Vocal Evolution

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Space Ghost: Man, Zorak, what was with your voice back then?

Zorak: Yeah, well, what's up with your voice?
Space Ghost Coast to Coast (revisiting their first meeting)

Actors are only human, which includes voice actors. Voice actors don't have to worry about makeup or costumes, so it can be easy to assume that their job is much easier than that of actors visible on the screen. It may or may not be, but the unique challenge they face is breathing life into an animated character with their voice alone and no other props. And like with new artists, it can take novice voice actors some time to grow into their character and develop distinctive voices for them.

On the flip side, lending one's voice to a show over multiple months or years can cause a voice actor to get lazy and begin slacking off on the nuances of their character's voice, or even age to the point where they find it impossible to sustain the original voice and have to make compromises. This decline in quality can also manifest itself in shows with large casts when all characters' voices begin to sound the same or monotonous. This doesn't tend to lead to lost jobs, because a decline in timbre quality is often less noticeable than a decline in acting or art quality. With child voice actors, whether a fan will like it or not, this is going to happen when they hit puberty, although some shows switch into The Other Darrin at that point.

This trope can also apply to singing, or any other medium that requires a voice in some way.

In cases involving Talking to Himself, this can sometimes lead to characters sounding more like each other.

For actual voice casting changes, see The Other Darrin.

Examples of Vocal Evolution include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Pokémon's English dub has shades of this, where Ash's voice (actress) is pretty rough and uneven in the first couple episodes. She finds the right balance afterwards...only to become increasingly overly-high pitched during Orange Islands and Johto. However, toward the end of Veronica Taylor's tenure as Ash, her voice for him had become noticeably lower, perhaps to give the impression of aging (despite what the writers will tell you). Alternatively, it could have something to do with the fact that following the Johto arc, she was cast as the new female lead and had to distinguish Ash from May by lowering her voice again.
    • The voice director told Veronica Taylor to play Ash with a deep voice in the first few episodes because that's how he thought ten-year old boys sounded. Taylor brought in a sound clip of her ten-year old nephew to prove him wrong, and Ash's voice was allowed to go much higher.
    • All the voice actors for the current dub fall into this, as they were all brought in as sound-alikes to the 4Kids VA's. It understandably took the PUSA VA's a much longer time to really get comfortable with the characters and make them their own.
    • Curiously, in the Latin-American Spanish dub Ash's male voice actor (Gabriel Ramos, now a VJ for Latin American MTV) started dubbing him when he was around 12. Now that Gabriel's in his early to mid 20's, ever since Advanced Battle you can't help but noticing that Ash's voice was gotten rougher with time.
    • Eric Stuart's James voice gradually raised in pitch and took on a more goofy tone as the show went on.
      • Similar to what his Latin American counterpart, José Antonio "Pepe" Macías, did as well. He chose a more comedic, nasal and somewhat childish tone, though. It still worked very well.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena's dub is likewise pretty stilted in early episodes for any of the more mellow characters, though the speed of improvement is usually tied with how much dialogue is given to particular characters.
  • In at least one interview, Mark Gatha, the US voice actor for G Gundam' Domon Kasshu, has said that the cast didn't hit their stride until around Episode 20, and were denied the chance to re-record the early episodes by the studio.
  • A major case of an entire studio stepping up in quality is FUNimation. After releasing the professional voice actors for the first two seasons of Dragonball Z, they began with a rookie cast from there on. The big problem was the new cast trying to match the old voices, which resulted had varying quality. But after time most came into their roles, and made the characters their own. Christopher Sabat, for instance, gave a much lower and brooding voice for Vegeta compared to Brian Drummond's higher and scratchy voice. The company is now one of the most popular dubbing studios.
    • It's especially noticeable in the Season 3 DVD set of DBZ, where Sabat (Vegeta et al.) and Sonny Strait (Krillin) went back and redubbed many of their lines.
    • A minor example of this trope in the Kai dub: Chris Ayres' voice for Frieza's first form was rather high-pitched in his first few episodes, but starting when Frieza goes back to his mothership, the pitch drops considerably lower.
    • There's a also a big difference in quality between the first episodes of One Piece that were dubbed by Funimation, and the ones released on DVD. The voice characterizations are noticeably more subtle and the pitches less static, and the dramatic scenes are much more intense.
    • Also by FUNi, if you watch the first episode of the original series of Hellsing and the first OVA of the same series one after the other (both keep the same VA's), you can tell there's a huge improvement in the voice actor's talent.
      • Same goes for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which is a closer adaptation to the manga than the 2003 series. FUNi brought back most of the same VA's - all with noticeably better acting skills - and even the characters whose VA's they changed were better than the original. Take Scar, for instance, voiced by Dameon Clarke in the original and J Michael Tatum in the remake. Clarke portrayed him with a less gruff voice, slightly higher voice, while Tatum went for rougher and more masculine, much more fitting of Scar than the former.
  • The entire Canadian cast of Inuyasha (who are often considered to be... not so good) did get better as more episodes came along. When a flashback of the first episode pops up (that happens rather often) in, say, episode 100+, you can notice how much the actors became attached to the characters. Kagome started sounding like a girl and InuYasha stopped sounding like he had an apple stuck on his throat.
  • In the first Axis Powers Hetalia drama CD, Hiroki Takahashi starts voicing Kiku Honda/Japan as a very soft-spoken individual. Later dramas and the anime series have him using a much deeper tone, which has greatly confused some fans. (It doesn't help that, in the very first drama CD, Japan was voiced by a woman.)
    • America started out with a voice that was simply loud and enthusiastic in the drama CDs and early anime. Somewhere along the line, Katsuyuki Konishi began to use a MUCH higher-pitched tone for America, which carried over to later dramas and his character songs.
    • In the second season of the series, Atsushi Kousaka used a considerably slower-paced voice for Greece than in the first one.
  • While Lelouch of Code Geass uses different tones of voice when acting as a student and the leader of the Black Knights, in the English dub they both get deeper over time. In retrospect, in the first couple of episode his voice sound somewhat nasal.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho
  • Slayers took a noticable change in dubbing between Episodes 13 and 14 of its original season (Though the 1 year break in dubbing is to attribute to that) and between the first and second series (Next). Lisa Ortiz also has a massive pitch change in her dubbing during the series (Revolution and Evolution-R) due to being accustomed to dubbing a certain set of games (and a 10 year break in dubbing Lina Inverse). Megumi Hayashibara, by contrast, has gone much lower, rougher, and dramatic, wheras earlier seasons had her sounding more girlish.
    • Both Gourry's voice actors (Yasunori Matsumoto and Eric Stuart) and Amelia's voice actresses (Masami Suzuki and Veronica Taylor) are higher in pitch in Revolution and Evolution-R than they were eleven years ago, and arguably, both voices, especially Gourry's, are less "forced." Zelgadis's two voices have deepened as well (Hikaru Midorikawa and Crispin Freeman); however, both have little emotional poignancy compared to the first three seasons, and the only time it has it is when he grows angry (namely in episode 10 of seaon 5).
  • The Ranma ½ anime experienced this slight vocal drift over seven seasons and a new OVA which reunited most of the main cast. By far the most noticeable changes are with Ranma himself: being a Gender Bender, Ranma has two voices, and both Megumi Hayashibara and Kappei Yamaguchi deepen and roughen their portrayals of Ranma over time. Early female Ranma actually sounds like a girl (albeit with the wrong word choice and the like), but by the end of the series run, Hayashibara tones down the cuteness factor and makes Ranma sound more like a boy in a girl's body. This is not by any means vocal decay, however: Hayashibara flips easily from Ranma's default state to deliberately cute in a heartbeat, and Yamaguchi can go from shouting and grunting attacks to charming heartthrob just as fast...at least, until he says something worthy of an Armor-Piercing Slap.
    • There's also the fact that male Ranma was Kappei Yamaguchi's debut role, while Megumi Hayashibara already had some years of seiyuu work under her belt. (She debuted in 1982's Maison Ikkoku, and the Ranma anime started in 1989). As the series went on, Yamaguchi got more comfortable in Ranma's skin and adquired more voice-acting experience, thus his performance got better.
    • Aside from the two halves of Ranma, Nabiki's voice deepens considerably as well. Early on, Minami Takayama sounds more like Aoko from Magic Kaito or Detective Conan. It's some time before her voice settles into its final pitch, but by the time it does, her character's Flanderization is complete, and odds are Nabiki's already scammed a good 5000 yen from you. If you're lucky.
  • The dub of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni was considered amateur at best, during the beginning. The voice actors didn't know the story, the director was a newbie, and the dubbers weren't known for having good dubs. By the end of the first season, the voices were more well rounded and fitting for the characters (except widely accepted Rika, which would be a problem for season 2).
  • In the English dub of Naruto, Choji, Kiba and especially Shino originally had nasal and rather high-pitched voices (annoying, loud and creepy respectively) which changed drastically round about the end of the Chuunin Exam arc, partly to do with a more sympathetic portrayal. (Though Kiba still has No Indoor Voice.)
  • The performances of the voice actors in Neon Genesis Evangelion become more multilayered and subtle as their characters do. This is true for both the original and English versions, but it is far more obvious in the latter; to get a sense of just how much evolution took place, compare the performances of Spike Spencer (Shinji) and Allison Keith (Misato) in the early episodes with their scenes in The End of Evangelion. The reason behind this was that these were still the analog days of anime dubbing, and ADV Films only received the episodes on VHS tapes two at a time.
  • Due to a half-year break, the the entire dub cast of Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo has a change in vocal pitch for the remaining 26 episodes: every single actor has a higher-pitched voice compared to the first fifty episodes, especially Gasser's (Brad MacDonald) and Softon's (Joe Ochman), and Beauty's (Philece Sampler) also becomes nasaly. The overall effect (and fan response) was highly negative, and it didn't help that a plethora of cheesy rhyme-schemes and poor dialogue was thrown into the mix.
  • Lupin III, over its 30-odd years of animation, has managed to keep almost all of the original Japanese cast members through the years (with the notable exception of Yasuo Yamada, who passed away in 1995). While an impressive feat, many have noticed in the last few TV specials that age is starting to take its toll on their voices, causing the characters to sound older. Sadly, the most pronounced example is Goro Naya, who plays Inspector Zenigata; he has been diagnosed with throat cancer, making it much harder for him to carry on his role and causing Zenigata's part to be limited in the later specials.
  • In the English dub for Sonic X, Decoe and Bocoe were originally voiced in stiff Robo Speak. As episodes passed however, they slowly began to fluctuate more frequently and eventually gained whiny emotional human-like voices akin to their Japanese counterparts.
  • The Hungarian dub of Transformers Armada started out and still is a relatively cheaply made dubbing work with varying levels of effort put into it, but it went through a staggering amount of vocal evolution around the series' middle-point. This is no surprise—for the first 20 or so episodes, most of the voice actors clearly didn't give a damn, and their performances sounded awfully forced at times, especially while laughing. The reasons for this are not surprising either, since the show started out as an aggravatingly slow and badly placed mess. But after it had gotten better and more characters appeared, all of the vocal performances improved drastically. Starscream can talk fast and convey emotion, Megatron can shout and produce genuine laughter, Hot Shot's actor realized the recording session has started, and Thrust... after several episodes of talking in a bored, monotone voice, he developed a lot of personality with his awkwardly toned and paced, nearly deranged sounding delivery (no wonder, his actor was the original Hungarian voice of Captain Kirk from the Star Trek movies), and actually acted convincingly for the final part of the series.
  • Belldandy's English voice actress in Ah! My Goddess needed a few episodes to ease into her character's voice. She starts out exceptionally sweet, bubbly, and generally high pitched, but a few episodes into the first season, she lowers her voice into a more natural range as Belldandy's character develops. It comes off more appropriate for the caring nature of Belldandy's character as well.
  • Genki from Monster Rancher was played by a child actor in the dub. His actor went through puberty so his voice deepened quite noticeably through the series, almost being inappropriate for a kid his age by the end.

Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • LittleKuriboh, the sole cast member of Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series, has got much better at coming up with distinct voices for his characters (and at speaking distinctly while doing those voices) between the first episode and the time the series hit double digits. He has also gotten over his cases of Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping. Compare this to This.
  • Amy's voice on Sailor Moon Abridged started as a hoarse whisper. It gradually became more of a warbling voice, which you can begin to hear around episode 12.
  • Jaleel White, who played the role of Sonic in three animated shows, reprises his role in a Sonic fanfilm, with his voice sounding somewhat more like the modern incarnations.


Film[edit | hide]

  • In the Harry Potter films, Helena Bonham Carter started off playing Bellatrix Lestrange with a posh accent, which gradually evolved to become more Cockney-sounding. Carter's explanation is that Bellatrix is just so weird that she transcends accents.

Steve Kloves: Well, the first thing that you notice when you see the movie [Chamber of Secrets] is that Harry and Ron's voice dropped a good two octaves. That's just really... bizarre.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Brady Bunch: An entire episode – "Dough Re Mi" – was built on vocal evolution ... specifically, Peter's voice entering puberty and breaking at the worst possible time ... oldest brother Greg trying to form a family singing group with his siblings, and (with a non-refundable deposit already paid) having only that opportunity to use the studio to record the song. The voice break was humorously used in the TV version of "Time To Change," with the break dubbed in from the studio recording; indeed, the album and single versions do not feature Peter's "voice break," as Christopher Knight was in tune – as best as he could be, since by his own admission he couldn't sing – during the actual recording of the song.
  • In an unusual live-action example, the same happens to Karen (Megan Mullally) in Will and Grace, whose voice gets more high-pitched and distinctive as the series progresses, arguably as her character's wackier traits are played up, but also as she got more rare serious moments.
  • Actress Pauley Perrette in NCIS: Abby's voice changes noticeably over the run of the show. In the early seasons, it was deeper and more throaty; later, her voice becomes faster and higher-pitched, and Abby's verbal tics become more exaggerated.
    • Ziva's voice got slowly less husky as the season went on, and she lost most of her Israeli accent.
  • Michael's voice in the pilot and early episodes of Burn Notice—especially during his voiceovers—is noticeably higher and more nasal than the one he settled into.
    • Fiona's voice also went through changes, in the pilot she used an Irish accent with her, but soon after she has a more American accent to her.
  • SCTV: Compare the McKenzie Brothers' accents between this skit and that skit.
  • Steve Smith's voice for the title character of The Red Green Show was always a deadpan, gravelly tone, but it started off a little softer, quieter and more hesitant. Over time, he grew to put much more force and fluency into it.
  • Mike Smith's Bubbles voice (and body language) becomes less uptight and forced after the first two seasons of Trailer Park Boys.
  • Beginning in season two of Gossip Girl, Chuck Bass more seldom spoke in the lighter voice he had during season one, and by season three only speaks in a deep, guttural voice which some fans complain make it difficult to hear what he's even saying. After a while his actor, Ed Westwick, confirmed the fan theory that Chuck's voice had gotten deeper because it was easier for the English Westwick to maintain his American accent when he dropped an octave.
  • All three announcers on The Price Is Right have had this happen over time:
    • Original announcer Johnny Olson didn't lose much in the way of energy on Price, although he did get a little more slurred due to old age. However, he sounds noticeably less enthusiastic on the few episodes of Body Language he announced shortly before his death.
    • Rod Roddy (who stayed with the show until just before his 2003 death) initially had a loud, resonant voice that was well-suited for a high-energy game show. Starting in the early 1990s, he gradually became less and less enthusiastic, and his voice started cracking. Interestingly, some of the enthusiasm came back in the 2000s, even though by then he was often so ill that he would collapse after an episode and sometimes had to have good friend Randy West fill in for him.
    • His replacement, Rich Fields, is an interesting variant. Before taking over on Price, Rich announced Flamingo Fortune (1995–99) with a fairly mellow, deep voice. When he started filling in on Price, his voice became much higher and more energetic. Once he became the official announcer, his delivery jumped all over the damn place. He also developed a bad habit of over-enunciating certain words, and would sometimes get a "screeching" tone to his voice (such as "Here it CAAAAHHHMS!!!" in the intro). Come 2010, he was pretty much at No Indoor Voice levels throughout, with various degrees of screech.
      • Shortly before the producers decided to let Rich go in mid-2010 (because they wanted an announcer with improv comedy experience), he did some post-production work on summer reruns. On these reruns, Rich reverted to the deep, mellow announcing style from his Flamingo Fortune days, and continued to use this voice when he did some substitute work on Wheel of Fortune.
  • And speaking of Wheel...
    • Around 1989, longtime announcer Charlie O'Donnell's voice became a little lower and less enthusiastic. He returned to form by around 2001, and he actually became more energetic in the 2000s (three words: "Twenty-five THOOOOOOOOOOOUSAND dollars!") despite staying in the lower register. And much like Rod Roddy, he stuck it out pretty much until the end.
    • His replacement, Jim Thornton, went through this too. For several weeks, Jim was one of multiple guest announcers dubbed in over Charlie (possibly to keep viewers from wondering why they were seeing shows announced by someone who is no longer alive). While Jim sounded fine dubbed-in, his enthusiasm increased noticeably when he started announcing from the studio.
  • Trace Beaulieu's original voice for Crow T. Robot on Mystery Science Theater 3000 was, well, robotic and stiff and has frequently been described as "baby-like." His voice for Crow got more natural and casual as the show progressed and developed. A similar change occurred with Beaulieu's other character, Dr. Forrester, who in early episodes came across as more of a traditional hammy mad scientist.
    • When Kevin Murphy took over playing Tom Servo it almost seemed like he was trying to imitate the voice J. Elvis Weinstein used for Servo. By the start of the next season he debuted a new, deep, rich voice for Servo, but as the series went on he dropped most of the affectations and Servo basically just wound up with Murphy's natural voice.
  • Puberty can do this to any young actor or actress simply by being on a Long Runner or just happening to have their voice break in between seasons:
    • Jake Sisko (Cirroc Lofton) on Deep Space Nine.
    • Carly and Freddie on iCarly. It's most obvious with Freddie, whose actor Nathan Kress was barely adolescent during the filming of Season 1, and grew up in a big way during the long break before season 2. It's even discussed on the show itself, with Sam asking what happened to his voice, with 'I dunno, puberty' being the reply. Carly and Miranda Cosgrove's voice grew gentler and less 'whiny'. Sam on the other hand, didn't change at all, because her actress Jennette Mc Curdy had been playing Sam in a lower tone of voice to begin with to suit her character better.
    • Frankie Muniz' voice went noticeably deeper between Seasons 1 and 2 of Malcolm in the Middle.
    • Caused a bit of a problem on Everybody Hates Chris, when Tyler James Williams, playing the main character who's an Expy of Chris Rock, had his voice drop to a register that is quite a bit lower than Rock's.
    • Jaleel White of Family Matters originally voiced Urkel in a whiny, nasal version of his natural voice, and throughout the first few seasons you could hear his voice drop an octave, while still retaining the whininess. But as of the fifth season or so, he started to speak in a squeaky falsetto that only grew more and more bizarre as he aged.
  • Supernatural has the Batman voices. Particularly notable, Jensen Ackles started speaking with a much growlier voice during season 4, possibly in an attempt to out-growl Misha Collins, as he joked. Jared Padalecki's voice change was a bit more subtler, but is extremely notable if you watch the first anime season that is based on season 1 and 2, with Jared dubbing Sam, who doesn't sound at all like he did in the show's first season.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy. In the liner notes for the Tertiary-Quintessential scriptbook, Simon Jones (the voice of Arthur Dent) notes that everybody sounded the same, even if they looked a bit different. However, he adds, "Dirk [the producer] says he applied some arcane electronic test that proves my voice has dropped a semitone in the intervening twenty-five years; funny, I always thought men's voices became higher as they grew older."
  • This kind of change is also obvious in Elwood's voice in the House of Blues Radio Hour. He does sound maybe a bit higher-pitched than he did in the movies.
  • Tony Hancock started out quite plummy before dropping into the lugubrious tones he's better known for. The change started before Hancock's Half Hour, but there's still a very noticeable shift over the course of the series.
  • Surprisingly averted with Paul Harvey. Even though he was doing the show up until shortly before his death at age 90, the only time he sounded any different than in the sixties was during a spell of pneumonia which resulted in him sounding very rough.
  • American Top 40: Compare the Casey Kasem of 1970 (the show's earliest days) to his retirement from radio in 2009. His delivery was much different during the early shows (1970-early 1972), before changing into the form that fans know him best for (c. 1973-the late 1990s). By the early 2000s, age began taking its toll, and although he was definitely still Casey, his voice had grown much weaker.


