As we get closer to the end of Black History Month I wanted to present another voice actor breaking barriers. For Day 26 of #28DaysofBlackAnime I had the pleasure to interview Kimberley Campbell. Kimberley has appeared in Hunter x Hunter, and the video game Yandere Simulator.
“What got you into anime and what’s your favorite anime?”
KC: Sailor Moon was what got me into anime! Back during my elementary school days, I was just flipping through the channels when an episode of Sailor Moon was on. I thought the art style was so beautiful – it looked completely different from all the western cartoons I was used to watching. I soon became obsessed with Sailor Moon, which became a gateway to other anime for me. Currently, my favorite anime is Toradora! I rewatch the second half of the series every Christmas.
“How did your career in voice acting begin?”
KC: I started voice acting for fun during my middle school days. Using the Windows default sound recorder program (because this was Windows 95) and a broken headset, I used to act out scenes from manga I had. I didn’t share them with anybody or anything; I just liked the sound of my own voice and liked making different voices for the characters. Eventually, I found online forums and communities centered around voice acting; mostly as a fun, non-serious hobby and we’d all act out anime or video game scenes together.
After spending my entire high school and college days on those voice acting fan forums, I did get a little bored with voice acting for fan projects. I wanted the real thing. About a year after I graduated college, a tweet from a pretty prominent voice actress came across my timeline, advertising introductory anime voice acting classes offered by a studio called Bang Zoom. Bang Zoom is in Los Angeles, and I’m from New York, but from time to time, the instructor travels to other cities to teach these classes. That tweet I saw led me to the class website, and I saw that there’d be a class in New York coming up. I took the class, having never taken any sort of professional voice over class before (not to mention, I had never even taken a basic acting class before) and received positive feedback despite my complete inexperience being an actual studio, voice acting professionally, or anything! This class was what really made me want to do voice acting professionally. A few years after that, I moved to Los Angeles and Bang Zoom gave me my first job voice acting in anime!
“Any tips for someone trying to get into Voice Acting?”What’s
KC: Take classes! Take a lot of classes! With as many (reputable) teachers as you can!
“What do you foresee in the future with anime and the black community? For example the fandom, storylines, animators etc.”
KC: It always makes me excited when I see interesting black characters in anime/manga! Doubly excited when their character design doesn’t involve racist tropes!! Black characters are (understandably) a rarity in anime, but in recent years, I feel the representation and the designs have been done respectfully and tastefully, so I hope to see more of that in the future. Also, I’m really interested in checking out the upcoming series “Cannon Busters,” which is an anime series created by a black person, staring black characters… with black voice actors!!