AnimeNEXT 2011: Vic Mignogna’s Q&A

The panel was well underway when I entered the room. As expected, Vic was surrounded by the usual throng of fangirls. Throng? No, more like his own private army…or harem. Harem of mostly underage, screaming, hormonal females. Its pure chaos really…but it’s also fun. Vic Mignogna knows how to cater to the fans and he knows what we want. At the same time, he holds his integrity in the public eye. It’s his sensitivity and honesty that beholds the fans. It also helps that he saids the cutest things.

When I got to the panel, Vic was saying that he will start recording for Pokemon on monday (6/13). Of course, (knowing the nature of his fans,) he asked that any character voice requests be limited to ones that don’t hurt his voice. “No Broly’s, no ‘kakarots’…no short rants, please.” (Later, I confirmed that that moment was actually the start of the Q&A portion of his panel…though I missed some info he was dishing out before. Recordings of the Bible that he did, cd info and the like…saying that he’ll give fans a kiss if they bought 6 of his cds…. Of course, then came the questions…which were more of requests. As a request, he did the line from the first Fullmetal Alchemist series….

    Vic: She is referring to a scene from Fullmetal that I often said that it was the first time I shed real life tears recording that show. You might be surprised that was not when Nina died, because I was still new to the show. But then a few episodes later, came the Barry the Chopper episode. And at the end of that episode, I was so moved. When Ed was doing the scene where he was telling Al, that when he really thought he was going to die, I was in tears in the booth. That was when I knew that this particular show was very, very special.

As usual, before he began the request, he asked everyone to close their eyes and “picture Ed’s cute face, not my old puffy hair face.” lol “Picture Ed sitting on the steps with Al.” Corny, but the imagery works.

The second request was pretty interesting. Turns out at Zenkaicon, a fan asked Vic to sing ‘Brajta’ with her, but she was so nervous at the time and I guess it didn’t go well. She asks that they try the duet again….

    Fan: Will it kill your voice? I’m sorry!
    Vic: I don’t have much left, I really don’t. But I’ll have to change keys. It will probably have to be much lower than it normally is.

The screaming fans were deafening (and encouraging) as Vic puts his arm around the girl so that they could share the mic. (Lucky Envy cosplayer!) The short duet was beautifully sweet. The next one is actually a gift…several in fact. Vic walked with the fan back to the middle ‘annoucing’ the contents.

    Vic: This present is a bazooka! ‘Here Vic, stand there and hold this target.’ Sweetie, what have you got?
    Fan: This book is by the Risembool Rangers.
    Vic: Oh my gosh, this is a big present. Ooooooooh! Show them!

The camera zooms in to reveal an actual book with fanart….

    Vic: Can you see these amazing drawings? This is beautiful! This is amazing. It’s from the DeviantArt Risembool Rangers. Thank you! *hugs fan* *putting the book down* Keep an eye on that, don’t let anyone steal it! *fan gives another gift* Oh…it’s little Fai! Adorable!

After the gift giving, then came some actual questions….

    Q: What is your favorite character to play as a voice actor?
    Vic: My favorite character to play…wow. Um, I used to say, ‘I could never pick one because I love so many.’ That was true for a long time. But then you know what happened? The final episodes of Brotherhood. Oh my gosh, when I finished recording the end of Brotherhood I was like, ‘Okay, I can’t stand it…I can’t resist anymore, I love Edward Elric so much!’ So, from now on I have to say Ed is my favorite. However…however, right behind Ed, right on his coattails at no. 2, is Tamaki. Because I love him so much.

    Q: Well, Vic. I’m going to ask you straight. What the hell were you thinking when you made that commerical. You know, the one about J-rock and ‘Girugamesh’!
    Vic: Well that is just an awesome question. Do you know what he is talking about? In a nutshell, very quickly, I was asked by Sakuracon in Seattle to make a commercial video for their upcoming convention. They gave a list of all the things they want in the commercial. And they decided that they will have a sushi bar, and they wanted people sitting at the sushi bar who represented a different thing at the convention that you could see. Some would be a cosplayer. Some would be a J-rocker, some would be ‘manga’, some would be the Japanese tea party. One was this guy that said ‘Girugamesh’, well, I don’t know why it caught on, but it became this crazy, viral thing where everyone was yelling ‘Girugamesh’ and doing videos about ‘Girugamesh’. I don’t really understand it. But hey, I got a great commercial for you to see.

I didn’t know what to expect as I am away from the central Vic-fan circuit…but I was overawed at the awesomeness of, ‘Todd Haberkorn…the doll!’ It even has his voices!

