Some of you might be familiar with the name Monica Rial, or at least you would know her voice if you heard it (which most of you have at one point). Rial is a staple for many popular anime, such as the voice of Bulma from all of Dragon Ball, and well known for Froppy in My Hero Academia (plus countless others). Monica was amazing enough to let me interview her and pick her brain about voice acting, thank you again Monica!
- Ali: How did you get into voice acting?
Monica: I’ve been an actor since I was 12 years old and I’ve loved participating in all aspects of acting but voice acting didn’t enter my life until college. One of my colleagues had been working for a company called ADV Films and he suggested I audition as well. He gave me their contact info, I scheduled an audition, and the rest is history.
- A: Who would you say was the most challenging character to voice? Why? And which would you say was easiest?
M: The most challenging character I’ve ever voiced was Kirika Yuumura in Noir. She was incredibly soft spoken and yet I had to convey so much emotion with each line. It was very challenging to make one “Uh-huh” sound different than the next. There are some roles that are more physically taxing like Mereleona in Black Clover or Mey-Rin in Black Butler but Kirika was the most difficult from an acting perspective. As far as the easiest role, I’d say that Tamayo in Angelic Layer was the easiest just because she was so much like me that I didn’t have to work too hard in the booth.
- A: You voice so many of the most popular and beloved women in anime, do you have a favorite you’ve voiced?
M: Everyone asks me that and it’s a fair question. I’d probably ask the same. To be honest, I can’t pick a favorite. As you said, I have really been blessed when it comes to the characters I’ve had the opportunity to voice in anime. I mean how do you pick between Bulma and Froppy? Or Tsubaki and Mereleona? I don’t know about you but I can’t choose!
- A: Are you excited or looking forward to any upcoming projects/ anime seasons? One’s that you can’t wait for fans to see?
M: There’s a lot I’m excited about but unfortunately I can’t talk about much. That’s just the nature of the entertainment industry. I can talk about the new Dragon Ball movie! I was lucky enough to go to NYCC for the panel and it was awesome to see everyone so excited. There are a few second seasons of anime that may be coming up in the future that I’m looking forward to as well. The Tales of Luminaria game is ongoing and I adore my character LaPlace. Oh! And if you haven’t seen the new season of Gen:LOCK yet it’s available on HBOMax!
A: Do you enjoy doing long anime series? Like with Dragon Ball Z (and all it’s many spin offs) and My Hero Academia, in both you have voiced characters we constantly see throughout the series. Or do you like doing shorter series/projects?
M: I tend to prefer the long running series because they give you the opportunity to get to know your character better than say, a 12 episode series. I feel much more connected to characters like Froppy, Bulma, and Mirajane than I do characters I’ve played in shorter series. I have no problem working on shorter series but I prefer the character connection and job security that comes with longer running shows.
- A: How do you prepare and get into characters that you voice? Do you have a process?
M: Honestly, it depends on the character. I always warm up my voice before I begin. It’s so incredibly important to be warmed up before you start working so you don’t damage your voice. I usually run through a few basic exercises and then I’ll sing along to songs that remind me of the character. If it’s a tricky voice, I’ll sing everything in that character’s voice. If I have the time and the show is available, I’ll try to watch the episode we’re recording before I get in the booth. It can help things run more smoothly in session.
- A: Are there any series, like Yona of the Dawn, that you would like to revisit in voicing to finish up the series?
M: I would LOVE more Yona of the Dawn. What a fantastic show. I love that the story came full circle but I want to know more! That’s true of a lot of shows though. There are so many I would love to revisit that I can’t even name them all.
A: Is there a character that you voice that you would love for fans to know more about? Maybe taking center stage in an arc or having a bigger part in any movies or seasons?
M: I would love for fans to know more about Tsuyu! I think it’s great that she’s gotten some extra episodes but I’d love for fans to see more of her. (And I would love that too.) Bulma has really grown into a powerhouse in the Dragon Ball universe but it would be fun to watch a day in her daily life, you know? Personally, I’d love to see more of Mirajane from Fairy Tail as well. She’s so strong and she has so many layers, I would love to see where it all takes her.
- A: What is some advice you would give to aspiring voice actors?
M: I always suggest 3 things to aspiring voice actors: 1) Study acting. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money but take classes, read, watch, learn as much as you can. There is important terminology you need to learn that will help you communicate with directors. 2) Take singing lessons. Even if you think you can’t carry a tune, trust me, it’ll help immensely. A singing instructor (or choir director) will teach you how to breathe from the diaphragm and how to control your instrument. 3) Take improv classes. This is especially important when working in anime and video games. You have to be able to create characters quickly. There have been many times I’ve gone to a studio not knowing what I’m working on, only to be shown an image, given a little background on the character, and then GO!
- A: Lastly, what quirk would you love to have?
M: I love to travel and I have family that lives far away so I’d want some kind of teleportation quirk. I’m sure there are folks who’d wanna fly, but I like to get places as fast as possible and preferably without getting windblown. 😉
A: Extra- where can fans follow you and see what you have coming up?
A: Thanks for your time Sophy!
M: Take care!
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