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News ► Keiji Fujiwara, voice of Axel, passes away at 55



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Oracle Spockanort

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Oricon reports that Keiji Fujiwara, the voice actor of Axel/Lea in the Kingdom Hearts series, has passed away at the age of 55 on April 12th due to complications with cancer. A private funeral was held for him by his family. 

Fujiwara had taken a temporary leave from voice acting in August 2016 to undergo medical treatments, but returned to work in June 2017. 

He played many roles in various Square Enix projects including Reno in the Final Fantasy VII Complilation and Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ardyn Izunia in Final Fantasy XV, Ifrit in World of Final Fantasy, Garland in Mobius Final Fantasy, Ciggma Khint in Bravely Default, and Izana Kunagiri in Final Fantasy Type-0.

Fujiwara was best known for his role as Hiroshi Nohara in the anime "Crayon Shin-chan", Maes Hues in "Fullmetal Alchemist", Holand Novak in "Eureka Seven", the Japanese voice actor for Robert Dowey Jr.'s Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Leorio in the 2011 HUNTER X HUNTER anime adaption.

He founded Air Agency, a talent management company in 2006, and remained the company's representative director until his passing. His obituary can be found on the official website for his agency

 

 
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SweetYetSalty

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RIP. That's really sad news. I've only heard his voice as Axel a few times but it's always sad when someone passes away :(
 

rokudamia2

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I knew he had health issues but still this is really sad. Reno may have been his last role.
 

Nukara

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It’s very sad to hear about it.
One of the favorite seiyuu.
And I have no idea who they will replace him in his role of Axel and Reno in future games. It will be very difficult to replace his voice with another. Rest in peace.
2020 I hate you.
 

Xickin

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WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK.
God damn it, I don't know how much more my heart can take.
That brave soul went out in a blaze of glory, acting until the very end. As an homage to him "See you in the next life"
 

blank points

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Man, this really has been a rough almost two years for KH voice actors. It seems we've lost so many, and all at younger ages then expected. He was a very great talent in the Japanese VA industry. At least he got to finish the Xehanort Saga, and play Reno, one of his most iconic roles, one last time before he died.
 

RetroPokeFan

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"Got it memorised?"

Yes, yes I did. 🥺😢

Rest in peace Keiji. You were THE best Axel VA for Japan we could have ever asked for.
 

DizneyXBirds95

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RIP Keiji Fujiwara, the KH Series, the FF series and the different anime series he worked won't be the same without his Iconic voice.

My deep condolences to his friends and family.

It’s very sad to hear about it.
One of the favorite seiyuu.
And I have no idea who they will replace him in his role of Axel and Reno in future games. It will be very difficult to replace his voice with another. Rest in peace.
2020 I hate you.
Yeah It gets me more concerned about future KH games if Axel/Lea returns are they going to keep him silent or get a new voice for him?

I don't mind if Axels kept silent depending on what role he plays in the next game(s) or is mentioned out of respect for Keiji but it would be awkward if they kept him silent
 
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Nukara

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By the way, I wonder how things will be with Lea in future games.
The Japanese, as far as I know, take a very careful approach to choosing VA, and in the event of their death they can generally push the character to the background, as was the case with Kisame in Naruto.
the role of Xehanort was necessary in the plot.
But with Lea, I’m afraid that his role may be significantly reduced.
 

DizneyXBirds95

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By the way, I wonder how things will be with Lea in future games.
The Japanese, as far as I know, take a very careful approach to choosing VA, and in the event of their death they can generally push the character to the background, as was the case with Kisame in Naruto.
the role of Xehanort was necessary in the plot.
But with Lea, I’m afraid that his role may be significantly reduced.
It largely varies on what the role that specific character (Original, Disney, etc..) in the KH series will have onwards, I mean Phil not speaking in Olympus in KH3 had to do with Nagai's death and also he didn't play much a role when compared to his previous KH appearances for Olympus Coliseum. Even Japanese fans who grew up with Nagai's voice of Phil from the Japanese dub of the film and the KH games would feel awkward if they choose a different actor to voice him. Of course that's subjective and debatable as we had two different actors for Winnie the Pooh in the Japanese version of the KH games before they passed away with Mitsuaki Kanuka taking over in KH3: Shun Yashiro who voiced Pooh in the first KH (until his passing in 2003) and Sukekiyo Kameyama who voiced Pooh in KH2 and BBS (until his passing in 2013).

I think They only would replace an actor/actress if the character is important and if they pass away during production of an episode of a show for instance in the 2011 adaptation of Hunter x Hunter, Ichiro Nagai voiced Chairman Netero, but when he passed away Banjo Ginga took over the role starting in the final half of the Chimera Ant arc. For Bleach, Tomoko Kawakami who originally voiced Soi Fon passed away before Houko Kuwashima took over the character due to Soi Fon appearing in some episodes. Even the same can be said when the original voice for Professor Oak and the Narrator in PokémonUnshō Ishizuka passed away they got a new actor, along with Bulma's original voice actress Hiromi Tsuru passing away before the got a new voice actress to voice her in one of the later episodes of DBS. Other times if the character doesn't play a big role or the voice for this character that the actor/actress played is so iconic to be replaced they would decide not to recast them out of respect for the actor/actress (e.g. Tomuki Dan as Kisame in Naruto).

