Exclusive Interview: The New English Language Cast of Sailor Moonby Hope Chapman, Jul 16th 2014
Anime Expo was abuzz this year with news of a new Sailor Moon dub cast for Viz's upcoming remastered release of the classic series. We sat down for a short interview with the new voices of the Sailor Guardians and Tuxedo Mask to ask them about the experience of recording the legendary anime. You can watch a clip of the dub featuring Usagi and Mamoru here.
From left (bottom row): Cherami Leigh, Cristina Vee, Robbie Daymond, Stephanie Sheh, Kate Higgins, Amanda C. Miller
ANN: When you auditioned for your role, did you know that you were trying out for Sailor Moon? What was your familiarity with the franchise coming in, and how did the audition process go?
Stephanie Sheh (Sailor Moon): I was contacted personally, and then sent audition sides online to record from my home studio. I auditioned for all of them. They didn't do anything to mask the property this time, but sometimes they'll do that. They'll change names or defining terms to try and disguise the material, but they didn't do it here, so it was very obvious that it was Sailor Moon. I was surprised because for some reason I had heard a rumor that the show wasn't going to be recorded in California at all, as if it were already being worked on somewhere else. Anyway, I went to youtube to try and find clips and stuff for context and then I just tried out for all of them. With stuff like this, I try not to get too excited, because I can't deal with disappointment. When I get disappointed, it's just straight downhill into depression sometimes. So I just sent it in like "click!" and then tried to forget about it.
Cristina Vee (Sailor Mars): I'd heard of the show certainly, but I didn't know I was auditioning for Sailor Moon until I got the material. I was very surprised because this was the first time that I'd ever heard from Studiopolis, so I was really happy to get an audition from them. I was just told "Oh, it's an anime show, and it has a lot of episodes." So I said "Okay," I got the audition info, and it was for Sailor Moon. I had a flight the next day to Disney World for vacation, so I had to record my audition early in the morning. One of my roommates is also in the show, and I'm glad he is because very early that morning he had to listen to me shouting "Mars Power, Make Up!" and he was like "So, heard your audition today." I was very excited at the time, but like Stephanie, I did it and then just tried to forget about it. But things turned out very well!
Kate Higgins (Sailor Mercury): I was not familiar with Sailor Moon as a franchise, but that doesn't mean anything, because I don't know much of anything. But I was excited to get the audition because I love everybody at Studiopolis. I've been working there for twelve, thirteen years, maybe longer? Every job there is fun, so I read for all the parts, even though I had no reference for the characters like some others might have. So I was just really glad I got the job.
Cherami Leigh (Sailor Venus): I was very familiar with the show. I loved Sailor Moon. So when I got the audition, like everybody else I was kind of shocked because it is such a big show. It almost seems like it can't be real that we were auditioning for it. So I read for all the roles in California, then I went back to Texas to get married, and hadn't heard anything back. Then they called and said I had a callback, so I had to e-mail my callback in because I wasn't able to just go to Studiopolis. I figured there was no way I could get cast now because I wasn't able to come in personally, but they called while I was on my way to my rehearsal dinner for my wedding and told me that I was cast! I didn't even know who I was playing yet, but I was like "This is the best wedding present ever!" It was just so cool.
Amanda C. Miller (Sailor Jupiter): I grew up watching the show, so I was very familiar with it, and like Stephanie I'd heard rumors that it was being done already in Texas, so I was surprised to get an e-mail about it. It was really vague like "We have an audition for you, it's just this anime show we're doing." But the sides were all "Sailor Moon, Sailor Jupiter, etc." It was very obvious what it was. I auditioned for all the scouts, Queen Beryl, and Luna, so...well, there was no mistaking what it was!
Robbie Daymond (Tuxedo Mask): Yeah, I got the sides, and I read for the part, and I thought "No way," because I've never really read for anime, apart from a couple projects which I didn't book. I did my best, and then I got a call. It wasn't even a callback, they just gave it to me based on that first audition. I was super excited because I knew of the show and how iconic and beloved it was. I didn't even know who I was playing yet, because I'd read for all the men. When I found out it was Tuxedo Mask, I pretty much lost my mind. But I was by myself, in my living room, so that was fine.
ANN: What about your own character speaks most to you personally, either from your own adolescence or your life now? And what's the most fun thing you've recorded for the show so far?
Stephanie (Sailor Moon): I think Usagi's humor, innocence, goofiness, clumsiness, her unabashed boy-crazy and obsession with food all really speak to me. Although I try to hide those parts of my personality most of the time. So far the most fun thing has been singing badly. It's the episode with the talent show where her and Naru have to sing, and it's so much fun.
Cristina (Sailor Mars): I love how straightforward Rei is with Usagi, and I love how her personality changes when she talks to other people, like she really tries to get what she wants. She's really sweet to Usagi's mom when she thinks that she can sew, but when she finds out she doesn't, she's like "Ugh! Why am I even here then? Gosh. I'm leaving!" The most fun I've had so far was the show where Rei is sick, so she's wearing a flu mask. So we did it once just normally, but then the director said "You know what, here's this mask, you should just put this on." So I was doing the session in this funny mask, and it sounds really great.
