Interview With Kira Buckland

Emotions Are (Not) Prohibited 

Whether you’re an old school fan who knew her by the Youtube moniker of Rina-chan, an anime enthusiast who has come to adore her ever-increasing resume of now iconic characters, or just simply love everything and anything to do with Nier: Automata, there’s no doubting the impact Kira Buckland had managed to leave as a voice actor. 

If you weren’t left in tears by her solemn performance as the beautiful yet hardcore android 2B, then chances are she was also making you unknowingly laugh you ass off in games/shows such as Kakegurui, Blood Lad and, of course, HuniePop.

Luckily, she was more than happy to take a break from serving Yorha and hunting for Soul Edge to chat with us about her career and characters!  

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While many can only dream of going from a die-hard fan of all things animated to a beloved voice actor, you’ve managed to make it a reality! Of course, a lot of people still have trouble coming to grips with how the “acting” side of it comes into play. At what point did you realise that you had to go full-theatre in order to make your dream come true?  

“Like many people, when I was young and aspiring I was too focused on learning to do a bunch of different voices and impressions. Those things aren’t bad and they have their own place in one’s toolbox, but it was one of my acting teachers in college who really pointed out to me that the heart of everything you do should be making the character come to life in a real and believable way. It really changed the way I approached auditions after that and helped prepare me for moving to the competitive Los Angeles market. When I meet people online who tell me they want to do this, I try to really stress to them that what’s going to book you the role is less about how “cool” or “interesting” your voice sounds and more about how you bring the character to life.”

Looking back to your teenage years, are there any performances from an anime/cartoon/game that stand out in your mind as the catalyst for your interest in voice over? 

“One of the games that really helped spark my interest in voice acting was Soul Calibur II, back in high school. I used to try copying the character’s win quotes, much to the obvious annoyance of my friends at the time. Had you told me that over a decade later I’d be taking over as the voice of one of those characters, I wouldn’t even be able to imagine it!”  

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Before we move onto your actual roles, it’s worth noting that you don’t only bring the thunder in the booth, but have also cosplayed as many of your now iconic roles. When did this interest first start, and can you give advice to those who might fancy giving it a try but are held back by things such as budget or nerves? 

“I’ve been cosplaying for as long as I’ve been voice acting, so since about 2004! These days I don’t have as much energy to put into it as I used to, so I do a lot more casual cosplays because I still love playing with wigs and makeup. I think it’s important to cosplay the characters you like and feel confident dressed as, and not stress too much about things like popularity or follower counts. You will meet people in virtually any community who try to bring you down with negative words, so I think it’s really important to do the things you love and not let anyone else bring you down over it.” 

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Source: https://www.instagram.com/missamandastars/?hl=en

You’ve certainly thrown your hat into the ring when it comes western animation. While she may stand to the sidelines while the costumed crimefighters take up the screen, was it a fun experience to play Alix/Timebreaker in Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir?  

“Absolutely! As is typical, I auditioned for a handful of characters back when it was being cast, and even though Alix was a smaller role I remember really wanting her because she had been described as something like a “skater-punk” type which I can really identify with—she’s a lot like I was as a teenager, and it was also a nice change from the archetypes I normally play.”  

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It’s practically a rite of passage for a voice actor to take on the role of a young shounen hero that gets embroiled in all manner of fight scenes. Did you find playing Hunter x Hunter’s Zushi a challenge or an architype you could revel in? 

“Zushi was super fun for me. I’ve played a lot of young boy roles before, but a lot of them were either very minor roles, projects that got pushed to the wayside, or projects that were never released in America. So getting to prove myself as a character like that in a show on television was very special. Plus, Zushi’s energy and optimism is contagious. “Osu!”  

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What would you say was the more appealing role? A barrel of fun like Blood Lad’s Hydra Bell or an enigmatic butterfly like Kuroyukihime in Accel World?

“I love both those characters very dearly in different ways, but characters like Bell I just have such a blast with because I get to play and have fun and go crazy. She’s definitely in my natural archetype, whereas someone like Kuroyukihime was a challenge (in a good way!) to portray because I wasn’t used to having to hold back on emotion and energy. Of course, I think that helped prepare me much later for playing my most iconic role which is 2B.”

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We can only imagine how awesome it was to play a firecracker like Mary in Kakegurui. At what point did you realise that she wasn’t a one-off snob but rather Yumeko’s crazy partner in crime? 

“From the very beginning I felt right at home playing Mary. I mentioned that crazy and kind of bratty characters have always been my “typecast”, and while typecast is sometimes seen as a negative thing I personally love getting to play so many of these types of characters. I actually didn’t even have to audition for the role of Mary—I was approached and offered the part, which is a very big honor because it basically shows that they trust you will do a good job.” 

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Violet Evergarden touched on a whole slew of potent and raw themes when it came to discussing humanity’s emotional flaws. If you could have Luculia serve as your Auto Memory Doll, what would you have her write a letter about?  

“My cats.” 

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Modern anime movies are proving to be just as poignant now as they were during Miyazaki’s golden age. Do you have any fond memories from your time dubbing A Silent Voice, In This Corner of the World and 5 Centimetres Per Second? 

“I think movies have to be a thing on every actor’s bucket list, and I’m no exception. One thing I’d really love someday, though, is to be in a movie that has a major theatrical release. But I should also mention that it was just announced recently that I’m playing the character “Kyoko” in the upcoming movie “I Want To Eat Your Pancreas”! Don’t let the title fool you—you’re probably going to cry a lot.” 

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Moving onto the world of video games, which of these kickass ladies would you say is your fighter of choice? Soulcalibur’s Talim, Street Fighter’s Falke or Skullgirl’s Marie? 

“I love them all, but I’ve gotta choose Talim. She was just so much fun and I really felt at home in the role, but I’m sure that’s partly because Soul Calibur was my introduction to fighting games and I really like her playstyle.” 

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We obviously know why, but for those not in the know, can you explain why Lola is clearly the best girl in HuniePop?  

“She likes coffee. End of story.”

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Nier: Automata ended up taking a lot of gamers by surprise, especially when it came to its titular android. Do you recall at what point you realised that 2B was so much more than death in high heels? 

“Obviously working on the game during the recording process, I got to know a lot of the story. And then you realize a lot of things that make you feel so many emotions you are unprepared for, and I think that’s a big part of why fans felt really connected to the game. When Kyle (9S) and I played through the game together after release, it hit us much harder because we got to see and hear everything come together. When you’re recording, you don’t record with the other actors or hear their dialogue, and you’re mostly looking at your lines on a spreadsheet. So actually playing the game is a very different experience.”

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Despite having to share the spotlight with numerous other protagonists across a puzzle box of a plot, 2B has endured to this very day as a character many can’t help but feel endeared towards, in spite of her robotic persona. What do you think it is about her that mesmerizes fans? Outside of the gothic battlemaid outfit, of course.  

“I think a big part of it is her interactions with 9S. The two of them are a stark contrast to each other personality-wise so their dialogues play off each other really well. 2B starts off as very cold and stoic but when you get to see more of her true feelings and why she acts the way she does, it’s heartbreaking. It’s ironic because one of her most known lines is “Emotions are prohibited”, but when you play this game, emotions will hit you like a freight train.”

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Kira, thank you so much for your time! If fans want to message you and tell you how much they worship the ground 2B walks on, where can they find you?

Twitter: http://twitter.com/KiraBuckland

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KiraVoices

Instagram: http://instagram.com/killercoffeequeen

Ko-Fi: http://ko-fi.com/ladystardust

Website: www.kirabuckland.com

“I also run an online community that connects voice actors and content creators around the world, and we have many resources for aspiring voice actors too. You can find it at www.voiceactingclub.com, and we also have a Discord server.” 

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

“Top 10 Iconic David Bowie moments…and I’d want to narrate it!!”

Interview With Clifford Chapin

Read The Interview, Damn Nerd!

With pivotal roles in some of modern anime’s most acclaimed series, as well as a solid resume directing a myriad of genre-crossing projects, Clifford Chapin has secured himself as one of the voice acting industry’s greatest talents. He did bring the likes of the Keijo dub to the screen and serves as the voice of everyone’s favorite explosives expert in My Hero Academia. What more do you need?

Thankfully, amidst working on such hits as Attack on Titan and Darling in the Franxx, Mr Chapin was more than happy to chat with us about his anime inspirations, iconic roles as well as his methodology when it comes to tackling different shows.

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First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to let us probe your brain! 

“Thank you for probing! A sentence I never thought I would say, but I am happy to be here!”

Before we start off with any of your roles, can you take us back to the time where you found yourself first falling in love with anime? Was it a childhood passion or to did you fall into it through acting?

“Oh, man. We’re going pretty far back, then. I was always a big fan of shows growing up in the early 90’s. I was an avid fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers pretty much from the moment that I could speak (Transformers obviously having a lot of Japanese heritage on its own), and then Power Rangers debuted and I was completely hooked on that as well. I think the action and very apparent Japanese influences those series had really primed me for anime, which I fell into at the age of 8 when the Canadian dubs of Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon were airing on morning television. I can remember the station that aired them never showed the episodes in order, so one day Goku would be running on Snake Way, then the next Gohan would be in the woods with the orphaned kids, then Bulma would be fighting giant crabs on Namek, then Nappa would be destroying planes on earth, and I never had ANY idea what was going on, but it was really captivating and I wanted to know more. And then a few years later Pokémon hit the airwaves and from that point forward I had a really clear understanding of what anime was and a real affection for it.”

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Going back to one of your first performances in Good Luck Girl, was there a moment while playing Tsuwabuki where you thought “I have fallen down the anime rabbit hole and am never getting out.”

“Hahaha, no, actually I was afraid that I was going to get thrown out of that hole. Tsuwabuki was the first thing I had ever recorded with Funimation after Chris Sabat recommended me to Joel McDonald. Joel called me in for an audition without ever hearing me on anything, and I thought I bombed it entirely. But then I got a message asking me to come back in and do a second (but this time paid) audition for Tsuwabuki specifically. So Joel must have liked what he heard enough that he was willing to really try me out, but he made it very clear that I wasn’t cast just yet. Then, about an hour into the second audition, I remember Joel giving me a piece of direction and saying, “Okay! On this second take I want you to put a little bit-oh, you got the part- a little bit-“ and then it’s all a blank after that because I was so excited that I had managed to actually snag a role. It wasn’t until a little while after we recorded the first season of Attack on Titan that I actually felt maybe I had any sort of staying power in anime.”

