From the number of successful adaptation based on manga and light novels, anime has been one of the most well-appreciated media in the pop culture community, and it is all about the wide variety of genres it simply offers – action, drama, romance, comedy and a lot. Like Hollywood films and local TV shows, Japanese animation requires a vast involvement of artistry from the use of skillfully generated visual effects to the overall production, and these are given a certain amount of effort towards the success of an entire series. However, there is something unique behind the beautiful creation of every Japanese animation. While you enjoy the remarkable details and crafts they put into a particular show, you should keep in mind that these elements wouldn’t be possible without the heart of characters. After all, there is no lifeless character with the presence of a good voice actor.
Back in the older generation where anime was mistakenly a mere genre that kids loved to watch, the enjoyment factor was all that matters to most of the audience. They might have loved it because it deeply surrounded them with some fantastical delusion making them drawn to the outside world. It was just simply fun, and that was all about its existence. They wouldn’t mind knowing those people involved with the creation, they might just be a fan of a certain character and talked about how they loved the design and personality of such character. Getting to know these characters is more fleshed out with the presence of voice actors as they provide the best expression of a great artwork.
Now, here’s the reality. Voice actors do not make a noise, but they act. Voice acting is not about creating a wide range of powerful scream as consuming the capacity of your voice box. The most common misconception is that – voice matters, and if you stop thinking beyond that, then you are absolutely heading to the distorted pathway. Voice acting is not about imitating the voices of your favorite characters. You wouldn’t be rewarded of being the best copycat. If your friend compliments you that you can become a great voice actor just because you exactly sound like Spongebob, then ask yourself, “Is voice acting really that easy?”, “Do I only have to sit down and do my own thing?”. Perhaps, the answer is a big NO.
To be a voice actor means to be an actor. Right, the keyword for the term “Voice Acting” is simply the last word – ACTING. As these voice actors step inside a booth and face their microphone, there must be one thing that keeps them from being unique among other performing arts in the anime industry, and that is – their boundless passion. Once they put their souls into different roles, everything is beyond realistic through their mind and action. They convey intense emotions. They possess flawless gestures like screen actors. They sweat out from being enthusiastic from the thing they love the most.
Popular anime characters such as Goku from the Dragon Ball franchise is played by a famous voice actress, Masako Nozawa. In Akira Toriyama’s original script, Goku is characterized as a non-earthling boy who loves to fight tough opponents from different corners of the universe, but he shows a soft and kind-hearted nature. Nozawa does a magnificent job in portraying a savage, naive character. The fact that Goku is a pure-blooded Saiyan warrior requires an actor who is much capable to express his strong rage and hostility, and every fans is beyond ecstatic how Nozawa expresses the most genuine Saiyan’s character. Getting to know and learning to love the character unconditionally is the key to unlock the best execution of the role that voice actors play out.
In the English dub Dragon Ball franchise, well-known voice actors such as Sean Schemmel and Christopher Sabat, the iconic voices of Goku and Vegeta, respectively, in Funimation dub, are both highly respected for their spectacular performance, not just in North America, but fans around the globe have been always inspired by these legendary actors. Sean Schemmel does not share the same voice as the Japanese version of Goku, but it is not about the similarity, is it? Sean has a unique way to portray the character as he delivers the role smoothly with his naturally idiotic and naive-like tone as making Goku pop out from Toriyama’s masterpiece. With the wide difference of voice from the Japanese version of Goku, it supports the fact that voice acting also requires creativity. Since it is a work of art, the actor uses his heart and soul to portray the character. He works hard and dedicates himself to the suffering of the character amidst of the most ultimate battle sequence, for instance. There is no perfect thing in the world of voice acting. Everything is nurtured with great passion for the colorful artwork.
Aspiring voice actors should keep in mind that experience is a great value. That being said, it doesn’t mean that successful voice actors are products of popularity on Youtube or any social media where you see those trending “fandubs” or everything underneath as they receive tremendous attention among anime fans. The career towards becoming a great voice actor is all about acknowledging your own weakness and the willingness to learn more than what you are capable of. Attending classes and workshops, and joining theatrical performance are just some of the significant experiences of many voice actors towards what they stand right now, and everything is worth the effort. Their career has never been that easy. They might be inside a booth most of the time without getting dressed up extravagantly, but they offer their endless effort like famous celebrities in Hollywood and live action films you love to mention about on various social media. After all, voice actors are actors. You can feel the intense emotion they put into a great piece of artwork, and that defines the beauty of their job. They do not have to carry those shimmering luxuries to look fabulous. All they need to do is to stand up, express and be the best artist.
Voice actors have always inspired many anime fans that dedication and hardwork are key elements to achieve your goals. Like any noble professions such as doctors, lawyers and educators, voice actors have undergone difficult challenges to have what it takes to become the greatest artists. They aren’t just all about talents who inspire people around them, but they have also proved that choosing what you have really wanted to be in the future is an important aspect to keep your determination go beyond with purpose. They have chosen the career because acting has been their passion. After all, you can not appreciate every little thing in the world without any enthusiasm into a certain thing. Voice actors might have realized that acting is more than just an art, and it becomes their own flesh that keeps them to move forward. You might not have realized but they are heroes. They also sacrifice for the sake of something important, that is, the smile of anime fans, which enables them to work hard and go beyond their limits.
Without voice actors, our favorite anime characters will literally be a fictional piece of work. Voices are more than just the description and artwork of characters as they make them more realistic from giving them voices to expressing strong emotions. You can’t fully understand the personality of a character without a good voice actor, can you? It is quite horrible to watch a lifeless character. Everyone should acknowledge the endless effort of voice actors as they contribute significant roles in the anime industry. They have saved us. Haven’t they done enough?
“Many people think voice over artists just read, there’s much more to it. Without acting beats, scene study and improving skills, you won’t make it.” – Tara Strong