One Last Misadventure for Rocket J. Squirrel

It was about twenty-four hours ago that we started learning June Foray had passed away yesterday morning. To generations who grew up with her numerous characters, the news was heartbreaking, despite the fact she was ninety-nine. (She would have been 100 in September.)

For me personally, I sort of shouted at Bob Bergen’s Facebook post. I didn’t want it to be true. I looked at Facebook’s trending topics, which knew nothing. (Not unusual.) So, I hopped over to  Twitter, where she was trending, but there was nothing official. Desperate to find out one way or the other, I searched Google…only to find a post from a self-proclaimed satire news site admitting to creating a death hoax for Foray earlier in the week, updated to confirm they had spoken with Foray’s reps yesterday and confirmed she was still alive and well.

No one knows who the site’s writers actually talked to, and that page vanished from the site for a bit. (It has been reinstated with the dates updated to today and tomorrow, but strangely…not with actual updated information.) In the time it took me to find that page last night, Bergen had explained that he had spoken to her caretaker yesterday. About half an hour later, the major entertainment blogs started picking up the story.

It’s not often that one of these “satire news sites” starts a celebrity death hoax, only to have the celebrity in question pass away just days later. But the better question is: What’s the value in starting these rumors to begin with? Do people really find it exciting to be told incorrectly that a celebrity has passed? Even worse, their rumor caused a valid announcement from a reputable source to be called into question…and then they willfully continue to lie, saying, “It’s okay. We admit we post fake news.”

Is it ever okay to claim someone is dead when they’re alive? How morally and emotionally bankrupt do you have to be to find joy in that manufactured distress?

At any rate, this particular rumor became true too quickly, and the world is just a little bit darker now. (A lot darker, really.) But she earned her rest, and we’re all richer for her sharing her talents with the world. She’ll be missed.


On Being a Voice Chaser

I’m pretty sure I’ve written on this topic before, but it’s become more relevant recently. I’ll blame that on the company I’ve decided to keep these days.

Like many kids, I loved watching cartoons when I was little. I thought they were so cool. But then I started noticing that Dottie Dog and Rainbow Brite sounded a lot alike. I don’t why, but I started actually watching cartoon credits not long after that, and kept seeing a lot of the same names in various parts of the list. When I was eight, I was formally lost to the voice chasing game forever when I suddenly became aware that one of the lists in the credits was actors, and one of them was named Frank Welker.

In no time flat, I was having fun trying to find Mr. Welker in other cartoons. It usually wasn’t too hard; I just had to look for the animal that talked a bit too much. It was a big game to me. Eventually, I started hunting down other actors. In fact, at some point, I actually wrote down the cast lists on every single Darkwing Duck episode and built my own cast list, simply because I knew I was recognizing voices that I couldn’t identify, and it was driving me up the wall. (Although Darkwing Duck came out when I was sixteen, I think I was kind enough to not get that neurotic about it until I was twenty-one.) What was really fun was watching cartoons that took me away from a voice actor, only to come back years later and go, “Oh my god, I think that’s (insert character here).” And I was almost always right.

Voice chasing became a hobby, one I still practice today.

It’s a lot of fun, because voice actors (the very nice group of people who lend their voices to animated characters) are such a talented bunch. They pop up everywhere. Sometimes, it’s just really funny to listen to someone play a character, and then listen to another of their characters say something that could easily fit the other character. (My favorite example of this to date is Dan Green, whose character in Descendants of Darkness claims to just be lucky at cards. Mr. Green was the gentleman behind Yugi Moto and the Pharaoh in Yu-Gi-Oh.) They might play characters who are light years apart. (My favorite example of this one involves my favorite actor John deLancie, who played Dr. Quest on the Jonny Quest remake they did about ten years ago. My mother, a longtime Jonny Quest fan, nearly cried when I pointed out that Q was Dr. Quest. She feared Dr. Quest was about to turn evil since all of Mr. de Lancie’s roles up to that point had been bad guys.) Some of them are so talented that they almost never repeat a voice, which makes them a real challenge to find (like 4Kids actor Marc Thompson). Some of them never really shift to different voices, so finding them is a comforting thing (like 4Kids actor Wayne Grayson).

