Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

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Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by eledoremassis02 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:43 am

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/26/entertai ... index.html
I know it's happening to quite a few shows.
I feel this is an interesting topic in regards to anime and the lack of Asian voice actors for mostly Asian characters. Do you think this will change the anime, if not Dragon Ball is cast in the future (or maybe even recasts)? This is reminded me of the Dragon Ball Evolution Goku and Bulma controversy, but that never seeped into the anime side of things.

Edit: I correct myself, the Bulma casting thing was about the actress herself (her ability to do the role justice), not about her race.

Edit 2: This is a context update. minority representation is reflected on the current news in regards to white VA's dropping (or regretting) playing non-white roles in animation and it's reflection in the Anime industry. This does not mean that I think only minority VA's should solely stick to minority characters.
Last edited by eledoremassis02 on Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by Cure Dragon 255 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:55 am

I think this is a great step to take. But Dragon Ball is fine...SANS THAT HORRIBLE KILLA THING. In fact asking a black person to do Mr Popo is an insult.
MyVisionity wrote:
Sat Oct 03, 2020 10:52 pm
It's ill-fitting for me. Dragon Ball is not a bedtime story. And "laid-back old man" is not how I would describe Yanami's narrator. To me he sounds like the kind of uncle that shows up to the birthday party with loads of fruit punch soda and stuffs himself with pizza and ice cream, or takes you out on his boat at the lake in the summer and goes skinny dipping or something.
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19 years ago I was rushing home from school to watch DBZ on Cartoon Network, and today I've rushed home from work to watch DBS on Pop. I guess it's true the more things change the more they stay the same. :lol:

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by eledoremassis02 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:17 am

Cure Dragon 255 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:55 am
I think this is a great step to take. But Dragon Ball is fine...SANS THAT HORRIBLE KILLA THING. In fact asking a black person to do Mr Popo is an insult.
True, I think popo can actually be played by anyone. But characters like Chici, tien, Roshi etc. Should they be recast, either out of good faith or fan demand (if that happened)?

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by JulieYBM » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:33 am

Casting an actual black person for Killa would certainly be a hell of a lot better. Hell, Super Sentai recently had a black actor as a main character.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by Tian » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:15 am

Cure Dragon 255 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:55 am
In fact asking a black person to do Mr Popo is an insult.
Hmm... makes me wonder what did Alvin Sanders feel when he voiced Popo in the Ocean dub. :think:
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by Cure Dragon 255 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:24 am

He must have had the patience of a saint.
MyVisionity wrote:
Sat Oct 03, 2020 10:52 pm
It's ill-fitting for me. Dragon Ball is not a bedtime story. And "laid-back old man" is not how I would describe Yanami's narrator. To me he sounds like the kind of uncle that shows up to the birthday party with loads of fruit punch soda and stuffs himself with pizza and ice cream, or takes you out on his boat at the lake in the summer and goes skinny dipping or something.
90sDBZ wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:44 pm
19 years ago I was rushing home from school to watch DBZ on Cartoon Network, and today I've rushed home from work to watch DBS on Pop. I guess it's true the more things change the more they stay the same. :lol:

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by jjgp1112 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:34 am

eledoremassis02 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:17 am
Cure Dragon 255 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:55 am
I think this is a great step to take. But Dragon Ball is fine...SANS THAT HORRIBLE KILLA THING. In fact asking a black person to do Mr Popo is an insult.
True, I think popo can actually be played by anyone. But characters like Chici, tien, Roshi etc. Should they be recast, either out of good faith or fan demand (if that happened)?
The thing with anime though, is they're already removing a cartoon from it's native language by dubbing it anyway, so fretting too much over the races of the voice actors - especially in a show like Dragon Ball where aside from aliens, animal people and black folks, there's no real defined races outside of stuff you can infer from appearance and cultural cues - is an exercise in futility and opens a can of worms about the nature of dubbing to begin with lol.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by Matches Malone » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:13 am

When it comes to dubbing, this is asking too much. DB for example is dubbed in countless languages, so you can't expect every voice cast to be full of Asian actors. The Simpsons' original voice work may have the correct representation, but can we expect the same thing when it's dubbed in other countries ? probably not.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by Zestanor » Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:10 am

The role should go to the best audition.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by JulieYBM » Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:24 am

I think it's ill-advised to tell the various types of minorities that cishet white people can portray and represent them in media because "lol acting". As a trans person, this dumb fuckery is the same justification used to pass up trans actors for roles about trans characters. I wouldn't expect different standards for other kinds of minorities, either.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:09 am

I’m gonna be honest, this kind of just seems like another desperate attempt by a 30 year old show to stay relevant. I seriously doubt this will lead to anime like Dragon Ball having a mostly Asian cast for the English dub.

