Asian American Actors Want More Opportunities for Asians in Anime Voice Acting

Asian American Actors Want More Opportunities for Asians in Anime Voice Acting

May 26, 2021
Some Asian voice actors are lamenting how most anime voiceover jobs still go to white A-List artists who are already dominating voiceover work in feature film and television in the U.S.
Hope for better: Voiceover actors at anime entertainment company Funimation expressed in a recent interview with IndieWire that they are hoping there is still room for more Asian talent in the predominately white dubbing industry.
  • Emi Lo, Apphia Yu and Shawn Gann are pushing for more discussions about voiceover opportunities for Asian and Asian American actors.
  • Lo said she wanted to act in films, but the lack of on-screen representation held her back, with even her parents telling her that she’s not “pretty enough.”
  • Gann had some onscreen acting roles, but they were limited to characters based on his Filipino features.
  • Voice acting has allowed the actors to play various characters, ranging from small roles and villains to lead characters.
  • “When it comes to voiceover, I play a lot of blondes, a lot more than I would have expected starting out,” Yu said. “Having that freedom to play outside how your body looks really appealed to me.”
Time for change: The spike in anti-Asian crime and discussions about the lack of Asian representation have made anime voice actors realize how their own industry can improve.
  • Anime dubbing studios are reportedly run by predominately white people who Gann says will often hire those who “look like them.”
  • They also point to the anime itself, which often plays on creators’ own misconceptions of the West.
  • Gann pointed out that while anime characters are often portrayed with blonde hair and blue eyes, they are still voiced by Asian actors in their countries of origin.
  • Studios may continue the practice in the U.S. where a “rich diversity of performers” exist, the actors said. According to them, A-list stars aren’t needed to sell movies that are often aimed at a younger audience.
  • “I’m not mad if ScarJo [Scarlett Johansson] plays the Major [in ‘Ghost in the Shell’] as long as I get a fair shot at playing Black Widow,” Yu said, highlighting the lack of overall fairness in the entertainment industry.
“Trese,” an upcoming Filipino animated series from Netflix, is taking a different approach as it features Filipino artists doing voiceover work for the Philippine version and Filipino Americans doing the U.S. version, NextShark previously reported.
Feature Image via AniBox Trailer Access (left), @kitsunesqueak (right)
      Ryan General

      Ryan General
      is a Senior Reporter for NextShark




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