Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

Interview: The New English Cast of Escaflowne!

 

In this interview from Otakon 2016, the brand-new English cast for Escaflowne weighs in on what it was like to recording this classic franchise! Read about the acting/recording process and what it’s like to record a dub for an older show from Caitlin Glass (Hitomi), Aaron Dismuke (Van),  Alexis Tipton (Merle) and ADR Director Sonny Strait (Allen)!

Plus, you can hear them in the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack — the series and movie release contain the original and new dubs, plus the original Japanese audio with English subtitles!

 

 

Can you share your thoughts on the recording process and how you feel about this new dub?

 

Sonny: First of all, what did you guys think about the performance? [audience applause] When I was casting this, Hitomi was a no-brainer, I just knew it was Caitlin. But I also—you’ll get to see Vic Mignogna as Folken in this later. When I started, I thought “that’s who I want to play him.” And then I thought “wouldn’t it be cool if Aaron played his brother?” But I hadn’t directed Aaron since he was a little kid. And so I didn’t know—sometimes child actors don’t grow up to be great actors. So he auditioned—he was one of the first people to audition, and he nailed it. But then I was like “but we have to hear everyone else…” But no one came close. I thought he really nailed the part of that. And oh! and Merle. There were a lot of people who auditioned and with very cute voices and stuff, which is just what Merle needs, but Merle also has to have a real strong bout of humanity. And that’s what Alexis brought to this performance. When I heard her, I thought “That’s what I want.”

How familiar were you with Escaflowne before working on this English dub? Had you heard of or seen this series before?

 

Alexis: I have a friend that I’ve known since 7th grade who was really, really into this in middle school. And I had seen a little bit of it with her at her house after school, hanging out. And so when I heard we got the rights to dub Escaflowne, I was so excited because I knew someone who was very, very passionate about this anime. And when I was cast, I was really excited. So not only did I want to do right by the fans of Escaflowne, I also really wanted to do right by my friend, who has been my friend for so long.

 

Caitlin: I knew of the show of course; for a lot of us sitting here, working in the dubbing industry for ten years or more, but I knew of Escaflowne before I became a voice actor from when the anime came out. I had not seen the show back then; I didn’t know how to watch anything unless I could see it on television or rent it—which is good, because downloading illegal things is bad. So it was a series I had never seen and never thought I would be recording for, so it’s very special.

 

Aaron: I actually hadn’t of it yet when I auditioned—

 

Sonny: You weren’t born when it came out. [audience laughter]

 

Aaron: It came out in ’96, so I was… 4, when it came out initially. And I guess I was 8 when it first came out in America. So yeah, I hadn’t heard of it and as I watched a couple episodes—on YouTube, ironically—I watched a couple episodes of the original dub on YouTube, and I was impacted by, I think his name is Kirby. He was definitely a strong point of it, yeah.

 

Sonny: I was aware of it and I had seen some of it., but it was during a kids’ block of cartoons, and so I watched it in this kids’ block of shows, and what’s great about the version you’re going to hopefully buy soon is that this is unedited. This is the way it was intended to be done. And you know, many companies do that, Funimation has done that before too, but I’d much rather have the unedited version.

 

For Sonny: As ADR director, what was your approach to directing the dub for this classic series? Is there a difference between dubbing for Escaflowne versus dubbing for a contemporary series?

 

Sonny: No, not really. We were aware of the fanbase and we wanted to do the best job we could, but really it’s all about putting the actors in that scene, in that moment. The directing process didn’t get impacted at all, it’s just that we got work on a really cool, high-profile show.

 

Since there was previously a dub that was created for this series, was that a challenge?

 

Sonny: Well, that’s yet to be seen. [audience laughter] I don’t think so. I mean, none of the characters, none of the actors here based their performances on the original dub, and I encouraged them not to. I wanted something to be new, to be fresh. Acting styles change about every decade, so what they did 20 years ago wouldn’t work today.

