Interview: Tuxedo Mask Voice Actor Toru Furuya

by Kyle Cardine,

Voice actor Toru Furuya's career is not easy to summarize. For 52 years, Furuya has forged an extensive resume, donning some of the biggest roles in anime to his name. As Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Gundam, Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon, Yamcha in Dragon Ball, Rei Furuya in Detective Conan and many, many more, you have probably heard a Furuya performance at some point in your life.

For his first time in New York, Furuya was invited to attend Anime NYC, and I was extremely lucky to be asked to moderate his Q&A panel on the Friday of the convention. But how exactly does one fit five decades of expertise into one hour? I took to Twitter and asked around to find out what exactly I should focus my time on. I was blessed enough to get some very good questions to ask. It should come as no surprise that many of the questions focused on some of his most popular characters and series.

At a large room in the Javits Center, Furuya came straight from an autograph session to the panel still in high spirits. Among many things, I asked him where he sees the future of Gundam and whether he would participate in the upcoming American adaptation (He wouldn't), what he would do if he was reincarnated as Yamcha (He would beat Vegeta), why Tuxedo Mask is so attractive (His looks and personality) and whether his ties to a character codenamed bourbon means he likes the drink (He likes sake). At the open fan Q&A, there were many more questions, primarily about his roles in Gundam and Detective Conan, with plenty of cosplay from the two series to boot.

I had another a chance to sit down with Furuya later in the convention to ask about his impressions of New York, on the legacy of his roles both in anime and live action, as well as catch up with his friend Noboru Sōgetsu.

ANN: How is New York?

TORU FURUYA: I'm really excited because I finally got to see the places that I've watched in so many movies and dramas.

When we spoke at the panel, you said you hadn't explored New York yet. Now that you have, what do you think? What's your impression?

It's really cold [laugh]. I went on a cruise and that was fun. I was really moved when I saw the Statue of Liberty. But on the boat, it was colder than I expected.

You also went to the Anisong World Matsuri concert on Saturday. How was it?

It was super fun. Kitadani and Nakagawa performed a duet of Pegasus Fantasy from Saint Seiya. I was happy to hear it live. Kageyama also sang Cha-La Head Cha-la and Soldier Dream, which was also good.

You have such a big and varied history of voice acting. Besides the extremely popular series you've voiced in, what's a role you really enjoyed that people don't realize as much?

This year will mark 52 years since I started voice acting in anime and I'm extremely lucky to be able to voice such attractive characters. But in Japan, I do more than just anime. I'm a narrator for documentaries and do about three a week. Those have been going on for a while too. I also do a voiceover in the American drama “Bull.” They just aired the second season and it's going into the third. I've also worked as a voice actor for overseas dramas, other animation, and documentaries. You don't see that many voice actors doing all three of those. I'm able to do it thanks to my long career. I also want other people to know I do that other stuff as well.

I understand you like cosplay.

Yes.

What's your favorite costume you've done?

One Piece's Sabo.

But he has that giant hat. Isn't it heavy?

Not really. It's no problem.

Is there a costume you'd like to try?

Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon.

When working on Gundam 00, what advice did you offer to newcomer Noboru Sōgetsu for working on Gundam?

There it is [laughs]. In 00, Sogetsu played Ribbons Almark. [Ribbons] is not human nor alien. He's like a human made by artificial intelligence. So the advice I gave Sogetsu was to not express too much emotion.

Well please give Sogetsu-san my best wishes and best of luck.

Ok. I know him very well.


Left: ANN Correspondent Kyle Cardine and Toru Furuya

What series that you've played in do you think is more popular in the US and which is more popular in Japan?

I think Dragon Ball is more popular in the US. And Gundam for Japan.

Why?

In Japan, Gundam will be 40 years old next year. There's a new Gundam series in Japan every year, and that's to keep cultivating Gundam fans without losing the existing ones. Yet people still don't forget the first series. I think that's why [Gundam] is still so popular in Japan.

Dragon Ball is about 32 years old now, and in Japan, Dragon Ball has taken a hiatus before and has come back. But during that hiatus, a lot of other anime showed up. Gundam is really designed for adults, where it talks about real human wars and is a real human story. On the other hand, Dragon Ball is a simple, fun story that kids can understand. I think Americans really take to that cheerful, optimistic story.

Our thanks to Aoni Production and Anime NYC for the opportunity.


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