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. And, 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 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, if you want to 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.
Brian: My past is sprinkled with a lot of things, I was a DJ in college so voice was always my first love and through the years I've done... 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.com. 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. *laughter* 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 and, in every kid that walks up to me I remember 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!
Announcer: What's the difference voice acting the Naruto anime vs the Naruto video game?
Maile: Well, obviously the voices for me don't change. Once in a while what's weird is you have to go back to a time when you were either older or younger, y'know? So, you have to remember what you were feeling at the moment if it parallels the series.
Other than that, it's, just um... In the video games you have to do a lot more hits and punches and grunts. And, um, landings and fights and so it's more strenuous on your voice and more repetitive.
It's kind of fun to see them, because it's a different medium but y'know it's just more. It's a lot more stuff. And, sometimes in a way it's easier because a lot of the stuff you don't have to think up so you're not working on getting that lip-flap correct.
Yuri: Yeah, and it's um, on one hand when you're working on the show it's nice to be able to see what's going on but you're sort of working in a vacuum when you're recording for the video game. But that's where you really have to trust the director and luckily we have a great director in Mary Elizabeth. She gives us the background that we need because we can't see it. We don't know what the context is or what's going on.
Yeah, the video game sessions are really slam-bang. We knock through a bunch of stuff and it's very high energy - it can be tiring.
Brian: I'm merely a punctuation point because I'm going third every time. However, I will say this *laughs* With an exclamation point. I bank on Mary Elizabeth and the director. She's phenomenal and if it wasn't for her really truly spacing things out. Particularly with the video games because they can be, as you guys have already mentioned, they can be a little grueling to the degree that you are yelling and screaming a lot. Which I know some of the people that are on today have mentioned.
And, uh, it's true so Mary Elizabeth, one of the things that she does, which is brilliant, is save all the hi-yahs and the yelling and screaming to the end of the session. So that saves it quite a bit. She's also instrumental in making sure that [we have] the right tension because it is out of context some times. And, I don't know, in some ways the pros and cons. With the series you get more of a story arc and more of an opportunity to act a little bit more in that story arc. Where, in the games, it's riddled with energy and these short punctuated yelling, screaming, statements etc.
What goes through your mind when you see people enjoying the series and your characters in particular? And, since Brian's been complaining, how about you answer the question first?
Brian: Wow! Aw man, I didn't mean to complain! *laughs* Well my momma always said...
Brian: No I would, uh, well you know, it's funny. I had the great fortune of living as a roommate with Molly Shannon who's on SNL, or was on SNL. And she did Mary Kathlyn Gallagher the schoolgirl and some of these historical characters. I remember that someone dressed up as her character on Halloween and I thought "Oh my god! That is truly success." So, this last Halloween I'm walking down the street and lo and behold someone is Rock Lee. I was like "I made it! I made it! I really made it!" I felt like Sally Fields on the podium at the Oscars "You really love me!"
It was awesome, it really was. I was thrilled. And, it's a funny thing because you want to go up to that kit and go "I;m the voide man, I'm the voice!" But he probably won't believe you or he'll think you're a complete freak. And it was Halloween so I suppose that would have been fitting. But, yeah, it was awesome.
Yuri: I love that, well I've worked on a lot of anime type shows and usually it's for a very narrow specific sort of audience and to see people dress up as people that I've played at conventions it's one thing. But, when I go to the supermarket or I'm at the movie theater and I see a kid run by with a Naruto headband on... That's success, I mean as far as the show is concerned. And yeah, I run into the same thing, like I want to run over and go "Hey! Hey! You like the show? Yeah? Who's your favorite character? Oh, Naruto. Well, who do you like second?" But, it's the same thing - you run over to those people and if they're young enough they may not even grasp that there's an actor behind the character so it can be kinda awkward.
Maile: Yeah, I had a kid that came up to my door at Halloween and he was dressed as Naruto. And, I had to tell him, well he was at my house! I said "Oh, are you Naruto?" He was like "Yes." He was kind of surly, a surly 11 year-old boy. *laughs* I was "You know, I play Naruto." And he went. "No you don't." I said. "No, seriously, I do." And he was like "Mmm... no you don't." So I was like, I'm gonna let this go.
