Straight outta Toei Animation Europe's Headquarters in France this morning is a press release announcing the official release date of the highly anticipated Sailor Moon video game for the Nintendo DS in Italy! Sailor Moon: La Luna Splende (The Moon Shines) is going to be released on March 21st, 2011. This is ten days earlier than most sites were reporting (March 31st). We were a little worried just a couple weeks ago when we were unable to find any pre-order information and had a little feeling it was going to be delayed again (but thankfully, it wasn't!). Random Trivia: The game also carries the same name as the second Sailor Moon opening theme in Italian!
Last week, I notified our users via Facebook very quickly that the game was available for pre-order internationally. Now while there is some confusion over which North American systems it will play on (I have heard from some that you can't play international games on the DSi), we're just going to advise fans to wait for other reviews to see if the game will work on their Nintendo DS system of choice. I will be testing this on a DS lite, and possibly a few months later on the first generation DS (basically just to see if it runs, part of the touch screen is dead and this makes games difficult to play :( ). As far as I know I'm the only one on our staff ordering it, and I don't have access to any other DS systems. For those of you who wish to purchase it online, there is only one store that I've been able to find as of this writing that will ship internationally, and that is Bol.it. And, they are also the cheapest, selling the game for roughly 5 dollars cheaper than others. Be aware though, that shipping from Italy to North America will be at least as much as the game costs - my total came to around $71. If any fans are having troubles muddling through the Italian on Bol.it's site, please send us an email and either I or one of my staff members will get back to you as soon as we can to help you navigate your purchase.
The image above appears to be the final cover art, as released by Toei Animation Europe, and the game carries a PEGI rating of 7+, which means that the game is suitable for players over 7 years of age. There are also no other symbols on the game which means it's pretty clean, content wise.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Last week, Toei Animation Europe announced that they will appear at 3 different entertainment branding trade shows over the next couple of months. These are:
☾Prague’s World Content Market, from February 21-23
☾Paris’ Kazachok Forum from March 31st to April 1st
☾Cannes’ MIPTV April 4-7.
All of these are pretty big events that are attended major players in licensing and broadcasting from around the world. Sailor Moon will be marketed at all 3, as will other properties that Toei Animation shopped around last year. We didn’t notice any new properties on their exhibition lists this year.
We encourage fans in European countries that are still waiting for Sailor Moon to write not only Toei Animation Europe (pick Sales License and make sure you write in your letter what country you are in), but also any anime licensing companies that you want to see release Sailor Moon. Also, make note that Toei Animation will be featuring Sailor Moon as a part of their exhibition booth at the events we’ve listed above. Companies all over the world are aware of Sailor Moon’s resurgence, but it never hurts to put a face to the fandom who wants to enjoy it again!
Oh yeah, and just for kicks, we think you fans might want to see this. Kazachok has a gallery available of all the exhibitors from last year, and we finally found a shot of Toei Animation's Booth! And look who the booth is themed around?
Monday, February 14, 2011
This is Emilie's fourth Juno nomination, which she described as "icing on the cake. It's just that extra bonus that you get, that kind of recognition. I'm going to continue making records, regardless if I win [...] but it certainly gives you a boost." She also said that "It's great to be in a category that represents a lot of real musicians. People [who] are true consummate musicians."
Since Emilie will be performing a show on tour on the night of the Juno Awards, she'll be watching the television broadcast of the 40th annual awards show, along with other Canadians. The awards show will be airing from Toronto on Sunday, March 27th on CTV.
And from Emilie's newsletter, here is a list of her upcoming tour dates:
- February 25, 2011 – 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM at L'Astral in Montréal, Québec
- February 26, 2011 – 8:00 PM at Centennial Theatre in Sherbrooke, Québec
- March 17, 2011 – 8:00 PM at Capitol Theatre in Moncton, New Brunswick
- March 22, 2011 – 8:00 PM at Park Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba
- March 24, 2011 – 8:00 PM at Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse, Yukon
- March 25, 2011 – 7:30 PM at The Arden Theatre in St. Albert, Alberta
- March 27, 2011 – 8:00 PM at Capilano Performing Arts Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia
- May 14, 2011 – 8:00 PM at Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto, Ontario
Hey Moonies! We now present you with the first part of our exclusive interview with Ron Rubin (Artemis)! Ron speaks of his early days in acting and writing, beloved characters from the many cartoons he has acted in, and the very famous celebrity Artemis' voice is based on. Who is it? Read on and find out!
MC: Thanks Ron for doing this! How is your summer going?
RR: It's my absolute pleasure. Thanks for contacting me ... it's great to know that Sailor Moon and its Moonies (is that correct to say ... hope I didn't insult anyone) are still going strong.
