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.

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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.

Peace!

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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!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Exclusive Interview with Carol-Anne Day!

--- Salutations, Mai-Multiverse! I've had the pleasure and opportunity to sit down and interview Canadian V/A, Carol-Anne Day. The English voice actress for Mai Tokiha in both Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome! As a fan of the Bandai Entertainment dub, this was quite an honor.

--- Mai HiME interview MM: How did you get started in voice acting?

I actually kind of fell into voice acting at a very young age. I was doing children’s theater at the time, and my director thought I should audition for a cartoon studio she was doing work with. She’s an absolutely amazing woman. That’s it really it, not very exciting, but since then, Blue Water has been a second home. I’m pretty much the luckiest girl in the world.  

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

My first show was a pretty overwhelming experience. I think the character I played was electrocuted, and I was too shy to scream, ha-ha. My first scream came out in a very operatic fashion. My director gave me on the spot screaming lessons. That’s the thing with cartoons though, there’s always so much to learn. I’m still in a process of constant learning every time I’m in the booth.  

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

I’ve done a couple of small independent film projects, but I’m more of a ‘behind the mic’ sort of girl. I find the camera makes my head look small....  

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

This is a really hard one for me, every session is so much fun! I love everyone that I work with so much that it would be impossible to have a bad time. I think one of my fondest memories was from the very first show I had recorded (I think I was 14 or 15) and I was so nervous. I was in the booth with a number of other veteran performers, and they really went out of their ways to make me laugh... all session, I could barely keep a straight face. I also once fainted into the microphone... story for another day though, we still laugh about that one.  

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

 It was a pretty straight forward casting call for me. I watched the subbed version of the show, and fell in love right away. The auditions are always a little nerve wracking for me, because I want to make sure I’m doing right by the fans and the feel of the show.  

MM: Your thoughts on Mai Tokiha's character in both Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome.

I loved Mai, heck, I still love Mai. She had such an amazing depth to her. I try very hard to feel with the character through every moment, and she was a roller coaster ha! The thing I loved most about her was her strength, as I’m sure you know, she went through a lot in that show. But no matter how bad things got, no matter how bad the breakdown she always seemed to find an inner strength. She was also so caring and warm when she needed to be. Through all of the woe and love (and love triangles lol) I really grew to appreciate that strength.  

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

Mai wasn’t the only role I auditioned for, but she was the only one I played in the series.  

MM: What was it like for the first few recordings? After getting to know the character of Mai better.

Getting to know the character makes a huge difference. It makes my job a lot easier, because you begin to understand how that character would react without having to think so much about it.  

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)?

With ADR we are generally alone in the booth, but we do occasionally meet in passing. I’ve met a couple actresses from the show, but not Cheryl or Melanie unfortunately. That show was jam packed with incredible women though, I wish I had met everyone.  

MM: What was your favorite episode or moment in the series?

The panties episode!!!!! So fun... I will say I was glad at the end when Mai and Tate finally hooked up, they were driving me nuts!  

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

I haven’t had a chance to read the manga, but I definitely saw the original Japanese version of Mai HiME, I really enjoyed it.  

MM: How many times did you have to say "Kagutsuchi!" (Mai's CHiLD) during the recording of an episode? *laughs* It's one of those battle cries that need several takes before it sounds just right. Or did you say it perfectly every time?

I’m not convinced I ever said Kagutsuchi right hahaha!!! Seriously though, it got easier the more I said it, so it was a 50/50 split I suppose, sometimes I was right, but when I was wrong, I was WRONG hahaha  

MM: Do you own anything of My-HiME?

There is plenty of cool merchandise out there, especially for Mai Tokiha. I have the series on DVD, but I am severely lacking in Mai swag!

 MM: Lastly, any advice for anyone wanting to pursue a career in voice acting?

The best advice is always take advice. Passion should drive what you do, and then the skill will follow. It`s not something that you`re amazing at overnight, patience is huge.  

MM: Thank you so much, Carol! Mind finishing this interview off with a shout out to the fans of My-HiME and those who continue to support your work?

What can I say? The fans of this show are absolutely amazing, and you guys are the reason I do what I do and will continue to do what I do. Consider this more of a giant thank you than a shout out, I love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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You can catch Carol aka Mai Tokiha herself on Facebook here: Carol-Anne Day's Facebook

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