Kate (Sailor Mercury): Well, she is a little shy, and in the episodes I've recorded recently she talks about being the new girl and making friends, and I can relate to that. I've always felt kind of "on the outside looking in." And she likes to read books, and I like to read books! You know what's been most memorable during recording is that I've had to play quite a few villains already. There's like a villain in each episode, and the director's like "I'm running out of voices!" because they have to be so "GRAAAGH!" So I got to play a very strange-looking beast. It was a spider that was evil, I guess? That's the most memorable thing I've done so far, the different villains.
Cherami (Sailor Venus): Well, I was trying to think what the one trait of Sailor Venus is that I relate to the most, but I think it's just the fact that there are so many different aspects of her to begin with. I completely relate to that, because people will ask like, "What's one thing about you, if you had to put your personality into one word?" It's really hard for me to do that, and it's really hard for me to do the same thing for Venus, so that's how we're similar. We're just all over the place, we're crazy, might even have multiple personalities, I dunno. She's just fun and well-rounded as a character, which is a blessing to get to play. My most memorable moment in the booth thus far is tricky. I've done very little Sailor Venus yet, but the couple of times that I've gone in, just knowing that I was pulling out a script for Sailor Moon and letting it all settle in that I'm voicing a character in this show has been incredibly memorable. Also I think Sailor Venus is pretty confident, and I don't really feel like I'm that confident, so it's been cool to play up that aspect of her.
Amanda (Sailor Jupiter): I haven't officially recorded yet, past the audition material, but when I do it in my car, it sounds pretty great. When I do my callouts while I'm in traffic, I'm badass. I relate to her so much, though. She's the tallest girl and I was like 5'7" when I was in fifth grade so I was taller than all the boys and they were afraid of me. I think they'd still be afraid of me a little bit today, but for different reasons. Anyway, she's the tomboy but she's also very feminine. So people will say "Oh she's tough!" but she's also a hopeless romantic and will swoon over guys. I love that she has that dual nature about her and that she's well-rounded and she's not ashamed to be who she is.
Robbie (Tuxedo Mask): I like how Mamoru's sort of a tease in his street clothes, and playfully gives Sailor Moon a hard time, but then when he's Tuxedo Mask he gets to be this sort of theatrical, fun hero-type. I think my favorite moment in the studio so far was the episode we were just working on where they're talking in an elevator shaft, and Sailor Moon's on his back. So he's holding her on his back, but they're having probably the longest discussion they've had so far. So it's a solid five minutes of him struggling while holding her up, but they're still somehow talking about how they're destined for each other. It's really a fun time and I had a great time playing it, for sure.
ANN: What would you like to say to fans who have only experienced Sailor Moon through the old dub they grew up with, are re-encountering this for the first time uncut, and might be on the fence about diving back in, or wondering what about this new version is different or special?
Stephanie (Sailor Moon): Amanda and I were talking about this watching it today: it's the humor. It's so fresh and I think it's still really modern and relatable. We were discussing it like "I don't remember that being that funny before!" But we were cracking up, and I think the delivery is very honest, and it doesn't even necessarily feel like an anime. It feels a little more real, not that anime can't be real, but when we do anime sometimes it feels like we're "bound by the flaps," and it doesn't sound like we were bound by flaps with the new dub, because of the material. It almost felt like "Oh my gosh, was this animated after the voices were there?" That was kind of the vibe that I was getting watching back through it, which was kinda cool.
Cherami (Sailor Venus): It's also all the new stuff. There's episodes or parts of episodes that were never included originally, so watching it uncut is like: "it's familiar, but new." I think that's definitely something to check out, and I think it holds up. The show is entertaining still, even in this modern world.
Amanda (Sailor Jupiter): I would advise people that they can have the nostalgia for the old version, if they saw the DiC dub growing up, but this is very different. That version was definitely much more whittled down for kids. This one has, from what we saw, a lot of smarter and funnier things, just because it's not as broad. So it's also like, "Maybe don't show it to your kids right away?"
Cherami (Sailor Venus): It could go over their head.
Amanda (Sailor Jupiter): The panties and stuff?
Cristina (Sailor Mars): Too many panties!
Amanda (Sailor Jupiter): Yeah, too many panties.
Robbie (Tuxedo Mask): Everybody wears panties, though.
Kate (Sailor Mercury): Hey, what's wrong with panties?
Amanda (Sailor Jupiter): But I hope that they're more open to us, because I know there have been people who are like "DiC dub forever!" I hope, with the passing of the torch that we had at the con today, the fans will allow us to bring them our version, and not tie us down to what was done before. Then this next generation can enjoy it, and we can just keep passing it on.
ANN: Thank you for your time!
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