Sunday, September 8, 2013

How to become an anime voice actor?

Have you ever watched your favorite anime and found yourself wondering about the voices behind the characters? You may ask “how do these people manage to sound so cool?” or (more importantly) “how in the world did they land a job where they get be the voice of anime characters for a living!?” Sounds like the greatest gig in the world, I know.

To be sure like most jobs in show biz, getting there ain’t easy. But then again nothing worth having ever is. For those of you out there who have the dream and the drive to make it as a voice actor in the anime industry, like anything else it can be done with hard work and effort.

To help you guys out, I have compiled some advice and tips from voice actors who work on the English dubbed version of anime. Most of them have been at it for a long time and are at the top of their field. So if this is the path you want to follow, listen up and go get em!

1.       Record yourself – this may sound obvious but it is the first step. Use your phone or any type of recording device to practice recording your different voices. Then play the recordings back to yourself. This will allow you to develop your skills while also letting you hear the way you sound from other people’s perspective.

2.       Experiment – practice reading lines from different dialogues. Read parts from books, plays, T.V, movies, or anything else you can get your hands on. While reading, experiment to give your own unique voice to the characters.

3.       Act – Most voice actors actually start off as regular actors who began doing voice work as an extension of live acting. If you’re in school join the drama club and try out for plays. This is the same path that many other voice actors took when they were younger.  Also, this will help you develop crucial skills that you will need as a talent in the voice acting world. If you are no longer in school then joining a local improve group can also do the trick.

4.       Get Critiqued – once you have experimented and made some recordings of yourself that you liked, play them for friends and family to get their input. It’s important to be honest here and say you want any type of feedback even if it is negative. It may help your confidence to only be praised but it will hurt you in the long run. Criticism will make you better by showing you where you need improvement and by finding out what people like. It may also give you new ideas and directions to run in.

5.       Make Your Own Demo Tape – Save a list of your best recordings and edit them a tape all together. If you have a recording device and computer this can be done for almost no cost (you may want to buy some CDs). Once you do this pass it around to get critiqued some more and see what people think.

6.       Youtube It! – Beau Billingslea (who did the voice for Jet Black on Cowboy Bebop  and , Barret Walace in FFVII Advent Children) said that in the age of the internet, making a YouTube video of your demo work can be a viable option for getting recognized. In any event, it can only help you in getting noticed and possibly lead to your video taking off like so many other viral videos.

7.       Have a Professional Demo Made – Once you’re ready, have a professional company make a demo tape for you that is specifically made for voice overs. This can be a little costly but there are a number of companies that will do this type of work. Also, this seems to be one of those tips that comes highly recommended. Having a polished demo of your voice over work to send out to dubbing companies will make you look more professional and give you a better chance to stand out in the crowd.

8.       Know Your Location – After sending your demo tape out to voice over companies and talent agencies be aware that where you are can have a big effect on the audition process and working as a voice actor as a whole. For example, if you live in California, trying to audition in L.A might be your best bet. However, the business there is somewhat of a tightknit community which might make be hard to break into. In L.A. finding a talent agent to get you auditions is definitely the standard and having referrals from connections or people you know is a big plus.

On the other hand, Texas is a right to work state which means you do not have to be a member of a union to work. Also, it’s very important to mention that Texas seems to have more open auditions then other states. Here, you can actually call up the company doing the casting auditions and have your name put on a list. Then, on audition day you go there and take your shot in person!

Each state is going to have some positive and negative aspects. The best advice is not to limit yourself and apply anywhere and everywhere you can. If an opportunity comes up then follow up with it! Even if it is not near you, following any lead will pay off in the end.

So there it is! The compiled advice from today’s top voice actors in the anime world. One last piece of advice of my own: Have fun, get out there and break a leg!
See ya!


Notes: In my research I found that Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (Cowboy Bebop, Naruto) were both particularly helpful in their advice to prospective voice artists. Check out Steve Blum’s Website for more great info!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen

Most Awesome Anime: Review of Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen

Hey out there all you Anime-niacs,

Thought I would share with you one of my favorite JRPGs from back in the day. An oldie but a goodie, Ogre Battle was first introduced in 1993 on the Super Nintendo and later re-released on the Sony PlayStation.

As you enter the fantasy world of knights, wizards, angels, and witches, you lead a rebellion to liberate the Zeteginan Empire from its tyrannical ruler. Though at first glance it may seem that Ogre Battle is just another run of the mill fantasy game or dungeons and dragons knock off, this game is much more.

Orge Battle is an incredibly engaging RPG that has both elements of real time and turn based strategy woven into its game-play. As the player, you deploy units onto the field of battle and move them across the across the map to engage enemies and capture cities.

Much of the fun in Ogre Battle comes from the highly customizable nature of your army.
The player may choose from a combination of infantry classes and monsters to make up a unit. As a result there are a countless number of strategies you can employ throughout the game.

