Geeking Out with Voice Actress Elizabeth Maxwell

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Geeking Out with Voice Actress Elizabeth Maxwell
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We’re living in the social media generation, and voice actors have embraced it fully—it’s an opportunity to market themselves while sharing their interests. Some have growing families and are involved in their community. Others like to travel. And then there are those who not only voice anime characters, but personally love anime and other geeky properties. At the head of that list is Elizabeth Maxwell, who in recent years has gained prominence as the voice behind fan favorite characters like Ymir (Attack on Titan) and Midnight (Boku no Hero Academia). I caught up with her at Wizard World Austin last month.

Maxwell grew up knee deep in geek and pop culture properties, like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Wizard of Oz, and John Carpenter films. She was also a gamer, with JRPGs like Chrono Trigger and early Final Fantasy titles in her wheelhouse. Her brother was responsible for shaping her entertainment consumption (“I’m really thankful that he has good taste!”), including with anime titles—some of her early favorites included JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Escaflowne.

As an actress, she’s now involved in series she might have watched as a fan. But while there’s a connection between her work and interests, acting was always the goal, regardless: “It influenced my decision to go into acting, but not in the way you might think.” Determined to be an actress since she was five years old, voice work came later in her career. Maxwell’s interest influenced the type of voice acting she pursued, however, as she veered toward character pieces instead of commercials.

Her first big VA role was Ymir, though she actually read for Annie. “With Funimation, the way it typically works is that they’ll have a handful of male and female characters that they’ll have actors audition for. Typically, the characters are archetypal.” The Annie audition led to her receiving the role for which she’s most known. Others of note are Motoko (Ghost in the Shell: Arise) and Bishamon (Noragami), the latter being one of her “most emotionally invested” roles. She also voices a number of characters for Rooster Teeth series, like Winter Schnee (RWBY) and Nikki from Camp Camp, the latter being “one of the most nearest and dearest” to her heart as that character reminds her a lot of what she was like as a child.

Elizabeth tells us what her favorite Ghibli films are.

Maxwell also voices a number of characters in games. She explained that the most fundamental difference between anime and video game jobs is that latter tend to be prelay—actors record voices first as opposed to dubbing to preexisting flaps (ADR). There’s more artistic freedom with video game characters, but they can also be challenging. “You have to merge or marry composition. You’ll carry along a quest but still have to keep the performance interesting and multidimensional and engaging.”

Judging by the response to her work, Maxwell is more than up for the challenge. And with the characters she plays and the series she works on—she’s having a lot of fun along the way.

Follow Elizabeth on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

11 thoughts on “Geeking Out with Voice Actress Elizabeth Maxwell

  1. Very interesting post! I am learning more about anime professionals with these posts, though this one was about a VA instead of cosplay. I am going to follow Elizabeth on insta, she seems like a cool person. If she likes Secret of Mana, she’s got my vote without hesitation. Plus mentioning Chrono Trigger in the same post, come on…this made me smile 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and writing this up

  2. Based on the featured image for this post, I saw that she voiced Urbosa from BoTW too. That’s so cool!

    1. She did! And I believe at the comic book convention at which I met her, that was probably the character most audiences knew from her.

  3. It must have been an absolute delight sharing this experience with Elizabeth! She truly is a talented, kind and down to earth individual. I never knew her name until Volume 3 of RWBY back in 2015 where her character made a debut. After being a fan of hers since then, I finally had the honor of meeting her last November at a convention here in my city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. How very convenient! That’s where I too made the inquiry regarding her character, Winter Schnee, and if she’d make an appearance in Volume 6, only to receive the same response she gave you. I told her and Kara Eberle (voice of Weiss Schnee, the younger sister of Winter) that they were my sole incentive for attending. The two have a sistery dynamic, both in and out of character, that I adore having two older sisters of my own. Can’t say I have any aspirations to be an actor, but it’s that devotion and passion of Maxwell’s that I admire so much. A genuine workaholic. I still need to check out the other works that she’s involved in outisde of Roosterteeth, namely Persona 5 and BOTW.

    1. Thank you for the feedback and insight! She is most definitely talented and very hard-working. I’m the opposite of you—I haven’t explored much of RWBY, but I have heard her voice other works and she’s wonderful in them.

  4. I wouldn’t doubt it! I’ve seen the original Fruits Basket, so I’m especially excited for the reboot now that she’ll be voicing a character. Sadly, I’ve yet to watch MHA, AoT and DBZ where she also has a presence.

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