Interview No. 34
Interview By: @Ryanson
Abridged series have their ups and downs -- for every horribly done one, there's a fantastically original and successful one. Sailor Moon Abridged is one of the latter. Funny, creative, and pretty much a blast to everyone who watches it. Nostalgia helps, too.
Megami33 isn't the only one behind the curtains of this beast (beast!) of a series, but she's doubtless the one you'll remember; she is the editor, one of the co-writers, and the voice for both Sailor Moon and Luna (among others). She's also quite active in other parts of the online/anime community, doing voice-overs and singing for fandubs, going to various conventions, and just goofing off with her friends on web-cam.
Also, she's willing to take the time out to let a nerd like me interview her. Yeeeaaaah boooyyyy. She was very pleasant, and for that I thank her.
While she herself doesn't visit Newgrounds a lot, as someone with a successful Abridged series on Youtube... well that's a freaking big deal, and I'm sure a lot of people are curious. So won't you join me, as we sneak a peak behind the curtains?
Q: Hello. Thanks for taking the time out of your day to do this interview. How is the weather over there where you live?
A: It's actually very sunny today. It's been rainy for a while, and we had a huge tornado too. But everything's alright; it blew past us. Today's very nice.
Q: Alright, this interview will be going up several places, including Newgrounds. So for those people who may not know, who are you? What do you do?
A: Oh. Uh, [chuckles] geez where do I begin? I'm Megami33. I do Sailor Moon Abridged, a parody series about Sailor Moon, with my friends KrisRix, roll002, whip0falchemy, judgment. I also do animation, singing, voice acting... almost anything, really.
I've done voices for a lot of fandubs and parodies like TeamFourStar's Dragon Ball Z Abridged, and... gosh there's too many roles to name! But that's basically it.
Q: And what do you do in your spare time?
A: Besides all the parodies and stuff? I practice singing, drawing, animating. Trying to build up my portfolio because I just graduated from the School of Visual Arts, so now I have to find a job.
Q: Congratulations. If you don't mind my asking, what was your major?
Q: Oh. I could have guessed that.
A: [laughs] But for more details, I'm more of a traditional animator. I have tried Maya and Flash, but I just feel more comfortable doing stuff on paper. That isn't to say I don't use the computer, but I mostly just draw using paper.
Q: Your online screen name is Megami33. Why did you choose this name?
A: A couple weeks a go someone else asked me this on Formspring, and the sad truth was I didn't know. Thinking about it, like at first I kept telling people I just think I took it from the Persona games because in the beginning it's Shin Megami Tensei or something like that.
Sure enough, I've been cleaning up the house because we're remodelling it, and I found some old... and sadly, I hate to say this, I wrote a Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfic. I noticed one of my characters was named Megami. So I think I got it from the Yu-Gi-Oh! card, because there's a fairy in the Kaiba Starter Deck that has the name Megami in it.
I think I just grew attached to the name, especially since I gave it to the character, and I STILL use the name for characters that I'm working on for my other series (which I hope to get on TV one day). I think I just got it from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game. The "33" is just because I like the number 3 and it just sounded catchy at the end.
(for anyone who wants to know, the actual card's name is "Gyakutenno Megami")
Q: So, of course the first thing you may be known for is voice acting, particularly in Abridged series. Do you have any particular voice actor influences?
A: Oh God, I have too many! [laughter] Um, I have favorite anime voice actors and normal animated TV show voice actors. I know it's sort of the same, but at the same time the way they dub is a little different.
For animated TV shows, Jim Cummings was a huge influence. He was my childhood basically, and I would love to meet him. It's tied with Rob Paulsen, who I'd also love to meet. Oh, and um Tress MacNeille. She was the voice of Dot in Animaniacs, and a bunch of other things. She is like a goddess, and she was in my childhood too!
And as for anime, um. Greg Ayers. Before I really got into anime, hardcore anime, Greg Ayers was the first person I fell in love with because the first hardcore anime was Saiyuki. It's a total chick show; I mean, it's got action but it's got these four beautiful guys in it and Greg plays a little boy. I just fell in love with his voice ever since! And girl-wise it's Luci Christian, who voices a billion roles. She's just so talented, and I had the pleasure of meeting her at New York Comic-Con.
