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Why Sakura From Naruto Sounds So Familiar

Based on Masashi Kishimoto's hit manga of the same name, "Naruto" rapidly transformed into an anime phenomenon that's still going strong today with the spin-off series "Boruto: Naruto Next Generations." What makes this anime juggernaut so enduring — besides the cool fights and its boisterous hero — is the vast number of stand-out characters. After all, it may take a village to raise a demon-fox-infused child, but it takes a stellar supporting cast to make his story pop with fans. Among Naruto's many memorable comrades is the pink-haired kunoichi Sakura.

Sakura has simultaneously served as an integral Team 7 member, a true friend to Naruto, and a love interest for Sasuke. Over the years, fans have seen Sakura grow into a formidable medical ninja that could knock your head off while effortlessly healing her allies. Fans of "Naruto," "Naruto: Shippuden," and "Boruto: Naruto Next Generations" may recognize Sakura's English dub voice actor from other projects: She's had a prolific career that includes numerous roles in other anime, video games, and films. If she sounds familiar, it's likely because you've heard her voice beyond "Naruto" multiple times. Let's take a look at some of her most notable roles.

Kate Higgins is also a Sailor Guardian

Sakura is brought to life by voice acting veteran Kate Higgins, who has played the role hundreds of times over the past few decades. What other roles is she famous for? Being a super-strong medical ninja is hard to top, but Higgins has almost 400 credits to her name at the time of this writing, and there's a bunch of other memorable characters on her resume. In the official Viz dub of the "Sailor Moon" franchise, Higgins voices the character Ami Mizuno, aka Sailor Mercury.

In the series, Ami becomes the second person to join up with Sailor Moon and is often depicted as the team's calculated, brainy member. She starts the series struggling with her quiet and shy demeanor, but as the story goes on, Ami develops into a confident young lady. However, just because she's book-smart doesn't mean Ami lacks power. The character can blast enemies with an array of ice and water-based attacks.

Whether it's in the original '90s anime series, the 2014 reboot show "Sailor Moon Crystal," or the 2021 film "Sailor Moon Eternal," Higgins brings a gentle grace to Ami as only she can. She even once humorously offered her character some advice. In a 2017 interview with The Dot and Line, Higgins said about Ami: "I like that I'm really smart and stuff, but I'm always telling people they need to study, and I need to just, you know, just chill out for a little bit."

Higgins sang a catchy song in Super Mario Odyssey

She's arguably best-known for her anime work, but Kate Higgins is just as prolific when it comes to video games. The Virginia native has voiced characters in some of the biggest and best franchises of all time. Some of her most prominent roles include Texan wrestler Tina Armstrong in the "Dead or Alive" games, the demon hunter Lady in "Devil May Cry 4" and "Devil May Cry 5," and Sonic the Hedgehog's two-tailed sidekick Miles "Tails" Prower, whom she has voiced in multiple games. Perhaps her biggest gaming gig was in the Nintendo offering "Super Mario Odyssey." Higgins provided the voice of Pauline in the acclaimed platformer, and even sang as the character.

Players may remember hearing Higgins belt out the game's jazzy big-band number "Jump Up, Super Star!," which she performed live at The Game Awards 2017. Considering that Higgins has also professionally recorded and released several albums as a music artist, Nintendo couldn't have chosen a more fitting actor for the role. As Higgins told Game Informer, the company was very supportive during the "Jump Up, Super Star!" recording process. "They were so nice and thankful and made sure to tell me I was about to record something big that would make millions of people happy," she said. "And it seems like it is! Of Course, I don't take all the credit for that. It's such a good song. I really give props to the writers and producers."

Higgins was an iconic doll and a classic Disney Princess

Not many people can say that they've portrayed the world's most iconic doll and a famous Disney Princess, but Kate Higgins is one of them. Higgins provided the voice of Barbie in the animated web series "Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse." The show, which premiered in 2012, lasted for eight seasons and centered on Barbie enjoying various misadventures with her friends and siblings. The three-minute episodes crammed in as much humor as possible and generally went down well with viewers — the series has a solid 7.4 rating on IMDb.

Adding to her growing list of legacy characters, Higgins is also the current voice of Disney's Princess Aurora. Fans may have heard her version of the character in 2018's "Ralph Breaks the Internet," in which Sarah Silverman's Vanellope von Schweetz meets all of the Disney Princesses in a memorable scene. Aurora was first voiced by Mary Costa back in 1959's "Sleeping Beauty." In an interview with Talking Voices, Higgins went into detail about trying to voice-match Costa's iconic portrayal and deemed it an honor to continue the legacy of voicing Aurora. "That's something I'm kind of proud of," she said. "It's quite lovely. It's like a Katharine Hepburn-type voice."

Higgins has voiced several Bleach characters

When the "Naruto" manga debuted in Shonen Jump, it quickly became part of what fans began to call "the big three" — "Naruto," "One Piece," and "Bleach." Each series experienced a meteoric rise at roughly the same time, especially as they transformed into anime shows. Their collective rise to the top might explain why, on occasion, the shows would share a few voice actors. For example, Noriaki Sugiyama (who voices Sasuke in the original Japanese version of "Naruto") provides the voice of Uryu Ishida in "Bleach" and Vinsmoke Ichiji in "One Piece."

"One Piece" is one of the few big anime shows that Kate Higgins doesn't have on her resume (yet), but she's very familiar with the world of "Bleach," having worked on over a hundred episodes of the original series. She played a couple of characters in the hit shonen series, like First Division co-lieutenant Nanao Ise and Ichigo's younger sister Karin Kurosaki. However, "Bleach" fans may best recognize Higgins' voice from her role as the shinigami Retsu Unohana.

Given Unohana's medical expertise, it's impossible not to notice the similarities between her and Sakura. Unohana is another fascinating anime character on Higgins' resume, and fans were hyped about the prospect of her reprising this role — along with her other characters — in the 2022 sequel series "Bleach: Thousand Year-Year Blood War." In a post about Higgins, Redditor u/gbalenbin said: "To those who don't know, she's the English VA for Karin, Nanao, Nemu, and Unohana. The latter three hold important roles in the TYBW arc and I'm very excited for Kate Higgins to reprise her roles, especially for Unohana."