 

 

Considering the show is from 20 years ago, how difficult was it to stay true to the script, as opposed to going off and saying “my character would never say that?”

 

Sonny: The script was pretty solid. Occasionally there were some parts with some improvising going on. I always encourage my actors: if they can come up with something that works just as well for the scene and it feels more natural coming from the character, then to do so, and that occasionally happens. But the script was pretty solid.

 

Alexis: Yeah, and Merle—I got to play a lot with her. Sometimes there would be moments where she’d be like *huff huff huff* where I’d be like  *huff huff, mrowr, huff* where she’d make little squeaks or little chirps or little meows that were not necessarily scripted, just to give her more character.

 

Sonny: The most important thing is to stay true to the intention of the original creator. And sometimes you could say that in several different ways in English, so sometimes you think “well, this character might say it better this way.” So as long as the intention was true to the original Japanese, that’s what we stick to.

 

 

Interview with Escaflowne Director Kazuki Akane

Hear from the director of a classic anime! For Escaflowne’s 20th anniversary, director Kazuki Akane answered some questions at a special panel at Otakon. Learn about the director’s opinion on the English dub—and yes, the story behind those noses!

 

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Don’t forget to pre-order your copy here—all versions of the TV series and movie feature both the original and new English dubs, as well as the original Japanese audio, set to HD materials that have never been released in North America!

 

It has been 20 years since The Vision of Escaflowne first launched, yet fans overseas are still so excited about this series. Why do you feel that Escaflowne still remains so popular?

 

I actually want to know myself why this is still so popular because honestly, back then, in Japan while we made Escaflowne, we definitely put a lot of effort into it, but we didn’t really make it thinking that we were going to market it abroad. So we had no idea it would end up like this and I’m actually really shocked myself, in a good way, how many more fans there are.

 

Have you ever seen an English dubbed version of an anime that you directed or worked on before? 

 

Actually, no, I must say I think this is pretty much the first time I’ve seen an English dub of my work and in fact, it’s about 10 years since I got to watch Escaflowne in Japanese. The American staff and cast are so incredibly good that honestly, I was thinking, “Wow, when did Hitomi and Van learn English?” It didn’t feel strange at all to be listening to them in English, so I’m really grateful to the cast and to Sonny [Strait, ADR Director]. Thank you.

 

Director Akane with English Cast

 

Escaflowne has a brash, manly hero (Van) and action-packed mecha battles, but it also includes many shoujo romance elements. Was the series created with female audiences in mind as well?

 

So as you saw from the first two episodes, it falls into the genre of robot action or robot battle anime, and of course that is a genre that is primarily seen, if not entirely seen as a boys’ anime and with a boys focus in Japan. But since we definitely were aware that we wanted girls to enjoy it too, I decided I wanted to develop the female characters emotionally, and to see the girl characters from a girl’s perspective. And then what happened was that I ended up with almost more girl fans than boy fans. So there was a period where I thought, “Oh, what did I do, what do I do?”

 

So we mentioned this is a classic anime and the art style is very nostalgic as well. It’s one that you don’t see very much anymore, it’s very iconic. I believe the director has a story behind why the characters look the way they do.

 

So even in Japan, when it first came out, fans responded “why do they have such pointy noses? They all kind of look like Pinocchio…” I want to make sure you all understand that that’s not my preference. It was actually what the character designer Nobuteru Yuki came up with and he came back to me with “Akane-san, I thought you liked shoujo manga. So I tried to make it look like shoujo manga characters.” And when I first got his designs for the characters, I said “Nooooo, I’m not stamping my approval on these. The noses are too long and too pointy.” But he said “Nooooo, I think this is good, I think we should go with this.” And of course, I got the feedback from Japanese fans and I find out that American fans and other fans abroad are like “What’s up with the noses?” and finally after a certain amount of time, Yuki-said got back in touch with me and said “Ohhh, Akane-san, I apologize, I’m sorry… my bad.” It was about a year after the show wrapped that I got the apology.

