One of the benefits of being invited to ACen 2013 as press is that I got the chance to participate in press-exclusive interview sessions with two of the key guests of ACen 2013. The title to this feature may be slightly misleading, because both of the voice artists in question have done their work primarily in animation as opposed to video games, but as each of them also have a substantial amount of video game voice acting roles on their respective resumes as well, and considering the nature of Negative World, I decided to tailor this feature more to those roles.
So let’s jump right in and see what they had to say, shall we?
Yuu Asakawa is a singer and voice actress from Tokyo, Japan, as well as co-host of the Internet web show Otaku Verse Zero. Although she does speak some English, she is not completely fluent in the language, and she chose to have a translator present for her interview session.
Included among her voice acting credits is this little guy:
I’m sure that many of us at Negative World know who this is, but for those who don’t, it is Rolf from Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series. Yuu voiced his character in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. As she is a Japanese voice actress, her voice appears only in the Japanese version, so don’t rush to pop in your copy just to hear her voice, unless you happen to have a Japanese copy laying around.
Some of her other notable video game voice acting credits include Ashelin Praxis (Jak II), Lisa (Lunar Knights), Lebreau (Final Fantasy XIII), and Shalua (Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII), among others. Some of her anime credits include Hazumi (Bleach), Motoko Aoyama (Love Hina), Priss S. Asagiri (Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040), and Sanae (Samurai 7), among many, many others.
Furthermore, Yuu is also the voice for the Vocoloid Megurine Luka. What exactly is a Vocoloid, you may ask? A Vocoloid is a line of commercial software in Japan that allows the user to type words and a melody into the software and create live vocals from it. Each Vocaloid is essentially an avatar that is given their own unique personality (in this case Megurine Luka), and this has become a bit of a hot thing in Japan.
One of the things that quickly became evident in Yuu’s interview session is that she is a big fan of video games, and a very big fan of the Resident Evil series. At one point she stated that she would love to do voice work for the series, making it clear that she has a bit of a crush on Leon (who doesn’t?), and would ideally want to voice a potential love interest of his. She then joked that she would probably end up voicing a zombie instead.
Yuu was also asked if she has ever played a Pokémon game, and she replied that she has not, but has seen co-workers who do play the games coming into work with red eyes, and fears what it would do to her. She did, however, express some interest in trying one of them out eventually.
Another interesting response of Yuu’s was in regards to a question about whom she appreciates most in Western media. Her answer? Jodie Foster from The Silence of the Lambs, and Yuu cited the strength of Foster’s character in the movie as the reasoning behind her choice. Hard to disagree with that.
She also stated that she was a bit taken back at how huge ACen was, and that even in Japan anime conventions don’t get quite this large. I must admit that this revelation surprised me a bit.
All in all I found Yuu Asakawa to be a very pleasant woman, and I am now a fan! I feel like I should track down her Vocoloid...
My next interview session was with Canadian voice actor Brad Swaile, hailing from the lovely city of Vancouver. Those of you who know me well know that I have a particular good reason to be a fan of Canada, and I have travelled there many times over the course of the last couple of years, but unfortunately I have not had the chance to visit the West coast... yet.
Much like Yuu, Brad’s primary voice acting work has been in animation, but he does have a bit of video game voice acting work on his resume, including Slappy (Dead Rising 2), Jin Kazama (Street Fighter X Tekken), and Amuro Ray in a whole load of Gundam games.
Why so many Gundam games? Well, some of his most notable voice acting is for the series, including roles in Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, and Mobile Suit Gundam 00, among others.
Additionally, he has voiced a certain popular character in a certain popular anime that you may have heard of, Light Yagami (aka Kira) from the Death Note series, as well as voicing Mousse (Ranma ˝), Maxwell (Hamtaro), Nightcrawler (X-Men Evolution), and Lan Hikari (MegaMan NT Warrior), among others. The last one especially stood out for me, as I have watched that cartoon many times with my nieces and nephews, who are big fans of the show, so it was neat to meet the man behind the voice of Lan.
Moving onto the interview, Brad was a congenial man who seemed very humble about his work, and exceptionally pleased to be able to visit ACen as a guest and interact with his fans.
Brad’s first ever voice acting gig was Ace on the 1990s My Little Pony Tales, so the obvious question arose; what does he think about bronies? Brad responded to this delicate question in perfect form, without any hint of judgment, stating that he was surprised to see such a large adult male audience arise connected to the series, and even expressed some appreciation for how much the franchise has expanded since his time.
Another interesting part of his interview was when Brad stated that a “pivotal moment” in his career was when he got to drop his first professional f-bomb. Not everyone can say that they have been paid to swear, but Brad can!
When asked who he looks to for inspiration in his work, his answers were not quite what I expected (but excellent nonetheless.) Brad stated that he really appreciates Leonardo DaVinci for the way that he spread his creativity into so many areas of life instead of containing it in a single one, a quality that Brad shares (did I mention that in addition to his voice acting work he is also a professional graphic designer?), as well as Jim Henson because... well, unfortunately I missed his reasoning on this one, but it’s Jim Henson, does there need to be a reason?
Brad ended his interview by stating that he is the happiest and most content in life when he is right smack in the middle of his creative work, a feeling that I am sure many of us can appreciate.
Much like with Yuu Asakawa, I left Brad Swaile’s interview session impressed with his demeanor and interested in tracking down more of his work. Watching MegaMan NT Warrior will never be the same!
You can check out the rest of my ACen 2013 coverage right here! And if you're new to the site and it seems like a fun place, why not join us?
Yuu is pretty easy on the eyes. Are we going to see her in front of the camera (microphone?) anytime / anywhere? I always think its funny when girls do boy voices in shows (like Nancy Cartwright?); I wonder how many guys do girl voices. I can tear up Spice Girls songs pretty well, and I absolutely DESTROY Heart of Glass by Blondie, yet my voice is pretty bassy (not Bass, but like a fish. No, that was a joke.).
Where was this professional F-bomb? Certainly not in Mega Man, I hope?
I enjoyed reading this and getting to know more about these voice artists. I'm not really familiar with Yuu Asakawa (which makes sense since I haven't played a lot of games with Japanese voices), but I should know her voice from the anime Bleach (sometimes I like watching with the original Japanese voices).
Brad Swaile seems pretty cool. Since you've watched MegaMan NT Warrior, Andrew, could you recognize the character in his voice? Did Brad do any live voice work during this interview session at fan's requests (doesn't sound like it)?
@Mr_Mustache No idea if Yuu does any live stuff. Nor do I recall if Brad mentioned where his first professional f-bomb took place.
@roykoopa64 I honestly haven't seen the show in probably about a year so I didn't immediately recognize his voice, but I'm definitely planning on going and watching some episodes soon to make the connection. And nah he didn't do any live voice work, drat, I should have thought to ask him!
I was wondering the same thing. Yuu and Brad were taking questions from any of the press in attendance? Did you have questions already lined up and were you able to ask them, or were you mostly just observing? I'm sure they only have an allocated time for these interview sessions.
Yeah they were taking questions from the press, and there was definitely a time limit, so lots of questions went unasked. I did not ask any, myself, no. Was just kind of taking it all in. Taking my notes on my 3DS.