Leah Clark took the anime voice acting community by storm when she arrived on the scene in 2003. With roles in Assassination Classroom, Death Parade, Darker than Black, the Dragon Ball franchise, Future Diary, Guilty Crown, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Seraph of the End, Spice and Wolf, The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Yuri!! on Ice, and a whole lot more, it’s obvious to see why so many aspiring actors look to her for inspiration.
We sat down with Ms. Clark at Anime Boston this year to learn about how she manages to bring characters like High School DxD‘s Asia, Assassination Classroom’s Yukiko, and Fairy Tail‘s Mavis Vermillion to life. We also discovered some information on how the incredibly hilarious Pop Team Epic was casted. Read on to find out more:
KeenGamer: Fans have made note of how the dub for High School DxD takes on a raunchier tone than what was found in the original, with more crude jokes and swearing. As the voice of Asia for that show, do you have any insight into what led to this being the case? Were you guys allowed to make your own comments in the booth, or was that tone already established by the time you received the script?
Leah Clark: We still had to be true to the translation, so there wasn’t that much flexibility with it.
KeenGamer: What was the casting like for Pop Team Epic, which featured a different cast per episode?
Leah Clark: I’m not too aware of how it was casted, but I do know that because that was a broadcast dub, the director didn’t have a lot of time for auditions. The director of Pop Team Epic picked from a shortlist who he thought would work best for an episode. I remember Chris George said he chose me and Stephanie Sheh to appear in our episode because our voices were similar. I also know he picked Wendy Powell and Cynthia Cranz to be in an episode together because they’re best friends.
KeenGamer: You mentioned how attached you were with the character of Suzuka Asahina from Suzuka. You got the chance to reprise the role a couple years later in the show’s sequel. Did you feel like the character changed from the last time you played her? How did that affect the way you reprised the role?
Leah Clark: What really changed about her is the fact that she’s older and she has a daughter. I mostly thought about what it would be like to care for a child. Her priorities have shifted towards another human being, so she cares less about herself now than when she did in the original series. Her personality definitely matured.
KeenGamer: How did your portrayal of Assassination Classroom’s Yukiko change throughout the show’s run?
Leah Clark: I don’t feel like I portrayed her differently as the show went on, but I definitely had more lines towards the end. It probably looked different to people who were watching, but whether or not my characters are in the foreground or the background doesn’t change the way I portray them.
KeenGamer: You played Yun Ijima in New Game!. Was there any challenge in distinguishing between the character’s elegant public side and her history?
Leah Clark: It’s always fun to dive into what made the character who they are. It was cool to dig into her past and get a little more knowledge of why she’s so intent on being so prim and proper now, especially since she didn’t have the chance to do that in the past.
KeenGamer: Now that Fairy Tail is in its final season, what have been your thoughts on working on the show all these years?
Leah Clark: I’ve really enjoyed it! Every time something happens to Mavis and I think she’s dead, the director, Kyle Phillips, tells me everything’s fine. Kyle lets me know that I still have a few more episodes to go before I’m completely dead. It’s a running joke between us.
What’s stood out the most while working on the show? It was fun to find out that I’m the whole reason it exists during Fairy Tail Zero!. In general, it’s cool to be a part of a series that’s so well-loved and long, because a majority of what we do is 12 to 26 episodes. To have such a major character is awesome.
Fairy Tail‘s English dub is currently available on Funimation. Thank you Anime Boston for the wonderful opportunity, and thank you The Cartoon Cipher for help with questions! Check out the channel’s latest April Fools’-themed episode on Ghost Stories here.