Category Archives: Voice Acting

Something More: Vic Mignogna’s Faith, Gods and Demons of Anime, and Servant x Whose Service?

I missed this big bit last week (thanks to Frank’s site for pointing me toward it) – Vic Mignogna, noted voice actor, discusses faith extensively in the ANNCast. [Anime News Network]

And speaking of Frank, I highly recommend that you read his excellent article regarding Silver Spoon and Servant x Service about how we should value and love people and what it means to choose our own paths or God’s. [A Series of Miracles]

Yumeka dives extensively into the world of gods and demons in anime. [Mainichi Anime Yume]

D.M. Dutcher investigates Dog x Scissors and in doing so points out that a Christian ideal that many find sexist perhaps isn’t that offensive after all. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Angelica Belle discovers the Manga Bible series. [Angelica Belle]

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As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

Interview with Voice Actor Vic Mignogna

When I attended A-Kon 24 at the beginning of June, I went in with a mission.  One thing I hoped to do was to sit down with Vic Mignogna, voice actor extraordinaire, and talk to him about his profession and his faith.  Thankfully, the helpful staff at A-Kon set up our interview, and we had a chance to speak at length and very plainly about his thoughts regarding a great many things, including the church, the entertainment industry, and the well-known rumors that have spread about him.

vic mignogna a-kon

Vic grew up in a Christian environment – his grandfather was a pastor and his parents were heavily involved at church.  As he puts it, “I literally was born in a pew. ”  At the age of 13, after hearing his youth pastor relay a message about how many who claimed to be Christian would find themselves left out of Heaven, Vic accepted Christ.  He continued to be heavily involved in church, and at one time, led worship at Houston’s First Baptist Church.  When I asked Vic about bad experiences with Christians regarding anime, he referred to his service there:

I got called in one day to a board room in the church and there were five or six people sitting around the table. And one of them said, “Vic, I saw online that you play this character in a show.  You play this teenage boy who’s rebellious, agnostic-atheist young boy, and he does magic and alchemy [Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist].  Now, Vic, we can’t have someone like that on stage at our church. What kind of example are you showing these kids?”

I sat across the table from this man and I started to tear up.  And I said, “You have no idea how many people I’m able to reach for Christ because these kids like my work.”  There are kids – tens of thousands of them – that my pastor will never reach. They will never darken the door of First Baptist Church or any church, but they like Ouran High School, or they like Fullmetal Alchemist, or they like Dragonball Z, and they will listen to me talk and share my faith and share God’s love for them because they like my work.  I sat there and I said, “Are you serious, really?”  First of all, I’m an actor.  It’s a role I’m playing.  It’s not me, and anyone who has have a brain knows that you’re playing a role.  It’s not indicative of who you are.  And number two, my job in anime has opened so many doors for me to get to share my faith with tens of thousands of people who would never otherwise be open to it.  And I was literally removed from leading worship because the powers that be felt that, you know, felt that it was not a good example for someone that was involved with anime and voicing characters like this.

Vic went to to mention another problem the leadership had with him:

They said, “We’ve seen a lot of pictures – drawings of you and your characters on a place called deviantART.  Vic, deviant!  What kind of place is that for a believer, Vic?  Deviant? That’s a bad word.”  I just, I kinda just sat back in my chair and threw my hands up.  I’m like, you 65-year-old guys – you have no idea what you’re talking about!  First of all, I have nothing to do with deviantART.  If some fan wants to draw a picture and put it on deviantART, what does that have to do with me?  That would be like me going into a bookstore, taking a Bible off the Bible rack, and walking over and putting it in the adult book rack.  I mean, just because it’s there doesn’t mean that the Bible has anything to do with the books around it any more than somebody drawing a picture of a character of mine or whatever, putting it on deviantART. There’s nothing wrong with that.  But these guys are so uniformed and some of them – and this is Christianity in general – there is a faction of Christianity that is so steeped in their legalism and their strict rules and regulations and their separatist view of being separate in every way, shape, and form, that they are of no value to the kingdom of God.  They’re not reaching anyone.  In fact, they’re turning people off.  They’re doing exactly the opposite. What did Apostle Paul write? “I am become all things to all me that by all means I might save some.”  That was the goal.  That’s the priority.  Doing whatever you can, with whatever you have, to reach whoever you can.  That’s the goal.  I don’t know where that got lost.  I don’t know at what point and time the church got the impression that God’s main purpose for the church was to build a little wall around itself and throw rocks and people outside the walls, you know what I mean?  And even attack their own.

