It’s been nearly a year since the world of anime lost a great icon, Hiromi Tsuru. Long before she made her break out in voice acting, she was actually a child actress. In 1968, she made her acting debut on a popular drama at the time, Comet-san, or Princess Comet. 10 years later, she made her debut as a voice actress by playing the role of of Perrine, the anime adaptation to the French novel, En Famille, or Perrine Monogatari in Japanese. Then as her career entered the eighties, it took off by storm. So, what are some of her best 5 roles? Read our top 5 to find out!
5. Reina from Ryu Ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Basho (Yakuza 0)
- Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios
- Release Dates: March 25, 2015 (Japan), January 24, 2017 (International)
Kicking off this list, we thought we’d use a role from a game, Reina from Yakuza 0. Although the character is played by different actresses in other installments, Tsuru plays the 20-year-old version of the character, who is living it up in Japan’s height of its economic dominance in 1988. As the young Reina, Tsuru gives the character an appropriate spunk in context to her job as a high-class bartender, and shows a unique kind of friendliness and comfort towards Kiryuu and Nishiki, who others would find intimidating since they’re thugs for the yakuza. If you visited her bar, she’s the girl you want to drink your problems away to.
4. Reiko Mikami from Ghost Sweeper Mikami
- Episodes: 45
- Air Dates: April 11, 1993 – March 6, 1994
If we could choose which of her roles was the sexiest, it would be without a doubt, Reiko Mikami from Ghost Sweeper Mikami. As Reiko, Tsuru perfectly exhibits a voice that reflects her buxom figure and her confidence. In addition to effectively conveying Reiko’s authority in exorcism, she plays her in a way to let the audience and her customers know that also doesn’t come cheap (showing that she’s more money motivated). Despite making so much money, she looks down on her employees and gives them a cheap salary (by today’s modern standards, she’d be labeled a black company), most notably her teenage assistant, Tadao. And as for her (literally) spirited secretary Okinu, what does a ghost need money for? For those that don’t know, Tadao is played by Ryo Horikawa, the voice of Vegeta. So if you want something tongue in cheek, Horikawa’s and Tsuru’s chemistry gives a different result with the characters they play here for Dragon Ball fans to enjoy.
3. Ukyou Kuonji from Ranma ½
- Episodes: 161
- Air Dates: April 15, 1989 – September 25, 1992
In comparison to other roles on this list, as Ukyou, she exhibits a different kind of personality. As Ukyou, she’s masculine when it comes to how she dresses in a boy’s school uniform and feminine when in conjunction to her love for Ranma. While she’s Hokkaido born and Yokohama raised, as Ukyou, she speaks in a Kansai accent to reflect that character’s background. The Kansai way of talking is an excellent balance of being aggressive and upbeat, and Tsurumi excellently captures that quality in order to portray Ukyou. In addition to voicing the character, she also contributes to the series soundtrack as a singer with the rest of the female seiyuu cast as DoCo, a spoof of CoCo, a popular idol group during the series broadcast.
2. Bulma from Dragon Ball
- Episodes: 153
- Air Dates: February 26, 1986 – April 12, 1989
Internationally, Tsuru will always be remembered as the voice of Bulma starting back to Dragon Ball. Throughout the series run, we see Bulma go from adventurous teen to a dedicated mother who spoils her son. Due to Bulma serving more as a supporting character, we had to put her at number two. However, Tsuru’s performance does a great job of balancing Bulma as she ages throughout the Dragon Ball saga. As a teenager, she shows a genuine sense of adventure as travels to search for the Dragon Balls. When we get to the end, we see how her experiences shaped her into being capable of standing up to a God of Destruction. Thanks to Tsuru’s performance, we see her go from curious teen to a stubborn middle aged lady.
1. Madoka Ayukawa from Kimagure Orange Road
- Episodes: 48
- Air Dates: April 6, 1987 – March 7, 1988
If there is one role that defines her as a co-lead, it would certainly have to be that of Madoka Ayukawa from Kimagure Orange Road, the original Shounen romance title. Thanks to her voice, she can portray a young lady (as the Britney Spears song goes) who is no longer a little girl but not yet a woman. The character is feared as a delinquent, but Tsuru’s portrayal shows that even though she does engage in activities that a 9th grader shouldn’t be doing, once you get to know her through Kyousuke, she’s just a regular teenage girl, and has very feminine qualities. Her chemistry with Tooru Furuya, Kyousuke’s seiyuu, helps bring out the best qualities to Madoka and helps viewers that we shouldn’t always judge people on the outside. Sometimes, tomboys can be the most feminine.
Many of her colleagues throughout her career have nothing but kind things to say about her. After her passing, everyone on Dragon Ball Super attended her memorial service. Tooru Furuya and Ryo Horikawa both praised her for her dedication and pride in her work, and that she was fun to perform with. Masako Nozawa, the voice of Goku, also served as a mentor and helped her during her initial struggles as she transitioned from child actress to voice actress. Putting together this list was certainly easy and hard at the same time. We are positive that you all have your own personal top 5, so please give your list in the comments.