First of all, I really have to apologize for the delay in getting this back to you. But I've been dealing with some back issues and that has had me sidelined for a while.
Anyway, my summer was nice ... got in a bit of traveling and worked on a few new cartoon series.
MC: How did you get started in acting?
it was a very creative atmosphere. That's when I started doing voices and impressions. Now cut ahead a decade to when I was going to university. Myself and my friend started a half hour weekly comedy show at the campus radio station. We wrote, directed and voiced it. That's when I really started working more seriously on my craft. The radio show turned into a stage show that toured around the country. The year I finished my university degree I moved to Toronto (from Winnipeg) and began doing improv with Second City. Then I hit the "Stand Up" stage and toured North America as a featured performer. I spent most of my early twenties on the road doing my voices and telling my jokes to all sorts of audiences in all sorts of places. I think I was 23 when I decided I wanted to become a more "serious" actor, so I moved to New York and was accepted at a wonderful acting school ... The Neighborhood Playhouse. It was a great time in my life ... a very creative time ... doing acting classes by day and performing at the comedy clubs at night.
MC: We’ve learned you were also a writer for Sharon, Lois, and Bram’s Elephant Show. Did writing for TV shows influence your decision to act?
RR: Actually writing came as a result of acting. I was hired to be the guest star in the Elephant Show. I had so much fun doing it I kept thinking of ideas that I could write and perform. I came up with a concept of doing an old time radio show ... the kind with the old fashioned microphones and casting myself (of course :) as the one doing all the voices and sound effects. They loved the idea and so I wrote the script and we shot it. If I'm not mistaken, I think it won an award for best children's show that year. I've also written several other shows as well as sold pilots for television series. Some sold, others didn't. I spent a short time in L.A. writing a series. That one sold ... but never got developed. I love writing ... I should be doing more of it. I'm working on writing a new cartoon series currently ... I'll let you know if it goes anywhere.
Editor's Note: Watch him in this show here! We especially love his singing of Skidamarink at the end!
Esahc: What would you say is your influences for your writing career?
RR: Probably similar to my early comedy career. I grew up watching a lot of the old time masters ... W.C. Fields, the Marx Bros., Charlie Chaplin, etc. Also the stand ups of my generation ... early George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams (who I got the opportunity to perform with later in my stand up career), and of course the impressionists ... I was always fascinated by the voices they could make. I tried (for hours on end) to attempt to imitate them. My parents had an old Rich Little Album (I don't know what's dating me more here ... Rich Little or the fact it was an album) ... I spent a whole summer memorizing his set and doing all his voices. But my biggest influence (not in writing but in voice work) was Mel Blanc. He did all the Looney Toons characters ... Bugs, Daffy, etc. When I was really young I once saw him being interviewed on Johnny Carson ... I couldn't believe my ears ... I was absolutely fascinated with all the different voices coming out of him. I think right then I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. And hey, by some weird luck and circumstances ... I'm lucky enough to be doing it.
MC: We also read you used to make comedic home-videos with Canadian TV producer Allan Novak (The Party Time series) – can you tell us a little more about what these were?
RR: Boy, you guys are good with your research ... how did you even know about that!
Allan and I shared a house together and every year we would throw a big party for our friends. Allan was working on and editing 'Kids in the Hall' at the time and had access to camera's and studios. So each year we wrote and filmed a somewhat elaborate video that was shown at the party on monitors placed around the house. It got quite a following. Boy, that memory brings me back a lot of years.
MC: Will you ever do comedy again?
RR: Do you mean 'stand up' ? If so, I'm not sure. It was great in my twenties but it takes a lot of commitment and you're on the road quite a bit. That being said, I miss doing it. Performing live in front of an audience with material that you might have written the same day was an amazing experience. I miss the adrenaline buzz ... and the creative process. Don't know if I'll ever do that again. But I'm sure glad I experienced it when I did.
MC: Why did you make the transition from on-camera work to voice work? Will we ever see you on camera acting again?
RR: I did a lot of on-camera work earlier in my career. In my twenties and early thirties I performed in quite a few national tv commercials, a few television series and the odd movie. But after being introduced to the world of animation I truly fell in love with it. Slowly but surely I found myself doing more and more animation and less on-camera work. I eventually made the transition to voicing cartoons and commercials full time and stepping away from the camera. I've been lucky enough to make my living solely on voice work. I may one day return to television or film again ... never say never ... but for now I'm very content working behind the microphone as opposed to in front of the camera.
MC: In 2007 you were nominated for an ACTRA Toronto award for your work on Erky Perky as the very conniving Frenzel (even though you didn’t win you are still a winner with us)! What made this role special for you?
