The world of anime lost a beloved voice today, as actress Toshiko Fujita sadly passed away at age 68, as a result of a battle with breast cancer:
As you can see in the photo above, Fujita has given voice to some pretty memorable anime characters. She's probably best known for voicing Taichi Yagami, the central / major supporting character in the various Digimon series. However, she was also Hilda in Outlaw Star, Mamiya in Fist of the North Star, Rally Cheyenne in Silent Möbius, as well as numerous other roles of note. Needless to say, it will be a loss for anime fans who grew up with some of these iconic anime and characters - including an entire generation who was raised on the Digimon phenomenon of the 2000s.
Ironically enough, Digimon is about to get something of a resurgence, thanks to the upcoming 20th anniversary milestone of the series. That will also bring a new movie, tentatively titled Theater Version Digimon Adventure, which will see the main characters from the previously series now in their 20s - including a new version of Taichi Yagami:
"We requested that Nakatsuru-san design these with more realistic proportions, as opposed to the designs from Adventure and 02," said character designer Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru. "We wanted these designs to amplify the image of each of the children that we want to project to the audience, which would showcase what each of the children are doing now at their age and what their future goals are."
The Digimon series was originally conceived by Bandai, Toei Animation, and WiZ in 1997 as a way to capitalize on the virtual pet craze sparked by Tamagotchi. The franchise focus on its titular "Digital Monsters," monsters that live in a parallel, digital world that came from mankind's technology. The franchise had its first anime adaptation, Digimon Adventure, which focuses on a group of children known as the DigiDestined (or "Chosen Children" in Japan) that are transported to the world of Digimon and have to fight the various evil digital beasts that roam the land.
R.I.P. Toshiko Fujita.