During Sakura-Con 2022, just a few months ago I had the absolute delight to sit down with voice actor Ian Sinclair. One of my all time favorite voices I love to hear him in some of my favorite animes with Brook, Bokuto and Dandy being the characters of his I like the most.
Ali: So is this your first Sakura-Con?
Ian: No, no. like third or forth. I love it here. As I said I absolutely love Seattle and have been running around it and probably going to do a lot more exploring every off hour I have.
Ali: That’s good, are you enjoying the con checking everything out?
Ian: Oh yeah, this con always blows me away with its cosplay and it’s always tip top.
Ali: How did you get started in voice acting?
Ian: I was a theater student in college and one of my classmates was working at Funimation and they asked if I wanted to come in on tour. While I was on that tour, a director who I eventually figured out it was Christopher Sabat asked if I’d like to say a line. Then I went home thinking I would never hear from them again, six months or so later, that same character showed back up for another one line. They found me and gave me a contract, and I’ve been doing anime for 18, 19 years. It’s been a fun job.
Ali: That’s pretty cool. I mean you’ve had quite the record for amazing characters.
Ian: That’s very kind of you
Ali: Well I mean all their super fan favorites.
Ali: Has there been a favorite role for you that you’ve gotten to do?
Ian: A lot of them are my favorites for different reasons, some of them were emotionally. One of the most important ones was Weiss because I am a big Dragon Ball fan, have been since I was a kid. Brook from One Piece is another one of my favorites because it is truly a joyous experience because every time I get to do it, I could be having the worst day ever and getting a Brook session can turn it into one of the best days. And then Bokuto from Haikyuu is way too much fun, Kaguya Sama Love is War is currently one of my favorites, I’m the narrator in that, and by far it’s some of my proudest work.
Ali: Yeah that’s one of the biggest anime right now, and season two just came out? Right or is it about to come out?
Ian: Season three.
Ali: Oh that’s right, im behind (laughs)
Ian: Gonna gear up to do some season three. Theoretically. Allegedly, we’re doing it.
Ali: Ok, I think one of my favorites you’ve done is Space Dandy. That’s probably…
Ian: I love Space Dandy!
Ali: Not enough people have watched it, and I’m like it’ll blow your mind. It’s like the craziest thing you’ll ever watch, that’s still so much fun.
Ian: Thank you, I appreciate that. Dandy was a lot of fun. Dandy was, if you would have asked me a couple years ago what my favorite was, it would have been Dandy. And I love Dandy, it’s just now it’s been so long, almost ten years ago.
Ali: Every time I see it pop up on a streaming site, I always tell people you have to go watch this right now! It is so good!
Ian: Thank you
Ali: Are there any characters that you would to do more of? You wish they got another season of a show or…?
Ian: I hear that Shoji in My Hero (Academia) may have a story or moment coming up, the mangaka said in an interview that he planned to show his face and he has a story planned featuring Shoji, but he said that a long time ago-so I don’t know, we’ll see.
Ali: I don’t know, we just saw Invisible Girl for the first time in the manga…
Ian: Who knows ?
Ali: What’s your process for getting into character?
Ian: It depends on the character, it’s entirely character dependent because most of my characters, I try to ground in some truth within my personality. Because if you act from a place of truth, it’ll inform most of your decisions and it’ll usually resonate with people more, so it depends. Some of them, Bokuto from Haikyuu I chug a Red Bull, Brook from One Piece I sit in the corner of the booth with extra wide eyes and bright teeth and I scream YOHO in the corner and then I kind of stay in character.
Ali: I’m going to think about that everytime I watch it now (laughs).
Ian: Oh yeah, just eye sockets and teeth, he says Hi hello.
Ali: Yeah my friends all love Haikyuu! and talk about Bokuto, and we have to think of Red Bull now too.
Ian: Oh yeah that’s me on Red Bull
Ali: Do they tell you a little bit about your character or do you ever read or watch any of the anime?
