Imagen: @Eiichiro Oda / Shueisha / Toei Animation
With its manga counterpart surpassing 1,000 chapters and a live-action Netflix series, One Piece, one of the oldest shonen series in anime, will make franchise history this week with the premiere of its 1000th episode. Historic episode will air on Funimation and Crunchyroll on November 20.
It has been 22 years since Monkey D. Luffy and his Straw Hat pirates first appeared on Japanese television screens in October 1999 and embarked on their journey to find the sacred treasure of the legendary pirate Gol D. Roger. , the only piece. Before the premiere, Kotaku spoke with three of One Piece’s English voice actors, Eric Vale, Mike McFarland, and Colleen Clinkenbeard.
read more: I just read 1,025 chapters of One Piece, and it’s a fucking masterpiece
Although there is excitement in the air, reaching such a milestone did not come without its difficulties. Vocal burnout is a common problem among English voice actors, especially considering character styles and how long they’ve been at it.
As Clinkenbeard’s battle hardened lungs can confirm, his character Luffy has a gruff tone, more than was initially assumed. Playing Luffy hurts enough to warrant an exam. When the One Piece dubbing returned in 2020 after a brief hiatus, Clinkenbeard underwent a laryngoscopy to check his vocal health. He surprised his doctor with how his vocal cords tightened after they couldn’t resist asking him to “do the voice.”
“I think that makes a difference [Luffy] of many other boy voices that I play, because he is so completely who he is. There is no nonsense about it. He is that character. It hurts, but it’s also worth it, ”he said.
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And getting that perfect voice wasn’t just a question for Clinkenbeard. For Vale, achieving the perfect shade for the chain-smoking Straw Hat chef for years was apparently based on morning breath.
“We settled on Mike’s idea of my character’s voice being my morning voice. That squeaky, horrible, smoky voice that everyone wakes up to in the morning before brushing their teeth is where [Sanji’s] the voice sits down, ”he said.
As an automated dialogue replacement director for One Piece and a voice actor for Buggy, McFarland needed to find the ideal clown-to-pirate ratio for the character.
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McFarland found his clown-to-pirate ratio through the influence of his character’s artwork, the accompanying music, and the strong vocal performance of his Japanese counterpart, Shigeru Chiba.
Being seasoned veterans of the show, whatever pain the three voice actors went through in bringing their characters to life has proven to be more than valuable in the long run.
“As an actor, many times when you are thrown into a booth, you are trying to do justice to what you are seeing in the original Japanese. Part of the process is saying, ‘Okay, so why am I doing that? Should I be happy about it? Should I manipulate myself with that? And I don’t have those questions with Luffy. I just know him, ”Clinkenbeard said.
And whether his character speaks softly or at the top of his lungs, a close guarantee with the Star Clown Warlord of the Sea, McFarland says he makes conscious decisions about every detail of his voice acting, even in the episode. 1,000.
“Instead of just touching all the technical aspects … everything should sound like this is a real world where everything is happening and it doesn’t have to be less than that,” he said.
Part of dubbing One Piece for so long means ensuring that the foundation laid by the original Japanese voice actor’s performances and the spirit of his original material are preserved.
A thousand episodes is daunting not only for those who work on the show, but for viewers as well. One question actors often get at conventions is how newcomers should begin the unenviable task of starting One Piece. Movies can be a good starting point rather than reviewing all 1,000 episodes, Vale and McFarland recommend.
«I think those are a great place to jump in and find out what’s going on in a little summary [movie] where you are not only seeing the first 30 [episodes]”, Dijo McFarland.
Vale tells people who are intimidated by the sheer number of episodes not to watch them all at once, if that’s possible. Perhaps instead start with just one.
“You never watch a thousand episodes at once. You are only watching the episode you are watching. So sit back [and] Look. If you like it, there will be another one, ”he said.
Clinkenbeard also cautions against watching the series compulsively. One Piece is not about fate, he says. It is the journey. Clinkenbeard compared the task to eating a whale, one bite at a time.
“Don’t try to rush through it. The worst thing you can do is try to catch up because that means you’re not enjoying the ride, “he said. “Also, Luffy would be quite mad at people who want to make it to the end rather than have fun on their journey. Just enjoy one episode at a time and don’t expect to get anywhere with it. That’s not the point. The point is to enjoy it.