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Summer 2013 Dub Festival of Comedy! (Current Entry: Festival After-party)

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  • #61
    Day 15: The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Ep. 5–"Angel in White" Begins With an H

    The Irresponsible Captain Tylor CA Entry ANN Enc
    Year: 1999
    Studio: TAJ Productions
    Director: Jim Malone
    Translator: Neil Nadelman

    Selected Cast:
    Cpt. Justy Ueki Tylor: Crispin Freeman
    Lt. Makato Yamamoto: J. David Brimmer
    Lt. Cmdr. Yuriko Star: Rachael Lillis
    P.O. Harumi Nakagawa: Carol Jacobanis
    Dr. Hidezaburo Kitaguchi: Stan Hart
    Lt. Karl Byorn Andressen: Joe Dopico
    Master Sgt. Mickey Cryburn: Nathan Price
    Ens. Kojiro Sakai: Buddy Woodward
    Lt. Harold Katori: Ed Paul
    Lt. Kyon Hwa Kim: Jill Seifers
    Pilot Trainee Emi/Yumi Hanner: Lisa Ortiz
    Adm. Sesshu Mifune: Robert O'Gorman
    Adm. Susumu Fuji: Ross Charap
    Cpt. Ru Baraba Dom: Josh Mosby

    One of the oldest comedy routines involves a pair of performers, a Straight Man and a Funny Man. While the laughs may often be had at the expense of the Straight Man, the receiving end of the funny comments of the Funny Man, there is one fundamental truth to any such routine: it does not work if the Straight Man is not up to the task of countering the Funny Man. The bar is raised, however, when the Funny Man is so wildly out there that he needs two Straight Men to keep things in check. This is the case with The Irresponsible Captain Tylor. Justy Ueki Tylor is so far out in Left Field…you need to have two characters bring us back to reality. You wonder how a ship, any ship, could function with such an irresponsible captain. Sanity and conformity is provided by his First Officer, Lt. Makoto Yamamoto, and his Intelligence Office, Lt. Cmdr. Yuriko Star. Trios are nothing new in starship settings (I don't think I even need to cite the canonical trio), but you need a trio of actors who can play off each other well, made even more difficult by the fact that English voice actors, unlike their Japanese counterparts, record separately. It's therefore impressive just how well Crispin Freeman (Tylor), J. David Brimmer (Yamamoto) and Rachael Lillis (Star) work together.

    Freeman is these days most likely known for his gruff, growling roles, of which there are too many to count. But there was a time when he also performed many comic roles, and did them so well that it's a shame we don't get to hear him in such roles these days. If you want to sample one, you could do far worse than chose Tylor. Freeman's Tylor is light, cheerful and so laid-back you can imagine him lounging in his chair in the recording booth while delivering his lines. There is a natural joie de vivre to his voice here, an infectious cheeriness that is countered very firmly by his two immediate subordinates. Brimmer plays First Office Yamamoto so ramrod straight, you can imagine the ramrod up his butt breaking if you tried to move it slightly. Brimmer excels especially in moments of frustration and disbelief, which come early and often in his interactions with his near-anarchic captain. On a different, but similarly staid and "normal" plane is Lillis' Yuriko Star. Star comes across more as a scold, a matronly figure (which is really hard to believe, since she's a beautiful young woman). She too is called upon to express disbelief in Tylor's actions and also reaches inspiring heights of near-shrill (without becoming in any way annoying) frustration in reaction to the antics of their irresponsible captain. These three really are the core of the dub and what it has to offer. That's not to say they get no support from the rest of the cast, for they do, and perhaps one of the episodes that best brings out some of those important supporting roles is Episode 5, when a new character who will play a vital role comes aboard.

    In this episode, the ship's already unusual interactions get thrown for an even greater loop with the arrival of a sexy seductress, the new Ship's Nurse Harumi. Carol Jacobanis often gets these seductress roles, and she does not disappoint here, playing up the sex kitten vibe to the hilt. Before we even see her, however, we get a nice comical scene highlighting several of the major supporting characters, Kitaguchi the doctor, Cryburn the chief NCO of the Marine detachment, and Andressen the pilot of the Marines' in-combat transport. The three men are debating what kind of person the new nurse they are getting assigned will be. The best bit of comedy dubbing, however, involves no dialogue at all. When Harumi comes out of the transport ship she arrived in, still wearing a full space suit, the three plus a large assortment of other crew members are waiting in a hallway that looks onto the transport hangar bay. Their intake of breath in anticipation as they watch the new nurse remove the space suit is done at just the right level of exaggerated anticipation. And then, the exhale when they see that the new nurse is a beautiful woman is filled with a wistfulness and longing that is again in that exaggerated manner you expect in comedies. It's all done just right.