 

But it wouldn’t be the same without those noses, right?

 

I’ve kind of come around and started to feel that way.

 

Escaflowne Original Poster

 

Since this is the first release of Escaflowne on Blu-ray in North America, coming this October, could you please give a message to the fans why they should be excited for Escaflowne?

 

So as I mentioned earlier, this is the first time in 10 years I’ve seen this title. And I was just thinking “wow, this is a really interesting series.” So I think I can say with utmost confidence that I and we are able to deliver to you fans an English dub that the only difference from the original Japanese version is that the language, that the sound is different, that the feel and the emotions that I felt is exactly the same as when I went through the first time with the original. So I really hope that you can enjoy, and I really think that you can enjoy this new product.

 

 

Interview with Kamisama Kiss Manga Artist – Julietta Suzuki – Part 2

Kamisama Kiss 2_key artA few months ago, we asked fans to send us their questions for Julietta Suzuki–the manga artist for Kamisama Kiss. We compiled your questions and she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer them. Check out part 2 of our interview below. Click here to see part 1.

 

5) Who is your favorite character, and who is your favorite to draw?

 

I can’t choose a favorite, but the ones I find easier to draw are the characters who are candidly self-assertive. Characters like Mizuki and Akura-oh and Yatori clearly communicate with those around them about the actions they want to take, so it feels refreshing to draw them.

 

6) What advice would you give to an aspiring manga artist? When was it that you decided to focus on purely being a mangaka? Did your family and friends support you, and are they fans of manga?

 

My family didn’t view my drawing manga in a particularly favorable light, so I used to draw in secret, trying to keep it hidden as much as possible. The worlds and ideas that burgeoned within me during that period when I was a girl and my habit of mentally filing away the beautiful things that I come across would later on serve to fuel my stories. A sensitive soul is a rare and valuable thing. Please nurture it with love and care.

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Interview with Kamisama Kiss Manga Artist – Julietta Sukuzi – Part 1

Kamisama Kiss 2_key artA few months ago, we asked fans to send us their questions for Julietta Suzuki–the manga artist for Kamisama Kiss. We compiled your questions and she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer them. Check out part 1 of the interview below!

 

1) Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for the series? How did you come up with this plot, and what made you decide to write a romantic comedy with Japanese mythology elements?

 

Back in 2008, Hana to Yume didn’t have a Japanesque manga series at the time, so I thought I would do one.

 

I also created the story hoping that my readers would enjoy the contrast of having a modern high school girl wander into the world of shrines, where time has almost stood still.

 

2) Nanami is a very strong and well-defined heroine! Do you have any inspirations for her personality?

 

Nanami is the outsider who has wandered into this other world, so she needed to have the strength to not be passive and to move the story forward of her own volition. Her optimistic attitude is also the polar opposite of Tomoe, so I think that makes for a good relationship. The more seriously Tomoe takes things, the more it makes Nanami’s character shine.

 

3) Kamisama Kiss is full of very colorful and interesting characters from Japanese mythology. How do you come up with your own ideas and interpretation for the gods and demons in this world? (For example, the idea of the tengu Kurama pretending to be a fallen angel pop star is very interesting and unexpected!) Is it difficult?

 

Coming up with the initial roster of characters who make regular appearances was hard, but the characters who show up later weren’t so difficult. I’ve had fun with the process of putting my own twist on existing yokai.

 

4) Can you tell us your reaction to the popularity of Kamisama Kiss in North America, especially given the cultural differences between Japan and America? Have you seen the translations of the manga or anime, such as the English dub?

 

The English version of the “Kamisama Kiss” comic gets delivered to my house on a regular basis, so I always read them. Much of the material isn’t depicted in a way that’s easily accessible for people who aren’t familiar with the culture of Japan, so I always feel such gratitude and respect for the bigheartedness of my overseas readers, who accept that and love the series just as it is. It makes me really happy!