Also, was there controversy over Bulma being played by a white actress in DBE? I know Goku being white was controversial, but I don’t remember people saying anything about Bulma.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by VegettoEX » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:20 am

Woof. K. Gonna try my best.

"The role should go to the best audition" is some "all lives matter" kind of energy. Like, it's theoretically rooted in this pure ideology where our world has transferred to being a utopia and racism has truly ended and everyone is legitimately on equal ground... but that's just not reality, and it's (whether willfully or simply out of ignorance) covering your eyes.

I don't have the best resources at hand (I would love folks to share some), but consider:
  • Most industries are boys' clubs to begin with, most industries are cliques to begin with, all in who you know, and a lot people just aren't looking for those new voices, and so:
  • Black, POC, queer, etc. (minorities in general, forgive my acronyms and broad categorizations) historically don't always get the auditions in the first place, and so:
  • Do phenomenal voice actors Nolan North or Troy Baker or Steve Blum or Laura Bailey or (insert others here) truly need another leading role in the latest AAA franchise and the spotlight for another decade of sequels in addition to the last seventy they just had?
If people want to elevate voice acting to equal footing with other industries and be role models, while I'm hesitant to play the "think of the children" card, it's pretty fucked when kids look up their favorite characters of diversity and it's... the same white dude that plays every other character in the show. *I'M* disappointed when I look them up and it's the same white dude that plays every other character in the show.

Isn't Overwatch, known for its incredibly diverse cast of characters, also widely regarded as some of the best voiced-acted material in the business? Doesn't it prop itself on its own merits? Isn't the talent there? Why can't it be everywhere?

It's easy to pretend Dragon Ball is this pure entity where everyone's an alien and nothing matters, but:
  • In Japan, it's that very thought and very real inherent and "innocent" naive racism that directly leads to POPO IN FUCKING GENERAL (up through and including him speaking in broken sentences), nevermind Toei's portrayal of Blue. I know, I know, these are the two big examples always brought up, but goddamn. Let no-one say we can't and don't criticize the original. Beyond just that, I love the man and bless your heart and rest in peace you beautiful man, but Daisuke Gori didn't need all those characters.
  • In America, it's that very thought and very real casual/systemic racism that leads directly to Killa's original dub voice. Literally no-one said anything along the way? No-one thought twice about that? Fucking WHAT?
And to be fair, there have been strides made. Tracing back to 1996, at least Popo doesn't speak in broken English. To Viz's credit, I suppose, they consistently remove his lips. Call it "censorship", sure, whatever... but it's not a government forcing them to do it, it's just probably the right thing to do.

Oh hey, remember when Vermoud/Belmod got a bunch of feedback for sounding "too black" in FUNimation's English dub? Can't fucking win, I suppose, right?

No. Keep pressing. There's more to be done and you're going to get better-sounding, more-faithful, broader-reaching, more-successful dubs out of it. You should want that.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by FireFly » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:44 am

How exactly do different ethnic groups sound different if assuming that they already speak fluent, American-sounding English? The thought that we should have minority-specific voices for characters is a bit of a racial stereotype in the first place, no?

I'd say it's probably a bad thing if tons of ethnic minority voice actors and actresses apply for these roles and still don't get them because whites are being preferred over them, but there're actually quite a few Asian and black voice actors in the west that have gotten prominent roles like Hinata Hyuga being given to Stephanie Sheh, or Kaiji Tang getting Guts from Berserk. We've still some progress to make, but let's not pretend there should be some sort of affirmative action bullshit in the field of voice acting.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:06 am

I guess a major question I would ask is this: since anime characters tend to be Asian by default, would that mean that it should be considered important for dubs to be almost entirely comprised of Asian voice actors? In terms of diversity, I feel that there’s kind of a slippery slope when it comes to Japanese cartoons that are dubbed into English.

Come to think of it, even in terms of an American show like Avatar: The Last Airbender, most of the voice cast is white, even though the show takes place in a distinctly Eastern setting.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by JulieYBM » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:10 am

FireFly wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:44 am
How exactly do different ethnic groups sound different if assuming that they already speak fluent, American-sounding English? The thought that we should have minority-specific voices for characters is a bit of a racial stereotype in the first place, no?

