[Honey’s Anime Interview] Stephanie Sheh and Michael Sinterniklaas - Voice Actors

Stephanie Sheh is a voice actress, voice director, ADR writer, and casting director. She was none other than the voice of one of our favorite time travelers Mitsuha Miyamizu in Makoto Shinkai’s hit anime movie Your Name. Stephanie was also the voice of Yuho in Masaaki Yuasa’s amazing film about a mermaid, Lu Over the Wall. Stephanie’s probably most well-known to anime fans as the voice of Sailor Moon in the current VIZ Media Release of Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal, as well as Hinata in Naruto, Kuro in Blue Exorcist and everyone’s favorite digital pixie Yui in Sword Art Online.

Michael Sinterniklaas has worked as an ADR Director, actor, voice actor, script writer, sound engineer, mixer, and producer. Michael founded NYAV Post, a bicoastal recording studio that has worked on over 500 anime and non-anime titles. He has had roles as Dagger in Black Butler, Kenji in Summer Wars, and Nnoitra Jiruga in Bleach.


Stephanie Sheh

Michael Sinterniklaas
Interview with Stephanie Sheh and Michael Sinterniklaas - Voice Actors

What advice do you have for people at the beginning of their voice acting careers that you wish you’d had at the beginning of yours?

First and foremost is to get your training and to study acting. I think acting is more important than being able to do voices.

As a director working with actors and knowing what we favor during casting, I’d say it’s all about ideas. You can have a whatever kind of voice or one that is interesting or unusual, but it’s really about ideas. The real top booking voice actors will take an idea and embellish on it. A lot of directors can be pretty quick and condense their direction with instructions like “be more intense.” But as an actor you don’t just “be more intense,” because the result will be lame. You have to think why is it more intense. One of our mottos at NYAV Post is “choices are better than voices,” meaning it’s not just how you sound but what you mean when you speak.

Stephanie, what was it like to be part of the animated feature Big Fish & Begonia?

It was cool because it was a Chinese movie and for me, it’s not often that I get to dub something that I can understand the original language. I felt really honored that I could take part in the project. The animation in Big Fish & Begonia is also amazing.

Stephanie, you were involved in your anime club in college. Did you think that interest would lead you to a career?

I was in the anime club in college because I had to write an article for the UCLA Bruin on the anime club. I went and sat in on the club one night and they were showing the first episode of Evangelion, the second episode of Escaflowne, and the latest episode of Marmalade Boy and they all ended in cliff hangers. I was like “oh, crap. I have to come back to the meeting.” So, I wrote the article and then started being a regular member of the club.

That tells us how you started watching anime but how did you end up a voice actor?

When I started watching dubs I found I hated them and they weren’t that great. I thought, “I can at least be that bad.” I had a friend through the club that was recording digital manga, and so I auditioned, and got cast. I started acting and producing for them and that was the beginning.

Zeke-senpai was skeptical when I asked him to watch Lu Over the Wall. He said it didn’t seem like it be his kind of film. Yet after watching it he couldn’t stop raving about it to parents about its brilliant and subtle message: don’t judge people about how they look. It is never said explicitly, but it is how people act through the entire film. You were the voice of Yuho. When did you realize the significance of the project?

I do think that the story is about acceptance and trying to understand each other. The beginning of the story has the villagers as very anti-merfolk because they have all these wrong ideas and never bothered to find out what the true story is. I think that is an important story in today’s environment where there is a lot of fear being spread and a lot of assumptions and misunderstandings.

In the story, the legends about the merfolk are based on actual events and people have lost people to the merfolk but we don’t understand why until the end. I think pushing past the prejudice that we’re supposed to have inherited from our elders is a beautiful tale.

I think Masaaki Yuasa (writer/director of Lu Over the Wall) is an absolute genius by the way, because even in this kid-sy wrapper, there are so many wonderful lessons and they’re not preachy at all. He does a really incredible job telling real-life stories with really rich characters but they don’t harp on anything or make a point of anything they just have their lives in that reality. I think that is a key to the reason they just pop off the screen. The tricky thing about that story is that when boy meets fish-girl that there is a bond, but it’s not an amorous love. He has to confess his love to her in the end and be able to say “I love you,” but it not be romantic but about something else but about something she awoke in him.

Michael, you had the role of Taki, and Stephanie, you had the role of Mitsuha in the smash hit Your Name. What was it like working together on that project?

It really started with the script. We had a lot of back and forth on the script and a very limited time to turn it around. It was a very intense production cycle. We were having trouble finding people that could play both sides of it, playing the character and the possessed version of that character. The best thing as we are both directors and now playing opposite each other we could direct each other like when I was Taki in Mitsuha and vice versa.

Are there any upcoming projects that either of you can tell us about?

I’m working on a feature with GKIDS that is coming out in October. We are calling it MFKZ with is an abbreviation for something long and unmentionable. It is an animated movie based on a French comic book. The movie is absolutely gorgeous. I’m also working on season seven of the Venture Bros.

Final Thoughts

We are were so happy to have had the chance to talk with both Stephanie and Michael. The careers they’ve had have been very exciting. We are so grateful that they were able to share their stories with us. We will be watching the credits for their names in the future.

050 [Honey’s Anime Interview] Stephanie Sheh and Michael Sinterniklaas - Voice Actors


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.

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