From Nami to Nagisa and Chidori to Ochako, Luci Christian has voiced some of anime’s most formative roles. At Ikkicon this past December, I had a chance to sit with Luci and talk about her voice acting. We all chatted about her faith intersects with her work.
Me: How did you first get involved in voice acting?
Luci: I got involved because, well, I was already an actor. I had already gone to school for acting. I don’t think I ever thought I was going to do it for a living, though. I didn’t know anybody who did that. But when I got out of graduate school in Louisiana, I moved to Houston to make enough money to go to New York. While I was there, I got hooked up with an agent—who is still my agent—and immediately started getting voice work, and that was a surprise to me. I was a theater snob and did not know voice work was going to figure so prominently in my life and through my agency is where I got hooked up with ADV because Don Rush, who was a new director at ADV and who was from a marketing/advertising background and didn’t know—you know, the answer is you call the agency to ask for talent, but ADV at the time didn’t really work that way. They were more word of mouth, open call, and that’s how I got in the door there.
Me: You’ve played many prominent roles in anime—is there a favorite role you’ve played?
Luci: I would say my favorite role used to be Duck in Princess Tutu. Love that story so much. It was one of the first shows I fell in love with and was really an advocate for and then most recently I’ve gotten to do so many fun things, but I’ve really enjoyed being a part of My Hero Academia. It’s so accessible, I think, to people and I’ve just really enjoyed being part of a really great ensemble and a show like that.
Me: Is there anything you’re working on right now in voice acting besides My Hero Academia?
Luci: Well of the things we can talk about, it was cool when Stormship Troopers finally came out, to be able to talk about new things, to be able to talk about Blade Runner Blackout. You know, it was sorta crazy to be working on these things and not mention them and see them months later and go, “Oh dang, I was part of something really cool!”
Me: I was surprised to see you on that! I noticed you in the end credits. I really enjoyed it.
Luci: How about that? It was a real honor to get to be a part of that.
Me: What’s an important lesson you’ve learned being part of this business?
Luci: I think this business has really broadened my horizons in terms of exposing me to people I never would have known about, opportunities I never would have had, and genres of art that I would not have known. It has afforded me the opportunity to travel and also to kind of find your place in the scheme of things. Like right now I’m at a convention as a guest but I’m aware enough now to know that it’s not about me, it’s about the fans and you know when I was younger, I was a reader and I escaped into these heroic characters in books and I love that anime gives people that opportunity to come together no matter who you are, you belong, you wear whatever you want, you can roleplay as magical people, and we just get to be along for the ride.
…my faith has been stretched I think to find God and faith in ways that I don’t know I could have seen before.
Me: That’s great! I mentioned faith to you earlier—do you see opportunities where your faith intersects with voice acting?
Luci: Yeah, I think so. Well, I think, if you’re a person of faith and you’re so inclined, you can find those ideas, you can find threads through just about anything, in just about anything. And I also think if you’re a person a faith you can’t help but look through that lens. My faith has informed definitely some of the roles I’ve taken and not taken. Some of my friends who are directors won’t even ask me to audition for some things because they know me well enough that it’s just not right for me to do. But mostly, my faith has been stretched I think to find God and faith in ways that I don’t know I could have seen before.
Me: I think that’s really interesting how anime, maybe as much any medium, you can see grace there—
Luci: Yeah, redemption…
Me: …Love, sacrifice, all these different things that we as Christians, when we have this worldview, we see it all over the place. Maybe it’s not intentional, but it could be creators reaching for the invisible God without realizing it, something moving in their hearts.
Luci: Yeah, I agree, I totally agree.
Me: You mentioned some roles—have you ever had to turn down a role because of your faith?
Luci: I’m sure I have. I have not been cast as something and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.” But usually, directors will say, “Hey, this is what’s in it” and we get to make our choice. And anything I’ve ever said “no” to, there’s never been any weirdness about it. And some things I’ve said “yes” to and did and went, “I probably shouldn’t have” [laughs], you know, but again that’s part of the live and learn thing. That is normative across everything, just like anybody else. You sometimes think “I can try that on” and you go, “Oh this fits well” or “You know, I don’t think it fits me.” So we’re all constantly doing that. And thankfully we work with people who are very cool and understand that. They get it.
When someone tells you “no,” let that just roll off your back. Just let it go—that’s their “no.” It’s not yours.
Me: Just one more question—do you have any words of wisdom to impart to aspiring voice actors?
Luci: My greatest words of wisdom I think I would want to hear if I were young and wanted to do this would be, “You can.” You know, you can. I’m a big believer in people deciding what they want and building it. There are so many opportunities now to sorta make your life work for you and with the Internet, with software, with different things, you don’t have to wait for someone to cast you in things for you to start playing around with a microphone and your voice. You can make it. You can just make it. You can get together with your friend and make things that make you happy. You can buy a cheap microphone and headphones and go into your own closet and learn about your voice. I say do that. I also say that I would not have lasted in this industry as long as I have if I did not have things outside of the industry that also feed me. I have good friends. I like my town. I like my neighbors. I’m passionate about some things I’m involved in. My kids go to our neighborhood Title I school and super passionate about that, so I’m there a lot talking about reading. Like enjoy your life while you pursue your art. It can only help. It will only benefit you. I never put all of my eggs in one basket in the voice acting world. It’s not all in anime or anything because I would go crazy. Spread yourself out, try a lot of different things. When someone tells you “no,” let that just roll off your back. Just let it go—that’s their “no.” It’s not yours.
Me: Thank you for your time!
You can read the entire transcript of our interview here.