In addition, Ogre Battle has an attractive soundtrack and sports an Alignment System which changes with the choices you make during the game. Whether you are good or evil will determine how the story unfolds and which ending you receive.  This gives the game a nonlinear structure and adds to its replay value. 

At its heart, Ogre Battle is an addictive, captivating strategy experience that many RPG fans would enjoy. Some might say that the true test for a game is how well it holds up to the test of time. If that’s the case, then today Ogre Battle still passes with flying colors. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Naruto Music

Hey what’s up Anime Fans,

Everyone loves music. And since our post, Best Anime Music, seemed to strike a chord out there (pun intended), we thought we’d follow it up with more of what people love. Awesome Anime will be coming out with a series of posts highlighting the best music and songs in the anime world. Stay tuned for more.

For now let’s start things off right with music from one of my favorite anime of all time: Naruto.


1. Toumei Datta Sekai (From "Naruto")
2. Blue Bird (from NARUTO)
3. Haruka Kanata (From "Naruto")
4. Diver (From "Naruto")
5. Distance (from NARUTO)
6. Michishirube (From "Naruto")
7. Michi to You All (From "Naruto")
8. Hotaru No Hikari (From "Naruto")
9. Omaedattannda (From "Naruto")
10. Yellow Moon (From "Naruto")
11. Re:member (from NARUTO)
12. Rocks (From "Naruto")
13. Place to Try (NARUTO-ナルト- 疾風伝)
14. Namikaza Satellite (From "Naruto")
15. Freedom (From "Naruto")
16. Good Bye, Good Luck (NARUTO-ナルト- 少年篇)
17. If (From "Naruto")
18. Suteki Na Niji (From "Naruto")
19. Tada Yowaidakejyanakute Bokuraha (From "Naruto")
20. Jitensya (From "Naruto")

Friday, February 15, 2013

Grandia II

Most Awesome Anime: Review of Grandia II

There are many elements that make up a truly great RPG.  Not least of which is an epic storyline, engrossing characters that resonate, innovative gameplay, and music so good it stays with you long after you’ve finished the game.  With Grandia IIyou’ve got all that in spades.

The story starts out simply enough. You play as Ryudo, a type of mercenary for hire called a Geohound. Along with his falcon companion Skye, the two take on jobs that others are unwilling or unable to do, completing them without of moral judgment.

Bouncing from job to job, in order to make a living, everything changes one day when Ryudo accepts a job from the Church of Granas. He is to guard a young songstress named Elena during a ritual to reseal the wings of Valmar, an ancient source of evil. But things don’t go as planned as soon the two find themselves caught in a battle between ancient forces of good and evil, and what seemed like a simple assignment at first turns into much more.  

The story is engrossing and manages to pull players into the world with a colorful cast of characters.
Ryudo is hard not to like. Highly skilled with a sword and cynical to a fault, he is the classic antihero who cares little for people and even less for the Church. 
Elena is often the counter to Ryudo’s rough and uncouth personality. Kindhearted and always the optimist, she puts her duties before herself and fights to save the world from the encroaching darkness.  

Others include the beastman Marig, whose intimidating physical appearance is accompanied by a calm and gentle demeanor. Marig seeks to slay the man who destroyed his village.

Definitely one of the more interesting characters of the game is the mysterious demon girl Millenia. Often flirtatious, uninhibited and quick to act. Though despite her impulsive nature and less than clear motives, Millenia possesses a more sensitive side and her demonic abilities makes her an extremely powerful ally.

Dialogue is well written and voice acting in the game is spot on adding a great deal of appeal to the characters. Graphics are also top notch as environments are extremely vibrant and full of color. The level of attention paid to detail in the game is quite stunning. For example, indoor areas often include interactive elements. A player walking by an object such as cup or weapon might knock it over if they get to close.

However the battle system is where I believe Grandia II deserves some of its highest marks. Here the best elements of both turn-based and real-time battle engines are fused into one system.

Battles progress in real-time, pausing only for commands and spellcasting. A gauge at the bottom of the screen shows the time between fatigue and attack for both friends and foes. When a character's icon is in the first section, they can only defend against attacks. However, once the icon hits the command section, the player may select an action.

In engagements with enemies, strategy, position, and timing are everything. How a battle goes will depend upon the choices you make.

This makes battles incredibly engaging as players must weigh their choices carefully. Should you have a character strike an enemy with a powerful special ability or use a weaker critical move at precisely the right moment to cancel out an opponent’s attack.

Some of the game’s most thrilling moments will come when the battle freezes at the coming of your turn just as one of your party members is inches away from being attacked.

And nothing is more satisfying than making it in the nick of time to save your ally by hammering the oncoming assailant with your own canceling strike.

This instills a sense of comradery between you and your characters as you have them continuously watch each others' backs throughout the game.

The formula stays fresh and incredibly fun throughout the game, as no two battles will ever play out quite the same way. Much of this is what gives battles in Grandia II a surprising amount of depth and makes playing so entertaining.