Ian: Oh yeah, it depends on the show. Some of them I read through and I really enjoyed the manga’s. Golden Comoy is one of them. Uh sometimes I have no idea what character im doing when I go in, they just say hey you’re booked for three hours for such and such show and so you kind of go in. Some directors like to tell you everything about the show, some don’t. Some want you to do the research and some don’t. So I just kind of let the director dictate how much of it I know, but when a director does ask me how much backstory I want, I usually say. I would like to know as much as my character knows. So that way I can experience the new revelations as my character does and then the emotions come easily.
Ali: That’s a really great answer.
Ali: Do you feel like you might be doing One Piece for the rest of your life?
Ian: You’d think that and I always felt that way, but now we’re pretty far and where in a couple hundred episodes, we could catch up and if we did. They’re at a thousand and we’re only a couple hundred behind.
Ali: Yeah, but there’s always the fillers too that aren’t always in the books.
Ian: Also long as Oda makes it, I will be absolutely thrilled to do it. I would play Brook until I was no longer physically able too if given the chance.
Ali: That’s good to hear probably for all the One Piece fans, cause i know he’s (Oda) mentioned we’re approaching the final arc but we’re still not anywhere close to it.
Ian makes sad noise (laughing)
Ali: Is being in a long running anime ever difficult for you?
Ian: If it weren’t Brook I bet it would be, but Brook is just the most fun thing. It is probably the best part of my job. It is all the directors and friends of mine and so my job is just to go in and make my friends laugh and the harder I make them laugh the harder I’ll make you laugh. It may be physically taxing occasionally but not really. And Brook, he does a very high pitch scream and that’s not as difficult on the vocal cords as really low gruff screams.
Ali: That’s good, cause I know there’s talk of Haikyuu coming back to finish out the series and everyones really excited. And I know My Hero (Academia) is in their final arc right now in the series but that’s still a long way off for the anime too. And if they do more movies …
Ian: I don’t know, I’m waiting for Shoji’s face. I wanna see it! He’s either gonna be drop dead gorgeous or I don’t know, might just be teeth or a nub or something
Ali: I feel like his face is already on his hand, and so…
Ian: There might not be anything, it could just be nothing! Like when they took away the mouth on the first Matrix.
Ali: What would be some of the advice you would give to people aspiring to be voice actors?
Ian: I’m just debating whether I should give funny or practical answers…
Ali: You could do both?
Ian: The practical answer is…learn to manage your money well because it’s a feast or famine industry and understand that roles come in waves. Will help you emotionally handle the downtimes that will inevitably come and must come for everybody no matter who you are.
Ali: That’s really good
Ian: It’s all waves, like even if you’re the most famous castperson. Next season you won’t be because you were just in everything and the directors don’t want to be like Tim Burton with Johnny Depp, like you can’t have the same lead every time. So it will be some cycles and you will go through different stuff. A lot of different stages in your career and understanding it will come in waves.
Ali: But, if you’re that good at your job and that means you’re in everything, you can change your voice to sound differently for the characters…? Right? Essentially.
Ian: That would be a smart way to handle it. That’s why I do as wide a range as possible for that very reason.
Ali: I guess my last question would be would you rather be a superhero like in My Hero Academia or would you rather be a pirate like Brook?
Ian: Are we talking devil fruit pirates?
Ian: Is it my specific devil fruit?
Ali: You can pick whichever one you want
Ian: And does it have to be My Hero or can it be X-Men mutant? Where rules are slightly different…
Ali: I mean they’re kind of the same, they all have powers. They’re all born with it.
Ian: I have been an X-Men fan since I was a kid, so I’m gonna say superhero but I do love, I’m a water sign, and I do love being on the water.
Ali: Well your superpower can be like water or something.
Ian: I could be a water bender, that would be pretty cool. An elemental.
Ali: You could still dress up like a pirate, I mean there’s a whale in My Hero (Academia) who runs around saving people.
Ian: See? I’m going to be a superhero pirate then.
Thank you so much to Ian Sinclair for sitting down with us for this fun filled interview! If you want to check out what he’s up to, or any anime he has coming up, you can follow him on his Twitter!
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