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Despite his atrocities, Psycho-Pass’ Kamui was nonetheless captivating in his mission to become an agent of chaos. Was there ever a point that you found yourself drawn in by his sickly charm?

“Yes, and very early on! After Zach Bolton had me come in and voice Kamui for the first episode of Psycho-Pass 2, with the very little bit of information we had on the character at the time, I went back home and started watching the first season to get a sense of the show’s tone and world. I can remember distinctly that there was a point that I thought, “Akane SHOULD agree with me!…maybe I shouldn’t watch this show from the viewpoint of my character…” Haha! But that said, I always thought Kamui was an incredibly captivating character, and immensely righteous. Zach and I still, to this day, sometimes discuss whether or not Kamui was really a “bad guy.” I think we can all agree that he was by no means a “good guy” and he did horrible, terrible things, but he set out to expose a flaw and a failing of their society, and it changed because of him.  Which, when you consider that, it also sorta paints him as a (twisted) hero as well. Kamui was a very complex character and remains one of my favorites to this day.”

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What would you rather? Be able to land one hell of a fastball like Assassination Classroom’s Sugino or be the ultimate robot girl puppeteer like Raishin in Unbreakable Machine-Doll?

“Probably the fastball. I’m sure some readers are going to cry foul (ba-dum-tsss), but Yaya always seemed like quite the handful.”

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How did it feel to play one of the new generations of Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball Super? Most of us would give their left pinkie to earn Vegeta’s respect!

“It was unreal when I got called in for Cabba. Heck, even now when I get called in for him in the anime or a new game appearance, it feels unreal. As I mentioned before, DBZ was one of the gateway anime for me, and Sabat was the one who recommended me to Funimation, starting my entire anime career. Prior to Cabba, I had recorded a bunch of bit parts throughout Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters, and I thought “Well, I got into Dragon Ball. I loved it as a kid and now I’m a part of it. And there is no more Dragon Ball after Kai, so this is as good as it’s ever going to be.” But then we did the first XenoVerse game, and I was called in to be one of the custom character voices, and I was like, “wait, so I can play as myself as the main character in a Dragon Ball video game, AND I can become a Super Saiyan? Well, now it DEFINITELY can’t get any better than this!” But then a few months after we recorded the new content for XenoVerse 2, I was called in to play Cabba for the DLC and I was absolutely over the moon about it. To be the first new (and canon) Super Saiyan in a series that I had loved for two decades at that point was something I never expected. And strangely enough, he shares a relationship with Vegeta that I somewhat parallel to myself with Sabat. Sometimes art really does imitate life!”

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Prison School taught us many things, such as the power of bromance and to be fearful of high schoolgirls named Hana. What did this masterfully woven series teach you as a human being?

“Oh, god, so much. Hahaha Prison School was a wild ride that a lot of us in the cast were rather reluctant to be a part of, honestly, and then it turned out to be one of the funniest shows I have ever had the pleasure of being involved with. We laughed so thoroughly while working on that show. It was so disgusting, and yet wildly endearing. So if there was any lesson that series really taught me in life, it was the ever constant reminder of not judging a book by its cover. Haha!”

Shingo had no shortage of misadventures, but which moment had you nearly cracking up in the recording booth?

“Hmm… maybe the shower scene where Shingo “catches” Kiyoshi and Gakuto. I remember that one being really funny. I also really liked the scenes where Shingo was being manipulated by Meiko. I recorded a lot of bombs (joke takes we do to screw up other actors when they come in to record after us), and pretty much every scene Whitney Rodgers had in those episodes was a minefield. We actually have a cast-only blooper reel from Prison School that is a little bit of everyone, and then a whole lot of me going way, WAY off script to mess everyone else up.”

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As far as modern bad boys go, Bakugo has simultaneously excelled at the stereotype while also defying it completely. What was it like seeing him mature from you’re a typical bully to someone so painfully relatable?

“Bakugo is, probably predictably, one of my favorite roles I have the privilege of voicing. He has so much pride and growth to go through, and as an actor, that’s almost all you could ever want in a role. He starts off so painfully unlikeable, and it’s so necessary for his character. Because you have to hate him at first. But as the series goes on, not only does the audience see how flawed he is as a character, but Bakugo himself sees it. What’s particularly interesting for me is, now when I see older episodes of My Hero Academia, I hear how much my portrayal of Bakugo has changed from the beginning. It was almost subconscious, that as Bakugo has developed, and become more internal with his true feelings, my voice became harsher, and my reads became more closed off to the other characters. And late into the second season, and now into the third, Bakugo has had to open up to others, He’s reached breaking points we couldn’t have foreseen two years ago. So growing with Bakugo has been an incredible experience. Honestly, I feel like it has helped me work through a lot of my own personal issues. Haha!”

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Did you ever expect My Hero Academia’s resident firecracker to reach such heights with fans? Do you get a lot of “DIE!” requests?

“No, but I’m glad he did! I joke with everyone about Bakugo being the most popular character constantly. Haha !Typically, fans ask me to call them a “damn nerd,” which I’m more than happy to do!”

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 Moving on to your stellar work as a director, what’s your approach to tacking shows as contrasting as Brother’s Conflict and Konohana Kitan? Would you say there’s a different mindset depending on the genre or it all amounts to just another day at the office?

“There is absolutely a different mindset. Every show has its own sound, and recognizing that sound is something I try to be very diligent about as an ADR Direcctor. Brothers Conflict was a series that Colleen Clinkenbeard directed first, and I came on to handle the OVAs. That show was a bit more stoic, and I had to be familiar with the performances Colleen established, but the OVAs were a little more out there and fun. So I wanted to really push the comedy as far as I could without breaking the sense of the world the series had established. Konohana Kitan, on the other hand, things are really whimsical and otherworldly. So we could play with voices and reads. If something didn’t exactly sound human or realistic, good! That benefited the world. But then we think about something like Genocidal Organ, which is a very realistic anime film (and not for kids!), and the tone of that world is very intimate, very “real.” With that one, I wanted the product to sound not like you were watching anime (which tends to be very big and broad in its deliveries), but instead as if you were watching a live action film. So there is one-hundred percent a different mindset to each and every show I take on. Sometimes even from episode to episode!”

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Was it a herculean task or a dream come true to be the resident puppet-master on a modern shounen epic like Darling in the Franxx?

“Truly both! I knew going into Darling in the Franxx that it was going to be special to me, if not to everyone else, so I wanted to assemble a cast that was also going to see how special it was. At the time, Bryson Baugus hadn’t recorded anything with Funimation (though he’d been tearing it up at Sentai Filmworks for a while), so I knew I wanted to get him on board. Tia Ballard was someone I had worked with a bunch in the past but I had never heard her do anything like Zero Two, and I wanted to push her. Ryan Reynolds (not that one) was another person I had worked with a bunch, but never on very large roles, and I wanted to give her something she could really sink her teeth into. And so on. Everyone I put into the show was very calculated, no matter how big or small the role was solely because I wanted to be absolutely positive every actor was going to crush the performance they had ahead of them.

I poured a lot of myself into Darling in the Franxx, too. Every week, I would scrutinize the adapted script the writers made to make sure it was as true to the Japanese intention as it could possibly be while still sounding good when heard by an English ear. Sometimes this took as little as four hours of extra work, sometimes as much as sixteen. I thought a lot about the dubs people talk about all the time, like Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Yu Yu Hakusho to name a few, and what it was that they brought to the table; what made those shows resonate and withstand the test of time as they have. And I wanted to deliver that same level of quality. Whether or not I actually managed to succeed in this manner obviously remains to be seen, but I do hope the series and the work we did with it is talked about for years to come. I am immensely proud of the cast and crew I had working on that series, and I don’t know that I could possibly be happier with the end result. That said, looking back, I don’t know if working on the show was really herculean or if I just made it so, but it absolutely was a dream come true for me.”

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Recovery of an MMO Junkie stands as one of the most unorthodox yet heartwarning anime romances in recent memory. What was the draw for you in regards to Moriko’s mid-life meltdown?

“That it was so relatable. First and foremost, it was such a breath of fresh air to have a romance anime that was about adults rather than high schoolers. I can remember dating in high school, and yeah, it’s awkward, and weird, and you have all these feelings, but the “high school sweetheart” love story doesn’t always work out in the end in real life. But not a lot of animated media goes out of its way to depict a good love story for adults. Once you look past that element, the series has so much going on with it beneath the surface. Here’s a woman struggling with finding herself. It’s clear that she has some pretty intense social anxiety, and she’s all but given up on self-care. We are literally seeing Moriko at the worst point in her life as she thinks she has nothing to offer to anyone. But then, steadily throughout the series, thanks to the kindness of the people she meets in her MMO and in real life, she starts to come out of her shell. She may not in the course of the series ever see that she does have things to offer others, but she realizes that she wants to at least try to give others what she can. I think everyone struggles with those feelings from time to time no matter how confident a person is, so to see a story about a person coming out of their self-inflicted seclusion was really inspiring.”

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And of course, by far the crowning achievement of your entire career; Keijo. How did you manage to construct such an intricate, breath-taking and downright masterful project? Some of us still tear up when we think of the introduction to Miss Kobayakawa powerfully potent posterior. 

“Ah, yes, Keijo. Truly a masterpiece. Seldom few anime can elevate themselves beyond the limitations of their animated boundaries with such form and dignity as Keijo did to make an entire world say, ”…what the heck am I watching?” hahaha Keijo was pretty much a never-ending barrel of laughs. We had so much fun working on that show, It got pretty daunting along the way just because the show was so girl-heavy, and I wanted to avoid casting actresses in multiple roles as much as I could, but it never stopped being hysterical. And it inspired a real life Keijo league! I can’t remember now what country it is that started it, but I can only imagine that in a few years’ time, we’ll be seeing Keijo in the Olympics. Just you wait!”

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Cliff, thank you so much for your time! If fans want to message you and tell you how much they want Bakugo to make their faces explode, where can they find you?

“Thank you so much for having me! The easiest place to find me is on Twitter, @CliffordChapin. That’s where I’m most active and tend to call people “nerds” the most.”

