Category Archives: Voice Actors

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

Takayuki Hirao’s POMPO THE CINEPHILE Coming to Theaters Soon!

GKIDS and Fathom Events continue their partnership into 2022 with the release of Pompo The Cinephile feature film on April 27 and 28. POMPO THE CINEPHILE will play in select cinemas nationwide on Wednesday, April 27th (Japanese ver) and Thursday, April 28th (English dubbed).

In addition to the full feature, audiences will view a special introduction from director Takayuki Hirao, exclusive to the Fathom Events screenings. Fan preview events will be followed by a limited theatrical release in select markets nationwide by GKIDS starting April 29th.

Known for God Eater (Anime seires) & The Garden of Sinners, Takayuki Hirao returns to the director’s chair with production from the all-new studio CLAP. POMPO THE CINEPHILE was domestically released on June 4, 2021, and swiftly became an indie hit.

The film is an adaptation of Shogo Sugitani’s manga of the same name. The series was published on pixiv Comic website and later, collected in six tankōbon volumes. In July 2018, Sugitani release a spin off titled Fran: The Cinéphile (映画大好きフランちゃん, Eiga Daisuki Fran-chan.

SYNOPSIS

Pompo is a talented and gutsy producer in “Nyallywood,” the movie-making capital of the world. Although she’s known for B-movies, one day Pompo tells her movie-loving but apprehensive assistant Gene that he will direct her next script: a delicate drama about an aging and tormented creative genius, starring the legendary and Brando-esque actor Martin Braddock, and a young actress seeking her first break. But when the production heads towards chaos, can Gene rise to Pompo’s challenge, and succeed as a first-time director?

Pompo the Cinephile is a rollicking, exuberant ode to the power of the movies, and the joys and heartbreak of the creative process, as a new director and his team devote their lives to the pursuit of a “masterpiece.”

Tickets are currently on sale at FathomEvents.com, PompoMovie.com and participating theater box offices. English cast is as follows:

We have an upcoming interview with director Takayuki Hirao soon, stay tuned!

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Minori Suzuki’s 6th Single “BROKEN IDENTITY” | OP of ‘I’m Quitting Heroing’

Minori Suzuki

Japanese voice actress, Minori Suzuki has announced that she will be releasing her 6th single “BROKEN IDENTITY” on June 1, 2022. The song will be used as the opening theme of I’m Quitting Heroing, a new anime airing on April 5th in Japan.

The anime’s promotional video above features the chorus of this song, which is a hard rock tune, unlike anything Suzuki has done before. The single will have a total of six songs, including two new coupling tracks and an instrumental of each.

The single will be released in three formats: Limited Edition A will include a Blu-ray Disc containing the Minori Suzuki Anime Song Covers Collection, a sequel to the Minori Suzuki Covers Collection that gained popularity on YouTube last year. This will include four newly recorded covers, along with comment videos, and a self-cover of “Saihate” that was only performed once during a special Livestream to commemorate the release of her previous single. You can find Limited Edition A available for preorder here:

Limited Edition B will include a CD containing the sound source of Minori Suzuki 2nd LIVE TOUR 2021~Make My Story!~, which was held last year. It will be a 60-minute recording and contain all 11 songs. More specifics about tracks will be announced at a later date. You can find Limited Edition B available for preorder here:

"Yusha, Yamemasu (Animne)" Intro Theme: BROKEN IDENTITY [Limited Edition / Type B] / Minori Suzuki
CD Japan

The Regular Edition will come with a CD wrapper with an original anime illustration, which you can preorder here:

"Yusha, Yamemasu (Animne)" Intro Theme: BROKEN IDENTITY [Regular Edition] / Minori Suzuki
CD Japan

Minori Suzuki also has an impressive resume as a voice actress, voicing characters such as Hajime Fujiwara from The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls, Akiho Shinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Uiui from SHOW BY ROCK!! Mashumairesh!!, Ena Shinonome from Project Sekai: Colorful Stage! feat. Hatsune Miku, and Agnes Digital from Umamusume: Pretty Derby.

Suzuki is currently one of the most powerful voice actress artists in the business. Using her outstanding vocal ability, a wide range of expressions, and striking smile as her weapon, she energizes everyone who watches her perform.

You find more of Minori Suzuki on her official YouTube channel and follow her on Twitter

Nao Toyama to Sing OP Theme of ‘Ascendance of a Bookworm’ Season 3

Voice actor and music artist, Nao Toyama announced that she will be performing the opening theme to Ascendance of a Bookworm season 3 titled, “Ano Hi no Kotoba“. The announcement came during Nao Toyama’s Birthday Celebration ~Naobou is quitting the 20s ~ held at EX THEATER ROPPONGI.

Nao Toyama

Ascendance of a Bookworm season 3 will begin airing in Japan in April of this year. In a recent article we wrote, Maaya Sakamoto announced that she will be performing the ending theme to Ascendance of a Bookworm season 3 titled, “Kotoba ni Dekinai.” Nao Toyama also announced that she will also be performing the ending theme of I’m Quitting Heroing titled, “Growing.”

