AKIRA Exclusive: Tetsuo Voice Actor Joshua Seth Discusses The English Version Of The Classic Film
We recently spoke with several members of the Digi-destined in support of Digimon: Last Evolution Kizuna, and when talking to Tai actor Joshua Seth we learned about his role as Tetsuo in Akira. Read on!
When it comes to anime films, Akira is without a doubt one of the most iconic and acclaimed releases of the past three decades. While there have been numerous popular anime films and series since then, Akira remains one of the most beloved, with a live-action version in the works at Warner Bros. since 2002.
During our chats with the English Digi-destined voice actors from the Digimon franchise to support the new film, Last Evolution Kizuna, we got the incredible opportunity to speak with actor Joshua Seth, who provides the voice of Tetsuo in the English-language version.
Joshua may be best known for voicing Tai from Digimon for over twenty years, but Akira is what got him involved with acting in the first place. We got to ask him about his experience filming the English version and much more.
To hear our chat with Tai and Tetsuo voice actor Joshua Seth click the podcast player below. Otherwise, scroll down for the Akira portion of the transcript!
25m 28s Literary Joe: I have to ask you some stuff about Akira.
25m 35s Joshua Seth: Akira is the thing that got me into voiceovers.
26m 9s Literary Joe: What can you tell me about how you initially got into that? How did you make such a huge thing happen out of the gate?
26m 0s Joshua Seth: It landed in my lap. And I was ready because I prepared myself. There was no reason to believe that would ever occur. Let me unpack that for a second. When I went to college, I went to a film TV radio program in New York, as I mentioned, and I saw Akira's original release in an art-house theater in Manhattan.
And I had no aspirations to be a voice actor when I went in to see Akira. But when I came out, I thought, "this is the future of animation. And I would love to be involved". I already had that radio show in New York, and I got the agent in Hollywood as a result of cutting down my work in there. The reason I even applied for an agent was because of Akira.
Now I wasn't that young because I'd already been in LA for seven years, kicking around doing voice acting here and there, but I hadn't become known to the wider public yet. I was known to the casting directors because I did one episode of Hey Arnold, one episode of Totally Spies, one episode of all of these like Nickelodeon and Disney commercials. Sponge Bob was later.
The casting director knew who I was. So Kevin Seymour was casting this, and he called me up out of the blue one day. I didn't even audition for that. And he said, "Hey, Pioneer just gave us a million bucks to redo Akira with a better script that makes more sense than the original streamlined version. And we would like you to play Tetsuo if you're interested". And I'm like, "If I'm interested?!" Because he didn't know that I knew what Akira was. This is the reason I became a voice actor, and now it has come full circle.
So the inspiration, though, what is the lesson of that story? The lesson is to believe in yourself and doesn't just believe in your dreams in some amorphous non-physical way; believe in yourself and your dreams enough to do something about them. Train yourself and prepare yourself so that when the opportunity presents itself, you are prepared. That's what luck is. Opportunity and preparation meeting at that lucky moment so you can take advantage of it because otherwise, I wouldn't have gone anywhere.
29m 11s Literary Joe: The first episode of Rick and Morty season four has a huge Akira reference.
29m 17s Joshua Seth: I'll watch it with headphones on. I know the South park reference to Akira. They did an episode that referred heavily to it as well. And of course, the Matrix was the first to imitate Akira in terms of its premise, which Matrix is one of my favorite movies. It's so deep, just from a philosophical level, as well as an entertainment level.
29m 44s Literary Joe: Can you say anything about the lighting in Akira? As far as the animation goes, is there anything that you can mention about it?
30m 7s Joshua Seth: The animation in Akira is beautiful. At the beginning of Kizuna, I was thinking of Akira for a moment because they are playing, I believe its Rebels Balero in the beginning, and there's a scene where they show the twinkling lights of the city at night. And it made me think of that animation from Akira. Akira is more than 28 years ago now, and it's a different world in terms of the level of craftsmanship and detail presented. I had nothing to do with that side of production or the lighting, so I can't speak to it. But Pioneer put their money where their mouth was in terms of reinventing it for the new release. I know it was for the scripting, the voice acting, and the music and effects. But, I do know that they cleaned up the print as well. And that's why we still have it today, and it ages so well.
*This interview has been edited for clarity. Sister sites writer Comic Brooks co-hosts audio.*
Tai is now a university student, living alone, working hard at school, and working every day, but his future is still undecided. Meanwhile, Matt and others continue to work on Digimon incidents and activities that help people with their partner Digimon. When an unprecedented phenomenon occurs, the DigiDestined discover that their relationship with their partner Digimon will come closer to an end when they grow up.
As a countdown timer activates on the Digivice, they realize that the more they fight with their partner Digimon, the faster their bond breaks. Will they fight for others and lose their partner? The time to choose and decide is approaching fast. There is a short time before "chosen children" will become adults. This is the last adventure of Tai and Agumon.
Digimon: Last Evolution Kizuna is now available on both Digital and Blu-Ray/DVD!