Austin Tindle has been a mainstay at anime conventions over the past decade, having lent his voice to characters in some of the most popular anime of recent years, including Assassination Classroom (Karma), Tokyo Ghoul (Kaneki), The Ancient Magus Bride (Ruth), and Kaguya-sama: Love is War (Yu). We recently had a chance to visit with Austin as our cosplayer, Paris, interviewed him at this year’s Delta H Con.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
You’ve voiced some of the most iconic characters in anime. Have you ever had like an “Is this real?” moment or seen yourself on TV and been taken aback by it?
Yeah, absolutely. One of the biggest moments I can think of was the first time I saw myself on a commercial on Cartoon Network. That was pretty mind-blowing. Another time is after Dragon Ball Xenoverse was released. I played Raspberry, who is an unlockable playable character you can fight as. My friend Ian Sinclair, who plays Whis in DB, had a copy of the game. I went over to his house and I set up a match with just my character against my character. We turned off the sound effects so all the sound was just me fighting me, my voice making all these unh ah unh sounds. I remember giggling like a schoolgirl! That was cool experience.
What’s the role you’re most recognized for and alternately, one for which you’d like to be more recognized?
Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul. And I’m not necessarily looking for recognition, but I’m most interested in live performance…
Note: Speaking of performance, at this point in the interview and unexpected guest, who had been present since nearly the beginning of our time with Austin joined the conversation and told a story. If you ever see Jason Liebrecht at a convention, we recommend you ask him about the “steakhouse bartender story.”
You were terrific, also, in The Boy and the Beast (Ichirohiko) and in ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. (Jean). What were those experiences like, voicing roles in those anime?
The Boy and the Beast was amazing. The funny thing is that a lot of the things that happen to transform that character are done without any vocalization. I recorded that movie and didn’t watch it for 3-4 years, and one day I sat down to watch it and I didn’t realize that my character was the main bad guy that turns into a giant whale because when he does, they don’t use my voice anymore. It was fun to finally see the movie. It’s a great movie—so glad to be part of it.
And ACCA? I love that slice of life show. The music is so cool. One of the great things about that show is that I don’t have to scream. I just have to talk very matter-of-factly. Most of the recording had me talking like this (mimics cigarette in his mouth), laid-back, really natural acting. Chris Bevins was the director. It was a lot of fun.
I’m always interested in people that enjoy ACCA because it’s one of those shows that’s not super anime. It could have been a live action. It could have been something my grandparents would have watched.
Your convention bio boasts that you’re a master golfer—is that your hobby?
I actually have never really played golf. I actually played Top Golf a couple of times and hurt my back severely. The only reason it says that in my bio is because most of my bio is copied from Kim Jong-Un’s Wikipedia page.
Is that on purpose?
It’s on purpose!
Speaking of conventions, what’s a favorite panel that you’ve done?
I would spend hours preparing this panel called “Raunchy Shakespeare” this every time I did it. It was a big deal for me for many years, but it took so much energy and effort, and was hit or miss. There were times I did it where it really went well. I would teach Shakespeare and bring people on and have them perform Shakespeare with me, and then explain how everything they were saying was just dirty sex jokes.
Are you a big Shakespeare fan?
I worked with Shakespeare Dallas for nine years before I did voiceover work. I’m more of a stage actor than voice actor, though I think, personally, all roads lead to Mecca. There’s no one right way to be an actor, but for me personally, the skills I gained on that stage led to me being able to do this.
I’ve heard that a lot, about the need to be an “actor,” not a voice actor only.
There’s a lot of people who say, “I’m not interested in acting on stage” or “I’d be too nervous,” but adjusting to those nerves, being in front of an audience, learning how your body responds in that stressed mode—that paves the way. You’re gonna feel those nerves no matter what: in an audition, in a booth, in front of a director, in front of an engineer.
What about improv? You’ve been involved in an improv troupe—is comedy your “first love”?
Maybe. I don’t think there’s a huge delineation in my mind between extreme drama and comedy. Like one of my favorite movies is with Roberto Benigni. If you watch Life is Beautiful—whatever happened to him by the way?—that movie is the perfect blend of extreme drama and comedy. The works I really enjoy doing are dramatic works that have genuine comedic moments in them because that is at the heart of something authentic. That’s what I’m passionate about.