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Interview with ‘Blade Runner 2022’ Animator Bahi JD

October 30, 2017 6:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

When it comes to interviews I’ve been dying to bring to life since the very conception of OTAQUEST, formally exchanging words with rapidly-rising animator Bahi JD was definitely somewhere near the top. There’s not a single day that passes that I don’t learn something new about the Austria-born creative, and having the chance to further develop on everything I had already discovered was something I couldn’t help but desire. If you don’t quite know his name yet, I can only hope that changes soon.

With an entire catalogue of work that can be found in series such as “One-Punch Man,” “Space Dandy,” the more recent “Blade Runner Black Out 2022,” and an ever-developing list of different titles, he’s a powerhouse force that won’t be disappearing any time soon.

There’s a lot of different reasons to appreciate his work as a creative — from his self-made position in the industry, to his persistence in everything he does, Bahi JD wins us over in every regard. That’s why we’re so excited to bring you this interview with Bahi JD, which can be found in full below:

It’s a pleasure to speak to you today Bahi JD, before we get too into things, can you give us a brief introduction?

My name is Bahi JD and I’m an animator from Austria who is currently working in the Japanese animation industry. You’ll sometimes see me working in the field of illustration too. 

Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into animation, as well as the steps you took to break into the Japanese animation industry?

I’ve always been fascinated by the world of animation; as early as my school years, I’d constantly be scribbling in my textbooks to create small flipbook-style animations. Perhaps the point where I found myself completely captivated by the world of animation, however, was when I discovered the animators behind some of my favorite titles. Classics such as “Princess Mononoke,” “Akira,” Mamoru Oshii’s “Ghost in the Shell,” “The Iron Giant,” “FLCL,” and a long-list of others had an extremely strong impact on me.

The discovery of these animators eventually lead me to an article about an animator called Ryo-Chimo who utilized an unfamiliar tool to me at the time — the digital-drawing tablet. Ryo-Chimo was especially noteworthy due to his online-postings of his works, and his eventual breakthrough into the animation industry. It was after this I decided to pick up my own digital-drawing tablet, and began practicing animation for fun. It was at this time that I also got in contact with other animators through the internet to ask for their advice — animators such as Cindy Yamauchi, Keisuke Kojima, and Majiro are the first to come to mind. 

I made some gif-animations and sent them to anime producers, but it just wasn’t enough to land me a job. I was undeniably rejected quite a few times. 

Cindy Yamauchi gave me some particularly good advice on the aspects I would need to improve and further develop. It’s not just about being a good animator, it’s also about having strong and flexible drawing skills. You have to show you can draw anything in any style, and you need to be capable of drawing good layouts, which is perhaps one of the most important aspects. During this time I had no idea what “layouts” were, so I picked up and studied a book called “Studio Ghibli Layout Designs.” 

I kept working on my portfolio and would send it back and forward with Cindy Yamauchi, who at the time, was working on a new TV series. She showed my works to the director and producer of the company, and eventually I was hired to work on Shinichiro Watanabe’s “Kids on the Slope.” It was at the same time that director Takuya Hosogane approached me to animate for his Vocaloid music video alongside Shingo Yamashita and Ryo-Chimo. 

In those early days, there was a lot of trial and error involved for me, but the director, producer and animators were very supportive. It was during my learning process that they taught me a lot of different aspects of anime production, and it’s for that I'm very thankful.

You mentioned a few before, but what were some of the animated series you grew up on? Was there much of an anime scene in Austria, or did you have to discover it all on your own?

When I was a child, I grew up watching various Nippon Animation productions such as “Peter Pan no Bouken” and “Heidi.” Later on in my teenage years, however, I would go on to discover “Akira,” “FLCL,” “Ghost in the Shell,” as well as a number of Studio Ghibli films, all of which influenced me. I also enjoyed the animation within works such as “Gurren Lagann,” “Dennou Coil,” “Cowboy Bebop,” and held “Samurai Champloo” in particularly high regard, especially due to it’s incredible soundtrack by Nujabes and Tsuchie.

There was, and still is a strong anime scene in Austria and Germany — TV channels used to broadcast a lot of anime back then. I include Germany as well because a lot of our TV channels were actually the same; even MTV Germany used to broadcast anime. 