This 6th single, which is also part 3 of her ‘5th Anniversary Plan’, will include both “Ano Hi no Kotoba” and “Growing.” “Ano Hi no Kotoba” was written by singer-songwriter Sakura Fujiwara and composed and arranged by Soulife. The following are direct comments from Nao Toyama, Sakura Fujira & Soulife.

Nao Toyama

I worked really hard with the anime staff to ensure that “Ano Hi no Kotoba” matches season 3’s story. In fact, I almost ended up crying many times during the recording. May the people around you find happiness. I hope that this song resonates with everyone who is working hard towards a future that they chose.

– Nao Toyama
Sakura Fujiwara

I wrote the lyrics to this song after watching the previous seasons as a viewer. When I heard the sound source of Nao Toyama singing them to the lovely pop tune created by Soulife, I was so impressed that I immediately sent the director a message saying, “This is amazing!” I wanted to make it a warm song where Myne turns the pages one by one and expresses her gratitude for the encounters and events that she has experienced so far, so we had many back and forth exchanges to complete it, and I’m delighted to see it finally released. I hope you enjoy it

– Sakura Fujiwara
Soulife

When I was asked to compose this song, I carefully read the original story and decided to create a song that would bring out a more mature quality than anything Nao Toyama has done before.

While it retains the classical, medieval European elements of past theme songs, it also has a “sadness” that people say is typical of my work. The result is a melodious and encompassing song. The main character grows with a mixture of anxiety and expectation in the lyrics written by Sakura Fujiwara. I hope listeners will feel the excitement of turning to the blank page of “today” with this opening theme. I look forward to watching Myne’s growth with you all!

– Soulife

Nao Toyama made her voice acting debut in 2010. She attracted a lot of attention for her role as Kanon Nakagawa in the TV anime The World God Only Knows.

After that, she went on to play characters in numerous popular works, such as Karen Kujo in Kin-iro Mosaic, Chitoge Kirisaki in Nisekoi, Reina Prowler in MacrossΔ, and Rin Shima in Yuru CampΔ.

In 2019, she held her first solo tour and performed overseas in Taipei and Shanghai. The following year, she celebrated her 10th anniversary as a voice actress by releasing her character song best album “Special Thanks,” which placed third on the Oricon Weekly Ranking.

In 2021, she released a mini-concept album titled “off” with the theme of, ‘rest and healing’ in May and her fifth single “Samenai Maho” in November. 2022 marks her fifth year as a singer.

You can find more of Nao Toyama at her official website here, and follow her on Twitter here.

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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Maaya Sakamoto to Sing OP Theme of Deaimon and ED Theme of Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3

On February 17th, it was announced that actress and singer, Maaya Sakamoto will be singing theme songs for two TV anime starting in April in Japan.

The first is the opening theme for Deaimon, a story set in an old confectionery store in Kyoto. The OP is titled “Sumire” the lyrics were written by Sakamoto herself, and the composition and arrangement were done by Shigeru Kishida of Kururi, a Japanese rock band from Kyoto, appropriately matching the anime’s setting.

Shigeru Kishida of Kururi

Deaimon’s protagonist, Nagumo Irino has dreams of becoming a member of a band and runs away from home to live in Tokyo. Ten years later, He receives a letter from home stating his father is in the hospital and asking him to take over the family shop, giving up on his dreams, he returns home. During his ten-year-long absence, a ten-year-old girl named Itsuka Yukihira has been working in the shop. In fact, Nagumo’s mother (voiced by Sakamoto) has become a sort of foster mom to Itsuka. Nagumo’s mother puts Itsuka and Nagumo against each other to see who will overpower the other and take over the family shop.


The series is written and illustrated by Rin Asano who, according to MAL is credited in the creation of Pangaea, Final Fantasy XV: Koushiki Comic Anthology, Tengai Retrogical, Choko Beast!! to name a few.

Deaimon began serialization in Kadokawa Shoten’s seinen manga magazine Young Ace in May 2016 and has been collected in twelve tankōbon volumes from Kadokawa Comics Ace as of October 2021. The anime is set to premiere on April 6, 2022 on AT-X.

Sakamoto comments on the making of “Sumire

“[. . .] I wrote the lyrics and asked Shigeru Kishida of Kururi, a band that I’ve always loved, to handle the composition. I think that I was able to write very peaceful lyrics, guided by the warm melody. Sumire (Violets) are a common flower in everyday life, and you can even find them growing in gaps in concrete. They’re so small that you might overlook them, but they are actually very powerful and huddle together to bloom. I chose this title due to the characteristics that these flowers share with people. I’m delighted to have another precious song that I can continue singing into the future.
-Maaya Sakamoto

(Via official press release)

In addition, Sakamoto will also be the lead vocals on the ED theme for the third season of the popular anime Ascendance of a Bookworm titled, “Kotoba ni Dekinai“. This series has sold over 6 million copies (including e-books).

