She’s The Voice Of Everyone’s Favorite Office Mom!
Whether she’s bringing characters to life through stellar direction, talented voice-work, dedicated scripting or even through her own comics, Kristen McGuire has gone on to prove herself as one of Funimation’s best and brightest.
Not only finding widespread success with her own artistry, Ms McGuire’s contributions towards the dubbing scene have been essential both in and outside the booth. Throw in the fact she’s got iconic characters like Rin Toyama under her belt, and it’s fair to say that she’s made her mark!
Which is why we couldn’t be happier that she agreed to have a quick chat with us about her career as well as all the craziness that’s come from it!
Before we dive into your voice roles, it’s important to note just how much work you do outside the recording booth. What would you say has been most gratifying; working as an ADR Director or adapting scripts?
“I definitely prefer directing over writing, and I would love to possibly pursue it as a full time job if the opportunity ever came up. To me, there is nothing more gratifying than working with a team of people to make a show the best it can be. Being a director is like putting together a puzzle where all the pieces constantly shift or change. The end result is never what you imagined it would be, but in my personal opinion, that’s what makes it so much fun.”
What has been more the fulfilling project to direct? A light-hearted romantic comedy like Gamers or something spicy and sensual like Citrus?
“They’re both fulfilling in their own way. As a writer, actor, and director, comedy is definitely more my jam and that’s probably the genre I excel at most. But it’s also gratifying to dig into a project that has a deeper meaning and may be more emotional. Directing different types of projects helps me grow in a multitude of ways, not just as a director but as a person in general.”
Citrus had more than its fair share of awkward moments that pushed the boundary of how one deals with a potentially unhealthy romance. What tips did you give your fellow actors when these scenes occurred?
“The key to Citrus was understanding the characters and where they were coming from emotionally. We relied on that heavily throughout the entire series, and approached all of those scenes from the mindset of what those characters may be experiencing emotionally. I also trusted the actors on each scene and only guided them if I felt like they really needed it. They each connected with their characters in their own way, and I wanted to see where that would take them before I gave them any feedback regarding a scene. Between trusting the actors and knowing the backstories and emotions of the characters, I personally don’t think those scenes were difficult to record at all. Also, we made a lot of jokes. Laughter is always a good thing!”
Scripting a series like Dagashi Kashi must be a joy, especially when it comes to the character of Hotaru. Do any moments stand out for you now that the second season has concluded?
“Honestly, the second season of Dagashi Kashi is a bit of a blur for me because I was also directing Citrus and acting in Karakai Jozu no Takagi-San. Dagashi Kashi is one of the earlier shows I wrote, and I had a lot of fun with it. Characters like Hotaru and Yo made it fun to adapt and I enjoyed getting to break the fourth wall a bit in the first season. Personally, I’d like to see whether or not Kokonotsu pursues his dream of being a manga artist because that was always what interested me most anyway, haha. Also, it should be noted that I always gain about five pounds when I write that show because it always makes me hungry!”
Interview With Monster Girls certainly had way more heart to it than many were expecting. Can you bring yourself to choose best girl?
“This is actually an easy one because I always felt a connection with Machi. Out of all the monster girls, I felt like she had to overcome the biggest trials on a daily basis. Hikari and Yuki still looked pretty normal by modern day standards, but Machi was literally headless. I thought about how that must affect her and what sort of looks she must endure on a daily basis. The episode where she goes to the university and discovers her love for science only sealed the deal for me. Machi is best girl.”
Besides her loving obsession with Kou, what would you say are Rin from New Game’s best qualities?
“Rin is sort of like the office mom. I admire her organizational skills (as mine are seriously lacking), but she always has the team’s best interests in mind. Rin and I both tend to be people pleasers. The episode where she finally admits to Kou her true feelings really hit home for me, because I think we both tend to put other people’s happiness before our own, and I felt like that was a big step for Rin to put herself first for once. Rin is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever voiced, so I could go on about her for hours, haha! Long story short, I think it’s her caring nature that makes her such a wonderful person, but she is also very human. She’s capable of jealousy, especially when it comes to Kou, but she’s not afraid to make tough decisions when it comes to her job. She’s definitely a very cool person.”
