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Anime Crunch


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First off, can you go over some of your numerous anime voice actress roles?

WL: Faye Valentine; Cowboy Bebop
Su, Tama; Love Hina
TK, Marinangemon, Ken Mom, Daisy; Digimon
Batch, Lovestar & Ms. Loon; Mon Colle Knights
Umi, & Princess Emaraud; Magic Knight Rayearth
Yui; [Fushigi Yugi] Mysterious Play
Kei; Akira
Charlotte; Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust
Kione; Tenchi Muyo
Vanessa; Robotech
Iczer-One; Iczer-One
Yuri; Dirty Pair
Twilight Suzuka; Outlaw Star
Patricia Lovejoy AKA Angel; The Big O
CBD Sara; Hand Maid May
Urd; Mini Goddesses

I Wanna be an Angel, Arc the Lad, multiple roles on GTO, Brigadoon & Vampire Princess Miyu to name a few, plus many others.
AD: If you could live as any one of the characters you've portrayed, who would want to be and why?
WL: Well, Id love to live as a princess or time travel or visit the future as many of my characters do, but there really isnt any one particular role Id actually want to live as full time. My own life is great! So Id prefer to remain as myself for the time being.
AD: Which character that you've played most resembles your own personality?
WL: I dont know. I really liked playing the original Nadia. It was very much in line with my vision of a metaphysical Atlantian-type past the planet may have once seen. I also love aspects of Faye Valentine; her strong-mindness yet little girl interior. Charlottes regal dramatic lovelorn qualities and several other elements of many of the characters I get to play. I always seem to relate to them all on some level and its wonderful to be able to get inside of them and think as they do.
AD: Moving on, we have a few questions about Love Hina. Whose idea was it to give Su an Indian accent? Also, were you hired as the director or as a voice actor first?
WL: I was hired first to direct the show. We held auditions and the clients cast the roles. They wanted Su to have a Southern accent originally, but I presented the idea of a somewhat East Indian-like accent due to the fact that she is a foreign exchange student and has darker skin. They liked the choice, so we went with it. I understand some of the fans find this a controversial decision, but it makes much more sense to us than a Southern accent; the other controversial choice they decided to go with for Kitsune on the show. Besides, I think Su is one of the more unique & original characters Ive ever played. Shes a hoot!
AD: Did you watch LH or read any of the manga before working on LH? Also, what kind of response are you getting from fans in general?
WL: Yes. In fact I have both the original show in Japanese & the manga book right here on my desk. I havent heard much response yet, but Ill be attending several conventions this summer, so Im sure I will.
AD: In another interview you mentioned that you've also done work in live action programs. Are there any film / TV programs featuring you that are already accessible to the general public?
WL: Not right now really. Ive done voice work on many feature films; Austin Power is one of the most memorable. But I am shooting an independent film this month in which I have a great little on camera role. The film is called "The man with the red mustache". I also voice a lot of foreign films into English.
AD: How did you get your start in directing? Do you prefer it to voice acting?
WL: I pushed hard to get my first shot at directing which was on Power Rangers, of all things. I had been a regular in the cast as the voice of Scorpina & Alpha, and they were short on ADR directors. I was already self-directing on a few shows and knew directing voice actors would be something I could do well. But very few (if any) women were directing at the time, so I had to fight the old glass ceiling as it were, and prove myself. I had already been directing for stage & video and was becoming an expert in my field of voice work (if I may say so myself) so I knew I would have a place as a voice director if given the chance. I am an actress first, so in some ways I love acting the most. But to me directing is very much an extension of acting & very rewarding.
AD: When you're in the directors chair, do you have any say in casting? Or do you have to stick to the studios choice? Also, do Animaze and Bang Zoom hold a casting call and open audition for new series?
WL: It depends, each project is separate and unto itself. Some shows require casting & many others trust us to make the casting decisions. Its sort of a dollars & cents thing. Casting is time consuming and an extra expense. I think the director always has an influence to some degree. We know who works fast, who has the highest degree of dubbing skills, whos enjoyable to work with, and willing to take direction. And in most cases who has the right voices for the given roles.

