Posts Tagged ‘alex von david’
Picking up the series that fans just can’t get enough of a look at the end of the first half.
In the next four episodes of this series, tests are looming for the girls and study habits are hard to find among Konata and Tsukasa. Meanwhile, Tsukasa learns how to text much to the annoyance of her sister. In the next series of events, Tsukasa and Kagami are spending the night at Konata’s house showing a new side to her family for everyone to finally see.
In the second half of the volume, it’s time to celebrate the holidays with a Christmas and New Year’s episode. The Christmas episode is very low key though with visits from Cousin Yui while New Year’s brings Comiket and visits to the shrine and New Year’s allowances.
Meanwhile in the Lucky Channel segments, Akira’s abuses of Minoru are getting much more blatant but Minoru is standing up for himself with a speech about reclaiming the word ‘Tsundere’ and Akira gets her first appearance in the series.
Good and the Bad
Throughout the series, the characters in this series have remained in fairly static roles with no real deviance. While this volume of episodes doesn’t change that, these roles will become highlighted in great detail. Konata’s development as an otaku is absolutely ridiculous to watch and I’m using that as a compliment. The audience has always known that Konata is an otaku but to find out that she’s so hardcore that her purchases can shape fan circles is amazing. The sequence revolving around a night in Konata’s house is also one of the most revealing of the series thus far. The family life that is presented here is again something that will have audience laughing out loud but in an almost uncomfortable way.
Yuki continues to get dialogue that lets her get away with so much. The complete innocence of her statements when she talks about running away from the dentist almost makes it sound not insane. Or the absolutely fragile character design used when Konata is helping her with her eye drops. Miyuki is so moe’ that she should come with a warning label.
Heavily present in these episodes though are a wealth of cultural jokes that once again stand to lose a large section of the audience. From episode nine to twelve jokes will include topics such as blood type personality discussion, sushi personality test, cake buffet, what it could mean to have Kyou as a nickname and using the sama honorific. What’s fortunate is that if you get the jokes to begin with, these sequences are absolutely hilarious. If you are constantly pausing afterwards to read the liner notes in order to find out why a particular scene was funny, it can become tedious. The whole sequence of Konata using ‘Kagami-sama’ is very well written though. The simplicity of the joke and the various ways that it’s used really shows a nice change of pace from some of the more obvious jokes or over the top humor.
The pacing for these episodes continues a very solid pace that never moves too fast. The jokes come at a very consistent pace but the set up for the gags never feel forced or rushed.
As with previous volumes, the music on this volume really faded into the background. While occasionally a simple theme would play such as during Konata’s anime rants, it’s rare for anything in the background here to stand out. There is one sequence in episode eleven however that did stand out as a very nice piece. During Kuroi’s slow, depressing walk down the hallway a very nice piano theme plays. While the sequence is about a couple of seconds long, the theme still managed to stand apart from the series and really highlight a new emotion. It’s rare for this series to allow anyone to really feel bad for a character but the audience can’t help but feel for Kuroi here.
In the karaoke box ending animations, fans can look forward to four more karaoke themes. Episode nine will feature ‘Kogarashi Ni Dakarete’ by Aya Hirano (Konata), ‘I’m Proud’ by Emiri Katou (Kagami), ‘Doraemon no Uta’ by Aya Endo (Yuki) and Kaori Fukuhara (Tsukasa) and finally all four actresses will sing ‘I’m Proud’.
Dub vs. Sub
Once again, Alex Von David does a very decent job with the ADR script and translation. For the most part, the dialogue always came across well. Most of the jokes were translated over well though one in particular seemed very out of place. In the first half of the volume, there is a line translated as ‘Damn you Kona-chan!’ To hear Tsukasa curse really felt weird as the character is really presented as someone who wouldn’t curse.
Comparing the two, the series still comes across much better in its original Japanese. Aya Hirano continues to do a great job with Konata making her into a great lead heroine. The cultural jokes remain a much easier sell in Japanese as well.
In the next two adventures of Minoru Shiraishi, the crew visits Hokkaido to film more ending sequences. In this case though, Shiraishi will be filming with two of the voice actresses and singing songs that he wrote himself. Many of which have never been heard by the crew before. The sequences are fun and entertaining to watch at least once.
