Dragon Ball has become a worldwide mainstream anime series in the thirty-plus years it's been around, and for the entire run of the series (Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Super) there's been one voice that has defined the character of Son Goku: Masako Nozawa. Well, today (October 25th) is Masako Nozawa's birthday, and aside from the legions of fans who are sending good wishes and praise to the iconic anime actress, Dragon Ball production studio Toei Animation has also taken to social media to deliver a fittingly epic Happy Birthday notice to Nozawa!
Check out Toei's Birthday tribute to Masako Nozawa:
Happy birthday to our LEGENDARY Super Saiyan, Masako Nozawa!!! pic.twitter.com/xMod1cZ8qc— Toei Animation (@ToeiAnimation) October 25, 2019
"Happy birthday to our LEGENDARY Super Saiyan, Masako Nozawa!!!" --Toei Animation
First and foremost, even some longtime Dragon Ball fans probably don't realize just how many voice roles Nozawa has done on the show. As you can see above, Young Goku, Adult Goku, Young Gohan, Gotenks, and Bardock are all some of the Saiyans Nozawa has brought to life over the years - not to mention the big moments (Gohan defeating Cell, Goku first going Super Saiyan) that were brought to life and made forever iconic in part due to Nozawa's vocal performance. However, her anime vocal credits are so much larger than that, going back to the 1960s with shows like Astro Boy, and including series like Voltron, Lion King inspiration Kimba the White Lion, Digimon, One Piece, Naruto, and Pokemon. In a time where words like "Legendary" and "Iconic" get thrown around undeservedly, when it comes to anime Nozawa is the rare case of a star who truly lives up to the term.
Masako Nozawa is now 83, which is just one more reason why it's time for Toei to release the next Dragon Ball Super anime. Nozawa's time gets ore precious by the day, even though the actress is committed to playing Goku as long as physically possible: "I can keep acting until I'm at least 100," Nozawa said. "I think I could do it until I'm 128."
Let's not wait that long, shall we? Because replacing this voice may very well be impossible. Happy Birthday Masako Nozawa!
Dragon Ball Super currently airs its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami programming block on Saturday evenings, and is also available to stream on Funimation and Amazon Video. The Japanese-language release of the series is complete, and available to stream on FunimationNOW and Crunchyroll. The manga has chapters that can currently be read for free thanks to Viz Media, and Dragon Ball Super's big movie, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.