Naruto's Junko Takeuchi On The Difference Between Voicing And Dubbing Roles

Anime fans should already be familiar with the talents of voice actor Junko Takeuchi. After all, she's voiced some genuinely remarkable characters. Among her numerous credits includes Mokuba Kaiba in "Yu-Gi-Oh!" and Gon Freecss in "Hunter X Hunter," just to name a few. But for many, Takeuchi is perhaps best known for supplying the voice of everyone's favorite orange-wearing ninja. Takeuchi has acted as Naruto Uzumaki for multiple decades, with her latest work with the character currently in "Boruto: Naruto Next Generations."  Sticking with a long series like "Naruto" probably greatly added to Takeuchi's already stacked voice-acting career. However, along with voicing iconic characters, her work also included dubbing roles for live-action films and TV shows. And in an older interview with Anime News Network, she explained how different dubbing performances can be compared to voicing anime.

"In anime, I often have to shout out my attack moves. When I dub live-action films or TV shows, I'm dealing with 'real-life people' with more real emotions, so there is a subtle and yet not-so-subtle difference between doing that and animated characters," Takeuchi said in the interview. "If I had to draw an analogy, it would be like if I were doing theater, and it would be the difference between acting in a Shakespearean production as opposed to a modern production." 

Takeuchi's analogy definitely highlights the stark contrast between anime voicing and dubbing live-action roles. Both performances essentially have their own unique rules and expectations to meet. However, Takeuchi's particular take also highlights a background in theater, which got her into voice acting.

Junko Takeuchi broke into voice acting through theater

While some voice actors directly break into the industry because it's their lifelong goal, for others, voice acting opens up because of other avenues. This was the case for Junko Takeuchi, as she noted in her interview with Anime News Network that her start in entertainment actually began on the stage in front of audiences. She was more focused on theater acting when she initially began. However, she further added in the interview that through her work in theater, voice acting unexpectedly appeared as an opportunity to pursue.

In another interview with Crunchyroll, Takeuchi revealed that it was thanks to audiences at her theater shows that she even considered voice acting. She told Crunchyroll, "After the performance, we'd get these comment cards back from the audience, and a lot of people would write things like, 'You'd make a great voice actress!' Or 'Have you thought about getting into voice acting?'" Takeuchi continued to explain that, as luck would have it, a casting director came to one of her shows and got audition tapes from her and her troupe. The rest is anime history, and Takeuchi eventually voiced characters that likely served as the soundtrack to many folks' childhoods. Sometimes we never really know how positive feedback can impact a person's life.