Anime voice actress’ Cristina Vee and Christine Marie Cabanos ventured London for the first time, adamant to follow and retrace the steps of their characters Mio and Azuna, who visited our capital city in K-ON the Movie 2! Rebecca Moriarty caught up with the pair for a spot of tea and a British fry up!
The pair first met at Anime Expo in 2007, already avid anime fans and cosplayers. Since then they have worked on a range of anime and gaming titles. From Madoka to Homura, Squid Girl to Nigasa and Mio and Azuna; it is easy to see why the pair are constantly cast as friends in anime, their chemistry in anime is just as clear off camera; laughing, giggling and talking to each other in character; “Apparently our voices are compatible” Cabanos quipped. The pair revealed they often audition for the same roles but it never gets competitive, “We just hope that we will both be cast in the same series so that we can work together again”, Vee explained.
As she continues to speak about her time on Madoka, Cabanos dares to order some black pudding and bubble and squeak from the menu, “I can imagine it squeaking!”. The familiarity and comfortableness between the pair is enchanting . “She hates all the food I love” says Vee, who looks disgusted at her friends daring food choices.
At the time of this interview the pair had just recently finished dubbing the third and final Puella Magi Madoka Magica movie, Rebellion. The revolutionary magical girl anime with a dark twist proved an emotional experience. Vee looks back, “Homura has come so far, she started off as a shy, clumsy girl and become this monotone girl, than violent. Then the ending changes everything”. The closeness between Vee’s character Homura and Cabanos’s character Madoka has left fans online speculating whether Homura’s feelings are purely friendship or something more. Vee says, “I think people are trying to justify Homura’s actions by saying that its love, but really no one knows what that character has been through and the emotions that she is capable of. I think she just has a really strong bond with Madoka” Cabanos agreed, “I think its difficult to say, they could just have a super strong friendship..it doesn’t feel like its romantic love”.
Although voice actors record in the booth alone, they can hear other characters pre-recorded lines in playbacks. When producing PMMM Vee revealed she would always request to record last so she could hear Cabanos’ voice in playbacks, sometimes forgetting it was Madoka speaking but Cabanos herself, especially as the voice for Madoka is very similar to her natural voice.
Observing their close friendship I was keen to know if there was any other voice actors they liked working with, many names were mentioned including Cassandra Lee and Erica Mendez for their talent, and fun sweet personalities to be around. Cabanos told me about how the voice actors liked to have a special thanksgiving event together which sounded amazing! Can you imagine all your favourite characters around one dinner table…
Not unlike their characters in K-On the pair both have a keen passion for music, passionately expressing an interest to one day venture from outside the voice acting booth onto Broadway! Before establishing a career as an established voice actress, Cristina was known for her fan dubs and YouTube covers notably Bad Apple (Touhou Project game – Lotus Land Story). Vee has revealed plans of an album featuring original songs, including humorous titles such: party corgi (Cristina talked fondly of her pet corgi, who she will often bring with her to local cons but sadly couldn’t bring to London Anime Gaming Con). Vee promises some fun silly videos to accompany her upcoming album! Meanwhile Cabanos is in a band working on some tracks.
The pair have voiced in video games not just our favourite animes, explaining the main difference is the dubbing is a faster process, the actors do not often get to see what the character will look like, meaning they can’t see the characters mannerisms or movements. This can sometimes prevent developing a character as much as an anime one. Cabanos favourite video game character is Marie Rose from DOA, and anime wise Mako (Kill La Kill) was a firm favourite. Vee was fond of her work on BlazBlue and is a big Sailor Mars fan. Vee noted that in her experience video games seem to have a bigger reach, likely due to being more accessible.
The pair have many future projects in the works, check their social media regularly to find out their latest roles. Keep updated via Twitter Cristina Vee: @CristinaVee Christine Cabanos: @ChristineMCVA