Monthly Archives: May 2008

Animazement 2008 Voice Actress Panel

This panel was one of the first thing at the start of the convention Friday, 1pm. Looks like they’re going to do some live dubbing with audience participating!

Keiko Han wears Luna Mask

A little tidbit about Animazement. Much like how the now-president of Gainax pulls for Fanime, Kamiya and Han work hard to get fellow voice actors to come to the con. Well, the results are pretty obvious. Or rather, voice actors know voice actors, after all?

The panel started with some technical difficulty. It seems they have a prepared DVD with menus and all, ready to show clips from various shows (mostly Sailor Moon) for all the guests at the con. But somehow they couldn’t get the sound to work. Funny enough few moments later they couldn’t mute the darn thing. We spent a good 10 minutes at the panel looking at the panelists being confused as to how to proceed. Anyways, it was all good. This particular panel was also extra 30-40 minutes longer with an attached autograph session at the end. So we spent roughly 15 minutes goofing around, 15 minutes dubbing, and 30 minutes Q&A.

For this panel I’m going to just flesh out the Q&A part in detail, but just paraphrase the rest. Below is a chronological telling of what vaguely happened.

The panel begins with an exciting introduction. Mitsuishi announces that she will join Fukuda and Han at the Gundam panel as well, as an addendum to the programming material. And then we wait. For sound.

Of course, Han and Mitsuishi had some fun doing dub-their-own. First Mitsuishi asked if any male audience members would dub Sailor Moon. Then the two went off with the video clips (without sound) and produced some lolz. Mitsuishi’s talking cat?

Then Mitsuishi tried to mouth off a Misato line. Ooops.

To make use of time, Han and Mitsuishi started to talk about their history. It seems that Mitsuishi is normally busy (as expected) but Han has nagged her for a few years. So it happened finally.

The two VAs looked for Sailor Moon cosplays in the audience to no avail. Maybe tomorrow? Keiko Han schemes that if Mitsuishi and the cosplayers took a picture, she can get Naoko Takeuchi to come.

Mitsuishi talked about her busy schedule and attempt to learn English with her daughter. Because of the declining birth rate in Japan, her daughter’s English school went out of business, so her English was pretty limited. Also, her daughter’s birthday was Thursday.

Anyways, after some more audio mangling we got to do the audience-participated dubs.

I think we went through 8 pairs. Some of them are pretty ok, others not so hot. But more importantly, some of them took liberty to show off to the guests with gifts and lols. There was a nice Maetel cosplay that really got their attention.

“Kawaiiku, kakkoyoku.” Kisses on the hands are cute.

And onward to Q&A.

Q1: <I’m from Mexico and we wubs SM. Ever had a difficult role?>

KM: I can do roles, but the hard part is figuring out how it’s suppose to be played. That would be Misato, as she was suppose to be older.

KH: As for me, it was <evil cackle> Queen Beryl because it had an evil cackle. I also had to do Luna back to back so I had to ask for a recording break so I can get into character. But now that I’ve done Queen Beryl, I can use this condescending laugh in other roles. <Cackle>

Crowd: LOL.

Q2: What do you think about the Sailor Moon TV series?

KM: I first saw the musical. I liked it a lot. I even talked to the girl who played Sailor Moon in the musical and she asked how she should do her lines. I told her she did well but she needs to come up with her way of delivery. As for the TV series, I was only an audience member but Keiko Han was part of the series as a voice.

At this point Q2 person had a little side discussion with the guests that fell through the translation crack.

KH: I think Sailor Moon TV was the first all-girls sentai TV show, so it was tough. Also they were all kids too. They did do a good job. At the same time my recording partner was an actual 16yo, as opposed to Mitsuishi. Naturally the anime partner was easier to work with for me.

Audience: Aww.

Q3: Did you enjoy Misato more or Usagi? Which one do you relate to more?

KM: When I am doing Misato, I like her more. When I do Usagi, I like her more. They are alike fundamentally so I never had a hard time playing either. They are very similar–they have the same kind of bangs.

Audience: </zing>

Q3: I think one had a drinking problem.

KM: …..? Ahh, sou deshita ne…

Audience: ROFL.

KM: KYAAAAAAA! That was fun to play. And I don’t drink.

Q4: Do you do something to pretend to be that character?

KM: The muse descends on you and you become the role, so to speak. Normally I’m a quiet person who bottles up things so I would “transform” as you say, as I act out my character.

