We caught up with Vic Mignogna ahead of his appearance at Supanova to chat about Dragon Ball Z, League of Legends, and the end of Naruto.
You'll recognise Vic's voice from the likes of Fullmetal Alchemist, Star Trek Continues, RWBY, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto Shippuden, and even League of Legends.
One of your most noteworthy roles is as Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist – what was it like working with those guys?
Fullmetal Alchemist is probably the best thing I've ever done. It's certainly at the top of my list of favourites. It's probably because everybody that worked on that show just did such a superior job; engineers, actors, directors, marketing people, the people that wrote the music, or the animators. Everything about that show, to me, was so exceptional, and it was such a privilege to be a part of it. I don't know if I'll ever get to be a part of something quite as exceptional again.
What was it that got you into voice acting in the first place?
I've been acting since I was very young. I've done a lot of theatre, stage, and on-camera work. About 19 years ago, a friend I was working with in Houston encouraged me to audition for a tiny, fledgling company that was dubbing Japanese anime in English, and they were looking for actors. So I went and auditioned and I got cast as Vega in Street Fighter II. I didn’t expect anything would ever come of it. That was 19 years ago, and now over 300 anime series and video games later, I'm extremely blessed and humbled by the fact that I've been doing this as long as I have.
What was it like working on Dragon Ball Z?
When they asked me to play Broly years ago, I didn’t really know what DBZ was. Funimation was in Dallas, and I was in Houston. They contacted me and asked if I'd like to play a role in Dragon Ball Z – at the time I didn’t know anything about it. I went up to Dallas and played Broly, and it was really rough on my vocal chords, but I had a great time doing it. Ever since, I have been very grateful for the enthusiasm the fans have for Broly; he's definitely a very beloved character in the DBZ world. Having said that, I would love to play some other characters if the opportunity arises. I know that Dragon Ball Super is out, and Broly isn’t in that universe, so if the opportunity comes up I'd jump at the chance.
How was it working with the guys at Riot Games for Malzahar and Lee-Sin in League of Legends?
The Riot people that I worked with when we did the recording sessions were just wonderful. They're really great there, they're such dedicated people and they have such a passion for the stories that they're telling in the games that they're producing. It's always a privilege to work with people that have that kind of commitment. I didn’t even realise back when I did the roles that League of Legends had such a great fan base. I really enjoyed playing the characters and I always get a kick out of it when a fan comes up to the autograph table for a LoL autograph.
Do people ever ask you for character quotes in person?
Nothing really comes to mind I don't think. No specific quotes, anyway. One thing that a lot of people don’t realise is, as a voice actor you don’t memorise your characters' lines. You're in a studio where all that matters is the lines that are recorded by the microphone. You have the script in front of you, and if you perform the line adequately the first time, you'll never have to say it again. When you multiply that by 100 times, and all of the thousands of lines of dialogue each character has, it's literally impossible to remember many specific things that one character may say. In fact, most of the things I remember one character has said has been because of someone coming up to me and telling me – I don’t remember saying them by myself.
Tell us about the Star Trek series – it's obviously a big passion of yours?
It is my series, I started it, and I'm the executive producer. It has been my childhood love - the original series of Star Trek was the most inspiring thing to me as a little boy of nine years old. It got me started in wanting to be an actor, wanting to build props and make costumes, make movies, get into production, shooting a camera, and telling stories. I would round up the kids in the neighbourhood up and make Star Trek episodes. This series, I like to tell people, is my love letter to Star Trek. It is my tribute to, and my homage to, the original series, and to when I was younger.
What's it been like for you and the rest of the cast to see the Naruto series come to an end?
I've actually played five or six characters in Naruto. It's such a large series, and it's been such a privilege to be a part of it. It'll be bittersweet to see it end. When something that big finally comes to an end, it's pretty exciting, and I'm personally looking forward to seeing how it wraps up with all the characters. I know the people that have been involved in it are looking forward to seeing it end strong, with a great, powerful ending.
What was your reaction when you found out they were bringing back the original Digi-Destined?
Digimon is like Pokemon, or Yu-Gi-Oh, or DBZ – it's iconic. Digimon is one of the anime series that got on to mainstream television, and that actually helped bring anime into the mainstream as it is now. The chance to play a character in that iconic series is quite a privilege, and I'm very, very excited to be a part of it. Matt's a really cool character and I'm really looking forward to more coming along here very soon.
Do you have any interesting plans while you're Down Under?
I'm just excited to come back. The first few times that I was there, I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and I went to the zoo, and the Opera House, and I held koalas and I fed kangaroos and I played the didgeridoo, and I did all this wonderful stuff. After I did all those things, I found that my time there was most valuable because of the people there. Supanova in particular, it almost feels a little bit like coming home when I get back, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there.
You can catch Vic at Supanova Pop Culture Expo.