AX '13: Interview with Kazuhiko Inoue


Voice acting for all your needs

Over Anime Expo weekend we caught up with veteran voice actor Kazuhiko Inoue and chatted about some simple things--his favorite toys, TV shows he watched, games he played. Nothing too difficult, other than perhaps the large body of works that Inoue touched, and that it takes someone who knows everything to appreciate all that he has done.

Still, in the process we learned about Cars's air guitar in Jojo TV, how East Coast is different than West Coast, and even how Japanese fans differ from American ones. It was surprisingly candid but also a good introduction to Kazuhiko Inoue's works, from Cyborg 009 to the way how otome games changed his fanbase. Read it below.

via AX presser

Japanator: Thank you for the opportunity coming to LA. Have you done anything after you landed?

Kazuhiko Inoue: As soon as I landed I came to the event. After the autograph session yesterday I went to Venice Beach.

J: Have you played any games you voiced?

KI: I've played a few, but I don't have a lot of time to play games. 

J: Is there one you like?

KI: Jehuty and Anubis [Zone of Enders games].

J: There has been games made for women, otome games. How did you first start doing them?

KI: I was contacted much like any other job that I've done.

J: Are you familiar with these games? Do you have any opinions? It's different than other games right?

KI: At first there were games that are male oriented, like Tokimeki Memorial and such. Then I was told that there are these games made for girls trying to pick up the guys. Until I started voicing these games, most of my fans were people who are familiar with anime I worked on. With otome games, many of my new fans are not anime fans, but these office ladies and the like. I feel it has widened my fan base and included a lot of new people.

J: Can you tell us about anything upcoming?

KI: Sorry, there isn't anything I can talk about right now. Typically I am working on something 6 months to a year and a half from now, so they are still top secret.

J: You also have done live action dubbing. How do you prepare for those roles versus the ones you have to create the character from scratch?

KI: Basically it's not too different from games. For about half a day I will watch the original work, I read the script. For a movie I watch it a couple times, for a TV episode I'll spend a couple hours watching the episode. Usually I will come home after a job and watch the episode or movie for the next job.

J: Have you watched your own roles?

KI: Yes. Currently on NCIS I am Gibbs. I am Jack in Lost. For the Predators movie I am the main character. Well I've done a lot, and I haven't seen every one of them, but definitely a lot of them.

J: Out of the original roles you created, which one would you like to reprise again?

KI: Joe from Cyborg 009. It's been over 30 years, so it will be tough for me to act a character like his age today. I was a newbie back then and not entirely familiar with the craft of voice acting. So I would love to get to do his voice again.

J: For Gundam AGE, you played the old version of Flint. Did you have to work with the voice actor of the younger Flint?

KI: I didn't work with him to create the character. There is a 20 year gap between each of the time jumps, so the characters' personality has changed drastically each time and becomes something new. I interpreted it the way I felt it was best.

J: Can you tell us a story about working on Jojo Bizarre Adventure TV?

KI: At the recording sessions, the tension is very high. There's a lot of yelling and screaming. When I first came in I tried to take it easy, but everyone asked me to ramp it up so I was a little confused.

Also, when we were doing the scene where Cars is playing the air guitar, I actually sang Enka and everyone busted out laughing. I was also adlibbing some parts of the performance. There were a lot of sound effects in the scripts like American comics. It was exciting.

J: Do you see any trends in how anime and game characters change over time over the decades you are a voice actor?

KI: For games, more and more are becoming full-voiced. The amount of words voiced in these games has increased. The scripts used to be small and thin, now they're like phone books. It takes much longer to dub a game now, up to several months once taking into account all the characters. On the other hand I think people are enjoying the games more.

J: Natsume Yuujinchou has a lot of merchandise. What is your favorite merch from the show?

KI: I always have this (points to his iPhone) with me. When I take a picture (he holds up the phone as to take a picture) I say "say cheese" (in Nyanko-sensei's voice) and everyone laughs. So I guess I like this iPhone case the best. I also like the Nyanko pillow and a Natsume Yuujincho tissue box. I have quite a few of various goods at home.

J: For Naruto, is there one thing you want to say to all your Kakeshi fans?

KI: I'm happy and surprised that Kakashi is so popular overseas. I would like people to continue to support him.

J: You've been to Raleigh for Animazement. How do you compare East Coast fans with fans here in LA? 

KI: I have a good impression for both. I'm surprised that people in Raleigh loves anime as much as people here. Of course LA is a major urban city, and Raleigh feels more like the countryside. The fans seems quieter and more reserved in North Carolina.

J: Is there another place in America you would like to visit?

KI: I would like to see San Francisco. There's so much more variety in terms of people and ethnicity of the people here compared to Japan. Even the cosplayers is much more diverse.

J: How do you think about the American convention culture?

KI: In Japan there are events like Comiket, which I've been. They don't have anything like interviews with the press at those events. No press conferences and the like. I think it's great to have press panels and interview like how it is in America. They do have fan events in Japan where fans get to ask questions and I would do voices for them, but not these press events.

J: And that is a wrap! Thank you very much!

KI: Thank you very much!

And that is a wrap!

[Special thanks to Jonathan Tarbox for interpreting. Top image.]

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Jeff Chuang
Jeff ChuangAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Yet to be the oldest kid on the block, this East Coast implant writes cryptic things about JP folklore, the industry or dirty moe. Attend cons and lives the "I can buy Aniplex releases" life. ... more + disclosures


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