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

“Oooh, toughie. I’m a big comic book fan, so maybe something like “Top 10 Comic Book Storyline Adaptations” where all the times major comic book stories were adapted to other media well are counted down. Such as Secret Wars in the 90’s Animated Spider-Man series. A “Top 10 Moments of Bakugo Rage” would also be good. I would definitely watch that!”

Interview With Daman Mills

Yzak Joule On Deck!

With a love for old school animation serving as a constant source of inspiration, Daman Mills has blazed onto the voice acting scene in recent years, bringing to life numerous modern anime and video characters along the way, not to mention the occasional classic icon. Thankfully, inbetween his contributions to acclaimed shows such as Yuri on Ice, My Hero Academia, Dragon Ball Super, Tsukigakirei and Gundam SEED, Mr Mills found time to chat with us about his motivations and career thus far!

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First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to let us probe your brain!

“It’s a pleasure to be asked; thanks for having me! I was so excited when you reached out and wanted to do this interview.”

Before we start off with your roles, can you talk about how Dragon Ball Z helped inspire you to pursue a career in voice-acting?

“Of course! Before I started voice acting, I was a fan of anime and video games. Honestly, I’m still a bit of a fanboy today. I was one of those kids who grew up playing Pokémon games, collecting Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, and dueling it out with my friends. I’d watch Toonami every week on TV, and it was always for Dragon Ball Z. I began with the Cell saga and just remember thinking, “Wow! This is so cool!” All the characters were so exciting, unique, and bombastic. I fell in love with it immediately.

As I got older, I became more interested in Dragon Ball’s voice acting. I looked up who the actors were for the characters, and was enamored with the idea of trying my hand at it for fun. I wasn’t serious about it at first, but the more I practiced and studied acting, the more I grew to love it. It’s a bit funny because I was such an introverted kid, and acting helped me break out of my shell. I became fixated on voiceover and looked into it as a career: gathered info and studied, practiced constantly, got demo reels made, and auditioned for small projects. Eventually, I moved to where the work was at and auditioned there. I kept at it and soon started booking and working in the industry!”  

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As a result, getting a part in Dragon Ball Super must have been something of a dream come true!

“It was, without a doubt, a huge milestone for me. The folks at FUNimation and Okratron 5000, (the studio that records the Dragon Ball franchise), have been such an incredible, kind, fun, supportive, and welcoming crew. Any time I get to record with any of them, I always know it’s going to be a blast! When I first got auditions for Dragon Ball Super, I was over the moon to be able to even try out for it, but I couldn’t have predicted being cast! I’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to work with people that I admire greatly.”

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Monaka is a deeply complex and misunderstood individual. Which aspect of his character do you think fans should be made aware of?

“He’s such a good boy. He does his best. Obviously, the most complex aspects of his character would be his large and shapely nipples. No one knows how or why they are quite so large and shapely, and these are the answers that we must seek…”

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You are certainly no stranger to the world of SMITE. Out of all the deities you have voiced, do have a particular favorite?

“While all of them are quite fun, my most memorable one to record was Swashbuckler Susano. He’s just this silly, over-the-top drunken pirate sloshing his way through the seven seas. I always love any excuse to use an accent, too! The folks from Hi-Rez come on the line with the director/engineer and myself during recording sessions. For this one, Hi-Rez liked what I was doing but definitely wanted it to be “more drunk.” This resulted in a lot of stumbling around in the booth and a tad bit of drool.”

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What would you say was most appealing part about playing Tanaka in One Piece Film: Gold – acting as the slimy henchman or knowing he was going to get taken out in such a spectacular fashion?

“I adore playing villainous characters, especially when they’re of the super crazy variety! Tanaka was a treat all around, and I loved getting to face off against the Straw Hats with such a dazzling crew of baddies on my side. His power was fun, but the most appealing part of playing him was being able to get such a fantastic laugh. “Su-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu!” It’s just so catchy!”

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Gundam SEED’s Yzak may not have had the iconic rivalry with Kira like Athrun did, but in many respects his character arc was still just as significant. Did you prefer portraying the hot-headed coordinator or the more melancholy war veteran?

“Yzak is my angry child and I love him so much. He and Kira have some serious beef, and the former’s rage definitely isn’t something to trifle with. From the destroyed civilian shuttle to Nicol’s death, their relationship is fueled by so much bloodshed, ferocity, and screaming… Lots and lots of screaming, at least on my end. Haha! He is a very tactical and prideful person, skilled as a pilot and faithful as can be to ZAFT, but his biggest downfall is how often he lets his anger get the better of him. When it comes to how I preferred portraying him, it’s hard to choose because a character, like a person, has so many different facets to them that all make up who they are.”

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In every good love story there’s always at least one poor soul who ends up getting their heart broken, and in Tsukigakirei’s case it just so happened to be Hira. Do you think this was a pivotal learning point for him or just a metaphorical kick to the ol’ love thumper?

“It should absolutely be something for him to learn from. Hira’s main problem stems from him being much too thoughtless to Akane. There were so many instances during recording where we stopped and went, “Man… He’s being kind of awful to her, isn’t he?” Maybe if he were nicer and more honest about his feelings from the start, he could’ve ended up with her.”

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Ginshi Shirazu: monster in the making or someone you’d introduce to your parents?

“Out of the entire Quinx Squad, Shirazu is potentially the most loving and caring member there. He probably often gets mistaken for a thug because of his intimidating appearance and intensely pointy teeth, and he can be a bit of a meathead to boot. Despite that, he’s got a strong sense of leadership and loyalty among his squad. He treats them like his family and puts them and their safety first above all else, even his own. The reason he joined the CCG in the first place was such a pure, selfless reason; you can’t not love him! So yes, of course he can meet my parents.”

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Juuni Taisen gave us no shortage of bizarre contenders, but by far the biggest mystery of them all was Nezumi. In your mind, what do you think became of him following his wish?

“The entire time we recorded, I wondered what his power could possibly be. Everyone else was so specialized and lethal, while Nezumi was so passive that you could forget he was there (which is what I think lead to some of the contenders’ demise). He dismissed so much of what was happening with a wave of his hand, some snacks, and a nap or two. It blew my mind when I found out his ability! I think after his wish, he went on to live a normal life… Unless a second Juni Taisen came about. It’d be hard to avoid if he wanted to forget about the entirety of the first one, and they could easily recruit him again and take advantage of knowing his power the second time around. But who knows? Maybe he got lucky.”

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Out of Mustard and Moonfish, which do you think would make for the worst college roommate and why?

“Moonfish, no contest! He’d try to eat you! At least with Mustard, you wouldn’t wake up to him gnawing on your legs. He just might be a bit gassy at night… Never go with him for take-out.”

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Daman, thank you so much for your time! If fans want to message you and ask where they can find Monaka’s green vest, where can they find you?

“Again, it’s my pleasure! You can find me on my website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.”

www.damanmillsvo.com

twitter.com/DamanMills

Instagram.com/DamanMills

facebook.com/DamanMillsVA

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

“Can we do Top Ten Anime Coffee Drinks? I really, really, really want a coffee anime like… Now. Pls.”

Interview With Robbie Daymond

The Lord of all Pretty Boys

He may be one of the more recent additions to the voice-over scene, but it’s fair to say that during the few years since he first entered a booth, Mr Daymond has managed to lend his voice to a medley of classic characters and modern icons. From western superheroes all the way to the bishounen gods of Japanimation, we’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard (and fallen for) at least one of this aficionado’s exemplary roles. Thankfully, for those of you that need a reminder, he was more than happy to discuss them during an interview with us!

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A whole generation of anime lovers grew up mesmerised by the suaveness of Tuxedo Mask, yet you’ve managed to effortlessly take up the mantle with the anime’s latest rendition. Was it a hurdle to try and channel your inner Prince Charming or did it just come naturally?

“I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a hurdle for me to step into the shoes of Tuxedo Mask. You might know that it was my first anime, and when I got sent all the sides I auditioned for all of the bad guys too. However, I just felt really good about my Tuxedo Mask audition because he had that sort of theatrical silliness when he was in his hero regalia, but on the streets he just had this snarky nineteen-year-old guy who used sort of flirty, negging tactics in order to charm Usagi…even though he doesn’t charm her the right way! I think I share a lot of those aspects with Tuxedo Mask, at least my younger self, and clearly the casting directors did too because I never got any callbacks, they sent it straight off to Japan to the original manga creator for approval. The next thing I knew I was popping on the top hat and here we are today four years later, where I’ve voiced the role more than anyone in English or Japanese.” 

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Speaking of mantles, you’ve also joined the ranks of the Digidestined! While he’s known to be the cautious one of the group, do you think Joe has somewhat changed over the course of the Digimon Adventure tri movies? Or in your mind will he forever be Captain Sensible?

“Ah Digimon. That was another one I where I wasn’t really familiar with the property. I was a little too old for Digimon, I was more of a Pokemon kid, so I had to refresh myself with it, but the character archetype is pretty clear; he’s the nerdy straight-shooter of the group, a little anxious and all that stuff. I think it fit my voice well, the only difference was that we couldn’t do the original voice because it was very cartoony, very kiddish. It was easy for me to tap into those aspects of his personality but still ground him and make him more like a teenager, which is what he is in this continuation of the series, he’s even studying for college prep. So yeah, we kept those aspects about the original character but made him a lot more sensible and grounded, so much so that he’s hardcore stressed out about his future in academics, in business and all of that stuff,  to the point where he really doesn’t want much to do with the Digidestined when they come back around. But I think a great part of his arc is that he does in fact come full swing and remember all the things that were important to him as a kid that become more even more important to him as he gets older.” 

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While he’s had to take a back seat to the Seven Deadly Sins at times, Gilthunder has still proven his worth as one of the series’ resident badasses. Do you prefer the scenes in which he busts out the lightning or some of the quieter moments between himself and Meliodas?

“For Gilthunder, some of my favorite moments are when he’s still ‘possessed’ and being kind of a pseudo-villain. His first introduction when he throws the spear at Meliodas, who catches it and chucks it back, and he’s just sitting in that throne with the little nick on his face; he is set up as a certified badass. He’s got the drive to be one of the Seven Deadly Sins or at least their equal in power. Will he end up more like a Yamcha? Who knows. Maybe. But I feel like he had his moment to help; he saved Meliodas’ life, if you think that Hendrickson was going to stab him before Gilthunder came along and lopped off his arm. But yeah, he definitely holds his own…but in a series like this does anyone really have a chance other than Meliodas? I don’t think so.” 