Stand-Up Comedy[edit | hide]


Music[edit | hide]

  • Wynonna Judd started out with a sweet, girlish alto when she was one-half of the Judds. By the time she'd gone solo in 1991, this had evolved into a full-bodied, throaty, husky contralto which progressively got even deeper over time. On some songs, she sounds like a man.
  • Kenny Chesney is a pretty extreme example. He started out with a high, twangy voice as was common for most male country singers in the mid-1990s. By the end of the decade, his twang was starting to relax, and his voice became mellower. For most of the 2000s, it's very mellow and almost completely devoid of twang (although he still sings out of his nose, and often sounds as if he has a really bad cold).
  • Similarly, Aaron Tippin began with a heavy twang, but starting with "That's as Close as I'll Get to Loving You", he began singing in a deeper register with vibrato not unlike Marty Robbins. Even on his twangier material (e.g. "Kiss This"), he sounds much deeper.
  • Tim McGraw's singing voice became lower and far less whiny starting with Set This Circus Down.
  • Alan Jackson also became deeper and less whiny throughout the 2000s. He's also lost a lot of his dynamic range, and sounds especially weak on "Long Way to Go".
  • Alt-metal band Kutless's lead vocalist Jon Micah Sumrall had a much scratchier, lower voice, and sounded a lot like Scott Stapp from Creed on the band's debut album. He sounded like Scott to a point where if you were half-asleep, you'd mistake the two (the chorus for 'Tonight' is a good example). On the second album and beyond, his voice was higher and much smoother, probably because he wanted the Creed comparisons to stop.
  • Another extreme example came entirely by accident: Bonnie Tyler had surgery to remove nodes on her vocal cords, and was ordered not to speak for several months afterward. She accidentally yelled out in frustration during the vocal rest, and thus developed the raspy voice she'd later become known for. Her first song with her "new" voice, "It's a Heartache", was one of her biggest hits and her Signature Song.
  • For his first few albums, Tom Waits' singing voice was really only slightly low and raspy. He's become more and more of a Guttural Growler ever since.
  • Roger Daltrey! There's a huge difference between his voice on Tommy and Who's Next.
  • Aerosmith's Steven Tyler deliberately modified his own singing voice for most (though not all) songs on the first two albums (Aerosmith and Get Your Wings). His voice for the song "Dream On" (from Aerosmith) is very different from the more raw singing voice he used for, say, "Walk This Way" (Toys In the Attic, just two years later). He can still turn the trick (live performances of "Mama Kin" and "Dream On" sometimes have him briefly switch back to the modified voice), but unlike the early years, it's no longer his default singing voice.
  • Metallica's James Hetfield, compare his vocals on Kill 'em All to The Black Album.
  • While Bob Dylan has more-or-less always had the famous nasal gruffness, there have been some subtle changes over the years. On his first two albums he has a Woody Guthrie-influenced drawl. On his other pre-electric albums he almost shouts a lot of the lyrics. On his first two electric albums, he maintained a plain but forceful way of singing and on Blonde On Blonde (1967), he exaggerates the goofier tendencies of inflections, but the sound of his voice remained relatively constant until 1968, when on John Wesley Harding his timbre begins to sound like that which pervaded his 70's work: a sharpness in his louder sections, a hoarseness in quieter ones. A departure departures from this development were his crooning voice on Nashville Skyline (1969). Bootleg tapes confirm that this was very similar to the voice he used when he first started playing folk clubs in his Minnesota college days, so it was a deliberate change on Dylan's part. Dylan went so far as to hang a Lampshade on this with his version of "The Boxer" on Self Portrait, done as a duet between Classic Dylan and Skyline Dylan. The close of the 70's gave us a wavering, sneering quality to his singing voice, raspy as ever. Starting in the late 80s he developed a strange slurring style that led to all the jokes about him needing a translator. Since Time Out of Mind in 1997 his voice is more noticeably hoarse, so he's adopted a softer style of singing to compensate.
  • Van Morrison originally sang in quite a high register, and even went falsetto on a couple of songs. From the early Eighties, he began to sing lower down to take it easy on his throat, and started sounding like he does now.
  • This was also the case for David Cassidy during his stint with The Partridge Family. A variant of the puberty trope above, his singing voice started out somewhat nasally throughout season one of the series and gradually matured into a lower, more smoother baritone style by 1972.
  • Ray Stevens originally sang in a high, nasal voice befitting his novelty material, but used a slightly deeper register whenever he cut a more serious song. Come the 1980s, he began using his regular voice on the novelty songs as well (e.g. "Mississippi Squirrel Revival").
  • Similarly, Cledus T. Judd used to sing in a slightly off-key, nasal and exaggerated twang, but starting in the mid-2000s he dropped the affectation and sang in his normal voice (which is a surprisingly smooth baritone not unlike Stevens). Even when he goes back into twang mode, it's less exaggerated and still in key.
  • Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts has always had a high and nasal voice. Once Dann Huff took over as their producer, the sound became increasingly bombastic, forcing Gary to scream and squeal just to be heard over all the noise; this often threw him slightly off-key and made his voice increasingly grating. Now that the production's been dialed back down, he's reverted to his original voice.
  • Similarly to the above, Richie McDonald of Lonestar became increasingly theatrical and whiny once the band shifted its sound from solid country-pop to Power Ballads and strident "family"-oriented songs. They, too, were brought to their sound by way of Dann Huff.
    • And speaking of Lonestar, former co-lead singer John Rich started out with a high, somewhat twangy voice. He became much softer, more breathy and less twangy on the solo album he cut in 1999[1] after being fired from the band. In Big & Rich (2004–present), he kept the breathy tone for ballads, but used a more forceful tone on the uptempos, both times retaining the lack of twang. On the solo work he did in the late 2000s, he now uses the breathier voice on even the up-tempos.
  • Craig Morgan has gotten increasingly loud over time, starting with "Little Bit of Life". This song also started his bad habit of exaggerating his twang ("A little bit of me and yeeoooooouuuu doin' all right"). "Love Remembers" has a nearly operatic Incredibly Long Note at the end, and nearly all of "Bonfire" and "International Harvester" are shouted instead of sung. He has reined in the histrionics starting with This Ole Boy (2012), but the overdone twang has stayed.
  • Over time, Brad Paisley's voice has gotten much flatter and softer. He used to have a slightly twangy, everyman voice, but over time it's gotten increasingly expressionless and dull-sounding. It's only more noticeable with Frank Rogers' tendency to avoid the Loudness War.
  • British singer Tony Mills of TNT and Shy fame has a voice that evolved from extremely high in the 1980s to a Geoff Queensryche like lower tenor in the 90s and 2000s.
  • Martina McBride started out with an above-average, mid-range voice; she usually sang in a normal register, but sometimes belted out when the song called for it (most notably on "Independence Day"). Starting with "A Broken Wing", her sound became increasingly pop-oriented, and she began relying more and more on bellowing out melismatic Incredibly Long Notes that showed off her upper range á la Celine Dion. While she's reined in the belting a little bit, she did another very odd switch in mid-2011 with a chirpy, thin, almost Taylor Swift-esque delivery on "Teenage Daughters" (her first release for Universal Republic after 19 years at RCA) before resuming her natural belting on "I'm Gonna Love You Through It".
  • Similarly, Reba McEntire was increasingly melismatic and theatrical throughout the late 80s-early 90s, but around 1996, she began singing in a softer, more straightforward voice. Now, she almost never stretches out single words into twenty-some syllables.
  • Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden started with a high voice that was capable of doing an Incredibly Long Note at a very, very high pitch. Now his voice is still powerful and operatic but it's noticably deeper. Most easy to notice when he performs the songs from the eighties (which he did then in a higher voice).
  • David Sylvian of Japan started off singing in a high pitched cockney voice which was supposed to be his punk imitation of David Bowie. By the band's third album he'd switched to a melancholic baritone, which got deeper as it went on. In the 2000s he frequently sings in a croaky whisper.
  • Captain Beefheart's voice was a spot-on Howlin' Wolf impression for most of his career, before it degraded to hoarse screeching for his last two albums. This is Harsher in Hindsight because he had multiple sclerosis at the time of those last two albums and didn't tell anyone about it. This disease led him to retire from music and eventually killed him.
  • Simple Minds' Jim Kerr started off with a sort of punk yell, before moving onto a deeper, more angry voice inspired by Ian Curtis, and eventually moving onto a crooning voice which has picked up a sort of Celtic burr. Many fans would say Simple Minds lost their unique appeal when his voice changed.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis used to mostly rap and occasionally sing. These days, he mostly sings and occasionally raps.
  • Elton John's voice evolved and changed a number of times. He had a quite clear singing voice as a youth, occasionally slipping into his trademark falsetto. Eventually, at the height of his fame, it became more nasal/throaty and expressive, with focus on his high range and falsetto singing. It got smoother, deeper and twangier by the late 1970's and early 1980's, though falsetto was still used. His throat surgery in 1987 to remove non-cancerous polyps in his throat (antagonized by his bulimia, drug abuse and vocal misuse), led to him turning baritone, with little or no falsetto at all. The voice only deepened with age, particularly by the 2000's.
  • Meat Loaf began with a soaring, operatic tenor equally suited to soft and hard rock tunes when he sang on the Bat Out of Hell and Dead Ringer albums and although he struggled with voice loss and substance abuse issues during the 1980s, it was more or less intact when he recorded Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell and Welcome To the Neighborhood in the 1990s. After that, though, his voice deepened noticably with age and he's developed a bit of a proclivity for using a lot of melisma when he performs live. When his concerts are reviewed, the thing they'll always question is whether or not he's still up to the task of tackling his older songs.
  • George Jones has had both evolution and decay. His voice was much higher on early songs such as "White Lightning", and got gradually deeper over time. With his hitmaking days pretty much behind him in the 1990s, his voice has become less expressive and more weathered, thanks to both old age (he turned 80 in 2011) and drug and alcohol abuse at the peak of his career.
  • Bob Seger got a lot deeper in the 1990s. The change is pretty evident on the new tracks for his Greatest Hits Album, and even moreso on Face the Promise.
  • Due to substance abuse, Jim Morrison's voice took on a more ragged and worn tone when The Doors went to record L.A. Woman. Oddly enough, it fits quite well with the album's bluesy mood.
  • David Bowie's voice noticeably started to deepen around 1973-74, beginning with The Jean Genie.
  • The Hanson brothers' voices started out high-pitched (they started out in the mid-1990s when they were still teenagers), and have considerably deepened over time.
  • Mike Patton on his first Faith No More album The Real Thing used mostly a nasal voice, which ironically given the rivalry between the two somewhat resembles Anthony Kiedis'. He dropped that afterwards and starting with Angel Dust began his whole Man of a Thousand Voices thing.
  • Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha's voice on Rage's 1993 debut album was higher and sounded teen-like, however through the late 90's and early 2000's, his voice got a lot deeper as he aged.
  • Tom Delonge of blink-182 has a rollercoaster case of this. His voice on blink albums has got slightly higher and more nasal through the years until Neighborhoods came around, having mellowed out to the level he usually sings at with Angels & Airwaves. Ditto for live shows.
