Yuko Mizutani, the seiyu who first gave Digimon Adventure‘s Sora Takeonuchi her voice, has died from breast cancer aged 51. Her passing on May 17th was reported by Oricon, and it’s left grief in its wake across the otaku world, as her work in several franchises which are often considered among fans’ first favourites is remembered with fondness and gratitude.
She made her debut as a voice actor in 1985 in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, in which she voiced Sarah Zabiarov. She then moved on in leaps and bounds, lending her talents to a broad portfolio of anime, movies and video games. In the latter bracket, she was Iris in Mega Man X4 and the voice of Minnie Mouse for the Japanese-language Kingdom Hearts series. As for her anime exploits, she was Maruko-chan’s older sister Sakiko Sakura in one of Japan’s best loved series Chibi Maruko-chan, Mihoshi in the soon-to-return Tenchi Muyo!, and was most recently cast as Ikuko Tsukino in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal.
Still, she’ll perhaps always be best remembered as Sora, guardian of the digital world, in a show that introduced ’90s kids to anime in their droves. Our thoughts are with her loved ones as we remember her great and joyous gift.