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Interview: Karen Strassman and Michaela Dietz at Kraken Con

Kraken Con’s Spring 2016 show brought in several fantastic guests, many of whom were willing to take some time to speak with us and other press or VIP attendees. We sat down with Michaela Dietz, best known for voicing Amethyst in “Steven Universe,” and Karen Strassman, whose voice work includes characters from the “Persona” series, “Bleach,” “Code Geass,” “K-On!” and much, much more.

You can watch the full video below, or read one for some excerpts from the interview.

G33k-HQ: What is the main difference in what you have to do when you’re going between video games, or anime, or anything else?

Karen: When you’re dubbing anime, you have this screen in front of you with the Japanese version, and the goal is generally to get as close to the Japanese version in American essence as possible. So you’re not bringing a Japanese essence to it, you’re still being as true to the Japanese version as you can while within an American cultural sense. And in terms of voice, you’re really kind of looking at what they’re doing and recreating that in English… so you’re really looking at the screen and bringing your voice into that to make it come to life.

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In most video games I do, you don’t have a screen to look at, you don’t have a character to look at, you just have piles of lines. Line 0326, “Watch out, it’s a bomb!” or line 6-2, if I was doing Iszha in “Starcraft 2,” “You’ve already asked me that question but I will tell you again.” And then there’s all these different options, so you just have pages of lines that you’re not copying any other version, generally, but you’re making it come to life. With video games, it’s really about where does that line sit in the game.

So again, for anime you’re looking to serve the Japanese version, in video games you’re looking to serve the game as a whole and have direct overview telling you “Okay, this line is here, and the character has already taken a lot of damage, so they’re injured, but they’re still angry. … Then later on, you’re injured and you’re barely breathing and you’re going to be dying in about seven lines from now. So don’t die yet, but we want to feel that weakness.” So it’s all about where it is in context and how to make that particular small moment in each video game come to life.

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And then there’s animation, which is original animation (which is what “Steven Universe” is) where there’s a story, but it’s not a game, and you often have the whole cast, and everybody is there, and you all have the script for the 20-minute episode… and you’re all reading your part like a play, except they’re recording it. So you get to work off each other and create the characters spontaneously.

So that’s kind of the differences in those genres.


G33k-HQ: With the ever-growing popularity of [Steven Universe], what do you feel is responsible for making it such a well-loved series?

Michaela: I think “Steven” is so special and I think it speaks to so many people because it tackles so many different issues that I think a lot of other animated shows don’t. There’s this whole world of adventure and exploration, and I think it targets children, but then the messages are all so poignant, and I think that’s why it draws in a lot of adult viewership as well.

Karen: I auditioned for that like two weeks ago. I forget what character.

Michaela: I bet I know which one, but I can’t say.

G33k-HQ: Was it a gem? Are you a Diamond?

Karen: I’m fangirling out right now, it’s an awesome show.

About rpleasant

A would-be writer, who enjoys living the geek life and indulging in comics, cosplay, anime, and more. He hopes to one day have something created that other people can enjoy and review, but until then continues to work on various projects such as parodies and short stories.

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