[Honey's Anime Interview] Greg Ayres – Veteran Voice Actor and DJ

Greg Ayres is a veteran voice actor who’s performed over 300 roles in anime and video video games all through his decades-long profession. You might acknowledge him as Kaoru from Ouran Excessive College Host Membership, Monokuma from Danganronpa, Izumi from Love Stage, and Leo from Ghost Tales. We spoke to him at Anime Boston 2022 about his performing course of, his relationship with the anime fan neighborhood, his DJ expertise, and far more!

Greg Ayres

Honey-Chan
Interview with Greg Ayres

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So that you’ve voiced fairly just a few LGBT characters…

Completely! In addition to myself!


Yeah! Comparable to Izumi from Love Stage, and many others. How have you ever seen the portrayal of the LGBT neighborhood change and evolve in anime over time?

Properly, that’s an ideal query as a result of I can see two sides of that. We took a bit little bit of flack after we have been engaged on Love Stage as a result of the fabric is a bit problematic. And the toughest factor about being a dub crew or perhaps a director is that we don’t have lots of say-so on the product. We get what we get and it’s our job to re-distribute it. I feel, although, that all the pieces is shifting ahead.

I feel that while you noticed LGBT characters up to now, it was very fetishized or very… yaoi’d up… (laughs) Not a really true illustration of LGBT relationships, and I feel that’s altering. I assume it’s controversial to say, however I don’t actually have an issue with the fanfiction-y facet of it as a result of it’s fiction, however I’m completely happy to see that issues like slice-of-life anime have come into their very own. I’m very completely happy to see actual illustration, and never simply of males, however of girls as nicely. And now we now have trans and non-binary characters showing in reveals.

However with anime, generally we’re about 4 or 5 years behind the precise curve as a result of we’re coping with the truth that animation takes some time to supply, and as a lot as we don’t prefer to say it, lots of what’s produced follows tendencies and it’s normally a couple of day late that the tendencies snap to what’s really occurring. However I feel as time goes on, I feel we’re going to see higher and extra broad illustration and I’m tremendous with that.

And there are extra folks working within the business which are LGBT now. I imply, after I began, in Japan I solely knew of like two out and outspoken LGBT folks. Granted, that was 20-some years in the past, however now it’s quite common to see folks with pronouns on their badges. I feel that it’s good that as we transfer ahead as a those that our artwork displays that, too. As a result of that is an inventive reflection of actual life.


You do lots of DJ-ing, too. What do you get pleasure from about that versus voice performing?

Wow, I lastly get to say this out loud! So, I’m a fan first. I went to conventions as a fan earlier than I ever thought I’d be concerned within the business. So being put in a scenario the place I’m in a room and individuals are asking me questions or individuals are asking me to signal the identical books I paid $40 or $50 for is awkward to me. I’m a reasonably introverted particular person for probably the most half after I’m not performing, and so to be in that scenario could be very awkward for me.

DJ-ing at a conference is the factor that I do this I really feel like I’m placing again into the present. There’s a lot work that goes on to get a rave up and off of its ft that folks won’t ever know – the technical nightmares, combating with the resort, getting permits in some cities… that’s lots of work. However, to me, I’ve at all times considered the raves as like “Nerd Promenade” as a result of I didn’t need to dance with anyone I used to be in highschool with, however a bunch of individuals with cat ears on? Let’s do it!

However, to me, it’s additionally… I’m positive you possibly can perceive the scenario that I discover myself on this yr… placing a smile on my face is a tall order some days. And having the ability to play music is nearly like an exorcism. I can simply stand up on stage and be loopy after which, irrespective of how exhausting of a day I’ve had, it’s been value it as a result of I noticed this dude kiss this woman or I noticed this one that was very shy doing the Caramelldansen! (laughs) I get to see these issues occur. I do know that my job as an actor brings folks enjoyment, however that’s one thing I did two months in the past, or a yr in the past. That is one thing I’m doing proper now to make the occasion extra enjoyable and to earn a bit little bit of this. (claps) I feel it’s bizarre to get that for one thing I did some time in the past. However to work actually exhausting and see everybody having time, that seems like I’ve achieved job.

And I additionally do different issues, too. There’s one conference that I do, as a result of I’m loopy, the place I’m a triple division head. I really assist run just a few conventions. So I like being part of the neighborhood. I like being part of the entire microcosm that’s an anime conference, so DJ-ing is only one a part of that. I’d play music if no person was listening – I’d simply be in my room banging out tunes, however I like doing it someplace the place I can flip different folks on to music. Like, I believed I used to be being artful – I acquired this Dutch home mixture of the brand new Psy music, and I used to be like, “I’m going to drop this – it simply got here out two days in the past.” There was a woman within the entrance row who knew the entire choreography already, and I’m like, “What is that this!?” In order that’s additionally enjoyable for me, being stunned. After I first began DJ-ing at conventions, it was simply DDR music, and now to see youngsters which have this refined musical palate as lots of anime followers do now, it’s superior. It’s so cool.

I’ve a bit [convention] in Kentucky in just a few weeks. I feel it was so humorous, the primary time we did it was in Paducah, Kentucky they usually stated, “Did you understand you’re throwing the primary rave in Paducah?” And I believed to myself, “Thirty years after the rave scene began…” However you realize what? That’s their rave, and I’m stoked to be the man that brings it, so it’s enjoyable – I find it irresistible.


