Building Alligator Skin- Interview with Xanthe Huynh (Voice Actress)

Friday, April 15th, 2016

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Love Live! School Idol Project

OR: Moving along, your most recently released anime project, Love Live! School Idol Project, premiered on February 5th, 2016 on MNet America and the series box set was just released in North America on Valentine’s Day. What is that anime about and what role do you voice?

XH: It’s a show about [where] the high school is in danger of closing due to a lack of student enrollment. So in order to bring attention and future student interest into the school, a group of girls that are students there come together create an idol group to compete in a competition called ‘Love Live!’.  So that’s kind of the basic storyline.

I play Hanayo Koizumi, who is really, really shy, but she loves idols and idol groups. And [she] ultimately joins the group after her friend encourages her [to], because her friend Rin [Hoshizora] that this has been her dream since they were children, because she has always loved idols. I think it’s a great show, it’s about friendship and the different friendships within their group and how they come together to work toward a common goal.


OR: How did you get involved with this series?

XH: I was sent an audition to record from home and e-submit. I auditioned for Kotori [Minami], Honoka [Kosaka], and Hanayo [Koizumi] and I ended up getting cast as my waifuu~uuu!

OR: You auditioned for multiple roles [for Love Live! School Idol Project]?

XH: Yeah, it happens a lot. Sometimes I’ll audition for one character and get cast as another one. That was the case with K-On! as well. I auditioned for Mugi [OR Note: Tsumugi Kotobuki], and then got cast as Ui. So you never know. I always tell people that when you audition for something, to always do your best because even if they feel [like] you’re not appropriate for one role, they [may] think you’re good for another one or maybe for future projects.

“The hardest thing [about voice acting] is probably the waiting in between jobs. It’s torture.

I think it’s really important to stay inspired in whatever it is that you do…it’s important to remind yourself why you do what you do and why you loved it in the first place.”

OR: What is a typical recording session like for an anime series [such] as Love Live! School Idol Project or Sword Art Online, where you played Sachi?

XH: For a typical recording session, I would go in [and] get a short synopsis and the character description from the director/client, we would preview the lines in Japanese, and then I perform the line in English. The director may give me notes if any, and then I perform the line again. And we continue this way and skip through [the script] to just my character[‘s] lines. So if we skip through like a chunk of the story, sometimes the director will have to fill me in with what’s happening and why my character [is] responding in such-and-such way.


Meruru from Atelier Meruru.

Meruru from Atelier Meruru.


Falcom from the Hyperdimension Neptunia series.

OR: You’ve also performed as the role of Falcom in [the] Hyperdimension Neptunia series and Meruru in Atelier Meruru. Are there similarities between voice acting for a video game versus an anime series? What are the major differences between them?

XH: I think it’s the same, but the process is a little different. For video games like those, I would say each line twice and then move on to the next unless the director needs a different interpretation or emotion. Also there’s no picture to match up to. In anime –and any kind of foreign dubbing- it’s kind of more difficult because you have to reach and act your line while paying attention to the speed in which the character’s mouth is moving. And so you’re doing a couple things at once. And sometimes, you have to pay attention to weird pauses in places and so you’d have to try to pause it at appropriate moments in the script. And if it doesn’t make sense, sometimes the director will change the words around so that [it] fits more naturally instead of sounding like oddly cut in places.

“It’s never just about providing a voice. I think this is a really big misconception about voice acting.”

OR: Do you prefer doing one over the other?

XH: Not really, I guess. I like them both for different reasons. For anime, it’s nice to have a visual so you can see what’s happening and act accordingly. But you do have to do deal with the technical stuff I just mentioned. For games, I have more freedom to act without being constrained to a certain rhythm like mouth flaps. So no preference, I guess. I like the different challenges.

Xanthe’s thoughts on voice acting and why became a voice actress on Page 3

About Quentin H.

I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it. Do you want to do an interview? You can reach me at

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