    There are many highlights to this episode. Listen later on to Brimmer's Yamamoto as he bangs his head against the wall in frustration at one point. Brimmer really gets across Yamamoto's anguish and frustration, but it really comes across as funny in context. Even better is his later near-spit-take when Cryburn and Andressen come to the ship's bath bearing flowers for Harumi, who has taken refuge inside. As they thrust their bouquets out and offer them, Yamamoto, fool that he is, mistakes them for himself and asks "What…me?" Andressen's response "Yeah right" was just perfect in its snide and mocking tone. Brimmer and Dopico really shine in this brief scene.

    Of course, Freeman gets his chance to play against the sexy newcomer, as he is just as taken by her looks as the rest of the male members of the crew. Of course, this will bring forth the ire of Star when she finds the captain and the nurse in the bath later. Expect another comical blow up well done by Lillis.

    One thing to note is how well this dub holds up over time. The very end of the 90s, 1998-1999, was an interesting period of transition for the English dubbing industry. If you listen to dubs from the early to mid-90s, they often still sound very "cartoonish," the way that dubs from the earliest period of dubbing sound. Tylor is an early representative of a new era in dubbing, where the studios and directors began to move somewhat away from the stiff and clipped deliveries you often find in cartoons and more towards a closer approach to "naturalism" (it's not entirely natural still, because often the fact that one is voicing translated dialogue and sometimes are forced to match lip flaps that are geared for a very different sounding language makes it near-impossible to achieve true naturalism in delivery). Not every performance hits this natural style of delivery right away, and there are some rather stiff line reads from certain actors in the early episodes. By the middle of the run, however, almost all of those flatter reads begin to fade away, so that by the end, the dubbing is a good representative of the level of quality which became what was regularly expected during the "Golden Age" of anime dubbing, which was roughly about 1998-2008.
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    • #62
      Re: Day 15: The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Ep. 5–"Angel in White" Begins With an H

      Originally posted by Hitsugi Amachi View Post
      Freeman is these days most likely known for his gruff, growling roles, of which there are too many to count. But there was a time when he also performed many comic roles, and did them so well that it's a shame we don't get to hear him in such roles these days.
      Hear, hear. (So to speak.) Tylor's still one of his very best roles, but sometime after 2001, and especially once he went to LA, it was of a side that just wasn't heard anymore. (Wait, weren't we talking similarly about Liam O'Brien earlier...)

      A classic late 90s dub for a classic early 90s show. Just don't make em' like this anymore. I had forgotten that the dub was also made in a period where a certain practice existed around the industry: dubbed OP/EDs. Here, they work, in that 80s-90s power J-pop style that everything had back then. (While "lyrics" was always credited, don't think it's ever been known who the singer was; some random NY session singer, I would think.)

      And it's important to put more into that context about when this came out, and who was involved. Jacobanis here, as Harumi, was in her debut role, several years before she made her name with Maho in His and Her Circumstances and of course Saki Kasukabe. And it was Brimmer's first anime role, as well, which is odd to realize again. Buddy Woodward, I think, too, with his neurotic Kojiro. Of the main cast, Lisa Ortiz, Ed Paul, and Stan Hart had been around the longest in the field, only from around 1996, when this era of New York dubbing for all intents and purposes kicked off. Some of the others came in with Pokemon, of course, but also Utena and the finished first season of Slayers, all dubbed out of TAJ in 98'. But a lot of the success here speaks to the casting, of new or semi-established actors. And a big part of that, aside from Anthony Salerno and Jim Malone at TAJ, may be in large thanks to someone also a little new, from the TRSI side, the production coordinator--a line producer equivalent--Jeff Thompson. (He'd been credited mostly for package design prior to this on TRSI releases.)

      Three years before his celebrated directing and producing of His and Her Circumstances, at Headline, this was his proud achievement and foundation leading into that, I think. In a very early incarnation of this forum, while happily defending casting on His and Her, he highlighted that in Tylor, particularly Veronica Taylor. Already famous and pigeonholed for Ash Ketchum and Amelia, this was her first strong turn as a dramatic adult character, with Shia Has (appearing later in the series; at the time, yes, I didn't recognize her). And I wonder and hope the same perspective brought in performances like J. David Brimmer's, or Ortiz's sometimes more melancholic Azalyn, Lillis's more startlingly mature Yuriko as the story progresses, or even Joe Dopico for Andressen (and I forgot, too, how very good he was and what a presence he had; shame the Tylor series is about all he did). And perhaps informed where Freeman pulled Tylor from.

