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Naruto Voice Actor Maile Flanagan Freaked Out When Googling The Show After Her Audition

For viewers interested in preserving the voice acting performances with which Japanese anime series are originally produced, English dubs may simply never factor into routine viewing. Of course, plenty of English-speaking anime fans prefer to listen to dialogue without the need for reading subtitles, hence a sizable English-language anime voice-acting industry persisting to this day.

As with numerous dubbed anime series, the shonen mega-hit "Naruto" features performances by both Hollywood celebrities and names unfamiliar to the general public whose biggest successes lie exclusively within the world of voice acting. For instance, geek culture superstar Wil Wheaton voiced two "Naruto" characters between the mainline series and the non-canonical "Naruto Shippuden the Movie." Meanwhile, the English voice of Naruto himself is Maile Flanagan, whose filmography consists predominantly of voice acting credits.

Over the course of her time working on Naruto, Flanagan has shared plenty of insight into her developing relationship with the protagonist she voices. For instance, Flanagan imbued adult Naruto with added emotional maturity upon his introduction in the "Naruto" sequel series "Boruto." While she's since come to gain this close understanding of her character by merit of the sheer number of hours she's spent voicing him, she revealed in an interview that just after first landing the role, she freaked out after Googling what her new job might entail.

Maile Flanagan only found out about Naruto's breadth after landing a job on the show

In a joint conversation with Maile Flanagan, Yuri Lowenthal, and Tara Platt — who voice Naruto, Sasuke, and Temari respectively in the English "Naruto" dub — an interviewer for Australian anime and manga distributor Madman Anime asked how each voice actor first landed their role on the ninja action anime. Flanagan replied that she found out about the gig through a routine audition, leading her to perform her take on Naruto for a panel of higher-ups that ultimately decided she was the right performer for the job.

After recounting the story of this process, Flanagan added that afterward, she was surprised to find out just what working on "Naruto" would entail. "I went home and Googled it, and then I freaked out," she said.

While she didn't elaborate on exactly why she freaked out about joining the "Naruto" universe, Lowenthal and Platt immediately responded with knowing laughter. Furthermore, Platt shared that, only after she was cast for the role of Temari did she learn of the sheer breadth of "Naruto" as a franchise. Presumably, then, Flanagan's freak-out was similarly driven by the fact that "Naruto" is a gargantuan series, and would require an especially extensive commitment from the voice actor of its titular character.