Super Saiyan Sayonara

A great voice actor, and an even greater human, will be living amongst the stars from here on out.


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Celebrated Japanese voice actor Shoko Iizuka passed away at the age of 89.

Ishan Pahwa, Staff Writer

   On the morning of Feb. 15, Japanese voice actor Shoko Iizuka passed away due to heart failure, which was confirmed by his agency, Sigma Seven. 

   Iizuka is best known for his roles in various anime series, notably Dragon Ball Z, in which he played Android 8 and Nappa. In addition, he also starred in the anime “Mobile Suit Gundam,” where he played Ryu Jose as well as “Fist of the North Star,” where he played Fudo. Funeral services were held for close relatives and family members of the 89-year-old voice actor, according to The Japan News. 

   Born in Tokyo in 1933, Iizuka moved to Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture, which would later become the site of a horrific nuclear power plant disaster nearly 80 years later. Due to growing up in Iwaki City, Iizuka was left with a distinct accent that stuck with him throughout his voice-acting career. After graduating from Nihon University in Tokyo, Iizuka landed his first gig as the voice of Kin Sankaku in the 1963 anime series “Astro Boy,” regarded by many including, as an “incredibly influential piece of anime history.” 

   The role that the majority of people know him for is Nappa in the iconic “Dragon Ball” anime series.  Nappa was a Saiyan warrior, much like Goku, and was Vegeta’s combat partner. Nappa became a fan-favorite character, with Iizuka remaining with his role across numerous episodes of “Dragon Ball Z” as well as various “Dragon Ball” video games and films.

   In addition to playing Nappa, Iizuka also voiced Android #8, a robot designed to serve in the Red Ribbon Army, but disregarded for the role due to his good hearted nature in a plethora of “Dragon Ball” instalments. As a Japanese-dub artist, he voiced Carl Frederickson from “Up,” Dr. Jumba Jookiba in “Lilo and Stitch,” and Sallah in “Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade.” He retired from the majority of his roles in 2020, and at the 2022 Tokyo Anime Awards Festival, he received a Merit Award. 

   The news of Iizuka’s passing saddened many anime fans, with many taking to social media to express their grief. On Twitter, one user wrote, “RIP Shoko Iizuka. Voice acting in tokusatsu would not be the same without you.” Another fan recalled that Iizuka was “a performer with the perfect balance of warmth and gravitas.”