 

 

Come back later this week for part 2 of our interview with Julietta Suzuki! Kamisama Kiss Season 2 has just finished its simulcast run, so now would be a perfect time to marathon episodes of the series.

 

Don’t forget we also have the Broadcast Dub of the series currently releasing on our site for All-AccessPass members! Click here for more information.

 

 

In Search of the Lost Future Interview – Akane Tomonaga

lost future akane

 

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Back in October, we asked fans to send us their questions for the Japanese voice cast of “In Search of the Lost Future.” We got so many great questions that it was hard to choose! Take a look below at the final part of our 3 part series of interviews. Today, we have Akane Tomonaga, the Japanese voice of Yui Furukawa.

 

Q: In Search of the Lost Future has a lot of unexpected twists and turns. When you went in to record those early episodes, did you know what was going to happen over the series? Do you prefer to know how the show ends and voice act from there, or do you like to discover the twists as your characters (and the audience) do?

 

A: For this show, I didn’t know where the story was going while we were recording. I went into every recording session with a fresh sense of wonder, thinking, “Wow! So, this is how the story unfolds!” Of course, there are times when I like to know how the story ends and structure my performance accordingly. And I was especially dying of curiosity to know how this series ended. But it was precisely because I didn’t know that I was able to read each script with a fresh outlook and it made the recording sessions fun.

 

Q: For some of you, the roles you’re playing for In Search of the Lost Future are quite different from your previous ones, both in terms of personality and even vocal pitch. How do you prepare for a new role, and is it difficult to switch between projects?

 

A: I look at the art for the character and imagine, “For this girl, maybe her voice would sound like this and she would talk like this,” and rehearse to match the script and the art. And then, in the studio, I try giving my performance of the character the way I’ve conceptualized her. If I get the OK, I go with it and if it’s not quite right, then I make adjustments on the spot. So, I don’t think it’s difficult to switch between projects.

 

Q: As English-speaking fans of your work, we’re curious if any of you have seen an English dub of an anime, especially one with a character you voiced in Japanese. Have you seen any, and if so, which?

 

A: I’m sad to say I’ve never seen any. I’d love to get the chance!

 

Q: Do any of you have experience playing visual novels (particularly the original In Search of the Lost Future)? If so, what was your favorite?

 

A: I’m not really sure what defines a game as a visual novel, but I like to play video games. Regrettably, I’ve never played the game that this show is based on. But lately, my favorite game is “Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate”, though that’s not a visual novel, is it? I like the so-called “otome game (girls’ games)” genre and I play those games often, of which my latest top pick is “Ayakashi Gohan (Mystical Meals)”! I voice one of the characters in it, but even without that fact, the story is really wonderful and I love it!

 

Q: In America, voice actors often record lines individually, while in Japan, multiple voice actors might record in the same room together. Does interacting with other voice actors ever affect your performance, e.g. do you ever change your delivery or ad lib based on how you interact with the other voice actors?

 

A: Naturally, hearing the performances of my fellow cast members tends to bring out a different performance from me than what I’d rehearsed on my own. What they do can spur me to feel different emotions, which leads to shifts in my performance. I think it’s those “emotional changes” that make it so fun to record together.

 

That concludes our 3 part interview series! Special thanks to all the fans who submitted their questions for the Japanese voice cast, and to our translation team, and our licensor for facilitating these interviews! We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the seiyuu and the characters of the show. Click this link to see the previous interviews in this series.

 

New episodes of In Search of the Lost Future air every Saturday at 12:30pm ET. Click here for episodes.