KH: I don’t turn into a cat. Even last night, as we were talking late at night, we only see each other a couple times a year. I noticed that sometimes I get a feeling that when something is bugging Kotono, and I would call her and she would indeed be troubled. I think this is because during the four or five years we were closely working with each other, I picked up Luna’s power to sense when Usagi would be in trouble. I would call her up and she would ask how did I know?

Q5: In working in Excel Saga, how was it acting in such an energetic and spontaneous manner?

KM: Since Excel is a motormouth, I felt my lung capacity expanded during that show. It felt I had 4 lungs going. We didn’t do too many takes for the show, so usually the last take was the actual take. Most of the practice I had to do I did at home to make sure I don’t bite my tongue.

Q5: We read that the reason Gainax animated Ebichu is because of what you were reading during recording of Evangelion. Did something like this happen with a different show? That you influenced the production?

KM: There aren’t any shows that got influenced that way. How was the English version of Ebichu? With the censorship.

Q5: It was not released over here, we only heard of it from the internet.

Nice parry.

KM: Knowing there is an opportunity to say a lot of words you don’t get to say, I asked Anno for the role, and I got it.

Q6: Did you had to change your voice for the Excel previews?

KM: Some scenes they did that for an effect, but not for the normal recording.

Q6: That’s impressive.

KM: <Hahaha thx.>

Q7: Do you have a specific moment in Sailor Moment that is your favorite?

KM: When I was doing the role, I really get into the role and it matches well with the recording. When Sailor Moon saves Hotaru-chan, that was my favorite moment.

KH: My favorite moment is when the last episode was done, because I know I wouldn’t have to do Queen Beryl again.

Crowd: LOL.

Q8: <You doing the new Eva movie?> And how do you feel about doing a part you haven’t done in a long time, again?

KM: Everyone’s back for the movie, so yes I’m Misato again. In addition to a few new characters.

KM: It’s been 13 years. It took me a while to get back into character. The director wanted a more tense performance, although I was trying to do it as I imagined it. I originally wanted to do a retake on the same role but the director wanted the old style so I conceded and rewatched the original DVDs to get it back.

Q9: How many takes does it normally take you? Do you ever get to ad lib or change lines?

KH: In the studio, the first run-through we do we sit in our seat and watch the video. The second run-through is the mic test and that’s a rehearsal. Then we do the final take. A normal 30-minute episode will take 3 to 3.5 hours to record, at least back in Sailor Moon days. As for ad lib, it depends on the director.

KM: Normally you are not suppose to ad lib, but sometimes if you really know the character, you can do it as if you are the character.

Q10: Did you prepare yourself for Evangelion’s emotional ending? How did it affect you?

KM: I like to go to the recording with a neutral state of mind. At most just vocal warmup. I get my inspiration from the video footage. As for performing Evangelion, I got an instant source of topic. I can meet a stranger and talk about something.

Didn’t get the question?

Q11: <Ebichu is controversial.> Before going into the show, did you think it’s going to be controversial? Or just for the laughs?

KM: I never thought it would get a TV broadcast. But they did have TV codes, they censored it. For the DVD release it was uncensored. I’m very fond of the show myself, and I have some stuffed Ebichu at home. I hope you like it.

Q12: Whenever you are preparing a role, say it’s a sad moment, do you get overemotional or cry?

KM: When the character is laughing, I laugh; when the character is sad, I am sad. But you can’t let go 100% because your voice may go and if you cry you wouldn’t be able to perform. Also if there is a transition in the next scene, then you still need control to keep performing. I’m in control of the emotion ultimately.

KM: I’d like to ask this to Han-san…

KH: When I was doing Space Battleship Yamato: Be Forever Yamato, I cried at the end and I was apologizing to the director thinking I blew it. But the director went “No, it’s good!” and ended up changing the animation to match my performance. I had a delicious part of being Sasha in Yamato for my very first role.

And that’s that! What commences next is a mad dash to get into a line for autographing.

Autographing itself was not exactly eventful–there were flowers and candies given. Well, I guess there was this very cute moment when Mitsuishi was playing with a balloon animal with her daughter. Alex, Great SG and I ran into that Mexican guy (Q1) and chatted, also some other fans of Mitsuishi. Han and Mitsuishi were troopers and kept signing until the very end before they had to clear the room and take a 10 minute break for the next panel.

Which, hopefully, will be posted soon.