Also included on the volume are key scene galleries and the clean opening animation.
Lucky Star continues to earn its reputation for stellar comedy. The silly in jokes that only a small handful of audience members are going to get give this series a good replay value as you’re always going to find something new that you either didn’t notice before or didn’t get before. While casual anime fans will be lost in the tall grass with this series, otaku have their new comedy.
Final Grade: A
|In Part II of my interview with Karen Strassman, the conversation moved further away from her past and got more into her present and future. In this final section of the interview, Karen talked with me about some of her favorite roles, Buso Renkin, Lucky Star, When They Cry, being irritating in the voice booth and much more.|
~ But alright, so I want to go ahead and start talking about some of the more specific series that you’ve been in. Last year in particular you were in two series that were never really given their chance: Fate/Stay Night and When They Cry. So, the first one I’d like to ask you about is When They Cry where you play one of the supporting roles Miyo Takano.
Karen: Uh yeah. Creepy, that whole series was so creepy.
~ When you started to get further into the series and you started to see more of the character and what kind of role she really had in everything that was going on. How does that change your performance when the character shifts like that and you have to deal with these new nuances?
K: Um, I think you just have more information to play with. Like, and in a way it’s good that I didn’t know everything. In the beginning because then my performance is real ambiguous, because I wasn’t sure either. So in a way I didn’t have to risk giving anything away because it was more ambiguous because even I didn’t know. And as I got more and more information and everything, I just had more specifics to play with. And I had more information behind me and more kind of subtext. But still my character you never really knew that clearly what her story was. And I have some questions like you know, I was like well… is she a bad guy? Did she do it? Or is she just obsessed with this? Or does she just love freaking people out? Or is she just sick? laughs
~ Alright, with May coming to a close 2008 has been a fairly good year for you so far anime wise. Last month it was Buso Renkin, Code Geass, this month it was Lucky Star. With Buso Renkin, Mahiro Muto is so sweet that she could send someone into diabetic shock. I’m mentioning this to highlight to how many different types of characters that you play. And so, with that many varieties of characters, do you have a different characterization process you go through for your different characters or is it pretty much the same process no matter what you’ve playing?
K: Well, at the beginning of the series when you’re kind of creating the character. Usually for anime, it usually is a combination of what was done in Japanese and there some are series where they us to come as close to the Japanese as possible and there are some series where is some leeway and we kind of work to create the character that works the best in English that doesn’t have to completely match the Japanese.
And that’s just depends on the series, what the client wants. And then it’s just depends on what they look like, depends on the Japanese and we just kind of with the director we just kind of work, usually it takes just the first session and we develop the character together. And then as you move on through the series, I just kind of sink into the character and get to know them better and better and get more and more comfortable with them.
I’ll say something else, for each character there is often kind of a theme to them. Like the scenes for Mahiro, Rene (Veilleux, ADR Director) and I would always joke that when she was just really annoyingly cute then we knew it was right on. When we would play it back and sort of cringe and laugh at the same time, then we’d be like “That’s it! Alright, next loop.”
For example, a character that I’m doing for Lucky Star (Miyuki Takara) right now is so cute but she’s so cute in such a different way. She’s not like annoyingly cute, she’s like, you know, Ooh you just wanna hug her cute. She’s just so sweet and innocent. And you know with her glasses and her pink hair, and that’s just a really different kind of cute. We looked for the most sweetest, endearing kind of cute for her. She would never ever in a million years be annoying. So that’s just a whole different country of cute.
~ Do you have a favorite type of character to play? And is there anything that you’d really like to be able to play but just haven’t had a chance to try it?
K: Sexy and evil characters are really fun. I enjoy those a lot. I had a lot of fun as Shinanora in Gun Frontier.
Have you seen Gun Frontier?
~ Um… no, not yet.
K: Aww, you’re no fun. She was just this sexy dripping character. All the men were just falling all over her. And that’s the show with Tahiro.
~ So there hasn’t been any thing that you haven’t been able to really just challenge yourself with or is it one of those roles that you’ll know when you see it?
