Bang Zoom! Entertainment Dubs New Anime Series Gurren Lagann for North American Debut on Sci Fi Channel

Sep 25th 2008
New Series By Aniplex And Bandai Entertainment Also To Be Offered On DVD And Presents Unique Sci Fi Story Voiced By Veteran Cast Of Talented Voice Actors

Burbank, CA, September 25, 2008 – Bang Zoom! Entertainment, a leading full-service audio post production company and producer of original entertainment content, recently prepared the highly anticipated new anime series Gurran Lagann for its North American broadcast debut on Sci Fi Channel. The series debuted July 28th as part of the network's Ani–Monday programming block and has since captivated millions of viewers and drawn wide critical acclaim.

Bang Zoom! worked closely with Ms. Hiroe Tsukamoto of Aniplex and Mr. Toshifumi Yoshida of Bandai Entertainment, INC. which are the two companies that produced the series. Bang Zoom! provided Japanese-to-English translation, voice casting, and scriptwriting, and is presently engaged with ongoing ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) sessions, and final mixing for the 27 episode show. The new dubbed soundtrack will also be featured on a forthcoming Gurren Lagann DVD release from Bandai Entertainment featuring 5.1 multi-channel surround.

Gurran Lagann is a science fiction, comedy action series reminiscent of great “mecha” anime titles like Gunbuster, Nadia, and Evangelion. The series centers on Simon, Kamina and Yoko, three youths that live in an underground village on a future earth. They become embroiled in a conflict with surface “Beastmen” who pilot giant robots known as Gunmen, one of which they take for themselves and name GURREN, and lead the battle against the Beastmen. Created by anime powerhouse studio GAINAX (Evangelion, Gunbuster, The Wings of Honneamise), Gurren Lagann won Best Television Series and Best Character Design at the 2008 Tokyo Animation Fair (TAF) and excitement over the series' North American broadcast debut continues to draw millions of viewers weekly.

Knowing the exceptional quality fans and viewers would demand for such a notable release, Bang Zoom! Casting Director Kaeko Sakamoto assembled a stellar cast of veteran voice talents for Gurran Lagann, including Yuri Lowenthal as lead character Simon. Other talented voice actors include Kyle Herbet (Kamina), Michelle Ruff (Yoko), and Johnny Yong Bosch (Rossiu). “A show of this quality and depth requires and deserves the best voice actors we can find,” says series Director Tony Oliver, himself a renowned voice actor. “The characters in Gurren Lagann are complex and nuanced and evolve greatly through the series. The ‘big anime actors’ are big for a reason. They are able to make these characters real and alive using just their voices and their artistic skills and that really shows in this new series.”

Bang Zoom's Pat Rodman oversaw the project as Supervising Sound Engineer and maintained strict quality control throughout the project. Rodman further served as the re-recording mixer for the 2.0 broadcast version and the soon-to-be-released dubbed DVD version from Bandai Entertainment which will be presented in 5.1 multi-channel surround. “There were a lot of voice effects that needed to be put into the English dialogue,” recalls Rodman. “The Japanese used a lot of ‘verbs’ (or reverbs) for room treatments and a lot of echo delays and special effects for the various robots. The show also required sound effects for voices depicted in cockpits, hologram devices, headsets, intercoms, and some god-like characters among others. We also put the dialogue effects into the 5.1 mix which is very compelling because the sound actually follows the picture on the screen. These effects can be a challenge to mix but the 5.1 multi-channel audio presentation of the DVD will really add a new sonic dimension to the soundtrack.”

Recording was performed with Neuman U87 microphones into an Avalon Mic pre-amp and recorded with Protools HD. The mixing was done in Protools utilizing the Waves bundle and various Digidesign plugins. Mixing was performed on a control 24 mixing surface.

Oliver explains that one of the biggest challenges with the series has been the tight recording schedule. “We've had to do in 4 months what we would normally do in 6. It seems like we were already behind before we started and we've been going hard at it since day one. But the close camaraderie of everyone involved makes this show a joy to work on.”

He also notes challenges with presenting some of the more complicated concepts that are based on theoretical science, quantum physics and obscure science fiction. “It's difficult enough to deal with these concepts under normal circumstances, where translation isn't involved, but in anime these concepts must be communicated in dialogue that is restricted by screen time and picture. It's not easy to do but it's proved a particular challenge that made working on this series very fun.”

Oliver is intimately familiar with anime voice acting as he first drew fame for his role as Rick Hunter on the groundbreaking series Robotech in the 80s. Gurren Lagann pays homage to many classic anime character archetypes and plot devises but reconstitutes them into a very 21st century story told with a slick visual style. “The nature of the show did take me back to Robotech, but not just because of the mechanical robot aspect,” says Oliver. “Characters like Simon, who is thrust into a great adventure in a rapidly changing world, and Kamina, who sets the standard for heroism in the story, are reminiscent of Rick Hunter and Roy Folker of Robotech. The epic nature of the plot and the lengthy passing of time in the stories also make the show reflective of Robotech. But while paying homage to many great mecha-based shows of the past, Gurren Lagann tells a very unique story that is very contemporary at its core.”

Voice actor Yuri Lowenthall notes how he drew inspiration from the strong synergy he shares with the team of writers, the Director and the Producers of the show. “The writing keys me into what type of character Simon is and then Tony (Oliver) and I work closely together to bring out what we feel the original Japanese team would have wanted, but for an English-speaking audience. Having access to Tetsuya Kakihara, who voiced Simon for the original Japanese series, was also extremely helpful.”

Bang Zoom! Entertainment President Eric P. Sherman emphasizes the demands of voice acting for anime. “It requires the actor to perform in a believable way while at the same time interpreting the original intent of the creators and fitting their line readings exactly into the mouth flap and timing of the existing animation – and often there is little time to prepare.” But he also notes that this talented cast played a huge part in making sessions fun and productive. “These voice actors are all veterans of numerous well-known series and thus have the technical skills down pat, making it possible to concentrate on the creative aspects of their performance and subtle nuances that add a compelling new layer to Gurren Lagann. We hope audiences will enjoy the new English dub for this action packed series!”


About Bang Zoom! Entertainment, Inc.
Headquartered in Burbank, California, Bang Zoom! Entertainment, Inc. is a leading and award winning full service audio post production studio working in the fields of feature films, television, electronic entertainment, anime and direct to home entertainment projects. Founded in 1993, Bang Zoom! Entertainment maintains operations in the U.S. with three buildings, six recording/mixing stages and a staff of just under 200 actors, writers, directors and technicians. Bang Zoom! Entertainment is committed to carrying out innovative projects that contribute to the promotion of global cultural awareness. More information about Bang Zoom! Entertainment and its products can be found on the company's web site, which is located at www.bangzoomentertainment.com.

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