Yuri: Maile, you've got to let that go. You know why? If you convinced him well enough your address would be on the internet and kids would be visiting you every day!
Maile: I know! I know! Well, it's funny because I sort of wanted him to know but I kinda was like "You know, I'd kinda like you to know because I was just kinda thrilled." But then again I was like "What am I doing?" But, yeah, it's fun. I love seeing people. I saw a real hipster family - guy was in his 30s with his wife and baby. I was at a stoplight and I looked over and they all had Naruto headbands on.
Yuri: That's awesome!
Maile: That's when do you want to scream out the car at them but then you look like the idiot. It looks like you're a lunatic.
This question is for Yuri: Apparently your wife plays a character in Naruto.
Yuri: That's true.
Announcer: Tata Platt? What's the character again?
Yuri: She plays Naruto.
Yuri: No, no... She plays Temari which is really kinda cool because when she's first introduced she has this crush on Sasuke, which seems only fitting.
Maile: Or kinda creepy.
Yuri: Or kinda creepy, depending on how you look at it. *laughs*
Announcer: Did you joke around about it at all?
Brian: They dressed up for each other.
Yuri: And not just at conventions!
Maile: Weren't you asked that at a convention Yuri? Someone asked you a kind of randy question about that.
Yuri: Yeah... I think it was one of those after-hours panels.
Yeah: No, but it's kind of nice because we end up on the show fighting a lot and it's nice in a way to be able to take out your aggressions at work and then you don't have to bring them home with you.
Announcer: We have another question - How many hours do you end up spending in the studio to record your lines? Can you tell us how many lines you need to record for a video game?
Maile: Well, it varies on the video games. I usually do two-hour increments for the series and depending on the length of the episode I can get through one episode maybe, unless it's long, sometimes one and a half. For the video game I can only do three hours and then my voice gets too fatigued. And it depends on the video game, one of the ones we did recently, and they just changed the title so forgive me if I don't know it, I had close to.. I had 1200 loops I think, which is an insane amount of loops. I don't know how many days I did on that, I think I did five three-hour sessions, which is 15 hours.
Announcer: I think that Ninja Destiny, for this one, it's fairly short because it's a lot of short sound-effect type things. So, I think it was a fairly short session.
Maile: Right, sometimes it's hard to remember. You know, there are a lot of games and a lot of episode. I just recorded... what are we on guys, 156 or something?
Yuri: I don't know, Sasuke wandered off and locked himself in a barrel and disappeared for the rest of the series until Shippoden so I don't know what you're talkinga bout.
Announcer: Is there a big difference between recording lines for a video game than in an anime? Do you record your lines together or separately?
Yuri: You mean are the actors recording together or separately?
Yuri: We always record separately.
Brian: And we miss each other!
Yuri: We do miss each other but every now and then we'll pass each other - one person will be finishing and another person will be starting. But, I've seen Brian once or twice since we've started the series.
Maile: Yeah, me too.
Yuri: I mean, I love to record with other actors and on some shows we do that, but on this show it's just not efficient, it just doesn't work well.
Maile: Sometimes I'll be in the booth and I'll be "Who's doing this voice again?" and they'll tell me and I'll say "Who's that?" Especially right now there are a handful of actors I've never met, never laid eyes on, because they were just recently put on the show.
Yuri: I mean, there are some times when I wish I'd never met Maile. *laugh*
Maile: There are a lot of times I'm sure you wish you'd never met me! *laughs*
Brian: I hope you guys notice as you're listening that the fighting doesn't just happen in the studio or by ourselves, we live and breathe our characters! *laughs*
Announcer: So, I know Maile mentioned something about her voice box getting sore from doing a lot of tough sound effects, especially the painful punch in the gut sound. Does your voice adjust to making those noises after years or do you guy have a technique so your voice doesn't get sore?