    • He'll veer back into oldschool offkey and snotty territory if he's downed a few before a performance, regardless of which band he's playing with at the time.
  • Whitney Houston, in the 2000s, as drug abuse and personal problems began taking their toll, leading up to her death in 2012.
  • Sandy Farina had a youthful, crystal-clear voice when she starred in "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" - cut to a few years later, when she sang 'Body Talk' for "The Toxic Avenger," by which time her voice had become a rough rasp.
  • An obvious example is Barry Gibb, who until 1975, always sang in his natural voice. He discovered his falsetto ability while recording "Nights On Broadway," and made it a trademark of nearly every song.
  • Cristian Machado of Ill Nino. His screams were higher-pitched on the band's first 4 albums, but on Dead New World, his screams were close to a higher death growl.
  • Pekka Kokko of the Melodic Death Metal band Kalmah has over time shifted his vocal style from a high-pitched shriek to a deep gutteral growl.
  • Elias Soriano of Nonpoint's singing voice seems to get edgier and edgier with every album. Compare his vocals on the album Miracle to his vocals on Development.
  • Rodney Atkins started out singing with lots of vibrato, similarly to Roy Orbison. He then moved to a slightly grained mid-range very similar to labelmate Tim McGraw, and again to a higher, more gravelly voice on If You're Going Through Hell. The change in tone over time has also coincided with him finding himself artistically.
  • Buck Owens' phrasing became very slurred after he had throat cancer removed in 1993.
  • Carrie Underwood has gone from belting everything to a more dynamic range. Some songs have her singing more softly (e.g. "Temporary Home" and "Mama's Song"), and she uses a raw, growling tone on "Good Girl".
  • The Bellamy Brothers' voices were a lot higher on their early songs, such as "Let Your Love Flow", in which they also adopt a quasi-Latino accent ("Let your love fly, like a bird on the weeng…" Only three years later, with "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me", their voices dropped into their more familiar registers.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Ten years and a nose condition turned WWE Stephanie McMahon's voice from young and innocent during her debut and bratty in her first heel turn, to raspier during the Invasion and divorce angles (with the occasional high-pitch scream), to deeper, richer and more authoritative from her GM days on.
    • Despite the vocal changes over the years, she's still widely remembered for that screechy, raspy, Harpy-like voice.
  • Compare snooty-accented Hunter Hearst Helmsley and the nasal Degenerate to the guttoral Game, Triple H.
  • Paul E. Dangerously's smooth tones at age 21 are a far cry from the high-pitched Paul Heyman of today.
  • Vince McMahon's has also evolved similarly going from cheerful and bold as an announcer to menacing as the evil chairman to increasingly cartoony to mellow post-haircut.
  • In an inversion of Heyman, Good Ol' J.R. went from higher pitched to much lower over the years.
  • Kofi Kingston ditched the fake-Jamaican accent before his brief feud with Randy Orton.
  • During his heel turn in 2008, Chris Jericho became increasingly monotone week by week.
  • Bret Hart's voice has taken a noticeably raspy, hoarse sound compared to his youth.
  • Dwayne Johnson started out smooth and slow, became increasingly hammier during his Nation and Corporation stints, became more high pitch during the "Hollywood" Rock era and switching back and forth after his 2011 return.
  • Randy Orton has gone from suave and smooth to a sinister monotone after forming Legacy during his true main event rise.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • In Vanities, in addition to the characters' voices maturing, Kathy and Mary progressively lose their Deep South accents.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • David Nowlin's portrayal of the titular character Sam from the Telltale Games series of "Sam & Max" games was originally subdued and rather flat in a possible imitation of Bill Farmer's nasally Brooklyn accent from Hit The Road, being especially noticeable in the first season. However, by season three, "The Devil's Playhouse", his vocal range has become much more clear and expressive.
  • Solid Snake was originally only slightly, bedroomishly husky-voiced in the dub of the original Metal Gear Solid. Listening to him now, ten years on, he sounds as though he has a minor case of laryngitis. While some of this is down to a deliberate artistic decision to age the character, there's no real excuse for Snake's father being a lot, lot rougher than Snake despite being a lot younger - and the fact that it was that very-rough voice which Snake used in the often-dissliked remake of the original. The voice actor admits that as he himself has aged, it's become harder and harder to do Snake's voice. Where this stops being evolution and starts being decay varies from listener to listener.
    • For a more character based example, listen to the performance of Metal Gear Solid 3 Big Boss and compare to Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Big Boss. It's clear that David Hayter doesn't become fully comfortable with the character until the latter game.
    • The voice acting in the remake of Metal Gear Solid is pretty uniformly decried as being worse than the original; however, all of the original voice actors except one recreated their roles from the first game. While some of this is They Changed It, Now It Sucks (Vulcan Raven and Sniper Wolf are particularly improved, Snake and Meryl have better chemistry and both handle emotional scenes more competently, and Liquid's accent sounds more convincing), Naomi's totally deadpan voice (especially when compared to her lively and seductive performance in Metal Gear Solid 4); the absence of Otacon's characteristic hesitating speech pattern and improvised 'um's and 'er's to be replaced with an overall, slow speech pattern; dreadful Lip Lock to the point where they completely stopped bothering even trying to maintain lip sync after the torture sequence; and the intonation of several lines being botched so much as to remove all meaning (such as Snake saying 'Oh, I had to take out that helicopter' in a shy way rather than an arrogant way, which no-one would have noticed if not for the line being mentioned by Otacon in Metal Gear Solid 4 as proof that Snake was a show-off) are particularly jarring. Budget and casting issues were blamed for this - story goes that, other than Snake, they weren't going to use the original cast, and it was David Hayter who persuaded the company to bring back the original VAs - for enormously reduced pay. Although, to his own credit, he took a pay cut himself in order to accommodate the return of the original cast.
      • Mei Ling and Naomi in Twin Snakes suffer from a serious case of Not Even Bothering with the Accent.
        • YMMV with Naomi, but Mei Ling's case suited her character better, since she was at least raised in the States for much of her life.
  • Hedy Buress's portrayal of Yuna, the primary sticking point for many fans of Final Fantasy X, was noticably improved in side-sequel Final Fantasy X-2.
    • It was really due to two reasons: first, in Final Fantasy X Buress attempted to match her dialogue to the Japanese lip flaps exactly, instead of aiming for an approximation like the other (more experienced) actors did. Secondly, in the sequel the English localisation team got hold of the same technology used by the Japanese team to match up the lip flaps to the voices, eliminating Buress' original problem.
  • If you make a playthrough of the two Kingdom Hearts games for the PlayStation 2, you can notice how much David Gallagher, Riku's voice actor, changed. In the first game most of his lines are completely emotionless and dead-sounding (which can be partially justified by the fact the character was in the dark side). In the second he started putting some feeling into it, and in Re: Chain of Memories, he sounds perfectly okay.
    • Also, Richard Epcar in a podcast interview stated that he felt he gave a weak performance as Ansem in Kingdom Hearts II due to the voice direction he was given restraining him as trying (and failing) to imitate Billy Zane's glorious hamminess, and stated that he felt his performance in Re: Chain of Memories sounded much better and sinister-sounding. Fans seem to agree.
    • The Japanese voice of Ansem, Akio Ohtsuka, was similar in that his hamminess in the first game was more grating than entertaining (Billy Zane is preferred even by Japanese players), but in Re: Chain of Memories, he seemed to know what he was doing more and sounded alot more pleasing.
    • The first thing you notice in moving from Kingdom Hearts I to II is that Haley Joel Osment has hit puberty.
  • Luigi's voice in the Nintendo 64 days fluctuated between being a lot higher/deeper than his brother's. But when the Game Boy Advance came out with Super Mario Advance, his voice was standardized to the one we know today, and by Luigi's Mansion on the Gamecube, it stuck.
    • Luigi's voice clips were also often Mario's voice clips sped up and raised in pitch via computers which certifiably didn't help matters.
    • Wario also often switches between a high-pitched voice and a low-pitched voice.
  • In the early Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters games, Satoshi Hashimoto gave Kim Kaphwan a rather youthful voice (outside of his epic Taekwondo-related screams). Around the time KOF 96 was released, Hashimoto switched to a much deeper tone, keeping it that way later.
  • In the Japanese version of the Star FOX franchise, Falco and Slippy's voices (Hisao Egawa and Kyoko Tonguu) have played them since Star Fox 64, and both of them have changed notably; Falco's voice is far deeper and mannish, while Slippy's voice is far less feminine than it was in 64. Also, Leon's voice (played by Shinobu Satouchi) is low and smooth in 64, but high and slightly flamboyant in Assault and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
    • Kenji Nojima only played Fox for two games (Star Fox Assault and Super Smash Bros. Brawl), but already there is a noteworthy difference; it is slightly higher and more accented in the latter than the former.
  • Jennifer Hale's female Shepard voice for Mass Effect is a noticeably raspier in the second game. Mark Meer as male Shepard is significantly more complex and interesting, though the voice itself is unchanged.
    • Mark Meer really doesn't deserve all the flak he gets for his portrayal of Commander Shepard, as it consistantly improves and evolves with the character throughout the trilogy. In the first game Male Shepard was a Consummate Professional and officer, the sort of person who would be Spectre material. By the second, Shepard has become more Down to Earth and hardened by his experiences, in due no small part to the fact that no-one believes him about the Reapers and he's forced to work with his enemies to take them down. The belter of a performance he gives in the third game really shows the nuances of how much Shepard has become jaded by everything, the people he's lost and why he's determined to either destroy the Reapers or take them down with him.
  • Comparing the voice of Sonic from Sonic X and Sonic Unleashed, it's hard to believe that he had the same voice actor back then. Even fans who liked him before the evolution noticed and approved.
  • When Spyro was voiced by Tom Kenny his voice became deeper from 2 to 3.
    • Gregg Berger's voice for Hunter the cheetah from the Spyro series changed between Ripto's Rage and Year of the Dragon. His voice in the former was very low and in his next appearance his voice is much higher pitched and has a more relaxed attitude.
  • In the Crash Bandicoot series, Debi Derriberry's take on Coco was initially rather high pitched and feminine. Throughout the titles her voice eventually became deeper pitched and more obnoxious sounding, a tone much akin to one of Derriberry's other roles.
    • Lex Lang also used a near perfect replicant of Clancy Brown's soft spoken deep voice for Dr Cortex in Crash Twinsanity. In the Radical titles Lang exaggerated Cortex's tone to be louder, higher pitched and upped his campness and flamboyancy to eleven. Radical liked the take and actually evolved the character itself accordingly.
    • Kevin Michael Richardson's take on Crunch was originally extremely calm, deep and serious sounding in Wrath Of Cortex, following his Heel Face Turn Nitro Kart onwards, he gave him a louder more hyperactive voice, with raspy tough guy mannerisms not distant from Mr. T. A particularly notable example since this change actually became the main pivot in not just his replacement actor's take on Crunch, but his entire personality and mannerisms following it.

Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • Nearly all of the voices for the various characters on Homestar Runner have evolved over the years. To name just two examples, Homestar's voice became lower-pitched and less childish, while Strong Bad lost his Mexican accent in favour of a more gruff American one.. The latter was lampshaded in the bonus email "accent" on the "strongbad_email.exe" DVD, where Strong Bad started to worry about the softening of his accent, and tried to get his old voice back.
    • In fact, in one Strong Bad Email, they parody the very first Homestar toon they made by reverting to the old style, having a hatless Homestar, overusing the expression, "Holy crap!", and using Strong Bad's Mexican voice.
    • Bubs originally had a low, gruff voice. Starting from 2004, his voice became a bit more high pitched. Whereas he used to sound somewhat like Louis Armstrong, it was noted that he now sounds like Larry from Limozeen (the Fake Band in the same series; both characters are voiced by Matt Chapman) without the falsetto.
    • Strong Sad is especially notable, as his voice went from nasal to a soft falsetto. He also typically sounds much more upbeat today, possibly because his character has expanded beyond just being The Eeyore. It was gradual, but a modern Strong Sad sounds absolutely nothing like the Strong Sad heard in In Search of the Yellow Dello.
  • In the beginning of Red vs. Blue Caboose sounds completely different than how he does now. At first he sounds normal, but due to textbook Flanderization he has gotten more idiotic sounding, halting and slow. It has happened to nearly every character to a minor extent, but Caboose is so different, it's disorienting..
    • Caboose's idiocy is explained that his mind was broken beyond repair when the evil AI controlling him at the time was ripped from his head. In addition to this, dvd extras suggest, if not state outright, that, when Caboose's mental image of Church was killed, he lost all the knowledge he'd ever been taught by Church.... which the extras go on to say was quite a lot, apparently.
    • The combination of Vocal Evolution and Flanderization was so pronounced in Caboose that one of the alternate endings to episode 100 had every episode since episode 9 revealed to be All Just a Dream, returning Caboose to his original voice and characterization.
    • Also, the original Sarge voice was based off of R. Lee Ermey. The voice actor, Matt Hullum, decided that the voice was too hard to keep reproducing, and came up with the current style.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Ever since he started doing short videos about video games and talking really fast in them, Yahtzee has refined his British yelling voice a fair bit. In fact, going back to some of the very first videos he ever made will near-inevitably make his former self come across as extremely mumbly in comparison to later videos.
    • He also speaks much slower and calmer in his earlier videos when compared to his more later ones. Try watching his two separate Tomb Raider videos he made two years apart; he sounds very different.
  • YouTube video maker PyramidHead87 has changed his "Pyramid Head" voice from a whiny rasp to a deep growl over time (in part caused by his change in recording equipment). This received a Lampshade Hanging at the beginning of his review of the RoboCop NES game, when he opens with the original voice and then clears his throat before going into the new voice.
  • YouTube Let's Play maker Sir Ron Lionheart can attribute some of his popularity to his dramatic change in voice and speech patterns. Compare his first video to basically any video after his Super Mario 64 Let's Play, and you won't believe it's the same person. If you watch his Super Mario 64 Let's Play from the beginning, you can more or less pinpoint exactly where he was driven insane.
  • Linkara had a noticeably calmer and quieter tone of voice in the early episodes of Atop the Fourth Wall.
  • And for that matter, Doug Walker's voice for The Nostalgia Critic was originally his regular voice, instead of the more dynamic and broader tone he uses in-character. He also never used to scream like a little girl, instead seeming like he was genuinely angry.
  • Ditto with The Cinema Snob, who had a snobbish monotone in earlier episodes. In a later one, he reminisced about a previous review and briefly adopted an impression of his contemporaneous voice (and vocabulary, for that matter):