RR: I didn't mind losing that award. It went (posthumously) to a dear friend of mine (Len Carlson) who unfortunately passed away the year prior. He was a mentor to me ... taught me a lot about the business of animation and voice work. Frenzel was a really fun character ... one of my all time fav's. He was a really gross bug that had ingested far too much insecticide. He was gross and slimey and weazly ... and I tried to create a voice to match his personality. I hope I did.
MC: Now it's time to talk about Sailor Moon! We’re trying to bring the fans as many stories as we can of the show since this year marks the 15th anniversary of the show. What do you remember about the casting call and the auditions? How did you get the role?
Salvatore: How did you get the part of Artemis? Did you audition?
RR: Boy, Sailor Moon takes me back quite a few years. I did audition ... I think. I remember they wanted a cool laid back voice for Artemis. There was a television show on at that time called 'Moonlighting' ... it starred a very young Bruce Willis (and Cybil Sheppard). They referenced Bruce's voice ... low key with a bit of attitude. That's what I went for. There were so many characters in Sailor Moon who were very expressive ... even over the top (in a good way) ... so it was kinda fun and interesting for me to keep Artemis's voice lower both vocally and emotionally.
EcoReck: Due to the very limited numbers of male roles in Sailor Moon, how hard was it to get a role in it?
RR: I don't remember it being 'hard' per say. Maybe I was just at the right place at the right time. I don't recall there being a lot of call backs. I went into the studio ... incorporated the voice direction I was given ... and then tried to make it my own. Kind of what I try to do with every audition I go to. I booked the part ... so I must have done something right.
MC: How did you come up with the right kind of “gentlemanly” voice for Artemis?
RR: As I stated earlier ... I referenced the low key, laid back (but with some attitude and cockiness) style of Bruce Willis from Moonlighting. Of course I tried to add my own flavor to the character ... and in time it developed into Artemis.
MC: You are one of the few actors who was with the character since the beginning. What was the biggest lesson you learned (if any) from your character and/or working on Sailor Moon? Did your voice also grow as the character grew throughout the seasons and the movies?
RR: Yea, like with every cartoon I think the actors voice and performance gets more comfortable as the series goes on. When I hear the really early episodes of Sailor Moon versus the later ones I can tell the slight difference in Artemis' voice. I think I "cooled' him down a bit over time.
Salvatore: You've been involved with the series for quite some time, do you notice any changes while working on it? (Such as direction, or how the dubbing was handled?)
RR: Well, some of the actors (Sailors) changed ... a fact that I know you're very aware of. Also, the style .... solo ... ensemble .... rythmo ....
And with that, we conclude the first part of this interview. Due to Ron's very busy schedule (and numerous questions), we will post the second part of this interview at another time.
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Here comes Part Two of our exciting interview with Susan Roman! Read on Moonies for more on Sailor Jupiter and many shows before and after Sailor Moon! Many of our older Moonies may also gain a greater appreciation for some older cartoons from the 80s and 90s which Susan was a part of after reading this!
MC: At this event in Japan, the results of a poll asking fans of their 5 favorite episodes were revealed – and the 5th favorite episode just happened to be the first one that your character showed up in! What do you think made this episode so special and so loved?
SR: I think it has to do with the unexpected. It's the surprise of seeing such a FEISTY girl, rocketing onto the screen, no holds barred, ready to just be herself and do some serious business. And I think it's also a bit of a surprise to see a teenage female character with such obvious anger-management issues. That's kind of unusual. And, in the end of all, she did try to keep her temper under control – which is something a lot of people could identify with.
MC (and everyone else): Would you reprise your role as Sailor Jupiter if the last season were to be dubbed or the entire series were to be re-dubbed?
Jigglypuff2cute: if the fifth season of sailor moon comes to the US will you still do her voice? and do you think they should just put the last season as pg 13 cause of the certain things in it? i mean if they try to keep the last season ( if they decide to air in it US) rated for kids, it just wont be the same and there will be A LOT of confusion from all the cutting out parts. i know i was kinda confused when i saw the sailor scouts first die. i didnt even know they were dead untill i saw the ghosts giving princess serinity power. same as with sailor moon and tuxedo mask but tha wasnt untill i decided to watch it in japanese.
SR: I would definitely do Sailor Jupiter again – I really miss her! I'm not familiar with what happened in the story line after we did our very last session – actually, it all ended kind of abruptly. We were told that there would be more episodes coming down the line, but nothing ever happened. That was absolutely baffling to us – how could something SO popular not continue on to the very end? I never understood what happened there. I don't know that anyone understands what happened there!
MC: Some places are reporting that you played some additional voices in the Super Mario Brothers 3 cartoon. One of our staff members has seen you in the credits but we can’t figure out who you played – who did you play in the show and had you played any of the Mario games or found ways to familiarize yourself with the characters before you started recording?
