For April’s featured interview, I got the exhilarating opportunity to chat with video game and anime voice actor extraordinaire Kaiji Tang, whose career has spanned the last decade. I first became acquainted with Kaiji’s voice through his portrayal of Owain/Odin in Fire Emblem Awakening, Fire Emblem Fates, and Fire Emblem Heroes.
Kaiji has lent his voice to a plethora of video game titles like Bravely Default, Dynasty Warriors, Fairy Fencer F, Tekken, and Xenoblade Chronicles X in addition to his various dubbing roles in anime such Kill La Kill, Sword Art Online, and more recently Dragon Ball Super.
I was especially excited to interview Kaiji because he is a successful Asian-American performer as well as a huge fan of video games and anime himself.
- How did you first get involved with Fire Emblem? Did you have to audition for the role of Owain? Can you think of any similarities between yourself and the character? It sounds like you’re having a blast whenever you voice him.
- When you were recording lines for the character of Odin in Fire Emblem Fates, were you aware that you were playing a time-displaced version of Owain? How much information were you given? As an actor, how would you say the character has changed between games?
- What are your favorite Owain/Odin lines? Normally I’d ask for one line, but I feel like there have to be at least a couple.
- What was it like to voice Vegeta for the Southeast Asian Dub of Dragon Ball Super? Did you feel any pressure in portraying such a legendary character?
There certainly was pressure stepping into the man’s boots. When you first hear the three beeps that prelude recording and then suddenly you’re standing there about to deliver your first line as the Prince of all Saiyans and how are you even supposed to feel!? As it turns out a mix of hilarity, anger and grump. We’ve recorded up to the Frieza fight at this point and I have to say our entire cast has at this point made the characters their own. I’m honored to have the chance to introduce this iconic series to a whole new generation of kids where it’s airing. Kaiji Tang
- You do a ton of work for both video games and anime that involve fighting and intense combat scenes. How do you give it your all in the recording booth without overexerting your voice?
- Are there any major differences between recording for a video game versus dubbing for anime? Do you have a preference for one over the other?
Anime, and this is going to sound rurl rurl weird, can be thought of akin to VO Shakespeare. You perform Shakespeare differently because it has its own set of rules. The same with anime. Just as you should probably know what a feminine ending is when performing the bard, you should probably know how to quickly read through things like “MNS REAC ^^ OM INTO CM GRUNT” while fitting your performance into the set foreign animation. Anime reads tend to have moments where an actor must stretch or shrink their read to fit the lip flaps. Lip flaps are life. Lip flaps are king. Praise Lip Flaps.
I love both.Kaiji Tang
- Do you have any experience in theatre, screen-acting, or comedy? Do you have any backstage horror stories?
Yes indeed! I come from about eight years of theatre and some musical theatre. When I moved to LA my original plan was to do on screen acting (and to some extent I still dabble), but a few commercials and a pulp zombie movie later that took a sharp turn when I discovered voice acting was an option. I fell in love hard, yo. As for backstage horror stories, I don’t know if I have any really juicy ones without going into the personal lives of my old cast mates. Though I can tell you we all became very comfortable with costume changes around each other. You never knew who was mostly naked around the corner. Kaiji Tang
- As an Asian-American actor, how do you feel about the current whitewashing controversies in Hollywood? Does race factor into casting for voice actors?
- How do you think Vegeta or Owain would go about living in Trump’s America?
- You are super active on the convention circuit. What sorts of interactions have you had with your fans? Do you have a favorite convention memory or fan encounter you would want to share here?
Last modified: July 3, 2018