You and Rin also happen to have something in common; you’re both published artists! For those not in the know, can you talk a little about how projects such as Enchanted and Day in the Life of a Cat Girl came about?
“Ah, my first love! My comics are actually how I discovered the world of voice over. I was at a con as a guest for my comics when I met a voice over guest. They told me Funimation sometimes did open auditions, and finding out that I did theater in high school, encouraged me to try out. I could have never imagined where that open audition would lead! But more on the comics, I’ve always enjoyed creating my own stories. The thing that voice over and comics have in common is that you can use both of those to tell a story and connect with an audience. I love making that connection, and even though I make a living off of my work at Funimation, I continue to create art in my spare time. I’m actually working on a new comic as we speak. Since Funimation is a full time job though, it’s taking a bit longer than I anticipated. A lot of people ask where I got the idea for Enchanted. The truth is, I just wanted to make a story about unicorns that turn into hot guys. They say write what you love and you’ll find an audience! The concept proved to be more popular than I expected.”
Dolugh might just be the cutest metaphor for a conscious ever seen in anime! Was it easy to give a voice to his innocent nature?
“Initially, I was worried when I found out I was playing Dolugh. I was excited for the challenge, but nervous about finding the right voice for him. But once we got into the flow of things, it came to me pretty easily. Of course, that’s no surprise with Sonny Strait at the directing helm. In the end we approached Dolugh as if he were a child, and that made playing him a bit easier.”
Keijo is a special snowflake of an anime, one that somehow managed to turn fanservice into a sport. Aside from her talent for pummelling opponents with her posterior, what did you most enjoy about Hanabi’s character?
“I was so excited to play the “rival” character in a sports anime! What I didn’t count on was that Hanabi would come around so quickly. I wondered why she would act that way, so I did some research online and found out that Hanabi had trouble making friends growing up because she was always so talented at sports. You find out that she actually started playing Keijo as a way to make friends, and suddenly her character made a lot more sense. Clifford Chapin, the ADR Director, also made working on the show a lot of fun. Hanabi was a fun character because she was often the source of something comedic, and those scenes are always a lot of fun to play with.”
Given the number of crazies that inhabit the busty world of Prison School, Chiyo was definitely one of the most earnest. Was it more fun to explore her naivety or indulge in the times when she did get to share in the naughtiness?
“Chiyo was certainly a wallflower when the show first started out. The key to playing a character like that is to find the things that interest you about them. For Chiyo, it was her sense of loyalty. I mean, she was also naive, sure. But she was loyal almost to a fault. It was fun to see how far her loyalty would take her in the breakout scheme though, and in the end she really came through for the boys in prison in a way I never expected. Fun fact though, most of her reactions to the things going on around her were totally just me reacting to those scenes. You can especially hear it when Gakuto takes out the USB drive and Chiyo gives off a resounding, “Ugh!”. That was just me reacting for real, haha.”
Assassination Classroom’s Hinano may not have managed to get as much of the spotlight as the other students, but she was undeniably a beautiful ball of sunshine whenever she did appear on screen. Is it a breath of fresh air when you get to play someone of such a pleasant disposition?
“Hinano will always be special to me because she was my first named role, and I had no idea the show would be so popular. The whole thing was a big surprise for me. Characters like Hinano that are sweet and innocent are always fun to play, and I know that I grew a lot as an actor while playing her. So yes, she was definitely a breath of fresh air.”
Kristen, thank you so much for your time! As an honorary member of WatchMojo, if you could choose a subject for a top ten list, what would it be?
“I would definitely do something along the lines of “Top Ten Animes Featuring Strong Female Leads” (Like Snow White with the Red Hair) or “Top Ten Animes Involving Animal Girls” (Show by Rock, Tokyo Mew Mew, things like that)”