It's a sad day for the world of Pokémon, and the entire anime community as a whole. Voice actor Unsho Ishizuka, who is best known for his role as the lovable Professor Oak in the Japanese Pokémon series, has passed away.
The actor has been voicing Ash Ketchum's mentor since the series debuted back in 1997, though his contributions to Pokémon go even further than that. Ishizuka was also the narrator for the series, as well as the voice of a few Pocket Monsters, including Steelix and Onix.
According to Aoni Production's official website, Ishizuka died on August 13 from esophageal cancer. He was 68 years old at the time of his passing.
Aoni has announced that their seiyuu (voice actor) Ishizuka Unshou has passed away on 13 August at 68 years old due to esophagus cancer. He had been under medical care, but no treatment had proved effective.— 黒凧 BlackKite (@bk2128) August 17, 2018
RIP... ご冥福をお祈りいたします//t.co/JIImjfQ50q pic.twitter.com/LxVpnsA34K
While Professor Oak is far and away his most recognizable role, Ishizuka also voiced several other notable anime characters throughout his prolific career. You've probably heard his work as Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop.
When voice actor Daisuke Gori passed away in 2010, Ishizuka took over the roles of Mr. Satan in the Dragon Ball franchise, as well as Heihachi Mishima in Tekken.
In 2018, Ishizuka voiced characters like Dino Golzine in Banana Fish and Willibald Joachim von Merkatz in Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These. The actor also provided narration for Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online.
Which of Unsho Ishizuka's roles was your favorite? Let us know in the comments.