Konichiwa fellow Moonies!
So, as many of you heard on Moon Chase’s Facebook, Tohru Furuya, the voice of Tuxedo Kamen, was at FanimeCon out here in semi-sunny California over Memorial Day. Being a fan of the site, and noticing the lack of West Coast news, I made a point of going to both of his panels in an attempt to get the community the latest news straight from ToFu’s mouth. (This was actually harder than is sounds because I’m Fanime staff, not just an attendee.)
I will ask your forgiveness right now for the horrible pictures my phone shot. It’s all I have.
To kick off the convention at opening ceremonies on Friday, the Fanime Chair Team presented the Consul General of Japan a symbolic gift of 1000 paper cranes as a representation of our good wishes for Japan after their earthquake and tsunami back in March. After this was a steady flow of our Guests of Honor, which included the band FLOW, singer Halko Momo-i, artist and character designer Mamoru Yokota, and of course, our favorite Tohru Furuya.
Furuya-san is first of all a great showman. He knows exactly what his fans are here for, and immediately started throwing out lines from the various characters he has played in his lengthy career. For those that don’t know, Furuya-san is also the voice of Yamucha from Dragonball, Pegasus Seiya from Saint Seiya, and Amuro Ray from the original MS Gundam. It’s safe to say that the fans went wild as he did this.
I next saw Furuya-san the next day, not at his first panel, but at the invitation-only GoH meet-and-greet called the Yamaga Party. (Called so because it is usually hosted by one of our regular guests, Hiroyuki Yamaga of the animation studio Gainax, although due to an emergency Yamaga-san could not make the convention this year.) How this worked was that each GoH in attendance had their own table, and the invited fans sat with them for about ten minutes each to ask questions and actually talk with the guest. Furuya-san was the only guest that asked for the names of each fan at his table, and when that happens, you get him asking my friend Mike where he got that Italian Saint Seiya shirt he’s wearing. Which I am sure he wore just for that purpose.
Furuya-san’s panel Saturday afternoon was the standard Q&A panel. There were a lot of questions and voice requests from his well known series (mostly Gundam), but I got a few surprises out of him. His favorite role is that of Kyosuke Kasuga from Kimagure Orange Road, which I haven’t seen but happens to be a favorite of some of my older Otaku friends. He also mentioned that his most difficult role was from the Satoshi Kon movie Paprika, where he played the 400+lb Dr. Kosaku Tokita. He said he wasn’t sure he could match his voice to such a large person, but the director said to try and channel his inner child. Apparently his inner child is Amuro Ray, haha.
Of interest to us Moonies, Furuya-san was asked how he got the role of Tuxedo Kamen. The biggest reason was that the studio wanted an experienced seiyu on the cast, of which many of the Sailor Scouts were first-timers. He said that at first he thought that Tuxedo Kamen was a magician:
“Then I asked his name. And it was exactly like it said it was.”
He was also asked about an apparent reunion of the Sailor Moon cast in Japan recently, and if that meant there would be more work on Sailor Moon. He said there may be another reunion in the future, but that he didn’t think there would be much else.
The next panel Sunday morning was a bit different. This was also supposed to be a standard Q&A, but boy was it more entertaining. I should have guessed it would be, since a 10 am panel generally means that the die-hard fans are in attendance. Friends, if there is a Sailor Moon cosplayer in the room, and Furuya-san gets a request to reenact a scene from our favorite series, what you get is a live show in the front of the panel room, complete with bad guy, rose, and “Moon Healing Escalation”. I’ve never had so much fun at a panel.
Later on that afternoon, Furuya-san had a special autograph session before he left the convention. He had been selling a Fanime exclusive (at the time) clear file with his photograph, and part of the sales were to go to relief efforts in Japan. If you bought one (or in my case two) you were invited to this special autograph session where he would personalize his autograph specifically for you on the clear file. That didn’t stop people from bringing other things for him to sign.
From what I heard from our Guest Relations person, Furuya-san really enjoyed the convention and meeting all his fans here. This makes me hope to see him again in the future.
For those of you who couldn’t make it to Fanime, I hope this article made up for it. It’s not the best way to enjoy a convention, but I at least hope I transferred some of the awesome I experienced on to you that read this.