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Interview With Todd Haberkorn

He’s All Fired Up!

Do you like your anime characters obsessed with symmetry? How about pasta? Swimming? Well, then we kindly refer you to this beloved voice actor who has given us no shortage of frantic yet awesome roles over the years. The one and only Todd Haberkorn!

As both a voice actor and director, Mr Haberkorn is one of the best in the business, and much like his signature character he was practically spitting fire at the chance to answer some of our questions in a recent interview.

I want to take you back to some of your earliest roles in anime. From your performances as Raki in Claymore and Yamato in Suzuka, what lessons did you as a voice-actor that still resonate with you today?

Good questions! From an acting perspective, that I don’t need to show off…let the work and focus speak for itself. From a directing perspective, that I can trust the actor to do their part and even if their interpretation of a character isn’t exactly what I envisioned – it can still be solid!

Be honest, do you think you will ever again play a character as fabulous as Hikaru from Ouran High School Host Club?

Haha, well, they’re all fabulous for different reasons…but I have to say, Natsu Dragneel has really impacted my life and the life of folks all over the world…I see tattoos all the time on people from Fairy Tail! Ouran will always hold a special place in my heart though – no one does commoner’s coffee like a Host Club.”

What is it like playing the lead character in a series like Rosario + Vampire, where the amount of heart is only matched by hilarious fanservice? 

Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to play numerous leads in this type of environment and each time its a fun ride…I just wish the dudes I played in those realms had more courage from episode 1- ha! They’re so scared of all these women falling all over them! The characters I play need to take some Motley Crue pills and man up sometimes! The other thing that stands out…the shininess of some of the anatomy on these characters still baffles me. #INeedThatMoisturizer

On a totally unrelated note, what’s it like to play the lead character in a series like Free, where the fanservice is only matched by its endearing heart?

With that show in particular – I was taken aback at how good all the cast sound together. It was a joy to sit back and hear the other cast members do their thing…really impressive work in that show. I’m glad they let me come play! And from a story perspective, it hit a nice not with folks that deal with those very same issues of bonds of friendship, competition, future plans, and passions in regards to career goals.

Fans were smitten by your lovably eccentric take on Hetalia’s Italy, do we dare ask how many times you’ve been asked to yell out “PASTA!”

Here’s what you do…take a 50 lbs bag of quinoa…throw it on the floor. Count the individual grains and you’ll have an approximation. Having said that, I will say that its amazing the love I get from the fans for that show. Its heartwarming to receive such positive energy from folks about my contribution to that clever show and how many folks took in interest in history in their schools after watching it.”

Speaking of eccentric, one of your most beloved roles was that of Death the Kid from Soul Eater, whose swagger was only matched by his obsession with symmetry. To that effect, what would you say was the coolest moment of your career, and what was your most frantic?

“Coolest moment of my career (so far)…that’s a very difficult thing to answer. Only because I’ve been so fortunate to have such wonderful experiences in the booth and outside of it with colleagues, fans, friends, strangers, etc. I’m at a loss for words at all the great snapshots I have in my brain about moments that I’m thankful for because of the career I’m lucky enough to have. Some off the top of my head are working with Andrea Romano (a legend whose talent is only outmatched by her kindness), getting to become friends through work with greats like Jess Harnell, Johnny Yong Bosch, etc, and traveling the world meeting all the rad fans out there!”

“Most frantic moment…studio deadlines! Everything from audio books, sound design I’ve done, directing, writing, and more…those deadlines sneak up on ya and keep you on your toes! But even with all the (sometimes) stress that comes with the gig – I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Well…except maybe a 36 hour day.”

Your role in The Legend of Korra was integral to its fourth and final season. Do you think Baatar Jr found redemption in the end? Furthermore, what was it like to work with “the” Andrea Romano? 

“Y’know, we’ll never get to see it, dang it! Its such a cliff hanger…I hope so! Cause if he didn’t…well, I know how those stories usually end. Unless his brain got uploaded to a cybernetic being and now I’m Brainiac.”

“With Andrea…just a treat every second. Just being in the room with her and chatting about work and life – you can see she’s the epitome of how a person should handle themselves professionally and personally. She’s got such a big heart, is so thankful for her adventures, and leaves everyone she knows with a smile. And that’s not even touching on her accomplishments…she truly is a legend and has seen it all. When I grow up, I hope to be half as cool!”

Along with acting, you have also worked as an ADR director on a number of projects. In many cases you were also voicing a major role within the anime itself. Can you tell us about how you managed to balance that dynamic on shows such as D.Gray-man and Shuffle?

Having directing for many mediums: stage, film, video games, etc – directing for anime was something I was definitely interested in. For me, it actually moves a little faster cause I know in my head what I’d like and when I’ve cast the project – I can within 90% certainty know how the other actors are going to help the animated journey – so it makes it more fluid when trying to lay down the audio. And also, cause I’m directing, I know the show a lot better than I would if I were just a lead cause I have watched the entire show at that point before stepping into the booth.

Your latest directorial venture was with Glitter Force Doki Doki. Would you say you have a taste for the director’s chair by this point and do you think it has made you a better actor as a result? Also, are you a firm believer than an anime can never have enough sparkles?

I think it does help me as an actor cause I get to see a lot of folks doing their thing and they teach me something every session. I’m always open to learning and growing and am grateful for the awesome talent that gets behind the mic in my sessions. In regards to sparkles – I only direct if sparkles are within 100 yards of my location.”

We couldn’t avoid talking about him forever. Natsu; fantasy anime’s greatest hothead and one of your longest running characters to date. With the dubbed version of Fairy Tail drawing to a close, is there a dragon shaped hole in your heart or are you immensely satisfied with how things have turned out?

“Well hey! We’ve got one more season to go! The journey has just gotten better with time…to be able to attend both coasts’ premieres for the latest movie, Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry, was an amazing memory I’ll never forget. Especially cause the NYC premiere just happened to fall randomly on my birthday – the day I just happened to go to NYC for vacation! So, I got to watch it with a theater full of fans – truly a memorable day. We’ll see what else is in store…I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last Fire Dragon Roar yet…”

Thank you so much for your time Todd! If fans want to get in touch and demand more pasta, where can they find you?

Twitter: @ToddHaberkorn

Instagram: @Official_Habergram

Facebook: there’s a Todd Haberkorn page…but watch out! There are imposters!

Unlocked: @Haberunlocker – We still have a week left on our first monthly shirt campaign…this month its a Natsu specific shirt that’s only available for another week!

And finally, as an honorary member of WatchMojo, if you could choose a subject for a top ten list, what would it be?

“Oh my lord…so many feels right now….Top 10 Batman moments, Top 10 Anime Conventions, Top 10 80s Action Movie Tropes.”