Interview with Dorothy Fahn

Dorothy Fahn is a native of southern California who began her career as a stage and on-camera actress, specializing in musicals …and commercials with no dialog! She discovered VO in the 1990’s, and has since lent her voice to hundreds of anime, video game, ADR and animation titles!

She’s voiced in anime’s that you might remember her in such as: Kie Kamado in Demon Slayer, Merribit in Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, Melody in Hunter X Hunter, Konan in Naruto, Meryl in Trigun,  An/Natsumi and Cyprine & Ptilol in Sailor Moon, Miss Bustier in Miraculous Ladybug, Hanako in Mob Psycho 100, Kaoru in Rurouni Kenshin, Young Teneo in Saint Seiya, Lilymon & Tai’s Mom in Digimon: Digital Monsters and Adventure Tri movies, and many more. She’s also voiced in many video games as well, you might know her from the video game Fire Emblem: Three Houses. She’s also been nominated for: Best Female Vocal Performance in a Video Game in a Supporting Role for Rinea in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video Game for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Best Female Vocal Performance in an Anime Television Series/OVA in a Supporting Role for Konan in Naruto: Shippûden, and many other nominations throughout the years.

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Dorothy Fahn’s characters

Q 1) How did you first get into voice acting?

A) I got into voice acting purely by accident! It was the early ‘90s, I was a stage actress and did a commercial here and there. My husband, Tom Fahn (Agumon in Digimon!) was working post-production at a film company and pursuing on-camera and stage gigs. Victor Garcia, his co-worker, told Tom he had some projects that needed voice actors: cartoons from Japan (they weren’t even widely known as anime yet) that they wanted to dub into English – he knew our whole family were actors and asked if we’d be interested. Anime was just a tiny blip on the radar back then, there was no Toonami, no CrunchyRoll – the only ‘Japanese cartoons’ I had ever heard of were Speed Racer and Kimba! So it was pretty much the wild west of anime dubbing – everyone was learning how to do it on the job! We started with I think Macross, Orguss, and some others – but from that point on the anime kept coming, until over the years it snowballed into what it is today!

Q 2) Back on Digimon, how did you come up with the voice for Tai’s Mom?

A) Well, I’ve always had kind of a ‘mom’ voice, even when I was young, so I think they just heard my voice and decided to cast me as Tai’s mom based on my natural voice. Generally the character was lighthearted, and sometimes clueless – and a terrible cook! – but in her own way also grounded in her reality: her love of her family, and genuine caring for Tai’s friends.

Q 3) I didn’t know you did many other voices in the Digimon series and movies, that’s amazing, out of all the voices you did in that franchise which would you say is your favorite voice to do?

A) Yeah, that was fun, getting to play other characters throughout the series besides your main ones! Well, of course Lillymon is probably my favorite although I wish she had a little more to do! But I was also glad that I got to play Rosemon, since usually when a character digivolved they cast a different actor for the new part. And Tom and I got to play two crazy battling love-birds Babamon & Jijimon – and our performances were based on Billy Crystal & Carol Kane from Princess Bride! That was super fun!

Q 4) Now another one of my favorite characters you voiced is Karou in Rurouni Kenshin, I fell in love with that series and mangas, is there a favorite scene or episode that you voiced in as Karou that would be your favorite?

A) Honestly, we did SO many episodes (though I wish there was more!) and it was so long ago now that I can’t actually remember anything specific – but I do remember getting to know Richard Cansino, and I have to say he’s one of my favorite actors. I thought he brought so much to the role of Kenshin. And the entire cast was just a dream cast!

Q 5) If they would ever attempt again to bring back Rurouni Kenshin would you be interested in coming back to the role of Karou?

A) Hmm, lemme think…… YES!!!

Q 6) I have to admit when I heard they weren’t doing the third arc from the Rurouni Kenshin manga in the anime series I was devastated as a fan, was there any feelings that you felt when finding out the series was going away from the manga in the last season?

A) Well, as an actor, I still tried to fully/truthfully play Kaoru no matter where the plot went. But I do think it would’ve been great if we’d been able to do the third arc.

Q 7) I’ve noticed you’re in Demon Slayer recently, how exciting was it to be voicing in a pretty awesome anime?

A) I was thrilled to be involved in Demon Slayer, even in a small way! I’m so honored to get to play Kie Kamado (another mom role!)  and the response to the dub has been extremely gratifying! Also Steve Staley, the director and I had actually been in a production of the musical Godspell years before, so working with him was extra fantastic!

Q 8) With all the voices you do, is there a technique that you do to create the certain voices for the characters?

A) Creating the voice for a new character is collaborative with the director, and usually selected in the first five minutes of the first recording session of a new project. If they want you to stay close to the Japanese version, you’ll hear playback of the original and try to find your version of that. Sometimes though, it’s completely original. And the general attitude of the character will inform your decision vocally: Merribit in Gundam IBO will have a different vocal energy that Naru in Love Hina.

Q 9) Is there any anime series you wish you could voice a character on?

A) There are SO many great shows…. Sure, I’d have loved to have worked on My Hero Academia, One Piece, Noragami, Assassination Classroom, etc. But honestly, there isn’t any show that I’ve worked that I haven’t loved, so any part I get is icing on the cake – a real joy!

Q 10) Last question cause I know your a busy lady, I noticed your a Star Wars fan, if they ever made a new animated series would you ever try auditioning to voice a character in that universe?

A) If it was up to me, I’d audition for every Star Wars project ever made!!! But you only get auditions for animation through your agent, and not every agent gets every audition – Tom and I have different agents, and sometimes we’ll audition for the same animation projects, but more often we’ll get different ones. So I do hope someday I get to audition for ‘rebel #3’ in something Star Wars! FYI, I’m also a huge Star Trek fan, and one audition that came my way was for the computer voice of the ship La Sirena in ‘Picard.’ I didn’t get it (sadly!), but I don’t how they chose from 2500 submissions that all sound so similar!

I want to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to talk to you about anime and a bit of everything!

A) No problem, it was my pleasure! Thank you!