FInd out how the voice of Armin got into anime, which may or may not have involved watching episodes out of order.
The final interview at Castle Point Anime Convention is here…this time with a veteran of the anime industry in Josh Grelle. Here’s where you get to learn what voice acting role was a big challenge for him, and also get to learn what it’s like to buy out of order anime discs at a Sam Goody.
TheOASG: How did anime get in your rear view mirror, how did you know about it?
Josh Grelle: My grandfather was a pilot during WWII and Vietnam, and there was at one point during some of his deployments that he lived in Japan. He knew about anime and at one point during my childhood I remember staying with him a few weekends when my parents were out of town, and he had some VHS that he had in his collection and I remember some of them. That was my first exposure to something I realized, “Oh this is a cartoon from somewhere else, this was not made in America.” It really peaked my interest, but I was young enough at that point that it didn’t really stay on my radar for long.
It got back into my radar — it became a huge thing for me when I was in the 7th or 8th grade when Pokemon first hit in the states and really started to become big, then Digimon and stuff like that.
But again, it still didn’t kind of hit me as being something — like I knew it was from another country — but it still just didn’t sink in with me until I saw Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon is where I really started to get into anime. That led to, that was kind of the gateway drug for me. It took me into Dragon Ball Z, Tenchi, Ronin Warriors, Gundam Wing, all the old afternoon Toonami block hits and Outlaw Star. That led me to eventually seek out more obscure titles, which led me to–
Well, some of the old ADV stuff with like Dirty Pair, like most hardcore fans these days wouldn’t consider these things obscure or anything, but to a mainstream audience that only knows Toonami stuff, they haven’t heard of Dirty Pair.
I’ve heard of Dirty Pair!
Good! Because a lot of people here haven’t. It’s crazy how like a lot of the kids now are raised on Toonami, they don’t know about shows like Dirty Pair, Macross, Gatchaman—
It’s called Battle of The Planets man.
It was Battle of The Planets! G-Force man!
But then Slayers, not a lot of people have heard of Slayers, a lot of people don’t know what Excel Saga is or Puni Puni Poemy, or any of the freakin amazing Nabeshin titles. Of course now with the onset of the internet it’s a lot easier for more obscure titles to hit the mainstream. So that’s at least a good thing, I think.
I got into voice work because of all of the research and all of the shows that I eventually found through just being able to, before the internet was really a big place to get anime the only place I could find the obscure stuff was at a Sam Goody’s or a…um…Oh God what was the place called…
There wasn’t a Suncoast out there was it?
There was a Suncoast out there, it wasn’t as big as Sam Goody’s for us down in Texas. Did you guys ever have a Sam Goody’s where you’re from? You ever even heard of that–
I’ve never even heard of it *laughs*
Yeah it’s pretty much the exact same thing as a Suncoast.
But yeah Sam Goody is where I would buy all of my Dragon Ball Z VHS tapes whenever they would come out. Eventually DVDs would come out, the first anime DVD I ever purchased was Dirty Pair Flash, the spinoff series or reincarnation of Dirty Pair. That’s where I discovered Excel Saga, Steel Angel Kurumi…pretty much most of my collection in high school consists of ADV films releases and some FUNimation titles like Dragon Ball, Kitty Grade, Yu Yu Hakusho.
Eventually that led to me — I had also been an actor from the time I’ve been 5 years old, and that eventually…I’ve always loved imitating what I saw on TV and grew up with a healthy diet of the Disney afternoon and Animaniacs, Star Wars and Indiana Jones, Star Trek, all general geekery and video games, and I would just love to make believe and pretend I was these characters and I would act out — my mom put me in the theater at 5 years old and I kept coming back and doing that. Eventually it kind of dawned on me that, “Oh! All this stuff that I do for fun when I’m pretending is stuff that people get paid for. I can make a career out of this if I wanted to!”
And so in high school I decided that’s what I wanted to pursue. Anime was kind of the most convenient and easiest way to get into it because FUNimation and ADV Films were both in Texas and not far from my hometown. So I picked one and put my name out there and got them in. They brought me out, tried me, and they liked me, and kept me, and here I am, 12 years later! *laughs*