Category Archives: Current Interviews

Exclusive Code Lyoko Interview With Sebastian Davin – The Subdigitals

Code Lyoko is a fantastic, french produced series that mixes CGI and 2D animation. Often described as French anime, the series remains popular in the U.S., with an active a cult following. Although the series came to an end in 2012, fans are still sharing and creating fan-made content. However,as the series came to a end, fans are searched for information on the show itself. Who created it, how was it made, and who worked on it? And who is sebastian Davin? No matter what department a staff member worked on, fans want to know.

Code Lyoko Season 1 - 3 Character Designs and outfits
Code Lyoko Season 1 – 3 Character Designs and outfits

Some have even contacted producers, animators, music composers, and voice actors, myself included, who worked on the show. During the pandemic, I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing French-based actress Barbara Scaff, the voice of Ulrich Stern.

Code Lyoko Season 4

Code Lyoko Season 4 Character Designs  and new character, William Dunbar (Bottom)
Code Lyoko Season 4 Character Designs and new character, William Dunbar (Bottom)

During the show’s 4th season, MoonScoop, the producers began to promote the show with an English version of the show’s music album. The original album had been released in France a year earlier. Although the album was not a U.S. sensation, it was an instant hit among CL fans once it was released. Using the album’s first track Planet Net, MoonScoop released an AMV that featured the show’s fictional band, The Subdigitals.

For a long time, fans wondered who the voice behind the music in the album was. Who made fans play the album non-stop? Lyoko warriors and dear readers, let me introduce you to musician Sebastian Davin.

Sebastian Davin Joins The Subdigitals

Sebastian Davin comparison image with his cartoon counterpart, Nico
Sebastian Davin comparison image with his cartoon counterpart, Nico

Sebastian Davin is a Minnesota-based musician, guitarist, pianist, and the current vocalist in his band, The White Keys. He was one of the three founders of the modern rock/alternative metal band Dropping Daylight. As Dropping Daylight, Sebastian and his bandmates performed with The Pixies, Paramore, Papa Roach, Cypress Hill, Green Day, The Misfits, & Breaking Benjamin. So, how did Sebastian get involved in the making of the Code Lyoko album? I’ll let Sebastian explain, watch our exclusive interview below. 

I want to thank Sebastian Davin for the interview opportunity and all Code Lyoko fans who are very excited about this interview. If you’re reading this and are barely getting into the Code Lyoko fandom, head over to CODE LYOKO’s official YouTube channel to watch ALL the Code Lyoko episodes, including its live action sequel Code Lyoko Evolution, all for free.

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One Piece Film: RED Premieres at AiFF 2022

One Piece Film Red served as the centerpiece film at this year’s Animation is Film Festival and for the first time fans had the opportunity to experience film in English dubbed, two weeks ahead of its official U.S. theater release.

The film is directed by Goro Taniguchi, who previously directed the 1998 OVA, One Piece: Defeat The Pirate Ganzak! OVA and was the very first time the One Piece manga had been animated, making Taniguchi the first person to animate Luffy. According to the Japanese website, Mantan-Web, Taniguchi stated that he wanted to express a One Piece that has never been seen before and that he will show it in One Piece Film: Red. According to Shinji Shimizu, a staff of Toei Animation and producer of One Piece anime, One Piece Film: Red is the only One Piece film that Eiichiro Oda has actively participated in the most.

The film has been released in Tokyo, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Taiwan, and most recently at New York Comic Con 2022 with a massive New York Times Square billboard takeover.

NYC Times Square Sample – Press Release

Now for the first time ever, fans got to experience the film in English dubbed during this year’s Animation is Film Festival 2022, and we had the opportunity to catch with some of the cast and speak on this new anime film phenomenon:

As of 23 October 2022, the film has grossed ¥17.36 billion in Japan making it the highest-grossing film of the franchise and the highest-grossing film of 2022 in Japan. Worldwide the film has earned over US$144.7 million in eight countries making it the 13th highest-grossing Japanese film of all-time.

The film’s theme song “New Genesis” by Ado is currently number 48 in the Top 100 Global charts on Apple Music. The film is set to be released on the 4th of November 2022, if you haven’t purchased your tickets, now’s the time, you can purchase here.

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Article cover photo by, John photography.

