November 17, 2016 – Xanthe Huynh (pronounced Zan-thee Hwinn) is a talented voice actress who's had several noteworthy character roles in a slew of popular anime and video games. Some of her many anime roles include Ui Hirasawa (K-On!), Sanae Nagatsuki (Squid Girl), and Hanayo Koizumi (Love Live!); and some of her myriad video game roles include Meruru (Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland), Altina (The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II), and Falcom (Hyperdimension Neptunia series). One trait these characters have in common is that they're all cute, be it creepy-cute, shy-cute, earnest-cute, etc. By contrast, her latest role is that of Haru Okumura in the upcoming Persona 5 — a character whose outward smiles hide a more somber soul. Xanthe was kind enough to take the time to chat with us about her voice acting experiences, some of her characters, and taking long walks on the beach to capture pokémon.
Xanthe Huynh: I was first trained in theater acting and I had been a longtime fan of watching cartoons and anime. One day, I was watching something that had a character with a voice that I didn't like and (conceitedly) thought, "I could do better than that," and had my first realization that voice acting existed. A friend suggested I compete at Anime Expo's AX Idol, and I have been working ever since. It's a dream job that merged together my two favorite things, and I'm so very fortunate to call it my job!
Xanthe: I love Tara Strong and Grey Griffin. They are both fantastic character actors. Benedict Cumberbatch is a wonderful dramatic actor. And I look up to my friend Cristina Vee because she's got an amazing range and strong work ethic.
Xanthe: Before a session, I'll usually warm up my voice for about an hour (or however long my commute to the studio happens to be that day). A really helpful tip I got from a friend is to also cool down the voice after a session to relax the vocal chords. And I drink warm or room temperature water.
Xanthe: I loved balancing Haru's complex emotions behind her sweet, reserved nature. She grows so much in the game and it was very rewarding as an actor to play such a well rounded character.
Xanthe: I honestly try to avoid looking up any comments, reviews, and reactions to projects I've been cast in or worked on because I think it's a collaborative process between myself and the entire production team (director, writer, producer, and so on). We work together to produce something that we are proud of and I try to not let outside opinions taint my feelings of working on each project. Most of the feedback I see on Twitter or my Facebook page has fortunately been positive and I consider myself very lucky to have such a supportive base.
Xanthe: When I was recording for Love Live! School Idol Project, I started making rice balls for snacks more frequently, to the dismay of my waistline. A Lull in the Sea inspired me to learn to swim and I went snorkeling for the first time! (Editor's note: Xanthe's Love Live! character, Hanayo Koizumi, is an absolute fiend for rice; and her character in A Lull in the Sea is a wistful girl named Miuna Shiodome.)
Xanthe: It's happened, and I usually try to perform as directed because I trust the director and producer to know how this particular moment fits in with the rest of the project. Sometimes I'll try, and if I felt like the take didn't work, I'll ask for more clarification until I understand their point of view.
Xanthe: For some of the projects I've done from home, it helps if I have a director listening in over Skype to guide me. As for self-directed projects, I'll send two or three takes of a line and have the producer choose their favorite. If anything doesn't work when they start piecing dialogue together, then they'll usually request a retake with further direction and we go from there.
Xanthe: I have bought all of the video games I've worked on, but unfortunately I haven't played much of them. I'm planning to start playing The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II since it is a game by Falcom and I play a parody character called Falcom in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series.
Xanthe: I love cosplay, whether it's buying, scavenging, or making the costume and accessories. I also like to be comfortable and lazy, so oftentimes my cosplay choices are simple and easy to get around in. I tend to spend a lot of time watching videos on YouTube, especially cooking videos because I like to cook and eat lots. And I love reading!
Xanthe: For my voiceover career, I hope to get to the point where I get auditions every day and work every week. It'd be fun to expand into new genres like different types of games, domestic animation, and commercials. I also hope to learn how to use a sewing machine and make random content for YouTube.
Xanthe: Save up money to invest in acting classes and training. Practice! Work hard and don't give up. You're going to audition a lot and get rejected a lot, but don't take it to heart. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the work!
Xanthe: I'm not really an outdoorsy person...but if I had to make a choice, it'd be the beach because there are plenty of pokémon to catch there in Pokémon GO. I also have a horrible sense of direction, and it seems easier to get lost in the mountains than at the beach.
Xanthe: Thank you for reading and taking interest in me and my work! Please continue supporting the anime and video game industry. Disregard the trolls and try to be civil with your online comments and engagements. Life is short, so let's try to focus on happier things! :D