Anime & Comics

The Rise and Epitome of Japanese Animation

Japan has a lot to offer. From beautiful scenery to brilliant Japanese voiceover artists, Japan seems to have it all.

However, Japan has long since established itself as a nation supporting strong voiceovers and brilliant animation. A feat achieved through the likes of animation houses such as Studio Ghibli.

Studio Ghibli originally records its fantastic animations in its native Japanese language and later dubs films for international release. For those of us not yet familiar with Studio Ghibli, it is an animation house considered to be the epitome of Japanese animation.

Accordingly, Ghibli employs a whole host of talented Japanese voiceover artists, from Rumi Hiiragi to Fujio Tokita and many more. There are numerous talented artists working behind the scenes to provide Japanese voiceovers, but they may always gain the recognition they deserve.

Studio Ghibli is, in fact, the production house responsible for bringing audiences the 2017 animation ‘Mary and The Witch’s Flower’. However, one would be mistaken in thinking that Studio Ghibli is a relatively new name among animation.

Studio Ghibli has been prevalent for many years and produced earlier animations such as the fantastic 1992 war drama Porco Rosso.  Porco Rosso is the story of a humanoid pig, whose talents lie in flying during the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s. Studio Ghibli was more than successful in refracting from the surrealism of a flying pig and instead focusing the audience attention on very real-life events. With a simple premise, Porco Rosso was truly imaginative yet compelling.

The sincerity of Studio Ghibli films seems to be the key to their success. In fact, what audiences may not know… is that many Hollywood stars have extended their talents to provide voiceovers for dubbing Studio Ghibli’s characters.

The voices of many a Ghibli’ character come from well-known Hollywood actors and actresses. For example, in the 1998 film’ ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’, the young witch was in fact voiced by Kirsten Dunst! Evidently, animation and Japanese voiceover are a fruitful business.

Moreover, even some more established Hollywood actors have loaned their voices for animation. Christian Bale, the once honorable caped crusader, was in fact cast for the English dubbing of a Studio Ghibli film. Bale provided an English voiceover for the central character Howl in the 2004 film ‘Howl’s moving castle’.

But Bale is not the only Hollywood actor to provide a voiceover for Studio Ghibli. Many before him have made a small fortune from dubbing Japanese anime. Star Wars actor Mark Hammill, for example, provided an American voiceover when he featured in the 1986 animation ‘Laputa: Castle in the Sky’, proving that Hamill can master both the force and voiceover in animation.

Clearly, American voiceovers in Japanese anime are a lucrative business if even Hollywood stars choose voiceover to earn a living!

Nevertheless, it is still ever important to ensure that you seek out only quality voiceover artists, whatever your venture or language, be it for animation or other business needs.

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