Who is Fairouz Ai? 'JoJo' fans gaga over 'literally perfect' voice actor ahead of 'Stone Ocean'

Fairouz Ai was a hardcore 'JoJo' fan in her childhood. Now she is set to play Jolyn Cujoh in 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean'.

                            Who is Fairouz Ai? 'JoJo' fans gaga over 'literally perfect' voice actor ahead of 'Stone Ocean'
Fairouz Ai as Jolyne Cujoh (Warner Bros. Japan Anime)

After a lengthy wait, the first trailer for the next Stone Ocean season of 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure' was released, on Saturday, August 7. Fans went ballistic on Twitter over the casting of Fairouz Ai as the new protagonist Jolyn Cujoh. The release date of the sixth chapter of the virally popular anime series was also announced for a global Netflix release in December. 

Netflix recently acquired the rights of ‘Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan’ – a spin-off from ‘Diamond Is Unbreakable’, the fourth part of Hirohiko Araki’s ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’ series. The new anime series became something highly awaited for the manga fans as they waited with bated breath for 'Stone Ocean', the release of the sixth season of ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.’ 


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MEAWW earlier reported that Satoshi Kon, who got his first taste of full direction on an episode in the 'JoJo' franchise, released the hidden gem series 'Tokyo Godfathers' on VOD. We also recently reported that Zach Aguilar, who plays Koichi Hirose, and Katsuyuki Konishi who plays Diavolo, are starring in the Netflix movie 'Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie'.

But Saturday belonged to 'JoJo' fans who went gaga over the 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean' promotional video, happy that they now have a release date. Fans were happy with the cast announcements, especially that of Fairouz Ai who will be the voice behind the forthcoming series' new protagonist Jolyn Cujoh. 


Who is Fairouz Ai?

Fairouz Ai's journey from being Jolyn fangirl to becoming Jolyn is a fairytale of success. Ai is a voice actor that works for Pro-Fit and is Egyptian-Japanese. Hibiki Sakura, the heroine of the 2019 anime series 'How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?', was her debut anime role. In the 2019 anime series 'Kandagawa Jet Girls', she portrayed Emily Orange and in the 2020 anime series 'If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die', she played Eripiyo.

Ai was born Fairouz Ai Kadota on 6 July 1993 in Tokyo, to a Japanese mother and an Egyptian father. She also has a brother Ghādo Kadota, who is an ice climber. He represents Japan in competitions. The Lebanese singer Nouhad Wadie Haddad, better known as Fairuz, 'the soul of Lebanon', inspired her name. "My parents wanted to raise me bilingually, and I had a rule to use Arabic when I had a dad at home. But after junior high school, I started to speak in Japanese," she said, according to Japanese website Web New Type



She  owes her 'cheerful personality' to Cairo

Before returning to Japan for high school, she completed her primary schooling in Cairo for one and a half years, inspired by her drive to find out more about her roots. "Both Japan and Egypt are my countries of origin, right? So I thought, ‘I need to know more about Egypt!’. When I mentioned that to my mother, my paternal grandmother who was living in Cairo said, ‘Why not come and study in a Japanese school in Cairo?’ and off I went," she told the Seiyuu Plus blog.

Of her childhood, "I wanted to live in Egypt for real and observe the people living there. So that may have been my motivation, to ‘fight back against prejudices!’" said Ai. Although she did get homesick eventually, Ai said her cheerful personality "is probably due to my time spent in Egypt, I think." "Lots of cheerful people there. Everyone was so kind and considerate. People are also very chatty and they’d be keen to strike up a conversation with anyone," she said.



Jolyn is the 'key to her optimism'

Ai said when she returned to Japan, she "pounced on shonen manga and got addicted", according to the blog. When asked about when she decided to become a seiyuu, Ai said: "When I was in high school, and it was thanks to Nico Nico Douga." Nico Nico Dougs is a Japanese video-sharing service on the web, a spot frequented by Ai who watched many videos there.

She became acquainted with the manga series 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure' during her junior high school years. Jolyn became her favorite character. "She’s the key to my optimism!" she said. "JoJo also happens to be my first taste of voice acting. A group of JoJo fans gathered and started doing something similar to recitals through Skype group calls. We’d decide on which episode of which part we’d do that day, and rotate the various roles amongst ourselves," Ai said.



Manga reading inspired her to become a seiyuu

She would participate in Skype reading sessions with other fans due to her developing enthusiasm for the series. "As I read it, my worries seemed to be tiny, saying, 'Everyone is fighting for what they believe in and what they want to protect. But I'm thinking only about myself. This is no good'," she said to the website. "I got a lot of courage, saying, "I have to be as strong as Xu Lun!"," she said, adding that she made more 'JoJo' friends online.

Ai said it was popular at the time for fans to post videos of themselves reading manga. Upon participating in the same, Ai got a lot of praise from fellow fans. "I was very happy, and it seems that I became a resident of the world of "Jojo" by reading aloud," she said. "I was reading aloud not only the dialogue but also the onomatopoeia all the time. While doing that, I thought, "I want to become a real voice actor and come out when" Jojo "becomes an anime!", So I started aiming for this path," she added. Voice actors are called 'seiyuu' in Japan.



Illustrating is her hobby

But the path wasn't smooth for the 28-year-old. Ai's parents initially disapproved of her plans. Instead, she would initially study at a graphic design vocational school before spending a year as a dental assistant. " I told my mother, 'I want to go to a voice actor training school after graduation.' Then she said, 'You just say that because you don't want to do job hunting. If you get a job properly, work for a year, and go to a training school with the money you saved there, I will accept it'," Ai said. 

After she graduated from graphic design school, she worked as a dental assistant while attending seiyuu (voice actor) training school on the side. Even so, she is a masterful illustrator. "When I was in junior high it only went as far as trying to copy my favorite manga, but once I got to high school I bought my own graphics tablet and started drawing in earnest," she said to the Seiyuu Plus blog, adding with was "just a hobby for me to draw the things that I love."

But it all worked out for Ai, who is set to helm the newest 'JoJo' anime. Fans took to Twitter to express how well she fits the role. "Soooo stone ocean drops this December and Jolyne's voice actor is literally perfect for this role #stoneocean," said one. "Fairouz Ai is absolutely PRECIOUS!!!!! the PERFECT jolyne ahhhh," said another, sharing a video of Ai speaking at an interview. "The sound crew occasionally gets approval from Jolyne's voice actor cause she is such a Jojo expert that everyone knows its perfect when she does too. She is so precious omg. Loudly crying face #StoneOcean," a third quipped. "Fairouz Ai became voice actor since she wanted to act in Jojo. And it finally came true… She’s gonna act her most favorite character, Jolyne!! What a success story," a fourth chipped in.





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