Really, for me, voice chasing is like a big audio puzzle, and I just try to make the pieces fit together. That said, I’ve got an identification project from a friend on my lap right now that might just take all twenty-plus years of my voice chasing experience to unravel. At least it provides a nice break from working on my novel, even as it turns my dear cartoons into work.

Watching My Toons…For a Totally Different Reason

I now have my Saturdays off, and I spend every single one of them with my laptop in front of me, my chai on hand, and my cartoons entertaining me!

I still sit here and drool over the animation. I still voice chase (I think I can finally find Marc Thompson without resorting to ANN! Maybe…)

I’m catching myself doing something else, though. I’m closely watching everything, even those cartoons that aren’t supposed to have enough content to rate the “E/I” rating, for teachable moments. I’m completely passing chances to figure out a voice that seems so familiar to think about what someone could possibly learn or want to look up. It’s kind of weird. (It’ll be even weirder when I finally make good on my threat to watch a number of cartoons with a notebook in my hands just to note these types of things.)
Perhaps my interest in educational media and informal learning has finally caused me to snap?

And now, time to sit and think too much about Yu-Gi-Oh GX.

Wrestling With My Inner Fangirl

I’ve spent most of today listening to the first season of TMNT. No, wait…that doesn’t actually describe what happened.

I’ve actually spent most of the day working on A Deck of Plot Ninjas (If you’re really interested in checking out the rough draft, message me and I’ll send you the links since I don’t have them all centralized at the moment.) I gave up on wrestling with the need to create a misplaced modifier on command to make a really good plot ninja work out beautifully. I seriously paced my room, slinky in hand, for nearly half an hour trying to come up with something.

I finally just created a placeholder and left myself a note on the card to go back and address it.

Not too long after that, I ran into a plot ninja requiring me to write a bar room brawl. Anyone who knows me can probably picture that point this afternoon. The closest I’ve really ever been to a bar was a New Year’s Eve bar hop a couple of years ago. I’m a pacifist by nature. And here I sat, needing to write a brawl. A chair-flinging, bottle-breaking brawl.

I tried. I really did. But I’m horrible at writing fight scenes. (For comparison, I have experience playing TCGs, and I have yet to write a duel into a single one of my Yu-Gi-Ohfan fics simply because I just can’t figure out how. Kaz I am not.) This brawl really isn’t much of one. The way Tadian got away from it was definitely cool (and probably needed to come up in the next important conversation he had…oops), but the brawl itself took roughly 500 words. Not. Good.

Trying to figure out the best way to give myself some sort of boost to rewrite the scene, I scoured my movie collection looking for a bar room brawl (I don’t appear to have one. The best I could find was that first morning at camp scene in Mulan, and that wasn’t terribly helpful.) It suddenly occurred to me that we have most, if not all, of TMNT (4Kids style).

As of right now, I’ve listened to 22 episodes (My limit on Yu-Gi-Oh is roughly four to six episodes. My limit on GX is right around 25. Again, for comparison.) and written nine plot ninjas. I have no idea how many words I added, but it was quite a few. (I was ambitiously hoping for eighteen plot ninjas, but it just wasn’t in the cards, so to speak.)

The problem with me sitting down to listen to any 4Kids cartoon, even if it’s one where I’ve chased down most of the voices already (as is the case with TMNT), is that I start subconsciously looking for voice actors. It’s a conditioned response at this point. Today, I was kind enough to limit myself to only listening to the incidental characters (and Casey, because I’m still having issues with Chaotic). That led to a very distracting rant in my head, one that I’ve had a million times with myself.

Okay, so…4Kids has this very talented man in their crew by the name of Dan Green. Honestly, he has a great voice and he knows how to use it!