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Mumem Rider speaks to the hero in all of us, even if he does end up occasionally getting beaten to a pulp by a sea monster. Would you prefer to see him remain as a low-key champion of the everyman, or perhaps get a shining moment in the sequel series where he is finally acknowledged by the other heroes?

“Mumen Rider. Ah man, he’s got a special place in my heart. You know, it was a bummer to see him get his butt beat but that’s sort of his shtick; he’s low rank Kamen Rider! With none of the cool motorcycle stuff, he’s just on a bike. But I think the reason he’s such a fan-favorite character is because there’s a little something in him we can all aspire to or all relate to, in the fact that he might not have the skills to pay the bills but he does it in such a way that’s pure and honest, and that’s what makes him a hero – he says it in his big monologue with the Deep Sea King. That being said, I don’t think you can change his archetype. In the beginning of the first season a bunch of people wanted him to do do Saitama’s training, there’s all these fan theories about how he’ll become OP too, and I don’t think that works. I mean, I don’t know anything about the future of the character specifically since I haven’t been reading the manga or anything, I’ll probably wait until we dub the anime to find out, but I’m guessing to keep his character arc true he can never really be strong. Though, he has amazingly strong moments and is a hero in his own right.”

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Chrollo Lucilfer certainly proved himself to be quite the interesting addition to Hunter x Hunter. At what point did you start to realise that the leader of the Phantom Troupe was far removed from your average anime villain?

“Oooh Chrollo. He is my favorite anime villain that I’ve played, and he is far removed from your average anime villain. He’s disconnected yet still controlling, he’s romantic yet ruthless, he’s dedicated to the cause but also selfish; he’s a really fun, deep character to play. Absolutely one of my favorite, favorite, favorite bad guys. I think all of my moments playing him my favorite is the requiem speech, where he’s ordering the death of these people and yet reciting this beautiful poem that he learned from a fortune teller, who he also killed. Chrollo, what a guy…what an asshole.”

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You’ve made quite the impact on the Naruto universe with your various performances. Which of these has been the juicier role in your opinion? Otsutsuki from The Last: Naruto the Movie or Mitsuki from Boruto?

“Naruto is one of those series that I never thought I would be in. I got into anime late in my career, into my thirties, and I thought that the series was done and I would never have a chance to be in it. So when I was allowed to do Tonei Otsutsuki from The Last: Naruto the Movie, in the LAST Naruto movie, I was so excited, I was like ‘slipped in right under the radar!’ Then I would come back to dub a few episodes of Shippuden as characters nobody really cared about. But then Boruto came around, and I thought ‘no way, this Mitsuki guy is too important, he’s too much Team Konohamaru, there’s no way they’ll give me this lead role after Tonei.’ Sure enough, I gave a read for it, they liked it and now I’m here. I would say that Mitsuki is definitely much more of a  juicier role, not just because of the quality and the quantity of the content but just the overall, general story of his character is much more fleshed out, with familiar characters that we know from the original Naruto series. I’m really excited to see what fans think of my performance as well as the overarching show itself. It’s coming to Toonami soon, soon, soon! Hope everybody watches!” 

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A Silent Voice has quickly gone onto establish itself as a modern classic, though its fair to say its packed to the brim with some emotionally devastating scenes. Can you give us some insight into what it was like to follow Shoya’s journey of redemption?

“Shoya in a A Silent Voice is easily my favorite performance of any anime I’ve ever been in. The movie is two hours long and it took us twenty-two hours to dub, because we really took our time with it. Stephanie Sheh directed us, at her studio, and we just had such an amazing experience. It felt really, really real, and small and cinematic and flexed by acting muscles in a way that anime hadn’t in a while. I think it’s one of the best anime films our there. In my opinion it got totally snubbed for the Oscars,  I wish it had a shot at it but, you know, movies like that sometimes don’t. I think that following Shoya’s journey from being such a little jerk to complete redemption is so gratifying, and that’s why it makes it such a great movie. You watch him as a kid, an adolescent, be all of these things we consider a bully to be, but then it also makes you realise that kids just don’t have empathy the same way adults have. They really start to develop it in their teens as their social skills expand and relationships become more complex and weighted. That’s what made that movie, for me, so easy for people to gravitate toward. It just felt honest and real and something everyone could relate to, and the fact he gets ‘true’ redemption in the end…what more could for in a good movie?”

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Moving onto your work in video games, did you ever suspect the likes of Final Fantasy XV (specifically in regards to Prompto) to become the juggernaut that it did?

“You’ve got to ask about Final Fantasy! Did I expect it to be as massive as it was? Not really. I knew it was going to be big, and I had just finished doing Type-0 and I thought ‘that’s it, that’s the Final Fantasy I am going to be in’ and then while I was still working on that game auditions for XV come out. I knew it was XV, I could tell by the art, it had been in development forever, and I thought ‘no way, again, am I getting this one.’  It was a way different character that I had done in Type-0, he was this kind of hard-nosed, military leader of these kids, this sort of teacher/cool guy. Then you have Prompto, the light character but with a lot of heart. So I really didn’t expect the game to be as big as it was but it truly has been one of THE benchmark moments in my career, and one of my absolute favorite characters. Out of everyone I’ve played, Prompto is the closest to just regular, old Robbie in the streets.”

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Not to start any hostility between Final Fantasy XV’s resident bros…but can you tell us why Prompto is obviously best boy?

“Not to let the other guys down but Prompto is obviously best boy, since you’re asking. Come on, he’s got the looks, he’s got the charm, he’s got the moves, he’s got the comedy, the sensitive side, he’s artsy and he also shoots that sweet gun. How can you not love Prompto? He’s sunshine boy. Prompto4life.”

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Persona 5’s Akechi was certainly a man of many faces. By the time he met his fateful ending, where do you think he stood as a character?

“Akechi was definitely one of the more complex characters to play. I really enjoyed it, I love playing a character with a secret. A lot of times in anime that’s not really up there, they are more broad tropes that you get to see, but Akechi definitely had his secrets. You needed to play all the moments without tipping your hand, especially in game with there’s such a big flip. Being able to play one character in two such completely different states of being was so much fun and an awesome acting experience. I would say out of all my video game characters he’s one of my favorites, and I think the fans felt the same way. Love that pancake boy.”

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We can only imagine how much fun it is to play the role of everyone’s favorite web-head. Did you have any deep connection to Spider-Man while growing up?

“He is my favorite superhero. Always has been. Since I was a little biddy kid; Spider-Man underoos yo! My best friend has a full back tattoo of Spider-Man. Maximum Carnage is my favorite comic book short series of all time. I love Spider-Man…and I geeked out so hard when I got the role! Back in the day when I first started doing voice-over, I was second in line behind Drake Bell for Ultimate Spider-Man, which I didn’t find out until I got this new one, but I knew I was up the list, I was in the top three or four guys for callbacks. So, finally being able to take over the mantle for as long as I have it for is an absolute honor. Not only am I playing it in my own title show on Disney XD, which is mind-blowing and utterly bizarre, but I also play him in the rest of the Marvel Animated Universe, including Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers and all of these other shows. Plus, properties like Marvel vs. Capcom, Marvel VR, all these video games, all the live shows at Disney; being the voice of Spider-Man is the greatest gift, and for as long as it lasts I’ll be nothing but grateful. An unbelievable ride and definitely a bucket list role for me.” 

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Which aspect of the wall-crawler do you enjoy exploring the most? The hero bound by responsibility or the comic relief that loves nothing more than making bad jokes at the expense of the villain?

“What I enjoy most about him is the dichotomy of Peter and Spider-Man. He’s so straight-forward when he’s Spider-Man, he’s jokes and quips and clips, he’s one of the most beloved superheroes of all time…but I also think he has one of the best alter egos of all time. Peter Parker is this kind of tragic dude, whose life is full of these crappy circumstances and can never catch a break. Like they say, he’s got the old Parker luck. Watching him struggle through high school and college, trying to find a job in New York, having these amazing science skills but stuck taking photos for JJ. It’s sort of this crappy, crazy life. So it makes sense that when he dons the outfit all he wants to do is crack jokes, be cool and be the hero that he thinks a hero should be.” 

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Robbie, thank you so much for your time! If fans want to message you and tell you why Akechi will always be their number one detective, where can they find you?

“Akechi will always be the number one detective, Prompto will always be number one best boy, and Spidey will always be thwipping through your city as the coolest superhero in the neighbourhood! If you want to hang out with me, the coolest voice actor in the neighbourhood, you can find me on Instagram, Twitter and on my website if you want to send me any fanmail that I can sign and send back to you. If you want to reach out be email, that’s on my website as well.” 

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

“I would pick Top 10 After School Cartoons of the 80s and 90s!”

Be sure to check out the audio version of the interview below! 

Interview With Dawn M. Bennett

From Superfan to Superstar

Time, dedication and loving your craft to the max. With this creed in mind, Dawn M. Bennett found herself going from a voice-acting enthusiast all the way to starring in hit anime such as Fairy Tail, My Hero Academia and Yuri on Ice, while also getting to go balls to the wall with hilarious titles such as Keijo and Bikini Warriors. Given how she’s arguably a bigger anime fan than most of us, it’s fair to say she’s living the dream. Thankfully, even while she’s snagging roles in summer hits such as Hanebado, she still found time to chat to us about her passion for the medium.

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First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to let us probe your brain!  

Thanks for having me!” 

Before we get into your roles, it’s worth noting that like many of us, you grew up watching classic anime and were inspired by voice actors, many of whom are now your co-workers! In your mind, what was the pivotal moment that made you want to pursue this as a career?

During my first semester at Berklee College of Music in 2011, I joined the Video Game Music Club and participated in a game jam, an event where you team up with other club members to create a game in 24-48 hours. One of the roles we could choose was voiceover, which was something I’d always wanted to try as a kid but never went any further with it. My college roommate and fellow actor Victoria Vitti and I voiced male hillbillies for our assigned game, using nothing but our MacBook’s internal microphone and GarageBand. It was silly and stupid and just a ton of fun.

After that, the VGMC’s president Akash Thakkar encouraged me to keep voice acting based on the praise of the team we worked with. I volunteered for as many engineering students’ projects as I could, sometimes staying at the studio until 2am. I found myself having more and more fun every time I stepped in the booth, to the point where I wanted to focus on voice acting instead of music. I did this throughout college up to graduating in 2014, and was cast in Fairy Tail not long after.”