…there is a faction of Christianity that is so steeped in their legalism and their strict rules and regulations and their separatist view of being separate in every way, shape, and form, that they are of no value to the kingdom of God.

I asked Vic if this experience dampened his own feelings toward the church, and institution he had so intimately been a part of his whole life:

Read the rest of this entry

Idolization in Anime Culture: Seiyuu and Maintaining a Godly Life

“Thou shall have no other gods before me,” a simple and obvious rule to not just Christianity, but to any monotheistic religion. Today, it is accepted that the sin of idolatry can take many forms from material possessions, activities, and even to other humans. Be it the Hollywood stars of America, the K-pop singers of Korea, or the girl groups like AKB48 of Japan, idolatry of celebrities is a growing and arguably dangerous problem in today’s society. Within the realm of anime culture, too, the idolization of the seiyuu cannot be denied.

Mitsuketaa! She's only 37. I mean 17.

Mitsuketaa! She’s only 37. I mean 17.

Tamura Yukari, for example, is one of the most talented voices in the industry, truly a god-tiered seiyuu. The White Devil, the Strategist, the Courageous Yuusha, Yukarin has done such a wide array of voices, I cannot even begin to comprehend her talent. Thanks to that, in addition to her personality and having found the secret to eternal youth as a forever 17 year old, she has quite the strong and loyal fan base. Her talent is undeniable. Her fan base is…a bit extreme at times. The most hardcore of fans certainly revere her as a goddess, which I can’t say is unique to her fans. The Japanese voice acting industry is brimming with talent and popularity with names like Sugita, Yui Horie, Sakamoto, and an endless list that I cannot even begin to do justice. Then you have the type-casted voices like KugiRie and Hanakana who rarely show any deviation in their voice acting yet have such large fan bases due to that single, specific voice that for some inexplicable reason everyone loves. If you aren’t a fan, you know how tiring it can be to hear that voice over and over.

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Mileposts: Interview with Caitlin Glass and Visual Novel Characters with Disabilities

Periodically, I like point back to some of the more than 500 posts we’ve written here on Beneath the Tangles.  Besides the “A Year Ago” series I began several months ago, I plan to occasionally post about blogging milestones – those little breakthroughs when posts hit certain numbers of significance in terms of hits.  Three articles recently hit such mileposts.

Hanako Ikezawa hug

Katawa Shoujo and a How to Guide for Referring to Individuals with Disabilities
Milepost:
5,000 Hits

The informational article discusses how to use person first language to refer to individuals (or VN characters!) with disabilities:

Rin is a character who was born without arms.  Don’t refer to this as a “birth defect.”  “Congenital disability” or “developmental disability” is preferred.  Further, remember to again emphasize that individuals have disabilities instead of saying that they are disabled, which emphasizes the disability, and avoid use of the word handicap.

This was a fun post to craft, because unlike many others, I had to do quite a bit of research.  I’m glad that this was my contribution to the blogosphere’s posts on Katawa Shoujo, a game that I actually never played.

Read the entire post

Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: CCM Artist (and Close Anime Geek) Cait Plage, Angel Beats Heaven, and Haruhi’s Five Proofs

In M.E.X. Magazine, Christian musician Cait Plage (who previously interviewed with us) mentions the extensive anime dubbing she and her friends did in the past [M.E.X Magazine]:

Well, I am a true nerd at heart.  In middle school, I was a closet anime/video game geek….I would spend hours upon hours every day recording lines, auditioning, and ‘hanging out’ online with my VA friends.