With all that being said, there was still a lot of anime that didn’t make it to the television. Those are the series that I discovered through both my friends and the internet. I think with the internet, there’s even more of an anime scene all over the world now. 

Jumping forward quite a bit, you most recently worked on the Watanabe Shinichiro-directed “Blade Runner Black Out 2022” anime short. Can you tell us a little bit about your work on that?

Being both a fan of “Blade Runner” and Watanabe Shinichiro’s works, I was definitely excited to work on the short. We had an entire meeting at Cygames Pictures where Shinichiro Watanabe showed me the storyboard, and we discussed which scene I’d like to work on. I animated the scene where both Trixie and Iggy are fighting the guards. The scene was split into two parts; the first part was animated by the legendary Hiroyuki Okiura, and the second part was my own work. 

It was a great pleasure to work with Shinichiro Watanabe and his team. The character designer Shukou Murase is one of my absolute favorite character-designers. The soundtrack by Flying Lotus was also really great, he captured the atmosphere of “Blade Runner” meticulously, all while adding his own touch to it. 

In your work on the animated project, there’s a mix of fluid motions and dramatic reaction. Can you describe how you went about planning this scene?

Shinichiro Watanabe had a rough storyboard for my action scene, though since it was a rough storyboard, I had a lot of room for new ideas. He allowed me to change up both the action and choreography, as long as it followed the continuity of the other cuts and worked well. You’re always able to try new things during layout and show it to the director for approval. 

The choreography was a real challenge for me, I hadn’t animated any scenes where a single character is pitted against a lot of others before this. I ended up researching a whole bunch of martial arts videos as preparation for the choreography. 

When characters are fighting, you try not to make your choreography look “choreographed.” Making it look natural, that’s always the main challenge. I wanted the audience to be able to follow the action without issue — when there’s a lot of characters on screen it can become hard to follow during fight scenes. I started very roughly with the drawings, almost like a storyboard while planning the action.

Regarding the question about fluid motion and dramatic reaction, to give an example; when Trixie jumps for a kick, I slow down the action to allow time for the motion of the leg to build up energy — in animation, we call this “anticipation.” This way when it snaps super fast, you have the reaction. You can tweak these actions by experimenting with both the “timing” and “spacing” of slow and fast motion. 

When working on the “Blade Runner” project, you had some big-name individuals working alongside you. Was there anyone in particular who really impressed you with their talent during the creation of the short?

I was honestly impressed by everyone’s work on the short film. Especially the cuts by Hiroyuki Okiura, Shinji Hashimoto, Shinya Ohira, Tatsuyuki Tanaka, and Mitsuo Iso.

Every time Hiroyuki Okiura finished a cut, I would ask the producer to let me take a look at it. I’d sit there for an entire hour just staring at each and every frame — his work is absolutely brilliant, and extremely educative. His sense for realism is incredible, and it’s totally his own imagination and skills. He doesn’t use any reference, so when you look at it, you can truly learn the technical work of a master. 

It was also nice to have Tatsuyuki Tanaka on the project. More recently, Tatsuyuki Tanaka’s mostly been active as a director, illustrator, and character designer. As a fan of his work, I was definitely excited to see his key-animation again. He’s a very strong animator, and also worked on “Akira” when he was only 22 or 23. 

In a previous interview you conducted, you mentioned you consider Shinya Ohira to be one of the greatest animators. What do you think of his work on “Blade Runner,” and did you get the chance to talk to him?

Shinya Ohira is someone with the ability to be both stylistic and realistic at the same time. He has extremely high technical skills, and a great artistic vision. On top of that, he manages to balance those two traits well. His work is emotional, expressive, and dynamic. His scene in “Blade Runner” is a flashback to the past, where I felt he captured the feeling of that “memory” very well with the rough artstyle and animation. 

I met him one time at Comiket at an animator booth with Yoshimichi Kameda and others. At Comiket, there’s a lot of different animator booths, and you can find sketchbooks, art books, and flipbooks by a number of great animators such as Mitsuo Iso, Shinya Ohira, and Yutaka Nakamura. I recommend checking out the animator booths if you ever go to Comiket, the art books are great.

From the very beginning with “Kids on the Slope,” then “Space Dandy,” and now “Blade Runner,” what is it about Shinichiro Watanabe as a director that keeps calling you back?

I’m more than happy a great director like him continues to work with me. It’s always a pleasure, and I learn a lot each time I work with him. He also allows me to be very expressive when working on his projects.

