Various news outlets such as Oricon, via an announcement from Japanese talent agency Aoni Production, have reported that actress and singer Yūko Mizutani passed away on May 17 due to complications from breast cancer. Known worldwide for her roles in animated series such as Chibi Maruko-chan (as Sakiko Sakura), Black Jack (as Pinoko), Tenchi Muyō! (as Mihoshi Kuramitsu), and many others, Mrs. Mizutani is most familiar to Digimon fans as the voice of Sora Takenōchi in Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02. She was 51 years old.
Many key players in the Digimon franchise, from animation director Yoshihiro Takeda to (perhaps most heartbreakingly) Piyomon voice actress Atori Shigematsu, have shared tributes in memory of Mrs. Mizutani and her work.
In addition to reprising her role as Sora in all five Digimon Adventure drama CDs, Mrs. Mizutani participated in six songs released under the DiGiMONMUSiC branding.
01.) “Tomorrow Will Be More” – Sora’s song from the 1999 “Character Songs + Mini Drama 1” album.
02.) “Shiny Days” – Sora’s song from the 2000 “Best Partner: Sora Takenōchi & Piyomon” single.
03.) “The Two Of Us, Flapping Our Wings” – Sora and Piyomon’s duet from the 2000 “Best Partner: Sora Takenōchi & Piyomon” single.
04.) “Our Digital World” – A 2001 song performed by Kōji Wada and Ai Maeda with all 24 Digimon Adventure 02 protagonists.
05.) “Sky-Blue Wind” – Sora’s song from the 2002 “Girls Festival” album.
06.) “I Wish” – A cover of Digimon Adventure‘s first ending theme from the 2002 “We Love DiGiMONMUSiC” boxset.
Most recently, Mrs. Mizutani returned as Sora for “Digimon Mystery File • Cracking The Millennium Seal!”, a newly-written CD drama released exclusively with 2015’s Digimon Adventure 15th Anniversary Blu-Ray BOX. In the currently ongoing Digimon Adventure Tri film series, Sora Takenōchi is voiced by actress and singer Suzuko Mimori.
Our condolences to Yūko Mizutani’s fans and loved ones, and our deepest thanks to Mizutani herself for filling one of this franchise’s favorite characters with life and love.