Bridget RETURNS to Guilty Gear | Kelly Ohanian Interview

Late last month, Guilty Gear Strive began trending on Twitter after fan-favorite character Bridget was announced at EVO 2022 as part of the game’s season 2 roster, with additional characters yet to be revealed!

Bridget in Guilty Gear x2

Bridget was introduced as a twin, male character with a unique upbringing in which Bridget needed to be raised as a girl to avoid a superstition in her village that believed that a family who gave birth to same-sex twins would bring an omen or bad luck to the village; because of this, Bridget came a very memorable character. Although there was much excitement about Bridget’s return after nearly a decade of hiatus, Bridget began trending on Twitter for a different reason.

In STRIVE, Bridget fully embraced her feminine side and ‘came out’ as a transwoman. Throughout STRIVE, Bridget hints at self-doubt and the feeling of wanting to admit to something but being afraid to do so. Conflicted, Bridget seeks Ky Kiske out, and he encourages her to decide for herself how she wants to live. Her conversations with Ky and Goldlewis lead her to admit to being scared of losing what she has, but she no longer wants to lie to herself and asserts that she is a girl, and finally finds the strength to live as her true self no matter what others think.

Bridget’s new design in Guilty Gear STRIVE

Although a handful of fans were not happy about this decision, most fans came out in support of Bridget. Throughout Twitter, fans showed their support for Bridget with tweets, fanart, and fan videos; sharing their enthusiasm and their opinions as to why Bridget coming out as a trans individual is an important highlight in the Guilty Gear series. Furthermore, Arc System Works confirmed Bridget’s gender, In an article published this morning, (9/14/22) in which Daisuke Ishiwatari (Creator of the Guilty Gear series) states:

Daisuke Ishiwatari at Fanime Con

“We’ve received many inquiries about Bridget’s gender. After the events of Bridget’s story in Arcade Mode, she self-identifies as a woman. So, as to whether “he” or “she” would be the correct pronoun for Bridget, the answer would be “she.” Ishiwatari continues “Bridget tries living as a man, but it doesn’t feel right. This is where the Arcade Mode story begins. After her exchanges with Goldlewis and Ky, Bridget faces parts of herself she has tried to ignore and makes a big decision for herself. I hope that all of you will watch over her path after her courageous choice to stay true to her own feelings.”

We also wanted to hear from the English voice actor of Bridget and get their opinion on the matter and their experiences voicing Bridget. We had the wonderful opportunity to interview the voice of Bridget, KELLY OHANIAN. Join us for this very special interview as we speak about her experience voicing Bridget in Guilty Gear strive and her experience with the fandom!

Purchase Bridget’s Guilty Gear theme song by Aisha for only .99 cents

Click here to stream it or purchase it via Amazon Music

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Exclusive Interview with Voice actors, CAT THOMAS & AVERY SMITHHART

Earlier this year we had the honor to sit down and speak with voice actors Cat Thomas and Avery Smithhart, about their roles in anime, from Yui Yuigahama in My Romantic Teen Comedy SNAFU to Anne and Grea in the heart warming anime series, Manaria Friends (Mysteria Friends). Here are some snippets from our interview, you can watch the entire interview below.

Cat Thomas – Yui Yuigahama

While searching the series for our interview, many fans were were curious about a single word, dub difference behind the Japanese and the English version. The scene in question is from episode one, where Hachiman call Yui a “slut” but changed to a different slur in the English version:

Avery Smithhart – – -Butt Muscle!

According to Avery, during the recording the first episode of Land of the Lustrous as her character Cinnabar, Avery recalls pulling a muscle in a rather hilarious way:

Watch our FULL interview to learn more behind the scene stories from CAT THOMAS & AVERY SMITHHART

Exclusive High School of The Dead Interview | The Boys

This July will mark the 12th Anniversary of the anime, fan-favorite series, High School of the Dead. The series ended all production after series creator and writer, Daisuke Sato died on March 22, 2017. Fast forward 12 years and Jrock band Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets, the band that sang the now-famous HOTD opening, released an updated version of said opening with its very first music video to go along with it.

Now, after 12 years HOTD English cast members Leraldo Anzaldua and Mark X. Laskowski, who play Takashi Komuro and Kōta Hirano respectively, recount their time working behind the mic on this series. Watch our exclusive interview and enter for your chance to win an auto from Leraldo and Mark, and the VOL.1 of the HOTD Manga! More details in our interview below:

-Giveaway-

Learn how you can this HOTD bundle, which includes an autograph from Leraldo, Mark, and Vol.1 of HOTD Manga! Details in the interview video above!