What con is it?

It’s in Owensboro! We had began in Paducah – I really like this – it had began in Paducah, Kentucky. It outgrew Paducah, moved to Owensboro, which is subsequent to Bowling Inexperienced, and there’s this lovely model new multi-million-dollar state-of-the-art conference middle, and now we’re the biggest factor within the conference middle. And the joke we at all times make is, once they have been constructing the conference middle, no person ever thought, “You recognize, I guess we will fill this with a complete bunch of nerds!”

And the children that began that present – I really like them a lot – they have been like, “You recognize, we love conventions, however we additionally love Kentucky. We don’t assume we must always must drive to Otakon to have a conference.” And the primary yr they did their present, all of their friends cancelled besides me. In order that first yr, I used to be like… (mimics a music and dance) However simply making one thing cool in their very own hometown labored, they usually have a number of the coolest programming and neat concepts I’ve ever seen. Their program guides appear to be – they’ve all been completely different, however the first yr it was like a PS1 recreation, after which it was a Wii recreation, however this system information is inside a factor like a booklet. They’ve acquired some nice concepts, so if you happen to’re within the space, it’s OMG!con [on June 24 – 26th] and it’s lots of enjoyable. In reality, within the Nerima Daikon Brothers additional, I’m carrying the very first OMG!con t-shirt. It simply says, “OMG!”


What do you discover to be probably the most rewarding a part of your profession?

So, after I inform this story, it’s very exhausting. It entails pal of mine. Being older, it’s very regular for me to have buddies that I grew up with whose kids are actually enormous anime followers, and so a woman I grew up with known as me and I heard these ladies simply screaming within the background. She goes, “So, my youngsters don’t imagine I do know you. You continue to do this voiceover stuff, proper?” I’m like, “Oh god… yeah.” And he or she says, “And also you play a twin in one thing?” I’m like, “Ooooooh yeah… that explains the screaming.” So I had this actually humorous dialog the place she put me on the cellphone and I talked to her daughter and her daughter’s pal. And we hadn’t seen one another in a very long time, and I used to be doing a conference regionally, so I stated, “Hey, why don’t you all come out, I’ll get passes for everyone.”

I met her, I frolicked along with her youngsters, and he or she really used to return to the membership I labored at after I first began DJ-ing as a youngster. So I stated, “Hey, come to the rave, I really understand how to do that now.” I regarded backstage at one second, and he or she was sitting there crying. And I stated, “Hey, are you okay?” And he or she’s like, “Yeah, I’m greater than okay. My daughter is out in that crowd dancing.” And I used to be like, “That’s cool!” And he or she was like, “No, my daughter doesn’t make buddies with folks. She goes to a faculty the place all people treats her like an alien, and he or she’s not enthusiastic about issues, and he or she leads a really remoted existence. And simply being right here at this time, I’ve watched my daughter blossom as a result of she’s round folks like herself.”

And I’m not even saying that I’ve something to do with that, however being part of this complete microcosm, this complete leisure/conference/anime neighborhood business, the truth that that is one thing that may be a enormous deal for the folks concerned in it, and for youths particularly that undergo a time of their life the place they really feel remoted or no matter… simply to even be part of any of that’s like being a superhero. To have someone come as much as me and say, “Hey, throughout lockdown I believed I used to be dropping my thoughts, after which I found this bizarre present known as Puni Puni Poemy, and I laughed till I believed I used to be going to cry.” Or somebody saying, “I used to be caring for an aged father or mother, and one evening per week I allowed myself to observe Saiyuki.” Simply to be part of something that makes the day-to-day rubbish okay… there’s no price ticket you possibly can placed on that.

I don’t over-inflate my half in that, however simply to be part of it. Simply being part of this factor that’s so necessary to folks is one of the best job I’ve ever had. I get tremendous emotional about that. Simply watching this world remodel folks and shelter folks and ease folks by a time of life that’s actually exhausting… man, that’s the good factor on this planet. You recognize, I used to make some huge cash and work for a bunch of attorneys that yelled at me on a regular basis. Not a lot enjoyable! I’ll take being a broke actor as part of this cool floating universe any day of the week over that.

Whether or not it’s serving to throw a dance, or organizing a conference, or working meals orders to folks which are working within the vendor’s corridor, it takes all of us to make this bizarre little floating conference occur in a special metropolis each weekend. And the truth that we’re right here! We made it by a historic world occasion. We acquired very emotional backstage watching that “Coming Dwelling” video the place they have been placing collectively Anime Boston as a result of we haven’t seen one another in three years. To be part of all this, that’s probably the most rewarding.


Ultimate Ideas

Greg Ayres clearly loves his profession and the neighborhood that makes all of it potential. His vitality is infectious and the care he places into each side of his work is heartwarming. We want him one of the best of luck sooner or later and hope to see him in lots of extra anime (and at many extra conventions) for years to return!

What did you consider our interview? Did you be taught any new and attention-grabbing tidbits about Greg Ayres? Tell us within the feedback, and thanks a lot for studying!

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Anime Zone
Anime Zone
Anime is an art form that uses imagination and creativity to tell stories. It's a form of entertainment that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. I love writing about anime because it gives me the opportunity to share my love for the genre with other fans.