K: I guess when I see it I’ll know it. But I will say that one of the things that I love about anime too is that I get the opportunity to do stuff that’s more realistic. Like I just got cast in Monster! And it’s just a really realistic show and I love that. I really love realistic drama. And I love that. I also really loved this show that I did a really long time ago, Habane Renmei.
~ Oh yeah, that’s a classic.
K: And I loved that show. There was just something very surreal and real about it at that same time. You know, it wasn’t cartoony and it was kind of dark. I really enjoyed that. I start to look back on the work that I’ve done and I just have so much affection for so many things. So many things that I’ve done. And there’s one show that I can’t remember the name of, and I was a drunk mother. And she took absolutely terrible care of her kid and was just drunk all the time. And she was a drama queen. And I just loved that role. And one of the fans will probably be able to identify the role if you write about this in your interview and will write it up.
~ I really want to ask you about Hitomi in Appleseed. If you look up on my website, my reviews of Appleseed aren’t great but despite that Hitomi was a really interesting character. When it comes to something like this where it’s very futuristic and your character is a bioroid, what kind of thought do you put into your characterization?
K: Hitomi was really moving to me. She was really endearing. She’s one of those characters who wanted to be human. And you know underneath it all, whether or not she talked about it, all she wanted to know was what it would be like to feel. That’s how I played her anyway. I played her as a machine and she is but she’s not supposed to have a soul or be human but she does. And she wants to be human underneath it. And one of the tricks for me playing a character is that I fall in love with them. For who they are.
~ Appleseed was a fairly big project and the sequel was pretty huge. Lucky Star this month has a pretty huge following behind it. Are you still at the point now where being in a project that has a bit more of a following behind it makes it a bit more fun or exciting? Or is every job just a job no matter how big it is?
K: It’s fun when there’s hype around it. Of course it is. And it’s fun when I walk into the studio for Lucky Star and Alex (Von David, ADR Director/Writer) is reporting on what all the fans are saying, it’s added fun. It is fun. But I think what makes me like a show or love a show is more about loving the show, loving my character and loving the people I work with. And I’m so lucky; Alex for Lucky Star is an awesome director. And a lot of the time I’m looking forward to getting to the studio and working with the people I get to work with. But of course! When it’s getting a lot of hype, its fun!
~ So at this point what I’d like to do is ask you about a few of my favorite roles that you’ve done. What I’d like for you to do is tell me not only what you liked most and least about the character but also most and least about performing them in the booth.
~ Miyo Takano from When They Cry:
K: What I liked best about the character was how creepy she was. What I liked least I guess wanted her to have a bigger role. And what I liked best about working with her was working with Kristy (Reed). Kristy an awesome director and awesome human being and it is always a pleasure to work with her.
~ Mahiro Muto from Buso Renkin:
K: What I loved about recording Mahiro Muto was making her as irritatingly cute as possible. And what I disliked the most about Mahiro Muto was how irritiating she was. And what I loved best about working on her in the booth was getting to work Rene Veilleux. Rene is an awesome director. He’s so much fun to work with. And we just had so much fun on that series together. So I was got a call and I got to go yay, I get to play with Rene. And I get to be cute and obnoxious.
~ 1st Lt. Su-Ming from Flag:
K: What I loved about that character and that show was how realistic it was. And whenever Tony (Oliver, ADR Director) was directing me he’d constantly say ‘Play it down, make it more real, make it flatter,’ we were just going for really simple. Makin it real, ya know? And I love that, as I mentioned before I just love the realistic stuff too. It just harkens to features and cinema and I like that a lot. And she was just very very smart. Very smart, very controlled, very… you know she had a mission, she was on target. There was nothing else, she was very single focused my character. I enjoyed the challenge of doing that, ya know?
I think what I like least about it is again I would have liked for her to have been a bigger character. And I would’ve liked to have spent more time recording her. And I know that this might sound redundant but what I liked best about recording her was getting to work with Tony. Tony is just another director that has years and years of experience. And knows his stuff and is a fabulous human being too.
