Anime voice over is one of Alan’s favourite genres because it includes characteristics you would see in the theatre or in the heart-clenching performance of a TV drama. Plus, it’s often topped off with a splash of superpowers! The narrative in anime includes the ongoing struggle between good and evil.
The idea that there is always hope leaves the audience on the edge of their seat. It can be sad and serious or hilariously funny and there is always a good depth of content to contend with. One moment an anime character can be laughing with a friend, the next minute, they could be battling to save the universe from villains. Voiceover artists line up in bulk for anime, it is a trendy and enjoyable genre. In addition, the casting process is both interesting and challenging. The animation is superb and often complemented with the highest quality soundtrack. The voiceover coming into the mix at the end of the production process means it’s the icing on the cake.
What’s Different About Anime Voice Over?
Anime originated in Japan where the vast majority of it is drawn. From there, it is dubbed into different languages all over the world. The bulk of the English dub is held in the USA. A performer has a lot to consider when successfully booked for an anime. When performing anime voice over three things appear on the screen:
- A script
- The anime
- A recording band (VoiceQ, Band Rythemo, etc.)
Before working on a performance, a voice actor has to produce a triangular visual skill to follow the band, read the lines and watch the anime. Why is watching the anime while recording important? Because the actor needs to match the lip movements of the character on the screen. This is called lip-syncing.
How hard could it be to lip-sync? The answer is it’s a bit like riding a bike. Once you have got the hang of it, you can pick it up again in the future. The challenge is the variety of words and syllables across different languages. The characters are drawn to mimic Japanese speaking, so for English reads, we have to fit the words and sentences into each character’s facial movements. Fortunately, the director will use creative direction to amend the script accordingly. In some cases, the voice actor may need to elongate sentences or speak quickly to fit everything in smoothly.
Essential Performance Skills in Anime
Does playing with the tempo affect performance? It might be slightly uncomfortable for the artist, but it also encourages creativity. To elongate a sentence we can overemphasize certain words or phrases or we can speed things up to add a new dynamic to the character.
Moving away from the technical and looking at the performance, what skills are needed for anime? Flexibility and range are crucial. Anime characters find themselves in all types of surreal situations. One scene could be a casual conversation, and the next needs to be screamed at the top of your voice to unleash a powerful attack. Now you may be thinking, SURELY that isn’t good for your vocal cords? To some extent, that’s correct, however, it is critical to use your voice correctly.
With practise and discipline you can project, scream and shout in a way that doesn’t cause harm. An anime voice actor must know their limits, and a good director will leave the more intense lines for the end of the session. Emotes or efforts are vitally important too. Anyone working in video games will recognize the importance of vocalising the sound of getting punched or avoiding an attack. Emotes can go a long way to communicating details, even for a death scene. Similar to shouting, it does present some challenges, but discipline is the most fundamentally important ingredient.
Alan’s Versatility in Anime Voice Over
Getting truly into the character is the most important part of playing an anime character. The audience can tell if something isn’t real. If the expressions aren’t real, then it’s going to show. One of the reasons anime castings are so specific is because of the struggle to get to a deep place emotionally. This skill is needed to portray the most intense human emotions such as agony, rage, and overwhelming joy.
Versatility is vital in anime. One character can have multiple expressions, reactions, or intensity based on different situations throughout the story. During a recording session, it is common for the director to give the voice actor a second, third, or fourth dimension. The actor will do multiple performances in a few lines to show their range of versatility and intensity. To experience Alan’s skills, qualities, and ability to master anime voice over, call for an audition today!