SR:You know – that’s completely not ringing a bell with me...
MC: You were one of the few (possibly only) actress to be involved with both the 1980s Care Bears series as well as the CGI movies Journey to Joke-a-Lot and Big Wish Movie. To you, how do you think the Bears have changed since the 80s, and how did it feel to come back to “Care-a-Lot” after a long time?
SR:I got a HUGE kick out of that. I don’t know if there were quite so many care bears in the actual series as there were in the films – they seemed to multiply by the minute – but I absolutely loved the diversity they provided. Each bear had his or her own special characteristics and of course, the more characteristics that were explored, the more kids would be able to identify with them.
MC: While we’re talking about the 80s, remember Strawberry Shortcake? All the Berrykins were looked up to by many girls of that time (including a very young me!), and this show has also experienced another revival in recent years. What do you think made Strawberry Shortcake special to girls of that time and do you think that a new generation can appreciate the show?
SR:I’m so glad you brought up Strawberry Shortcake – I’m pretty sure that it was one of the first cartoons I ever did, so it has a soft spot in my heart. It has to be one of the kindest, gentlest cartoons on the planet and I thought it was brilliant. I actually had no idea that it was so popular – I’m so glad to hear that! Maybe it struck a chord with so many people because, in a way, it was like Care Bears. You got to choose the Berrykin (or care bear) you liked the most or who you related to the most (or maybe who you thought was the most like you) and you felt a sense of kinship, of friendship. Being able to identify and cherish some of your own special qualities is unbelievably important when you’re growing up.
There was another sweet and gentle cartoon that I did during that time period called Herself the Elf. (Isn’t that the greatest title?) One of the episodes had the most beautiful opening song, written and sung by Judy Collins. If you ever get a chance to track it down, you should, just so you can listen to that song. It was really special...
Editor's Note: Finding images of these old 80's characters are bringing back memories! Yes, I remember this, and for our Moonies wanting to watch this, here's Judy Collins' theme song. Sadly, can't find any episodes!
MC: With all those sweet names of the characters you played in Strawberry Shortcake (Blueberry Muffin and Crepe Suzette), was it difficult to not eat the baking that they were named after during your time working on it?
SR: Oh, that’s funny! I honestly don’t think I’d know a Crepe Suzette if I fell over one, but I’ve sure eaten my share of blueberry muffins – THE best muffin flavor in the world...
MC: Also in 1983, Nelvana produced their first full-length animated feature, Rock and Rule. You had a lead role in this movie playing Angel, and your character’s singing voice was Debbie Harry of Blondie fame! What was this experience like for you? Did you get to meet Debbie Harry at all during production?
SR: Now that was exciting! To be involved in a project that went into completely uncharted territory – a full-length animated film! Wow. And I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to Rock & Rule’s music track, but it’s got to be one of the best out there – and so far ahead of its time. It’s funny – I remember that I wasn’t included in the first round of auditions for Rock & Rule because all I’d done by that point was little girl voices, and they didn’t think for one minute that someone who sounded like Blueberry Muffin could sound like Debbie Harry. Which made total sense.
But then they had a second and third round of auditions, and a production coordinator named Arlene suggested my name - because she’d heard me talking in my normal voice, between takes, when I was doing an episode of Strawberry Shortcake. Isn’t that unbelievable? So, I think I was the very last person in the city to read for that part.
And I never once got to meet Debbie Harry – sigh.
MC: The Raccoons was also a big hit back then and is probably still being watched by many children who have grown up now on Teletoon Retro! The show had a lot of messages about environmental conservation and how big business works sometimes against nature. What do you think made this show such a big hit back then and now that we are living in times that are not so different than they were back then, do you think that the show can appeal to a new generation?
SR: I think that The Raccoons is timeless, and the messages it conveyed were right on the money, weren’t they? On the other hand, maybe it was so successful because they didn’t bang you over the head with environmental issues – those issues were slipped in with a velvet hammer. The point was made in a gentle way, in a way that was accessible – no matter how old you were when you were watching.
MC: Do you have any favorite memories of Melissa Raccoon?
SR: Well, because I replaced another actress (who’d moved to LA, I believe) it was a bit stressful at first. I was concentrating way more on sounding like her than just about anything else. (In those days, it was a BIG No-No to change the way an established character sounded in the middle of a series. I guess it doesn’t seem to bother people as much as it did back then...)
But after a while, I started to feel more comfortable with what I was doing and just had fun with it. I really liked Melissa Raccoon, and I tried to make her as honest and down-to-earth as possible. The Raccoons was a WONDERFUL project to work on. Everyone involved was so supportive and kind.
MC: When playing Snowy in the much-loved TinTin series, how did you try to add personality to his barks?
