With two feature films and nearly 300 episodes to its name, Fairy Tail is set to conclude Natsu's adventures across Earth-land with its final season. Currently airing on anime streaming services across the globe, fans are probably wondering how the English cast of the show is reacting to the series' end, especially considering how Fairy Tail's anime adaptation began nearly 10 years ago.
I had the chance of sitting down with the voice of Lucy Heartfilia, Cherami Leigh, and the show's ADR director, Tyler Walker, to talk about how each cast member feels about Fairy Tail now that it's approaching its end. Read and listen to their thoughts on the series and all the shenanigans that ensued inside the recording booth below.
Can you describe your journey with the Fairy Tail series? How did you become involved and how have you grown alongside the show's characters?
Cherami Leigh: I actually wasn't planning to audition for Lucy. Tyler said I should audition for her, and I didn't think I was going to play Lucy until we came to New York seven years ago to premiere it. That's when I said to myself, “Well, they can’t recast me now!” (laughs) In all seriousness, I never got to play a character for so long. Things that happen to her in an episode have a way of syncing with something going on in my life. She's had a profound impact on my confidence, and it's been really cool to have that influence.
Tyler Walker: I had only done 24-episode shows prior to Fairy Tail. On this series, I started out writing on episode three, then directed 277 episodes and two movies. I've gotten the chance to see the cast grow and the show become really impactful for a lot of people. Last year, we were at a restaurant and someone told me, “When my parents passed away, Fairy Tail got me through it.” It's moments like these that make me want to put extra care into the show. I also made a promise to Hiro Mashima years ago that I was going to do the best job I could with his baby.
Are there any moments in the series that stand out to you?
CL: One that always stands out to me is the scene with Lucy and her dad during the Loke saga. She says, “I don’t care if you don’t want me to be a celestial wizard. I’m doing it anyway. I’m going to be a part of Fairy Tail and this is what I want and who I am.” This is one of the reasons why I decided to take a chance and move to L.A. If she's willing to take a chance, I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't explore the opportunities available to me.
TW: There are all kinds of funny moments, especially when I'm working on the songs with David Wald. Last time, me and him would trade David Lee Roth impressions. That’s been fun. Seeing the whole thing grow and being a part of it is always a thrill, too. My responsibilities changed throughout the show, from episode writer to director. I also did a couple of voices. Now I write, consult, cast, and work with Kyle Phillips, who's directing Fairy Tail's last few episodes.
Despite no longer being based in Texas, you still appear in a good number of Funimation titles. How often are these recordings done in-house and how often are they done remotely from L.A.?
CL: When I first moved, I was probably flying back once every two to three weeks and record for a couple of days. When we were working on Fairy Tail before simuldubs, I would fly back for a couple of days or a week and we would try to complete as many episodes as we could. When they started working on simuldubs, there was no time. We had a week to get things done. There was no way that those of us that lived out of the DFW area could fly in every week. That kind of limited how much we were able to work on Funimation titles – which I totally understand. It was sad for a while since I started at Funimation and they very much feel like a family to me. Not being able to work on as many titles was kind of sad. But now with the magic of Source-Connect, we record in a studio in L.A. For Fairy Tail, we’ve been able to do simuldubs for this last season and I go to record once or twice a week in the studio. If I’m in Texas, then I'll just go in and record there.
TW: Todd is able to record from his house, since he has Source-Connect. I once directed him at night over Skype! You may think that it would sound all over the place, but it actually turns out great. Of course, we have to mix everything in a theatrical recording studio to make it all sound like a movie when it's put together.
Do you have any funny stories from the recording booth that you can tell us about?
CL: Way too many! I’m somebody who’s always very cold, so I wore a snuggie for almost the entire time I was recording. There was one episode where Lucy says, “It’s so hot, I’m dying.” I thought that that was pretty ironic. Todd, Jamie, and the rest of the team leave some great jokes to trip me up while I’m recording, so that's always fun too.
TW: There’s this episode where they show's characters are in the Tower of Heaven and Natsu gets this giant cat head. At the time, Funimation studios had this giant mascot Vegeta head. I said, “Alright Todd! We’re recording in the Vegeta head!” He did the whole episode in this giant, super hot head. There was no room for the headphones. It sounded like somebody wearing a big head – which is exactly what we were trying to do!
Fairy Tail's final season is currently airing on streaming services worldwide. Thank you Anime NYC and Funimation for the wonderful opportunity, and thank you The Cartoon Cipher for help with questions.