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Junko Takeuchi: New York Comic-Con / Anime Festival 2011 Interview

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Q: That seems to be the way it’s represented in the show, too. There will be this sudden, cataclysmic event and Naruto will have to do a lot of growing up in a very short time.

A: You’re right. And of course once Shippuden gets under way, Naruto has to go from being kind of childlike to being very mature, very rapidly. And I think that comes out quite a bit as well. So I think that if we had made a schedule of events, it probably wouldn’t have worked out as well. It has to be a kind of a Gestalt.

Q: In the panel, you talked about how the English-language voice actors for Naruto do their own thing and you’re proud of the job they’ve done, and from what I hear they’re given very explicit directions to emulate the Japanese voice track. I wonder if that makes you a bit self-conscious?

A: I don’t think about how it’s going to be re-recorded at all.

[She apparently has heard some of the other language versions, including French, when she attended an event in France.]

Q: It’s fascinating how they all do it differently, and yet at the same time you can close your eyes and say “That’s Naruto!”

A: It might also be because of the speech conventions, the mannerisms that each character has, and those are probably preserved as closely as possible. But I don’t think it’s due to me at all! [Laughter] I think it’s because each voice actor that has voiced the role is very strong, and very competent in their own way.

Q: Apart from the actual winners at the panel, what did you think of the folks in cosplay there?

A: I have to say, I was really impressed by the quality of the costumes, especially the Akatsuki cosplayers, even though I went “Bye-bye!” and dismissed them in the first round! So I was like, “Oh, that was such a waste!”

[The art of costuming among fans has improved drastically in the last decade.]

I really thought it was incredible. But the level of cosplay in Japan is just another thing entirely!

Q: Were you expecting such a full room for your event?

A: No, I had no idea! It was a shock!

Q: I couldn’t even get in at first; they were at capacity. I had to stand on the side. But I expected something like that for someone of your stature.

A: I honestly had no idea. I thought, “Wow, American fans are just so generous!”

Q: Out of curiosity, when you came to New York last time, on vacation, where’d you go?

I went to see some musicals, I went to Central Park, and I went to the Statue of Liberty!

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