Q: I'm shocked that you haven't mentioned Vic Mignogna.
A: As much as I admire Vic... Greg was there from the beginning. Vic is also in Saiyuki, but I guess I heard Greg first and I just adore the fact that he can sound like a really cute boy. So can Vic, but he sort of has only that one kid voice. Greg can do the nerdy type, the shy type, the cocky type...
Don't tell the Rangers.
I used to be in Vic's fanclub "The Risembool Rangers" [laughs]. I'm not anymore. He's talented, but I don't want to be considered a crazy fan girl.
Q: The first series of yours I found was, and this may be true for many others, was Sailor Moon Abridged, where you and your close group of friends work together and do everything on the show. Um, how long ago has it been since you and your friends thought up the vague idea for SMA?
A: Oh jeez. For some people that know, I did start a Pokemon Abridged before Sailor Moon. And I started that at the beginning of college, so I'd have to say like maybe three or four years. And throughout college, after I practiced my animation I'd just go and work on this parody with my friends every Sunday.
It's been a blast! There's always slow moments, with school or work and such, but we're still having fun to this day.
Q: While it may be on the SMA page, some people don't like to read those kinds of pages. If it's no trouble, could you briefly go over how the idea of SMA started?
A: Like I said before, I started a Pokemon Abridged. I showed my friends, they liked it. Problem is, I got suspended. Got kicked off because it was Pokémon. So Eric, roll002, said "Why don't we do Sailor Moon? We all know the show, and technically the US doesn't have any rights to the show anymore because the creator went crazy and took back all the rights.
That's why we did Sailor Moon. It was easier to hide, like it wouldn't get taken down as easily, we
all knew it. I mostly saw it in English, but Kris religiously followed it and knows it by heart, and so does Eric. They have all the manga, the dolls, the DVDs. To this day, we freak out when we go to conventions and find all the Sailor Moon merchandise. We try to buy it all!
(I told her, and I'll tell you. I can't believe there were Sailor Moon dolls.)
Q: Did you guys get inspired a bit by Little Kuriboh's Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged?
A: Pssh, of course! That's what got me into Abridging! I was a huuuuge fan of Martin's work, and like I said I got all my friends into it. It seems like such fun to do, and I appreciate the way he did the humor because it's obvious that he loves the show. I wanted to try the same way, and one of my favorite shows was Pokémon so that's why I did the Pokémon.
We did do Sailor Moon later on. I did love Sailor Moon, but not as much as Pokémon. I'm a huuuge Pokémon fan. If I could, I'd do another Pokémon Abridged if not for fear of it being taken down and stuff.
...I think that answers the questions, haha.
Q: It does. Have you ever met Little Kuriboh?
A: Oh, several times! [laughter] I met him at several conventions. We did panels together, and he's such a sweet guy. He's just so funny, he's so witty. He's just an amazing guy.
Q: And you voice, among others, the heroine herself Sailor Moon. Was there any pressure at all in voicing such a huge iconic role, even in a parody?
A: Not really. When we were deciding who gets the role, Sailor Moon seemed like perfect for me. Right away, they were like "You be Sailor Moon, because she's so peppy and everything." And she's really easy to play! There wasn't much pressure at all! It did get a little annoying when I had to make her act serious. But, honestly there was no pressure at all.
If anything I feel more pressure playing Luna because... I'm using a fake British accent, I dunno how to friggin' do a British accent. Half the time I don't even know if what I'm saying is right. People say it sounds good enough.
Q: Something present in the episodes, and what was cause for quite a bit of speculation, was the use of actual songs in the Sailor Scouts' transformations. Who thought of that idea?
A: That's all roll002's department. He's a big music buff, and he had an idea of how all the Scout's themes would fit them and their element or attitude, and he even has some picked out for future ones like in the movies.
Q: And, I heard this was a rumor. I'm not sure if it's true or not, so I'll ask you. Is it true that you guys plan on doing the entire Sailor Moon series?
A: [chuckles] Sadly, I cannot say at this time.
Q: Cheapskate. You're also present on many other fandubs across the Internet. Out of all of them, what is your favorite role?
