It's a sad day for video game and anime fans around the world, as veteran voice actor Keiji Fujiwara has passed away. The venerable performer, who brought characters like Final Fantasy's Reno and Kingdom Hearts' Axel to life, was just 55, but he had been bringing smiles to many a fan's face through the characters he voiced for quite some time. The news came by way of his private management company, Air Agency, which confirmed the news.
Fans have been sending an outpouring of support to Fujiwara and his family, lamenting his passing and celebrating all of the roles he filled during his lifetime. But what happened to him?
How did he pass away and what were some of his most iconic roles? We've got all the answers you're seeking here, though you may want to grab a few tissues before diving in. It never feels good to have to say goodbye to someone, particularly someone so talented and well-loved.
How did voice actor Keiji Fujiwara pass away?
According to Air Agency, the 55-year-old voice actor Fujiwara ended up passing away after fighting a complicated battle with cancer. He had been fighting it for some time and ended up succumbing to it on Sunday, April 12.
He was surrounded by his friends and family at a private wake and then a funeral in his native Japan. Previously, he had been on a voice acting hiatus in 2016, but returned just a year later in 2017. He had still been acting up until his death.
Fujiwara founded Air Agency himself in 2006 and also served as its representative director until he passed away. He enjoyed 30 years of successful anime and video game voice acting roles, taking on the aforementioned Reno and Axel, but additional characters as well from series like Gundam 00, Fullmetal Alchemist, Hunter X Hunter, and even Tony Stark in the Japanese Marvel film dubs. He was extremely prolific, and had a very recognizable voice at that.
Fans are especially enamored with the character Reno, as Fujiwara provided the character's voice in the newly released Final Fantasy VII Remake. Fujiwara had also voiced Reno in several other Final Fantasy projects, including the film Advent Children and the PSP title Crisis Core. For anyone who's heard Keiji lend his iconic voice to Reno (and his other characters, for that matter), you'll understand why it will be hard to replace him going forward. Hearing Roy Mustang in Japanese will never feel the same.
In honor of Fujiwara and his excellent voice acting skills, give Reno (or Axel) hell when you fight their boss battles next. That's what Keiji would have wanted.