SR: Oh, that was such a fun cartoon! It seemed that Snowy was ALWAYS tumbling over waterfalls or falling out of boats or basically drowning in some way or another, so I used to bring a big glass of water in the booth with me and gargle it at the back of my throat – at the same time that I was trying to bark for help. Of course, I nearly choked myself to death, but I think it made everything sound a lot more real.
Did you know that, in the very beginning of the project, Snowy was supposed to actually talk? When I auditioned for the part, there was tons of dialogue for him, and it was only when I was leaving the booth that they asked if I could lay down “a few barks.”
Uh oh. Note to self: I guess I should have practiced BARKING before I got there.
So I turned away from the mic and did a tiny little practice bark, and it didn’t sound too bad – so I just went for it. Barked up a storm, feeling like an idiot – but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do...
And doing that show turned out to be one of my absolute FAVOURITE experiences of all.
MC: In 2011, a 3-D motion capture TinTin film is set to be released starring Jamie Bell, Simon Pegg, and Daniel Craig (better known as the current James Bond). What we have been noticing at a lot of the licensing conventions that Sailor Moon has been showcased at, is that the trend among many media companies is to revive old tried, tested, and true properties. We think this might be the case here – what do you think of the idea of bringing TinTin in 3-D?
SR: It’s always good when a great idea, a great concept, is resurrected and made more current. I wish them all the luck in the world. And I love the idea that these projects can live on and on, in whatever format.
MC: Do you think you will go see TinTin when it comes out?
SR: Well, I’d love to hear what Snowy sounds like!
MC: Sailor Jupiter is a popular character that first lived in manga (Japanese comics), but you have also played Callisto and the Scarlet Witch from X-Men. What was it like playing these characters from the page to the screen? Did you read any of the X-Men comics at all?
SR: You know – this is why you can’t trust everything you read on the internet. I absolutely did not do the voices of either Callisto or the Scarlet Witch, and I sure wish I could say that I did. I just listened back to a clip from each episode, and both women’s voices are so very different from mine that it’s hard to believe that no one’s picked up on it. I did do Moonstone in The Avengers.
Editor's Note: Watch this episode of the Avengers (Part 1 & Part 2)!
MC: When coming up with the voice of James in Thomas and the Magic Railroad, how much did the old series on PBS influence how you portrayed the voice? Or did you come up with something completely different?
SR: I’d never seen the old series on PBS so there wasn’t any influence there at all. It was all visual. I just looked at his facial expressions (and listened to what the director had to say, of course) and took it from there. That was a very nice project, by the way – very easy-going and a lot of fun.
MC: Bakugan and Beyblade are really huge hits with the younger kids right now with all the additional toy and video games that accompany the series. Does the rising phenomenon of these two shows compare to Sailor Moon?
SR: Well, they’re following in the footsteps, but I don’t know that anything out there can compare to the Sailor Moon phenomenon, which seemed to strike a chord on a more emotional level. Beyblade and Bakugan are way more action/competition-oriented, which suits their audience to a tee.
MC: Some of our readers are big Mega Man fans! How was recording a character’s voice for a video game different from recording a character’s voice for a cartoon? Did you ever play any of the games?
SR: No, I never did because I knew I’d end up being far too critical of myself to really enjoy the game. Sometimes, when you listen to things back, you say to yourself, “Oh man, I should have read that line differently – what was I thinking?” And recording it was exactly the same as recording for a cartoon, except that you had to do the same scene over and over again - with different outcomes – all dependent on how well the player was navigating the game.
MC (and Zozonae): Of all of your roles in cartoons, which character has been your favorite to play and why?
SR: Well, Sailor Jupiter would have to be right up there at the top. And I’m glad that you mentioned Strawberry Shortcake – in one episode, I played the Berry Princess and I just LOVED doing that. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a princess every once in a while? I also loved playing Eddie Storkowitz in Birdz, and it was so disappointing that the series never really got off the ground. It was such a funny little cartoon, with an absolutely brilliant cast. And the same thing goes for another funny little cartoon called Weird Years, where I got to play the wizened old grandmother, Zozo – which was a HUGE stretch for me and probably the most fun I’ve had in years. (By the way, on another website it incorrectly states that I played Nadia. I wonder how all these mistakes can be fixed?)
But my absolute favourite would have to be Snowy in Tin Tin.
MC: We have a mystery to solve – there was a recent animated movie that was released to DVD late last year called Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. You were rumored to be in it – so I rented it, and even though the movie was very good you were nowhere to be spotted! For the official record, did you really play the Silver Banshee in this one? If yes, how did you record the wails and how did you think you sounded digitized?
SR: Nope. That wasn’t me. Unless I was sleepwalking or something...