Maile: I use vocal techniques that I learned before in theater. But, there are only so many times you can scream at the top of your lungs. So, that's why the three hour limit. And Mary Elizabeth, like we said, is very good at saving a lot of the punches and the big roars. When I do the nine-tailed fox it's very taxing because it's very growly and low and husky and long and loud. So, there's almost no way anybody can prevent their voice from being fatigued from doing that too much.
Maile: You could have the best person in the world doing voiceover and they still wouldn't be able to sustain that for very long.
Brian: Well, we should say too that it's kind of universally known to the degree that even our contracts are limited to a certain number of hours because it's pretty well documented that your voice can only hold out for so long. Particularly for the video games because there is a lot of the hi-ya! Rah-rah!
Brian: Even the best of us short out after a while because you can only do it so long.
Yuri: You develop techniques to keep it going as long as you can and to get through the session. But, after a while there's nothing you can do.
Brian: I'll even throw in to the degree that I try to schedule, especially with this video game stuff, late in the day in case I have anything else-
Maile: Me too.
Brian: I try to do other jobs before that because I know I'm going to be thrashed after my video game extravaganza.
Announcer: And we have questions from Eric Martin from static multimedia. This one is actually for Laura of Tomy. What are the chances of of hidden voice outtakes as unlockable content in this game or future Naruto titles?
Laura: I'm actually going to let Glen answer this, Glen is our product specialist over here.
Glen: I know our producer, Nobi, he loves the outtakes and stuff. He has a really good time with those and tries to get them in wherever he can but, we haven't had a chance to in the past and neither with Naruto: Ninja Destiny.
*DING: Kate Higgins, the voice of Sakura, arrives*
Maile: Hey! Kate!
Yuri: Hi Kate.
Brian: Hi Kate.
Kate: Hi! Is it too loud where I am?
Yuri: Are you at the circus again?
Kate: No, I'm at a job and in order to call y'all before I drove home, which would take 30 minutes, I'm calling from the lobby where I am.
Yuri: So you're at the circus?
Kate: I'm at the circus, yes.
Announcer: Glen, did you want to finish answering that question?
Glen: Yeah, basically our producer likes them very much. We didn't get them into Ninja Destiny but he's definitely looking forward to trying to put them into the games in the future if the opportunity presents itself.
Laura: It's also a function of the DS games because they're very limited in memory size as to what we can do. With DS games it's a bit harder but with some of the other disc-based games for the Wii we can consider it.
Yuri: From what I've seen the the DS game doesn't look limited at all, it looks great!
Announcer: Nice sound byte!
Laura: Yeah, it does! It looks really awesome, we really happy with how it turned out.
Announcer: And, of course, the follow-up question is were most of the recorded lines merely two-second sound bytes or was there a bit of dialogue that went on during these recordings?
Glen: I know for Ninja Destiny the sounds all had to be shorter than five seconds because of the cartridge size. They're mostly hit and punch type stuff or announcing the jutsu. There's nothing as far as story mode lines being voiced in the game.
Announcer: So, we're going to take a break and introduce Kate Higgins.
Kate: Um... do you want to know about Sakura or just me?
Announcer: The fact that you play Sakura and if there's something of your past you want to share with us?
Kate: Oh my goodness.
Yuri: *laughs* Careful Kate.
Kate: My name's Kate Higgins and I do play Sakura. Um... I've done a lot of games and episodes. There's a lot about myself but I'll just say... I love voice acting! How about that?
Announcer: How about I start off with a question?
Announcer: For when you're doing voices for Naruto: Ninja Destiny or other video games, do you have an actual script that you stick to when you record your lines or is there any ad-libbing that's required when you do a session.
Kate: Just for the video games or for the actual?
Announcer: We can talk about the anime if you'd like.
Kate: Well, for the video games there is a very specific script. Maybe the only time we do ad-lib are if they need some extra screams or punches or kicks or something like that. Other than that you're following a script.
