The anime “ONE PIECE” has exceeded 1000 episodes, booming the story. Voice actor Mayumi Tanaka (66) has been playing the role of Luffy for 22 years. According to an interview with AERA dot., The feelings when he took on the role of Luffy more than 20 years ago, the unexpected “successor to the role of Luffy,” and even the declaration that “the boy role will be the last in Luffy.” She spoke in her heart.
“ONE PIECE” has exceeded 1000 episodes and is now in its 22nd year. When you first took on the role of Luffy, did you think it would be an anime that would last for 22 years?
It was a program that started after “Dragon Ball,” so I thought it wasn’t an anime that would end in a year, but I didn’t expect it to continue to this point. Perhaps, at that time, even the original author Eiichiro Oda and the first producer Shinji Shimizu thought that it would end sooner (laughs). I was thinking about drawing a different work after doing it for several years.
What was your impression of Luffy when you first took on the job?
I wasn’t very fond of Luffy. Also, the boy I played so far had the impression that the black eyes were bigger like Wataru in “Mashin Hero Wataru,” but when I first saw Luffy’s picture, I thought that the black eyes were small. (Laughs)
Isn’t it that you’ve become more attached to Luffy as you continue?
Of course! That’s good now. I love Luffy like that.
Why do you think you were selected as Luffy?
I think it’s because the other members were newcomers. The voice actors of Zoro and Nami were decided first, but since they were newcomers, I think I balanced and made the remaining Luffy a veteran. If a veteran like Shuichi Ikeda had been decided to be Zoro, Luffy would have used a newcomer. “ONE PIECE” started in the frame where “Dragon Ball” was broadcast until then, and Shueisha, Toei Animation, and Fuji TV, which are precisely the same as “Dragon Ball,” are involved. I was doing Krillin with “Dragon Ball,” so all the staff said, “I can only hear Krillin; it’s Krillin” (laughs). There was a great desire to play the main character, Luffy, as a new voice actor.
What kind of words would you like to say to yourself more than 20 years ago when you took on the role of Luffy?
I want to say, “Living long, be careful of your body” (laughs). In the middle of the story, when I thought, “The foreshadowing that I’m waving now may be recovered ten years later,” I realized that this would belong. Oda is still young, and if it continues for a long time, I may not be able to finish it. When I thought about it, I became anxious and consulted with Shinji Shimizu, who was the producer at the time, saying, “I may have died inadvertently.” Everyone may be convinced if I decide to “succeed Luffy” as a will. So I asked my son, “Who would you think would be the one to replace Luffy?” My son said, “I only have Masako Nozawa” (laughs). When I told him that when I co-starred with Masako, everyone laughed, and Masako said, “Mayumi, I’ll do it” (laughs). Masako indeed said that.
Are there any things you have been trying to do to serve for a long time?
Please don’t overdo it anyway. In my 40s, I had surgery on my lower back, and I had the most damage to my body, but when I first hurt my lower back, I forced myself to do my best, which made me worse. As I fail that way, I realize that it will be difficult if I do more. When you sit down and make a loud voice, it shifts back. Right now, I try to say, “I’m sorry, please sit down,” when I make a loud voice so as not to hurt my back. My voice also died severely when I was in my 40s. There was no voice at all, just at the time of the final battle with the Crocodile. The voice of Ryuzaburo Otomo, who plays the role of Crocodile, is also low and excellent, so I don’t feel like I can win the final race (laughs). He said he didn’t feel like losing to Mayumi. However, after the battle, the scene where Luffy was tattered and said “OK” with a faint voice was praised as “It was a good play” even though he couldn’t make a voice (laughs).
The story is in good condition.
I think we have less than ten years left. I expect it to be about 7-8 years.
I don’t know the ending of the work either, so I want to manage to live until the final episode and continue watching until the end. If I’m going to die on the way, I’m going to ask someone who knows the ending, saying, “Tell me the last! Ask! I’m gonna die now” (laughs). By the way, regarding the one-piece treasure “One Piece” that seems to be revealed at the end, I expected it to be “friends” or “bonds” or something conceptual. But Oda said, “It’s not like that. There is one Piece properly!” The treasure of One Piece may be as a “thing.”
I’m looking forward to the end of what it is like.
Please tell us if you feel the unique charm of “ONE PIECE.”
There are times when the picture drawn by Oda is not an expression of a manga on the street. For example, when crying, she draws a runny nose no matter how beautiful a woman is. It’s interesting because I draw a runny nose where I usually think that only tears are enough. When I thought that I was crying, I suddenly got a picture of a big smile and said, “Is that so?” As an actor, it’s fun and rewarding to play that kind of expression.
When you have a voice, it seems that a different atmosphere from manga will be born.
Oda also said, “It’s sly” when the animation started. The animation is colored and moves, with sounds and voices. I was envious of “I’m flat and black and white. Ifatesn’t move.” Thankfully, Oda has properly acknowledged anime as a different thing. If the original author often says, “This is no good, that is no good” or “Don’t do this” in the anime, the staff who make the anime will be atrophied and will not live. However, the original author of “One Piece” is a significant person who says “I like it” differently.
That’s why it’s worth the effort. There, Luffy let go and trusted his friends, saying, “I can’t use swordsmanship! I don’t have nautical skills! I can’t cook! I can’t lie! I can’t help. It overlaps with the line “I’m confident!” Oda is like Luffy. He was light, wearing sandals even when it got cold (laughs).
Please tell us your aspirations for the final stage.
Anyway, I have lived a long time! I want to complete it by the end. As I said to the manager, the boy role wants to finish Luffy in “ONE PIECE.” I haven’t made a voice, and I’m sorry for Luffy if I play the role of a boy anymore, and it’s terrible for a new role. Because I have this voice (laughs). Even when I first started playing Luffy, I was told that I was Krillin no matter what I asked. I want to do it if it was the role of an older woman. That’s why I’m the last boy to play the role of “ONE PIECE.” Please see until the end!