The convention in Toronto kept us very busy. We watched acrobats do a show in Sailor Moon costumes and ate more than our fair share of cotton candy. We did however, find time to sit down and talk with voice actors Marianne Miller and Martin Billany and ask them about their roles and lives as voice actors. Marianne has acted in roles in Fate/Zero, Sword Art Online, Lego Friends, and Madoka Magica. Martin can be heard in Naturo The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show, Tales of Zestiria, and is the voice of audio description for the blind with The Force Awakens and Rogue One.
How did you get involved in voice acting?
When I was a kid, I was one of those kids that wanted to do everything and when I saw a behind the scenes featurette of Patch Adams it showed Robin Williams in a pool of spaghetti with an old woman. Me, as a child, was like, I want to do that. I want to get paid to swim in a pool of spaghetti. I started after my career as an actor but quickly realized that I was not going to be successful on-camera or in theater. I then started watching anime and I watched a show called Descendants of Darkness. At 16 I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen so I started emailing this voice actor, Liam O’Brian, and he coached me on how to approach voice over as an industry. It took a lot of tries but I was booked in the Full Metal Alchemist Movie and only had one line. It just kind of snowballed from there.
The stuff I’ve done is more the stuff on YouTube and the flash animation stuff. I’ve done some more professional stuff recently, but the reason I started doing it is because I liked doing voices in school. I would do impressions of my teachers and stuff. I didn’t watch a movie and get a spark of inspiration to go into voice acting; I just started doing imitations of people I thought had interesting voices. I always love the reaction from people for my impressions. I have such a boring regular voice so if I did a big over-the-top voice it always got a big response and I feed off that response.
What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on in the past?
I really liked working on Little Witch Academia OVAs. The whole show is so interesting. The show is so cool because it’s a female-dominated show, which is fairly common in anime, the way that it’s presented it’s not sexual or fetishized or anything, it’s just these girls running around being cute. The personalities are so dynamic and I got to voice Amanda in that and she’s the coolest.
I worked on a flash animated series on YouTube called TV Tome Adventures. The show was based on an older show that came out in the early days of the internet and was really popular and had a very passionate fan base. The fan base was so enthusiastic they crowdfunded a two-season series that I was fortunate enough to be involved in. I was playing Nailock, one of the main characters.
What is it like to be connected with a large franchise like Madoka, regardless of the size of the role you played?
Madoka is a fascinating series and I didn’t realize how fascinating until I participated in a panel. A wonderful gentleman wrote this book called Decoding Madoka Magica and he breaks down all the mythology and the symbolism in the series. There was a lot of stuff there that I didn’t understand because I had just understood it from a very surface level approach.
I also find it funny that I’m attached to all their amazing series yet have such minor roles. I like to pitch my career that I’m in every show you love, but nobody you care about. So, it’s interesting that I get to watch these things from the shadows and perceive the fandom reaction from a more unbiased place.
What is your favorite kind of character to play?
I mostly play little boys, but if we are to go off of what I am in real life I’m mainly a Tsuntsun. But, when it comes down to it I just like playing the little boys because usually with the girl characters I don’t get to scream about poop and get payed for it.
I think I qualify as a tsundere. I think I gravitate towards those characters in general, like Asuka from Evangelion.
We want to thank Marianne and Martin for spending time with us at Anime North. The chance to see the faces behind the voices and learn a little bit about their lives as voice actors is an amazing opportunity. We know the anime fans love to hear all about their favorite actors and we are honored to share our conversation.
Author: Zeke Changuris
I’m a journalist, writer, photographer, video producer, social media manager and above all a storyteller. I’m located on the east coast of the United States but travel the world with the love of my life. I’ve been a nerd since birth with a love of history and science. I fell in love with anime, watching ROBOTECH and Venus Wars in the 80s when our only source was secondhand VHS dubs. A crazy new thing called the internet changed that, giving me access to new and amazing anime every day. I love to write for work and pleasure. I’m living the dream of every kid, getting paid to watch anime and loving every subtitled line.