Tooru Furuya is a big name seiyuu who solidified himself with numerous iconic roles throughout the years, and continues to be active to this very day. His career started when his mother enrolled him in Gekidan Himawari, a special kindergarten/agency for acting located in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward. As crazy as it sounds, he’s been voice acting since he was 10! His debut was in Roma ni Saita Koi. However, his breakout role was in 1968 as Hyuuma Hoshi in the classic baseball title, Kyojin no Hoshi, at the age of 15! After finishing that series, he took a hiatus to concentrate on his education, and in his mid-twenties, he made a come back and hasn’t stopped since! So, what are some of the best roles of Tooru Furuya? Read our top 5 to find out!
5. Yamcha from Dragon Ball
- Episodes: 153
- Aired: February 26, 1986 – April 12, 1989
Though Yamcha is reduced to being a joke in Dragon Ball Z and Super, he has a much larger presence in the initial series. In his introduction, he actually went toe-to-toe with Gokuu (ok, so Gokuu was only a kid at the time). As Yamcha, Furuya captures his initial multi-dimensional qualities with being a confident fighter, but freezes up at the sight of an attractive woman. In comparison to his other roles, he speaks with a much deeper and cunning voice to compliment him as a hardened warrior, and as a bandit. However, once he befriends Gokuu and company, he lightens up but still speaks with a certain kind of maturity due to his training and self-upbringing, but can be comedic when appropriate. Plus, you’ll love his singing in his image song, Lonely Wolf.
4. Kyousuke Kasuga from Kimagure Orange Road
- Episodes: 48
- Aired: April 6, 1987 – March 7, 1988
If there is one role that made Furuya an eternal teenager, it certainly has to be his portrayal of Kyousuke from KOR. Putting aside the fact that the character has telekinesis and can occasionally time travel, Furuya has you convinced that Kyousuke is just like any other junior high student. He’s going through some growing pains and has regular family issues, and he’s starting to discover girls, most notably with his crush, Madoka Ayukawa, voiced by the late great Hiromi Tsuru (also the voice of Bulma), who he shares great chemistry with. He has you believing that the character is awkward around girls just like most boys his age are. As the series progresses, you see him develop and Furuya’s performance has you convinced that the character matures, and you see him eventually feel comfortable around Madoka to confess his feelings.
3. Seiya from Saint Seiya
- Episodes: 114
- Aired: October 11, 1986 – April 1, 1989
Despite the character being 13, Furuya’s deep nasal voice finds a unique way in capturing Seiya not only as a teenager, but with his life of hard training, show he has a different sense of maturity compared to other kids his age. Furuya brings a one of a kind charisma to Seiya as a Shounen hero. Seiya is a character that always fights the odds, and Furuya has you believing that Seiya will always come out on top. He also masterfully portrays his care for his brothers, and for the goddess he protects, Athena. So, if you want a feel of how a Japanese superhero should present themselves, Furuya’s portrayal of Seiya is the perfect performance to listen to. And here’s a bit of trivia for you, every time he played Seiya in the booth, he intentionally wore a red shirt and blue pants just to get into character.
2. Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask from Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon)
- Episodes: 200
- Aired: March 7, 1992 – February 8, 1997
If there is one role that made Tooru Furuya famous worldwide, it is without a doubt, his portrayal of Tuxedo Mask, or Mamoru Chiba. Just like his other roles here, the character is mainly a teenager. In the first season, he captures a sense of playfulness and arrogance whenever he teases Usagi, but when he finally starts a relationship with her, he has older fans remembering why he was one of the top anime heartthrobs of his era. As Tuxedo Mask, he exhibits great confidence and wisdom, and is actively supportive to Sailor Moon. So, if some of you teenage readers, or adults that like to imagine themselves as teenagers again, Mamoru is that boyfriend you wish you had, and Furuya has this performance that makes the character feel dependable in all situations.
1. Amuro Ray from Kidou Senshi Gundam (Mobile Suit Gundam)
- Episodes: 43
- Aired: April 7, 1979 – January 26, 1980
Although the role of Tuxedo Mask made Furuya an international star, it was Amuro that solidified him in his native Japan. For the past 40 years, Furuya has continued to play Amuro through its sequels and video game adaptations. As Amuro, Furuya masterfully captures his teenage growing pains as a reluctant Gundam pilot. As the character develops, he also magnificently performs his growing confidence, determination, and his motivations to fight (and a righteous sense of naiveness). Even when he returned to the role as a cameo for Gundam Unicorn, his performance is still recognizable. He’s played teenagers for the past 40 years for a reason, and we can thank his portrayal of Amuro as to why he can still do it. Plus, fans feel that without Furuya, “Amuro, Ikimasu” doesn’t come across as natural or as iconic.
Beyond these five iconic roles, what are some other notable performances of the great Tooru Furuya that you think should be acknowledged? If you have any ideas on roles that surpass these top 5, please leave a comment!