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BELLE – Exclusive Special Release Interview with Kylie McNeil

This week saw the release of the much anticipated BELLE, Mamoru Hosoda’s 7th feature film. The film instantly made headlines at Cannes with a 14-minute standing ovation. The film later made headlines among anime fans during its theatrical release back in January of this year. Both the original Japanese and the newly dubbed English version were shown in theaters nation-wide. In the film’s U.S. opening weekend it made $1.6 million from 1,326 theaters, and a total of $1.8 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Day holiday frame.

The film received five Annie Award nominations making it the most nominations for a Japanese anime film ever at the show, even surpassing previous films Spirited Away, Millennium Actress, and the more recent, Weathering with You. Most notable, the film’s cast, both in English and Japanese, were both praise for their vocal performance. This is both Kaho Nakamura and Kylie McNeil’s first anime, voice over performance.

Kylie McNeil, already an upcoming actor and singer in the theater scene in New York, had zero film credits, aside from an off-Broadway show “Runaways“, BELLE is Kylie’s very first film credit.

After its theatrical run, fans anticipated its home video release, which finally happened on May 17th. Coinciding with the Blu-ray and the Target exclusive: Steelbook release, Milan Records opened preorders for the vinyl copy of BELLE’s soundtrack, and is currently available to pre-order on Amazon.

Join us in celebration of Mamoru Hosoda’s BELLE release with this special interview with the voice of Suzu / BELLE, Kylie McNeil! Back for a more in-depth and formal interview, Kylie walks through her experiences working behind the mic, voicing Suzu / BELLE.

Watch our interview above and learn how you could win our exclusive BELLE Bundle, which includes:

The BELLE movie (Steelbook ed.), A copy of the BELLE soundtrack (from Japan) & an autograph print from Paul Castro Jr. (the voice of BEAST)

all this and more in our exclusive interview! Don’t forget to subscribe for more anime and voice actor content or subscribe to our site:

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Exclusive XAIO Interview – Genshin Impact

Ever since the release of Genshin Impact 1.3 in February 3, 2021, XIAO’s design and character traits made him an instant fan favorite. From his character stats to his mysterious demeanor, XIAO draws in fans from around the world.

Join me and voice actor Laila Berzins, as we discuss her career origins and experiences voicing XIAO in Genshin Impact. Get to know the voice behind everyone’s favorite “angsty, emo teenager” in our most recent Genshin Impact interview:

Learn how you can win an autographed print, signed by Laila Berzins!

Watch our interview above for instructions on how to enter. Deadline to enter the giveaway:
May 7th, 2022

Exclusive Yae Miko Interview – Genshin Impact 2.5

Ever since her appearance as an NPC, Yae Miko has been among the top, fan-favorite characters in Geshin Impact. With the release of 2.5 at the of end February, fans finally got a glimpse of the voice behind the mysterious editor-in-chief & shrine maiden of Grand Narukami Shrine!

Watch our exclusive interview with voice actor, Ratana and get to know the voice behind YAE MIKO!

GIVEAWAY

HOW TO ENTER

Subscribe to our YouTube channel here, and answer the following questions on the video’s comment section (on YouTube):

What would be the name of Ratana’s Publishing House AND Why do you like Yae Miko?

Winner(s) will be contacted via YouTube and email using their YouTube usernames. Deadline is April 2nd 2022.


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KAZHA | Hard Rock Band Making Headlines at Anime Cons

Anime Los Angeles has been bringing top hit musical guests such Stephanie Yanez, Raj Ramayya, and Lolita Dark in 2019 followed by, Japanese electronic dance music duo FEMM in 2020. This year’s musical guest was KAZAH!

​Kazha is a rock band founded by Japanese singer-songwriter Kazuha Oda and guitarist Hideki Matsushige in 2009. Since the release of their first album, Overture (2010) they’ve been touring around the U.S. making headlines in U.S. Anime Conventions such as Nan Desu Kan and Anime Los Angeles.

Guitarist Hideki Matsushige & singer-songwriter Kazuha Oda

Kazha has also shared the stage with national artists such as George Lynch, Tracii Guns, LA Guns, Y&T, Tantric, and Trapt. Moving their base of operations to Memphis, TN in 2015, they’ve been featured on local broadcasts such as WREG News Channel 3, Channel 24, and WMC Action News 5.

