I interviewed Voice Actor legend Veronica Taylor at Film Comic Con Bournemouth. Veronica is most known for voicing our childhood hero Ash Ketchum from Pokemon. She reveals what it is like to play our favourite Pokemon master…
How did you get into voice acting?
Well, I have always been an actor, I did my first play when I was five. I later went to college then grad school for acting. I’ve toured the US with all different acting companies, so basically I have always been an actor! To do specific cartoons I was recommended for a job of which I was cast and then I was recommended for other roles along the way, so in a sense I fell into that. Although I had done a lot of voice related work anyway outside of cartoons before that.
I auditioned for it. I was working on another anime at the time called Slayers, and the company who was producing Slayers were doing Pokemon so they called me in. so that was just lucky I was in the right place at the right time.
You voiced Ash for eight years in Pokemon, was you disappointed when they re-cast you?
Yes, we were all replaced. I was incredibly disappointed, and still am actually. I loved working on Pokemon so much and all of the people working on it really invested themselves and put 100% into it. We really just found out we were essentially fired, that was a tough thing to get over and I certainly miss the show but I had eight good years – so that’s not bad!
Right, a lot of people are re-watching the earlier episodes, going back to the beginning of Pokemon. It’s a pretty cool thing to see people who watched the show when they were growing up now bringing their kids, or nieces and nephews along after introducing them to the show too. Its extraordinary really, its amazing to me how one can go to work and do their job and you never know how far-reaching a word can be let alone our work and I think that applies to all of us. No matter what we do you never know who that will touch and this is an extraordinary example of generations of people coming up.
Did you have any idea how big Pokemon would be?
No, definitely not. I don’t think anyone did really. We didn’t even believe that it was going to be on TV. When they said “Oh yea this show will be on TV”, we said “oh, we’ll see about that”. I had done a lot of anime which had gone straight to video. I don’t think anyone had any idea, especially that it would be this long-lasting.
My favourite is the first episode, we did that a few times actually but I loved that all of us, both actors and audience, were just figuring out what Pokemon was and that gateway if you will, to Pokemon, it was just amazing! It was something we had never seen before and that’s why its my favourite episode and from there it just gets better and better.
Do you have a favourite Pokemon?
You know there ten years old, so I do not! I really can’t imagine either of them really wanting to date anyone else, maybe a crush. Misty is a little more mature than Ash but other than that I can’t even imagine and Ash is so focused on his goals, I don’ t think he is thinking about girls!
The show was on for so long and Ash never seems to age, do you wish the show had developed and showed his growth?
No, not at all. I think he matures anyway, as we all do in life, regardless of when our birthdays fall. But I think ultimately Ash is like the ten year old inside all of us that never ages. When we were ten everything is possible and Ash symbolises that, we go on that journey with him where anything is possible. From friendship to personal goals, we figure how to work out and not step on other people or be mean but instead work together and achieve what you set out to achieve. The symbol of that along with his age is stronger than if every year he got older. That’s another reason we can all come back to the show at any point and hop back on to the journey, so no I don’t mind that he stays ten.
You’ve been travelling round quite a few conventions recently, especially in the UK, do you have any favourite sites?
Oh My Gosh, my daughter and I were in Glasgow last week and now Bournemouth. In-between we went up to Lochness, Edinburgh, Stonehenge and London to see a play at the Globe Theatre. I mean its incredible what we’ve been able to squeeze in a week. Its all been amazing, we hope to write it down and maybe blog a little bit about it to share some of the experiences that we’ve had.
What is it like being at school and having your mum as Ash Ketchum?
When you are at school, its kind of regular none of my friends really care what my mum does. If I tell them when they ask some of them are like “oh cool”, others don’t really care. It hasn’t been a big deal, no one really is super psyched about.
Do you think you will follow in your mum’s footsteps and go into voice acting?
Reena: I’ve done a few things here and there, so maybe, maybe not but I am definitely going towards something in the arts – we’ll see!
Veronica: University starts next year so we have a year to start looking around and Reena can fine tune what she’s interested in. The world is open!
Is it ever surreal for you to see all these people come up to your mum at conventions?
Reena: Well we have been doing these for a really long time, so its kind of normal for me. I think it just really makes me appreciate what my mum does. I never get weirded out or bored. It’s great to meet new people and travel around; It’s always a new experience.
Veronica: It’s neat to find out how similar people are, no matter where they are from; the stories are similar and what they love are similar. It’s extraordinary to see how the world is much smaller than you think it is!
Thanks for the interview, I wish you both the best and hope to see you soon at another convention! Follow Veronica Taylor on Twitter @@