SUTORAIKUanime Exclusive: Interview with Furuya Toru

SUTORAIKUanime is pleased to share our exclusive interview with highly prolific and timeless voice actor Furuya Toru at Anime Revolution 2013. Sometimes classified as the one classic Gundam voice, being able to talk with one of the most respected voice actors in the Japanese voice acting circle was certainly an experience to remember.

As this was our first year conducting video interviews, a few unforeseen setbacks came up which have delayed the release of our video interviews by a few weeks. As we have outsourced production of the video interviews, it is difficult to coordinate everyone's schedule accordingly. With that being said, please expect this post to be updated with the video interview before the end of the month.

Having played such iconic roles in so many now classic anime titles, what is it like to look back and see new fans of the classic shows you've had a role in, such as Sailor Moon and Gundam?

Each of these works is very important to me. The works themselves are of very high quality, exceptionally well made, and are extremely popular in Japan. Back then, I didn't think there would ever be an age like this, but Gundam and Sailor Moon, as well as Saint Seiya and Dragon Ball have fans around the world, and I myself have been able to participate in conventions like this around the world, so I feel very fortunate to have come across these works.

There have been many recent Sunrise shows such as Gintama and Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou that have poked fun at your voice. How do you feel about the way much of the Sunrise fanbase interprets your voice as the one classic Gundam voice?

Was Gintama done by Sunrise as well?


Ah I see, so because Gintama had a parody of Gundam, I suppose I was asked to do the voice of Elizabeth...but that was probably not because these shows were done by the same company Sunrise, but more so because the original creator of the manga liked Gundam, so that's probably why they made the character Elizabeth, which I voiced. Gundam is a work that has greatly influenced many manga artists and anime directors in Japan. For example, Director Anno of Evangelion was influenced by it, and there are many people who love Gundam. Even in Detective Conan, I play the role of Amuro Tooru. So because of the role I did in Gundam, I feel I've been given further opportunities.

There has been a significant amount of information circulating online about the new Sailor Moon series, as well as the possibility of yourself and other voice actors from the original Sailor Moon titles returning to play roles in the upcoming series. Would you be able to comment on whether or not you would still be willing to play the role of Chiba Mamoru in the upcoming series, if given the opportunity to do so?

Oh, we ourselves are quite curious about that! Last summer, it was released that there will be a new Sailor Moon coming out this year. However, there hasn't been progress on the production, and we don't have any exact details. It's speculated that it would not be out this year. Thus, as far as casting is concerned, we aren't sure if we, the original cast, would be doing it. Of course, we'd like to voice it!

We had the chance to speak with Mitsuishi Kotono, the voice actor of Usagi Tsukino in Sailor Moon at Sakura-Con 2011. What was it like working with Mitsuishi-san in the now classic Sailor Moon series?

Back then, it was the first time I've ever worked with the voice actress Mitsuishi Kotono, and I didn't know of her at all until then. For her, it was probably the first time she voiced a lead role. But still, I thought she was an actress who was very good at acting. If it wasn't for her, I don't think Tsukino Usagi would have turned out to be such a cute character.

How do you think the voice acting industry has evolved since back when you first began your career in the voice acting industry?

I have been voice acting for a very long time, but I think first of all, the technological aspects have changed quite a lot. Back then, we would be projecting the films onto a big screen with a projector, but now we have a monitor which displays videos. We had to dim the studio in order to see the film, and we wouldn't be able to see each others' faces, the lights would shine only around our hands holding the script. When we were doing a bit of a bashful love scene, I was able to focus with the darkness, but since now the studio is well-lit, I was quite embarrassed at first and couldn't concentrate on my acting. Also back then, because we were using film projectors, if we were to make NG's it would take a long time to redo that scene. Now, we're using videos, so you can rewind them in an instant. If we make mistakes, we could do it over right away. We've been able to cut down on time in this way.

Aside from the technological aspects, back then we didn't have as many animated works, so the video pictures were already entirely made, the characters would be moving, and everything would have colors, meaning we had video pictures that were complete, and we would be dubbing while watching those pictures. But things are very different now. Now we have quite a number of animated works, so the dubbing would be done concurrently with the video picture production. By the time we start recording, the pictures are barely moving, and wouldn't have any colors on them. While we act, we would have to just imagine what the completed image would look like, how far apart our characters are from each other, which would demand a lot of skills from us.

Out of the many roles you have had thus far, which role would you say you hold most dearly in your heart? For example, was there a particular role that changed the way you voice certain characters, or gave you a significant amount of experience that made you into the person you are now? If so, please tell us.

In that sense, I would have to say it's Gundam. After all, you're in outer space, piloting robots called Mobile Suits, and fighting for your life – you couldn't experience that in real life! Gundam was a work which some Japanese people have even called the “bible of life,” and is very deep in that it would shed light on the different human emotions, why there are such things as war, and those kinds of things relating to how society works – those are all things it taught people.

If given the chance to voice any kind of character in any kind of setting, what are the traits you would like your character to possess? What characteristics would such a character have?

Let's see...after all, I like heroes, and would like to play hero-type roles forever, but I feel attracted to a hero that has some dark sides to it.

This marks the end of our interview with Furuya Toru

We would like to thank  D.I.S/C Photography in collaboration with Cosplay Victoria who helped us with photography and videography of this interview, as well as Yuuri Kirie of Going My Way Sub-culture for translating this interview.