The Vision of Voice Acting – An interview with Alexis Tipton

Monday, June 12th, 2017

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Alexis Tipton | Escaflowne Merle

We met Alexis Tipton a really well renowned voice actress known for her roles in the new Escaflowne dub,  Ikaruga in Senran Kagura and one of the Eu fantasies in Is this a Zombie?.

OR: Thank you for speaking with me Alexis Tipton. I’m very honored to be in your presence. I’m going to start off by asking, what got you into voice acting?

AT: I started off as a theater actress. I was acting on stage since I was very small and in school. I met some friends when I moved to Texas that were into anime and kind of introduced me to that genre. So during my senior year of high school, I found out that Funimation was located in my area and thought how cool would it be to combine this thing that I love which is acting and this hobby of mine: anime. Long story short, I was lucky enough to get an audition and here I am years later doing the same thing.

OR: That’s fantastic. It definitely must feel interesting to have the hobby you always had and suddenly are now “the person you have always been watching” in these shows.

AT: It’s very surreal and it’s very nice since I have a lot of those same friends from middle schools and high school. I’ve been lucky enough to still be in touch and close to them. They are some of my biggest cheerleaders. One of my friends is very into Escaflowne and I had never seen Escaflowne. So when I got announced as Merul she was very excited for me. I definitely have a personal vested interest in the anime community because of my childhood. It’s a great way to give back and be involved in a different way. I love it and it’s so much fun.

OR: How did it feel having to essentially “redo” the old dub of Escaflowne? It is kind of an old anime that a lot of older fans love. Did you find any difficulty in doing the character justice?

AT: There is definitely a lot of pressure when we do something like this. I think I speak for the whole cast when I say, we really want to do right by the fans of this series. Not only did we do our best to honor the original source material, but we wanted to put a little bit of ourselves into it as well and hopefully appeal to anime fans that have not seen Escaflowne. It’s been an incredible experience. Another amazing experience about our dub of Escaflowne is that when Escaflowne was originally dubbed, much like Sailor Moon and other titles of that generation it was for lack of a better term: “Watered-down” slightly to appeal to a younger audience. There are parts of Escaflowne that have never been dubbed because the animation was cut since it was considered too violent or too graphic for a younger audience. So our Escaflowne is uncut fully dubbed and that’s really exciting.

OR: I’m sure and you mentioned putting yourself into the character. One of the roles you have that really interested me was that you play Ikaruga in the Senran Kagura dub. I’m just curious, do you find that you can relate to Ikaruga in any way?

AT: I definitely relate to her determination and her loyalty to those that are close to her. I don’t consider myself to be difficult on people the way she is. She’s definitely a hard task master but I do love teaching people. I do love trying to be a role model to people. And I think in her own way she is that to the girls, her little “Ninja Team”. I thought she was a blast. She is great.

Alexis Tipton | Ikaruga

OR: It’s always great to see people enjoy doing a role especially in Senran Kagura since that is kind of an Off the-wall series for “various reasons”. Actually you’ve done two series I’ve considered to be “Off the wall” the other one being Is this a zombie?.

AT: Oh, I had a very small part in that. It was really fun because me and 7 other actresses played the same role. And so that was a lot of fun it was like “So today’s fantasy was brought to you by the voice of Alexis Tipton”. I love that concept I thought it was really clever.

OR: Do you find it difficult to do the original Japanese voice justice at all?

AT: There is a lot of difficulty simply because our languages are very different. The culture is very different. If you try to speak in English with the same Cadence and the same inflection as the Japanese it sound very strange in our language. So I wish that was something more people realize. Culturally it’s just not as acceptable over here for women to speak in that very high and nasally voice and yet over there it is very acceptable. It’s not only acceptable it’s preferred by a lot of people. There is just that cultural difference. It doesn’t mean that one is right and another is wrong, they are both equally the same. It’s just a different audience and different country. That is difficult but at the same time we always try to honor the intention of the original Japanese as much as we can. They are the ones that brought these characters to life first. At the same time as actors we also want to put a little bit of ourselves into it as well.

Alexis Tipton | Eu

OR: To conclude, do you have any advice or insight for anyone trying to get into this?

AT: Definitely be an actor first. I personally have to stress this more than other actors since I was an anime fan before I became an actor and I don’t want people to misconstrue that as “Oh Alexis was an anime fan so that’s why she became a voice actress” No I was an actor first and acting has always been my passion. You really need to train as an actor to be able to take directions and be able to communicate with the director to be able to do a cold reading or make informed character decisions on the fly with little information.  Voice acting is a very difficult job, it is THE most difficult form of acting and so I think it needs to be given that respect. Being an anime fan is great and it means you have so much passion for your work, but that’s just one part of it. And there is a lot of work that needs to be done also. And like anything else, never assume that you know everything, keep learning, opening yourself up to your experiences and growth. That is the way you are going to expand as an actor and as a human being

OR: Absolutely Inspirational! Well thank you very much for taking time out of your day to speak with me, it’s been a pleasure!

AT: Of course, thank you!

About Justin Guillou

Justin joined Operation Rainfall to share his passion and knowledge for some of the more obscure video games out there.