Naruto: Ninja Destiny :: Voice Actor Interview
Naruto: Ninja Destiny is the first 3D fighting game for the DS. Not only that, it's packed with 16 different characters from the hit anime and you get to control them. You can have tons of crazy battles, especially against your friends with the multiplayer modes. Plus the touch screen lets you activate a pile of power-ups for serious butt-kicking action. Gary had a chance to join in a big question & answer chat with the voice actors for Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and Rock Lee. Here's what they had to say:
Announcer: So I wanted to take this time to introduce all the voice actors. Maile Flanagan
Announcer: I was wondering if you could give a quick background, what character do you play in Naruto?
Maile: My name's Maile and I play Naruto. What's my background? Well, I do a lot of voice overs, won an Emmy for Jinkers! The Adventures of Piggly Wink. I was nominated, but I lost, to Urtha Kit last year, not that I'm bitter.
And I've done a lot of pilots you've never seen because they never went anywhere. But they were really fun and funny. I've done a few shows - Men In Black, Jackie Chan, Chicken Little, Back at the Barnyard, The Tom & Jerry movie and... the rest is on my resume.
Announcer: And Yuri, can you talk about what you've done?
Yuri: I'm Yuri Lowenthal I do the voice of Sasuke in the game as well as in the show. I've worked on a lot of other games, most notably in my career I guess the Prince from the Prince of Persia in the first and third games. I do a lot of voice over for Japanese anime titles as well as live-action stuff and original stuff from the states. Legion of Super Heroes, New Wolverine: The X-Men animated series, Afro Samurai and some live-action stuff, TV shows here and there - I like to mix it up.
Announcer: And Brian, did you want to introduce yourself?
Brian: Yeah, how do you follow that?
Yuri: All you have to do is say your name!
Brian: Yeah, I just have to remind myself what my mom always said "Last but not least. Last but not least, honey." Yeah, I'm Brian Donovan I play Rock Lee. My past is sprinkled with a lot of things, I was a DJ in college so voice was always my first love. I did Davis on Digimon for a couple of years. I also do all the announcer stuff for Jetix and Toon Disney, the cartoon atom. Naruto crossed my path because I'd worked with some of the same people on Digimon. I was asked to audition for Rock Lee. It's been great. It's been a lot of fun in fact. I'll leave it at that unless you want to know more about my mom.
Announcer: We're gonna go ahead and start asking the questions that have been pre-submitted. This one is from Cyan Island. How much of a fan are you guys of the Naruto series? Do you have to watch the latest episode and play the newest game as soon as it's out? Or is this a series you simply do for your job?
Maile: I'm a big fan. Not of Yuri particularly *laughter* but of everyone else, except for Yuri, *laughter* in the series. I am horrible at the game, but I sometimes watch people play the game and mutter under my breath "You know I play the character..." but no one listens. *laughter*
It's not just a series where I simply do my job because the people we're working with are outstanding. Like our director Mary Elisabeth and our producer Jamie Simone. It's kind of taken on a life of it's own and snowballed, which I didn't know in the beginning and it's pretty incredible to watch it and see how popular it is here in the States and all over the world.
Announcer: How about you Yuri?
Yuri: I grew up watching Japanese anime so it's sort of a dream job to be able to work on the show and game. I wish I had time to keep up with the show. I did in the beginning and then it just became so all-encompassing that I lost track of it, but I do love the show. It's not just a job for me it's a dream come true. As far as the games, I can't keep up with the games either. I've actually taken to watching friends of mine play the games because it's a lot faster and I don't have to get good at it and beat this and that, I just watch people who are really good at it.
Announcer: And you, Brian?
Brian: Well, my answer's short and sweet - I STINK at the game. *laughter* I wish I had the forte but I think I missed a window - I'm in my 40s now. But I'm fortunate to work with a lot of kids and they go nuts, just nutty, whenever you mention that you're involved with Naruto in any way. So it's great and, in that way, I do follow the show and the games and its successes. I had a little of that with Digimon, but Naruto is in a whole other league. It's pretty fantastic and I still appreciate walking down the street, going past a news stand or gaming mags and seeing Naruto splashed on the front. I love it!
Announcer: How do you feel about being referred to by your character's names rather than your real names at anime conventions? Like, sometimes fans will say "This question is for Naruto." Rather than "This question is for Maille."
Maile: Well, it's really insulting when Yuri or Kara does it. *laughter* If you're 10 years old and you do it, I don't mind. I think it's flattering. I'm actually shocked if they know my name because it's a cartoon character and people are so passionate about them. I'm flabbergasted when people actually know what my name is. You know, it's fine - I'll answer to anything. *laugh*
Announcer: Yuri or Brian any answers?
Yuri: I love it. I love when I go to conventions and often it'll be the younger kids who will refer to us by our character names - how can you not find that absolutely charming? I remember when I used to go to conventions when I was a kid when I would stand in long lines to get people's autograph.
Brian: Yeah ditto. I don't have anything to add to that other than sometimes I wish I was Rock Lee.
Yuri: I know! Sasuke's much cooler than I am in real life so I'm ok with it.
Brian: And Rock Lee's even cooler than you!
Yuri: Man, between you and Maille I'm gonna get slammed today!
Maile: You invite it, Yuri!
Yuri: I can take it!
Brian: Yeah right!
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