The Snob: I guess it wasn't "Kafka" enough for me.

  • Dax Flame's voice was a lot calmer in his earlier videos.
  • ForrestFire101, most commonly known for his "LEGO Batman" series, has, along with the quality of his videos, dramatically changed his voice over three years. In his first video, and several afterward, every character sounded exactly the same. However, watching this video, you can notice, aside from the slew of other "famous" YouTube voice actors, that his Batman and Robin voices are severely different from each other, let alone themselves in his earlier works. The scary part is, if you watch all of his LEGO Batman videos in order of release date, you'll barely notice the changes between videos.
  • Raocow started off with a much mellower voice and thicker French Canadian accent. As he developed his Talkative Loon personality for his Let's Play videos, he began using a higher-pitched, crazier tone of voice to match. He also became more fluent in English, to the point that it's hard to tell he's French Canadian. Even when he does a video out-of-character, his voice sounds nothing like it did on his early Let's Plays.
  • The Nostalgia Chick originally had Lindsay's own Tennessee-tinged, typically feminine, quite lilty voice. Now she has a much lower sound, growlier and fitting her "ladette alcoholic who stopped caring" personality.
  • Phelous has gotten a bit more energy and sped up a bit more compared to his first couple of outings where he was more monotone and slowpaced.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Blinky Bill:From Season Two, Keith Scott began voicing Nutsy's father in a deeper rougher voice than in the penultimate episode of Season One.
  • Family Guy has had the most conspicuous vocal decay, especially with Lois' voice actor Alex Borstein, who nowadays could give even the best Fran Drescher impersonator a run for their money. This was lampshaded in the episode "Petarded" when Lois, speaking at a microphone, says, "I'm sorry folks, this... Oh God, is that my voice? God, it's all whiny and nasally and... egh."
    • In another episode, actors are hired to replace the Griffins on a reality show... and Lois is played by Fran Drescher.
    • Her Hungarian voice actress does actually voice both her and Drescher, giving the joke an all new layer. And yes, even her voice has risen over the seasons. As did Peter's, for that matter.
    • Lois used to sound exactly like she was born and raised in Cranston, RI. Key term, used to...
    • Stewie sounds significantly less like a Rex Harrison impression than he did originally, mainly he's less over the top.
      • That's actually an understatement: Stewie lost his faux-British accent completely by the sixth season and now talks like a normal gay guy instead.
        • Hungarian Stewie started out sounding nothing like the original. His actor focused too much on the evil part, turning his sentences into barely intelligible mumbles and growls, and every line sounded the same. After a while, he began using his normal, speaking voice... well, he should have done that from the start, because now he's a fan favorite.
    • Everyone speaks much more quickly, especially Brian and Lois. Pitch has generally slid upward, as well.
    • Chris' voice was originally a Buffalo Bill impression, but as time has gone on, it has gotten much higher in pitch.
  • Compare Tony Anselmo's performance as Donald Duck in the first episode of DuckTales (1987) to his performance in Kingdom Hearts II (2006). It was rather rough around the edges when he originally took over from Clarence Nash, but has improved considerably in the past 20 years.
  • The Simpsons
    • Dan Castellaneta's original performances of Homer Simpson sound almost nothing like the current character—in fact, the difference is so pronounced that it's hard to believe it's the same voice actor. But this is decidedly a case of evolution rather than decay, as Castellaneta found the original voice (based on Walter Matthau's) difficult to sustain or put force behind, so he changed the tenor deliberately.
    • Julie Kavner distanced Marge's voice from her natural tone as seasons progressed, gradually making her higher and wackier-pitched.
    • Nelson's voice has changed considerably over the years. It used to be higher pitched before becoming low and gruff sounding.
    • Police Chief Clancy Wiggum originally had a much deeper, more gruff sounding voice. Hank Azaria gradually found him slipping into a more high-pitched, whiny sounding voice.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Tom Kenny has made SpongeBob ridiculously more high-pitched and effeminate, adding to that ever-present "SpongeBob is gay" notion. Fortunately, the thought has been around for so long that most people don't really even care any more. Although he's gone in the opposite direction, switching back to the marginally deeper voice of the earlier seasons.
  • Aang of Avatar: The Last Airbender has a voice actor who started off around the same age as him (twelve), and the recordings were mostly done in a linear order. This meant that as the episodes continued, his voice deepened and broke naturally with Zack Tyler Eisen's. Listening to anything from the first season to anything from the third season—especially "Day of Black Sun" onward—will really throw this into light. Because of the production lull, by the end of the series they actually had to start pitching Zack's voice up a little.
    • Zuko has a distinct lisp during the first season, which made him an odd mixture of sinister and somewhat childish. The lisp goes away with time, and by the third season Zuko had developed a more confident, almost parental voice. (Particularly effective when giving rousing speeches.) Of course, this was probably a deliberate creative decision than just evolution. He's also a rare exception of a high-school age character in a western cartoon who gets less whiny-sounding over time.
  • Many a cartoon that takes place in a High School setting feature boys whose voices become whinier as time goes on... when it should be the exact opposite. Ron Stoppable of Kim Possible is a prime example of this.
    • Come season four, Kim herself has become quite nasal and her pacing at times feels intensely rushed.
    • Drakken is a similar example, and there's a major difference in his voice later in, mostly getting higher.
  • As are Danny, Tucker and Dash in Danny Phantom. Danny is the least apparent simply because his 42-year-old voice actor barely sounded like a 14-year-old boy to begin with. Granted, Butch Hartman did hold auditions for actual 14-year-olds, but didn't find any to sound "heroic" enough. Alas, Reality Is Unrealistic.
    • Vlad has this, too. Watching his first appearance in Bitter Reunions is always a bit strange. His voice is more nasal, and has an American accent. Later on, Mull hits his stride with Vlad's voice, no more nasality and he even adds in a slight British accent.
  • In the first Brother Bear movie, Koda was voiced by a young boy. In Brother Bear 2, his voice sounds like it's clearly breaking and going through adolescence.
  • Futurama
    • Over time, Billy West's voice for Fry became closer to his natural voice. He once said that he initially modeled Fry's voice after his own when he was around twenty-five. As Billy got closer in age to Fry in-universe, his voice naturally became more accurate.
    • Professor Farnsworth's voice has gotten deeper and less nasal from the early episodes.
    • Leela's voice has gotten slightly higher pitched since The Beast With A Billion Backs.
    • While John DiMaggio's Bender voice remained pretty consistent throughout the series during its original run, in the feature length films (made four years after the end of the series), Bender's voice is somewhat less raspy; it's probably closer to the voice he used to play Elzar (or Bender from the very early episodes of series one - it sounds a bit gruffer in series two).
  • About halfway through the first season of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo's voice gets more high-pitched and whiny, probably to better reflect the changes in personality he went through at that time. He has been getting progressively screechier ever since.
  • The creators of Batman the Animated Series have said that Kevin Conroy (who has voiced Batman for the entire duration of the existence of the DCAU, as well as the Batman: Gotham Knight direct-to-DVD anthology and Batman: Arkham Asylum) has only gotten better and better at being Batman. If you watched some episodes of Batman the Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited, it wouldn't be that strange to think they were voiced by different people entirely.
    • Unfortunately, he also stopped bothering to differentiate between Batman and Bruce Wayne's voice. Bruce originally had a lighter and more playful tone than Batman's dark and foreboding tone.
      • On the commentary track for Batman: Gotham Knight, Conroy did say that he was requested to do so at the producers' behest.
      • Some of the shift is a deliberate choice. Conroy has said that the voice used for Justice League was splitting the difference between B:TAS and Batman Beyond as an reflection of the character aging.
    • Also, Mark Hamill's version of The Joker? He sounds slightly uninspired at first, but with time, he got a lot more quirks and other things with his voice, in Batman: Arkham Asylum, he's probably at his absolute best! Hamill himself said that doing Mask Of The Phantasm was a big step in the Vocal Evolution, as that was when he really started building a repetoire of laughs. The Batman Beyond movie was another step up. Voice director Andreas Romano told him to be subtler for more of a Hannibal Lecter effect so he used a voice closer to his natural voice, which contrasted with the even stronger laughs to chilling effect.
      • If you watch the Batman: The Animated Series(higher pitched and wasn't very consistent,changing pitch occasionally) then Return of the Joker(much smoother) and then play Batman: Arkham Asylum (gravelly) it is completely different especially with the laugh.