    Vic: So that is the Todd Haberkorn commercial that I talked about yesterday. Can you buy it? Yes, you can buy it! *fans start getting excited* Noooo, you can’t! Someday I’m going to put the one and only Todd Haberkorn doll on ebay and see what happens.

Before the next question, Vic got another gift from another fan….

    Vic: Oh lookie! *pause* *holds up a tiny doll* A life sized Edward! Thank you! He is so cute! I love him so much! (Me: Really, Vic..really? XD)

    Q: What is the funniest experience you ever had recording any anime? Bloopers? Mistakes?
    Vic: The funniest one ever?!? Oh my gosh, that would hard. There have been alot of crazy things that have happen. Wow…funny…. Let’s see…. You know what? This is so childish, I can’t believe I’m about to tell you this. We were recording a show. How many of you know, Air? Oh my gosh, what a beautiful show right? Beautiful! So, I was playing this character named, Yukito. Yukito is a homeless guy and he meets this girl named…oh my gosh, her name flew right out of my head. *fans scream the name* Yes, Misuzu. Anyway, we were recording Air and Yukito is asleep. Laying on the ground someplace. He gets up and starts to climb up this hill. And he sits down on this park bench. We were watching this scene, I don’t even know why I did this, but right when he sat down on the park bench, I went *makes farting sound* . And the director started laughing. And I started laughing. And then, we did the whole scene, where he was walking and I go *makes more farting sounds* And he is trying to fish something out of the river, and he started making up lines about him having this bean burrito…that he found in the river. That was why he was so gaseous. And that is why they call the show Air. (Me: *dies*) I know it’s lame, but we had laughed a long time about that.

Vic mentioned about saving time so he could show us something…though fans already know what it is. ^-^ As a public service annoucement, he also mentioned that this was NOT the ‘Power Rangers Panel’ with Robert Axelrod before moving on to the next question.

    Vic: Is it a good question? Is it a ‘jump up and down’ question?

Many people were jumping up and down, standing on chairs, waving sticks by the end of the panel…. But nope, it was a voice request…for Ed.

    Fan: Can you say in Ed’s voice ‘Who’re you callin’ a leprechaun?!’? It’s for my friend’s birthday.
    Vic: It’s for your birthday? ‘Who’re you callin’ a leprechaun?!’ You guys are so funny….

One girl in a super high voice said she was very excited to meet, Vic…which earned her a hug. ^_^ Then he show her off a bit to the awwws of the crowd before taking her request.

    Fan: Can you do a Tamaki line with me?
    Vic: What Tamaki line would you like?
    Fan: I was looking at some videos online, and your favorite one was when Haruhi brings commoner’s coffee.
    Vic: Yeah…do you know that line? Want to do it with me?

Vic took her to the front of the room.

    Vic: We’re going to perform a scene from Ouran Highschool Host Club for you!
    Fan: *beginning the line* I’m afraid if I drink this coffee, my father will yell at me….
    Vic: What if I let you drink it…. *pauses as fans scream* …from my mouth?

She had another line which was lost in the deafening of the squees of fainting fangirls. Vic’s expression was funny too as he knew full well the connotations of his words. ^_^

    Vic: All in good fun, all in good fun, parents. I always zero in on the adults in the room.

The next was another request.

    Fan: If I was a customer at the host club, can you treat me like how Tamaki would?
    Vic: *lower voice* Sabrina, oh my darling, Sabrina. If only I could find the words to tell you what the swell in my heart, the feelings that I have that I can’t contain anymore. You, my princess…. *Sabrina gives him a gift* Oh, thank you! Did you do this? Thank you, Sabrina! I love it! *serious voice* Why is Tamaki crying? You made Tamaki cry didn’t you! I’m kidding, this is beautiful, sweetie, thank you!

I can only assume the gift was fanart…. Then came more questions.

    Vic: I see a Yuki from Vampire Knight. Yuki, what is your question?
    Fan: I have two questions: first can I have a hug?
    Vic: Always! *hugs Yuki* How many of you guys have seen Vampire Knight? The rest of you… *deep voice* …why not? It’s a great, great show. You know my favorite part about being Zero was? Playing his brother Ichiru. What is your name? Alex? I have to tell you a funny story, Alex. When I was auditioning for Vampire Knight, I auditioned for Kaname and I auditioned for Aido and I auditioned for all these different characters. And I auditioned for Zero as well. The funny thing is, when I got the phone call from the director saying that I was going to be playing this character, I had this on voicemail. So listening to this voicemail, he saids, ‘Vic, I just want to let you know that you’ve been selected to play Zero and Ichiru for Vampire Knight. And I was like, *long pause of surprise* ‘…who the heck is Ichiru?’ I was like, ‘I’m playing Zero, but whose that other guy?’ And it was then that I found out that Zero has a twin brother. And you guys, for an actor, it’s like the most fun ever. To play characters that actually talk to each other and fight with each other and beat each other up, I loved it. So how many of you know-you may not know this-but the voice actor from Japan who played Zero also played Tamaki. His name is Mamoru Miyano. I’m talking to some friends of mine in Japan right now, we’re trying to get him to a conventoin with me. Would that be awesome? Because I’m this old American guy, and he’s this hot Japanese guy, so I kinda think we got the spectrum covered.