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Everyone certainly has an idea of what it’s like to work full-time as a voice actor. Can you tell us one thing that’s absolutely true and one that’s a huge misconception about the craft?

The truth is simple: it’s fun! We get to act in situations we wouldn’t normally be able to fulfill onscreen. I’ve gotten to be a French spider, a purple dragon girl, a green kitty who thinks they’re a frog, and even Satan! I can be the villain trying to take over the world and the hero trying to save it. It’s like playing pretend on the playground back in elementary school, only with a much higher production value. I have moments where I just stand back and think, “This is a thing I get to do. I get to work on the kinds of shows I watched as a kid. This is awesome!” It’s such a wonderful feeling.

The biggest misconception is that work will be constant. You audition far more than you book, and the amount of rejection tends to discourage folks in the beginning. It’s even more so if you decide to move to a new area with little to no experience and expect you’ll hit it big instantly – every experienced actor out there highly recommends not doing this. There will be slow seasons and you have to be prepared for it.”

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Since becoming a voice actor, have you had any type of fangirl moment when meeting some of your acting heroes? Have you had the same happen to you?

I’ve had too many fangirl moments to count, but there are two that stand out! The first was when I got to Skype with Ellen McLain, the voice of GLaDOS from the Portal series. She and I had been emailing back and forth about how I was going to sing “Cara Mia Addio” for an end-of-the-year choir concert at Berklee, and she offered to give me a master class for it. Even though a screen separated us, the choir members and I could all feel the presence Ellen had when she directed us. I remember shaking so badly!

The second time was when I met Christopher Sabat at HaberKon in 2013. You know him. Voice of Vegeta. And Piccolo. And Yamcha. And Kuwabara. And Armstrong. The guy who’s voiced almost every anime character of my childhood. THAT guy. I had the biggest smile on my face after hearing him do shout-outs as Vegeta at the convention, and he was so nice to everybody!

For me, I remember meeting a young man at a gaming convention a couple years ago. His name escapes me, but I remember he was shaking with excitement but was too shy to say hello! In that moment, I saw myself. I’ve been scared to approach people I look up to far too often. I’ve been that guy! So I said, “Hey man! Do you do hugs?” And we hugged! I could feel the poor guy shaking. But like I said earlier, I get the shakes too!”

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Despite initial appearances, Yuri on Ice’s Isabella is actually quite the supportive finance, almost to absurd degrees. Was it refreshing to play a character so positively unwavering towards her beloved?

Yes, yes, yes! When I read people’s thoughts on her after her debut episode, so many people were expecting her to be the type to abandon JJ at the drop of a hat. JJ and Isabella are #relationshipgoals for sure. The scene with Isabella cheering JJ on as he’s lamenting his performance in the kiss and cry is definitely one of my favorite moments in the show. Even if they’re a bit arrogant at times, you can’t help but admit they’re a cute and genuine couple.

They’re like the type of couple you see in tabloids. Celebrities with personalities some may not tolerate well. However, because their relationship is solid, it makes Isabella and JJ feel more real and less like the couples you see on reality shows. In anime, one might expect someone like JJ to be comically dumped by Isabella after his loss, but I’m glad the show kept a more realistic approach and gave the characters such great development.”

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While each of your Yandere Simulator characters would make for the ideal romantic interest in any other video game, are you more interested in seeing how they will meet their end at the hands of the somewhat psychotic protagonist?

“Oh yes. Michaela Laws, the voice of Yandere-chan, is a dear friend of mine and I’m extremely interested in learning how she’s going to end me. Er, I mean, how Yandere-chan will end Asu, Hanako, or Muja. Right. That’s what I meant.”

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If you had to choose, which one deserves to be spared Yandere’s wrath?

I love Asu Rito to bits. She’s just an innocent athlete who’s pumped about sports and challenges! Yandere-chan should just befriend her and help her find a different senpai. Then they can work out together and help each other become strong, buff ladies.”

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In many ways, Keijo must be a dream role given the absurdity of the premise. How much pride did you feel playing a character that inspires the next generation of posteriorly prominent professionals?

I felt pride in the scene when my character, Miku Kobayakawa, booty bumped a piece of chalk right at Nozomi’s face, with her eyes closed. I was also proud of the moment Aoba used her “Scanning Hand” to activate the “Gate of Bootylon,” revealing Miku’s own ability, “Boob Dunk.” We’d all been wondering what Miku’s special move was and we finally saw it! I only wish we’d gotten to see Miku use it herself.

Given that Keijo is now a sport in Portugal, I’m hoping someone can reenact Miku’s booty-bumping chalk scene with their eyes closed. That would make my year.”

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What would you say are the qualities you most admire about Ritsuka? Her ability to forgive unconditionally even in the worst circumstances, or have gentlemen such as Rem and Lindo fall for her natural charm? 

“I love that Ritsuka had a backbone instead of being the typical “damsel-in-distress” girl in a reverse harem. Even though all these handsome devils were falling for her, she wasn’t completely blinded by their suavity. She knew how to fight back when it mattered the most. I wouldn’t even say that she forgave unconditionally, at least immediately anyway. When (spoiler!) died, Ritsuka tearfully told Rem that she “hates” him. She didn’t let his handsomeness or charm hide the fact that she lost someone extremely dear to her. I won’t give away the ending, but I really admire the final decision she made because she chose it for herself. She thought for herself, and not whatever was typical of a fairy tale ending.”

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Now we come to everyone favorite cat-frog; Fairy Tail’s Frosch. Aside from just being too adorable for words, what was your fondest memory playing Rogue’s loyal companion?

“My fondest memory was meeting Rogue’s voice actor Garret Storms! We happened to meet each other in between sessions at FUNimation when one of the directors mentioned his name. I perked up immediately and asked, “Excuse me, are you Garret Storms?”

“Yes?” He replied.

“I’m Dawn! I’m the voice of Frosch!”

He lit up and exclaimed, “I found you!” (If you’ve seen episode 202, you’ll know what this references)!

We hugged and took a selfie together. I was so happy to meet him at last!”

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Konohana Kitan’s Satsuki goes beyond your typical foxgirl, especially given her numerous insecurities. Was her character one you could relate to in anyway?

Absolutely. Satsuki has this problem where she constantly compares herself to her sister and forgets she has her own skills and accomplishments. Satsuki’s also sensitive to what people think about her, believing that everyone considers her sister to be better in every way. Even when Satsuki’s naturally gifted at kagura dancing, her harsh self-criticism prevents her from thinking so; rather, she claims her sister being there is the only way she was able to fake her way through the dance. It’s a classic case of Impostor Syndrome.

I can understand Satsuki’s feelings of mediocrity because we can only see our own flaws while everyone else shines. We both work harder to overcome these feelings, but it doesn’t stop the feelings from existing. I was so happy to play a character whose emotional turmoil I identified with.”

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Dawn, thank you so much for your time! If fans want to message you and declare their undying love for Frosch, where can they find you?

DawnMBennett.com
facebook.com/DawnMBennettVA
instagram.com/DawnMBennettVA
twitch.tv/DawnMBennettVA
twitter.com/DawnMBennettVA

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

“Top Ten Anime Foods! I’m a foodie and would love to check those out!”

Interview With Xanthe Huynh

Prepare For Magic, Mayhem and Menma!

From avid fan all the way to modern voice acting icon, Xanthe Huynh has no shortage of incredible roles to her name. While she’s an expert in portraying adorable and tenderhearted characters, recent ventures into colossal successes such as Persona 5, March Comes in Like a Lion and FLCL Progressive have shown just how much she shines as both a leading lady and the unsung star of an ensemble cast. As such, we were more than thrilled when she agreed to chat with us about her career, the process of dubbing, as well as the occupational hazards that come from an actor’s mindset.

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First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to let us probe your brain!

“Ah! Thank you so much for your interest in me!”

Before we get into your roles, could you perhaps give us a little insight into how you went from entering a voice acting competition to finding yourself working at Bang Zoom! Entertainment?

“Before getting into voice over, I had trained as an actor in theater. One day I decided to combine my
love for acting with anime and confided it in some fellow castmates during rehearsal. One of them
suggested that I enter the voice acting competition AX Idol at Anime Expo. From there I made it as a
finalist and was invited by BangZoom! to audition at their studio and got my start from there. I was
really nervous at my first recording session, but my director, Tony Oliver was very patient and kind as we went through the process for dubbing.”

Since becoming a voice actor, would you say you’ve gained a new perception for animated series? If so, how does it compare to when you were just an enthusiastic fan with a dream?

“While watching a show, I often find myself thinking about the actors’ choices to portray certain
characters and scenes or wonder about the influence of the director on the outcome. Or I think about the casting choices made and wonder how a character would be if it was this or that actor. It’s hard to turn off the actor brain sometimes to just enjoy a show, but I guess it’s just an occupational habit. :)”

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Starting off in the world of video games, it’s fair to say that many have come to adore Haru and her position as the Phantom Thieves’ most refined member. Which aspects of her character did you enjoy exploring the most?

“Because she’s generally very sweet and considerate of others, her awakening scene was really satisfying to perform! It’s got great dramatic flair and tough resolve! There were also lots of fun little one liners in Mementos Haru says which raises a lot of eyebrows and I find them deliciously wonderful!”

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Not to fan the flames of the waifu wars, but can you give us a brief summary of why Haru is
obviously best girl?

“A dainty, cultured heiress full of feminine grace that can chop a shadow down with her battleaxe and
blast another with a grenade launcher. Get yourself a girl that can do both! ;)”

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While both have suffered greatly throughout their respective series, who do you think had it worst? Yuna Yuki or Fuyumi Yanagi?

“It’s hard to compare these two since their situations are so different! I guess I would have to say Yuna since she bears the burden of saving what’s left of their world, accepting some harsh realities about their injuries, and standing up against her friends.”

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No-one was spared from the emotional devastation that was Madoka Magica: Rebellion, except maybe for Bebe. Was it bizarre to play such an adorable character while the world around her basically crumbled?

“For Bebe, I think she did well to support her purpose while being hidden in that cute, but clumsy form. It’s hard to communicate in only names of cheese!”

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March Come In Like A Lion makes it perfectly clear that Rei wouldn’t have made it very far if not for the Kawamoto sisters. Where do you feel Momo fits into this unorthodox picture of love and support?

