Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Japanese voice actor Isamu Tanonaka was born on July 19, 1932. One of the early roles in his voice acting career was providing the voice of Medama Oyagi in the anime series, Gege no Kitaro. Tanonaka has provided the voice for this character in every series and film produced for Gege no Kitaro from 1968 through the 2000s.
In the 1960s, Tanonaka also had roles as Killer B in 1969's The Wonderful World of Puss 'n Boots and as Papa in Obake no Q-Taro (which ran from 1965-1967). In the 1970s, he also provided the voice of Killer B in The Three Musketeers in Boots and Puss 'N Boots Travels Around the World. During the 1970s, Tanonaka had these notable roles: Cat Sailor C in Animal Treasure Island, Mucha in Mazinger Z, Paradise School Principal in Cutey Honey, Omawarisan in Tensai Bakabon, and Chatterer the Squirrel in Rocky Chuck, the Mountain Rat. He also provided the voice of Mucha in Mazinger Z vs. Devilman and Mazinger Z vs. the Great Dark General.
Tanonaka continued his voice acting career in the 1980s. His notable roles during this time were: Gara and Toriyama in Dr. Slump, the School Principal in Magical Girl Lalabelle, Doctor in Dominion Tank Police, Yonarudepazutori in Akuma-Kun, Sindbook in Magical Princess Minky Momo, and Kyonpi in Tatakae!! Ramenman. In the 1990s, Tanonaka used his talent to provide these voices: Dr. Tama in Getter Robo, Pikkoromon in Digimon Adventure, Kuzuri-kun's father in Bonobono, Burasu in Dragon Quest: Dai no Dai Bouken, Niku-Man in Ranma 1/2, and Bara Baby in Chouriki Sentai Ohranger.
Tanonaka was not nearly as prolific in anime voice acting in the 2000s as he was earlier in his career, but he still provided the voices for: Bibidi and Raichi in Dragon Ball Z, Raichi in Dragon Ball GT, and Shojo and Boo Jack in One Piece. Tanonaka has also provided voices for video games. He was the voice of Elder Kai in Dragon Ball Z: Sparking! Meteor, and he provided the voice of Igor in the Persona videogames (Revelations: Persona, Persona 2, Persona 3, Persona –trinity soul-, and Persona 4). Tanonaka also provided the voice of Jar Jar Binks in the Japanese dub versions of the Star Wars prequel films.
Sadly, Isamu Tanonaka passed away from a heart attack on January 13, 2010 at the age of 77. He is survived by his older brother, Hiroshi Tanonaka.