Veteran male seiyuu don’t generally get a lot of attention compared to their younger, female counterparts. We hope to change that a little here in our spotlight on Toshio Furukawa, the voice of Ataru Moroboshi (Urusei Yatsura), Piccolo (Dragonball Z), and Shin (Fist of the North Star).
According to Furukawa, when he started working in the voice acting business, the term seiyuu had not yet become popular to refer to voice actors and actresses. However, it was the name of a popular supermarket chain at the time, so whenever Furukawa said he was a seiyuu, people would assume that he was a cashier! His generation of voice actors, however—late 1970s to 1980s—would help define the business and popularize the term.
Furukawa is capable of doing many kinds of voices, as this video attests. He was a hilarious and genial presence throughout, and here’s a reel showing some of his work at the panel:
You can see his versatility there. He was also generous in taking many fan questions, which you can see in the uncut Q&A session below. We were surprised to learn, among other things, that he identifies himself as a devout Christian, and that while he had fun playing the role of the pervy Ataru, it’s “exactly the opposite of what I’m like in real life.” Though he proceeded to demonstrate what it might be like to hug a girl and pinch another’s bottom anyway! (The question—which was asked by our very own Jeremy—is near the end of the video. He also managed to snag a premium autograph ticket afterwards, too!)
Toshio Furukawa Fan Panel Q&A – Anime Expo 2011 from Anime Diet on Vimeo.
We also learned that he is quite a figure collector, filing several closets full of figures of various sizes. He is also quite a good illustrator as well.
Seeing Furukawa was a delight amid higher profile, and perhaps more forbidding, guests like Miyuki Sawashiro and Kalafina and Hatsune Miku. He continues to work in One Piece and other roles, and this veteran shows no sign of stopping.