Akira Ishida was born 1967, November 2, and lives in Nisshin. According to Anime News Network he is 163 cm sho... err, tall and weighs 52 kg. This is, respectively, 2 cm and... arrgh. Let's leave his size alone.
I think I started to like him pretty soon, and this may have something to do with both the quality of his voice and roles he plays. As for the former, I can't help but think of... velvet. His voice is so smooth and soft. It's quite a joke that he voiced over Jonathan Rhys Meyers in... "Velvet Goldmine" ^^
As for his roles, well, I daresay they are usually very intriguing and interesting. And often, very often, quite ambiguous. I've never heard him voicing a total bad ass or a psychopath, but, at the same time, he excels at voicing not so straightforward characters. It's sometime pretty hard to like those guys, but you can't either quite dislike them, for you understand them, and Ishida can contribute to showing their complexity. And, believe me, there's hardly any seiyuu who can convey the feeling of grief and suffering and still remain so very calm. In "Tehanu" Ursula Le Guin wrote a sentence that stayed in my mind forever: Despair speaks evenly, in a quiet voice. It's a perfect description for Ishida's performance in those particular cases. They are always so damn calm. It makes a real impression on you.
There's only one guy that can be described as a total brightness - but, in a way, he is a mystery, too. Yes, I think it's the perfect description for all characters voiced by Ishida: mysterious. Rest assure, he will never bore you. (I think him voicing over Mark Hamill in "Star Wars: A New Hope" was quite a misunderstanding on the producers' part, and they must have noticed it, too, since he didn't appear in rest of the Trilogy xD)
The first role I heard him in was Fish Eye in "Sailor Moon Super S". The first role - and a surprise already, since this lovely girl was a guy (well, in a way). But already the next one, the well known to everyone Xellos, a mysterious priest, is like Ishida's showcase: a magician who smiles all the time and never reveals his true intentions, only tags along the main heroine and her companions. Shinkohyo from "Soul Hunter" was a very similar guy, although he didn't tag along, only watched from distance. But you couldn't quite figure him until the end.
Gaara of the Desert from "Naruto" is one of my favourite guys in said anime. And, again, a very ambiguous person: an enemy who became an ally, a one you can really rely on.
Satoshi Hiwatari from "D.N.Angel" is yet another character that enthralled me: a very intelligent guy who strives to be a rival for the main hero, tries to despise him... and always ends up, say, loving him. (No yaoi!) There's no real need to tell you he's quite a torn young man. Sarutobi Sasuke from "Samurai Deeper Kyo" is also very smart and somewhat cold kid, but his loyalty and devotion is undying.
I think it was Takenaka Hanbei from "Sengoku Basara Two" that drew my attention to Ishida's voicing skills. Hanbei is probably most disgusting character in said anime, often resorting to mean tricks and acting in a very dishonourable way to achieve his goals. Still, we get to know what drives him, we discover there's a human being behind his deeds, a human who despairs. I really wanted to condemn him, but, in the end, quite couldn't. Saralegui from "Kyou Kara Maou" is a very similar case: playing with people in order to get what he wants, an immature git who hurts others - but we realize he had feelings, too, and he suffered, too. Kanata Wakamiya from "Uragiri wa boku no namae shitteiru" seemed like a boring guy and then, suddenly, he evolved into maybe the most interesting character in said anime. In his case, again, it's hard to condemn him and label him as a "bad guy", even if he obviously pretends to be a one.
Ishida may voice over episodic characters, and they are always guys worth thinking over. Soujirou Kusaka from "Bleach The Movie 2", Tokishige Misaki from "Hakuouki" (episode 19), or Zeref from "Fairy Tail", who doesn't seem a very simple guy either.
Kaworu Nagisa from "Neon Genesis Evangelion" is a whole story. I mentioned I was in love with Kaworu the very moment I saw him, regardless of knowing absolutely nothing of him and having never watched Evangelion for 15 years. After I finally watched, I told myself my intuition had been not wrong. Kaworu is a light. He's a joy. He's Beethoven's Ninth Symphony floating in the air. He's the only one person Shinji felt like trusting. By all means, he should have been Shinji's enemy, but he choose to stay by his side, if only for a moment. Well, for me Kaworu could have been perfectly voiced by Megumi Ogata, too, but... yeah, Ogata voiced Shinji, after all ^^
In the end, my sweet secret: Shimei Ryomou from "Koutetsu Sangokushi". This guy is probably in my Top 3, along with Kin (voiced by Kouji Yusa) and Kannei (voiced by Jun'ichi Suwabe) I already wrote of. Ryomou is the only totally bright character voiced by Ishida. He's a wimp, a shy young men with not-so-high self-confidence, who looks like he has just got away from the kitchen. A friend to everyone, concerned of their well-being, taking care and always being there. I mentioned, however, there was a mystery behind him, too. Still, it was something soft and warm, and very positive, and related to his future. I was surprised, but, at the same time, very satisfied.
This time, no summing up. Ishida is just great and I'm always happy to hear him. I know I can expect quite a lot from people voiced by him. It's really hard to choose my Top 3, for he delights me in every role, but I think I may point at Gaara, Kaworu and Ryomou, with Satoshi as a reserve ^^ Also, I'm deeply moved by his performance as Hanbei and Saralegui. But, let me stress it again: there's a certain pleasure in associating myself with his characters ^^
It is somewhat of a miracle than in last three years I heard Ishida in JUST one role. But, ah, what a role was that! Katsura "Zura" Kotarou is definitely someone to remember. A leader of Joui patriots who is not quite right in the head (come on, he's a total nut!) is sometimes a joy to watch and sometimes quite the opposite. In any case, he is definitely an unique characters - but then again, who in "Gintama" is not? XD
The next guy will have even longer list of roles -_-' so I'm leaving him for the weekend :P