Anime Voice Talent Highlight #4: Yasuo Yamada

#4: Yasuo Yamada
It may seem silly to highlight a voice talent who's known for playing one particular role, but when this particular VA's performance in the role is so iconic, and has spanned decades in that role, it's perfectly appropriate to me. Especially when the character he's known for playing is a favorite anime character: Arsène Lupin III! How do I describe Yasuo Yamada's Lupin voice? It's hard, because his Lupin adapts to the tone of the feature. The first television series had a bit of a darker tone to it than the rest of the franchise, much like the manga it was spawned from, until later episodes. Lupin's voice changed subtly throughout the show, but Yamada always played him cooly but with a bit of playfulness. By the time the series reached its final episode, Yamada had achieved the voice that he would use for most of the rest of his run, what I would described as very jaunty and spirited. And he was capable of reworking his delivery for any mood. In the second series, he was more silly-sounding, matching the tone of that series. In Castle of Cagliostro, he sounded a bit more experienced and wise. In the TV specials he mixed things up, depending. But he was always uniquely Lupin. No one has since been as charming in the role as he has.

Unfortunately, Yasuo Yamada passed away of a brain hemorrhage in March, 1995. Allegedly, his last will was to have Kanichi Kurita, the current voice of the character, replace him after his death. The credits of To Hell With Nostradamus, the first Lupin III feature with Kurita in the role, had a tribute to him: "To Yasuo Yamada, Eternal Lupin the Third: Thank you!" Notable Roles: - Arsène Lupin III in Lupin III (TV) (1971) (and most other Lupin III productions, until his death) - Dr. Mashirito in Dr. Slump (movie) (1982) - Jim in Huckleberry no Bouken (TV) (1976)

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