 

series synopsis:

A series of increasingly strange events have been reported at Uchihama Academy’s soon-to-be-replaced aging school building. When the student council grows concerned about the spectral encounters, puzzling sleep disorders, and bizarre mishaps, they enlist the aid of the Astronomy Club to crack the case before it’s too late. One evening after school, club member Sou Akiyama is rocked by a sudden earthquake – and an encounter with a beautiful and mysterious naked girl who appears to know him even though he has no recollection of ever meeting her. The next day, the very same girl arrives at his school as a transfer student who’s interested in joining the Astronomy Club. In the blink of an eye, Sou’s fate – along with the fates of all the girls in his club – begin to change in very dramatic and mysterious ways.

In Search of the Lost Future Interview – Hatsumi Takada

lost future hatsumi

 

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Back in October, we asked fans to send us their questions for the Japanese voice cast of “In Search of the Lost Future.” We got so many great questions that it was hard to choose! Take a look below at part 2 of our 3 part series of interviews. Today, we have Hatsumi Takada, the Japanese voice of Kaori Sasaki.

 

Q: In Search of the Lost Future has a lot of unexpected twists and turns. When you went in to record those early episodes, did you know what was going to happen over the series? Do you prefer to know how the show ends and voice act from there, or do you like to discover the twists as your characters (and the audience) do?

 

A: Towards the beginning, I went into the recording sessions with absolutely no idea of where the story was going. Several episodes in, I was given a rough idea of how things would end, but I purposefully refrained from asking for any details. I do like to know as much as possible about how a story ends, but depending on the role I’m playing, I also sometimes feel that I’d like to stay in the dark, so that I can be in the same frame of mind as my character. Kaori, my character on this show, was just such a case, so I played her with my heart in my mouth every session, wondering what was to come.

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In Search of the Lost Future Interview – Takuma Terashima

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Back in October, we asked fans to send us their questions for the Japanese voice cast of “In Search of the Lost Future.” We got so many great questions that it was hard to choose! Take a look below at part 1 of our 3 part series of interviews. First up, we’ve got Takuma Terashima, the Japanese voice of Sou Akiyama.

 

Q: In Search of the Lost Future has a lot of unexpected twists and turns. When you went in to record those early episodes, did you know what was going to happen over the series? Do you prefer to know how the show ends and voice act from there, or do you like to discover the twists as your characters (and the audience) do?

 

A: I think that depending on the show and the character, in some situations, it’s better to know how the story will unfold and in other situations, it’s not. But for this show, I played my character without knowing, and other than the immediate future and changes to his emotional state, I figured it was better that I didn’t know anything, so I refrained from asking. When I read the scripts, I was especially surprised by the events in Episode 1 and the story that unfolded towards the end.

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Terror in Resonance Official Interview

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The following interview with Shinichiro Watanabe, renowned director of Cowboy Bebop, Space Dandy, and the hit thriller Terror in Resonance, was originally posted to the official Japanese Terror in Resonance website before the series launched. We hope you enjoy it, and make sure to watch Terror in Resonance every Thursday at 12:50pm Eastern! Click here to watch now.

 

Interviewer: Tell us the story of how Terror in Resonance came to be.
Watanabe: I think to some people, it looked like I took a break and didn’t work from around 2007 until I made Kids on the Slope in 2012. But actually, during that time, I prepared many project proposals. However, due to the recession and other factors, it was hard to get any of them approved and made. Terror in Resonance was an original project that I came up with during that period. I created the proposal before the Tohoku earthquake, about 4 or 5 years ago.

 

Interviewer: So it was something that you wanted to make since then?
Watanabe: That’s right. About three years ago, I heard from Fuji TV about Kids on the Slope, which was based on a comic. When I received the offer, I said, “I also have this other project. Do you want to make it?” and told them about Terror in Resonance. When I did, the chief producer of noitaminA, Koji Yamamoto, said, “Well, why don’t we try having not just Kids on the Slope by itself, but also plan for the original work after that?” That was when we were finally able to start working on this.

