Voice actor Unshō Ishizuka, most recently known in the Dragon Ball franchise as the voice of Mr. Satan, has passed away at age 67. Ishizuka’s agency, Aoni Production, announced Ishizuka passed this previous Monday from esophageal cancer. A private wake was held, with details on a public ceremony yet to be revealed.
Ishizuka took over the role of Mr. Satan from the late Daisuke Gōri beginning in 2010 with Dragon Ball Z: Tag VS (“Tenkaichi Tag Team” internationally) on the PlayStation Portable. He continued this role in the “refreshed” Dragon Ball Kai television series and all projects moving forward.
Ishizuka’s career spanned decades with notable roles including Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop, the narrator and Professor Ōkido (“Oak”) in Pokémon, and recently the elder Joseph Joestar in the various Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure television series. In addition to Mr. Satan in Dragon Ball, Ishizuka had also taken over Gōri’s previous role of Heihachi Mishima in the Tekken video game series. With their equally-booming and gravely voices, Ishizuka could occasionally be found performing alongside Gōri himself, such as in the sixth episode of Cowboy Bebop.
In the June 2014 issue of Shueisha’s V-Jump magazine, a dual-interview with Ishizuka and Kōzō Shioya (Boo’s voice actor) touched on Ishizuka’s replacement of the late Daisuke Gōri and the actors’ camaraderie moving forward:
Shioya: When the recording for Kai started, right off the bat, I asked, “who’s going to play Satan?” Then I learned that Ishizuka-san was going to play him, and I was incredibly happy.
Ishizuka: Thank you. (laughs)
Shioya: When you performed as Satan with me for the movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods], Ishizuka-san, it was easy to act, and the performance was fun.
Ishizuka: The studio is full of talented actors, so in a good way, I was able to act while goofing off, which was probably a good thing.