Monday, March 11, 2013

Goro Naya Passes Away

As you may have already read elsewhere, it has been reported by Goro Naya's management that the actor passed away at the age of 83, on March 5, 2013. The cause is reported to have been respiratory failure, which would fit with the reports of him having struggled with throat cancer prior to his death.

Goro Naya was most well known around the world as the original Japanese voice of Inspector Koichi Zenigata in the long-running Lupin the 3rd franchise, but he had a number of other large and small roles in other prominent series - such as "Wolf" Kanagushi (Ashita no Joe 2), Gordon Rosewater (The Big O), Yasumasa Hirai (Doomed Megalopolis), Bongo (Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies), Leonard Dawson (Golgo 13), Merkatz (Legend of the Galactic Heroes), Yupa (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind), Crocus (One Piece), Juzo Okita (Space Battleship Yamato, known in the US as Star Blazers), as well as various 'Great Leader' incarnation villains in the Kamen Rider franchise.

Naya had recently 'retired' from the role of Zenigata, passing on the role to Kouichi Yamadera for any future endeavors, though Naya did return to the role briefly in a brief short, 'Lupin Ikka Seizoroi', which served as a final farewell to the franchise for the original actors of Goemon and Fujiko as well.

On a more personal note to this, while I may mainly know Naya for his work as Zenigata (though I have heard his Bongo), that's more than enough to realize what an amazing talent he was. His voice is what made me inclined to check out the Japanese version of Lupin in the first place, much less anything else, and he remains one of my favorite seiyuu (Japanese voice actors) of all time. It was obvious that this day would come eventually, but it's still with great sorrow that I make this post.

Godspeed, Mr. Naya. We hope you continue to chase Lupin through those big clouds in the sky.

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