Fanime’s Hot-Blooded Guts: Q&A with Nobutoshi Canna

Picking up from my previous report on Aya Hirano, the other big Japanese guest Fanime brought over this year was Nobutoshi Canna, best known for his roles as Guts from Berserk and Lancer from Fate/Stay Night. Just like Aya, he had a panel, Q&A, and autograph sessions. Sadly, he wasn’t as popular as Aya Hirano, but that’s to be expected when there aren’t many series in the West that are more popular than Haruhi. Even so, he still had plenty of people come out to hear him talk and ask him questions.

He starts off by saying how he’s actually been to America three times in the past, but this is his first time in California. His first impression is that the weather is really nice and it’s not humid like Japan is (haha it’s California after all). Every time he comes overseas for an event, he’s always really happy and excited for them, so he hopes this time will be the same and we can share in his happiness.

He then talks about how he got into the voice acting industry which was surprisingly unique. Since he was 3, he had wanted to become an actor, but it wasn’t something he thought much about. When he got into high school, he decided he needed to focus on his studies, so he quit any aspirations he had for acting and spent all his time studying for school. However, he realized he couldn’t give up on acting so he started getting jobs for stage plays. It was around that time he met someone (sorry, I couldn’t catch the name properly) who he really looked up to. He wanted to work at the same agency as him, but instead got told to try getting into Aoni Production. He agreed and passed the audition. His first few roles were dubbing some random foreign TV shows, but he thought he would eventually have the chance to do some real acting or TV work. Six months later, he finally realized…Aoni Production is a voice acting only agency!

It was at that point he considered quitting Aoni Production.  Everyone else had gone to voice acting school and worked hard to get there. They knew all about the industry and what was needed to voice act, but in comparison, he didn’t know anything and didn’t even want to voice act! He actually ended up crying a lot because of this. He was embarrassed about it and would go to the neighboring parking lot to eat alone and then cry some more. At which point we have to stop and remind ourselves, this is the guy who voices some of the most hot-blooded, manly characters in anime. It is both completely unexpected but also really endearing that he has this side and history to him. Anyway, at this point in his life, his senpai from the agency would just silently walk up behind him and say “stop crying.” He says they thought of him as a cute little kouhai (again, this is the guy who voiced Guts). In the end, he decided to give voice acting a try for 3 years before quitting. After those 3 years, he still wasn’t sure if voice acting was a good choice. However, he never stopped and after all this time, he can reflect on it and is glad he stuck with it. Definitely one of the most unexpected stories about a voice actor’s career!

Canna agrees that he always seems to get the roles of hot-blooded characters, but he also loves voicing them. He isn’t able to choose a favorite character of the ones he’s voiced. However, since they are usually both mentally and physically strong from the beginning of the stories, he is interested in doing a character who starts of weak or scared and crying but eventually becomes strong as the story progresses (so given what we now know, that would be the story of his career).

He then talks about how difficult it can be to prepare for roles. Since anime are recorded one episode at a time on a weekly basis, it’s hard for him to visualize developments in the story and characters, especially for long series. Unless there is a source material like manga, he doesn’t know what will happen next. All he can do is put all his focus into each episode and hope that his delivery is satisfactory for that week.

For big series like Fate, he expresses how important it is that many people work together to make the anime a reality. First, there is the original author, then there are the people who want to make the anime, the producer and director, the staff who work with the conversion to anime, the animators, the sound directors, and finally the voice actors. He considers himself a single gear in a large organization that brings life to the anime and is very grateful to be given that role. He is actually very surprised that so many people outside Japan even know who he is, let alone are fans. He is even more grateful for that and is always surprised to learn that people know about him. Sometimes these series end up requiring him to voice the same character and even the same story after a long period of time (again, such as Fate). Sometimes they will actually re-use old voice recordings, but when he has to do it again, he always wonders if he will be able to pull it off. However, once he gets into the studio, he finds that he is able to get back into the characters very quickly.

 

He’s asked about what’s important to being successful as a voice actor. To start with, voice acting is the same as any other job in the sense that you have to face it properly and give it your all. If you aren’t thankful for opportunities or willing to put up with the hard work, then you won’t succeed be it voice acting or any other industry. Additionally, there is a difference between “I want to be a voice actor,” and “I will become a voice actor.” You as an individual should know your own weaknesses and strengths the best. If you understand yourself, then you will also know what you need to improve to succeed. But then he admits that he was quite lucky as he already explained how he became one.

Finally, Canna mentions how doesn’t play games at all. He doesn’t know anything about them. However, he would be interested in streaming himself play some games. On the other hand, he notes how some seiyuu already do that, so they’ve beaten him to the punch (insert some joke here about Ueda Kana’s gaming habits).  He’s even asked about the popularity of some of the games he’s voiced for like FGO, but he really doesn’t have a clue about what people are talking about even though he’s in them! He ends the panel with a single line request.

Gae Bolg!

Kaze

Kaze is a graduate from the University of Tokyo who currently works on developing gene therapies for genetic diseases. He is a Nanatard since 2009 and mostly spends his time reading VNs and studying Japanese. Strangely enough, also a devout Christian.

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