Akira Ishida is a great voice actor whom many people know in Japan.
In some of his signature roles (such as Xellos in Slayers and Hakkai in Saiyuki) he plays very charismatic characters with tremendous abilities who nevertheless prefer to remain in the background, deflecting attention from themselves to the other lead characters. His characters are often holders of deep secrets, and he manages to convey their emotional struggles in a very quiet but poignant way, complementing the talents of the artists who draw them.
In one of his more recent roles - the voice of Athrun Zala in Gundam Seed - his character is forced to fight against his best friend, Kira Yamato. Ishida's talent is shown as he voices the struggles of a man torn between fighting for a cause he believes in and protecting the people he has grown to care about. One of his best lines in the series is in Episode 11, when he tells his fiance, Lacus Klein, that "Nobody can enter the battlefield with a grin on their face."
One of the most characteristic traits of Ishida's characters is that they often speak very politely, even in tense situations. This is often particularly humorous because it takes a great deal of time to say something in formal Japanese.
For his great voice acting skill as Athrun Zala in Gundam Seed Destiny, he won the "Best Supporting Character(male)" award at the first ever "Seiyu Awards".