      Oh, right. And the comedy of it. To that, I'll credit Anthony Salerno, who seemed always especially capable of getting the absurd and the exaggerated and the energy of these sorts of characters right with his actors, using the timing right but keeping things loose, not smothering the innate silliness of this era of anime, letting the melodrama fly when it must. I think, at this time, Salerno and TAJ were better suited for comedy than drama, not unlike IS&M at the same time and the early periods of a number of dubbing studios that followed. (To TAJ and Salerno's favor, there also wasn't a very high pedigree of "drama" for them to dub in the late 90s, anyway, with a couple exceptions, with all of those OVAs and movies for CPM.) But even dated, the silly humor in Slayers and here in Tylor is still enjoyable, and always at least worth a smile. Great talent helps a lot, too, of course. Freeman, Brimmer, and Lillis are just very good at what they do.
      Last edited by bctaris; 08-03-2013, 02:31 PM.
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      • #63
        Re: Day 15: The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Ep. 5–"Angel in White" Begins With an H

        Watching this definitely reminds me how much I love Freeman's and Brimmer's take on their characters. They really nail the contrasting personalities there so perfectly and just so much fun to hear. Lillis of course too, though it's a kind of performance I know her to pull off excellently. As others have noted, it's a rarer kind of role for Freeman, and maybe for Brimmer too (I'll admit to not being as familiar with a lot of his work).

        Interesting to hear some of the voices of the era who we didn't hear much beyond that time, or in some cases maybe beyond this show (given potential pseudonyms or my lack of familiarity, they could be more prolific than I'd think). Nathan Price was one of the interesting character voices who we didn't hear too much beyond some TAJ dubs like early Pokemon. He's got an amusing cartoony tough guy voice for Cryburn, and I remember him being quite different as his other major character in the show (the insidious chancellor for the Empire, IIRC), so he had some range too.

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        • #64
          Girls Bravo Ep. 12, Bravo at the Pool!

          Released 2006
          ADR Script and Direction - Patrick Seitz
          Translation - Rie Hagihara
          Studio - New Generation Pictures

          Ykinari - Yuri Lowenthal
          Mihuru - Michelle Ruff
          Kirie - Lulu Chiang
          Kazuharu Fukuyama - Liam O'Brien
          Koyomi - Carrie Savage
          Lisa Fukuyama - Hunter Mackenzie Austin
          Tomoka - J-Ray
          Lilica - Willow Lane

          Girls Bravo is a harem comedy, pure and simple, with all the elements intact. A wimpy, undeserving lead, a busty airhead love interest, a violent busty tsundere rival, and a few dark horse potential girlfriends. What sets it apart is the insanely perverted, staggeringly wealthy, outlandishly megalomaniacal Fukuyama, who will do everything in his power to get his hands on (and I do mean "on") this harem.

          Released at a time when NGP could do no wrong and was getting a ton of work because of it, ADR Director Patrick Seitz had a very skilled veteran cast assembled for this show. Playing the wimpy lead character Yukinari was Yuri Lowenthal, a break from the original Japanese dub's use of a woman, Mamiko Noto. Perennial fan favorite Michelle Ruff played the ditzy alien Miharu who falls in love with Yukinari. Always reliable Lulu Chiang voiced Kirie, the surprisingly strong, athletic and protective best friend of Yukinari. Hunter Austin did brilliant work as Lisa Fukuyama, a black magic wielding girl who falls obsessively in love with Yukinari just because a radio fortune told her to.

          As good as the main cast is (and believe me, they are very good), the true stand out performance was Liam O'Brien as the world's biggest, wealthiest pervert, Kazuharu Fukuyama. He is obsessed with women, and the harder they resist him, the harder he chases them. Miharu is too dense to realize his intentions, and Kirie is too smart to fall for his plots. So in this episode, he uses his family's vast wealth to buy the school swimming pool, eject all the boys and turn it into his personal playground of bikini-clad babes. It all backfires on him when one of his little sister's black magic pranks starts body-swapping everyone.

          This is easily one of the best body-swap episodes in anime, because the Japanese writers understood that just because a personality jumps from one body to another, that doesn't mean their voice does. This is where having a very versatile, veteran cast becomes essential. The real comedy begins when Yuri Lowenthal has to do his impression of Liam O'Brien as Fukuyama, Liam O'Brien has to do his impression of Yuri Lowenthal as Yukinari, and they both have to sell it or the episode fails completely. Not only that, but they also have to voice Miharu and Kirie, and Lulu Chiang and Michelle Ruff have to voice everyone else as the body-swapping gets out of hand. There is no point at which Michelle Ruff's completely over-the-top Fukuyama or Liam O'Brien's completely girly Miharu is ever not funny.

          Even seven years after I first head this dub, it is still gut-bustingly funny. Patrick Seitz did a masterful job directing this dub. Not just this episode, but the entire series is full of achingly funny moments. Without straying from the source material, this show is much funnier in English than in Japanese. Seitz doesn't resort to Steve Foster "punch up" directing, he just mines the actors read's for the best, most brilliantly funny deliveries.
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          • #65
            Re: Girls Bravo Ep. 12, Bravo at the Pool!

