reported by Anime News Network that Goro Naya, the long time voice of Inspector Zenigata from Lupin III, passed away on March 5th from chronic respiratory failure at the age of 83.
Being a big fan of Lupin III, I'm very familiar with Naya's work as Zenigata. But the loss of Naya has hit me harder than you might expect from someone who has never met the legendary actor. Goro Naya's standout voice and performance was one of the main factors in originally getting me so deeply engulfed in the Japanese version of Lupin III. As a matter of fact, his voice is what got me started on watching Anime in Japanese consistently. Lupin III was the very first Anime that I began consistently watching in Japanese close to a decade ago. Before then I was one of those ignorant fans who thought, "If there's no Dub, then it's crap". But putting on Lupin and hearing the way Naya took a seemingly cliche voice for an angry cop and giving it so many layers and so much personality actually turned my views on Anime as a whole around. So many Dubs at that time featured mostly one-dimensional voices and performances. While that is typically no longer the case today, Naya's Zenigata still stands out to me as one of the most perfect and well-rounded performances in Anime history. The way that he could take Zenigata from super serious to hilarious and derpy at the drop of a hat while still making it seem 100% believable is simply unable to be matched.
Over the years I have gained such a deep respect for not only his work as Zenigata, but his numerous other works as well. I would even jokingly refer to him as my "Japanese Grandpa". The passing of Goro Naya is not only a great loss to the Lupin community, but to voice acting in
general. Naya was a true talent and legend and will be greatly missed. I wish
his family nothing but the best through this terrible time.
Rest in Peace Goro Naya.