Sailor Moon voice actors Linda Ballantyne (Serena/Sailor Moon), Susan Roman (Lita/Sailor Jupiter), Katie Griffin (Raye/Sailor Mars) and Ron Rubin (Artemis) covered a lot of ground at their ConnectiCON panel.
The voice actors talked about the process side of how they got into voice acting and what recording the series was like when they did the original dubs.
Their Origins in Voice Acting
The actors had found themselves entering voice acting on their eventual way to Sailor Moon from different places.
Rubin had an improv and stand-up career before entering animation. Roman starred in a Canadian television series, but eventually transitioned from on-camera to to off-camera work exclusively. Griffin had been doing on-camera work before entering the voice acting world. Ballantyne, while trained for acting overall, had come to like voice work in theater school while being taught by eventual Sailor Moon producer Roland Parliament (who also voiced Melvin).
“A big part of voice acting, is not just can you do a funny voice. It’s that can you act,” Ballantyne said. Rubin also emphasized that “the secret to all voice work is reading the words without making it sound like you’re reading the words. In fact, Griffin had explained she and the voice of Mercury (Karen Bernstein) had similar sounding voices when they were auditioning so Griffin had to make Raye’s voice lower to differentiate it. Rubin shared that the producers originally wanted Artemis to have a Bruce Willis “laid back, cool” type of voice though he added more energy as the show went on.
The Dubbing Process
For the actors who were familiar with North American animation, Sailor Moon‘s anime style went in a different direction. “There was such a frenetic energy to it,” Rubin said. “I had done a lot of cartoons at that point, but they were North American…this came on the screen and it was like..a thousand miles a minute.”
Given that, Rubin explained when the actors were in the dubbing booth, they would be reading the words on the screen while watching the episode and had to match the timing, but they didn’t always get scripts first to know what happens. Ballantyne concurred saying “we’re seeing this, just like you guys are, for the first time…so we have no idea what’s about to happen.” Griffin chimed in that “it’s like the craziest version of karaoke, but you don’t know the song,”
The Third Sailor Moon
Ballantyne was asked about if she felt any pressure being the third Sailor Moon. As the gravity of the role took hold her doubts grew. “I can’t do this,” Ballantyne recounted. “ I’m going to be the other Barney (Rubble).” After growing frustrated she eventually decided to make the role her own. Her new tactic was to capture that teenagers want to both be treated as grownups but also remain fun and goofy. She went with that and the producers were pleased.
The original dub’s avoidance of the fifth season of the show, and Uranus & Neptune being made into cousins instead of lesbian lovers was asked about.
“At the time, they felt that North America, was not ready for everything they were doing,” Ballantyne said. “The whole Uranus/Neptune thing..making them the cousins??? W…T…F is right. Stars, there is transgender in it, so they were like ‘nooooo…nooo.’ like they can control what we have in our heads, that’s ridiculous!” she finished and expressed how glad she was they we re-dubbing the series right.
“If a character was seen riding a bike without a helmet, they had to cut it out. If you saw a weapon they had to cut it out,” Ballantyne added.
The New Dub
While the old cast had not been approached to take part in the new dub, Griffin suggested in fairness to Viz that the cast being in Canada would create a difficulties regarding unions and logistics. Also she pointed out that “because there was such a huge gap in the timeline, when Viz picked it up, why wouldn’t they want to make it their own?”
Other Fun Moments
- The cast was also asked how they would collect energy if they worked for the negaverse. This led Griffin to confess that “I would do it through cupcakes, because I like cupcakes, or any other cakes really.” Ballantyne’s idea was simple. “You know how they make those great big giant balloons on sticks?” She asked.
- On the subject of favorite villain Ballantyne quipped “Mars,” before mentioning the Nutcracker monster who shot nuts from his head during a Season 4 episode.
- Griffin and Ballantyne treated the audience to a recreation of a typical Raye v. Serena fight mentioning that while they often recorded alone in the booth they would ask sometimes to tape such scenes together.
- Roman was asked about a dubbed line meant to subtlety censor an original Japanese line about Jupiter’s breast size in the anime. She asked the audience what was said in the new dub and then in her voice repeated it back, “I have the biggest boobs out of everyone!”
Featured image credit: Toei Animation