“I think the sisters give Rei an opportunity to have a warm family experience to contrast the tumult he had with his adopted family. Earlier in season 1, there’s a moment where Momo reminds Rei of his
younger sister. Though he misses his sister terribly, I think there’s comfort in having little Momo to play with and watch after to in addition to the other Kawamoto sisters doting on him.”

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Do you feel that Siesta from The Familiar of Zero was done a disservice? After all, her chemistry with Saito was undeniable and she was one of the series’ strongest supporting characters.

“Though she couldn’t be as flashy as some of the others since she has no magical ability, I think she still tried her best to approach Saito with her affections in her own way. I wish we could have seen her get stronger to support and fight alongside Saito (and maybe romance).”

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There’s not much many of us can say about Anohana without bursting into tears. At which point during the recording process did you really start to feel the weight of the show’s emotional complexity?

“The moment when Poppo is asking Menma to come play with him and she has this meltdown, not
knowing why she was still around and not knowing what was her wish. That scene made her seem so
vulnerable and upset with the guilt of not knowing.”

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The cast obviously had their own personal attachments to Menma, but from your standpoint what do you feel was the one characteristic that allowed her to effortlessly capture the hearts of people?

“That’s really hard to say! If I had to name just one, I guess I would say it was her optimism and
remembering the good things about the people around her.”

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On a scale from 1 to Niagara Falls, how badly did you cry at “that” farewell scene?

“Oh man, when we did the cast commentary view down, I started crying at the temple scene until the
end of the farewell scene! The cast is so fantastic and the weird mix of knowing my castmates as
themselves and their characters really amped up the tears for me. So, Niagara Falls for sure! *sobs
uncontrollably*”

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Xanthe, thank you so much for your time! If fans want to message you and tell you how much they adore Menma, where can they find you?

“Follow me on Twitter/Instagram: @ItsXanthor and Facebook.com/XanthesVoice!

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

“Top Ten Anime Punches! (psst, Yuna Yuki has some epic punches ;))”

Interview With Kayli Mills

Behold, The Anime Industry’s Very Own Unicorn Kitty

Whether you know her from her vast array of animated roles or from her prolific Youtube channel, Kayli Mills’ leap into the world of voice-acting has managed to make quite the splash. Specifically, a giant rainbow-coloured splash filled with all manner of delightfully devilish characters, awesome cover songs, cosplay and wholesome fan interactions. It’s no wonder she proudly wears the mantle of best girl!

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While she’s well-known for playing the entrancing half-elf Emilia in Re;Zero, Ms Mills has gone on to produce a whole slew of content both in and out of the recording booth that have received praise the world over. From modern anime gems like Kakegurui and March Come In Like A Lion, all the way to video games such as Cyberdimension Neptunia and SMITE, she has certainly kept herself busy. Oh, and she’s also no stranger to the video sharing scene either, providing the the vocals for various cover songs any anime fan will recognise over on her personal channel MewKiyoko.

In-between all of her recent success, she was kind enough to chat with us about her journey from eager fan all the way to leading lady.

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First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to let us probe your brain!

“Of course, thank you for reaching out~”

Before we leap into your roles, can you give us a brief recollection of how you found yourself discovering the awesome career that is voice acting?

“Making it brief is tough…I liked anime a lot as a kid and was also interested in acting, though it was only surface level at the time. I remember finding an online community of people on Youtube and Voice Acting Alliance who were interested in these things as well and it opened up a whole world to me. I moved around a lot and didn’t have many friends growing up, so having a community of people I actually had things in common with was amazing for me and really fostered my passion for music and acting.”

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As any fans of yours knows, you share an equal passion for singing and music just as much as acting. Were the two always intertwined or did one proceed the other?

“Music definitely came first for me. My mom sang professionally and toured with Bob Seger before I was born. She always sang to me and so I naturally became interested in singing and music as I grew up.  When I got into anime, I always found that I really liked the opening and ending themes (Naruto’s especially caught my attention) and from there I decided I wanted to learn how to sing those. That’s why I learned how to sing in Japanese and started writing English lyrics!”

What inspired you to start up a Youtube channel dedicated to anime covers and why should people drop everything they are doing and head over there right now!

“I always really liked creating things and sharing them with others and Youtube seemed like such an easy way to get myself out there. I won’t lie, I lived for praise as a kid and I wanted some of that as well (though I learned pretty quickly that the internet was not as nice as my mom haha). Since I discovered anime, the music has always made me feel really happy and I’ve always been passionate about it. I wanted to be able to write English adaptions that even people who don’t know the original or understand Japanese at all can enjoy as IF it were the original. I want my lyrics to feel natural and real and not like a translation. Please don’t drop things if they are breakable, but I put a lot of love and work into my releases and I hope that they can give you some of the same happiness they’ve given me!” 

How do you go about choosing which songs to cover? Do they have to strike a chord on a personal level or just be as catchy as hell?

“Usually I just sing what motivated me to sing! If I can’t get a song out of my head or it makes me really happy, I have to sing it~”

Do you have a specific song that to you just encapsulates everything weird and wonderful about anime?

“Although it’s pretty specific to the show, ‘Deal With the Devil’ is such a crazy and out there song. It’s fast, all over the place, and REALLY catchy. My cover of it can be found on Youtube as well as iTunes and Spotify.

What has been your experience coming into the industry as fan and then making the transition to certified voice actor?

“Honestly it was less scary than I expected it to be. I thought maybe because I was a fan that I wouldn’t be taken as seriously and would maybe not be given a chance, but I was wrong! The community here was SUPER welcoming and made me feel at home. I still don’t know how ‘certified’ I am, but I definitely feel like I’m where I belong!”

While Hinata Kawamoto is undoubtedly a beautiful ball of sunshine, she’s also something of an emotional crutch for Rei to lead on. Did you find yourself surprised at her levels of maturity throughout March Comes In Like A Lion?

“So surprised! Hina is definitely one of my favorite characters and I love her lots! Even though Akari is the oldest and no doubt had a crazy amount of responsibility put on her, Hina has to be SO brave for the sake of both of her sisters. She doesn’t want to be a burden on Akari and she wants to be strong for Momo. That’s really hard to do when you’re such a young girl, she’s so strong! I would protect her with my life. ❤

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Fate/Apocrypha is filled with all kinds of merciless Masters and Servants, though Fiore Forvedge Yggdmillenia’s stands tall as one of the more chivalrous of the bunch. All the more impressive given her handicap. What are your thoughts on her journey, and do you think she emerged from the war a changed person?

“Fiore has the most pure heart of the masters for sure. I think it was really hard for Fiore to give up being a mage. It’s all that she wanted her entire life, but she realized that she just wasn’t built for killing. I think she came out of the war with a better understanding of herself, and I’d be interested to know what she decides to do with her life now that she’s no longer a mage.”

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I think we can all agree Kakegurui’s Runa Yomozuki was nothing short of a demonic bundle of fun. What was it like playing the pint-sized puppeteer? Some of us still have nightmares about getting on her bad side. 

“It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had with a character! I loved her bratty behavior and creature-like voice. She’s never afraid of anything or anyone and just does what interests her, which I can get behind. I felt so free every time I got to ‘nyahaha!’. I also love playing characters with multiple sides to them, so getting to switch from cute and bratty to scary and serious was great.”

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The ladies of Re;Zero have gone on to become modern anime icons, especially when it comes to everyone’s favourite half-elf. In your mind, what makes Emilia such an endearing character?

“I feel like what makes Emilia special is that she is so incredibly good-hearted. She stops to save Subaru even when the most important item in the kingdom was stolen from her, and she never wants anyone to feel like they owe her. When other people despise her for being half-elf, rather than being angry and hateful back, she feels bad that SHE made them feel that way. She always trusts her friends and also allows them to rely on her. She’s open-minded and is always willing to give someone a chance to do right. I also think that it’s incredible that she is so determined to be a leader and take on the responsibility, even though we know that she is still a young girl finding her own way.”

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Kayli, thank you so much for your time! If fans want to message you and tell you how Emilia will always be best girl, where can they find you?

Twitter- @KayliMills

Youtube- /MewKiyoko

Instagram- @kaylimills

Facebook- kayli.mills

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

“Top 10 Soft Serve Matcha Ice Cream Places.”

Interview With Sean Chiplock

Anime Lover/Voice Actor/Dungeon Crawler

The decades have given us no shortage of incredible performances courtesy of talented voice actors, whose work can be seen across both classic animation and video games. As a result, it should come as no surprise to see those that were once inspired fans make the jump to the professional scene years later. Sean Chiplock happens to be one such fan, who has gone on to make one hell of a splash in the industry!

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From appearing in countless critically-acclaimed franchises such as The Legend of Zelda and Persona, all the way to securing himself the lead role in hit anime like Re;Zero, Sean’s talent in the world of voice acting is only match by his enthusiasm for the craft. Luckily for us, he was willing to take time out of his day to chat with us his about his blossoming career!

Before you managed to find a place for yourself within the industry, you were a fan just like the rest of us. Can you briefly talk about the anime that inspired you to pursue what must now be a dream career?

“It was Trinity Blood – and Troy Baker, specifically – that first lit up the lightbulb of discovery & inspiration that led me onto the path of VO. Although I can’t recall the specific episode that it was from, the moment I actually recognized voiceover as a profession people engaged in was after seeing a “Behind the Scenes clip” of an upcoming episode of the show via a pop-up bubble (fans of the older MTV “Behind the Music Video” segments & fact bubbles are probably familiar with what I’m talking about). A split-screen view showed both the part of the animation being dubbed as well as Troy standing within his recording booth, and it was that moment of seeing his voice speak at the same time the character’s lips moved where I realized “this is a thing that people do; there are actors behind these characters. 

Everything just became a new inspiration from that point on. Toonami was still alive and well – showing episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist, Bebop, and sometimes even FLCL within their rotation – and now that I had clued in to what voiceover was, seeing these anime characters get involved in such exciting adventures just made me want to be a part of those worlds more and more. Even today, it’s rare where I see a new anime and don’t immediately find at least one character who makes me think, “God, what I wouldn’t give to get to step into their shoes vocally”.

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As someone with a love of gaming, are there any roles in some of your favourite titles that you wish you had the opportunity to voice? Or do you prefer to separate the games you enjoy from your life as an actor?