Then came the big moment. He was going to show, ‘Fullmetal Fantasy’, the liveaction fan production he did with the other voice actors. Vic went through this speech before, first about only showing this at cons and not wanting to put this online in any handcam format. The fans have respected his wishes. Now for the movie…. The long and short of it was that, Vic created a short movie after being inspired by the idea of cosplaying the characters. He started showing it at cons (in 2005,) but Funimation shortly put a stop to it since they didn’t want the Japanese company (Studio Bones) and creator upset from this. He stopped showing it for a few years until finally, he got permission to show it at cons with the instruction to let the Japanese company know when he will be screening it.

Of course, we loved it. I saw it at my first con, AnimeNEXT 2005 and then again at Otakon the same year. I’m happy see it again and again. I caught more details with my eyes and noticed two things during this screening: *semi spoiler warning*

    1. Everytime I watch this, I try to listen for Louis Armstrong’s line which was delivered in a deep voice. Impossible every time with all the screaming that comes up when he appears. XD
    2. This time (since I don’t think it happened before) there weren’t loud cheering when Mike McFarland (the ADR Director and voice for Havoc,) came on screen. Albiet, he wasn’t in his character cosplay and his scene was almost like a cameo. Strange though, I would think people would know his face. (He received screams before.)

The movie closed with ‘Ready Steady Go’ by L’Arc, one of the most popular OPs of the series and it was deafening with everyone sing. It was that awesome. Vic started talking about the making of part of the short movie, some of which I’ve heard before at other cons. Everyone was freezing throughout the rain scenes.

    Vic: We were taking a shot of homunculi walking towards Ed and they were all mean and ‘I’m going to kill you’ *starts strutting* and as soon as I said ‘Cut!’ they were all ‘Wahuhuuhuhuhuh’. *cries and cowers from the cold* They were like they were melting…poor homunculi. *sarcasm*

Something non-anime related…Vic talked about his newest projects.

    Vic: If any of you done your research about me on the internet, you’ll know that my great passion in life…is Star Trek. I’m not talking about the movie with the punk kids, I’m not talking about ‘Next Gen’ or ‘Deep Space 9’ or ‘Voyager’ or blah blah blah. I’m talking about the original series. I love the show! I want you to know this fall, I’m going to direct an episode for an online webseries called Starship Farragut so you guys can check them out and then, at some point very, very soon, we’re going to start a new series and I’ll be playing Captain Kirk. So, I gotta tell ya, I’m jazzed beyond words. So when people ask me, ‘Do you cosplay?’ I go ‘Yes, all the time.’ At Phoenix Comic con, guess who was there. Leonard Nimoy. Mr. Flippin’ Spock himself. The convention chairman said, ‘What do we need you to do to come to the convention, Vic?’ I said, ‘Do you know what you need to do? Let me introduce Leonard Nimoy at his Q&A session like this.’ So I’m like this only like 4 times this and I walked out in full Captain Kirk uniform. Because I’m a nerd. *fangirls go wild* Believe me, you’re in good company.

Time for more questions! (And hugs.)

    Q: Did you enjoy doing Broly in the Dragonball series?
    Vic: There is a Broly guy back there. You know what? I love Broly, but Broly didn’t love me. Yes, it was unrequited love, ladies and gentlemen. I loved Broly, but he was so hard on my voice. Oh my gosh, all of those kakarots and power ups and going super saiyan…poor, poor larynx. My larynx was gone.

    Q: When is the Fullmetal Alchemist movie coming out?
    Vic: I heard the Fullmetal Alchemist movie is going to be released in Japan in July. I expect that we’ll be doing it very, very soon after that. So you guys keep your eyes open. Did you see the trailer? There is a trailer online, you guys. It looks all steampunky and stuff. Very, very cool.

