Category Archives: Current Interviews

Exclusive High School of The Dead Interview | The Boys

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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!

Don’t miss any upcoming interviews and giveaways!

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BELLE – Exclusive Special Release Interview with Kylie McNeil

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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.

Interview With Paimon – Anime Los Angeles 2022

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Join us as we explore Corina Boettger’s voice over career and journey voicing Paimon in the hit mobile game, Genshin Impact!

This marks our first, in-person interview, since Febraruy 2020. Corina has other character roles such as, Tatsumaki (One Punch Man), Naoko (Dino Girl Gauko) and Mizuki (AI: The Somnium Files). In September 2020, she became known for providing the voice of Pimon in Genshin Impact.

~GIVEAWAY~

Enter for your chnace to win an autographed Paimon wall scroll and acrylic standee signed by Corina Boettger. For more details, watch our interview above!

Mamoru Hosoda’s BELLE At Animation Is Film Fest 2021

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For the first time, outside Japan, Mamoru Hosoda’s newest film BELLE had a chance to capture western audiences’ hearts during the Animation is Film Festival 2021 in Hollywood!

In 1999, Mamoru Hosoda began his journey with Dejimon Adobenchā (Digimon Adventure) as his first anime directorial debut; since then, Hosoda has developed this craft and quickly became one of Japan’s most predominant figures in Japanese animation. In 2011, Hosoda founded his own animation studio, Studio Chizu.

Photo by AIF | John Salangsang

Hosoda developed his own unique and highly influential animation style, which can be seen and felt throughout his work. His works are heartfelt, beautifully animated films and convey a sympathetic aesthetic element, often relatable. In 2019, his adventure fantasy comedy film, MIRAI, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. His most recent film, BELLE, premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, receiving a 14-minute standing ovation.

Mamoru Hosoda at Animation is Film Festival 2021 in Hollywood, CA

In BELLE, Hosoda visually transforms the internet, as the popular virtual world known as ‘U’. In a plot where characters face personal turmoil, isolation, a sense of belongingness, and the need to pretend to be someone else, Hosoda effectively exploits the ability to remain anonymous online and how anonymity can have its benefits and disadvantages on its users.

We had the opportunity to briefly speak with Hosoda during the Animation is Film Festival 2021 regarding his newest work and his thoughts on MIRAI’s Oscar nomination:

*The video below may contain SPOILERS* After the screening, Hosoda addressed the audience members and answered fan questions:

The film pays homage to Beauty and The Beast (specifically Disney’s version) and is composed of tantalizing visual animation with extraordinary, captivating music tracks. In addition, Hosoda mentioned working with veteran Disney animator Jin Kim as Belle’s lead character designer earlier this year. (Below are some of Kim’s BELLE concept Sketches).

One of many scenes in which the ‘ Beauty and The Beast‘ elements can be seen
Jin Kim (김상진)

Kim has worked for Disney since 1995 and is credited in over 30 Disney titles including, Zootpia, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and his most recent work Raya and the Last Dragon. Adding to Kim’s involvement, Studio Chizu also teamed up with Irish animation studio Cartoon Salon to produce the background art for the popular virtual world, ‘U’.

Get ready to dive into the beautiful world of U and watch BELLE this spring! Gkids is set to release BELLE in theaters on January 14th, 2022. For more information, visit GKids.com.

Exclusive CODE LYOKO Interview I – Barbara Scaff

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Many animation voices have touched our hearts during our childhood, but for those who grew with with Code Lyoko, these voices still keep on living in our hearts.

Code Lyoko, created by animators Thomas Romain and Tania Palumbo, is French animated show that. The series was the child of two short films, Les enfants font leur cinéma (The children make their own films) and Garage Kids.


The series gained attention due to its unique combination of 2D and CGI animation. It first premiered in the U.S. on Cartoon Network in April 19, 2004. It became extremely successful in both its origin country and in the U.S. as well as other parts of world.

The success behind the show was not its unique style of animation but its dramatic storyline and character development. As the series progressed, we begin to see characters evolve and thus are more relatable. Bringing these amazing characters to life are of course, the cast of Code Lyoko; Sharon Mann (Aelita Schaeffer), Matthew Géczy (Odd Della Robbia), Barbara Weber-Scaff (Ulrich Stern), Mirabelle Kirkland (Yumi Ishiyama), and David Gasman (William Dunbar/XANA) to name a few.

Odd Della Robbia, Aelita Stones (Schaeffer), Jeremy Belpois, Ulrich Stern, Yumi Ishiyama & William Dunbar

In an exclusive interview we had with Code Lyoko star voice actress Barbara Scaff, reveals her experience working on the series, afterthoughts, her opinions on the follow-up series, Code Lyoko: Evolution and much more! Stay tuned till the end of the interview for a VERY special announcement!

GIVEAWAY!
A have chance to win this RARE Code Lyoko Ulrich figure! Originally released by Marvel Toys, this is a very RARE figure that has now been discontinued since 2009. Don’t miss your chance, enter now! Here’s how:

  1. Subscribe to our channel
  2. Comment your favorite Lyoko Warrior and your reason why ON the video’s commnet section (not here)
  3. DONE! It’s that easy!

Deadline: 4/17/2021

Thank you for the memories, Barbara!

Exclusive Genshin Impact Interview: Amber (Kelly Baskin)

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Miyoho’s release of Genshin Impact was one of the most anticipated mobile game releases of 2020. With over 10 million pre registered users, it quickly gathered popularity among anime fans. Shortly before its release, MiYoHo’s official Genshin Impact Twitter page announced its English voice cast.

We’ve made it a mission to interview each every Genshin Impact voice actor as possible!

Join us in our VERY first and exclusive interview with Kelly Baskin, voice of Amber. Watch as speaks Kelly goes through her career origins, her roles in Disgaea 6 as Melodia, Genshin Impact as Amber, and so much more!


–Giveaway–

TWO (2) Lucky Amber fans have a chance to win an autographed Amber print signed by Kelly Baskin! Or be even luckier and be our Grand Prize Winner (1) and win an autographed Amber print PLUS a Barron Bunny Plush!

—How to Enter—

Comment your favorite Amber quote (on Youtube’s video comment section) AND subscribe to our channel! That’s simple! Make sure to publicly subscribe to our channel!

Deadline to Enter: 4/02/21

**Winners are selected RANDOMLY and announced 48 hours after the deadline. Only ONE (1) Grand Prize Winner will be selected. Please read our terms and conditions BEFORE entering: https://thekitsunetwork.net/giveaways **