How did you get into anime?
RT: I stumbled upon anime around 11/12 years old. I was flipping through channels and came across Fatal Fury movie on the SciFi Channel. I had no idea what I was watching, but I thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen?? I think I appreciated the artistry and fantasy of an animation meant for an older audience, not super kiddy stuff, but then naturally shows like Pokemon came along, I found Toonami, and I had to find more of it. My parents rented a copy of Princess Mononoke. I drew a lot, and I met friends in high school over a How to Draw Manga book, and we’d share Copic markers and manga, and we watched stuff like Trigun, Kenshin, Utena, Gundam…we started going to cons, aaand that was a wrap.
What made you decide to work in the industry? What’s the best part of your job?
RT: So since dubs weren’t really a thing like they are today, of course we mostly watched subs. This started a game where we would read the subtitles out loud as the character. I was always seen as the quiet introvert, so it was actually really cool to express myself and be silly or dramatic in that way. I looked into how people actually do voices for cartoons, and decided that’s a path I wanted to follow…and now, I’m doing it! ❤ The best part of all this is getting to play and stretch the imagination with voices and characters completely unlike myself! Now that I’m starting to do bigger projects, it’s feels great sharing the love with fans. I’m recognizing that me having these opportunities is also validating and inspiring to black fans and aspiring actors, and it’s special to be a part of that.
What do you foresee in the future with anime and black community? For example the fandom, storylines, animators, working in the industry etc.
RT: Yeah! A lot of black nerds might not have felt comfortable expressing ourselves because we didn’t see ourselves or we did and were met with backlash, but I see more support than ever. Creative tools like microphones, cameras, 3D printers, drawing tablets, and such are becoming so much more accessible and higher quality. I see more and more folks shootin their shot, taking chances, and sharing their passions online and at cons and such. It’s great. We don’t have to wait around. We can do our thing, and others will respect the value of that. More professionals are intentionally seeking black/poc creatives for their projects. With things like Hair Love, Blerdcon, and more black VAs showing up in the anime dub scene, stuff we didn’t see even five years ago, I’m optimistic. Progress is happening, we’re not alone in this, and we have influence. I think the more we tell our stories, the more our stories will be told.
What anime are you currently watching this season?
RT: I’m actually catching up on a lot of the current stuff. My Hero, Demon Slayer, Fire Force, but I’m really excited for the next season of Promised Neverland and Fruits Basket, too. I was also revisiting some of the older stuff I watched as a youngin, like Fushigi Yuugi and Kenshin! There’s so much to watch, it almost feels like work, but…the best kind, right. ;P