And I’m almost to the point where I don’t care if I never hear his voice again. (Not helpful when he plays my favorite characters in Winx Club and Descendants of Darkness.) It’s to the point where I turned on Yu-Gi-Oh yesterday, and literally freaked out because somehow or other, I’d decided to forget he plays the two lead roles there. (Not the first time this has happened when Mr. Green is concerned.)

I’ve been accused repeatedly of being a fan of Dan Green, and I keep defending myself. Today was a real eye-opener, though. I think I’ve finally figured out why I’m not really a fan of Dan Green. It has nothing to do with his talent. The man has talent in droves. The problem is, by and large, regardless of whether he’s supposed to be playing a lead, main, or incidental character, he overpowers the rest of the cast. (I came up with a few exceptions to this, but I’m still trying to find more of his roles just to prove this is my problem with him.)

Everyone else plays nice, and then there’s *insert his super hero voice here* Dan Green. It just wrecks everything and drives me up a wall!

Okay…I think I’m done. Hopefully, I’ve finally gotten this little rant completely out of my system.

(For the record, the 4Kids voice actor who impresses me most consistently is Eric Stuart, followed by Wayne Grayson.)

Well, There Went My Ice Breaker

I have no idea how I missed it (especially knowing I was looking for it), but Hi-Tech does, in fact, use the word quantum once. Sadly, though, he uses it correctly.

Perhaps Hi-Tech needs to sit Kaiba and Bastion down for a little vocabulary lesson. (I guess it’s more important that a tech-savvy G.I. Joe get that word right than a couple of teenagers who obsess over playing Duel Monsters. Heh.)

But I always said if I met Eric Stuart and managed to do more than stare at the floor, I’d love to ask him to define the word quantum. (I also really expect that he’d stare at me like I was just plain odd…) I think Hi-Tech just stole that right from me.

(For anyone who is curious, my friend request has actually already been processed. I’m amazed. And even a bit giggly.)

Poor Ash…

I realize that I’m quite possibly the only person around here who understands why, but this is utterly heartbreaking. (The interview will change next Thursday should you decide to get curious what’s got Kiry kinda sad.)

(It’s a clip of an interview Veronica Taylor gave for this project. It had to have been taped after 4Kids wrapped up production on the last season they controlled, and before March…which means it was still during the time when Pokemon USA was stringing 4Kids along.)

Seriously, this is only here to make myself feel just a hair better. I’ve always thought 4Kids got the short of the stick on that one…especially Veronica Taylor herself, who at any given point in time has been in no more than two or three 4Kids properties because of the demands on her time to play Ash.

On a more cheerful note, it’s fun to watch Independence Day and realize the president’s daughter is Katara, the most ignored character in Avatar…but that’s an entirely different post.

(Perhaps another post should be acing a grammar test while somewhat drunk. It’s been a stressful week.)

I Really Must Stop Watching Cartoons

If it’s even possible, I think my crush on Eric Stuart’s vocal capabilities grew this morning.  Seriously, you ever want to see a good voice actor in action, stalk Eric Stuart. Watch a handful of Kaiba-heavy Yu-Gi-Oh episodes, and then watch the GX episode “Magnetic Personality”. (Watching my favorite Sigma Six episode would probably help, too.)

I think it’s quite possible Mr. Stuart is the only 4kids actor who can deliver lines best uttered from an entirely different character while not breaking the voice of the character he’s playing at that moment. He should impart his wisdom to the guys he directs. (Really, he ought to sit a specific one of them down and explain that a different stage name isn’t isn’t fooling anyone who saw Berserk.)

Eric Stuart still manages not to be my favorite voice actor (he has to settle for being second to Frank Welker), but I suspect he will always be my favorite 4kids voice actor.

The 4kids Fan Girl Runs Rampant

Okay, so the boy half of the 4Kids line-up got pre-empted for baseball again yesterday. Football took over the Sunday spot where those cartoons would have been aired, so Fox decided to show them at 2am this morning.

Good thing I couldn’t sleep last night, or I’d have completely missed them! (The boy half is where my favorite cartoons are.) Now I’m listening to them while I work on various projects.

