This year at Otakon, I sat down with veteran voice actress and director Stephanie Sheh to talk about the current state of the industry, the rapidly-evolving world of anime dubbing, and what anime has to offer young women. Sheh has been working in the dubbing industry since debuting as Silky in I’m Gonna Be An Angel in 2001 and has played a number of significant roles including the title character of Eureka Seven, Yui Hirasawa in K-On, and the iconic Usagi Tsukino in Viz’s dub of Sailor Moon.
CM: What are some changes you’ve seen in anime since you started? You’ve been in the dubbing game for a really long time. Have you noticed any major shifts in genres or character types?
SS: I think the main shift is moving toward the simultaneous type of dub release. The dub releases are much quicker after the Japanese. The other thing is streaming services totally changed the game. In the past, there was a much bigger audience, but that audience was at least paying for their stuff, and then bootlegging and all these free streaming services really changed the shape of the industry and we’ve had to change to adapt. On the dubbing front, you see Japanese companies be more involved, care about American audiences, give their say. Now, sometimes you need approval for casting, for scripts, for things like that. I think that that is… most of the time, a good thing.
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