            Originally posted by Ayana Mudou View Post
            As good as the main cast is (and believe me, they are very good), the true stand out performance was Liam O'Brien as the world's biggest, wealthiest pervert, Kazuharu Fukuyama. He is obsessed with women, and the harder they resist him, the harder he chases them. Miharu is too dense to realize his intentions, and Kirie is too smart to fall for his plots. So in this episode, he uses his family's vast wealth to buy the school swimming pool, eject all the boys and turn it into his personal playground of bikini-clad babes. It all backfires on him when one of his little sister's black magic pranks starts body-swapping everyone.
            While he has given many good performances over the years, there are two roles, without question, that he really owns. That is, roles where any substitute can't quite measure up (even if a decent effort was made). The first one, Taishi from Comic Party, was already mentioned before. The other is the one you have highlighted here, Fukuyama. In a role where an actor is expected to go big, he delivers and then some. A comedy classic.

            It's been years since I last watched it, and in retrospect, the show itself is nothing that special. But the dub, the dub is really one of the greatest comedy dubs produced, without question. It's a dub that makes the show far better than it deserves to be.
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            • #66
              Re: Girls Bravo Ep. 12, Bravo at the Pool!

              Originally posted by Ayana Mudou View Post
              This is easily one of the best body-swap episodes in anime, because the Japanese writers understood that just because a personality jumps from one body to another, that doesn't mean their voice does. This is where having a very versatile, veteran cast becomes essential. The real comedy begins when Yuri Lowenthal has to do his impression of Liam O'Brien as Fukuyama, Liam O'Brien has to do his impression of Yuri Lowenthal as Yukinari, and they both have to sell it or the episode fails completely. Not only that, but they also have to voice Miharu and Kirie, and Lulu Chiang and Michelle Ruff have to voice everyone else as the body-swapping gets out of hand. There is no point at which Michelle Ruff's completely over-the-top Fukuyama or Liam O'Brien's completely girly Miharu is ever not funny.
              So this was referred to when I talked about episode 11 of Galaxy Angel Z early on. Now that I've heard both, they're clearly the best "body swap" jobs I've ever heard. Not that it's a large category to begin with. But they both win instantly for having actors remain with their characters and mimc everyone else. O'Brien and Lowenthal are excellent as each other.

              Originally posted by Hitsugi Amachi View Post
              It's been years since I last watched it, and in retrospect, the show itself is nothing that special. But the dub, the dub is really one of the greatest comedy dubs produced, without question. It's a dub that makes the show far better than it deserves to be.
              I think that impression came across easy enough, with only this one episode... Er, yeah. With the quick recap at the beginning of this episode, only needed my basic familiarity with the archetypes to feel right at home here, so I could just enjoy the dub without complication. I remember having little interest in Girls Bravo, by sight alone, when it came out, and I probably still don't now; but I also remember the buzz about the dub, still at the height of rampant NGP fanboyism, and that certainly makes it worth it.
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              • #67
                Day 17: Welcome to the N-H-K, ep. 3: "Welcome to the Beautiful Girls!"

                This episode is available, free and legal, on FUNimation (Episode 3) and through Hulu (Episode 3).
                (age verification required)

                Welcome to the N-H-K
                Year: 2007
                Studio: ADV Studios
                Director: John Swasey
                Translator: Kaoru Bertrand
                Writer: Clint Bickham

                Selected Cast:
                Tatsuhiro Sato: Chris Patton
                Kaoru Yamazaki: Greg Ayres
                Misaki Nakahara: Stephanie Wittels
                Hitomi Kashiwa: Luci Christian

                Again hitting on a different subtheme of comedy, this selection wouldn't generally be thought of a comedic series overall. It hits on some serious social issues and thus isn't that lighthearted, but it has an element of dark comedy to it and this particular episode is a fine example to point out in that regard. I have been rather Houston-centered in my selections, but unlike the others this one hits on the comedic talents of two of Texas's most prolific male voice actors, and it also comes from a different period. This is nearing the very end of the "ADV" brand as their relationship with Sojitz had gone sour and they would lose many licenses from the period (including this one, which was not completely released by ADV) to FUNimation. Despite the difficulties we know the company was facing, it was a time of some remarkable dubs, and this is one that stands out in my mind, along with Kanon. As with Midori Days, this features someone I've known primarily as an actor in the director's chair, John Swasey. He has only done a few titles as ADR director, and I have a lack of knowledge on the other dubs he's done, but I was very pleased with his work here.

                This episode centers on Tatsuhiro Sato, voiced by Chris Patton, trying to figure out how to make a game after lying about being a game creator to shrug off suggestions by Misaki that he's a hikikomori in need of help. He gets otaku friend Yamazaki, voiced by Greg Ayres, to help him understand the ways of game production. Patton portrays Sato's cluelessness about galge as Ayres as Yamazaki launches into an enthusiastically over-the-top explanation on how lowly doujinshi game designers could go on to become wealthy CEO-creators. It really highlights the chemistry of these two long time veteran VA's as Sato gets swept up in the wave of enthusiasm himself and Patton's performance reflects that wonderfully. "Muy bueno!"