MC: And also on the rumor patrol, do you have a role in Rudolph and his New Friend Frosty? It was rumored that Linda Ballantyne (the third actress to play Sailor Moon) was to be a part of this, but we learned from an earlier interview with her that she was not in it. If you are, are you excited to be working with Ringo Starr?
SR: I think it would be TERRIFIC to work with Ringo Starr – but I don’t have anything to do with that project.
Editor's Note: Since the project never aired on TV over the Christmas season, we believe that this project doesn't even exist.
MC: A really long time ago you used to teach through Voiceworx – what was this experience like and do you have any inspiring stories from the classroom?
SR: It’s always fun to get together with actors (and there were a few regular citizens in the classes, too) who want to try their hand at becoming voice actors. My job was to try and impart whatever knowledge I had and, hopefully, to boost people’s confidence levels. Animation can be a bit intimidating at first and sometimes, people have to learn to come out of their shells. I really enjoy teaching – and I especially enjoy helping people connect to all the characters that are hiding away inside, just waiting to find the light.
The thing that’s the most difficult is being consistent. It’s easy to come up with a great voice for two or three lines of dialogue, but when you have to contend with an entire script, when you’ve got a hundred or more lines to say, you’ve really got to keep your wits about you.
MC: Any upcoming productions that fans will be able to catch you in soon?
SR: Actually, I have a big audition this afternoon and I’ve been working on it for the last couple of days – so wish me luck!
MC: Once again, thanks again Susan for this opportunity and we wish you the best of luck in the future!
SR: Well, there’s my lucky wish right there!! You’re so welcome – and I hope that your website continues to attract fans from all over the world. You’ve really done a FANTASTIC job with it!
Thanks again to Susan for this amazing opportunity, and we will continue to strive for our best to bring everything we can to the fans around the Sailor Moon world!
Saturday, February 05, 2011
Hey Moonies! Here comes our exclusive interview with Susan Roman (Sailor Jupiter). This interview was so long that we have decided to post it in two parts! We think that you will all enjoy what she has to say about her roles in Sailor Moon and beyond! Once again, thanks to Susan Roman for allowing us to interview her, and also for permission to use this new official photo!
SR: First of all, I'm SO sorry that it's taken me this long to get back to you. I worked on the questions for about three or four hours when I first received them and, for some reason (ARRGGGHHHH!) – nothing got saved. The next day, everything I'd written had vanished into thin air and it kind of took the wind out of my sails…
Biggest storm of the winter coming in today – and how I wish it WERE summer!
MC: So let's get started where you started – how did you get into acting?
SR: For as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be an actress. When I was seventeen, after I'd graduated from high school, I enrolled in the pre-university theatre arts program at Dawson College in Montreal. Soon after that, Dawson started an actual theatre school at The Dome Theatre in St Henri, and I was part of the first graduating class.
When I was in my second year at The Dome, I auditioned for the National Theatre School because to be accepted at NTS had always been such a HUGE dream of mine. I was accepted, but later found out that I wouldn't be allowed to work professionally while I was a student there. It was the hardest decision of my life – but I decided not to go. And I've never regretted it. I did quite a lot of television work when I was in my third year at The Dome and it was really nice to be able to pay some bills!
MC: One of your first productions were an older Canadian TV series called the Newcomers that featured legendary Canadian Alice Munro at the helm. What was it like to work with such a huge figure in Canada at the start of your career?
SR: By the time we shot the episode I was in, Ms Munro had done her work and was long gone from the scene. In fact, I'd completely forgotten that she was involved in the project – so thanks for reminding me!
MC: What was it like voicing your first ever cartoon character after some experience doing on-camera acting?
SR: It was exactly the same as working in front of a camera – except that there was nobody watching you, which I kind of liked. I've always found cartoon work easier than, say, reading commercial copy. Doing animation allows your imagination to run free. It's all about colour and character and nuance, and trying to create a three-dimensional, believable persona. I love the old Oxford dictionary definition of "to animate" –
To breathe life into; to enliven, to inspire, to inspirit.
That says it all.
Esahc: For someone who been voice acting for so long, what is it about voice acting that makes you stay as a voice actor?
SR: The freedom to be creative, to be part of a team, to really let your imagination fly. It's also very rewarding. I remember when I went to the launch party for Tin Tin. I met a 12 year-old boy who said that he'd been reading the comic books all his life and that he knew exactly how Snowy would sound when he barked – he could hear it in his head. And when I told him that I'd played Snowy, he smiled and gave me a HUGE high five. And you know, his opinion was way more important to me than whatever any of the critics said.
MC: Now it's time to talk Sailor Moon! This year marks the 15th anniversary of the show – what was the casting call and audition like for you back then?
