At Anime Boston 2014, we had the honor of meeting and attending a panel with Wendee Lee. Wendee Lee holds the record for voicing the most animated characters as an English actor. She is most notorious for her role of Faye in Cowboy Bebop, a paramount anime of our generation:
How does it feel to be a part of Cowboy Bebop?
To be honest, it feels like an incredible honor. Carrying the role of Faye was incredible, she has the most personality and spirit. I am also a big fan of hand drawn anime, which isn’t used as much today.
What was your reaction to Cowboy Bebop’s popularity?
We were all completely shocked…everyone who worked on it was just shocked. We never expected it to get as big as it did. We recently did a Cowboy Bebop Reunion Tour and we all talked about how impressed everyone was who worked on it.
I just wish it wasn’t so short lived. I would have loved to have done a second season. (spoilers) I don’t see why Spike couldn’t have walked out of those flames like we’ve seen in so many other animes.
What was it like playing the role of Faye, who isn’t as ditzy and sexually objectified like other female main characters?
To be honest, that is why I identified so much with Faye. She was bright and took charge of her sexuality. I remember in the Cowboy Bebop movie, the directors really pushed me to do a super sexual scene with her. After each take, they kept raising the bar of sexuality which reinforced the fact that Faye is in complete control. She didn’t need a real weapon like a gun becasue she is incredibly psychologically savvy. Faye goes to great lengths to achieve her objectives, but she still has a soft side if she chooses to let you in. I think a lot of women can connect to her.
You’ve worked in the industry a long time, how has anime changed since you started?
Well, the best part is that it has blown up and is permanent! People used to consider anime a cult, but it is now a fan-driven culture, which has helped drive its popularity. Fans keep it alive.
Anime is also more efficient, which keeps costs down. We now read on iPads or computer monitors instead of printed scripts, little changes in technology have increased the efficiency. Anime has evolved and It is incredible to have been a part of it since the beginning.
What is it like working on video games vs. anime?
The advent of video games changed the voiceover community as a whole. It changed the line of work. Animes usually draw from a very small pool, but the talent pool is much bigger. The video game market opened up a lot more job opportunities and helped prevent voiceover actors from having to get second jobs. Anime actors are perfect for a lot of fighting video games especially because they have mastered a lot of the fighting sounds.
Favorite character you have played?
You know, your characters feel like your children, you leave a little part of you with each of them. It is really hard for me to pick my favorites. That’s why I love being a voice actor, I get to experience as many lifetimes via anime as possible in my lifetime.