Have you ever asked yourself how to animes, which are usually filmed in Japanese, end up in English and being aired on American television? It requires skilled voice actors like Travis Willingham to get the idea of the character they are going to be playing and to translate that into a performance that equals the flow and impact of the animation. It sounds easy on the surface, but it is far from easy. One of the best voice actors in converting anime is Travis Willingham.
He does not only appear in anime translations, but he is also a feature in a number of games. Check out the following clip
One thing that has to suck about being a voice actor is that most people cannot associate a face with the voice. People become very familiar with your voice, but they don’t have a clue as to who you really are. This does not seem to both Travis too much because his peers offer him very high praise for the work that he does.
There are actually times that Travis will have showings of his animations with the lights off and he will voice over the script and the crowd loves when he does it. His voice is so recognizable that it is kind of weird. Check out this session involving Fullmetal vs. Flame.
Okay, here is something I bet you didn’t know. One of the most popular animes of all time is Dragon Ball Z without questions. Guess what? That is right, Travis made his imprint on that anime as well between 200-03. What is even more awesome about this particular voice contribution is that he played more than one role. Can you imagine how challenging it is to play multiple roles in a singular production?
If you are like me, you probably have compared the English version to the Japanese version to look for similarities in tone and presentation. In his role as Mitsunari and Ghost Files, Travis definitely nails his character and produces very rich content. However, when you compare it to the Japanese version, you will find that the characters presentation are completely different. The Japanese version of Mitsunari is more intense while being just as lethal, Travis delivers a more calm and calculated version of the character he has been given.
What is so amazing is the manner in which some of Travis’ work overlaps, meaning that he was being asked to come in and out of character multiple times during the course of the day. I am not sure you understand how challenging that is. There is no question that Travis has mastered skills associated with being a voice actor.
In the world of anime, Travis is somewhat of a God because of his success between 2011 and 2016. There are more than 50 anime in which he played a character and quite a few in which he played multiple characters in the same anime.
One of my favorite roles is a Roy Mustang in Fullmetal Alchemist. He has the uncanny ability to give swagger to characters in ways that are unparalleled. He has transcended the world of anime and conquered almost every form of voice acting that you can imagine. He has done general animation, film, and commercials. Have you ever wondered who the voice was behind the pancake commercial or the beer commercial? Many times it has been the voice of Mr. Smooth himself.
Did I mention that Travis is a major player when it comes to video games? There are so many that I would not know where to start. He has played Guile in Streetfighter X Tekken. He also played Thor in Thor: The Dark World. It seems that there are too many challenges that Travis is not willing to take on when it comes to voice acting. When observing his work, it gives you an appreciation for a talent that is not that easy to cultivate.
Okay, I know some of you are like with his voice talent and the fact that he is fit and easy and it seems that women love him, why not more live roles. Well, he has taken some live action roles over the years, including secondhand Lion and Shelf Life. He also played Mitch Adams in The Phoenix Incident in 2016. From the looks of it, Travis will be around for quite some time.