Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Maile Flanagan Still Doesn't Really Watch Anime Even After Voicing Naruto For Decades

Generally speaking, when one is a voice actor, it is common for the professional to have some sort of personal interest in the genre they lend their voice for. However, that is not always necessarily the case.

With all the years of acting in the "Naruto" franchise as its most prominent — and titular — character, be it the series, the movies, or the games, one would think that Maile Flanagan had anime as a bigger part of her life outside of her career. There is no question that Naruto, a role she has been portraying for some two decades now, has a huge, noteworthy mark on her resume. Of course, Flanagan has a special spot in her heart for the blond knuckle-headed ninja and his comrades, with certain moments sticking out to her as the most memorable like the fan-favorite Pain Arc, the first fight with Sasuke, the Chūnin Selection Exams, and meeting Sai for the first time (via VIZ Media). However, that does not mean anime as a whole gets a lot of attention from the voice actress in her private day-to-day life.

Naruto is a big part of Flanagan's life, but anime still isn't

In an interview conducted by Crunchyroll's Briana Lawrence during the fall of 2022, Maile Flanagan was quite honest and outspoken about her personal relationship with anime, which, according to her is not as close as one would reckon. "Full disclosure, I don't watch anime," she confessed "I watch Naruto when it's on. I don't have a lot of time for it. I wasn't an anime fan. I didn't know anything about anime till Naruto. Now I know a lot about it and I don't tend to watch it."

This fact does not make Flanagan any less worthy of voicing such an iconic anime character. The talented actress fully understands what sets "Naruto" apart from other anime and has always honored that. Furthermore, judging by fans' warm opinions expressed online, such as in this Reddit post, it can be argued that it is nearly impossible to picture any other English-speaking voice breathing life into the series' tenacious protagonist. The actor never failed to put the right level of energy into the boy who goes from zero to hero and who taught her to never give up

In her own words in the aforementioned interview, it is not possible to not let oneself feel the emotional highs and lows of this epic rollercoaster. "Even if it's just us using whatever skills we have or tricks, we definitely feel it," Flanagan said. "I think that's what resonates. I think that's why there's so much longevity, and why it's so popular." Indeed, there is no Naruto fan who watched either the dub or sub and failed to feel all the dedication and sentiment expressed by the actors, regardless of whether these professionals watch anime in their free time or not.