“I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love Dungeon Crawler RPGs. From co-writing the most comprehensive mechanics guide for Demon Gaze, to hosting panels completely focused on discussing similar/different gimmicks across multiple titles within the genre, my passion for them has only grown as once-niche titles and companies continue to grow more popular with Western audiences. With that in mind, it has been a long-standing dream to be involved in the Etrian Odyssey series in some capacity. My worry, however, is that that window of opportunity may finally be closing for good; with Etrian Odyssey X (Cross) recently announced and news suggesting it will be the last entry in the handheld console franchise, there’s no guarantee that I may be able to get on the audition roster of the studio assigned its localization in time.

I definitely wish I had had the chance to be a part of Demon Gaze II when it ended up being localized, but in general I try not to attach myself too much to announced projects in terms of wishing I could voice for them; I find that there’s too much risk of bitterness or jealousy if I don’t get cast (or receive a chance to audition), as well as a risk of letting my eagerness overwhelm my professionalism/performance if I do get cast. So, I instead focus on just doing the best I can with every opportunity I receive, and to cement my strengths in the types of roles I want to play as I continue to gain more experience.

Outside of that, I actually don’t have any aversions to playing games that I voice in – it just happens to be that many of the games I end up voicing in are not part of genres I typically enjoy the most. The solution to that is simple – either get better at understanding the nuances of the genres I want to be a part of, or start giving more game genres a chance!”

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You starred in a little indie game called The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which I think a few people ended up rather enjoying. What was it like to be a part of one of Nintendo’s juggernaut franchises? Let alone one of its greatest iterations.

“It was as equally exhilarating as it was terrifying. On the one hand, I’m sure any Legend of Zelda fan can imagine the immense excitement that comes with being trusted to help represent one of the company’s most iconic franchises; but on the other, it was also well known that the last time a “Zelda” game had voices to this extent, it did not go well. Knowing that that history would lead to such intense scrutinization this time around did make me adamant about wanting to give Revali & the others the best performances they deserved,  but also just as adamant about proving to audiences that I was capable of giving those performances.

Each of the characters also provided a different sort of experience when it came to exploring my expertise as a voice actor. Revali, who I thought would be the easiest personality for me to capture, actually turned out to be one of the most frustrating challenges of my career (and a good lesson in learning to trust your director to help you get where you need to be). Teba, in contrast, was a moment of pride where the voice I had in my head was exactly the voice the company reps were looking for, and what you hear from him in the game is 100% “my” creation. Finally, Deku Tree was a character I knew would be a challenge in terms of accessing a part of my range I don’t normally get to showcase, so pulling him off was equal parts difficult yet attainable – and considering Deku Tree was my only cast character before Revali and Teba came along later on, being willing to go outside of my comfort zone is precisely what allowed me to also gain vocal access to characters who meant the world to me.”

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In your mind, do you think Revali found some semblance with peace after Link managed to help him out? And in your mind what makes him such a endearing character?

“I do believe he found reason to put his trust in Link, but in order to understand how he could come to that endpoint it’s incredibly important to understand the reason for his initial resistance.

I actually completely understand Revali’s anger towards Link, and find it reasonable that he was disgusted at everyone else’s immediate acceptance of the Hero’s potential in spite of the strengths of the others. As we learn from the DLC cutscenes, Revali was not someone who just walked in proclaiming to be the best; in fact, he deliberately sequestered himself within the mountains and refused to showcase his skills to anyone else until he had already completely mastered them. By the time he returned to Rito Village ready to tout his talent, he actually had the skills to back up his claims. And it shows – he is legitimately respected within the village, as evidenced by Teba’s genuine admiration for his ancestor.

So for Link’s arrival to automatically put him at the forefront of the fighting force is nothing short of a betrayal of everything Revali had worked for. To put so much time and effort into proving himself capable of defeating Ganon, only to be relegated to a sidekick role meant to simply help the “real hero” complete the task and receive the majority of the accolades? Not only that, but to give that kind of trust and respect to someone solely on behalf of a prophecy involving a sword, with no actual prior display of the wielder’s strength or experience?

It took an awful long time for Revali to be convinced after that initial encounter, but because the source of his envy and bitterness was the fact that Link hadn’t shown himself to be capable of defeating Ganon, he was able to eventually develop a sense of trust once Link had proven himself. That didn’t stop him from still wanting to prove himself thebetter candidate (as shown in the DLC bonus dialogues after fighting Windblight Ganon multiple times), but at the very least he knew he hadn’t been overshadowed by a complete amateur.”

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Will Kiyotaka always be the ultimate bro to you or is he more of a tragic figure given his multiple demises across the Danganronpa franchise?

“Kiyotaka is precious, but ultimately too strict for his own good. His lawful commitment may stem from a desire to prevent his peers from getting into trouble and suffering consequences, but it also leads him to be blind to the reality that sometimes the rules themselves aren’t exactly looking out for your best interest. However, his heart is in the right place, and his support for his peers is unconditional, both of which are signs of an Ultimate High School Level Bro. Plus, you can’t really hold a grudge against someone who watched their best friend get turned into an Aunt Jemima ingredient.”

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You brought new life into a classic character in the form of Rash in Killer Instinct, complete with extra sass. Were you an old school Battletoads fan in anyway?

“Believe it or not, I’ve actually never had any experience with Battletoads whatsoever, outside of watching the occasional speedrun via SGDQ/ADGQ events (although I was very familiar with the GameStop-related prank that was oh-so-popular within the past decade). But knowing that history helped me to understand the nuance behind Rash’s inclusion in Killer Instinct, and I was able to take my own love of the joke into the booth with me. Fun Fact: Rash’s taunt beatboxing only lasts a few seconds, but the engineer got a FULL MINUTE of me busting out air guitar solos and stanza remixes during the actual recording session without even having to ask!”

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Persona 5’s Mishima may not be a primary member of the Phantom Thieves, but his influence can be felt all across the game. Could you relate to his personal journey of wanting to prove his worth?

“More than you can possibly realize. Although I (fortunately?) can’t identify with his development as an abuse survivor – though I am immensely proud of him for being able to define himself the way he wanted to in spite of that trauma – that sense of longing he goes through as he watches his peers embark on decidedly more epic and intense adventures is something I battle with at least a little bit any time I encounter a project I was excited about but unable to book a role in. Don’t get me wrong; I am wholly supportive of my colleagues and love every chance I get to study their performances so that I can learn what worked for them and how to adapt it into my own skillset. But there’s always going to be that little bit of pain when you’re really attached to something yet can’t get closer to it than you already are, and so seeing Mishima want to obtain some of that opportunity for excitement himself is something I can relate to. And just as he finds the strength and maturity to define himself by his own efforts instead of wanting to covet those of the people around him, so too do I plan to work hard at creating my own legacy through my unique accomplishments.”

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Moving over to the anime side of things, getting the part of Subaru in Re;Zero must have been an amazing experience. Can you recollect what happened when learned you had gotten the role?

“Re:Zero was a double whammy of personal attachment for me – not only had I actually already seen the entire show prior to the audition as a result of viewing it while in Japan during my trip in late 2016, but as a result I also knew who Subaru was as a person… and subsequently, how much of myself I saw in him. His stubborn devotion to helping people he admires & respects, his tendency to refuse to give up even when he may be in over his head, and even his self-doubt regarding his ability to be desirable to others are all things that have long defined elements of my personality (certain dialogues in Episode 18 were particularly painful, as they brought back memories of the many times I’d questioned whether I truly deserved someone as wonderful as the woman who is now my wife).

So, when I learned that I had actually been cast as this character I’d already grown so close to, there actually wasn’t a shred of worry amidst the overwhelming sense of eagerness. I already knew very well just how stressful the role would be physically, but that only made me more excited to tackle every single scene that I’m sure many would use as “comparison points” between the Japanese and English versions of the audio. Because I knew the context within every scene, I also understood his relationships and his struggles intimately – and since I didn’t have to spend my focus trying to understand the scene, I was able to devote it all to faithfully reproducing the emotion and intensity present in the lines.

Do I expect it to have been perfect? Definitely not, considering this is the first time I’ve ever had such a long-term role (50+ recording sessions, as opposed to Breath of the Wild’s fewer than 10 in total). But I know for a fact that I was 100% committed to that role and to his character, and I hope viewers who watch the English dub will come to the same conclusion.”

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It’s fair to say that Subaru suffers more than your average protagonist. Was it a challenge or a joy to record his many, many, many death scenes?

“It was most certainly a challenge, with many of his more intense scenes putting my throat in a state of recovery regardless of whether I did them “correctly” or not in terms of properly managing the wear & tear on my cords. But I actually firmly believe that his “injury SFX” are among my best performance points in the dub, due to how committed I was to making them authentic as well as comparable to the original Japanese reference. I actually wasn’t able to listen to the playback of any of my gags or choking efforts when the engineer was slotting them in to match the lip flaps, because they would start to trigger my actual gag reflex each time (which I think is a good sign)! And because I knew those scenes would be so vocally stressful, it only emphasized the importance of getting it done right the first time around… and led to what I believe are some of the strongest performance pieces of the character. I talk an awful lot about how excited I am for people to finally get to hear my murderous rampage in Episode 15, and that statement is no less true now.”

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You’ve probably been probed on this a thousand times already, but we still need to ask…Emilia or Rem?

“Felix.”

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Hunter x Hunter’s Riehlvet certainly made the most of his time in Heavens Arena, going out with a hell of a bang. Was recording his defeat as hilarious for you as it was for us watching it?

“Without a doubt. Insane/Maniacally devoted characters are perhaps my single favorite archetype to perform – to this day, I still fondly look back on Zenke from Fairy Fencer F as one of my best performances of my career so far. Similar performances in B: The Beginning, MAGI: Labyrinth of Magic, and especially certain scenes from Re:Zero showcase just how much fun these are for me, and Riehlvelt was no exception. I hope that audiences get as much enjoyment from his suffering as I did portraying it!”

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Sean, thank you so much for your time! If fans want to message you and tell you how Mishima is a cinnamon roll, where can they find you?

“For any career announcements, role reveals, giveaway raffles, or just my comedian stream of consciousness, the best avenue is my Twitter. For the more reflective and often “real” side – making observations on both my big successes as well as critically evaluating areas where I fall short – my Facebook is a better spot. However, please opt to Follow instead of Friending; I regularly curate the latter to include only those folks who I interact with regularly & in person. And finally, if you’re just here for my audio skits and my memelord posts (which, trust me, are still fairly rampant), then head on over to my Tumblr!

