To help in raising awareness for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we had the opportunity to chat with some major names in the voice acting business for Funimation, being able to talk about how the medium of anime changed the actors' lives. Included in the roundtable were Shawn Gann (Fruits Basket, My Hero Academia), Apphia Yu (Food Wars, Dr. Stone), Emi Lo (Wonder Egg Priority, Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War), and Howard Wang (Sk8 The Infinity, Dragon Ball Super) who took a deep dive into how anime has affected themselves and their careers in the entertainment world.
Shawn Gann, who plays Yusuke on Fruits Basket, started things off by explaining how anime has helped him throughout his life:
"It's helped me to meet far more people and expand my background, anime has offered me a wider breadth of performance. It's something I can share with my family and friends that I haven't seen in a long time. I'm happy to be a part of it."
Emi Lo, who portrays Yae Yoshida on Wonder Egg Priority, went into her background wherein she saw no difference between North American cartoons and anime:
"I grew up very Asian so the first time I went to Taiwan, so anime was on tv all the time. I've been watching anime ever since I started watching tv so it's a part of my life. It's basically just watching tv for me at this point."
Howard Wang, who plays the role of Langa in Sk8 Infinity, discussed how anime has changed his outlook on the world:
"It has definitely broadened my world view and it's been very fortunate that I'm able to enjoy watching it as well as being a part of the industry and community."
Apphia Yu, who played the roles of Berta and Cilla on Food Wars, went into detail about how anime has helped her to form personal relationships, as the medium has grown in popularity over the years:0comments
"When you're a kid, you don't see the difference between anime and cartoons, so for me, it's somewhat like asking how has Disney changed my life. It's exciting and interesting, and when I was growing up, I could connect to people who were reaching out to me, rather than I'm reaching out to them. Anime creates a bridge that wasn't there before so in terms of personal connections, it strengthened that."
With May being an exceptionally important month in recognizing Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the country, anime has definitely played a role in bridging the gap and helping communities come together to learn more about the respective cultures that exist all over the world.