Prolific Anime Voice Actress Tomoko Kawakami Dies
so long and thanks for all the fish
Tomoko Kawakami, who provided the voices of numerous anime characters including Soifon in Bleach and most famously, Utena in Revolutionary Girl Utena, has passed away after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She was 40 years old, and had continued to perform while she was ill. Kawakami had found a niche voicing tomboyish characters, including Utena, the teenage girl who decided to become a prince.
In addition to her most famous role, Kawakami has starring roles in Air, Chrono Crusade, Hikaru no Go, and Sgt. Frog. Her first role came, in which she played a young boy in Metal Fighter Miku, in 1994 and was quickly followed by her first regular gig, Fushigi Yuugi. She became well-known in the shōjo-ai genre during her career and played a number of characters in paranormal films and series. In her star-making role as Utena, Kawakami gave voice to a teenage character who crossed the lines of gender to protect a fellow student from abuse who might also be the key to an upcoming revolution.
Kawakami had been hospitalized since 2008. Anime News Network reports that as a result of her illness, she had to give up the role of Kaoru in the adaptation of Yamane Ayano‘s Ikoku Irokoi Romantan.