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

“Top 10 Fan Theories that Turned Out to be Correct. It’s incredible, the ideas that folks are able to come with it based on cryptic clues or even just genre savvy knowledge, and being able to look back at times when internet strangers truly and thoroughly “called it” could be rather interest!”

Interview With Kristen McGuire

She’s The Voice Of Everyone’s Favorite Office Mom!

Whether she’s bringing characters to life through stellar direction, talented voice-work, dedicated scripting or even through her own comics, Kristen McGuire has gone on to prove herself as one of Funimation’s best and brightest.

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Not only finding widespread success with her own artistry, Ms McGuire’s contributions towards the dubbing scene have been essential both in and outside the booth. Throw in the fact she’s got iconic characters like Rin Toyama under her belt, and it’s fair to say that she’s made her mark!

Which is why we couldn’t be happier that she agreed to have a quick chat with us about her career as well as all the craziness that’s come from it!

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Before we dive into your voice roles, it’s important to note just how much work you do outside the recording booth. What would you say has been most gratifying; working as an ADR Director or adapting scripts?

“I definitely prefer directing over writing, and I would love to possibly pursue it as a full time job if the opportunity ever came up. To me, there is nothing more gratifying than working with a team of people to make a show the best it can be. Being a director is like putting together a puzzle where all the pieces constantly shift or change. The end result is never what you imagined it would be, but in my personal opinion, that’s what makes it so much fun.”

What has been more the fulfilling project to direct? A light-hearted romantic comedy like Gamers or something spicy and sensual like Citrus?

“They’re both fulfilling in their own way. As a writer, actor, and director, comedy is definitely more my jam and that’s probably the genre I excel at most. But it’s also gratifying to dig into a project that has a deeper meaning and may be more emotional. Directing different types of projects helps me grow in a multitude of ways, not just as a director but as a person in general.”

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Citrus had more than its fair share of awkward moments that pushed the boundary of how one deals with a potentially unhealthy romance. What tips did you give your fellow actors when these scenes occurred?

“The key to Citrus was understanding the characters and where they were coming from emotionally. We relied on that heavily throughout the entire series, and approached all of those scenes from the mindset of what those characters may be experiencing emotionally. I also trusted the actors on each scene and only guided them if I felt like they really needed it. They each connected with their characters in their own way, and I wanted to see where that would take them before I gave them any feedback regarding a scene. Between trusting the actors and knowing the backstories and emotions of the characters, I personally don’t think those scenes were difficult to record at all. Also, we made a lot of jokes. Laughter is always a good thing!”

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Scripting a series like Dagashi Kashi must be a joy, especially when it comes to the character of Hotaru. Do any moments stand out for you now that the second season has concluded?

“Honestly, the second season of Dagashi Kashi is a bit of a blur for me because I was also directing Citrus and acting in Karakai Jozu no Takagi-San. Dagashi Kashi is one of the earlier shows I wrote, and I had a lot of fun with it. Characters like Hotaru and Yo made it fun to adapt and I enjoyed getting to break the fourth wall a bit in the first season. Personally, I’d like to see whether or not Kokonotsu pursues his dream of being a manga artist because that was always what interested me most anyway, haha. Also, it should be noted that I always gain about five pounds when I write that show because it always makes me hungry!”

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Interview With Monster Girls certainly had way more heart to it than many were expecting. Can you bring yourself to choose best girl?

“This is actually an easy one because I always felt a connection with Machi. Out of all the monster girls, I felt like she had to overcome the biggest trials on a daily basis. Hikari and Yuki still looked pretty normal by modern day standards, but Machi was literally headless. I thought about how that must affect her and what sort of looks she must endure on a daily basis. The episode where she goes to the university and discovers her love for science only sealed the deal for me. Machi is best girl.”

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Besides her loving obsession with Kou, what would you say are Rin from New Game’s best qualities?

“Rin is sort of like the office mom. I admire her organizational skills (as mine are seriously lacking), but she always has the team’s best interests in mind. Rin and I both tend to be people pleasers. The episode where she finally admits to Kou her true feelings really hit home for me, because I think we both tend to put other people’s happiness before our own, and I felt like that was a big step for Rin to put herself first for once. Rin is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever voiced, so I could go on about her for hours, haha! Long story short, I think it’s her caring nature that makes her such a wonderful person, but she is also very human. She’s capable of jealousy, especially when it comes to Kou, but she’s not afraid to make tough decisions when it comes to her job. She’s definitely a very cool person.”

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You and Rin also happen to have something in common; you’re both published artists! For those not in the know, can you talk a little about how projects such as Enchanted and Day in the Life of a Cat Girl came about?

“Ah, my first love! My comics are actually how I discovered the world of voice over. I was at a con as a guest for my comics when I met a voice over guest. They told me Funimation sometimes did open auditions, and finding out that I did theater in high school, encouraged me to try out. I could have never imagined where that open audition would lead! But more on the comics, I’ve always enjoyed creating my own stories. The thing that voice over and comics have in common is that you can use both of those to tell a story and connect with an audience. I love making that connection, and even though I make a living off of my work at Funimation, I continue to create art in my spare time. I’m actually working on a new comic as we speak. Since Funimation is a full time job though, it’s taking a bit longer than I anticipated. A lot of people ask where I got the idea for Enchanted. The truth is, I just wanted to make a story about unicorns that turn into hot guys. They say write what you love and you’ll find an audience! The concept proved to be more popular than I expected.”

Dolugh might just be the cutest metaphor for a conscious ever seen in anime! Was it easy to give a voice to his innocent nature?

“Initially, I was worried when I found out I was playing Dolugh. I was excited for the challenge, but nervous about finding the right voice for him. But once we got into the flow of things, it came to me pretty easily. Of course, that’s no surprise with Sonny Strait at the directing helm. In the end we approached Dolugh as if he were a child, and that made playing him a bit easier.” 

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Keijo is a special snowflake of an anime, one that somehow managed to turn fanservice into a sport. Aside from her talent for pummelling opponents with her posterior, what did you most enjoy about Hanabi’s character?

“I was so excited to play the “rival” character in a sports anime! What I didn’t count on was that Hanabi would come around so quickly. I wondered why she would act that way, so I did some research online and found out that Hanabi had trouble making friends growing up because she was always so talented at sports. You find out that she actually started playing Keijo as a way to make friends, and suddenly her character made a lot more sense. Clifford Chapin, the ADR Director, also made working on the show a lot of fun. Hanabi was a fun character because she was often the source of something comedic, and those scenes are always a lot of fun to play with.”

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Given the number of crazies that inhabit the busty world of Prison School, Chiyo was definitely one of the most earnest. Was it more fun to explore her naivety or indulge in the times when she did get to share in the naughtiness?

“Chiyo was certainly a wallflower when the show first started out. The key to playing a character like that is to find the things that interest you about them. For Chiyo, it was her sense of loyalty. I mean, she was also naive, sure. But she was loyal almost to a fault. It was fun to see how far her loyalty would take her in the breakout scheme though, and in the end she really came through for the boys in prison in a way I never expected. Fun fact though, most of her reactions to the things going on around her were totally just me reacting to those scenes. You can especially hear it when Gakuto takes out the USB drive and Chiyo gives off a resounding, “Ugh!”. That was just me reacting for real, haha.”

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Assassination Classroom’s Hinano may not have managed to get as much of the spotlight as the other students, but she was undeniably a beautiful ball of sunshine whenever she did appear on screen. Is it a breath of fresh air when you get to play someone of such a pleasant disposition?

“Hinano will always be special to me because she was my first named role, and I had no idea the show would be so popular. The whole thing was a big surprise for me. Characters like Hinano that are sweet and innocent are always fun to play, and I know that I grew a lot as an actor while playing her. So yes, she was definitely a breath of fresh air.”

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Kristen, thank you so much for your time! As an honorary member of WatchMojo, if you could choose a subject for a top ten list, what would it be?

“I would definitely do something along the lines of “Top Ten Animes Featuring Strong Female Leads” (Like Snow White with the Red Hair) or “Top Ten Animes Involving Animal Girls” (Show by Rock, Tokyo Mew Mew, things like that)”

Top 3 Ron Perlman Voice Roles

When You Hear That Voice, You Know It’s About To Go Down

From the the cruellest villains to the most hilarious of comic-reliefs, the star of the Hellboy franchise has managed to carve a place for himself in the world of voice-acting, in many cases cementing himself as the definitive figure for many an iconic character. While the actor will always be associated with grizzled badass Clay Morrow, we feel it’s important to highlight just how many awesome voice-over roles Mr Perlman has managed to portray over the years.

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While there’s an extensive list of animated characters he’s breathed life into, we feel that these particular three not only highlight the actor’s range, but by themselves serve as integral parts to their respective narratives.

#3: Clayface
“Batman: The Animated Series/The New Batman Adventures” (1992-99)

One of the Dark Knight’s most tragic foes, all Matt Hagen wanted to do was continue his illustrious career as an actor, only to find himself being turned into a shapeshifting monster due to overexposure to an experimental compound. The shame, sorrow and anger at his new form caused Hagen to go on a rampage, whatever humanity he had left slowly diminishing. While he certainly has his bestial moments, what really sold us on the character was the fleeting moments of regret and despair as he begged Batman to save him form his cursed fate.

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#2: Mr Lancer
“Danny Phantom” (2004-07)

Who would have thought that in a series that featured such memorable gag characters like The Box Ghost, the funniest character of them all would be a teacher who screams out classic literature titles when aggravated. Despite well-meaning intentions, Mr Lancer always found a way to clash with our hero Danny, mainly due to him always skipping class when a spectral being showed up to cause trouble. Not only does he provide some much needed levity to the show’s darker episodes, but hearing Ron Perlman let out “Chicken Soup for the Soul” as an outburst never gets old.

#1: Slade
“Teen Titans” (2003-06)

The world’s most powerful teenage team have taken on intergalactic threats and entities from the depths of hell, yet they come across as mere poultry when compare to the menace and dread brought about by this masked tyrant. A criminal mastermind whose managed to escape death numerous times, Slade is as much a puppeteer as he is a force of nature. His authority is unquestionable, with Ron Perlman’s magnificent voice-work managing give him as a sickly charm that entrances you just as much as it makes your skin crawl. You really don’t want to get on his bad side…

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Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Best Cartoon Villains of the 2000s.