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How Shunsuke Takeuchi's Childhood Helped Land Him A Role In Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island

Anime fans are rejoicing in the triumphant return of a forgotten episode of classic anime — one that established the real robot subgenre of mecha anime. The original television series "Mobile Suit Gundam" debuted in 1979 and aired 43 episodes. Compared to the super robot genre of anime, as exemplified by "Transformers," real robots are perhaps more realistic, per Tropedia, in that they're created by military personnel and require more than just love or friendship to fix any damage. The series became Japan's response to "Star Wars," per Slashfilm, and was almost as popular. The original "Mobile Suit Gundam" series is now available to stream — and there's a new production of one of its episodes.

This original "Gundam" episode was reborn with the U.S. release of the 2022 film "Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island," allowing fans to revisit this frequently skipped episode in a brand-new way. The original Episode 15 apparently suffered so terribly from production restrictions that series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino essentially disowned it. But it still spoke to director Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, who 43 years later, helmed this new version. "The themes that it touches are very timely and contemporary," Yasuhiko told QooApp in a translated interview. "I think that's what piqued my interest."

Starring as the eponymous Cucuruz Doan is Japanese actor Shunsuke Takeuchi, whose natural ability (even as a teen) made him appropriate for the role.

Shunsuke Takeuchi was an anime fan with a naturally deep voice

One characteristic of Cucuruz Doan — the human pilot of the mecha robot at the center of "Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island" — is his deep, commanding voice. With original director Yoshikazu Yasuhiko back to direct the adaptation of this episode, and bringing back a few original "Mobile Suit Gundam" actors too, it makes sense that they'd want an actor with an equally commanding voice. Fortunately, Shunsuke Takeuchi — even at such a young age, and with over 50 credits on IMDb — was gifted with such a voice.

"My voice gradually got lower over time, but it was already in that voice register [at age 16]," Takeuchi admitted in a translated interview with QooApp. Yasuhiko complimented his voice too, saying "Oh, he does have a very nice voice. It felt like a glove that fits."

Takeuchi, inspired by Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight," began his voiceover career at age 15, per The Hand That Feeds. Though born in 1997, Takeuchi admitted to QooApp that he took inspiration from anime franchises before his time. "Watching shows from the '70s and '80s and hearing the vocal performances in anime like the ones Yoshihiko-san and [Amuro Ray actor Toru] Furuya-san worked on really inspired me to become a voice actor," he said. Takeuchi added, "A character with a gruff and mature voice was something I've always wanted to take on, so I'm very grateful the director chose me for the role." Fans of the film are glad as well.