Announcer: Ok, good to know. So, we're going to go into questions for killer betties and this is for everyone who's on the call. During the voice over sessions did you ever have anything interesting or embarrassing happen?
Maile: Well, Yuri does all his stuff naked.
Yuri: But that's not embarrassing for me, that's embarrassing for you.
Maile: It's embarrassing for the rest of us.
Announcer: Any interesting anecdotes or stories you guys have?
Maile: I usually choke myself once or twice with the headphones during a session. *laughs*
Announcer: With the headphones?
Maile: Yeah, it kinda wraps around my leg and then I forget and I wander around the booth a lot. I usually end up choking myself and knocking things over which causes great amusement for Mary Elizabeth and our engineers.
Yuri: Occasionally, especially on video games and with a lot of the fighting stuff, to get what you feel is the proper sound you have to imitate what you're doing and occasionally I've gotten carried away and kicked over mic stands or punched things. And, of course, you have to do it over again because it sounds like you punched something over or broke something.
Kate: Yeah, knocking over the stand or perhaps the water bottle or something like that. Although, I'm very professional so I don't make many mistakes. *laughs*
Announcer: How did you all come to find the voices for your characters? Did you come with what you thought would be the voice and then tweak it from there? Or did they come more through coaching from those who are actually involved with the anime series.
Yuri: I think you always come into it with whatever your best idea is and then the director will craft it from there. "Oh we need it a little more like this. The client said they were looking for something more like this." Yeah, you always bring to the table what you can based on what you know. Sometimes they maybe have some character sketches and you can go off of that, that helps. Or sometimes they have the Japanese voice in place that they want you to have the same texture and the same feel.
Brian: I'll just say that for Rock Lee specifically, because as Yuri said every character is different and you come at it a different way. With Rock Lee it was really interesting because the producer and the director were kind of instrumental in guiding me to Rock Lee. To the degree that Rock Lee was very proper, especially in the very beginning. He didn't shorten anything, there was no wouldn't, couldn'ts it was would not, could not. He was almost trying to be this knight in shining armor but bumbling and stumbling at the same time. There were these really very small, and very specific, nuances that Rock Lee had that we had to find together. Which was fun, it was fun to do that and very different because I'm very casual and laid back - I've embraced Southern California immensely *laughs* So I had to bring a little more of the proper finessed speech to Rock Lee, or at least attempt to. So that's been kind of fun, and very frustrating at times when I'm trying to match lip-synch and they wrote it as couldn't and we have to add in a little could not, should not, would not. But yeah, it's been fun that way.
Kate: For me, I think even at the audition for Sakura it was kind of just my normal voice, maybe just a little younger. The only thing that's really had to change is that as she's gotten a bit older in the episodes and in the games and she's more in control of situations I've had to put that kind of authority in my voice more. But, other than that, she's not really that far from how I talk.
Yuri: And we love you.
Maile: Well, I auditioned first on tape at my agency and then they called me back to, essentially what was a work session. There were a lot of people there, there were some of the Japanese producers, of course Viz people, our producer Jamie and director. So they kind of worked with me on adjusting the tone of the voice a little bit, pitching it up or down. It's close to my voice. So I got a one and a half hour work session, maybe, something around there - maybe an hour. I never saw a rendering of the character until I got in the room.
No, I take that back, I didn't see the drawing of the character when I first auditioned. Then, when I got the call back, which was also like the work session, I went on the web and then I discovered how huge Naruto was. But, I purposely did not listen to the Japanese voice for it because I didn't want to be imitating that voice, I wanted to create my own voice for the character.
Yuri: I hate to break in right now but I've got a producer on the other side of the glass pointing at his watch for me to get back to work. So I don't know if there are any last specific questions that you maybe have for me otherwise I'll leave you in the competent hands, except for Maile, *giggling* of the people you've got on the line.
Brian: *chuckle* I'm gonna have to break too very soon but yeah, if you want to ask anything specific to both he and I that's great.
Announcer: This is Yuri and Brian, correct?
Announcer: I have a couple specific questions for Yuri and Brian, can I ask them now?