Our newest blogger, Zeroe4, continues his “Last Requiem” series on his other blog by comparing heaven with the afterlife represented in Angel Beats! [Zeroe4]

However, in Angel Beats! and heaven there is love and camaraderie. In Angel Beats! and heaven everyone has a place they fit and everyone finds where that is. In heaven and Angel Beats! there is value placed on every person.

SnippetTee, who has sneakily become one of my favorite bloggers, explores the pneumatic side of dreams in relation to Mushishi. [Lemmas and Submodalities]

Tom Langston was disappointed that the “Philosophy in Anime” panel at SacAnime was cancelled, so he briefly discusses what might have been presented, particularly relating Haruhi Suzumiya to Thomas Aquinas’ Five Proofs. [Nigorimasen!]

Jonathan Tappan posts an excellent and helpful timeline for Mawaru Penguindrum, which largely revolves around events (true and fabricated) involving the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult. [FunBlog]

RocketNews24 reports that makers of traditional Japanese swords will be commissioned to cast replicas of weapons from Neon Genesis Evangelion.  The first is that of the Lance of Longinus, a weapon in Evangelion that shares a name given to the spear that pierced Christ’s side. [RocketNews24]

Monsieur LaMoe begins his post on Aquarion Evol by quoting Jesus on eunuchs, and goes into detail about the three different kinds that He mentioned.  From there, I’m really not sure where he goes (I admit it – I got lost). [Anime Diet]

And to conclude on a cheery note, Steelbound wishes us all a Happy (February) Christmas. [The Null Set]

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogsophere series of posts, each week, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

Anime in Pakistan, Called to Anime (and Missions), and Review of a Sci-Fi, Religious, Japanese Classic

Ash reviews the Japanese science fiction classic, Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights, released last year by Viz Media.  Much of the review is spent discussing the importance of Christianity and especially Buddhism to the plot. [Experiments in Manga]

Aniblogger Zeroe4, who’ll be starting DTS training for his mission to Japan in the next few months, explains what “DTS” means, along with other terminology.  He also talks about the connection between anime and his call to missions. [Called to Anime]

In another post, Zeroe4 compares himself to Mashiro Moritaka (Saikō) from the manga, Bakuman, discussing his own anime-related goal and it’s relation to Christ. [Called to Anime]

The Express Tribunes interviews Pakistani artist and musician, Daniyal Noorani, whose music, set to animated videos and discussing volatile subjects like religion and international relations, has gained attention and acclaim.  Among the tidbits he mentions are his anime-style series in Pakistan, accompanying this comment [The Express Tribune]:

Anime is very popular in Pakistan and there’s a demand for it here.

David Alvarez provides a thorough rundown of SacAnime 2012, including snippets of an interview with Christian voice actor, Vic Mignogna, in which he thanks the Father [Sacremento Press]:

God has been so good to me that I can hardly stand it.

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogsophere series of posts, each week, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included.

Interview with Caitlin Glass, Part 2: Faith and Voice Acting

From Ouran High School Host Club’s Haruhi to Fullmetal Alchemist’s Winry Rockbell, Caitlin Glass has voiced some of anime’s most beloved characters.  She’s also funny, personable, and great to her fans.  Back in August, Caitlin was kind enough to answer a few questions about voice acting.  I was able to catch up with her at IKKiCON 2011 and finish our interview; this time, I asked her about her Christian faith.

TWWK:  I found out about your faith through an interview you did on the Fans for Christ website.  I admired how vocal you are.  Could you quickly tell us your testimony and how you became a Christian?

Caitlin:  Sure!  I only vaguely remember it because I’m one of those that grew up going to church, so as far as I recall, it was just a situation of being in children’s church and at the end of every Sunday, they always ask if there’s anybody that wants to invite Jesus into their heart and one Sunday I said, “Yeah, I want to do that.” [laughs] And that was it.  So, I don’t have some really immense rags-to-riches kind of testimony.  I guess my testimony is just that I followed Christ my whole life and I fell that I am blessed and protected because of that.

