Anime Voice Talent Highlight #7: Kei Tomiyama

#7 Kei Tomiyama

One of the classic anime voices of the 70s and 80s, Kei Tomiyama's tragically short life was nevertheless fruitful in his industry. Already well-known by the seventies for his role as the wrestler eponymous Tiger Mask, an character who has endured as an anime icon for decades, he went on to play a few other very notable roles. His tender, sincere voice at times belied his often firey delivery.

He played three classic science fiction characters. One of them is the hotheaded, but honest Susumu Kodai from Space Battleship Yamato. He brought a sense of romantic conviction to the character, and as the character grew from an angry young man looking to avenge his brother to a man willing to sacrifice himself for his convictions, his voice reflected it. In a different work associated with Leiji Matsumoto, he played Captain Harlock's trusted friend and designer of the ship Arcadia, Tochirou Oyama in Galaxy Expres 999. These roles alone would have been enough to qualify him for this higlight. But he played one more unforgettable character in anime.


In the 110 episode OVA epic, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Tomiyama plays the genius tactician Yang Wenli. A complex and intelligent character, Yang was prone to quotable lines on his philosophies, and Tomiyama made them sound just as they truly came from the mind of the character, and not just from some smart writer. He helped to draw in the viewer to the character, and him being a primary force in its storyline, into the show itself.Kei Tomiyama passed away of pancreatic cancer in 1995. He was 56. Posthumously, he was awarded the Special Achievement Award from the Seiyu Awards in 2007. His earnest passion is missed.

Notable Roles:

- Tiger Mask in Tiger Mask (1969)
- Susumu Kodai in Space Battleship Yamato (1974) (and all Yamato features until death)
- Tochirou Oyama in Galaxy Express 999 (1978)
- Yang Wenli in Legend of the Galactic Heroes (1988) 

Recent Comments