~ Petit Charat from Di Gi Charat:
K: Aww, I think what I liked best about that was… *laughs* it was just so cute and weird. And what I think was sometimes the most challenging for me was that there was a lot that was just surreal and out there. And a lot of it I just really didn’t understand so I guess I just had to really let go of understanding it. You know because I like to understand things and sometimes it was just so out there and abstract and weird. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. I’d ask and try to figure it out. And the director, Fusako Shiotani, was someone that I don’t get to work with often. But she is great.
I’ve worked with her on a couple of projects but she loved the show and really got the show. Like in ways that I couldn’t even begin to get it. She was really able to translate to me what she wanted. So that was just super fun.
~ Miyuki Takara from Lucky Star:
K: I love Miyuki. One of the things I love about Miyuki, she is so sweet. And so caring and so… she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. And she is very unpretentious and unassuming and she just wants to help people. And there’s one episode there’s something wrong and she’s lost her glasses and she couldn’t see the board and she had to ask somebody for their homework. And I forget but she asks one of the girls who lent her their homework or notes or something. But their notes were so bad that she couldn’t read them and they weren’t useful. But she pretended that they were useful and she gave them back because she didn’t want to hurt her feelings and then she went and got the notes from somebody else but made that girl promise not to tell anyone that she was using her notes.
She just wants to help people and she doesn’t want to hurt anybody. And she’s just very very sweet. And she never yells. And being an anime voice over actor where we come into the booth a lot and we spend a lot of time yelling or being hysterical. There’s something very relaxing about coming into a session and knowing ‘I probably don’t have to yell’ *laughs*
Um, what I don’t like about Miyuki? It’s really hard not to like Miyuki. I can’t think of anything right now that I don’t like about her. She’s just so likeable and sweet, you can’t not like her. And I gotta go back to answering the same way I’ve answered before; I love working with Alex. Alex is awesome and he’s really knowledgeable about the shows and he really loves the show. And we just have so much fun together, we just laugh and laugh. I just really look forward to working with him.
~ I’d like to jump back just a bit because I forgot to ask this when we talked about it. You mentioned that one of the things you liked least about recording Mahiro is that she’s so irritating.
K: But it’s also the thing I like best about her.
~ This is true. Have you ever had a character that was so irritating to you that recording them was a chore?
K: I’ve never had that. And for Mahiro, recording her was never a chore. You love to be irritating; it’s fun to be irritating. It’s wonderful to be that bratty little sister. But when he would play it back and I’d hear it I’d go ‘Oooh, that’s irritating. I didn’t know I could be that irritating. That’s scary.’ But I loved doing it.
~ If you were stranded on a deserted island with all your basic needs met. What three luxury items would you take with you?
K: I don’t know if this is cheating but I would want to take my computer. I’d want to have the luxury of having wi-fi. To write letters with all my friends since those are the people that fill my life. My most important things to me are my computer and my phone. *laughs* I think that’s all I need and maybe some music.
~ What are you looking forward to most this year that’s anime related?
K: I’m looking forward to continuing to do Lucky Star and just continuing that. I’m looking forward to Monster, I just think that it’s going to be a really interesting series.
~ Speaking of, are there any other projects that you can reveal at the moment?
K: Yes, I’ve just started a new show with Tony Oliver. You’ll have to look it up. It’s with Bang-Zoom. It’s under the name Karen Strassman. But I can’t reveal the title.
~ And finally, the question that I ask in every interview… do you have any parting words that you’d like to leave with your fans?
K: Yeah, first of all I just want to thank them for all of their support. And I guess this is kind of cliché but I just want to put the message out there to everybody to do what you love and to do it with care for all the people you’re working with and integrity and enjoy.
~ Good message to part on.
K: It’s a little cliché but to me it’s true and to me. And if I can add onto those as an addendum, so much of my success has been because of the wonderful human relationships I’ve had with people. And it’s because people have helped me and I’ve helped them. And we really enjoy working together. I mean I know I have a certain amount of talent but I think talent mixed with putting things in perspective. Anime is great but it’s not brain surgery, we’re not saving lives here. It’s just we just want to throw some good energy out at people so that people can take a break and be entertained.