    Q: I was wondering did you enjoy working on Ouran?
    Vic: Yes, Ouran was one of my favorite shows to record. Because I fell in love with the show before the show was even licensed. Someone gave me a disc and they said ‘you should watch some of this.’ And I did and I thought it was the funniest thing ever. I just fell in love with Tamaki. Which you shouldn’t do, if you’re an actor. Don’t fall in love with the role before you get cast in that role. So I was dying to play Tamaki. I went in to audition and Caitlin said, ‘Okay, we know who you want to read for. Go ahead, do Tamaki.’ So I did my Tamaki audition and then you know what she said? ‘Do you want to audition for anybody else?’ *shocked cries* I was like ‘Noooo, I just wanna play Tamaki….’ *crying voice* ‘So I auditioned for the twins, I auditioned for Kyouya, but I wanted to play Tamaki. And so when she called me and told me that I was going to get to, it was one of the happiest moments in my voice acting career.

    Q: How was it like playing Kekkaishi?
    Vic: I’m glad you mentioned that! How many of you have been watching Kekkaishi? You’re not? *deep voice* WHY? *to the fan* Did you enjoy it? I loved Kekkaishi. There is a cosplayer here, where are you? Where is the Kekkaishi cosplayer? I saw her here and she has her own Madarao, her own spirit dog. It’s amazing. You know what? I love that show. I love Laura Bailey, she is amazing as Tokine. I have to tell you a funny story about Kekkaishi. If you have not seen it, my character has this spirit dog that floats alongside me. He doesn’t have any arms or legs. It’s just a dog with a body that flows to a point, so we started calling it a sperm dog. Now parents, that is a medical term. They heard it already in Biology. I would text Troy Baker, because he plays Madarao, the dog, and I would text him and I would say, ‘Hey man, I was just doing a recording session with you, sperm dog.’ I would record lines where I would call him sperm dog instead of Madarao and we would play those for Troy when he comes into the studio. He would text me, ‘Thanks alot. Sperm dog. Really funny.’ But I love Kekkaishi. It’s an awesome show.

Next came a sweet photo request which of course Vic obliged.

    Fan: I just want to get a picture of me giving you a hug because you’re one of the first people who got me into anime when I was closed minded and younger. And you really got me into drawing since I started drawing Fullmetal Alchemist art.

Vic made another announcement about the Production IG panel and of course his own autograph signing.

    Vic: As long as I can possibly hold out, I will stay there. I know they’re scheduled only an hour but…. Phht, forget that. I’ll stay as long as I can. *looks to the side* Staff giant saids I have 1 minutes left. *walks to Roy cosplayer*

    Q: While doing Brotherhood, did you find the discrepancies between the first Fullmetal and Brotherhood throw you off at all?
    Vic: That’s a great question. What’s your name? Let me tell you something, Patrick. *throws arm around Roy’s shoulders to the laughter of the fans* *fan screams increased as Roy hugs Vic* You know what? When we started work on Brotherhood, Patrick, I was kinda worried. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what if it’s not as good? You know? Because the first series was just so awesome. And we didn’t think we’ll have to do another series. And when we started, I was thinking, ‘Man, what if the music is not as good, what if the story is not as good? What if the characters aren’t as good? What if it just doesn’t turn out as good?’ And then within 3 or 4 episodes, I was so in love with Ed and Fullmetal all over again. And lots of people ask me, ‘Which one do you like better? The first one or Brotherhood?’ To me, in my mind, it’s all one Fullmetal adventure. Now, if you see it differently, that’s cool. But for me, in my mind, it’s just a huge adventure. And when I started Brotherhood, this is new cities and new characters that Ed is meeting and new places that he is going. But it’s still Ed and Al. And it’s just the further adventures of Fullmetal Alchemist. So I kinda see them altogether. I can never pick one series over another.

Walking back to the front of the room, Vic gave his final message (final…for now. ^.^)

    Vic: I want you to know how much I love you guys. And how grateful to God I am for the privledge to do what I do. I enjoy so much interacting with you guys. You know when you’re performing on stage, when you’re doing a stage play, there is an audience. And when you do something powerful, the audience will gasp. Or they’ll clap, or they’ll laugh. But when we do what we do, there is no audience. There is nobody there to give us any gauge of what we’re doing, whether it’s moving you or not. So to get to come to conventions and interact with you and find out that the stuff that we’ve done have moved you. Or help you get through a difficult time. Or encouraged you to pursue some talent that you have. Whatever it is, those moments and those experiences are priceless to me. I adore you guys and I pray God blesses all of you. I look forward to meeting you guys, hopefully at autographs if possible. And I’m glad you guys came, I hope you had fun. I love you!

Later I found out that Vic was signing for at least 3 hours. His autograph line was as long as the masquerade line that was around the same time…. Amazing….