Yuri & Brian: Sure.
Announcer: Yuri, you have all that experience acting in video games. How does Naruto differ from other say Ace Combat or Full Spectrum Warrior?
Yuri: Coming from the anime world, there's definitely a specific feel to it. Naruto has its own mythology and vibe, which is different from a lot of stuff that I do. Added to the fact that I've gotten to really develop this character over time which you don't really get to do in other games. You come in, usually you haven't read anything from the script, they put it in front of you, give you a couple of key things to hit and you're off. Then in four hours you're done and you never see them again. But, the nice thing about this is that the character's had time to develop, I feel a lot closer to him.
Announcer: Did the game industry help you get into anime later on?
Yuri: Actually I started out with anime. My first real gig was a show called SD Gundam Force which aired on Cartoon Network back in the day. It was actually video games came after that, but they work together quite well.
Announcer: And are video game auditions different from anime auditions?
Yuri: I think they're similar to a certain degree. You know, the producer is always looking for something specific and you give them what you think they want. And you're either on or you're not. Sometimes it's hard but you can't worry about that too much.
Announcer: With your martial arts background which video game character do you think has the best moves?
*laughter* Yuri: I'm not just saying this because he's on the line, but um... Well, my answer would of course be "Well, duh, Sasuke!" I mean, Rock Lee's got the real moves.
Yuri: Sasuke, he's got a lot of Jutsu and he's got a lot of magic that he can work but Rock Lee can actually do everything.
Brian: Thank you, thank you very much...
Yuri: So, I'm going to have to go with Rock Lee.
Brian: Oh man, dude, I am gonna kiss you hard when I see you!
Brian: I'm gonna show you my best softest spine.
Yuri: Lion's Barrage. I want to see your Lion's Barrage!
Announcer: I think that's all the questions we have for Yuri... that were specific for you.
Yuri: Well, thank you for having me in today.
Announcer: Thanks so much Yuri, thank you. Bye Yuri.
Yuri: Happy Valentine's day everyone.
*DING Yuri Leaves*
Announcer: Ok, cool. Well, how long do we have you online Brian?
Brian: Just a few more minutes I could probably stretch it to five if you need me to hang in there.
Announcer: Ok, I have just one specific question. I'm not quite sure if you answered this earlier or not but someone asked you specifically how you prepared for voicing Rock Lee, if there's anything specific you've done?
Brian: Yeah, I guess I did answer it mainly to the extend that there were a few very specific Rock Lee nuances and thing that everybody wanted to hear or was requested. I'm not exactly sure if it was specific from the Japanese or not. But, it was again talking very properly and not shortening anything and no slang - it was all very proper with Rock Lee. That was probably the biggest adjustment I had to make with Rock Lee. And voice in general, as I think everyone will attest, you do your own little warm-up every day. *laughs* You know, as a voice actor again your body is your instrument so there's a general warm-up and prep for everything I do.
Yeah, Rock Lee's been fun and Yuri hit on it a little but one of the nice things about having a huge hit and having an extended episode and now video game arc is that you really get to know the character and you can play with the character. And, fortunately because the character starts so young they do grow up and you get to grow up a little bit with them.
Announcer: And this is for everyone else in the group. If you could do a voice for a different character in the video game, which one would you like to try?
Maile: Hmm... I'd try Choji.*laughs* He looks like a lot of fun. It's not a very complicated answer!
Kate: I'd probably want to try something totally different, like... Lady Tsunade or something.
Maile: Oooh... yeah.
Brian: Oh nice. I would want to do Guy, or Gaara who kicked my butt. *laughs* I'd love to do both and play with something like that.
Announcer: Brian, if you need to leave we totally understand.
Brian: Yeah, I do unfortunately. But I'd like to thank everybody that's on the line and again again Happy Valentine's Day and yahoo for the issue later this month.
Announcer: Thank you Brian!
Kate: Bye Brian!
Announcer: So we have a quick question for Maile. You're known to gamers and anime fans as the voice of Naruto but you have a lot of small parts, like the housewife in Grey's Anatomy. One fully uses your voice and the other involves physical acting. But, other than that, how do the two differ?
