A few weeks ago, I was invited to check out the very first Madman Anime festival. Hosted in Australia, the festival showcased some incredible celebrities from the Anime world, including the director for the One Punch Man anime, the voice actor for Saitama and many more. However, I was more interested in checking out some of the upcoming games presented by Bandai Namco and Square Enix. This included Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 and Final Fantasy XV. The highlight of the day was being able to sit down and simply talk to Cristina Vee about her life as a seasoned voice actress veteran for both many well known Anime dubs and video game characters.
Among the long list of characters she has portrayed, Cristina is well known for being the Voice Actress for Shantae in the recent Shantae games, Cerebella from Skullgirls and Monaca Towa from Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls. For Anime, she is well known for being Sailor Mars, Sakura Matou from the Fate series and more recently Killua from Hunter X Hunter. I managed to get a bit of time during her schedule to talk to her about what it’s like to work in the voice acting industry, and other bits of information regarding her visit down under.
Gamespresso: Hey there Christina Vee, it’s a pleasure to meet you. How have you been?
Cristina Vee: I’m good!
GS: That’s great. So, this is the first Madman Anime festival, what encouraged you to come and visit?
CV: Oh, I was asked by Sly, who I met when I came down here for Supernova. He was really excited and he said ‘Hey, we’re going to have our own convention, will you come?’ ‘Yes of course!’
GS: Any excuse to come back to Melbourne, huh?
CV: Yeah! I love it, I love Australia.
GS: I’m glad to hear it! Speaking of, what has been the hugest shock you’ve had coming down here, culturally?
CV: Hm… that’s a tough one. Oh yes, so, I ordered an ice coffee, which in the States is just coffee over ice –cold. I was shocked to get a coffee with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it.
GS: Ah yes coffee. We’re big on coffee, and it always seems so alien to you guys in the States.
CV: It is! But the coffee is so good. It’s so much better, I can’t — physically can’t drink coffee up there, so I can drink coffee again while I’m here, yay!
GS: Best make the most of the time you’re here then! Now then, let’s talk about your career Cristina, you’re a voice actress, and you’ve acted for many characters. Now, looking at your past voices, you were many characters including Cerebella from Skullgirls, so let’s start with that. You did many things for Lab Zero aside from lend your voice to the team, can you tell me about that?
CV: So, I produced the English track — I had no idea what a producer was, honestly. I just thought, I’m directing it, now I have to cast it, okay great I have my actors now I need to find a studio, now I need a schedule for the studios and the actors and bring in everybody. And so, I told somebody, ‘Directing is hard…’ and they told me ‘No you’re not just directing, you’re producing’. I was like ‘oh…’. Because I got that job right after college, I had no idea what I was doing at first. It was a fun experience though.
GS: It’s definitely a lot tougher when you’re thrown into a new situation like that. It’s funny you mentioned the different roles you took up with Skullgirls, I wanted to ask you, aside from voice acting, what other roles have you taken up before? I remember you were host for an IGN tournament, a live actor for Haruhi back then too?
CV: Oh yeah! Those were great fun. But other than that, for me, for half of my life almost, I’ve been doing voice over work. I do still think about that, ‘what would I do’ if I had to quit or something. I have no clue. Pray for me.
GS: I sure hope nothing happens! But seriously, I don’t believe Anime is going anywhere, with the internet boom, it really boosted Anime.
CV: Yeah! It’s global. Walk outside into the convention hall and you can see kids and adults from all ages are around to celebrate and enjoy the Anime culture.
GS: Definitely. Well, since we’re on Anime again, let’s talk about one of your newest roles. You’re the current voice actress for Killua, how is voice acting a male character for you?
CV: Umm, oh it’s so different. For the first possible session, it’s pretty challenging. I’ve voice acted for males before, but not for such a big role like this. I worked with Oliver –and he’s awesome, he’s a boy, so he knows! But for me, I really learn’t a lot from the Japanese voice actresses and follow her lead.
GS: Speaking of, that leads to my next question, how did you get into being a voice actress?
CV: So I wanted to be an animator when I was a kid, and Sailor Moon changed that for me. It just — I wish I could say I did this, this and this. But honestly, it just kind of happen, I don’t want to say it just happened because it was a lot of hard work… But I did get lucky. I was approached to do a fun fan dub in front of people and they were impressed and asked if I wanted to try it out.
GS: It’s definitely not easy, a common misconception is that voice actors don’t have to work as hard because it’s just voice over work. Can you tell me a bit about a ‘day in the life of Cristina’?
CV: So a typical day for me, I usually wake up about 5.30, hit the gym. Then I usually have two sessions a day. Sometimes 2 hours, sometimes 4 hours. It will usually be 10-2, then maybe I’ll have a break. Then usually 3-7. It’s a pretty full day. And it’s lucky I get to do that. Sometimes I have to drive really far, maybe an hour or a half away. Especially with traffic, it’s only 10-20 miles, but the traffic just keeps inching me along.
GS: That’s extremely full on, but you love what you do so that counts for something. So, let’s talk about the voice acting community. Obviously there’s some competition out there, especially in a relatively newish industry, have you found it difficult in general? For let’s say, someone who wants to enter the world of voice acting.
CV: Oh, I feel like, you know what, when I was starting out, it was a small community, so there wasn’t a whole lot of work. But I think it’s getting better since there is a lot more work, a lot more video game work. It’s a lot better than it was when I started.
GS: Understandable. A couple of questions to wrap this up. You’ve worked with triple A companies like Square Enix where you voiced Cinque from Type-0, who happens to be one of my favorite characters in the game, and with indie developers like Wayforward as Shantae. Do you feel like there is a difference between working with a bigger company versus an indie studio?
CV: Hmm. No, it feels the same. It feels like, whether the people in the room are indie or triple A, they want to be in the room, and it shows. I find that surprising, that it’s people like me who grew up loving it, and they’re the ones calling the shots now. It’s encouraging and fun.
GS: Well, that seems to wrap up what time we have, thank you so much for your time, it was an absolute blissful experience talking to you about voice acting.
CV: No, thank you! I had a wonderful time.
The interview was edited for length.