I have great memories of Grandia II. In my opinion this is hands down one of the best RPGs ever made for the Sega Dreamcast. Overall, I think this is a beautiful game with an amazing story and a battle system that is second to none. If you love RPGs, I highly recommend checking this one out on either the Dreamcast or PS2.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Best Anime Songs

Music adds another dimension to anime. Whether it’s J-Pop, J-Rock or something else, music is a key part of what makes watching anime such an enjoyable experience. In anime, the right music can emphasize the feeling or tone of a scene, making it all the more powerful. 

An awesome song in the opening theme of an anime can also go a long way towards capturing the show’s essence while making it memorable to viewers. Something shows like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece have got nailed down pretty well.

In short, fantastic music is something that all great anime have in common. Here’s a Top 15 List of what I think are some of the Best Anime Songs around.

1. Mezamero! Yasei (from NARUTO)
2. Cha-La Head-Cha-La (from Dragon Ball Z)
3. Asterisk (from Bleach)
4. Rhythem Emotion (From "Mobile Suit Gundam W")
5. Yurayura (from NARUTO)
6. Innocent Sorrow (From "D.Gray-Man")
7. Yakusoku Wa Iranai (from "Escaflowne")
9. The World (From "Death Note")
10. Uragiri No Yuuyake (From "Durarara!!")
11. Heart of Sword (from Rurouni Kenshin)
12. Tabi No Tochu (from SPICE AND WOLF)
13. Get Along (from "Slayers")
14. Rise (from THE GHOST IN THE SHELL)
15. We Are (from "ONE PIECE")

To listen to more of the best music in anime check out our other posts: Naruto Music.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why Bleach was Cancelled: And Why Filler is an Anime Killer

For anime fans no one word brings feelings of hate, anger, and frustration as much as does the word “filler”. Filler episodes or short “filler miniseries” are a common occurrence in anime. The nature of the industry makes it so, as most anime are based upon manga and follow manga storylines. If the anime series gets too far ahead and catches up to where the manga is then the anime producers make the call to bring out the filler.

Recently the decision was made in Japan to cancel new episodes of Bleach which were airing regularly on TV Tokyo. At a time Bleach was one of most popular and beloved anime series in Japan and North America. But over the last couple of years enthusiasm for the series has been in decline.

A major reason for the show losing support was its obnoxious amount of filler. If you ask me, Bleach is a casualty of filler. But not just any filler, exceptionally bad filler. An anime, no matter how good the main story is, cannot survive if for every normal episode there is a horrible filler episode to match it.

With Bleach it certainly felt like this was the case. The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc definitely comes to mind with over 20 excruciating episodes of Ichigo trying to save an annoying little girl. 

The popular anime series Naruto and Naruto Shippuden also have their fair share of awful filler. Though in Naruto’s case, the production team opts for smaller mini arcs instead of full season filler storylines like in Bleach. Hard to say which one is worse. Both are terrible in their own ways.

In fact, for these anime there are even entire filler guides dedicated to allowing fans of these shows to bypass filler and escape the pain of having to sit through it.

So what does all this mean?

To me, this is a clear signal that shows like Bleach can’t last if every time a filler episode is aired it makes fans want to bang their face against a wall. 

It’s sad that horrible filler ruins what is otherwise great anime. But even sadder is that it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Believe it or not, filler doesn’t have to be bad. There are series with watchable or even (get this!) likable filler. Inuyasha and Full Metal Alchemist are both anime with filler that blends seamlessly into the main story. Episodes that are not taken directly from the manga are very well written and cannot easily be told apart from any other episode.

These series have filler that adds something of value to the show. This could be an interesting side story or just flushing out the main characters’ personalities. These types of episodes are not intrusive and don’t harm the integrity of the normal show.

So, to the producers of Bleach and any other anime with Bleach quality filler, if you are incapable of making filler that doesn’t ruin your show, or filler that serves no purpose other than to stall for time, then please simply don’t use filler.

Just wait. Wait until the manga or other source material gets far enough ahead for the anime to resume. Most fans would be far happier waiting a little longer for a new season to begin rather than spending that time wading through filler hell. I know I would be.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Toonami is Back

So it finally happened. After years of fighting and campaigning, Toonami Fans can now rest easy. Toonami is Back.

Cartoon Network announced on Wednesday that Toonami would be returning to the air on May 26th. And we here at Awesome Anime couldn’t be any happier.

We’ve had our eye on the possibility of Toonami making a comeback for some time. Most recently, as a prank Adult Swim aired old Toonami shows and bumpers on April Fool’s Day. What was seen as half joke and half test run created considerable buzz online and in social media. (See our Post: Is Toonami Really Back?

No word yet as to what the new lineup will be. Personally, I’m hoping they throw in some classics along with any new series. Maybe a little Rurouni Kenshin… 

But anyway, Toonami is back and hopefully here to stay. So suit up and stay tuned!

And congratz to all the fans and Toonami faithful that made Toonami’s return a reality. It feels like nostalgia in here.