Anyone who's listened to the Japanese audio for Kingdom Hearts will be familiar with voice actor Yu Shimaka: ever since the series launched in 2002, the 70-year-old voice actor has put in memorable performances as Goofy, the lovable anthropomorphic dog that has been ever-presented in the Kingdom Hearts series. Reports from Japan have now confirmed that, sadly, the talented voice actor passed away on July 28.
Shimaka was born in Nagano Prefecture, Japan on May 6, 1949. He had last portrayed Goofy in Kingdom Hearts 3, which released earlier this year. With a voice acting career that spanned some 37 years, he was a prominent figure when it comes to Japanese dubs, animated films, and virtually any role that involved Goofy himself.
Shimaka's voice acting career would see him feature in several anime titles, including the likes of Code Geass, Cowboy Bebop, Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, and more. He was also prominent when it came to Japanese dubs of English films and television shows, lending his voice to the likes of The X-Files, ER, The Brave Little Toaster, LOST, and Tom & Jerry. As one may have expected given that he voiced Goofy from Kingdom Hearts for so long, he also donned the role of Goofy in Japanese dubs of Disney films like A Goofy Movie.
Shimaka also ran a voice acting class called Goof Troop, who's name is an obvious play on the beloved character he had voiced for many years. The voice actor had been lecturing at the Tokyo Announce Gakuin school at the time of his passing. His funeral services were reportedly held on July 31 and August 1.
It is unclear if Shimaka had recorded any unique lines of dialogue for the Kingdom Hearts 3 Re:Mind DLC that is slated to release this winter. Those who are playing the game in English will not be impacted, as American voice actor Bill Farmer, who has voiced Goofy since 1987, is still contributing to the role for English-based projects.
It was also not been made immediately clear if previously-recorded audio from Shimaka will be used in Kingdom Hearts 4, or if a new voice actor will be brought in to play the role of Goofy. When it comes to voice acting, anything is possible: after comedian Don Rickles passed away during production of Toy Story 4, the producers pieced together previously recorded audio clips so that he could reprise his role posthumously. It's unclear if the developers of Kingdom Hearts will follow a similar path.
With the passing of Yu Shimaka, the film industry has lost a talented star.Our sincere condolences go out to his friends and family at this difficult time.
Source: Comic Book