conflict between the two races. While Lee doesn't appear in the original show, she does show up in "Tokyo Ghoul: re," a sequel series that picks up where the original leaves off.

For two episodes of the sequel anime's first season, Lee portrays a character named Miho Toga. Toga works for the Commission of Counter Ghoul as a Ghoul Investigator, though audiences unfortunately don't get to know much more about her before her untimely demise. She and her fellow squad members encounter an exceptionally cunning ghoul on a mission and the bloodthirsty creature barely gives them time to say goodbye to one another before it puts them six feet under.

Voicing a character isn't the only way that Lee contributed to "Tokyo Ghoul: re," however. The actress also put her musical skills to work, providing vocals for both the Japanese and English versions of an ending track in one of the episodes.

Fruits Basket (2019)

Moving back to something a little lighter than flesh-eating creatures of the night, Lee is one of the voice actors for 2019's "Fruits Basket," a remake of the classic anime series. The series sees its teenage lead Tohru Honda befriend various members of the eclectic Sohma family, most of whom are secretly werewolf-style cursed to occasionally turn into animals from the Chinese zodiac. As time goes on, Tohru helps each respective member through their personal hardships and helps them form a better, more emotionally-healthy life.

One of the best "Fruits Basket" zodiac characters is Yuki Sohma, a teenage boy who must both contend with unwanted popularity at his high school and the unfortunate predicament of occasionally having to transform into a rat. Yuki is one of the first Sohma family members that Tohru meets and she quickly decides to help him work through his personal struggles, though doing so is no easy task. While Eric Vale reprises his role from the original "Fruits Basket" anime as the main voice of Yuki, Lee voices the younger version of the character that appears in flashbacks throughout the series.

Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest (2019)

Another day, another fantasy anime about everyone having superpowers that Amanda Lee voices a character in. The actress occupies a spot on the main English voice cast for "Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest," an isekai that chronicles the journey of Hajime Nagumo from a timid schoolboy to a ruthless adventurer after he and his school classmates are transported to another world and gain mystical abilities. 

Lee portrays Shea, a bunny-girl hybrid gifted with the power of future-sight who quickly becomes one of Hajime's allies and, uh, lovers (yes, it's that genre of anime). In stark contrast to Hajime's dour and callous persona, Shea is usually cheery and lighthearted, and she often provides the narrative with a heaping dose of levity to even out the darker aspects. It seems that Lee just has a special knack for voicing relentlessly upbeat characters across all sorts of anime worlds.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War (2020)

Amanda Lee may have won hearts as Marin in "My Dress Up Darling," but she was already the voice of a fan-favorite blonde high schooler in a rom-com anime before all those cosplay shenanigans began. "Kaguya-sama: Love is War" provides a hilarious spin on the classic love story anime tropes, as its two protagonists and high school student council members Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane engage in a Spy-vs.-Spy-styled war of schemes in order to get the other person to admit their romantic feelings first.

Lee is a main member of the anime's English cast, as she voices Ai Hayasaka, Kaguya's faithful maid and close friend. A master of disguise, stealth, and pretty much everything else, there's very little that Ai can't do. Unfortunately, that often makes her the perfect candidate to assist Kaguya in her over-elaborate plots to get Miyuki to confess his love, much to her deadpan chagrin and to the audience's amusement. Best girl, for sure.

My Hero Academia (2020)

When we said that Amanda Lee is on a quest to appear in every mega-popular shōnen anime, we meant it. "My Hero Academia," which follows a class of fledging superheroes-in-training in a world where nearly everyone on Earth has metahuman powers, has been a breakout success among the general public since it began in 2016. Stellar animation, brutal blowouts, and a slew of compelling characters are just a few of the series' strong suits.

Lee briefly shows up during the show's fourth season as Bibimi Kenranzaki, a character who exclusively appears in the U.A. School Festival arc. A member of the Support Class, Bibimi is the reigning champ of the festival's beauty pageant and a formidable opponent to fellow contestants Nejire Hado and Itsuka Kendo. While she doesn't get much time on screen, her brief appearances are pretty memorable, as the character has more than a small penchant for the melodramatic. By that, we mean that she literally makes her entrance by riding on a massive tank with her face on it.

While Lee's appearance as Bibimi is short-lived, It's worth noting that the actress popped up in the world of "My Hero Academia" an additional time, as she was credited with providing additional voices for the series' third feature-length movie, "My Hero Academia: World Heroes' Mission," as well.

Wonder Egg Priority (2021)

While many of Amanda Lee's roles see her in more lighthearted or action-packed settings, the actress was also a part of one underrated anime show that leans more into horror: "Wonder Egg Priority." The series focuses on Ai, a young girl reeling from her best friend's suicide when she discovers that she can protect dream world versions of other individuals who have lost their lives prematurely. Slowly but surely, she uncovers a mind-bending mystery surrounding her friend's death and how she might possibly save her.