A: That's hard! Sadly, I've done so many fandubs... my favorites are always the ones that are never shown or finished. I've played Chopper from One Piece for a few fandubs, including one from my favorite movies. I always loved playing Chopper and people believe I fit the character kind of well.
Mokona Modoki, from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, I've played for so many things that never got finished: radio plays, movies. I like to voice the mascot characters of anything.
If anything, I used to be used a lot for fandubs because I could do a decent boy voice. I guess I enjoy doing boys voices more than girls because I feel girls are too easy to do.
Q: What software do you use when you record your vocals?
A: I use GarageBand, which is only on Macs. I'm really cheap when it comes to recording; I use the mic that's built into my mic. It gets the job done, so I'm not complaining.
Q: Is there any specific software you want to get in the future, maybe?
A: Geez, I want a shit load of stuff. Final Cut Pro, maybe a better editing program because as much as I like iMovie... I have a really old version of iMovie and I notice in the Macs now that they're sort of like Vegas that everyone else uses when it comes to editing. I'm so afraid to touch that but I should probably get into that, especially if this Mac is gonna die soon. It's been quitting out on me, especially when I'm converting the giant episodes!
Q: You also, if you don't mind me saying, have a pleasant singing voice. Do you believe yourself a good singer?
A: Oh, God no [laughs]. A lot of people say that, but I don't really think I'm that good. I just do it for fun. The reason I started singing was that I noticed people doing English translation of fandubs and I sorta thought they weren't doing a good job with it. So, I was like "Let me try and see if I can tackle it." It was more of the challenge to see if I could translate AND sing it. I guess people just started liking the sound of my voice, so I sort of try to practice certain songs to see what kind of songs I can sing.
I KNOW I can't sing certain songs. I've tried songs I'd love to sing, but I just can't. But um, I guess I'm a decent singer. I definitely need practice or coaching.
Q: Do you play any instruments?
A: I used to play the drums in elementary school because I wanted to be different. All the girls were playing flutes and violins. I know a little drum, snare drum and stuff. A lot of percussion instruments. Later on, I tried guitar but I was sorta getting scared that blisters on my hands would affect my drawing so I stopped that.
I do want to play piano, if I get the money to take lessons. I find anyone who can play the piano is really amazing. I get really impressed when people play any kind of musical instrument, especially the piano. Which is probably why I also like Vic too in that regard.
Q: Any favorite song that you've recorded?
A: Oh! I'm very surprised about this, but one of my favorites is "Dragon Soul," the opening for Dragon Ball Kai. It's funny because a lot of people don't like that opening for the show, I noticed. I did a female version and I thought it was one of the best mixed ones I've ever done.
I also sung a Sergent Frog song too, but that was unprofessional. I was doing that for the lulz. But a lot of people liked how it came out too. I was doing a version where all the frogs sing their part in the song, instead of in the regular version. I was singing however and trying to imitate them.
Q: Speaking of DBZ... another famous role of yours is Bulma from DBZ Abridged. How did you get that role?
A: Um, well. I think I got it because Scott, KaiserNeko... I'm not sure if he knew of that many girls to be in his Abridged? Of course he knew me, so he's like "I think you could fit Bulma." And I tried imitating her. He said "Oh wow! You're sort of an in between the Ocean dub and the FUNimation." I thought, I guess I'd keep doing that then. He just kept me on, so I guess that's how I got it.
Q: What you said is kind of a nice lead in to the next question. You are, unless I am mistaken, the lone girl "regular" in the DBZ Abridged cast. How is it going to cons with a bunch of dudes?
A: [laughter] To be honest, it actually feels kinda cool! Because it's like... I always joke around and say they're my host club, like from Ouran High School Host Club. They're all so cute and funny, and I think it's cool.
Q: Is it different from, say, going to cons with your SMA crew?
A: Definitely! As much as I like talking about stuff THEY want to talk about, I don't always know exactly what they want to do or I'm afraid that they might want their dude time and I'm just a little girl.
But the guys, Eric and Kris, they're my best buds so it doesn't matter. We could do anything and have a blast. I would love for them to meet the boys, as well.
Q: Quick, which ones better: DBZ or SMA? Go!
A: SMA. [laughter]. Oh, they're gonna hate me.
