Taiyou Con 2018: Interview with Toshio Furukawa and Shino Kakinuma
Taiyou Con 2018 boasted an impressive guest list comprised of voice actors, cosplay guests, and comedians. Toshio Furukawa is beloved anime industry veteran who’s voiced characters from popular series such as Dragon Ball (Piccolo), One Piece (Ace), and more. Shino Kakinuma is a veteran voice actress best known for her role as Naru in the original Sailor Moon anime.
CFG had the pleasure of chatting with the distinguished couple during their stay at TaiyouCon.
Interviewed by William Hong and Davies Green Translated by Chris Fanning Photos by Davies Green
How are you enjoying your time in Arizona?
TF: I like America very much, so I’m so glad to join Taiyou Con. I’ve had a lot of fun and it’s been a great time. Taiyou Con is great!
Kakinuma-san says she enjoys traveling. Is there any specific place she looks forward to visiting?
SK: This time I wanted to visit Monument Park and Antelope Canyon. I was glad to have visited these places and it was really fun to drive myself.
TF: She really enjoys driving!
What were some of your favorite manga and anime growing up?
TF: Popeye! When I was a little kid Popeye was broadcast in Japan.
KS: I really liked a show called Chiki Chiki Machine. [Translation note: Wacky Racers]
KS: It’s an American show. It definitely wasn’t European or Japanese!
TF: There wasn’t much Japanese animation when I was growing up, so it was mainly American animation I got to see.
What do you enjoy most about being a voice actor and what do you find the most challenging aspect of it?
TS: The hardest thing about being a voice actor for me is working outside my vocal range. So my vocal range goes from, if you put in musical terms, an E note to an F note. I’m actually requested a lot to go outside of that range. For instance, Piccolo is below my range, so getting frequent requests for going beyond my range and pulling it off is very difficult aspect of being a voice actor for me.
The most fun part of being a voice actor is when you’re doing a character you get a visual that has nothing to do with my age or face. It could be something totally different from me and I can play a bunch of different parts. They say it can range from the cradle to the grave, from very young to old characters. So it’s very fun playing those various roles.
SK: For me the hardest aspect of being a voice actress is getting roles where I’ve had no prior experience being in, acting for situations I’ve never experienced in real life. For instance, dying and being a ghost. I have no idea that’s that like and I’ve done that before. [laughs]
TF: Or like being a zombie! [laughs]
SK: It challenges my imagination and, on the other hand, it’s also one of the most fun aspects being a voice actress. I get to do things I’ve never done before. For instance, being a table. That’s weird, that’s new, being the voice of a magical table. It’s a pretty fun aspect of being a voice actress.
You’ve both been a part of the Dragon Ball universe for a long time. What are your favorite moments?
TF: I really liked the scenes of Piccolo training Gohan, especially the scene where he dies protecting Gohan.
SK: I voiced Videl and what I like is that, even though it’s a show about Earth and the entire universe being in danger, there’s still this school arc that I’m part of. It’s a romance plot where I’m trying to be with Gohan. I think it’s really interesting there’s this story wrapped up in it.
Dragon Ball has been around for over 30 years. When you heard they were bringing it back 20 years later after Dragon Ball Z, what were your mindsets? Were you surprised or did you immediately want to go back to working with the people for the longest of times? What was it like for you?
TF: I was actually really glad when I heard it. I’ve been working with the voice actors from the show for a very long time as you said and we kind of feel like a big family. So being able to work with them one last time and have everyone gathered together again was great.
SK: For me I wanted to know what happened next as a fan, like what happened after Goku died. So I was really, really curious and wanted to know what happened.
It sounds like you were really close to your castmates. What are your thoughts on the passing of Hiromi Tsuru, the actress who played Bulma?
TF: I still can’t believe it happened. I worked with her for a long time and even now when I go to work on Dragon Ball Super her seat is still empty and it just feels really bad.
What’s your favorite Sailor Moon moment?
SK: That’s a little tricky, but I played Osaka Naru in Sailor Moon. The scene where Nephrite, her love interest, turns to rock and fades away was really difficult for me. It was so sad that I cried, so the take was no good. So we had to retake it, but because I was crying so much my voice wouldn’t come out. That was really hard to do, but I’m glad I got to experience that. It’s a part of the show that stuck with me that I really liked, but it was so difficult I can’t actually watch the scene.
In your opinion, how has anime changed since you started voice acting?
TF: A lot has changed in Japanese animation since I started. Things such as the recording process moved from analog to digital and that’s changed things a lot. Outtakes are a lot shorter and the whole thing takes less time and is much easier to do. There are many, many more works of Japanese animation in the world now than when I got started and there are many, many more voice actors as well. There are a lot of young people now who want to become voice actors. So definitely a lot has changed in the world of animation.
Is there a certain character you’d love to voice if you had the opportunity?
TF: I’ve done pretty much everything. I’ve done younger characters, older characters, villains, heroes, women, aliens, I’ve played a fish! But the only thing I haven’t played is an old man, which is pretty much all I can! [laughs] So that’s one thing I haven’t really done that much, so that’s hopefully something I can do before I die.
SK: The character I’d really to portray is Woodstock from Peanuts. I know that Woodstock doesn’t talk, but I’d still like to find ways to express what he’s saying. Snoopy shouldn’t talk, that should never happen, but Woodstock does make that little noise in the comic strips. I’d love to be able to do that role in my lifetime.
TF: He’s a fairy, right?
SK: No, he’s a bird! But yeah, roles are like hats.
TF: We actually have a lot of Peanuts merchandise in our house, she has lots of stuff. Actually, hidden in her autograph is a little Snoopy.
How did you two meet?
Before we were voice actors we were stage actors, so there was a theater troupe I was responsible for putting together. She was actually a student actress in that troupe, so that was where we met; our relationship was teacher and student, like Piccolo and Gohan.