Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Exclusive Interview with Mariette Sluyter. English voice actress for Midori Sugiura

Salutations, Mai-Multiverse! Back so soon, eh? It tends to happen when voice actors have companions in the business. Among Carol's friends, I was able to locate the wonderful Mariette Sluyter. English voice actress for Midori Sugiura in Mai-HiME, Aswad Midori in Mai-Otome and a host of other anime including Saber Marionette J to X and Angel Links. She was kind enough to accept an interview with us.


MM: First off, it's a pleasure to meet you. I enjoyed your performance as Midori in both Mai-Series anime. Midori is the epitome of our inner most desires. Kicking ass, drinking, having karaoke jams, and just being awesome. Thank you for being here today.

MS: Hey, it's my pleasure. Thanks for asking me to join you and a big shout out to all the fans!

MM: How did you get started in voice acting?

MS: Having trained in theatre and then worked in the industry I knew a lot about the acting part. One day I was at an audition for a commercial and the director says to me "you should really do voice work". She gave me some names and I followed up doing commercial voicing. Then one day the anime studio came to town, I auditioned and I think my first role was either Saber Marionettes J or Jubai Chan.

MM:: What was it like voicing your first ever cartoon/anime character?

MS: It was pretty fun. (I had to get past the over sexualized nature of most of the female characters. That bothered me and still does to this day, although I understand it more now) I was never shy to try things on mic. Doing VO has always been and still is playtime. Once I realized I could jump off of buildings and fight, I was hooked. Fight scenes are such a rush.

MM: Did you ever appear on camera for any live action shows?

MS: No but I have done some on camera work. Most notably I was in Rat Race.

MM: What were your most fond memories of working in any recording studio?

MS: Well, there were lots of times when I would make our back up data operator blush - you see, when we are in the booth it is fun but also high stress... so my way of blowing off stress is to sometimes have a potty mouth or make jokes that go just that little bit farther. Wink That was always fun.

It's especially fun when you are working with other actors in the room, like Dave Pettit or Dave Kelly - then we could get ourselves riffing on stuff and the whole team would be laughing ourselves silly.

That happened on projects like: Jungo and Benjamin Bluemchen where we were working from raw script not dubbing.

MM: What was the casting call and audition like for you when My-HiME surfaced?

MS: To be honest, I don 't remember. Auditions happen so far in advance of the recording that I try to put it out of my mind. That way I am not busy wondering if I got the role or not.

MM: Your thoughts on Midori Sugiura's character in Mai-HiME?

When is always an adventure getting to know a character and you often do it on the fly. Trying to pick up cues from the visual and the script. I was quite taken my her practical nature but also her feisty spirit. I was also glad to be playing an adult - they are often quite a lot of fun

MM: How did you enjoy Midori's drastic character change in Mai-Otome? She was more of a no nonsense leader in that universe.

MS: Strength is something I love playing and it's rare to have the chance so I was quite delighted

MM: Midori had some of the most over the top one liners in the series. How much fun did you have doing moments like her drunken scenes or even her famous reveal as a HiME in episode 6?

MS: This is an example of one of those moments that come by so rarely you just want to relish it. Of course it was a lot of fun, especially because you are playing around thinking of the fans and testing with the folks in the studio.

MM: Was Midori the only role you auditioned for or played in the series? Just in case you did additional voices here and there.

MS: Likely I auditioned for several roles but walking in I would have a sense of what I would have been strongest for. The truth is you never know what or who is right for what part simply what role you prefer. I have a pretty flexible voice so I have the opportunity to do a variety of parts.

MM: Many voice actors say they never meet the rest of the cast since recordings are done individually. Did you end up meeting the rest of the cast like Cheryl McMaster (who voiced Natsuki) or Melanie Risdon (who voiced Shizuru)? In your case, you did a lot of scenes with Risdon's Youko Sagisawa, the nurse of Fuuka Academy. I honestly felt you two had a lot of chemistry, despite not being in the same room.

MS: Thank you. Although we never voiced together what happens is we will meet in the green room or at auditions. Plus you get a sense of them from any vo tracks that are laid down before you get in the room so that is helpful playing off of that. Not to mention, this is where I give big shout outs to the directors. They really help set the tone and give you a sense of what is going on.

MM: Do you have any funny recording stories during work on Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome?

MS: Well, I do have a potty mouth and there were some scenes that could lend themselves to teasing... that is all I can say - the rest is locked up in the cone of silence!

MM: What was your favorite moment in the entire series? For both Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome.

MS: There was lots in that character I could relate to. Especially being a waitress (as every actor is a waitress at some point!)

MM: Have any of you read the manga or watched the original Japanese anime of the Mai-Series (HiME and Otome)?

MS: Only the parts that I would watch in studio. Often I will ask to watch a scene and then go through it non stop depending on the type of scene and so I got to watch quite a bit.

MM: The Cake Wars episode is by far Midori's best episode by fans. You were placed as a host of a Iron Chef-like competition. Was that your favorite episode too?

MS: I have to say that was pretty fun for a foody like me!

MM: Do you own anything of My-HiME? There is plenty of cool merchandise out there, especially for Midori Sugiura.

MS: Honestly, I don't. Mostly because I would have no room in my house if I had stuff from each show.

MM: In Mai-Otome, Midori inspired main protagonists Arika and Queen Mashiro to become stronger people. Were you touched by her dedication and leadership during recording?

MS: Those are the kinds of roles and moments I cherish. I must admit, her turn to something of a more pragmatic killer was a surprise but that stuff is interesting to play. It is interesting to consider what kind of meaning making happens to get a person from point a to point b, you know?

MM: Do you still keep contact with any of the other Mai-HiME/Otome voice actors/actresses?

MS: I see them around at the studio or in town. Sometimes on facebook too!

MM: Any advice for anyone wanting to pursue a career in voice acting?

MS: Give yourself a head start by taking classes if you can. Classes in acting and/or vocal performance. It can really set you apart in auditions.

If you can't do that or in addition to that: practice voices, ranges, diction, characters - play around with your voice. The more types of characters you have the more flexible you are and that will get you in the door.

Also be professional - you only get to be silly once you are an established professional ironically enough.

MM: The fans have to know...since you're Midori and all...are you a heavy drinker too? Haha!

MS: Oh please! I am such a lightweight when it comes to drinking. I am usually asleep after one class of wine. ;0 And don't ask me to sing Karaoke

MM: There you have it! The HiME of Wind, Justice, Love, Friendship and booze! Please finish this interview off with a shout out to the fans of My-HiME and Mai-Otome who continue to support your work? Smile

MS: The fans are amazing! Thank you for keeping the work alive! You let us do our job, so thanks for that.



You can catch Mariette aka Midori Sugiura herself on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mariettesluyter

You can also visit her official website: http://www.mariettesluyter.com/

Please support her and all Mai-HiME/Otome voice actors and actresses!

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