                In sweeping him up into the galge mania, though, Yamazaki does not know the monster he will create. Early on we get some more subdued comic moments (in addition to the enthusiastic beginning we saw earlier) out of Ayres as Yamazaki has to respond to Sato's constant nighttime calls about his newbie frustrations with playing the game. Sato's experience is not the intended one of educating him as a galge creator, but rather one of getting himself rather pleasurably immersed in the world of beautiful 2D girls, starting with a sweet little sister waking him up. Patton plays the part of a growing playboy to 2D girls to rather amusing perfection in a number of ways. One of the high points to Patton's performance here is his many different laughs, ranging from pleasured to somewhat depraved.

                From there, this ends in a place that is not really funny, but rather pathetic, as Misaki finds him in a situation that's rather convincing to her efforts to want to help Sato out. Still there is a bit of amusement even with Wittels's performance with the way Misaki describes how Yamazaki ran off. A bit amusing and sad at the same time. As I said earlier, though, there's a variety elements to this series, and you really get to touching on some different things regardless of which episode you pick out of the series. There's even a hint of the suicidal theme to one of the later arcs here. Whether it comes to the comedic element or not, though, the dub is a very enjoyable piece of work overall. Also rather interesting that I picked this out before I knew much about or got into the newly airing Watamote, since that series reminded me of a few things from this series. The are many recognizable contrasts between them, but they both have their share of uncannily relatable parts in common.
                Last edited by EmperorBrandon; 08-06-2013, 10:16 PM.

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                • #68
                  Re: Day 17: Welcome to the N-H-K, ep. 3: "Welcome to the Beautiful Girls!"

                  This is a great series. (Wow, and I forgot it was Gonzo behind it.) But I've only heard the dub side intermittently. It is, I gather, one of the great overlooked dubs from last decade, however, especially out of Texas.

                  And this was the episode--with that ending--that I thought it was. Some nice dark comedy is a good addition to this.

                  Originally posted by EmperorBrandon View Post
                  "Muy bueno!"
                  Patton and Ayres certainly buy into this, into the way Yamazaki, and Sato especially, get so over their heads with their fantasies. Props to sound editing, of course, but the timing, and the energy coming out of it sells this one, and all of their scenes together.

                  Sato's the crucial character to get right: capable of taking things too far--like the matter of "research", or trying to shame himself--but he's also very dark and depressed much of the rest of the time. There's something manic depressive about him, but the humor has to always come through because he acts like a fool so often. Yeah, Patton's got that here. Serious enough, but never too serious that we can't laugh, even uncomfortably, at what Sato's up to.

                  Which leads into:

                  ... Also rather interesting that I picked this out before I knew much about or got into the newly airing Watamote, since that series reminded me of a few things from this series. The are many recognizable contrasts between them, but they both have their share of uncannily relatable parts in common.
                  Since NHK was brought up in that discussion early on, it got me thinking, too. Two characters, who definitely are not usual hero material, who, in efforts to change themselves, tend to overcompensate to a ridiculous degree. And the way life is portrayed around them is quite stark, touching on unfortunate places most people have been in one way or another, without apology. (Though NHK is a little more surreal, and gets Sato into more conventional character-based plots--if dark ones--later on.) And two anime series where the lead voice actors have to do a lot of very good work.
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                  • #69
                    Re: Day 17: Welcome to the N-H-K, ep. 3: "Welcome to the Beautiful Girls!"

                    Originally posted by bctaris View Post
                    And two anime series where the lead voice actors have to do a lot of very good work.
                    I sure hope Seraphim gets to dub Watamote as I'm quite curious to hear how an English dubbed Mokocchi will turn out.

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                    • #70
                      Day 18: Miami Guns, ep. 1

                      Miami Guns
                      Year: 2004
                      Director: Pamela Weidner, Scott Houle

                      Select Cast:

                      Charles Dee Rice - Chief Amano
                      Nicole Gibson - Yao Sakurakouji
                      Suzanne Willard - Lu Amano
                      Mary Evans - Kaken Musume
                      Ralph Redpath - Jii


                      Another from the Dub Year of Comedy, 2004. And, at the time, a surprise entry. One of AN Entertainment's products, during that company's brief tenure (the only others being the equally quirky or odd Risky/Safety and Hare+Guu), and of a marginally known slapstick comedy from 2000 full of cheesy parodies, and absurdist and ecchi humor. It stands to some reason, based on the competition from those times, and its age, that this show may not have even been licensed if a startup like AN didn't go for it. On top of that, however, it also received a particularly generous release, due exclusively to its dub, which, one could also argue--well, heck, I will--absolutely makes the show. The studio was Coastal Studios, at this point, outside of a couple additional You're Under Arrest jobs for ADV and AnimEigo, four years past their last new anime dub. Except this was not in their usual confines of Wilmington, North Carolina, but across the state, in Asheville under the short-lived name Phoenix Post. While the veteran husband and wife directors Scott Houle and Pamela Weidner were still in charge, that locale also included some new, never heard before--and never heard again--actors, to boot.