It’d be fair to say that none of the anime projects you’ve worked on have been “ordinary.” Series such as “One-Punch Man,” and “Ping Pong” immediately spring to mind, but what is it that draws you to these out of the ordinary series’?

I’m just a fan of the projects, and of the people who end up working on them. I like to work on projects where I can learn a lot as an animator from the team members. These kinds of projects can be very challenging, so it’s always exciting and interesting.

Where do you see the anime industry 10 years from now?

That’s a hard question. I’ve not been in the industry for a very long time, but in the time that I have been here, I’ve seen much improvement over the years. I see a good future for the anime industry, and things are improving step by step.

Young animators in the industry are very passionate and are improving every single day, so I think there’s going to be a new wave of big-name animators in the future. More generally, the people here work with strong passion and enthusiasm. They love to animate together, and it’s this strong passion for animation amongst these young creators that gives me hope we’re heading towards a promising future.

Working as a foreigner in the Japanese animation industry, is there any advice you’d give to others looking at following in your footsteps?

Learn the Japanese language, communication is very important. There are English speakers in the anime industry, but they aren’t always going to be there when you need to communicate with everybody.

Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to those following your works?

Thank you for all of your support, and thanks for appreciating animation! 

Jumping over numerous hurdles presented by the industry, Bahi JD is a name we’re certain to see for years to come. He’s a creator with clear inspiration, but also someone unafraid of paving his own paths — and we can’t wait to see where he goes next. If you’re interested in checking out more of his works, you can find him on both Twitter and Tumblr where he frequently shares what he’s working on, as well as sharing glimpses into the life of an animator.


Whole Year of New 'Full Metal Panic!' Works Kicks Off Today

November 25, 2017 12:00am
by Mike Tamburelli

The news that the Full Metal Panic! series was finally getting a new entry certainly made a splash when it came to light last year, but that much-anticipated TV anime won't actually hit the airwaves until Spring of 2018. What does appear to have slipped under the radar for the most part, however, seems to be the three "Director's Cut" films.

The films are, for the most part, comprised largely of the original 2002 anime's footage. However, some brand-new cuts and drawings have been interspersed throughout the films, and the official FMP site revealed a nice chunk Part One's new cuts. Check them out by scrolling through the gallery below.

Full Metal Panic! Director's Cut 1st SECTION: "Boy Meets Girl" begins a very limited theater run in Japan today. You can catch the film for one week only at one of three locations --  Kadokawa Cinema Shinjuku, Tokyo; Tachikawa Cinema City, Tokyo; and Umeda Burg 7, Osaka.

You can also check out the film's trailer below.

Once 1st SECTION wraps up, you can expect both  2nd SECTION and 3rd SECTION to screen on January 13, 2018 and January 20, 2018 respectively. All theater-goers will be entitled to a wonderful new drawing by the light novel series' original illustrator, Shikidouji.

Fans will not have to wait long at all after being caught-up on the events of Full Metal Panic! and (presumably) Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, as the fourth season will finally see the light of day next spring as Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, which is cleverly shortened to FMP: IV, or "four." Neat!

Katsuichi Nakayama, who previously worked on the likes of Bodacious Space Pirates and Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo, is directing the series at Studio XEBEC. It's comparatively shiny, new and pretty, similar to the new cuts shown above. I'll leave you now with the trailer for IV,  so that you can bask in the return of one of anime's most beloved action comedies one more time. It sure is going to be an incredible year to be an FMP fan!

Full Metal Panic! - official site


DAOKO Details 2nd Album 'THANK YOU BLUE'

November 23, 2017 5:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Earlier this month we received word that DAOKO would be releasing her second studio album "THANK YOU BLUE" on December 20, 2017, here in Japan. The album was set to neatly package all of the rising artist's songs from her major debut up until now, offering a total of 14 tracks made available in either standard or limited edition format. Uploaded today to DAOKO's official YouTube channel, we get a peek into the limited edition version of the album which includes seven music videos in total.

For the now 20-year-old singer and rapper DAOKO, the second album couldn't possibly come at a better time. Perhaps for many, their initial encounter with her lyrical workings was the 2014 electropop spectacular "ME!ME!ME!," a song made in collaboration with TeddyLoid. More recently than that, however, DAOKO was launched into the world of mainstream superstardom here in Japan following the release of her single "Uchiage Hanabi," a song made to accompany the 2017 "Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? " anime film. 

