I had the opportunity and the pleasure to interview three voice actors from the Crunchyroll Original anime The God of High School! The voice actors included Robbie Draymond (Mori Jin), Sean Chiplock (Daewi Han), and Veronica Taylor (Mira Yoo). You can check out the Q&As below!
Don’t forget to check out The God of High School which is currently airing right now on Crunchyroll! While it has been airing in a subtitled format thus far, the English dub with Robbie, Sean, and Veronica premieres today and is available to start checking out right now!
From Tuxedo Mask to Mori Jin, your career has spanned a wide array of roles. Were there any roles that you found particularly more challenging than others?
There are a few roles that definitely stand out as being more difficult than others. Some are closer to who I am, which makes them a little bit easier. Prompto from “Final Fantasy XV”; he’s just a razor’s edge away from me. However, other characters like Kenshiro from “Fist of the North Star” are more difficult because of the vocal range but a lot of fun too! I’ve been an actor my entire life and any chance I get to expand my range I’ll take it, regardless of it being difficult or not.
The God of High School is a very action-packed series. What were some things that you’ve done to help bring your character to life?
Oh man, it gets sweaty in this booth whenever the fight scenes go down, hah! I’m always doing my best to bring as much physicality to it as humanly possible. I love fight animes and I now have the chance to be the lead character in an awesome one. Another great thing about it is there’s so much comedy in our show and that’s where my heart lies – those bits are my favorite! When I saw the first 10 minutes of episode one, I knew this was the show for me. I’m super stoked about it.
When preparing to do any role for an anime dub, do you often look at your Japanese counterpart to take any inspiration from them?
Some shows I watch more than others. It depends on how interested I am in it. This is one of those shows, the first in a while, where it was something I’d actually watch. So I watched as many of the subbed episodes on Crunchyroll as I could so I could understand the world better. It makes it much easier to place myself in that universe. So I definitely did watch it. And then, of course, when we’re actually dubbing, we preview the Japanese performance before every line. My goal is to pay homage to the original Japanese version while putting my own spin on it for an English speaking audience.
Are there any characteristics of Mori Jin that you share with yourself?
Oh, there are a lot and I keep finding more as we move along in the show. He can be kind of a hothead and competitive, like me, but he’s also kind of light-hearted and goofy with a sentimental side, also like me. So those are all things that I can definitely vibe with.
You also currently play Peter Parker in Spider-Man. Do you find it a bit different when performing a role like that versus one for a Japanese anime?
Well, I’ve also voiced Spider-Man in anime, so I can answer that question, haha! Yeah, it’s totally different. When you are doing anime you’re stuck within the framework of the lip flaps and what’s already been recorded and animated. But when you record an original show that’s animated from scratch, like Spider-Man, you have the freedom to just play off of the script. So there’s definitely some differences there, but hopefully, my anime and my animation Spider-man aren’t too far apart in terms of an honest portrayal.
A lot of people may know you as Subaru from ReZERO… so what was it like to go from an energetic character like him to a more laid-back character like Daewi Han?
They actually share a lot more in common than people may realize! Subaru and Daewi are both incredibly driven individuals with a strong sense of justice; they want to protect those they love and seek retribution against anyone who would threaten that safety, so you don’t notice a lot of flaws that can be attributed to selfishness from either of them. The big difference is that Subaru’s “high intensity” moments tend to exhibit themselves through his personality and his attitude, whereas Daewi channels most of it into his fighting style. I guess you could see it as a matter of Talking the Talk vs. Walking the Walk, but with the same level of dedication applied to both.
What anime series was your proverbial gateway drug into this growing otaku culture?
If we’re talking absolute first experiences then I was actually an AVID watcher of Sailor Moon back during my preschool/elementary school days; I might have only owned 3 or 4 of the VHS tapes of the original series but I know I watched them all at least 6 or 7 times each. Pokemon and Digimon were obviously consistent inclusions as well, and Fullmetal Alchemist (the first anime production) pretty much acted as the transition from my pure consumer-based consumption to my career-interested approach to entertainment media. Trinity Blood was the series that produced the clip introducing me to the process of voiceover for the very first time, though, and after that point is basically when I went full bore into learning how to make that my own focus in life.
Was there any role that you heard that served as your prime inspiration for getting into voice acting?
Whoops, maybe I should have finished reading the questions before responding to #2, haha! But yes, as I had mentioned it was Trinity Blood (specifically a performance by Troy Baker as Abel Nightroad) that actually lit the match of my core, burning interest in voiceover, although I would later realize I had been practicing the concept of VO for years beforehand through all the times my brother and I would take turns voicing characters on N64 games when playing together.
Are there any roles out there yet to be claimed that you would like to take on at some point?
Probably the only super obvious one is that I would be beyond elated to voice in an Etrian Odyssey game in some fashion, regardless of whether it’s a Story Mode character, party member, or even just a “voice type option” for when players create their own party from scratch. Beyond that, however, I try to avoid pining for specific roles because I want to avoid that risk of being jealous if I don’t get cast or don’t get the opportunity to audition in the first place. I find that being grateful for and supportive of the things I do accomplish leads to more overall happiness than being wistful towards the things I didn’t.
Do you have a favorite moment in The God of High School so far?
I genuinely love all these moments where one of the characters takes out several opponents in a matter of a couple carefully placed strikes or counters. There’s a lot of times in anime where the goal seems to be “go over the top as much as possible for as long as possible”, but there’s a certain raw power behind seeing someone effortlessly overtake an opponent just by being focused and efficient that I find insanely cool and artistically impactful. “Less is more” applies to the animation world too, and a lot can be said through doing very little.
Mira Yoo has a serious side to her as well as a sassy side, especially if you break her glasses! How did you prepare for such a dynamic role?
I definitely rely on the script, the animation, and the direction. Mira has many highs and lows, often in the same line. This is a group effort to get her energy juuuuuust right. Overall, Mira is always herself. She responds from the heart. As an actor, my job is to play each moment with honesty.
What was your favorite moment from The God of High School so far?
I love the moment in the first episode where Mira is riding on the shoulders of Mori while they bike down the highway. You’ll have to watch!
You have been performing many roles in both American cartoons and Japanese anime dubs for nearly 20 years. Are there any roles that stick out to you the most that you treasure deeply?
I think playing Mira will be on that list of roles that stick with me. She is wonderfully complex and really fun to play. Certainly, Ash Ketchum is high on the list. It was a luxury to play him for 8 years. I learned so much about myself through that experience. Playing classic characters like April O’Neil and Sailor Pluto were also wonderful.
If you could use a Pokeball to capture any ninja turtle for a night of pizza, which one would it be?
Well, I think Michelangelo would be the most fun, but would he eat all the pizza and not share? Maybe it would be better to capture, uh, I mean invite Splinter to dinner. Wisdom, wine, and wonderful company would make the pizza easier to digest. He’d probably have some great recipes to share, too…