SR: It was a typical casting call, with about eight million actors in the room waiting to go in. I have this theory about auditions: you go in, you do your best, and then you go home and FORGET about it. If you keep thinking about whether or not you got the part or whether or not you did the right read, you'll make yourself crazy. I seriously don't remember 99% of my auditions – which is probably why I'm still vaguely sane.
Corey: Was Sailor Jupiter the only role you auditioned for or played in the series?
SR: Well of course, we ALL wanted to be Sailor Moon! I probably read for every single female part, but I remember thinking that, of all of them, the one I liked the most and the one I gravitated to the most was Sailor Jupiter. In the breakdown, it said that her favourite colour was green and that she loved horses – and I thought, "That's my girl!!"
MC: Lita's voice in the English version is a lot more tomboyish than her original Japanese voice. Your take on her voice really fit her personality well! How did you come up with the right voice for her?
Sparkling Blue: How did you create the voice for Jupiter?
Taylor: Sailor Jupiter is so complex. How did you approach a character who is such a tomboy but who also loves girly things?
SR: When I first heard the original Japanese voices, I found it a little hard to tell them apart. Of course, that could have been more of a language barrier than anything else. Sailor Jupiter's voice is pretty close to my own voice – just a bit raspier - and I think that's why I was cast to play her. All the Sailor Scouts have such distinct voices – if you close your eyes, you can tell right away who's speaking. And you know, I never really thought of her as a tomboy - I thought of her as someone who loved to just get out there and do whatever made her happy. She's punchy and spunky and not afraid to tackle things head on, and maybe you could call that a tomboy characteristic - I don't know.
And thanks for the compliment, MC!
Editor's Note: She speaks of Emi Shinohara, pictured right!
Cody: Did you enjoy recording Lita's/Sailor Jupiter's voice? Saying things like "Supreme Thunder Crash!" and "Jupiter! Thunder Clap, Zap!"
SR: "Jupiter! Thunder Clap! ZAP!!" was my absolute favourite! How can you not feel great after belting out words like that?
Josh2Darien: What is your favorite thing about Lita/Sailor Jupiter?
SR: That she has so many different sides to her personality, the way we all do. She isn't a one-dimensional cardboard character, she isn't a stereotype, and she certainly isn't predictable. I just loved being able to go to so many different places with her.
Cody: What was it like for the first few recordings? Were you nervous around the other cast?
SR: The first few sessions were a bit chaotic because we were all trying to figure out how to work the Rythmo Band. We'd all done dubbing before, but this was a completely new and different technology, and I guess we were a little nervous that we wouldn't be able to get it. And no, I wasn't nervous around the other cast members at all – we all liked each other and we were so happy to be working on such a great project.
MC: Was it difficult to sustain the low tones for a long period of time? Was it also hard to try to maintain some sort of femininity with such a tomboyish voice with the character?
SR: It wasn't hard to sustain Lita's voice because, as I said, her voice is fairly close to my own voice. And that's where theatrical training comes in. You figure out where to position your vocal cords to get the sound that you want and, once that's set in your mind, you can always find it again, no matter what. What was hard were the episodes where we were all screaming a lot. Screaming at full tilt, hour after hour, can be pretty hard on your throat...
I think that femininity isn't about whether your voice happens to be low or high – I think there's more to it than that. To me, Lita is totally feminine. She changes her mind all the time, she talks WAY too much when she meets a cute guy, she loves her friends with all her heart, but she isn't afraid to call them on something when she has to. I think that those are qualities that everyone can relate to as being perfectly female.
MC: What was the most interesting experience you had recording? Did you have to do anything strange in the booth to capture Sailor Jupiter's mood or a state of her voice?
Cody: Do you have any funny recording stories during work on Sailor Moon?
SR: You know, our recording schedule was so tight – there wasn't any time to get in the mood for anything. You just had to jump right in and do what you had to do, which is probably why it all sounded so spontaneous and fresh. But whenever any dramatic scenes came up, we'd take more time to figure out what was really going on and to play all those emotions.
Taylor: From Lita arguing with Mina over boys or talking about how certain guys reminded her of her "old boyfriend", was it fun playing up those comedic moments in contrast to the battle scenes?
SR: Oh yes – I always loved those scenes the best, the comedic ones. The battle scenes kind of melted out your vocal cords and you had to pray that you got everything right the first time!
MC, Anne, and Salvatore: What was your favorite episode or moment in the series?
SR: Without a doubt: Jupiter Comes Thundering In. That was so much fun to do because there were so many wonderful moments, so much action, so much real character to Lita. One minute she was soft and mushy, the next minute she was HIGHLY pissed off when she wasn't winning at the arcade – she was all over the place. I just loved that episode.