The same situation happened with Vexen's voice actor Nachi Nozawa, when he passed away in October 2010 just 9 months after BBS came out. Following his death they decided to make Even be unconscious in DDD after his human form got recompleted which would explain why he didn't have any dialogue. By KH3 when Vexen/Even had a major role in the game was when they use Shigeru Chiba to take over.

Even the same can be said for Minnie not having ANY lines in KH3 due to the death of her Japanese voice actress in 2016 and why Chip and Dale were the ones mainly communicating through Sora via the Gummi Phone.

Also it isn't in Japan, but in some American productions like in The Simpsons and some Pixar films, when the actor/actress who voiced a particular character pass away they either would recast them or in the case with the Simpsons they "retire" that character out of respect for the original actor/actress.
 
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blank points

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I wouldn't worry about Lea's VA. Ultimately, we will have to wait and see how things go, but I don't think Lea's role will diminish too much, especially considering that Lea/Axel is a very popular character in the series. He even says it in KH3 himself. Seeing as they recast Even/Vexen, who isn't nearly as popular, I imagine the same will happen for Lea. Furthermore, it should also be noted that characters getting the silent treatment or smaller roles has nothing to do with their VA's passing away. Dilan and Aeleus were both silent in KH3, and both of their VA's are alive. So Lea is definitely important enough.
 

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My condolences to his friends, family and co workers. RIP
 

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This is info that I feel should be shared because KH doesn't have Japanese audio outside of Asia (unlike every SE series that doesn't have Disney involved) so the news isn't hitting the KH community outside of Asia compared to Asia (unless you know Fujiwara from anime or another game series).

Fujiwara voiced Reno, designed by Tetsuya Nomura, since day 1. Axel's design is based on Reno, so Nomura specifically chose Fujiwara to voice Axel. Ardyn is given red hair because of Reno and Axel, which is why Fujiwara was once again chosen to voice Ardyn. The red hair streak has unfortunately ended.

Lastly, in 2017, Fujiwara was voted #3 best seiyuu out of 200 by fellow seiyuu on whom they most respected. Masako Nozawa (Goku) was #2 and Kouichi Yamadera (Spike in Cowboy Bebop; Beers in Dragon Ball Z movies/Super) was #1. He is officially one of the GOAT's.

*Axel voice* Kioku Shitaka? (Did you memorize it?)

Bulma's original voice actress Hiromi Tsuru passing away before the got a new voice actress to voice her in the later episodes of DBS.
This is incorrect. It was announced that Tsuru completed all her lines in DBS before her passing. I just finished DBS earlier his week so I've seen the remaining Bulma scenes. Bulma got a new actor in the movie.
 

Nukara

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This is info that I feel should be shared because KH doesn't have Japanese audio outside of Asia (unlike every SE series that doesn't have Disney involved) so the news isn't hitting the KH community outside of Asia compared to Asia (unless you know Fujiwara from anime or another game series).

Fujiwara voiced Reno, designed by Tetsuya Nomura, since day 1. Axel's design is based on Reno, so Nomura specifically chose Fujiwara to voice Axel. Ardyn is given red hair because of Reno and Axel, which is why Fujiwara was once again chosen to voice Ardyn. The red hair streak has unfortunately ended.

Lastly, in 2017, Fujiwara was voted #3 best seiyuu out of 200 by fellow seiyuu on whom they most respected. Masako Nozawa (Goku) was #2 and Kouichi Yamadera (Spike in Cowboy Bebop; Beers in Dragon Ball Z movies/Super) was #1. He is officially one of the GOAT's.

*Axel voice* Kioku Shitaka? (Did you memorize it?)



This is incorrect. It was announced that Tsuru completed all her lines in DBS before her passing. I just finished DBS earlier his week so I've seen the remaining Bulma scenes. Bulma got a new actor in the movie.
Kioku Shitaka? And who is it ?
Seiyu had a truly inimitable voice. Finding a new replacement for Axel and Reno will be difficult.
 

KudoTsurugi

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Kioku Shitaka? And who is it ?
Seiyu had a truly inimitable voice. Finding a new replacement for Axel and Reno will be difficult.
If you're talking about who the new seiyuu for Bulma is, that would be the original Sailor Mercury, Aya Hisakawa.

On topic, it really is a shame that he passed away so soon. For his role as Maes Hughes in FMA, he was one of the few seiyuu brought back from the original series for Brotherhood. Everyone else, Elric Brothers aside, were recast. And for Eureka Seven, not only was he Holland, but he also played an adult Renton Thurston in Eureka Seven AO, and took over the role of Holland's brother Dewey in the Hi-Evolution movies.

As has been said fans previously, he brought a lot of life to his characters and it won't be the same without him.
Rest in peace, Fujiwara-san, and thank you for your hard work.
 

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Also I don't want to hear shit about "KH is a curse" because that ain't it. Thanks for listening to my unfiltered anger an hour before I have to leave for work.
i was literally shielding my eyes from this exact take going into the thread so thank you for getting out in front of it
 
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