 

Interviewer: How did you come up with the idea for this project?
Watanabe: In recent years, there have been terrorist attacks all over the world, but Japanese people seem to be under the impression that these are things that happen in countries far away. However, if there were suddenly serial bombing attacks in the middle of Tokyo, what would happen? How would we deal with that? What if the culprits were teenaged boys? What if terrorists showed up who could use current technology to lead Japan around by the nose using their smartphones? These ideas were what formed the original concept. And then, thinking about possible acts of terror that could occur in Japan, I had to think about the systems in Japan as a country and how they work.

 

Interviewer: We still don’t know much about Terror in Resonance. What kind of story will it be?
Watanabe: There is a lot of action and suspense. If you look at it that way, even some of my past works seem unexpectedly similar to modern American action movies. The series also includes themes of adolescence, or rather, the youthfulness of the teenage years and their immaturity and instability, but with the feeling of constantly being on edge and challenging everything. I wanted to depict those ideas in this series, and I think everything gets mixed together in Terror in Resonance. I guess you could call it a coming-of-age/action/suspense series, although I’ve never heard of such a genre (laughs). Well, one must always continue to pioneer new genres. I also thought about foreign TV shows where recently, movie directors have been working on TV series. These TV shows have had a jump in quality simply because, since they are longer than movies, more story and dramatic elements can be packed in.

 

Interviewer: Foreign TV shows?
Watanabe: Yes. I don’t think I need to make shows that are like all the other anime that have been made recently, and I aim to create shows with a wider appeal. However, explaining it as a show about terrorism seems kind of inaccessible, so in order to make it easier to understand, recently, I have been insisting that it’s “a series like 24” (laughs). Also, we spent a lot of time and effort working on the terrorist group “Sphinx” and their riddles in every episode, so I have also been telling people, “Parts of it are like Sherlock, too!” (laughs).

 

Interviewer: Looking at the announcement that the show will be about “two mysterious children who combine forces to form the clandestine entity ‘Sphinx’ and play a dangerous game with all of Japan,” it looks like this will be the most provocative show in your filmography to date.
Watanabe: That wasn’t something that I tried to do on purpose—it just happened naturally. Especially in the case of an original anime work, we have to create the setting from scratch, which is difficult if there is nothing to base it on. So I end up using what I know, and parts of me end up in the work. For example, even if we all live in the same world, how we perceive the world is different depending on the person. There are people who think the world is a depressing place that’s full of deception, making it hard to live in. But there are also people who are generally satisfied and feel like the world is a good and peaceful place. How I perceive the world and how I feel about it comes out naturally when I am working on an original anime.

 

Interviewer: The character designs were by Kazuto Nakazawa and the music was by Yoko Kanno. These two people are often connected to you, and they are both participating in this project.
Watanabe: What they both have in common is that neither needs very much explanation from me. When I am working on something, it is difficult to explain exactly what I want to the staff in words. In fact, it is often the feeling before it’s even put it into words that is important, so most of the time, people don’t understand what I want. For example, there are people who want me to tell them that I want “a work like such and such,” but I don’t want to make something that is like another work (laughs). In the midst of that, these two don’t need me to keep explaining myself before they understand what I need. The other thing they have in common is that even if we work with the same theme, the two of them present it in a way that allows as many people as possible to understand their work. They always have that goal in mind, which is something I appreciate very much.

 

Interviewer: Finally, please tell us your hopes for Terror in Resonance.
Watanabe: It is something that I have wanted to make for a long time, so I am putting my heart and soul into it. I want to know what people think, so I hope that you will all watch it.

 

Interviewer: Thank you very much.

 

Translated by Nita Lieu

 

Follow up to our Anime News Network Interview

 

We sat down with Anime News Network recently to talk about the Kamisama Kiss Goddess Edition, FUNimation’s first Premium Edition release. In the interview, we talk about why we decided to use Kamisama Kiss as our first title for this type of configuration, and why simulcasts numbers are so important. Click here to read the entire interview.

 

Since the interview was published, we’ve been reading some of the comments posted by fans, and we wanted to answer a few questions for you. So, we went to our Acquisitions Team to get the low down.

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