        • One must remember, in Arkham Asylum, it's quite clear that The Joker and Batman have been doing this for decades by now (Joker looks much older than any other incarnation, especially in his skin and hair).
  • South Park
    • Cartman's voice has gotten lower and less raspy over the years. He was often nearly incomprehensible in the early seasons, but now his dialogue is quite clear.
    • Stan and Kyle's voices have also become lower in pitch since the first couple of seasons. Stan kind of sounded like Gohan as a kid until about season 3.
    • After taking over for Mary Kay Bergman following her death, Eliza Schneider gradually evolved her initially near identical take on Wendy, similarly making her deeper and less shrill sounding. By the time Schneider left and was herself replaced by April Stewart the child-like tone in Wendy's voice was completely gone.
  • The voices in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy have changed over the years. Ed's voice sounds goofier and less like a frat boy, Edd's voice used to sound quiet, less emotional, and raspy, Jimmy's voice was slightly incoherent throughout season 1 and early season 2, and Rolf's voice used to have a thicker accent. The most interesting case was Nazz, who had 3 different voice actresses throughout the course of the series. It's similar to the Wendy example above, except that Nazz's original voice actress is still alive.
    • It is notable that Jimmy was voiced by an actual young boy whom surprisingly was not replaced after he had gone through puberty, the change in his voice in most noticeable in the Holiday specials.
  • At the beginning of The Venture Brothers, the Monarch used to sound a lot more subdued compared to the loud shrill he has now. Not really a bad thing as the shrill is a lot funnier.
    • Dr. Girlfriend's voice was made slightly more feminine after the first season, making it a little more believable as a woman's voice.
  • Looney Tunes
    • Some of Mel Blanc's voices started to sound more like him as the years wore on—though the fact that at least two of them (Daffy and Tweety) were originally pitch-shifted probably didn't help. In Daffy's Quackbusters it's very noticeable, especially if they played a clip from an episode then switched back to the main story his Daffy and Porky Pig noticeably sounded older and less high-pitched.
    • Jeff Bergman's voice for Bugs Bunny has visibly changed since the 90's; compare this to this.
  • Nearly everyone in the cast of Daria did this to some extent over the years. But most noticable is Jane Lane's Wendy Hoopes who originally gave the character a sly, high pitched tone which would eventually evolve into a deep, round tone by season five.
    • Jake, Kevin and Brittany were also much lower pitched earlier on, and Mr. DeMartino was a lot quieter. And of special notice is that Daria's voice became more monotone as the series went on. Overall, it's pretty fair to say that almost everyone's voice is unrecognizable as their later incarnations in the first season or so.
  • Jim Cummings' performance as Darkwing Duck is noticeably lower-pitched and less hyper in earlier episodes.
  • Likewise, his Tigger voice has gotten more breathy, almost like an old man, from The Tigger Movie onward. And before anyone asks, no, he's not really all that old.
  • The voices of Yakko, Wakko and Dot on Animaniacs were originally pitch-shifted until Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell and Tress MacNeille learned to do the voices as they sounded on the cartoon (a case of self-pitch-shifting?).
    • Wakko sounded even more like Ringo Starr earlier on.
    • Also, in the earliest Pinky and The Brain shorts, Pinky's speech impediment is much more pronounced than it later became.
    • Skippy Squirrel's voice changed a little over time, due to his voice actor being a child. Near the end, his voice had to be pitched up slightly as well.
  • George Lowe began voicing Space Ghost very straight, much like the superhero Space Ghost was supposed to be. As time went on and the show became more surreal and anarchic, he gradually loosened up until he was essentially voicing Space Ghost with his natural speaking voice, although he would drift back towards the archetypal hero-voice if the script called for it. Zorak changed too, keeping the gravelly insectoid rasp but losing the stiff robotic inflection.
  • If you watch some of the earliest Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episodes, you'll notice that Scratch and Grounder talk quite differently from their later performances—Scratch is voiced with a New York-influenced accent, whereas Grounder has a lower, stupider voice. These attributes disappeared over the course of the series. (Grounder still sounded dumb, but less so.)
  • Danny Cooksey's voice for Montana Max on Tiny Toon Adventures was noticeably higher in earlier episodes. Not surprisingly, he was the most prominent child voice actor on the staff.
    • Also, Charlie Adler's voice for Buster is a tiny bit higher in some of the earlier episodes. This is especially noticeable in "Cinemaniacs", one of the first episodes to be recorded; he sounds pitch-shifted.
  • Phineas on Phineas and Ferb got a little lower after the pilot. Compare how he sounds in the title sequence to how he sounds on the show proper. Once again, this is the result of the voice actor aging, as Vincent Martella was 15 when he first started voicing Phineas.
    • If you're comparing later eps to early eps, the age is the main reason. If you're comparing the present voice to the title sequence, though, remember that Phineas lightened up after the first few eps. The way he sounds in the title sequence is more in line with that earlier characterization.
  • In another case of child voice actor equalling changed voice, Nicky Jones started voicing the title character of Chowder when he was 11. Come the third season, he sounds noticeably older.
    • Panini, too, for that matter. Her voice actress started voicing the character at age 13.
    • Mung Daal, in the Pilot, had a high pitched, cracking voice, much like a stereotypical elderly man. As the series goes on, his voice deepens and has traces of some kind of accent. Truffles' voice also gets progressively lower and grumpier, which is ironic since her high-pitched shrieking is flanderized in-show at one point.
  • The Fairly OddParents. Cosmo's voice from the first episodes is the same voice actor he has today; his voice started out as deep and intelligent sounding to extremely high-pitched and whiny.
  • Time has been very good to Peter Cullen in his Optimus Prime roles between The Transformers (1986) and the Transformers live-action film series.
    • This is also apparent in the G1 show itself. Slag of the Dinobots is probably the most notable example; his voice was very gruff and low, but starting in the movie, Slag started to lose some of his lower quality. Even Neil Ross, his voice actor, is unsure of how Slag got so off track, since the voice director would usually give play a sample of what the character sounded like if they got off track. Skywarp is another example; his voice seemed to fluctuate in every episode he appeared on. Mixmaster's first line in Heavy Metal War is very different-sounding from his later lines, being lower and less crazy.
    • When Frank Welker returned to being Megatron in Transformers Prime, his voice had become much quieter and more sinister rather than "screechy".
      • Welker changed his Megatron voice on purpose for Transformers Prime. Apparently the G1 version was always pushing his voice so Welker couldn't change it to indicate emotions. By pulling it back in, Megatron isn't permanently shouting and so it has more impact when he does shout, AND he can be more menacing the rest of the time.
  • Speaking of Cullen, his enterpretation of Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh evolved into a near perfect replica of Ralph Wrights (originally being somewhat breathier and higher pitched). There is in fact a noticable difference in most of the replacement actors since they took over in The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
  • Metalocalypse example: In a Music/Animation crossover, compare the singing on Dethklok's The Deth Album to that on Deth Album II. Brendon Small has gotten more versatile with Nathan's singing voice - it's still 98 percent death grunt, but there are moments of flexibitly.
    • Additionally, Toki's voice appears to have gotten higher and squeakier as the series has gone on.
  • Muffy, from Arthur, is voiced by the same voice actress, unlike most other characters, but her voice has gotten higher throughout the seasons.
  • It happened with Fievel's voice between the first two movies and the television show of the An American Tail series. Fievel's voice actor was getting older.
  • Hank Hill of King of the Hill originally spoke like Tom Anderson, later developing a less gruff voice. Dale Gribble's voice also got higher as he became more of a goof.
    • Also Bobby's voice has become more higher pitched in later years.
    • Bill's voice in the first season was lower and gruffer before developing into a higher dopier voice in the second, and Luanne had a lower huskier voice before developing into the ditzy Valley Girl voice.
  • Many characters of KaBlam! had their voices go lower as the series went on. The Off-Beats, Loopy, Larry, and most recognizable are Henry and June. This could be because all those characters were played by kids.
    • And the kid voices were all kept, even after Noah Segan's (Henry) voice cracked, as well as whoever the heck does Larry's voice. Although for some reason, it still worked.
    • As for the girls, June's vocal evolution wasn't as obvious until around season four. In season one, her voice was more high-pitched and spoke with a lisp at some points. Around seasons two and three, her voice got kinda breathy, and by the end of the show, she almost sounded like a kid version of Bette Midler. Same goes with Loopy, but it wasn't as obvious as June.