                      And they're what the Miami Guns dub is all about.

                      Miami is sort of Miami, but mostly not. It's on the coast, but it has mountains (for the convenient Initial D parody in episode 4). And though no reference is ever made to it, it still supposedly exists in America, if just for the usual parody of everyone living there brandishing a gun. And it and the rest of the world may have been rebuilt after some long ago post-apocalyptic event. Which is absolutely of no importance, like whatever else the show throws out there. Any case, Yao Sakurakouji, the brash, spoiled, and shameless daughter of the city's wealthiest and most powerful individual is a new member of the police force, because she thought it would all be about car chases and shootouts. Her partner is the polar opposite, but no less buxom, Yu Amano the quiet and deliberative and cool-headed daughter of the police chief, the afro-wielding and stressed-out Chief Amano.

                      Yu is an intentionally deadpan and reliably even, if then unremarkable, performance by one Suzanne Willard, save for some sarcastic edge here and there. She's the straight man. The energy and humor of the show revolves around, instead, Yao and Chief Amano, played by Nicole Gibson and Charles Dee Rice (who, if I remember correctly, were also a husband and wife team in action here; furthermore, I think they moved after this came out to Phoenix, Arizona). Rice's Chief is always gruff and full of constant anxiety about the state of his police force, and Yao in particular. Following up on an earlier piece, he's similar to J. David Brimmer, run through Yosemite Sam. Affecting haggard or deadpan expressions, or Dirty Harry impressions, he gets no end of one-liners. His first line in the show, and episode one here (a simple, out of control story of a bank robbery and standoff, where he's just arrived to the scene, unaware of the TV cameras) is delivered with typical panache: "What's with this dumb asshole? The thought of robbing a bank and taking some baby hostage really chaffs my ass!"

                      Lucky for him, Yao arrives by helicopter to save the day, smacks into the building, lands in a palm tree, bounces off a car and lands on her face in the street. Gibson is set to 11 throughout this show, matching pretty perfectly--defining, really--Yao in the process. She's a gung-ho, narcissistic, short-tempered, oblivious party-hound, gun enthusiast, and daddy's girl, and Gibson hits every single mark. She exuberantly expresses who Yao is with her first line, too, as Yao jumps up after her embarrassing entrance, bloody nose and all: "OHHH YEAH!"

                      The scripting is tailored, presumably for Houle and Weidner, on the fly, allowing as usual for comedic lines and deliveries to have real impact. But most of the weight is borne by the over-the-top, and comedy-gifted talents of Charles Dee Rice and Nicole Gibson. Two more to the short but powerful list of great one-off (comedic) performances, both tied for second only after one Misty Daniels and her scatterbrained Sae Sawanoguchi, of NYAV's classic, Magic Users Club.
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                      • #71
                        Re: Day 18: Miami Guns, ep. 1

                        Originally posted by bctaris View Post
                        The studio was Coastal Studios, at this point, outside of a couple additional You're Under Arrest jobs for ADV and AnimEigo, four years past their last new anime dub. Except this was not in their usual confines of Wilmington, North Carolina, but across the state, in Asheville under the short-lived name Phoenix Post. While the veteran husband and wife directors Scott Houle and Pamela Weidner were still in charge, that locale also included some new, never heard before--and never heard again--actors, to boot. And they're what the Miami Guns dub is all about.
                        How 'bout that-I'd heard about Miami Guns back in the day but I didn't know that Coastal did the English dub for it. Charles Dee Rice & Nicole Gibson definitely carry the show as Chief & Yao Amano though, especially during Yao's big arrival at the crime scene & when she's dealing with the bank robber/kidnapper in the hotel room. This show was under my radar for a long while but now after watching this episode, I think I'm going to check out the rest of it to see what I've been missing all this time. Not bad.
                        Last edited by Jimmie M; 09-14-2013, 01:57 PM.
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                        • #72
                          Re: Day 18: Miami Guns, ep. 1

                          Originally posted by Jimmie M View Post
                          This show was under my radar for a long while but now after watching this episode, I think I'm going to check out the rest of it to see what I've been missing all this time. Not bad.
                          Believe it or not the show gets sort of a plot near the end...but mostly it's about parodies: like "Bruce Tsuji" and Die Hard in episode 6 that I had been thinking of highlighting instead. It's ridiculous stuff, but extra fun with actors who seem to be having fun with even the thinnest material. It's colorful work with a lot of actors who probably had little to no voice acting experience, so there's that "amateur" energy I always like from time to time. (There are also a couple Wilmington regulars, like Scott Bailey, involved in bit parts,)
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                          • #73
                            Day 19: Excel Saga Episodes 3 and 22