Set to be included in the limited edition of the album is the following:

01. 打上花火 (DAOKO × 米津玄師)// Utagi Hanabi (DAOKO x Kenshi Yonezu)
02. ステップアップ LOVE( DAOKO × 岡村靖幸)// Step Up LOVE (DAOKO x Yasuyuki Okamura)
03. Juicy ▷玉屋2060% (Wienners) // Juicy 
04. さみしいかみさま ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Samishii Kami-Sama 
05. ShibuyaK ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // ShibuyaK
06. BANG! ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // BANG!
07. ダイスキ with TeddyLoid ▷TeddyLoid // Daisuki with TeddyLoid
08. 拝啓グッバイさようなら ▷多保孝一 / TAKU INOUE // Haikei Goodbye Sayonara 
09. 同じ夜 ▷D.A.N. // Onaji Yoru
11. もしも僕らがGAME の主役で ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Moshimo Bokura ga GAME no Shuyaku de
12. ゆめみてたのあたし ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Yume Miteta no Atashi
13. Cinderella step ▷江島啓一 (サカナクション) // Cinderella step
14. ワンルーム・シーサイド・ステップ ▷Tempalay // One-Room Seaside Step

DVD/Music Videos
01. チャームポイント ▷AAAMYYY // Charm Point
02. 歌舞伎町の女王 ▷江島啓一 (サカナクション) // Kabukicho no Jou
03. BOY (Re-Arrange) ▷staRro // BOY (Re-Arrange)
04. ぼく (Re-Arrange) ▷STUTS // Boku (Re-Arrange)
05. okay! ▷Mummy-D (RHYMESTER) // okay!
06. さみしいかみさま (Re-Arrange) ▷薔薇園 アヴ (女王蜂) // Samishii Kami-Sama (Re-Arrange)
07. Fog (Re-Arrange) ▷GOTH-TRAD // Fog (Re-Arrange)

Included in the standard edition of the album is the following:

01. 打上花火 (DAOKO × 米津玄師)// Utagi Hanabi (DAOKO x Kenshi Yonezu)
02. ステップアップ LOVE( DAOKO × 岡村靖幸)// Step Up LOVE (DAOKO x Yasuyuki Okamura)
03. Juicy ▷玉屋2060% (Wienners) // Juicy 
04. さみしいかみさま ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Samishii Kami-Sama 
05. ShibuyaK ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // ShibuyaK
06. BANG! ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // BANG!
07. ダイスキ with TeddyLoid ▷TeddyLoid // Daisuki with TeddyLoid
08. 拝啓グッバイさようなら ▷多保孝一 / TAKU INOUE // Haikei Goodbye Sayonara 
09. 同じ夜 ▷D.A.N. // Onaji Yoru
11. もしも僕らがGAME の主役で ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Moshimo Bokura ga GAME no Shuyaku de
12. ゆめみてたのあたし ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Yume Miteta no Atashi
13. Cinderella step ▷江島啓一 (サカナクション) // Cinderella step
14. ワンルーム・シーサイド・ステップ ▷Tempalay // One-Room Seaside Step​

Set to be released on December 20, you'll be able to pick up your copy of DAOKO's second major album "THANK YOU BLUE" both online and in-store. For further information, be sure to check out her official website, here.


'Devilman Crybaby' is an 80s Anime Adapted for Modern Days

November 23, 2017 12:00pm
by Mike Tamburelli

We have waited twenty-seven years for the next big thing within the Devilman franchise. Throughout those twenty-seven long years, both the anime industry and the way it's consumed have undergone some pretty major changes. While we're not saying there's no room for the property in the year 2018 -- because we're absolutely not -- it takes a certain level of faith in a series to revive it after so long. But if there's anything worthy of such faith, it would most definitely have to be Devilman.

Set to release on Netflix January 5, 2018, Devilman Crybaby is a beast of a way for the streaming giant to flex their muscles (and wallets) in showing how serious they are about their stake in the anime industry. With music from Japanese supergroup Denki Groove blasting throughout the trailer, we're teased with one of the series' most hype-inducing trailers to date. 

The Masaaki Yuasa-directed anime spectacular has long topped people's must-see lists since it was first announced over five months ago. With a slew of high-quality works under his belt including Ping Pong and The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl, it shouldn't come as much surprise as to why there's so much buzz surrounding this anime. 