Q: Like other Internet... "celebrities," if you don't mind the term, you seem to have a connection with your fans that some people just don't have. You go to cons, you talk with fans... do you think you could explain this connection?
A: [chuckles] It's not like I'm trying. I'm just a normal person, I like anime and video games and go to conventions. If other people like the stuff too, I don't mind talking with them about. It's not like I'm trying, it's just that I love this stuff period, so I guess that's why I can relate to them.
Q: Do you ever get recognized outside of cons? Like on the streets?
A: A few started to in school. A few times I've been spotted out. It's kind of funny in a way, but it's kind of weird too.
Q: On many of your profile pages, you say that it's your dream to be an animator. How long has this been a dream of yours?
A: Ever since I was little! I always loved watching Disney movies and different shows and getting to know more about them so that maybe I can maybe create the same exact feeling I get when I watch these shows... and just put it in my own work. Just being able to do that and convey my own feelings.... it'd be a dream come true to just pull that off.
Q: Judging from many of your recent Twitter and Facebook posts... you're a Pokémaniac. Maybe you have been for a long time and I never noticed. How long you been into Pokémon?
A: I was there from the beginning. When it first popped up on TV. I saw the first episode one morning, and I was like "What the heck is this?" I was telling all of my friends. Then the next day, it exploded. Sure enough, I was caught in the phenomenon known as Pokémon.
Pokémon was also an inspiration to do animation, because at that time anime was slowly coming in and no one knew what it was. Seeing a show like that was shocking; no one knew you could do concepts like that. Now, it's redundant, but it hit me hard when I was young. I'm still a fan! I can't help it -- I even have a Mijumaru plushie.
Q: 4Kids vs. Pokémon USA, better dub?
A: Ugh, 4Kids.
Q: You excited about the upcoming Pokémon games Black and White?
A: I was, but then I saw the list. Some of them I like, and some of them... those aren't Pokémon. Some are Digimon, and some I don't understand what they were thinking when they drew that.
Q: Which version you going to get?
A: Black. I like the legendary on that one better.
Q: Just a plain ole' question -- do you limit yourself to anime, or do you just love animation of all kinds?
A: All kinds. I feel it's not right to be stuck in just one category. I want to spread my knowledge and see any kind of animation. It's good to see the competition, see what I may or may not need to add when I sell my pitch-books and stuff like that.
I watch different anime and animations like on Cartoon Network... Cartoon Network wasn't like what it was back in the day.
Q: What animated shows you been watching lately?
A: I've seen Generator Rex with my friend -- not a fan. And I've seen the new Ben 10 season, and now Ben's a jerk and now I hate him again. I love the fact that as he got older he showed his mature side. Then all of a sudden, they were like "let's make him a dick like he was when he was 10." Now I'm turned off and don't want to watch him anymore.
Q: What anime have you been watching lately?
A: I've seen Slice of Life. I've heard Japanese companies do stuff like that because it sells more to the otaku and the... I don't wanna say, perverts. Doing all of these fanservice boobshots.
I did see High School of the Dead. It was very refreshing. It has fanservice too, but it's clever. It works for the zombie genre.
Q: What got you into anime, in specific? Besides Pokémon and such.
A: Disney, Don Bluth. Um... I was a fan of the Kim Possible style. Dan Hasket. So many animators I could name that I'm not sure if you're familiar with, but just... I'm so very fond of their character design and the way they can....
If anything, Disney impresses me more with their storyboards than with their final product. It comes more to life, to me, in its rough storyboard form as opposed to its cleaned up product.
I also grew up when Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network exploded. I was in that age when animation was thrown at me. Animaniacs, Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Hanna-Barbera stuff... so much inspiration at that time.
Q: Do you watch any series on Youtube, or visit other big Internet places like Newgrounds (where, by chance, this interview is going)?
A: I pop on Newgrounds every now and then. I don't know. Sometimes they'll have something fresh and stuff, but eh. I don't know.
I watch other Abridged series. There's a Yu-Gi-Oh! GX one. All my DBZ Abridged boys did their own, although the only one that's still going in Lanipator's Yu Yu Hakusho one.
I'm a fan of Shane Dawson. He reminds me of my friend Kris. Just a laid back, crazy dude who can make anything sound funny.
College humor stuff, junk like that.
Q: Any favorite videos or games?
