Home Interview: Hiroki Touchi on Tonbo, Love of Golf and Voice Acting

Interview: Hiroki Touchi on Tonbo, Love of Golf and Voice Acting

Anime Corner is pleased to present an interview with Hiroki Touchi, a veteran voice actor with over 20 years of experience, who is currently voicing Kazuyoshi Igarashi in the Tonbo! anime adaptation. Although the interview mainly focused on the anime adaptation of the golf-themed manga (which was recently praised by Hunter x Hunter creator Yoshihiro Togashi), we also got to ask a few questions about his career and learn how he got to where he is today.

We started off by asking Touchi-san if he could tell us a bit more about Igarashi, his first impressions of the character and how he settled on a voice for the retired golfer. “Igarashi is a person who has committed an act unbecoming of a professional golfer and is no longer able to continue playing. He has lost his family and all hope of living, so he comes to the island. I became aware of his emptiness at the beginning of the series.

When asked about Tonbo! manga and whether he read the Tonbo! manga, Mr. Touchi confirmed that he is up to date, having read all of the volumes that are currently out. “What attracted me to it was that it reminded me of the cartoons I used to watch as a child. I love Tomorrow’s Joe and I am attracted not only to the main character but also to the rivals who appear one after another. Tonbo! has that.” Unsurprisingly, Tomorrow’s Joe is also his favorite manga series.

Joining Hiroki Touchi as a leading cast member is Rika Hayashi, who voices the titular character. This is Hayashi’s first major anime role and it’s also the first time the two voice actors worked together. Tonbo and Igarashi have a student-teacher relationship in the series, both due to age and experience. What was it like working with Hayashi? “She was wonderful. I heard that she debuted during the COVID-19 pandemic and that she had never recorded with the other actor. So she said it was fun to record with everyone. I was happy to be able to work with her as well.

Over the years, Mr. Touchi voiced many different characters, from Pantherlilly in Fairy Tail to Bardroy in the Black Butler series. Although it doesn’t seem like he has a favorite he is grateful for all the support he has received: “Thanks to you, I have been able to play many characters.” When asked what kind of characters his voice works with the best he says: “I really like Igarashi. who I am voicing right now. I am also an old man, so I sympathize with middle-aged men like him in this case, and I am grateful that I am able to use the tone that I am most comfortable with, so I don’t have to go to the trouble of creating my own voice.

Mr. Touchi ended up in voice-acting waters unexpectedly: “Originally, my father was a calligrapher, I wanted to become a calligrapher myself because I admired him. However, under the influence of a fellow student I met in college, I decided to become an actor.” He started out as a dubbing artist (some of his earliest roles include the Star Ocean video games) but eventually started getting anime jobs.

We were curious whether he watches the anime he is in, mainly because many people dislike the way they sound on recordings. Does the same go for voice actors? “I try to watch everything. Some of the animation is ready at the time of recording and some is not. I am very happy when the ones that were not ready turn out great and I can hear my voice.

When asked if there is a series he’d love to be a part of, Mr. Touchi didn’t have a definitive answer. He stated that he doesn’t read manga as much these days, but as there are many interesting titles out there he is pretty open-minded with roles.

And lastly, considering that Tonbo! is a golf-themed story, we were curious to learn whether he plays golf. As it turns out, in addition to calligraphy and voice acting, golfing was also a potential career option: “I started playing golf when I was in high school because my father loved the game. At one time, I wanted to become a professional golfer.

Tonbo! is currently streaming on Amazon Prime with English subtitles. Mr. Touchi has only words of praise for the project:: Tonbo! is a very wonderful anime. I am very happy that so many people outside of Japan are watching it. Please enjoy it!

We are very thankful to Hiroki Touchi and the Tonbo! team for making this interview happen! If you are into golf or sports anime in general, make sure to give Tonbo! a go. The OLM-animated series is also a contender on Anime Corner’s weekly polls for Spring 2024 season.

©Ken Kawasaki & You Furusawa/Tonbo Project; ©Ken Kawasaki & You Furusawa/Golf Digest Sha

The Tonbo! anime is streaming on Amazon Prime, It’s Anime, ADN (Germany, France), AKIBA PASS TV (Germany), aniverse (Germany. within Amazon channel), Jonu Play (Spain), Anime Generation (Italy, within Amazon Channel), Spacetoon (Middle East). Bilibili (Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia), Wavve (Korea), Tving (Korea), Watcha (Korea), Naver Serieson (Korea), Bflix (Korea), iQIYI (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Timor-Leste), CubMu (Indonesia), MyVideo (Taiwan), KKTV (Taiwan), HamiVideo (Taiwan), LiTV (Taiwan), Line TV (Taiwan)

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