Rather than playing a character who meets a violent end, Lee portrays someone who's actually already dead when she finally shows up. The vocalist plays the part of a girl named Miko in the show's third and fourth episodes. Miko, along with her best friend Mako, are two fangirls that took their own lives after their favorite singer committed suicide. Ai encounters the pair in the dream world and helps them defeat the manifestation of their shared trauma.

Attack on Titan (2021)

One way by which many anime fans will recognize Amanda Lee's voice is from her role in the juggernaut series "Attack on Titan." The show follows the teenager Eren Yeager as he becomes embroiled in humanity's fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic universe where massive humanoids known as Titans roam the Earth. Since its inception, the series has become nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. A lot of that success owes to the positive reception to the many well-written characters across the "Attack on Titan" cast and the show's willingness to explore their moral ideologies in shades of gray. Few key figures in the story exemplify this idea better than the one who Lee portrays.

Following Season 1, Lee takes over the role of Louise, a young girl who is saved from a Titan attack by one of the anime's lead characters, Mikasa Ackerman. Inspired by Mikasa's valiance, Louise becomes a member of the Survey Corps herself, and all seems well and good for a time. That is, until Eren eventually has his big revelation and begins his own rogue faction. Louise then defects to Eren's side, disgusting Mikasa and subverting what initially seemed to be a classic tale of hero-inspires-hero. It's a great bit of character development — par for the course for "Attack on Titan."

Pokémon Evolutions and Pokémon Masters EX (2021)

Nintendo's smartphone game "Pokémon Masters EX" boldly asks the question: what if you could collect Pokémon...and their trainers, too? The game features a ton of legendary characters and their trademark creatures from across each and every generation of the game series, from "Pokémon Red Version" and "Pokémon Blue Version" all the way up to "Pokémon Sword" and "Pokémon Shield." In a major departure from the main series, however, it also features voice acting for many of its characters. Amanda Lee provides her voice to Trial Captain Lana, the short, blue-haired water-type specialist from Generation VII that fans of the "Pokémon: Sun and Moon" anime will recognize as one of Ash's schoolmates.

Lana isn't the only "Pokémon" character from the Alola region that Lee has gotten a chance to voice, though. The 2021 web series "Pokémon Evolutions" offers longtime fans of the video games a trip down memory lane, with each bite-sized episode chronicling a pivotal moment from the stories of the first eight game generations. Lee appears in the show's second episode, "The Eclipse," as the voice of Lillie, the mysterious girl that players befriend throughout the story of "Pokémon Sun" and "Pokémon Moon," along with their enhanced counterparts. The episode sees Lillie during the climax of her respective games' story, as her strange companion Pokémon Nebby evolves into the legendary Lunala.

Fire Emblem Heroes (2022)

"Pokémon Masters EX" isn't the only Nintendo game for mobile devices that features Amanda Lee's voice. Diehard fans of "Fire Emblem Heroes" may very well recognize Amanda Lee's voice...if they got the right character pull, that is. The anime star lends her vocals to just one of the over 800 unique playable characters that can be obtained in the game: the ethereal magic user Saint Elimine. 

An exceptionally rare five-star unit, Elimine is actually a returning character from several past games in the series. The saintly figure appeared in the 2002 Japan-only Game Boy Advance game "Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade" and its internationally-released prequel "Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade" (notably, the very first "Fire Emblem" game to get localized for Western audiences). Of course, these are far more technically-limited games than modern entries like "Fire Emblem: Three Houses," and consequently lack any substantial voice acting. Thus, it was Lee that finally gave Elimine a voice, nearly twenty years after her debut.

Lots of other highlights

While the list of roles that we've highlighted along Amanda Lee's prolific career may already seem quite extensive, those are but a mere fraction of the massive amount of credits the voice actress has racked up over the years. She has plenty other small roles in notable anime, including the 2013 series "RWBY" and "Log Horizon," 2016's "Orange," 2018's "Hinamatsuri," and 2020's "Plunderer." As far as video games go, Lee also has minor roles for some big names like 2021's "Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier," and 2022's "Tiny Tina's Wonderlands" and "AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Iniative."

While Lee's most widely-recognized credit may very well turn out to be her performance in "My Dress-Up Darling," there's clearly a lot of other great roles in her filmography that fans of her acting would do well to check out. And, if your favorite anime is finally getting a long-awaited English dub, look out for Lee's name in the credits. At this point, there's at least a 50 percent chance that she's in there somewhere.