A: Oh! I go on thatguywiththeglasses.com and I'm a huge Spoony fan. My favorite reviewer, besides Doug and Linkara. I met those two in person. It's funny, but I like feel like Doug is like my uncle. I mostly talk to Linkara, though. He got me into comics, and I love that he's doing those Power Ranger reviews.
Q: Now out of all the questions, this one may be a bit... too much and if it is, I apologize. Being a girl on the Internet with any bit of fame must be tough. I don't envy you in that regard. Is there anything you want to say to those creepy horny guys who are all up in your grill? No names of course (ahem, not me).
A: [chuckles] I'm not a violent person, and I try to give everyone a chance. Please don't hurt me or anything. I'm not looking for a relationship now, I just want to focus on my dream. If you could do that for me that'd be nice.
Q: Any plans for the future you want to discuss? Any upcoming projects, cons we can look forward to?
A: I'm working on a pitchbook for a kids' show. When I say kids' show, I mean like ages six to eleven. But I feel it might have mature messages for older people too. I don't want to say the name, but that's being developed now. I have a friend who's a writer and he's helping me write out the world.
I wanna work on a short film that Kris gave me the idea for. It was the story about her and a friend of hers, and I thought it was so cute that we could make an animated film out of it. She said she'd help, so we'll be doing that.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to find work. I might do commissions like she's doing. You guys should check her out, she does some amaaaazing stuff.
As for cons, we're all going -- me, Kris, Eric, and whip0falchemy who also did voices for SMA -- New York Anime Fest/Comic Con (because they're combing them together this year). We'll all be there, hanging around. I'm going to Youmacon to see my boys again, because I miss them and I want to see them. Me and the crew are all actually going to be guests at a small con in New York, the 2nd annual Game Con. We'll be helping out, giving ideas. They added anime to the cont his year to try and attract more people.
And more SMA, of course!
Q: What's playing on your iPod?
A: Podcast Beyond. It's an excellent gaming podcast that a college buddy got me into. That focuses on Playstation games.
Game Scoop, too. It focuses on any and all games being developed and such. You can find both of those at IGN.com.
Q: Any favorite movies?
A: It's so hard! I have one that I got to see in college that I absolutely adored, and I sort of wanna make like... maybe I shouldn't say yet, that could be a surprise. It's called "The Purple Rose of Cairo", and it's a Woody Allen movie. If you could find it somewhere, you should check it out.
Big fan of Miyazaki. I love "Howl's Moving Castle" and "The Cat Returns". Um, "The Lion King" has always been my favorite Disney movie. I love almost any movie with Leonardo DiCaprio [laughs]. Like "Shutter Island", or "Inception", or "Black Diamond".
I'm mostly a comedy/action type of person. I like a movie that makes me think or gets me on edge.
Q: Will the world end in 2012?
A: I hope not!
Q: What trend are you tired of hearing about, that you just wanna go away?
A: This new thing someone showed me. This girl teaches people about Japanese words, and she's got these huge ass knockers. You can guess where the views are actually going to. She's sort of pissing me off. It's popular for all the wrong reasons. It's like called Miss Kitty or some cutesy shit haha. There's other things I don't like, but I shouldn't mention.
(I looked for it everywhere; I couldn't find it. If anyone knows what she's talking about, link me! Or not)
Q: Any secrets you wanna share? Semi-secrets work just as well.
A: I wouldn't know what to share that wouldn't come back and bite me in the rear later on. Um...
A simple one. I'm not sad to say I have almost every single Pokémon video game besides Pokémon Box, which I don't consider a game. I'll probably get both Black and White versions.
Q: Any advice you want to give anyone who wants to be a voice actor, singer, comedian, etc?
A: The usual things people say. Practice. If you love it, keep going at it!
If you're voice acting, drinking plenty of water. Try singing -- I feel it helps the vocal chords. Try going to sessions that are offered, at like cons.
Comedy-wise. Uh, not everyone's funny [chuckles] but if you try your best, I'm sure something good will come out of it. But I feel like comedy is a gift in a way, so you may not have it but you never know until you try, right?
Q: Thanks for taking the time out to talk with me. Any last words before we wrap this up?
A: Uh, no. That's about it! I'll be sure to read it!