Maile: Hmmm... They're so different but, I guess artistically it's like sculpting and painting. They're sort of using the creative part of you but they're totally different. I will say that doing television and film, I've done a bunch of films too, I just did a Jim Carrey movie called Yes Man that will be out next year. They're just long, long days and often quite boring when you're not a lead in the movie or television show. So, in a lot of ways it's not as satisfying as actually getting to act more, which I do in Naruto and cartoons and animation in general. But, on the other hand, I love doing on-camera stuff. I've done a lot of it and I audition for a lot of it. They're so completely different! It's almost like two completely different things except for having to act. But, the good thing is, I don't have to get in costume when I do Naruto - I don't have to worry about sitting in a makeup chair.
Announcer: Do you prefer playing Naruto or Nine-Tailed Naruto?
Maile: Definitely Naruto! *laughs* Nine-Tails is very growly, very low, very taxing and it takes a lot of energy. The way I look at it, it might be different for other people, but I look at as having moments. SO, if in the moment the Nine-Tailed Fox is going to say "I'm going to kill you." You kinda have to pull that out of somewhere. It's an emotion behind it and the Nine-Tailed Fox is very, very intense. It's fun to do but it's very taxing, you feel kind of exhausted at the end. You come out and you're "*phew...* Wow, I was just electrocuted."
Announcer: We have a question for both of you, Kate and Maile. Do you relate to your characters and how does that affect your performance? Kate?
Kate: I relate to my character a lot. Mostly in the sense that she's in love with Sasuke.
Kate: Because I've lived that, gone after the guy who is cold and detached. So I relate to her yearning in that aspect. I relate to her wanting to better herself, sort of a perfectionist, not wanting to fail. I feel very close to her so it helps.
Maile: As far as I go, I love that Naruto is so spirited and he never gives up on things. I can relate to that. And he's emotional, I'm pretty emotional - if I weren't I wouldn't be an actor! I think that he likes a challenge and that he tries to do right by all his friends who are kind of like his family. I share some of that with my friends, I have a lot of good friends. I have a great family too! I like his enthusiasm for life.
Announcer: Kate, how do enjoy playing one of the most characters in anime?
Kate: I like it of course! Like Maile said, when I auditioned for it I had no idea it was going to be as big as it is and that it was as big as it was already in Japan. I get a lot of fan email and lots of middle-school age girls that write me that they admire me and stuff that's very flattering. I sometimes write back and say "You know, I'm not really as great as that. But, thank you!" I've been invited to schools by kids to talk. It's nice to know that you have impacted people's lives really.
Announcer: We're going to ask the three questions that were submitted specifically for Tomy and then we're going to open the call up for open questions from the people who are actually joined with us online.
Quick question from Steven from MyGamer: How much of a role does the voice-acting in the Japanese series play when doing the voices for the American dubbed versions?
Glen: Well, obviously there's a lot that goes into the voicing that comes from the Japanese. Especially intonations and emotional impace. Japanese voices have a lot of emotion behind them, either anger or sympathy or happiness or anything like that and we try to take that into account when we write up the script.
Announcer: Did you record any new Jutsu names for this game?
Glen: No, these are all the tried and true Naruto jutsu.
Announcer: Did any of the lines from the show get changed for the video game?
Glen: The lines from the show are normally used in the story mode and those aren't voiced in Ninja Destiny. So, as far as they're typed, yes they're normally changed and tweaked just a little bit. We try to keep the most noticeable lines the same and then we have to take into account the size of the actual physical area we have for the text for the video game. For Ninja Destiny specifically, most of the lines were maybe shortened down a little bit to fit the screen.
Announcer: So that's the last of the questions. We're going to go ahead and excuse all the voice actors. Thank you so much for participating!
Maile: Thank you very much!
Kate: Thank you for having us, I'm sorry I was late.
Announcer: This concludes the Naruto Ninja Destiny Conference Call.