I let myself sit through the two Viva Pinata episodes, despite the fact the cartoon is quite possibly even more insipid than Bratz. There was much Dan Green-ness to be had, so I enjoyed a good laugh. The show really is poorly written and not engaging, though. There were lines that actually drove me out of the room.

Then I got to watch CapMon, which totally won me over in the premiere. The second episode annoyed the hell out of me, though. I got to suffer through the return of the most dreaded Tea line, “I need to get some female friends.” Dear heart, if you feel you need female friends, then go find them and stop torturing poor Yugi with your flaky ways.

TMNT: Fast Forward saw the return of Splinter. Be still my Darren-Dunstan-loving heart! Squee!!!

Then there was Sigma Six. I had forgotten that Dan Green has joined that cast. He’s got a British accent, but it’s still extraordinarily obvious who it is. The best part is, Mr. Green holds his British accent about as well as Mr. Frankson holds his tough guy voice in TMNT. I’m thinking they studied dialects at the same place.

It’s a shame, too. Dan Green is such a strong, versatile actor. To see this one voice elude him almost hurts.

Oh, and Eric Stuart has apparently decided to use the Kaiba voice as his announcer voice. I suppose it beats listening to the James/Bastion/Watari voice (which I’ve never been fond of, and have really had to look past to adore both Bastion and Watari), but it’s a bit disturbing.

I’ve also decided that despite the fact I’d love to drown most of her characters, I really respect Amy Birnbaum as a vocal talent. She’s capable of so much…it’s just her characters that are pointless. I love her as Scarlett (especially when that accent drops), and I think she could probably do so much more, but never seems to land the right roles. (If you think this is an odd opinion, I actually happen to like only sixty percent of Dan Green’s characters and the cookie cutter nature of ninety percent of them, but because he himself is such an asset to the voice acting community , I choose not to hold either against him.)

No, I’ve Never Been Quite This Bored

I have now added to my list of questions for voice actors, should I ever meet them.

The list was:
“So, Mr. Stuart, what exactly is the meaning of the word ‘quantum’?” (This is assuming I could manage to get out two words to Eric Stuart to begin with.)

You can now add:
“Mr O’Brien, what is up with you and characters who don’t talk.”

I’ve wasted some five hours of my life, half an hour at a time, watching Naruto recently. It started when I was getting ready to watch One Piece and noticed Liam O’Brien’s name in the Naruto list. Finding his character was relatively simple. I had only seven words to do it with.

Of course, being me, I wanted more. The guys kept telling me there was this Rock Lee/Gaara fight coming up. It finally showed up tonight. I’m really not feeling well, so I sat there and stared at the episode.

I can now tell you that Gaara speaks 42 words in the entirety of that episode, 33 of which are in a five-minute period. The longest string of words he utters is 16 words. When Gaara says more than ten words at a time, he doesn’t sound like Hisoka. When he says fewer than ten words, he does.

I can also tell you that Gaara makes Hisoka look like an utter chatterbox. Like, teenage girl level of chatterbox!

And now, I’m going to try to make it to One Piece, but the odds are severely not in my favor. Instead, I shall just dream about Chopper!

That Man Still Baffles Me!

All right, I’ve written in the past about my surprise at Eric Stuart’s apparent reticence to go anywhere near his fans.

Now, he (or someone) has set up a MySpace for him. What a lovely early birthday present, right? Except for one small detail…you can’t friend him unless he knows you personally. Call me crazy, but this doesn’t really help you connect with fans.

(Of course, I was automatically suspicious of the account because celebrities are easy to impersonate. I became more suspicious when the verification came up because I know some of what can trigger that. At least I have a decent reason to be suspicious.)

On the up side, regardless of whether or not it’s the apparently shy Mr. Stuart, at least I can now enter music when I’m blogging. I was really annoyed when I could easily link to Macross Plus and both Yami no Matsuei soundtracks, but couldn’t link to Blue, Dressed in Black.

Admittedly, it would actually be a cool birthday present to be able to add Mr. Stuart to my friends list, given how many of my own friends have had to put up with my playing his music frequently, but alas it does not seem to be possible.