    • The Flesh of Action League NOW! had a more heroic sounding voice in the early episodes (and in All That) than later on when he sounded more moronic.
    • Bob had a lower voice in Prometheus and Bob during the early episodes.
  • In the earlier episodes of Rugrats, Tommy's voice sounded a little higher and rougher than what he would sound like later on.
    • When Joe Alaskey first took over the voice of Grandpa Lou after the death of David Doyle, he was very high-pitched, like Daffy Duck on crack. Over the next few years he lowered the pitch to the point where it was a passable imitation.
  • The Oh Yeah Cartoons shorts of ChalkZone had Rudy with a higher pitched voice (justified, he was younger in the shorts than the actual show). Also, Snap's Bronx accent got heavier as the show went on.
  • While this is very subtle, both Noah and Cody from Total Drama Island have deeper voices in the second-season special and the third season than they did in the first season. They've also grown noticeably taller.
    • In the first few episodes Owen sounded like a buff jock character and in Phobia Factor from here on his tone sounds a lot goofier.
    • Just about everyone's voices became higher to some extent.
  • All the preteen characters in Jacob Two Two suffer from this to some extent or another, but none moreso than Buford. In his first appearance, he sounds younger than ten-year-old Jacob, but this doesn't last long. By the end of the fifth season, his voice has aged so much that the producers pitch it up to make it sound younger, particularly noticable in the episode "Jacob Two-Two and the Too Big Tomatoes."
    • Just the oposite applies to resident janitor Leo Louse's mother, whose voice is provided by the same actor as Leo himself. In her first episode, her voice was pitched up to make it sound more feminine. However, in all subsequent appearances, the processing is left out and the actor applies a high-pitched old woman sound to his own performance.
  • Some of the characters from Veggie Tales have come to sound more like each other, most notably Archibald, the tall Scallion, and the "Silly Songs with Larry" narrator. This is eventually lampshaded, when Larry says he always thought Archibald was said narrator (even though they were clearly separate characters from their first appearance).
    • When comparing Larry's voice in earlier episodes to those in his more recent appearances (take "The Water Buffalo Song" versus "Sport Utility Vehicles" he has a much higher-pitched voice and sounds far less dopey than he originally did.
  • Butt-Head's voice from Beavis and Butthead became slightly higher (but still much lower than Beavis' voice) and gained a distinctive lisping accent as the show progressed. The lisp became especially obvious in the movie ("Hey, Beavisth! Thisth sucksth!").
    • In between the end of the show, and when Mike Judge would start breaking them out for special appearances, Beavis' voice has gotten noticeably lower.
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Meatwad's voice became lower after a season or two, compared to his squeakier original voice.
  • Frank Welker's performance of Fred Jones from Scooby Doo became more goofy and comical since the late 90s. And occasionally developed a Minnesotan accent. Also to note, Casey Kasem's Shaggy became slower and rougher as he aged.
  • Compared to his signature voice, Beast Boy of Teen Titans had quite the low voice in the first season. Most likely the lowest of the Titans.
    • In contract to her low and deadpan voice, Raven had a high-pitched voice in the first season.
  • Code Lyoko has several drastic examples, and these are just from the people who kept the same voice actor.
    • First, and most unfortunately, is Jeremie, voiced by an adult woman, Sharon Mann. He began with a very high voice at the beginning of Season 1, which gradually deepened over the course of the season and stayed deep through the next. Then, in Season 3, it switched abruptly back to a higher tone, sounding just a twitch deeper and more nasally than early Season 1, which he keeps for the rest of the series.
    • Aelita's voice is lower and matronly near the beginning of the series, but after she leaves the supercomputer, her voice slowly becomes higher-pitched and girlish. Thankfully, she and Jeremie never start sounding like each other.
    • Odd's voice begins somewhat lower and calmer, perhaps trying to emulate the sound of his previous voice actor, but gradually gets higher and screechier until it crystallizes into his iconic tone.
    • Several background characters without many lines early in the series, such as Herb (who sounds like William in "Log Book") and Mr. Delmas (who is far more nasal in "Teddygozilla"), have voices that sound nothing like those established later on.
  • Dib's voice on Invader Zim tends to go back and forth. Sometimes he has a higher, faster-paced voice as he did on the debut episode, but other times, his voice is lower and thicker, and he talks more slowly. The latter voice makes him sound more like a teenager.
  • In Adventure Time, because Finn's voice actor is an adolescent, his voice is already beginning to become noticeably deeper and crackier. As such, they justified this in-universe by having Finn turn 13 in the middle of season two.
  • All the kids in Recess were done by real kids (except Spinelli), so their voices would get lower after a while. In episode one (which was recorded in 1996 with different character designs), T.J. and Vince have notably higher voices, and T.J.'s voice gets lower by the end of the first season (causing his voice to be replaced for the next season). Gus, Mikey, and Randall all have lower voices in the DTV movies as well. And Miss Finster didn't sound as sinister as usual in the first episode.
    • Captain Sticky's voice was a lot scratchier in his earlier appearances
    • Miss Grotke's voice got even more high-pitched as the series went on.
  • In Silverhawks, main villain Mon*Star originally had a very deep voice, but as the episodes wore on, it got higher and higher, until voice actor Earl Hammond was using the same screechy voice for Mon*Star as he was for Vultureman on sister show Thundercats. It was particularly jarring during his Transformation Sequence, since it still used the original voice and was never re-recorded.
  • Mark Hamill's voice for Skips on Regular Show started out a lot more clipped and gruff than it later became. Similarly, J.G. Quintel and William Salyers (Mordecai and Rigby, respectively) have become more enthusiastic than the somewhat dull voices they had on the pilot.
  • In the early pilot of what would later become The Problem Solverz, Alfe started out with a normal voice that was only slightly low. In Neon Knome he became a very low Guttural Growler which was lightened up in the The Problem Solverz to reflect his more impetuous personality. Roba's voice was also lower in the first pilot, and since then it's gotten higher with a robotic filter added on. Horace has a different voice actor for the series as well.
  • In Doug, the title character's voice (in the Nickelodeon series, played by Billy West) was much more high pitched and nasal in the pilot, "Doug Can't Dance". Around season four, Doug's voice noticably gets lower and closer to Fry's voice.
    • Skeeter had a much more nasal voice earlier on in the series.
    • Patti had a lower voice in the pilot.
    • Beebe's voice was also a lot higher in the older episodes, similar to her voice actress's previous character, Baby Lickety-Split
  • Hey Arnold! has all the kids voiced by real kids that matched the age of the kids on the show. Some got replaced when their voice changed (most noticably Arnold who had several voice actors) but a lot of them also remained, even a huge part of the boys. Gerald's voice changed quite early on, but they used it as a plot point and thus didn't have to be replaced. Helga's voice became much more mature sounding and other characters like Harold and Sinky just went through their voice change without any explanation to the viewers.
  • Jimmy's voice for the Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius TV series is quite a bit lower and deeper than it was in the movie, probably meant to signify that he had gotten older since the events of the movie.
    • Sheen's voice also changed after the movie.
  • In the internet cartoon of Making Fiends, Charlotte sounded like an actual little girl, and Vendetta had a high, shrill voice with a thicker accent. In the TV cartoon, they have the same voice actors. Charlotte's voice is still high and cheery, but she sounds more like a kindergarten teacher than an 8-10 year old girl, and Vendetta's voice is lower, more guttural and overall less pleasant to the ear (though it never was pleasant). Marvin's voice is actually higher, and more nasal, unlike in the web cartoon where he had a nearly Simpleton Voice. Malachi's voice went from archaic and mature, to whiny and comical.
  • Rarity from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has become goofier and goofier as the show has gone on, with her vocal quirks (pitch shifting and Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping) becoming more and more prominent. Pinkie Pie on the other hand has exhibited vastly increased range. Previously limited to her usual exited squeak she increasingly slips into a much lower, more mature voice, and especially in 'A Friend In Deed' occasionally doesn't even sound like her. Sweetie Belle has also changed noticeably, losing her slur and becoming much less childish, sounding more and more like the actress who portrays her.
    • Applejack started off with a higher pitched voice similar to Rainbow Dash. Ashleigh Ball, who voices both characters, intentionally lowered Applejack's voice later in the series to differentiate the two and make it easier when Talking to Herself.
  • Paul Winchell's Gargamel sounded more like Dick Dastardly early on but started to show some wear as the series went on. Even his Dick Dastardly on Yogi's Treasure Hunt (1985–88) started sounding like late Gargamel.
  1. (but was not released until 2006)