Interview: Megumi Han

by Carlo Santos, Jul 12th 2013
Voice actress Megumi Han is best known for her role as Gon in 2011's Hunter x Hunter, but she's also played many other roles that have made her a rising star in anime. From magical battles in Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal II to slice-of-school-life in Chihayafuru, Han has proven herself adept at various characters and scenarios. She shares some of her thoughts on her profession in this interview from Anime Expo 2013.



At your focus panel, you said that Sailor Moon and Hunter x Hunter were major influences on you. What other anime did you enjoy when you were young?

Digimon Adventure and Revolutionary Girl Utena.

What's the most useful advice your mother (Keiko Han) has given you about voice acting?

Don't think about it too much, and just do it freely.

You've played roles where the story takes place in a fantasy world (Hunter x Hunter, Little Witch Academia) and others that take place in the real world (Chihayafuru 2, The Garden of Words). Which do you prefer?

Maybe ... fantasy is more exciting, because you can do things beyond your own capability, like flying, or becoming invincible. Going beyond your ability—I like that kind of excitement. But you have to balance yourself, because if you do too many fantasy roles, then you start to miss the real-world characters, so you kind of go back and say, "Ahh, I want to do 'real.'"

What do you do to prepare yourself before a recording session?

Deep breathing exercises. But I do it to match the character's personality, so I can "become" that character. Even when we're off-air, I'm still breathing in the same way as that character.

So preparing for Gon would be totally different from Sumire (in Chihayafuru 2).

Yes, that's right. It's totally different, and it depends on the situation, so sometimes I might go slowly, like—(takes slow breaths)—or it might be like: (takes quick breaths, as if running). So, it's completely different.

Is there anything you do to help yourself relax?

Well, this is embarrassing, but I manipulate my face (pats her cheeks). I do different facial expressions. (in English) "Stretch."

Now that you've accomplished your dream of playing Gon in Hunter x Hunter, do you have any new dreams for the future, like directing, live-action, or new roles?

As an actress, of course I would like to take on the challenge of live action, but also, my desire is to play an evil character—an antagonist.

You've said that you want to play a non-human character someday. What kind of character did you have in mind?

I want to play something like a cute little animal character—one that doesn't speak verbal human language, but can only cry out or use very limited vocabulary. But somehow, it can express every feeling with just a few lines of its own language. It would be very difficult, but very exciting.

If you weren't a voice actor, what kind of job do you think you'd be doing?

Right now I can't think of anything else but being a voice actress, but when I was very little, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer, or a manga-ka.

What style of manga?

Shonen manga.

Lastly, do you have a message for your fans in America?

I'm very touched that I was able to travel outside Japan and come to the United States in this way. They welcomed me so warmly, and I'm very touched that American audiences know so much about anime. Even though I could only speak in Japanese, through an interpreter, the audience could "feel" what I was trying to say. It was so amazing, and so warm-hearted. In the future, I'll keep doing my best with all my roles in anime and other projects, so that everyone will get to know my work. I appreciate all the American fans, so thank you very much for giving me this opportunity, and I'd love to come here again.

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