Often Bang Zoom! & Animaze hold auditions, but not "open" auditions. Voice work requires a GREAT amount of skill and experience. The more hours you have in front of a microphone the faster and more efficient the work. Folks coming in from off the street have no idea how difficult this line of work is nor where to begin. No one gets in that door until they have earned it.
AD: Which voice actors do you work with most frequently, as both a director and as an actress? How do you get along with your peers?
WL: I work with just about everyone in town who is an anime voice artist. Its a very small circle so we inevitably run into each other often. I love the folks I work with. Despite the competition and politics its a great bunch of wonderful freaks Im proud to be a part of.
AD: Do you feel like you are getting type-cast as the "tall, sexy, and beautiful" female character more often than not?
WL: No, but could you see to it that that image follows me into my personal life? Actually those are the chicks I love playing the most. I really dont feel type-cast at all cause I get to play so many different roles; creatures, kids, boys, vixens, good girls, bad girls, bringem on! I love them all!
AD: What is your opinion on sex and violence in many anime series, especially as a woman?
WL: Its tough sometimes. Im really just a post-hippie-bohemian-flower-child at heart and I dont believe in war or violent resolution. But on the other hand I love action and creative conflict, so I guess in a way I justify my part in it all. I do wish there wasnt so much stereo-typing in what we do, and the graphic excessive violence can be rather disturbing, especially when Im writing and directing because I have to watch the same scenes over & over again. But I dont mind the sexual aspect as long as its marketed to the older crowd. The sexy titles are fun. But some of the female characters are depicted in rather demeaning ways which is not fun. Thats always difficult as a woman. Not to mention the amazingly super-human anime babe anatomy we're expected to somehow live up to in real life. That can be a bit much! But the guys dig it. Whats new. My question is how does one get a bod like that?!
AD: Do you think anime is sexist in the way it portrays female characters?
WL: Absolutely! Its totally sexist, and I would have to say thats in part because of its audience, young guys! So what can you do? Once in a while a cool title comes along thats centered around the female view, but then again that generally means plenty of T & A and skimpy costumes.
AD: Did you ever turn down a role because you didnt agree with the content?
WL: Yes, Ive had to pass on some of the uh-hem, more graphic ones. I dont do violent XXX stuff, Im into quality and that has little to do with the above mentioned genre. But Ive been pretty fortunate in that most of the stuff that comes my way is really fun to work on.
AD: As stated by various members of the VA community, members of the SAG are allowed to work on non-union projects if they become a part of the "financial core." Does doing this mean the actor is allowed non-union work, but as a penalty they are not allowed to vote in elections, or do any of the other fun organizational union events?
WL: True, SAG really frowns on us doing anything that is not produced under a SAG contract. But due to the sudden take-over of work going to Canada and elsewhere, many of us simply cannot survive without accepting the work that does come our way. Canada under bids and undercuts us at ever turn which has created a very competitive environment in our field for every show that comes along. Working non-union is the only way we can compete with the low rates they are willing to work for and still stay in the running. But when it comes to quality, theres no comparison, you get what you pay for.
AD: This is one question that EVERYONE wants to know. Have you been contacted by Columbia/TriStar to reprise your role as Faye Valentine for the upcoming Cowboy Bebop movie?
WL: Not yet, but I hear there is a VERY good chance we will get to do the film!!
AD: Is there any upcoming anime work that you're allowed to divulge?
WL: I must be careful not to mention anything prematurely. I can mention a few; new voices on Digimon, Brigadoon, Real Bout High School, a couple of cool interactive games; Neverwinter Nights - I play the lead character, Crimson Sea, and few others. Still recording Kenshin & Love Hina and then there are the 7 odd other titles Im not allowed to mention yet. Check out my web site in the future (which is still under construction). Ill update it as the releases are announced;
AD: And finally, what are your feelings about Japanese culture in general? Have you ever visited Japan? Do you think its important to keep the Japanese culture intact in a dub?
WL: I am fascinated by Japanese culture! No, I have never been, but I would love to go. I feel like a voyeur studying their world & lifestyle over all these years. I know so much, yet so little. I dream of going someday.

Yes & No. I feel it is important to keep content intact in Japanese dubs more so than culture. I think that is taken care of visually for the most part. I have done a lot of network recording, and that is an entirely different school of thought, which I know most diehard anime fans do not agree with. I love the art of Japanese story telling and I think there is a lot to learn from it for western thinkers, but I dont agree with keeping every single little thing exactly like the Japanese just for the sake of being identical.

That can really squeeze the creativity out of the process and neglect areas where there is room for improvement. We pay much more attention to lip synch and over all details in most cases than the original Japanese, so I like to have a degree of creative freedom to allow for that. Otherwise why watch the dub? If its the pure original form youre looking for, watch the subtitles. If youd like to see the language flow and match the picture with all the nuances and timing we provide, no one does it better!


This one is for you Shawn^_^