Kaiwan Wattanakrai, veteran anime dubber, dies at 71

Kaiwan Wattanakrai, a voice actor renowned for dubbing anime into Thai, died this morning. He was 71.

The voice actor, whose work spanned four decades, died early Tuesday morning at the Sam Chuk Hospital in central Thailand. 

The cause of his death is not yet known, however, he was said to have been seriously ill and in the hospital for a week prior to his death.

He is best known as the voices behind major characters from top-rated anime such as Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z, Roronoa Zoro in One Piece, and Sakuragi Hanamichi in Slam Dunk, as well as live-action shows such as the original Kamen Rider, in which he voiced Takeshi Hongo.

His fellow actor, Niran Bunyaratphan, who dubbed Goku in Dragon Ball Z, posted a heartfelt social media tribute.

“It’s a pity a miracle didn’t happen, when we still have to dub many more cartoons together,” he wrote. “Who will be waiting to hear my jokes? What will happen to Goku without Vegeta?”

“You and I have been doing cartoons together for more than 40 years, with over hundreds of stories, whatever jokes I throw at you, you could respond back,” he continued. “During the peak period, we dubbed together almost every day, having no holidays. Let’s just say I met you more often than my own family. So we are friends both in cartoons and in real life. Many of you may know that you have had chronic health problems for a long time, but you never thought to put down the mic.” 

Anime fans also took their socials with condolences. 

“I would like to express my condolences to Kaiwan Wattanakrai’s family,” MyRoommate22 tweeted. “He left us this morning on June 28 at 4.24am. Known for more than 30 years of legendary voice acting that everyone is familiar with and can recognize voices such as Vegeta Dragon Ball, Zoro One Piece, Hottori Heiji from Conan, and many more.”

“RIP Kaiwan Wattanakrai, legendary voice actor for me and many others,” CharactersDaily tweeted with fan art. “Thank you for your work that helps build happiness and fun for all of us, and my condolences to your family. Your voice will always resonate in our hearts.”

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