DEVILMAN crybaby: official site


The Hidden Secrets of Anime Expo - What You Need to Know

November 22, 2017 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

We're nearing the end of 2017, and that basically only means one thing -- Anime Expo 2018 is just around the corner. It's a yearly pilgrimage for just about any anime fan around the globe, making their way to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the multi-day spectacular that we've come to know and love. With how much that goes on within those days, however, it comes as no surprise that there are a few gems that fly under most peoples radar, and we want to make sure you know what they are:

1. Acoustikaraoke

I'd like to hope it comes as little surprise when I mention the cultural importance karaoke holds here in Japan. Possibly one of the most important pastimes over here, karaoke is considered by many to be the cornerstone of a good weekend. But what if that two-hour session could go even further --  what if we could build upon it, building it into something even more. That's where "Acoustikaraoke" comes into play at Anime Expo. Offering the opportunity for attendees to showcase their instrumental and ensemble ability through live performances, acoustikaraoke builds upon the foundations laid by traditional karaoke, making it an event worth your time in checking out. 

Find more out about it here.

2. Art Show Exhibition

Been hard at work but perhaps still not ready to push your art through to the Artist Alley? That's where the Art Show comes into play. Offering a space for up-and-coming creators to showcase their latest works, the Art Show is absolutely somewhere to visit if you're looking to support the next-generation of creatives, and especially if you're looking to create a voice for yourself.

Find more out about it here.

3. Anime and Manga Studies Symposium

Looking to branch out from the ordinary discussions between fans of anime? Perhaps looking to dwell beyond the surface, and dig a little deeper into just what "anime" means in a modern context? That's where Anime Expo's "Anime and Manga Studies Symposium" comes into play. Offering integral discussions about anime is a global medium, you'll be able to join fellow academics and the general public to discuss the history and themes of various anime, all whilst having your voice to be heard. If you've got a point that you're keen to share, you'll definitely want to check out this panel.

Find more out about it here.

4. Career-Oriented Workshops

In the year 2017, and perhaps even more-so in the year 2018, the prospect of working in the anime industry is becoming more and more achievable. With the acknowledgment that global audiences are wanting to make the next big move, panels like "Career Workshops" are becoming more and more essential in bringing forward fresh ideas across the industry. For those interested in making a splash in the fields of ADR engineering, subtitling, or game localization, this panel is absolutely for you.

5. AMV Chef

Even before the very concept of Food Wars, young creatives have been cooking up fresh recipes for various AMVs (Anime Music Videos) across the internet. "AMV Chef" calls on the best of these creators to give it their all in creating something amazing using a grand palette of pre-determined clips within a set amount of time. It's an intense battle between the greats and is guaranteed to be a total riot for those attending. 

For both fans of AMVs and budding creators alike, this is absolutely an event not to be missed. Find out more about it here.

6. Cosplay Poker

Feeling particularly lucky while dressed as your favorite character? Then maybe it's time to give "Cosplay Poker" a try over at the tabletop gaming area. Offering an environment for both those in and out of cosplay to play their hand at a tournament-style game of No-Limit Texas Hold 'em, there's countless opportunity for a fair hand at fun over at this table. 

7. Meet the SPJA Board of Directors

Looking to voice a recommendation or concern regarding the happenings around Anime Expo? Well, this is absolutely something to check out. Run in a round-table format, attendees of the convention are invited to share their recommendations and queries with the staff and organizers of North America's biggest anime convention. 
With Anime Expo 2018 set to take place from July 5 - July 8, we're rapidly approaching one of the biggest events of the year for fans of Japanese culture and Anime as a medium. These are just a small sampling of the events that take place at Anime Expo, but they're also something that should definitely be highlighted just a little more. For even more information about the upcoming convention, be sure to check out the Anime Expo website, here.

Check out the original posting via Anime Expo.


GraphersRock Showcases Second Puma Collaborative Collection

November 20, 2017 2:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

You might remember a few months ago we shared a piece about an upcoming Tokyo-themed line of sneakers coming from PUMA, and particularly our praise we had for the GraphersRock collaborative kicks. I couldn't do it then, and even now I can't stress enough my belief that the Tokyo-based designer is quite possibly one of the most forward-thinking creators I've stumbled across. This belief, in particular, shines extremely bright in the long-awaited second season of his collaboration with PUMA, which we finally got to feast our eyes on today. 