Tpirandsailormoon: Have any of you read the manga or saw the original Japanese anime of the series?
SR: No, I haven't read the manga. We did see certain parts of the original Japanese episodes before we started, but it was kind of difficult to get a handle on what was going on because of all the music and the sound effects, and because it was so incredibly fast-paced. And of course, there were no sub-titles, so we couldn't understand a word of what anyone was saying.
Josh2Darien: Have you ever seen the final season (Sailor Stars) of the show? If so, what are your thoughts on it?
SR: No, I haven't seen the final season...
MC: Did you ever imagine from the first day you started to record that Sailor Moon would have become such a huge phenomenon?
SR: That's the easiest question of all: no, no and NO!! Not for one single second did any of us predict that it would become so popular. That was such a hugely fabulous surprise. We all thought it was a great show, but great shows often fizzle out and don't go anywhere, and no one has any idea why.
Esahc: Any particular reason you decided to stay on for Lita's character?
SR: There really wasn't any decision to be made. They phoned my agent and asked to book me, and it fit into my schedule. I really loved doing that series and I was always glad to go back to it.
MC: Last December in Japan, the 5 actresses who played the 5 Sailor Scouts all got together for a reunion to celebrate the launch of the half-season boxsets in Japan. A lot of them spoke about how they felt for their characters during the worst battles they had to fight – did you ever feel like this was the case for you sometimes during the recording sessions?
SR: Those sailor scouts got banged around a LOT! I was always wincing during the battle scenes, and that was before any of the sound effects were added – which made it all sound even more painful.
ChibiGinger: Do you ever run into the other voice actress/actors of Sailor Moon? And what is it like?
SR: Well, Karen Bernstein and I keep in touch – I think she's such a talent, with that wonderful crystal-clear voice that always sounds so sweet and genuine. (She and I did Little People together, too.) And I run into Katie Griffin at auditions all the time (and ditto for Katie, by the way: a hugely talented actress - and she's a fantastic singer, too). I haven't seen Stephanie in a couple of years (I think she's been pretty busy writing and producing her TV series) but the same kudos apply to her – she's another top-notch voiceover artist. Come to think of it, what a great cast they put together for Sailor Moon! And the best part is that every sailor scout sounds uniquely true to who she is.
I haven't seen Terri Hawkes in a long time, but I thought she was just dynamite as Sailor Moon – very creative, very intuitive. And FUNNY. Lynda Ballantyne lives just around the corner from me, and I often run into her when I'm walking my dog. Linda's also exceptionally talented, and I thought she did a bang-up job replacing an already-established character – which, believe me, is NOT an easy thing to do.
MC: Do you yourself have any Sailor Moon merchandise as mementos of Sailor Jupiter?
SR: I have quite a few things that fans have given to me at Anime conventions. And they're all very cherished...
EcoReck: If fans ever see you in real life, do they ask for voice impressions of characters such as Lita?
SR: Oh yes, all the time. Especially the Jupiter! Thunder! Crash! bits – which are kind of hard to do in a crowded convention hall without feeling like a bit of a nutcase...
ChibiGinger: Did (Or you do) you know that there is a live action show and musicals?
SR: I didn't know that, no.
MC: What do you think made Sailor Moon a special cartoon when it first broke out onto the scene?
SR: I think it had to do with the fact that, finally, girls were being portrayed as gutsy and determined and empowered – and as real teenagers, with real problems and real issues. And they were allowed to truly express themselves, without holding back, without pretending to be sweet and polite all the time. If they were pissed off, they let it rip. If they were ecstatic, they let that rip, too. They brought home all the ups and downs, all the moods, all the trials and tribulations of being teenagers in North America.
MC: What do you think is Sailor Moon's legacy, 15 years later?
SR: Well, I hope it's shown teenage girls that they have the right to go for whatever they truly want to achieve – and that they should never EVER be held back by some antiquated definition of what girls can and cannot do. About twenty years ago, I heard about this interview they conducted with a bunch of six-year old girls in grade one. They were all asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. One little girl said, "I want to be a nurse or a teacher." The interviewer said, "Okay, what would you want to be if you were a boy?" The little girl said, "Well, if I was a boy… I could be anything in the WORLD!"
That was just so sad to me. So sad. And I have to hope that something as simple as a show like Sailor Moon has taught everyone that we can't go around putting limitations on people just because they happen to belong to a certain demographic.
Keep an eye out on Monday for Part II, where Susan talks more Sailor Moon, TinTin, Strawberry Shortcake, that beloved Canadian classic, The Raccoons, and much, much more! And a reminder to our other Moonie Bloggers: if you choose to use any part of this interview on your site, please credit Moon Chase and Susan Roman, and link back to this post!