So, as a follow-up to my last dub-related blog, I'm pleased to announce that I was one episode and half a year off so far. At this rate, we may be in the timeskip before 2017. And what's more, we'll definitely be in Impel Down by the end of this year. So, I'd like to talk about who I'd like to see voicing some of our soon-to-be characters. I understand that a vast majority of you won't care. Honestly, I don't know why you clicked this title. But for that small pocket of users who love voice actors as much as I do, I'll be going into quite a bit of detail.
Jinbe is my all-time favorite One Piece character, so he'll be up first. In Japan, he was originally voiced by Daisuke Gori, a phenomenal actor who was very well known for his 'big, tough guy' typecast. Most famously, he played Mr. Satan (Hercule), Ox King, King Yemma, and King Cold from Dragon Ball. He was also in One Piece as Dorry and Rockstar. He's compared to the American voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson for his typical deep-voiced performance. Here's a clip of Gori as Jinbe , which unfortunately never left the cell. Daisuke Gori committed suicide before Luffy ever made it to Level 6 of Impel Down.
Not-So-Fun Fact: At the battle of Marineford, 5 characters were not voiced by their original actor, four of whom had died, and one other was in prison. They were Jinbe, Ivankov, Benn Beckman, Smoker, and Mihawk. Presumably Rockstar was there, too, but was never shown. Sengoku's voice actor died soon after.
Jinbe was recast as Katsuhisa Hoki, who perfected the role. With all due respect to Mr. Gori, Hoki's Jinbe is on another level. He's still gruff, even raspier, but he's so much more collected and wise. The Jinbe character is fearsome, but he's also loving and respectable. He's stern when he needs to be, whether its to his friends or his enemies. I could never see Gori's Jinbe giving his blood to Luffy at the end of Fishman Island, but Hoki made it feel right in-character.
Here is a clip of Hoki's Jinbe being a confident, patient fighter . And here is a clip of Hoki's Jinbe talking sense to a grieving friend-in-need . Whoever voices Jinbe in English (or Jimbei, as I'm sure he'll be called) needs to understand this aspect of the character just as well. We need someone who is gruff, fearsome, but calm, patient. We need Mako.
My dream cast for Jinbe is Mako Iwamatsu, the Japanese-American actor who would be perfect for the Jinbe. Well, would be perfect if he were still alive, that is. Yes, Mako is dead, so this is all hypothetical, but I have to express how well he would play this role. His most famous roles were Uncle Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Aku from Samurai Jack. Both of these characters have a bit of Jinbe in them. Doesn't Iroh giving his beloved nephew tough-love remind you of Jinbe's speech to Luffy after Marineford? It gives me chills. Or how about when he taught Zuko about different cultural perspectives of bending ? Doesn't that sound like Jinbe's approach to Fishman Karate? (NOTE: CLIP IS PITCHED UP. NOT ACCURATE VOICE)
Meanwhile, Aku is the beast in Jinbe. Both take inspiration from Japanese onis, both are terrifying to oppose. Listen to this clip with your eyes closed. Tell me you don't see Jinbe. He's the perfect Jinbe! Let me hear you say "Vagabond Drill" just one time, Mako, please! ...But again, he is dead. Many of his roles (Iroh, Master Splinter, Aku) were inherited by his acting student Greg Baldwin, who does a passable impression , but always misses the mark with the exact nature of the characters. There's always Kevin Michael Richardson, but outside of Afro Samurai, he's never done anime.
Remember when I said that four of the voice actors died before Marineford, and one went to prison? Norio Imamura went to prison. For exposing his tattoo'd genitals. Very... in character. Unlike in Jinbe's case, Imamura was the vastly superior performance . One might say that the role was written for him. The character Ivankov is based and named after him (although Oda did mishear Imamura's name as Ivamura), and he's an actual crossdresser. He's silly, he's rhymic, and he's a woman. Mitsuo Iwata, the replacement voice, didn't do much to stand out . If you ask me, he seems like a pretty forgettable "silly" voice, with much less kick to his hee-haws (which sounds like a euphemism for getting kicked in the hee-haws).
The obvious choice that everyone goes to for English voices is Tim Curry. And I'm not gonna do that. 1. It's overdone. 2. Tim Curry doesn't do anime. 3. I actually think that deep, perverse tone wouldn't fit. Actually, if we're going outside the FUNimation line-up, I'd go with John Cleese. But that's not who I want to talk about here.
Jerry Jewell. He's very much a FUNimation regular. Hell, he's been in One Piece four times already, but never with a role as big as Emporio Ivankov. I really think it's his time to shine, and he couldn't do better than as the queer queen schlerself. Am I basing this on the fact that Ivankov has a Russian-esque name, and is sometimes written with a Russian accent in translations of the manga, while Jerry Jewell is known for playing Russia in Hetalia ? No, didn't cross my mind. Did I just pick Jewell because he did a woman voice as Barry the Chopper in Fullmetal Alchemist ? Nope. Just a coincidence. I'm honestly just going with Jewell because he just sounds like Ivankov . Plain and simple. I trust the man to give a flawless Hee-Haw, and it's really about time he played a major character in One Piece.
The original Magellan is voice by Mitsuaki Hoshino, who is solemn, sinister, and deadpan , even during his more comedic scenes. Hoshino isn't known for much else, and similarly, FUNimation is probably going to cast a deep-voiced nobody, who I'm sure we'll do fine. But fingers crossed for Scott McNeil, who already provided the voice of Shiki in Strong World, but could definitely pull off a unique Magellan. Although Chris Sabat stole the role, McNeil did provide a popular Piccolo for Dragon Ball Z . And here he is singing about being a cucumber in the same voice . So I like it's pretty safe to say he could play Warden Shitman.
But I'm actually putting my Scott McNeil eggs in Pica's basket, when the time comes.
Saldeath or Hannyabal
...Michael Sinterniklaas. I know, he was just Disco, but Michael Sinterniklaas. I like Michael Sinterniklaas.
I guess Scott McNeil could do this one, too.
I was gonna give my opinion on voices up through Marineford and Sabo flashback, but really, no one caught my interest. We already have 90% of Marineford casted from previous episodes. We're left with Jozu, Vista, a few other Whitebeard commanders, and Little Oars Junior. I'm not expecting big names for any of those. There's Sabo and Dadan next, but the only interesting choice for Sabo is that guy who voiced Naruto, and even that would feel like a cheap gimmick. And all the old lady voices FUNimation has to offer have been used up by now. So I guess I'm satisfied with this. We're in for a good season, I think.