When you hear the name Hideo Kojima, the first thing that probably pops into your mind is Konami’s Metal Gear
. Kojima’s flagship series has enjoyed success for years, however, a game less known from him, (though no less important to many in the homeland) is Zone of the Enders
, a space shooter that was born on the PlayStation 2. Its story and engaging combat mechanics earned the game a cult following today, and a sequel and various spin offs have been since made since.
So intriguing was the Kojima mech-fest that anime shows and a feature-length production were made in its name. Zone of the Enders: Idolo
has been well received in the anime community, and the TV series, Dolores: i
swiftly followed suit. After a good run with 26 episodes, AD Vision is bringing the show to DVD in a comprehensive boxset. We spoke to Charles Campbell, ADR Director for ZOE Dolores: i
, about the story that spawned a cult franchise. (ADR is ‘Automatic Dialogue Replacement’ - that’s voice acting over Japanese dialogue to you and me.)
How did you get into the anime production industry and what was your first experience that got you interested?
My interest in anime started when I was a kid and loved to watch shows like Speed Racer
, Star Blazers
, and G-Force
). Later, in my senior year at the University of Houston (Majoring in Radio/Television production) while I was interning at a post production house I ended up engineering some recording sessions for ADV Films. When they decided to open their own recording studio, they asked me to be their first “in-house” audio engineer. In those first few years I recorded and acted in such early classics like Evangelion
, Golden Boy
, and Battle Angel
Dolores and Viora
Could you briefly tell us the story of the Zone of the Enders
The Zone of the Enders
animated series is the story of a washed-out drunken space trucker (James Links) who discovers a highly advanced sentient battle mecha (Dolores) aboard his cargo ship Ender. In the midst of impending interplanetary war, James and his estranged kids, Noel and Leon, find themselves on the run from both Earth and Mars agencies and spies who all want the awesome power Dolores possesses. It has a lot of action, humour, and heart – it’s easily one of my favourite series.
How closely does the anime series follow the video game series? Is it closer to the story in the original PlayStation 2 title (a child’s loss of innocence), or the Zone of the Enders’
feature-length movie’s colonialism?
movie (Zone of the Enders: Idolo
) was the prequel for the TV Series (Zone of the Enders: Dolores i
). I won’t spoil anything but if you watch the movie first, it makes the TV series even more exciting when the plot begins to thicken.
There are plenty of gigantic robots in Zone of the Enders
; do you have any favourite mechs at all? How about favourite characters?
Dolores is easily my favourite mech. I mean, a super-weapon with the mind of an innocent little girl is something you don’t see very often. Her character is probably the most “normal” of the bunch. My favourite character over all is James Links. He’s a great combination of Han Solo and John Wayne. He fights for what’s right and often fights his own demons as well but always with a sense of humour.
How do you decide whose voice is best for what roles, and who to cast?
With any show I direct I try to imagine what voice I would expect out of any given character. Since animated characters have no “real” voice, it gives the director freedom to cast solely according to appearance, age, and physicality. Ultimately, I try to choose a cast that sounds good as an ensemble and is the most entertaining. When I’m done with an episode, I like to listen without looking at the picture. To me, a good performance is like a good symphony. If everyone hits the right notes and the piece stirs your emotions then it’s a winning composition.