Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters is more than just a trading card, online,
and iOS game; it's also
a TV series appearing on The Hub. The series follows the adventures of a
young hero named Ray who finds that he has the ability to befriend and duel
alongside creatures from another dimension. Along with his two best friends he
becomes a Duel Master to help defend these creatures from evil forces seeking to
At Comic-Con 2012 we were had the chance to speak with two of the talented
voice actors behind Kaijudo, Phil LaMarr and David Sobolov. Phil LaMarr is a
veteran voice actor whose credits include recurring characters on Family Guy,
Futurama, and Young Justice and provides the voice for Ray's friend Gabe
Wallace. David Sobolov voices Ray's creature Tatsurion the Unchained, and also
has an extensive resume in animation and games including Beast Wars:
Transformers, Mass Effect 3, and Diablo III. Here's what they had to say about
Kaijudo and the art of voice acting'
GT: How did you find the voice for your characters?
PL. I just looked at the character designs that they did and it just sort of
jumped out at me. He's got such a specific physical look. He's big, but
obviously such an innocent so I just tried to capture the size of the character
and the fearfulness that were in the initial scripts and just sort of let that
DS: How'd I find my voice? Well when we did the audition, the words kind of
jumped off of the page for me. Not only is Tatsurion big, blustery, and
stereotypical in a video game sense but he has a ton of humanity too and I think
that I kind of relate to it. I'm a big guy with a deep voice and I try to be
sensitive sometimes too so it all worked out for me with this character.
GT: Did Tatsurion present any special challenges for you?
DS: I think that it does present more challenges than opportunities because
as an actor I get to do the full spectrum in this character. I was saying in the
panel yesterday that sometimes I'm a member of the Scream Actors Guild because a
lot of my characters do a lot of blustering and screaming, but with this one you
get to do everything that an actor can do.
GT: Did you do anything differently with Gabe than you've done with your other
PL: No, it's all about reading the script and trying to find out what the
writers are saying and trying to bring that to life.
GT: You do some many different voice roles; do you ever worry that you'll run
out of voices?
PL: You know, I used to worry about that, that I would run out of voices
because I used to think that it was about always having a different voice. And
then I realized that it's not. As long as you give the characters different
approaches, they'll always be different. If you have two identical twin
brothers, they're not the same. Even if they seem the same once you listen to
them they each have their own approach, their own point of view. That's what I
tend to focus on these days. Who is this person? What do they care about? And
how does that come through in the way they talk?
GT: Do you do anything different for your voice work for a show that's more
focused towards children as opposed to shows geared towards an older audience?
PL: No, for me there's no difference whatsoever. Again it gets back to the
script. This show is fairly complex and emotionally complicated for a
quote-unquote kids' show and I'm happy to play the levels that the writers are
putting in there. There are a lot of shows for younger kids that have simpler
characters that have less going on internally, but I don't change what I do for
that. I just play what they give me. If they give me two lines of feeling I'll
do that, if they give me seven, I'll give you that.
DS: I would say no because it's really up to the writers, directors, and
producers to create the role of the show and I don't want to talk down to kids.
I want to do it with integrity and there's also a sense of play and a sense of
fun. If I'm having fun, they're having fun. You've got to tell a story
truthfully under these imaginary circumstances, otherwise if you're kind of
manufacturing it people can tell and they're not really going to get into the
world of the show as much.
GT: You also do a lot of voice work for video games, is it a different
experience doing voice work for animation than it is for games?
DS: Yes, it's very different because a lot of time with video games you're
recording your lines by yourself. In Kaijudo we all work together in a group. In
a game they may bring us over one at a time over the course of years all by
ourselves and if there's any other dialog we just have to hear it in our heads.
GT: What's it like working with your co-actors on this show?
PL: Everybody on this show is so good and the best thing of all is that we
get to work together. And in a show like this where it's about the relationships
between the characters it's almost essential.
DS: It's a great team, there's a great sense of play. Being with the other
people and being able to work off of them makes all the difference in the world.
We really love the show and we're really having fun with it so I think that we
have a great end product in the show.
GT: Is there anything about voice work that most people don't know about but
might find surprising?
PL: It only occurred to me after about six or seven years that the hardest
part of voice acting is reading words off of a page without sounding like you're
reading words off of a page.
DS: Surprising? OK, we try to make it a full body experience so especially
with a character like Tatsurion I'm standing, I'm being physical, but there are
a few technical things that you need to worry about so that the microphone can
hear you. But other than that, when Tatsurion is charging in a sense my fists
are up and I'm charging too and people may not realize that. I think another
thing that people may not realize is that we try to make it sound so realistic
that there's a lot of effort involved and a lot of tea and honey and lozenges.
GT: Is there anything that's different about this particular show that you
haven't seen in other shows that you've worked on?
PL: To me what's most unique about Kujudo is that it's not really a kids'
show. There's so much emotional depth plus action and fantasy elements and I
don't think that I've worked on anything else that had so much of all three.
Justice League had a lot of emotion but that was not really a kids' show. This
is something that actually speaks to children directly, but in a really
respectful, complex way. Gabe