The story follows Urano Motosu, a book-loving post-secondary college student and soon-to-be librarian who ends up crushed to death beneath a pile of books at her house during an earthquake. With her dying breath, she wishes to be reincarnated in a world where she can read books forever. Urano awakens in the body of a weak, five-year-old girl named Myne in a world where books are scarce and only available to elites. Myne, retaining her memories from her previous life, decides to create and print her own books so that she can read again.

The series was first published as a Light novel in 2015 and is written by Miya Kazuki and illustrated by Yū Shiina. Later that same year, It was adapted as a manga with illustrations done by Suzuka (later changed to Ryo Namino and Hikaru Katsuki in part 3 and part 4 of the manga series). The manga series is currently on-going.

The series later premiered as an anime in October 3, 2019, with direction by Mitsuru Hongo who is best known for Outlaw Star and Sakura Wars: The Movie.

Sakamoto commented on the making of “Kotoba ni Dekinai

“[. . .] I handled the lyrics and composition. This song is full of feelings of gratitude for irreplaceable people and places, and feelings that inspire you when you’re discouraged. In that sense, it’s a sad song but also one that allows you to positively move forward. People who are going through many new encounters and farewells as their environment changes this spring may be particularly able to identify with it. Please give it a listen.”

-Maaya Sakamoto

(via official press release)

In voiceover, Maaya Sakamoto is best known as Hitomi Kanzaki in The Vision of Escaflowne, Jeanne d’Arc in Fate/Apocrypha, Haruhi Fujioka in Ouran High School Host Club, and Ciel Phantomhive in Black Butler, to name a few characters. As a singer, she’s known for performing songs in both English and Japanese. Her early work and collaboration with renounced anime music composer Yoko Kanno in 1996 put her in the spotlight when she released her debut single “Yakusoku wa Iranai.” She later went to release the next selected singles, “Tune the Rainbow”, “Loop”, “Ame ga Furu”, and “Triangler” all reaching the top 10 Oricon singles chart. “Triangler” in particular won the 13th Animation Kobe Theme Song Award.

Her albums have had similar success, with Shōnen Alice and Yūnagi Loop, both reaching the top 10 Oricon albums chart; and her album You Can’t Catch Me, released on January 12, 2011, became her first release to ever reach number 1.

Rocket Panda Games Reveals Opening Theme Song for Phantom Breaker: Omnia

Rocket Panda Games and developer MAGES are excited to reveal the opening theme song for Phantom Breaker: Omnia, “Let it All Burn with vocals by singer, voice actor, YouTuber, and streamer, Amanda Lee, composed and arranged by Epsilon Zero with lyrics by Jamison Boaz (English singing voice of Aggrestuko):

“Hope you all enjoy “Let it All Burn”! The entire team worked incredibly hard on this song, and I had an absolute blast tracking the vocals, so rock it on repeat!!” – AmaLee

you may recognize Amanda Lee from her roles as Elimine (Fire Emblem Heroes), Akiho Shinomoto (Cardcaptor Sakura: C.C.), Junko Konno (Zombie Land Saga), and recently as Marin Kitagawa (My Dress-Up Darling).

Lee is also a well-known vocalist for her English cover of anime songs. Her cover videos have gathered a following of 1.9 million subscribers and 900+ million views, as well as 1.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify. You can also hear her on the official soundtracks for League of Legends, Dragon Ball Super, Tokyo Ghoul: Re, and Umineko When They Cry: Gold Edition, and has also been featured on records for world-renowned American rapper Eminem (Kamikaze – “Good Guy”) and for American DJ Porter Robinson (Worlds – “Fellow Feeling”).

About Phantom Breaker Game:

The first Phantom Breaker game was developed and published by Mages Inc, formerly known as 5pb, for the Xbox 360 in June 2011. Two years later, in 2013 an arcade version of the game was released titled, “Phantom Breaker: Another Code“.

On February 27, 2013, a spinoff titled “Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds” was released and sold over 400,000 copies. On September 19, 2013, a new updated version of Phantom Breaker titled “Phantom Breaker: Extra” was released for the PS3. Though it was released in Japan, unliked the initial console version, this title was completely region-free. It also featured a rebalanced gameplay, new characters, new techniques, a new “Extra” fighting style, new stages, renewed background effects, and an online spectator mode.

Fast-forward to 2020, Rocket Panda Game announced it’ll be publishing a ‘massive updated version’ of the game, Phantom Breaker: Omnia. The game will feature the ability to choose between 3 fighting styles that will appeal to seasoned gamers while making the game accessible to newcomers. The game will feature 2 guest characters, Kurisu Makise from Steins; Gate and Rimi Sakihata from Chaos; Head, as well as 2 brand new characters created specifically for Phantom Breaker: Omnia.

Phantom Breaker: Omnia will be released on March 15th, 2022 for the following platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Steam (PC), with physical copies on PlayStation 4 & Nintendo Switch.

To learn about updates and the game head over to Rocket Panda Games.

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.

Interview With Paimon – Anime Los Angeles 2022

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!