Sakuracon 2010: Wendy Powell Interview
Wendy has been a professional voice actress for Funimation Entertainment and Okratron 5000 for over 7 years. She is probably most well known for a little villain named "Envy" on Fullmetal Alchemist. She was most recently in a new role in Claymorewhere she plays the character Ilene. Her most challanging role this year was the role of IKU in Shirguri...you need to watch it to know why! Wendy is also known for smaller parts in which she usually dies a most painful death. Some of her credits include: Emi in Baki the Grappler, Amick in Blue Gender, the Fever Demon in Shin Chan, Kyo's mother inFruits Basket, and Kasuga in Negima, Paula "Lady Death" In Trinity Blood. She has also voiced characters in Kitty Grade, Case Closed, Yu Yu Hakusho, Peach Girl,xxxHolic, One Piece, Galaxy Railways, Tsubasa,Gunslinger Girl, Moon Phase, Glass Fleet, and many others. Video Game credits include Spikeout, Fullmetal Alchemist, Curse of the Crimson, and Broken Angel.
Which character can you relate to the most?
Envy. All of us have envy ingrained in us. Not everyone can say they can relate to sins such as lust or gluttony—or sloth, if you’re a workaholic! Anyway, it’s a very relatable sin. Everyone can relate to envy.
Do you have any other things you do besides voice acting?
I’m also a florist that deals with floral design. I own a company called Frilly Flowers. I also enjoy the designing side of theater. I’m going to school to be a teacher as well. Specifically, I want to be a middle school teacher.
Do you ever encounter any difficulties within voice acting as a career?
Not having a constant, stable paycheck is draining at times. I have such a niche voice, too. I may be only able to voice 2 to 4 out of 30 characters offered in a series, for example. I have an extremely identifiable voice and a limited range. In a way, theater is easier for me. Anime is limited. Youth-oriented, pre-pubescent, high-pitched voices aren’t for me, but there are a lot of characters like that. I was well suited for Envy, though. I still have those niche parts, which I’m glad for.
You do plays, right? What kind of plays did you work on and what was your last role?
I used to do almost exclusively comedy. Right now I’m at the perfect age for theater. I can’t be home to do theater because of conventions, though. My last role was the evil stepmother in Cinderella. I built the character around the voice.
Any plays you would recommend?
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Hollywood Arms, Raisin in the Sun, House of Blue Leaves… These plays serve as great reading material, too.
I hear the anime industry is changing. Do you have any observations on that?
I really don’t know. Funimation is acquiring properties left and right and has lots of stuff going to TV. Straight-to-DVD is still nice, but not quite as exciting. Adult swim has lately not been picking up anime. However, Brotherhood was picked up, and I’m excited for that. Most of the stuff I’ve been in was picked up.
Any shows that you enjoyed working on that you wished more people watched?
Claymore was fun to work on. It has rough and tough girls. I loved the strong female warriors. Ilena was a character I chose for her physicality. I love the way she looked. With her and Claire, I think of Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke. Unfortunately, it was not picked up and it’s not doing well as I wish it could.
Was there any character that was difficult to voice for?
Envy is difficult. I honestly don’t take good care of my voice. As for difficult characters, you just plough through it! Envy has lots of fluctuation. It’s feminine yet with a sound of masculinity. It’s all over the charts. Envy has a temper and involves a lot of yelling.
Also, my role in Shigurui was painfully hard to record. It was very emotional. It’s a very violent and sexual show.
What anime are you watching right now?
At the moment, I don’t watch anything but Brotherhood. I watch it as the audience watches it. I like following along with the audience. I don’t tend to read all the scripts in advance, because if you know too much in advance, then your delivery is not as spontaneous as it’s supposed to be.
Do you ever get emotionally involved with a character you’re working on?
Part of you is brought into every character… You fall in love with a character and then you break up once the series is over. With Fullmetal Alchemist, I was lucky. I’m attached to the characters. It’s been six years, and I get to revisit Envy again.
When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
I’ve always known I’d want to teach eventually. I love working with kids. The middle school group is perfect. I know how awkward they feel. They’re at an awkward stage in their lives. Theater catches them. They are the most awkward kids in the building, but in essence, the most real ones.
What do you think of Sakuracon?
This is my second time at Sakuracon. It’s one of the best cons I’ve been to. The cosplayers that stick out to me are the Sgt. Frog ones…and the Trinity Blood cosplayers! I think they should be working as costume designers and making a living. They’re very good.
Have you ever thought of cosplaying?
I’ve never thought of cosplaying. It’s not for me. I like set design and props, though. I like analyzing the script to the core and taking from it ideas for all the props. I don’t like building things, but instead taking things from the script to design and bring props out from the page.
What shows are you excited about that you’re working on?
I’m excited about three shows at the moment. Of course I’m excited about Brotherhood.
What other cons are you planning on attending? Any you’re particularly excited about?
(laughs and takes out schedule) One in Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Wisconsin…ACEN, Colossal Con in Ohio—which will feature the Brotherhood cast. Tulsa, Alabama, England, Vegas, Denver… There’s quite a few more. All of this is because of Brotherhood.
I don’t have a day off. (laughs) I’m excited about Hawaii and my birthday.
Our time is up. Any last words?
Someday, I want to settle down and have a family. So far, I’ve been at Funimation for eleven years, and I’m thankful to them for my time there.
Thank you so much for your time, Wendy.