I'd say it's probably a bad thing if tons of ethnic minority voice actors and actresses apply for these roles and still don't get them because whites are being preferred over them, but there're actually quite a few Asian and black voice actors in the west that have gotten prominent roles like Hinata Hyuga being given to Stephanie Sheh, or Kaiji Tang getting Guts from Berserk. We've still some progress to make, but let's not pretend there should be some sort of affirmative action bullshit in the field of voice acting.
There are hundreds if not thousands of Japanese American actors in the US and yet next to none of them work in voice acting or even on-screen. There's an issue with Asian American actors in general being treated like shit in Hollywood. That dubs of Japanese cartoons are all being headlined by white people as if it were The Default screams raging racism to me. I'm not even talking about the sound of their voices, either, just the pure fact that one group of labor is being rather suspiciously ignored in favor of another.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by VegettoEX » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:31 am

FireFly wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:44 am
How exactly do different ethnic groups sound different if assuming that they already speak fluent, American-sounding English?
What's "fluent, American-sounding English"?
FireFly wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:44 am
The thought that we should have minority-specific voices for characters is a bit of a racial stereotype in the first place, no?
Yes, absolutely; it's terrible that they're often only considered for aliens and robots and shit. Except:
FireFly wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:44 am
I'd say it's probably a bad thing if tons of ethnic minority voice actors and actresses apply for these roles and still don't get them because whites are being preferred over them
As I said before and as Julie just reiterated, they're historically not even getting the auditions.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by jjgp1112 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:31 am

FireFly wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:44 am
How exactly do different ethnic groups sound different if assuming that they already speak fluent, American-sounding English? The thought that we should have minority-specific voices for characters is a bit of a racial stereotype in the first place, no?

I'd say it's probably a bad thing if tons of ethnic minority voice actors and actresses apply for these roles and still don't get them because whites are being preferred over them, but there're actually quite a few Asian and black voice actors in the west that have gotten prominent roles like Hinata Hyuga being given to Stephanie Sheh, or Kaiji Tang getting Guts from Berserk. We've still some progress to make, but let's not pretend there should be some sort of affirmative action bullshit in the field of voice acting.
That's....pretty ridiculous logic. And I'm not even gonna talk about "fluent, American-sounding English" because that's gonna be a repeat of the Super thread when the U11 voices first came up and...yikes.

I think, all things equal, anybody should be able to play any character they want. That's the beauty of voice acting.

However, all things aren't equal. Minority voice actors have trouble getting in the door to begin with. So having minority characters voiced by white people when there are plenty of talented minority voice actors who could do it themselves and are still waiting on an opportunity is quite frankly, ridiculous. I mean, don't get me wrong I love hearing Cree Summers and Kevin Michael Richardson but it's crazy how they're among just a few people you hear for any black character.

I just think for anime dub, it's a little weird to have the discussion when the characters are already removed from their language anyway. And I certainly wouldn't want a black guy playing Popo, Jesus Christ.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:23 pm

I’ve frankly never even seen this discussion being applied to anime dubs until this very thread. There have been numerous complaints about the FUNimation voice cast over the years, but I’ve certainly never heard anyone argue that Sean Schemmel shouldn’t voice Goku because he’s white. Granted, it wouldn’t surprise me if we start hearing random people on Twitter arguing for this, because, to be blunt, the people on that platform are always looking for something to rail about these days.

Just so we’re clear, I’m all for hiring more Asian voice actors, but I don’t know if it’d be reasonable to suggest that the people who have been voicing their respective anime characters for years should be required to step down from those specific roles, just because they aren’t Asian. Still, I’m not Asian, so I suppose my thoughts on the matter should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by JulieYBM » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:31 pm

WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:23 pm
I’ve frankly never even seen this discussion being applied to anime dubs until this very thread. There have been numerous complaints about the FUNimation voice cast over the years, but I’ve certainly never heard anyone argue that Sean Schemmel shouldn’t voice Goku because he’s white. Granted, it wouldn’t surprise me if we start hearing random people on Twitter arguing for this, because, to be blunt, the people on that platform are always looking for something to rail about these days.

Just so we’re clear, I’m all for hiring more Asian voice actors, but I don’t know if it’d be reasonable to suggest that the people who have been voicing their respective anime characters for years should be required to step down from those specific roles, just because they aren’t Asian. Still, I’m not Asian, so I suppose my thoughts on the matter should be taken with a grain of salt.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by Adamant » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:58 pm

eledoremassis02 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:43 am
https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/26/entertai ... index.html
I know it's happening to quite a few shows.
I feel this is an interesting topic in regards to anime and the lack of Asian voice actors for mostly Asian characters. Do you think this will change the anime, if not Dragon Ball is cast in the future (or maybe even recasts)? This is reminded me of the Dragon Ball Evolution Goku and Bulma controversy, but that never seeped into the anime side of things.
Bulma, the culturally ignorant outsider from a place far to the west of the China-inspired setting of the first arc, and the one character in that arc with a name taken from an English loan word, was "supposed to be Asian"?

I'm sorry, what?
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