We attended this year’s Sakura-con in Seattle, Washington and got to ask the guests some interesting questions. On this year’s guest list were Leah Clark, a FUNimation director, writer, and voice actress, and the well-known voice Japanese actor Kappei Yamaguchi. Unfortunately, we were not able to conduct any interviews this year because of the guests’ busy schedules.
Leah Clark has worked on the dubs of some anime renditions of visual novels, playing Akane Suzumiya in Rumbling Hearts/Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, Kirsten Kaira in BALDR FORCE EXE Resolution, and directing ADR for Shuffle!. Because of her involvement in various aspects of the North American industry, we asked for her opinions on the visual novel game format.
When asked about Shuffle!, Ms. Clark knew it was based on an adult game, but was not familiar with the format, so we gave her a brief introduction. The gameplay style was a bit of a surprise to her at first, but when shown the beginning of the Shuffle! game, she thought it was a nice format. Being able to relax and read the story rather than interact with it like most games was something she liked, mentioning that she had not played a videogame for a quite a while. When asked whether or not she thought visual novels would be good in the US, she told us that it might sell, but that’s a decision for the business side of the localization companies.
The other guest we spoke to, Kappei Yamaguchi, is probably best known for his mainstream anime roles such as Inu Yasha from the show of the same name and Usopp from One Piece, but also does voices for visual novels. His most recent works include Son Goku in the Japanese version of the movie Dragonball: Evolution, and of more interest to us, Minatosoft’s visual novel Majikoi (Maji de Watashi ni Koi shinasai / 真剣で私に恋しなさい！). His character in Majikoi happens to be very monkey-like, just like his personal mascot character – his blog is called “Monkey Kingdom” (さるの王国) – as well as many of his other roles.
We were interested in why Mr. Yamaguchi does not use a pseudonym for adult works, even when playing a lead role like in BL game Kannnagi no Tori (神無ノ鳥). Most voice actors and actresses do not use their real names for these jobs, whether for personal or contractual reasons, and quite a few even use multiple pseudonyms. When asked about this, he told us that he does not want to discriminate between his works; all of his jobs are at the same level.
We would like to thank the guests for ther time and Sakura-Con for arranging the press conferences and helping to bring the guests to the convention.