                            Excel Saga Episode 3: The Sacrificial Lamb of the Venomous Great Escape of Hell [Watch at Funimation.com in dub]
                            Excel Saga Episode 22: Invasion, Mother [Watch at Funimation.com in dub]
                            Studio: ADV Studios
                            Project Translation: Shoko Oono
                            Translation Editor: Dan Kanemitsu
                            ADR Script: Matt Greenfield
                            Director: Matt Greenfield


                            Main cast:
                            Hilary Haag as Menchi
                            Jason Douglas as Ilpalazzo
                            Jessica Calvello as Excel [Episodes 01-13]
                            Larissa Wolcott as Excel [Episodes 14-26]
                            Monica Rial as Hyatt

                            Brett Weaver as Nabeshin
                            Jay Hickman as Watanabe
                            Tiffany Grant as Misaki Matsuya [Episode 22]
                            Kelli Cousins as Ropponmatsu 1 [Episode 22]
                            Kira Vincent-Davis as Ropponmatsu 2 [Episode 22]
                            Kelly Manison as Great Will of the Macocosm
                            Mark X. Laskowski as Iwata
                            Paul Sidello as Koshi Rikdo
                            Rob Mungle as Pedro
                            Andy McAvin as Tetsuko [Episode 3], Dechuu [Episode 22]

                            "Oh! A lot of others were caught too, the same as me. And I made some friends as well. But… [SFX - gunshot] the numbers kinda dwindle as the days go by. "
                            -Excel, episode 3

                            But this is how you become use to war, isn't it? I want to win against him.
                            But Excel don't know how to fly this thing!
                            -Excel, episode 22
                            Excel Saga was one of my first blind buys from Suncoast. It is a very unique show. There is the thin plot of Illpapazzo's attempts to conquer F City. However the purpose is to be a parody of as many genres as they can. The show spans from horror to visual novels to sports, just for a sampling. Since this show is a variety of parodies the beat for each episode can be vastly different. That said, the normal beat to an episode is fast and wild. The comedy is dependent on the genre it is parodying, Also, the execution of the parody carries much of the weight to the quality of the episode. *The translation staff worked to the bone on this show. The jokes are localized to the bare minimum and rife with japanese puns and pop cultural references. ADV created AD Vid Notes for many references the show throws at us. It is quite helpful since the jokes run a mile a minute.

                            The cast is first rate. I find that Rob Mungle's Pedro steals any scene he is in. He really lays his dialogue on thick like a Spanish soap opera. We also get treated with Brett Weaver's Nabeshin jumping between plots at his own convenience. One a side note, this is the show where I first heard Monica Rial. Her flat deliveries mixed with questionable responses are a contrast to her more zany roles. I enjoy Hyatt's deadpan humor as a foil to Excel. Originally Jessica Calvello was Excel for the first thirteen episodes. She injured her vocal cords while recording the fourth volume. Larissa Wolcott stepped into the role of Excel for the remaining episodes. I find Cavello's Excel more akin to the crazy and Wolcott's more to the zany. The guest characters are normally references to the genre they are portraying that week.

                            Since there were two actresses for the titular role, I picked out two episodes: Calvello's Episode 3, “The Sacrificial Lamb of the Venomous Great Escape of Hell” [B action film], and Wolcott's Episode 22, “Invasion, Mother” [Space Opera]. I do enjoy episode 4, “Love Puny”. However Episode 3 is a much stronger parody. “Love Puny” plays out like a typical visual novel, but like a visual novel it only can provide so much material that can be broadcast. For Wolcott I was considering episode 23, "Legend of the End of the Century Conqueror", which is a great parody. Wolcott shows us another glimpse of her dramatic reading for Excel. If you would like to see more Wolcott goes all out for gripping drama in episode 24. I wish she could have done more drama/action roles for ADV. Unfortunately this is a comedy festival and the end for episode 23 is somewhat short of funny. On to the winners.

                            "The Sacrificial Lamb of the Venomous Great Escape of Hell" oddly starts off where the second episode ended. This is an abnormality because connections are few and far between episodes and storylines. Calvello does an amusing monologue as we watch her captors, a group of mercenaries, dispose of fellow prisoners while Excel escapes harm at every turn. She tries to escape but is thwarted by her emergency ration/dog Menchi who is now adopted by the mercenaries. She is thrown into a pit jail with a masked prisoner named Tetsuko played by Andy McAvin. They play a round of shiritori until Tetsuko is rescued passionately by Nabeshin. Excel is only rescued after much griping and groaning on her part. Tetsuko and Nabeshin skip off in the distance while Excel runs for her life from the mercenaries. I cannot in good mind spoil the ending sequence for Tetsuko and Nabeshin. Excel narrowly escapes in the confusion caused by Nabeshin's mass attack from his assault guns he produces out of his afro. Hyatt's journey to find her new dwelling and senior officer is sprinkled in the episode. Pedro learns a harsh reality where his wife was unfaithful for quite some time. Rob Mungle's overt execution is worth the watch every week. In fact his clips are showcased in episode 20, "The Best of Mr. Pedro".

