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Gio's Note: This was a video compilation of conversations with the cast of the Utena movie. Ikuhara oversaw the American voice acting efforts and this video includes interviews with him, but being as it's primarily about the voice actors, it's in this section. This is pieced together material, and the people talking aren't talking to each other.

Behind the Making of the English Dub with Kunihiko Ikuhara

Interviewer: The first thing I'd like ask if you, if I may, what words would of advice would you give to first time viewers of Utena?

Ikuhara: This movie is very different from any other Japanese animation. I don't want people to watch this movie with any prejudice.

Mandy Bonhomme (Juri): I think the Utena movie is really amazing and visual dazzling and very surreal, and amazing animation, great visuals, and really excellent directing.

Sharon Becker (Anthy): Movie Anthy is totally different from TV series Anthy because the script is so condensed.

Tony Salerno (ADR Director): What I really like about Utena is the fact tha t it's very interpretive, the fact that it's highly, obviously, highly metaphorical.

Rachael Lillis (Utena): (Something something) ..hey Anthy, let's get out of here, and that's when she turns into a car (laugh).

Salerno: I saw it as people trying to get over their whatever, emotional, mental hurt-ons I think. And everyone seems to have their own kind of, little demons, or little backstory that is fucked up. Miki does, and Touga obviously does, Juri obviously does, and they're all obviously connected in some real world event somehow. And I kinda took it more as metaphorical.

Lillis: I think the movie's much more holistic about it than the TV series. I remember, there were different colors of roses, the white, the orange…

Ikuhara: For Utena, at this point, she doesn't need to know the significance of the roses. The audience will know the symbolism of the roses. For Utena, they are just roses.

Ikuhara: I can't tell which is better (relating to a discussion of how to voice Utena and Anthy's introduction). The main difference between dubbing in Japan and dubbing here is that in Japan we get all the voice actors together at once, and here they are recorded one at a time.

Salerno: Putting the show together is kind of like putting the brick wall together, but putting the bricks in different places that you're starting at.

Bonhomme: Working in the studio alone is definitely a unique experience.

Salerno: What's interesting is that as we go along, certain bricks fall. And we realize that okay, we've gotta go back and replace that brick, or maybe we need to rearrange all the bricks!

Bonhomme: It's really nice collaborating, and I love working with Tony.

Salerno: That's when you create the best stuff, is when people are just kind of …once we get into the flow of the story and everyone's feeling comfortable, great things come up. And if I think I can think of it all, and not use the actors and the engineer, we're all together mulling over this idea and molding it into something.

Becker: Well playing Anthy, after being away from the series for a year, a year and a half, or however long it's been…I don't find it difficult to find the voice because every time I look at the script, and see the video, it immediately pops back into my mind, because she so specific, and she's such a specific character. It's a tight script, it's good, the music is still really good. It was a little disappointing, because coming off 13 episodes of Revolutionary Girl, you know, I felt kind of attached, and I don't like anything being condensed. To prepare for a session like this, when I'm at home running around with curlers in my hair, I do some resonation exercises. Nasal resonators, chest resonators, cranial resonators.

Salerno: I don't know, I'm not really sure if I'm a perfectionist. Perfectionist to me makes think anal.

Bonhomme: Oh, I love playing Juri, she's my favorite character.

Ikuhara: In this scene, it may look like Utena is pushing Juri out, but it is important that Juri is confident. She should not make weaker defensive voices.

Salerno: Working with Mr. Ikuhara was really exciting, he has definitely a laid back style in terms of his involvement in the dub. He kind of really let us kind of feel out the show.

(Between Salerno and Lillis concerning the prince and climax.)

Salerno: It began when the price shows up again, and it's like..

Lillis: He's the last obstacle…

Salerno: Yeah he's the last obstacle, and he was the first obstacle, he was what started everything. So he's like no. And like all the cars, and the things coming after you, I think are just all things that are tying you to this whatever, this closed world. The whole thing about there being no roads at the end, and it's like, that's what life is like, you have to make your own choices, there's no actual path.

Ikuhara: The location of the story is such a closed world. It was my intention to show no time keeping devices. I didn't want the characters to have any references to any normal sense of time.

Salerno: In terms of their interpretation, overall it was pretty much left to the actors. And that's why I love actors.

Bonhomme: I just feel like once I get into it and start doing the lines, I get into this zone. Once you get into it, it's…you just get into it.

Ikuhara: For me, it is easy to explain these images, but I don't want to do it. If I explain it everyone will believe that is the only interpretation. I want people to know there are many, many possibilities to find for themselves.

Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) is © Kunihiko Ikuhara, Chiho Saito, Shogakukan and bePapas/TV Tokyo and/or their respective copyright holders. The US release of the Revolutionary Girl Utena series and movie was © Central Park Media and now belongs to Right Stuf. The US release of the Utena manga is © VIZ. The various sources used in this site are noted where their content is presented. Don't sue us, seriously. Blood. Stone.