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Acclaimed Voice Actor Toru Furuya Steps Down Amid Scandal

The world of anime is reeling from a significant development as Toru Furuya, the highly regarded voice actor known for his role as the “Flame Emperor” Sabo in the beloved series “One Piece,” has announced his departure from multiple high-profile projects. This decision comes in the wake of a scandal involving an abusive relationship with a fan.

Toru Furuya, a towering figure in the anime industry with a career spanning over 60 years, has publicly admitted to engaging in an extramarital affair with a fan in her 30s. The relationship, which persisted for over four years, came to light amid allegations of physical abuse and coercion. Furuya, now 70 years old, acknowledged that he physically assaulted the woman during their relationship and pressured her into undergoing an abortion.

The Japanese news website Oricon was among the first to report on the situation, revealing that Furuya and his talent agency, Aoni Production, have issued a formal statement addressing the matter. In the statement, they announced Furuya’s decision to step down from his roles in “One Piece” and “Detective Conan,” where he lent his voice to the character Rei Furuya. This follows the recent move by Atlus to remove Furuya from its upcoming role-playing game, “Metaphor: ReFantazio,” earlier in June.

In a heartfelt message archived by a “One Piece” fan account @pewpiece, before Furuya deleted his social media accounts, he expressed profound remorse for his actions. “Due to my selfish actions, I, Toru Furuya, have caused trouble and concern for many people. This incident has significantly damaged the works and character images of ‘Detective Conan’ and ‘One Piece.’ To compensate for the damage done to these works and characters, and to support the fans of these works, I have thought deeply and painfully decided to withdraw from voicing the characters Furuya Rei and Sabo. Once again, I sincerely apologize to everyone for the significant trouble caused. I deeply regret this incident and feel truly sorry.”

The impact of Furuya’s departure has reverberated across the anime community. Toei Animation, the production company behind “One Piece,” confirmed the actor’s exit in an official statement. “Toru Furuya’s agency has requested that he no longer voice the character Sabo.

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. We have accepted this request and decided to replace the voice actor. We will proceed with selecting a new voice actor. We ask for your continued support of the ‘One Piece’ anime in the future,” Toei Animation stated.

Furuya’s decision to step down marks the end of an era for his fans and the anime world. Over his extensive career, he has brought to life many iconic characters, including Tuxedo Mask in “Sailor Moon,” Yamcha in “Dragon Ball,” and Amuro Ray in “Mobile Suit Gundam.” Although his departure from these beloved series is a significant loss, it underscores the importance of accountability and the serious repercussions of personal actions on professional careers.

As the news continues to unfold, the future of Furuya’s career remains uncertain. Many industry insiders and fans alike are speculating that the scandal might lead him to retire from the anime industry entirely. His reputation, once untarnished, now stands heavily marred by this controversy, leaving a cloud of doubt over any potential projects he might undertake in the future.

Furuya’s case brings to light the critical issue of personal conduct within the entertainment industry. The anime community, known for its passionate and dedicated fanbase, places a high value on the integrity and character of its stars. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the responsibilities that come with fame, and the consequences when those responsibilities are ignored.

Furthermore, the industry response, including the swift actions taken by Aoni Production, Toei Animation, and Atlus, demonstrates a commitment to upholding ethical standards. It reflects a broader trend within the entertainment sector to address misconduct promptly and transparently, prioritizing the welfare of fans and the integrity of creative works over the careers of individual talents.

The departure of Toru Furuya from “One Piece” and his other roles is a poignant moment for the anime community. As the industry moves forward, the hope is that this incident will foster a greater awareness of personal accountability and reinforce a culture of respect and dignity, both on and off the screen. In the meantime, fans of “One Piece” and “Detective Conan” will eagerly await the announcement of new voice actors to fill the void left by Furuya, wishing him the best as he navigates the consequences of his actions.