It was about a week ago today that I made my way to Harajuku's PUMA locale to pick up a copy of the collaborative zine that just released to tease the upcoming collection. It was filled with GraphersRock's usual internet-tinged designs and flavor, but I don't think there could have been anything that would prepare me for what was to come. 

If GraphersRock's "Turn on Tokyo" sneakers were the cutting-edge of sleek, internet-age fashion design, then this new season must be the pinnacle. It's a six-piece accumulation of everything I'd come to know and love about their designs, all while dashing in a breath of fresh air through the use of both color and cuts. I could rave on forever about the smallest details, but none of it would ever do the collection any justice -- unlike these pictures.

Tsugi Kori by GraphersRock // 2 Colorway // 16,000 Yen + Tax

Disc Blaze Leather by GraphersRock // 2 Colorway // 20,000 Yen + Tax

GraphersRock Woven Jacket // Black // 30,000 Yen + Tax

GraphersRock SS Tee // Black // 9,000 Yen + Tax

GraphersRock Sweat Pants // Black // 18,000 Yen + Tax

Back Pack by GraphersRock // Black // 18,000 Yen + Tax

Set to release December 2, 2017, here in Japan, you can absolutely expect to catch me in line to get my hands on a few choice pieces from this collection. From the announcements made online, it definitely seems like there isn't going to be an international release, but that could of course change with given time. Much like previous releases, you'll be able to pre-order the collection from 19:00 on December 1 via the online store, and there's also set to be a release event at PUMA's Harajuku locale. 

For a full list of locations and details, you can visit the official PUMA x GraphersRock website here.


Dai Sato Reddit AMA Highlights

November 20, 2017 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

It was under a month ago that we announced our collaborative efforts with Reddit's own /r/anime, and it was this past weekend that those very efforts accumulated and bore fruit. Bringing our own co-founder, Dai Sato, over to one of the internets largest anime communities, we allowed fans worldwide to buzz him with any questions that they may have had. In total, we got a total of over 35 questions answered spread across a wide variety of topics from Dai's dream projects, all the way to his fascination with anchovies on pizza.

In an effort to make the whole thread a little bit more accessible to everyone, we've gone ahead and compiled all of the questions and answers presented in the thread right here. There's a lot of questions that we've been dying for people to know, and perhaps even more which we didn't even know ourselves. Having been the script-writer behind series such as Eureka Seven, Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and a number of others, it comes as no surprise that we got some genuinely incredible questions, and we couldn't be more pleased with the answers Dai so happily shot back. 

To celebrate, we've compiled a handful of our favorite answers from the AMA, for your viewing pleasure. You can check out those very questions and answers below:

Having sat down for over 3 hours to answer the questions of fans, we couldn't have been more happy with the turn out of the whole event. We've got a whole lot more coming, and will continue to bring forward some of the best names in the industry to Reddit's /r/anime to answer your questions. If you've got anyone in particular you'd be interested in seeing, by all means let us know in the comment box down below. If you're interested in checking out the full AMA session over on Reddit, you can find it here.


'Dragon Ball' Voice Actress Hiromi Tsuru Has Passed Away

November 17, 2017 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Truly tragic news surfaced today when it was announced that Hiromi Tsuru, perhaps best known for her voice roles as Bulma in the Dragon Ball series, has passed away at age 57. The voice actress was found unconscious in her car along the Shuto Expressway here in Tokyo, with both her seatbelt fastened and hazard lights enabled.

It's being reported that Hiromi Tsuru passed away due to an aortic dissection. It's currently unclear when this occurred. After being rushed to the hospital she was shortly thereafter announced dead. Born in Yokohama, Japan, Hiromi Tsuru had been working in the industry since 1978 when she was only 17 years old. 

It wouldn't be until the 1980s that the young Hiromi Tsuru would truly blossom into the phenomenal voice actor we all remember her as, following on from an enormous string of high-profile positions. With roles in series such as Dragon Ball as Bulma and Child Piccolo Jr., all the way to Anpanman's own Dokin-chan, the voice actresses voice was heard near and far. 

Our condolences go out to the family, friends, and fans of Hiromi Tsuru, and we hope she may eternally rest in peace.