Saturday’s Voice Actor Panel Discussion

October 21st, 2012

On Saturday, all seven of the voice actors in attendance sat down together to answer questions posed to them by Yu-Gi-Oh! fans. As a reminder, the following voice actors (presented alongside some of their major roles in the Yu-Gi-Oh! series) were present:


Greg Abbey – Tristan (Original) and Yusei (5D’s)

Darren Dunsten – Maximillion Pegasus (Original)

Wayne Grayson – Joey Wheeler (Original), Syrus Truesdale (GX), and Bolt Tanner (5D’s)

Dan Green – Yugi Muto / Yami Yugi (Original) and Officer Trudge (5D’s)

Ted Lewis – Ryo Bakura (Original) and Bandit Keith (Original), Chumley Huffington (GX), and Jack Atlas (5D’s)

Mike Pollack – Arthur Hawkins (Original)

Erica Schroeder – Mai Valentine (Original) and Akiza Izinski (5D’s)


Panel Discussion 

Initially, the voice actors were asked to say one of their signature lines in character. Each voice actor obliged. Here’s what some of them said:


Dan Green as Little Yugi: “Grandpa always told me to believe in the heart of the cards.”

Dan Green as Yami Yugi: “It’s time to Duel!”

Greg Abbey as Tristan: “Go Yugi!”

Greg Abbey as Yusei: “From 2 come 1, and from 1 comes great cosmic might! I Synchro Summon, Stardust Dragon!”

Darren Dunstan as Pegasus: “Your turn, Yugi-boy!”


When Mike Pollack got a chance to say his signature line, he joked that his signature line was “Hi, I’m Arthur Hawkins.” Following his lead, Ted Lewis used his Bakura voice to say “I’m going to send Arthur Hawkins to the Graveyard!”


Greg Abbey and Dan Green revealed that they were friends for a long time and heard about auditions for the Yu-Gi-Oh! series. They auditioned and were cast for their roles. Once they got their foot in the door with 4Kids, they got the opportunity to do other stuff. Darren Dunsten said that he has been with 4Kids for 11 years and even does directing. Darren Dunsten directed Yu-Gi-Oh!: 3D Bonds Beyond Time.


The voice actors were asked how they got into voice acting, and took turns responding.


Mike Pollack (the voice of Arthur Hawkins) said that he liked watching cartoons as a kid and especially liked the wacky voices in commercials. Erica Schroeder (the voices of Mai and Akiza) said that she had always been a huge fan of cartoons as a kid and did a lot of impersonations. She attended NYU to learn acting and got a concentration in musical theory. Ted Lewis, the voice of Bakura, said that he had never really thought about doing voiceovers until he got the opportunity to audition for it. He made some connections and was eventually given more opportunities to do voice acting. Dan Green described his ability to become a voice actor as “just being lucky enough to know someone and not do a terrible job.”


The voice actors were later asked which role they would want to play, apart from a role they’ve had, if they could choose any role.


Wayne Grayson replied, “I’d like to do a lot more straight-up super heroes.” Ted Lewis joked that he would’ve loved to play Mai, but wasn’t right for the part. He then gave a slightly more serious answer, saying he would’ve liked to play Yugi because he’s famous. Dan Green said he thought it would’ve fun to be “the epic bad boy” that is Seto Kaiba. Darren Dunsten, the voice of Pegasus, said that he hasn’t had the opportunity to be a sidekick, and thinks that would be fun.


One of the audience members asked Wayne Grayson why he never acknowledges that he’s Dartz.


Wayne Grayson explained that he doesn’t go through every role that he has ever had, but said, “I admit it! I am Dartz!”


(There you have it. Wayne Grayson controls the power of The Seal of Orichalcos.)


One Duelist in the audience challenged Dan Green for the title of King of Games. Dan Green humbly responded, “You would win. I am not a good Duelist.”


(Little Yugi never likes to gloat that he’s better than his opponents, even though he is. It’s an admirable trait in a Duelist.)


Yu-Gi-Oh! fans 

One Duelist asked Dan Green what his favorite Duel from the show was.


