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Naruto Voice Actor Junko Takeuchi's Favorite Sequence Doesn't Feature Naruto At All

Though "Naruto" was always geared toward a younger audience of anime lovers, the series has never shied away from dealing with darker thematic material like expressing grief. The popular anime is no stranger to brutal onscreen deaths and it also made sure fans felt the impact of losing that character. More often than not, once a character is no more, viewers usually see how the surrounding characters are forced to confront that loss.

One of the more memorable deaths was Jiraiya (Hōchū Ōtsuka), Naruto's mentor and father figure in the series. Though Jiraiya is a powerful shinobi, he was unable to defeat the leader of the Akatsuki, a mercenary organization. In Chapter 133, after a thrilling battle, fans were devastated to see their beloved Toad Sage slain in combat. Unfortunately, Naruto was not present during Jiraiya's death, so he was given the somber news in Episode 153 and fans mourned alongside Naruto as he sat alone on a bench, tears streaming down his face.

No doubt both Jiraiya's death and Naruto's distress were heart-wrenching moments in the series, but it's surprisingly not any of these moments that left the greatest impact on Naruto's voice actor, Junko Takeuchi. In fact, her favorite scene doesn't even involve her character.

While promoting a "Naruto" reveal at Jump Festa, Takeuchi spoke with the press, revealing her favorite scene, which features the death of another sensei.

Naruto's voice actor's favorite scene is Asuma's death

In Episode 80 — which aired in Japan in 2008 — after a perilous fight, two members of the Akatsuki overwhelm Asuma Sarutobi (Jūrōta Kosugi) and leave him for dead. Asuma was the sensei to Ino Yamanaka (Ryoka Yuzuki), Shikamaru Nara (Shōtaro Morikubo), and Choji Akimichi (Kentarō Itō) — a trio also known as Ino-Shika-Cho. Asuma's vital organs are irreparably damaged. Unable to help, his students are forced to watch him die. After he gives his last words, he smokes his final cigarette and perishes to his students' cries.

Expressing her admiration for the scene (via ComicBook.com), Naruto voice actor Junko Takeuchi mentioned the crew's desire to portray Asuma's death correctly. When it came time to record it, the other actors were sent home, allowing the remaining actors to convey the emotions the scene required explaining, "I heard that the scene was recorded in a very dense time, with the other actors sent home so that it was just the four of them: Ino-Shika-Cho and Asuma."

Upon seeing the scene, the lead voice actor was impressed, praising the production team for making the effort to enhance it. "When I saw the actual footage that was created, I could feel that the scene was done by a very good team, so I thought it was a really wonderful episode," she said. "The staff also took the initiative to do things that they thought were better even if it required a lot of time and effort, and I think this is the result of the human touch."

And it seems fans felt the same way. Ten years ago, Redditor u/jpiep expressed their grief after watching the episode and asked r/Naruto how the community felt about the death. Replying to the original poster, u/TangibleTurian wrote, "Honestly, this was the saddest death for me ... He was my favourite character, and his death completely blindsided me." Whether this death was the saddest for other viewers is up for debate, but they can likely agree with the same Redditor's conclusion: "Never again was there such an epic beard."