TWWK:  Have you ever taken a role in acting or voice acting that you’ve questioned because of your faith?  Or have you ever turned down a role because of that?

Caitlin:  Yes.  Mainly, it’s more a whole show and less a particular character because to be honest, you can’t have the heroes without the villains and I can’t just say because I’m a Christian I’m only going to be playing the hero.  Read the rest of this entry

Interview with Caitlin Glass, FUNimation Voice Actress

Among the best known actresses in her profession, Caitlin Glass has voiced some of anime’s most popular characters, including Haruhi of Ouran High School Host Club and Winry Rockbell of Fullmetal Alchemist.  She’s also directed for FUNinmation, and is back in the booth after spending time out of the country.  Little less known is that Caitlin is a Christian and is open about her faith.  We were blessed that she took the time to answer a few questions with us regarding her work (part 1) and her belief in Christ (part 2).

TWWK:  Hi, Caitlin!  Thank you for agreeing to the interview, and welcome back to the states!  You were out of the country for quite some time – could you tell us why you went abroad and where you visited?

Caitlin: Thanks so much for the opportunity. Yes, I was living abroad for almost a year and a half. My husband and I love to travel and were seeking a way to do it more long term. We decided to go to Spain and study for a TEFL certificate, to be able to teach English as a foreign language. We liked it in Spain so much that we stayed! We also had the chance to visit friends and family in other European countries like Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

TWWK: What was one of your favorite experiences overseas?

Caitlin: Hands down my favorite experience was Spain’s victory in the World Cup. I can’t say I was a football (soccer) fan before living there but I definitely am now! We watched every game and went to the victory parade. It was electrifying!

TWWK: Now that you’re back in Texas, are you working again at Funimation?  What projects are you working on?

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Christian Seiyuu: Michie Tomizawa

As I’ve emphasized in the past, Japan is by no means a Christian nation.  Estimates place the country’s Christian population at around 1-2%.  So it’s no surprise that the anime industry employs only a handful that openly claim to be Christian.

But there are a few.  The most famous might be Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow (who may no longer be of the faith).  Another is semi-retired seiyuu, Michie Tomizawa.  A relatively cursory search led to a writing Tomizawa gave about her faith, and I’m elated to share this with you.

Michie Tomizawa does little voice acting these days, but she was once very active.  Among her most noted roles are Sailor Mars from Sailor Moon and Linna from Bubblegum Crisis.  She retired before marrying in 2002, but still occassionally lends her voice.

Michie Tomizawa

She also seems to be an outspoken Christian.  An unknown individual did some research, discovering a testimonial Tomizawa wrote in her church’s newsletter.  He or she also found and translated an essay Tomizawa wrote under her married name, Michie Itou. Read the rest of this entry

Aniblogger Testimonies: Confessions of a Middle-Aged Otaku: Discovering Christian Messages In Anime

This is the second in a series of Aniblogger Testimony posts, where select writers will discuss their personal faith.  Today’s post is by R86, frequent contributor on Beneath the Tangles.  The previous post in this series was written by Lauren Orisini.

In this column, I intend to focus on my experience of anime as a Christian adult who discovered anime relatively late in life. It is probably enough to say of myself that I am an American male of vaguely European descent, in my early 40s, with a Ph.D. from a major Midwestern university in a physical science, and an educator by way of career.

I stumbled upon anime only within the last 5-6 years, and that mainly because I knew so many young people my students’ age were watching it. What I found at first was sometimes appalling (I was unprepared for the violence in Akira, for example, thinking I would be getting “just cartoons”), often silly, and usually entertaining. Mostly I wondered how I could so easily accept these strange depictions they call “anime characters” as replacements for live flesh-and-blood actors. Clearly I was in contact with something as different from American cartoons as one could imagine. And given my lifelong fascination with foreign languages, with one as different from English as Japanese being a slam dunk for capturing my interest, you will see why I was hooked before I knew it. Read the rest of this entry