“It was always fun to fight Kaiba,” he responded. “And Pegasus as well.” He also added that he really liked the final Duel of Yami versus Yugi. “I think when the series concluded and it was Yami versus Yugi, story-wise, that was a very interesting Duel.” Dan Green explained that “you can fall into the Trap of ‘this is me just yelling out another card,’” but really, there’s emotion.


One Duelist asked Erica Schroeder what her favorite monster is, and she thought for a while before giving the obvious answer of Black Rose Dragon.


One fan asked Erica Schroeder and Wayne Grayson what it was like “playing the two best characters ever created in Joey and Akiza,” and both of them said that it was awesome and a lot of fun.


A Yu-Gi-Oh! fan asked the voice actors the toughest part about their roles.


Ted Lewis explained that in some of Bakura’s Duels, there would be a lot of screaming and it can get tough after a while. He said that there were times that he’d feel light-headed after saying his lines.


Greg Abbey noted that, if a voice actor isn’t careful, his or her character can unintentionally change. He said that it’s important to stay consistent. Erica Schroeder pointed out that a character can also change when the director changes and has a different image in mind for the character.


Dan Green, who played both Yami Yugi and the younger Yugi, said that moving his voices to the extremes was the most difficult part of his role. He said that, initially, both Yugi and Yami Yugi’s voices were closer to his original voice, but Yugi’s voice gradually got higher, and Yami Yugi’s voice gradually got lower as the series progressed. Fans liked a more commanding Yami Yugi.


One fan asked Dan Green which he liked more: the Egyptian Gods or Exodia.


He said that he likes the Egyptian Gods, but he really likes saying “Exodia! Obliterate!” He then said it for the crowd!


When Wayne Grayson was asked about the Yugi versus Joey Duel from the original series, he said that he had become friends with Yugi (Dan Green) in real life, so it fed the angst of Dueling against a friend.


One fan asked Dan Green whether he thinks it was unfair that Yami Yugi got to use all 3 Egyptian Gods against Yugi in their last Duel.


Dan Green joked, “It’s hard to say – I like both those guys.” He pointed out, however, that one of the most important questions to ask when making a decision about the show, is “how does this serve the story?”. He said that he thinks giving all of the Egyptian God Cards to Yami Yugi helped the story.


A fan asked how the voice actors decide to put accents on their characters. Ted Lewis, the voice of Bakura, said that the direction is usually already there at the first audition. “Usually, we go in giving them what they requested for a character.”


One Yu-Gi-Oh! fan requested that Dan Green say the Ra chant. Dan Green asked him to write down the chant since he didn’t know it off the top of his head. After the audience member got it down for him, Dan Green happily obliged.


Someone asked Greg Abbey how he feels about Tristan losing all the time. He answered, “Let’s not talk about his losses. It’s really a sore spot for me.”


At another point, a few of the voice actors said that voice acting is hard to do if you’re not in a major city like New York or Los Angeles. Greg Abbey noted that you can’t “go half into it” and that “voice acting should be taken as seriously as any type of acting.” He said that it’s important to study to be an actor.


One person asked Dan Green if it was tough to transition from one Duel to the next, and if it was difficult to Duel against himself in the last Duel of the first series.


Dan Green said that it can be tough to emotionally invest in the Duel, and that it often comes down to the director. He said that Darren Dunsten is an excellent director, and that he puts his faith in the director to understand what he needs to get across. He said that he always wants to bring as much “character, heart, conviction, and nuance” to the Duel as possible. “Being loud is not the same as being passionate.”


Someone asked the voice actors how it felt to be working together again on the Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D movie.


“It was like visiting an old friend,” Dan Green said. He hadn’t been in character for a long time, so he was excited to get the chance to be Yugi again.


As a final request, someone asked Ted Lewis to say “I Summon Red Dragon Archfiend!” as Jack Atlas. He happily did it, and then was asked to say it in a French accent. Ted Lewis did that too.


Everyone who attended Saturday’s voice actor panel discussion had a lot of fun. It’s tough to really capture the excitement in the room and the laughs of the audience members, but there will be another voice actor panel discussion today at 2:30 PM. If you’re a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan and you’re able to attend, don’t miss it!