                            Calvello throws her crazy voice when it is called for, which is about seventy-five percent of the time, but will hold back for the tone of the scene. It's a great contrast that shows how much of a spaz Excel is. *As I said earlier, we see Hyatt struggle to get to her new dwelling. This leads us to a treat of Hickman and Rial's interaction with Watanabe's thick headed notion of a romantic encounter. The background soldiers are wonderful to listen to. They break and adhere to stereotypes every chance they have. The animators draw out the same clichأ©s from the B action films they are portraying. They even have labeled "file footage" scenes for the action sequences complete with cheesy music for their archive footage. Nabeshin plays his part as the rescuer/former rival to the leader of the mercenaries.

                            "Invasion, Mother" opens with the authorization to conquer the city.The writers do not state Excel would be a space opera, but eighty-three percent of the show plays out like one, combining Gundam, Harlock, and Yamato. There are also a lot of Puchuus. A whole lot of Puchuus. Excel and Hyatt are reporting to Lord Ilpalazzo where he forbids Excel from participating with conquering the city, entrusting the entire operation to Hyatt. He plays a clip show of Excel's many failures to sustain the reason for his orders. There is a quick jump to a meteor hurtling towards the Earth. Leiji Matsumoto-style Harlock Puchuu beams Hyatt and Excel on their ship. The Municipal Force Daitenzin is forced to mobilize to stop said meteor or face a three month salary deduction. Go civil servants. Back on Harlock's Ship, Excel whips out a guide book to Battle Starship Yamato in order to defeat the invading Puchuus lead by Andy McAvin's Dechuu. Excel flies into combat with a Puchuu'ed Gundam and fights a Char Puchuu. The entire cast consistently refers to the script for a reason to many of the actions and reactions. The show ends with a mighty boom of self sacrifice, like many space opera action shows.

                            I find this episode to be Wolcott's strongest comedic one. As I said before, she aims more for an off the wall zany delivery with Excel. I relish her serious deliveries that jump out and then bookend with another off-the-wall line. One of her best scenes is the Gundam fight. This episode also showcases her take on earlier lines when Calvello was the lead. It was great to see what Wolcott would have done if she started from the beginning. Hyatt doesn't actually say much in this episode, but to be fair there are only a handful of episodes that have her fully conscious. The only other time I encountered even fewer lines from Rial was when she portrayed a mute in Yugo the Negotiator. There are some sight gags with Gojo Shiouji, aka Uncle Sugar, and Nebeshin/Pedro reminding us they are still around. The Puchuus are the punching bags again An easy gag to enjoy; especially with many Leji Matsumoto inspired faces on the Puchuu cast. The aforementioned appearance of Harlock and Esmerelda Puchuus is just the tip of the iceberg.

                            Overall Quack Experimental Anime - Excel Saga is quite the ride that never fully takes itself seriously. The staff always tries to cover many genres as much as they can. Also as extreme as they can, disregarding many trappings or fully embracing them, depending on the situation. It is a little odd with two different voice actresses for the same lead; much akin to the great Dick York/Dick Sargent debate. Both actresses have their strengths and weaknesses. Calvello feels more even with her extreme and docile moments throughout her reign. Wolcott has a little more of a rough start but she finds her groove quickly. Wolcott easily turns on a dime when she flips between Excel's moods. The show is worth watching when you are up for some zany/crazy comedy.
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                            • #74
                              Re: Day 19: Excel Saga Episodes 3 and 22

                              This show had an extremely large and unquestionably first-rate comedic ensemble cast, many of whom have already been lauded above. I'd like to mention a couple more.

                              The late, great Mike Kleinhenz gave one of my favorite performances in this show as Dr. Kapabu. With deft use of the incomparable gravitas of his voice, he played it completely straight -- to great comedic effect.

                              Similarly, the sweetness and grace of Kelly Manison's Great Will of the Macrocosm (or "Miss Will") was so genuine that it made the over-the-top cruelties she visited upon poor Pedro all the more unexpected and ultimately hilarious.

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                              • #75
                                Re: Day 19: Excel Saga Episodes 3 and 22

                                Originally posted by Ben Phillips View Post
                                Similarly, the sweetness and grace of Kelly Manison's Great Will of the Macrocosm (or "Miss Will") was so genuine that it made the over-the-top cruelties she visited upon poor Pedro all the more unexpected and ultimately hilarious.
                                It's been years and years since I last watched any of it, but Manison's bit I should not have forgotten about, especially as I've been on a kick lately with some of her roles from around this period. All the stuff with Pedro was such cruel bliss.

                                ...

                                And holy crap, Ben! Nice to see you around again.
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