We had the honor of interviewing lead vocalist, Kazuha Oda, and hearing her story behind the formation of KAZHA!

BELLE | Should You Watch It?

Mamoru Hosoda at Animation Is Film Festival 2021

Known for his emotionally touching and visually captivating films, such as Wolf Children, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and Summer Wars, award-winning film director Mamoru Hosoda is back with his ninth film, BELLE.

Now playing in theaters, Belle is a modern adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast and could be considered a spiritual sequel to Hosoda’s 2009 film, Summer Wars, as it also deals with a virtual world.

Synopsis

The film starts with Suzu Naito (Voiced by Kylie McNeill), a shy 17-year old high school student living with her father (Voiced by Ben Lepley). She lives haunted by the memory of her mother’s death at a young age. Since then, Suzu has been living in her shadow, having almost no close connections and no self confidence. At least, until one day, with the help of her one close friend Hiroka Betsuyaku (Voiced by Jessica DiCicco), she discovers the online virtual world of ‘U‘ where over 5 billion users log on daily. When Suzu logs in for the first time, U automatically creates a beautiful, freckled, pink-haired avatar based on her biometrics, and she nicknames herself “Bell” (鈴 = Suzu is Japanese for Bell).

Suzu logging into U for the first time. Bimetic readers in her ear.

Enjoying her newfound life in anonymity; Suzu, using her voice and overcoming her trauma, develops Bell into a world-famous singer among U. Rapidly gaining popularity, Suzu holds events and concerts as Bell in U, and fans come to dub her as ‘Belle‘ (French for “Beautiful”) However, during one of Belle’s online concerts, she is interrupted by an avatar named only as “The Dragon” (Voiced by Paul Castro Jr).

“The Dragon” avater appears for the first time, during BELLE’s concert.

Intrigued, Suzu & Hiro embark on a journey to discover the person behind The Dragon. Along the way, Suzu realizes the real power of being anonymous online and the many reasons why people like her escape to U from their own lives. 

What type of story is BELLE?

The film seems to be confused about what type of story it wants to tell; whether it is an action-adventure story, as Suzu begins to discover the virtual world of U as Bell, or a romantic story, as the plot depicts the ‘forbidden’ nature in the relationship between Bell and The Dragon and Suzu’s determination to help The Dragon. One thing is for sure, the film is a musical feature. Unlike a Disney film, where characters spontaneously spring into a musical number often without warning, the film does a great job in coordinating the music with the imagery that’s on screen.

“Lend Me Your Voice”

The film touches on several sensitive topics and themes, such as overcoming personal trauma. The film successfully portrays one’s desire to escape real situations for a glamorous, anonymous lifestyle; a secret, secondary life where real-life issues are nonexistent. Additionally, many viewers find themselves connected to the main character as the film dives into the psychological impact of dealing with a personal loss and its effects on a person’s daily life. 

The Music

The music in this film is captivating and leaves the viewers in astonishment, undoubtedly worthy of a 14-minute standing ovation. Kaho Nakumora (Suzu/Belle in Japanese) and Kylie McNeill’s vocal performances are phenomenal and are presented with a profusion of emotional appeal. Kylie’s vocals perfectly embody Kaho’s performance as BELLE and, with Ludvig Forssell’s creative songwriting skills alongside Mamoru Hosoda and actress Kaho Nakumora, make exquisite lyrics. 

BELLE sings “Gale of Songs” as she enters U for the first time.

“Should I Watch it?”

Though the film may contain some unnecessary subplots, it makes up for its visual presentation and musical and vocal performances. The film portrays Suzu with relatable qualities that speak to the viewer, whether you have experienced personal loss or not. If the above mentioned is not convincing enough to watch BELLE in theaters, consider that this film was worthy of a 14-minute standing ovation during the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Perhaps cast members, Kylie Mcneill and Paul Castro Jr can convince you through our exclusive interviews. Watch as Kylie & Paul share behind the scene stories and their experiences working on BELLE.

Interview With Kylie McNeill

Interview With Paul Castro Jr

We also included a brief Interview with Mamoru Hosoda we conducted during the 2021 Animation Is Film Festival in Hollywood, CA.