Published in The Music (WA & NSW) and on theMusic.com.au, June 2015
IT’S THE JOURNEY
Voice actor Veronica Taylor’s work on Pokémon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues to resonate with the generations that grew up watching them. Daniel Cribb discovers why.
Anime series Pokémon did so much more than introduce a wider audience to the genre when it debuted in the mid ‘90s, and as the original voice of main character Ash Ketchum, Veronica Taylor has discovered over time the true meaning of the show. “I actually just had a Skype session with an elementary school,” Taylor begins, taking a break from her human studio.
The Q&A-type sessions she offers come with a lot of expected questions from kids as to how she got her start, what it was like to voice characters in Pokémon and April O’Neil in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it’s recurring queries such as the absence of Ash’s father that reveal the depth of the story. “Maybe that’s a driving force that makes him leave home to search more for himself, ‘cause he doesn’t see it reflected in both of his parents.
“I think the stories transcend because they’re so universal. And in a sense, because it’s so simple, you can add your own ideas to it. So many people have theories on different things in the show – things I never even thought of – but they’re able to because it challenges their creativity and imagination.”
Fan conventions such as Supanova give Taylor the opportunity to meet fans that have grown up watching the shows in she was an integral part. “Some people come up to my table and they don’t even know until that minute that a girl played Ash. And so the shock of them finding that out is pretty amazing. But there’s something about when we are face-to-face, I hear everyone’s stories about how they found a comfort in it, because they were bullied at school or they were having problems with their parents divorcing or something.
“Now we go on our journey together, because we meet and then we meet again every so often at other shows, and so many people have come back and said, ‘I’m going to college’ or ‘I graduated college’ or ‘I have a job now’, so it’s been an amazing experience. And that’s why I go to conventions, to be able to meet people and start a new journey.”
While those who grew up watching the original TMNT cartoons may have kept up to date with the live action films, Taylor admits she hasn’t seen Michael Bay’s 2014 effort, kept busy with a hectic work schedule that currently includes voicing characters on Mofy and Astroblast. “I am a big Ninja Turtles fan, but I haven’t seen a lot of the new stuff. A lot of it is because I’ve been really busy working and just don’t have time. I haven’t seen a lot of the shows that I’ve worked on either. When we work on something that we’re just dubbing, I only see my line, so sometimes I don’t know what the whole show is about. With Ninja Turtles, we were all in the booth at the same time so we did it like a radio play and that was really great.”