Moon Chase Presents: An Interview With Jeff Lumby!

Hey Moonies! We’re sorry for the lack of updates recently, real life has been intruding on our Moon time. D: But as part of our effort to get back into the swing of things, we have another stop on our celebration of the 15th Anniversary of the English Version of Sailor Moon, the voice actor behind Prof. Souichi Tomoe and others, Jeff Lumby! He has had a very widespread career from radio to television, and he has a lot of great stories to tell that you probably never knew before!

MC: How did you get started in acting?

JL: My first love was radio and it seemed a natural extension of that. Ironically though, I wasn’t that attracted to drama in highschool. It all came together afterwards.

MC: Out of the three characters you played on Sailor Moon (the figure skater Mischa, Dr/Professor Tomoe, and Kakeru in the S movie) who was your favorite and why?

JL: Dr. Tomoe was my favorite because he was more nuanced than the others.

Josh2Darien: What was your favorite thing about Dr. Tomoe?

JL: What attracted me most to the character was finding a voice that accomplished both the Doctor and the villain in Tomoe. He had to sound intelligent and evil.

MC: How did you come up with the right voice for each of these three characters?

JL: It’s always a benefit to see the character’s illustrations when coming up with voices. In some animated series the voices are chosen before the animators have a chance to draw them, which is a lot more difficult.

MC: Your sister, Lisa Lumby Richards was a writer for Sailor Moon – did you ever get to collaborate with her on the roles that you played?

JL: No, but I definitely acted out her words on several occasions.

MC: Dr. Tomoe was a unique villain because he was the only one related to a Sailor Scout/Senshi (he was Sailor Saturn/Hotaru Tomoe’s Dad). At the end of the season he was given a second chance to be a Dad again and make a new start free from his past mistakes. Most villains in cartoon shows stay villains and they are almost never redeemed. Was it challenging to play this kind of transition?

JL: Yes, it was challenging and fun, since I didn’t know about the plot twist when I first took on the role, I then had to create a new softened take of Tomoe. Although the voice is clearly me, the tone and attitude are quite different during the “dad” stage.

MC: Did you ever watch the original Japanese episodes with subtitles before you recorded them?

JL: Yes, that’s an interesting question. We would watch every scene first in Japanese just to get the intent of the scene. The Dr. Tomoe character was quite different in Japanese so sometimes this could be more of a hindrance than a help. I seem to remember the Japanese Tomoe as quite gruff, a choice I stayed away from with my version because I felt he needed to sound like an educated villain.

MC: Could you please describe what it was like to record an episode?

JL: I’m sure it sounds as though we spent hours in the studio but it really doesn’t work that way. Each actor is called in separately, unless there’s a very important piece of dialogue to record together, so once your line is recorded, the engineer will fast forward to your next line…..as a result each episode is recorded quite quickly. There will always be at least 2 takes of each line recorded for safety and choice. Sometime we’ll lay down one line with a couple of intents…..punching one word on the first take and another on the second.

MC: How many episodes a week did you record?

JL: This varies. Sometimes we’ll be called in for a few episodes over the course of the week, then we won’t hear from the project for quite some time while they package the stuff we’ve already recorded. The Producers typically use the same studio for recording and mixing and sometimes they need to ship finished product for several episodes at a time, so they’ll record a few then mix them, then get back to the recording.

MC: Would you reprise your role in a re-dub of the series?

JL: Absolutely.

MC: What do you think is Sailor Moon‘s legacy 15 years later?

JL: Obviously for me, the fan base is the legacy. Without your interest, we wouldn’t be talking.

MC: Which memories of the show do you treasure?

JL: My fondest memories are from the recording. We always had a lot of fun doing it. Some of my favorite people (actors) today are folks I met on Sailor Moon.

ChibiGinger: Has Sailor Moon been the only anime (Japanese cartoon) you have dubbed?

JL: If I’ve done others they didn’t have the impact of the “Moon”.

MC: When you shot that first episode of Red Green, did you ever imagine it would have become the huge phenomenon that it did (let alone give a new life to duct tape)?

JL: Not a chance. I met Steve Smith (Red Green) at a promotional event the two of us were asked to participate in. (At the time I was Morning Man at a Hamilton radio station) We hit it off and he later asked me to be in the show. (“I’m looking for a Sewage and Septic guy and your name floated to the top.”) After my first night in front of the camera I thought to myself, “well that was fun”, thinking it was the last time I’d be on. 12 years later…

esahC: I see you’re credited as the contributing writer for one episode for The Red Green Show. Tell us, how does that work?

JL: In the case of Red Green there were usually 2 or 3 main writers. Steve (Red) was always the head writer and the man through which all material ran. It was his vision and he had the best perspective on the overall idea. There were also a few contributing writers. We were expected to pitch ideas on segments and individual scripts. There would be weekly writing meetings where ideas were thrown around the table. If Steve liked your idea, he’d ask you to flesh it out. Even then it might get rejected, and if he liked it, it certainly would be improved upon. Steve Smith is the funniest person I’ve ever met, and my Red Green experience in this business was second to none.

MC: Do you have a new found admiration for those in septic and sewage maintenance or for duct tape?

JL: After you’ve sat behind that steamy truck for a few hours on a hot day in July, well let’s just say “admiration” is one word that’s new and found. There are others though.

MC: Winston Rothschild had quite a higher pitched voice than your regular voice, but one of the major themes behind the show was showing men being “manly”. Did the voice and his somewhat quirky personality pose any challenges for you?

JL: Once Steve described what he wanted in the character it became very easy to portray. All he said was, “Winston loves his work. When you’re performing remember one thing, Winston can’t figure out why everyone isn’t in the septic business.” That was all I needed. As a result, there were very few scripts where Winston wasn’t completely positive about any situation. Very fun.

MC: Which was your favorite episode of Red Green?

JL: I’m not much on “favorite” anything…but for Winston the episode where he was going to get married was memorable for me. “I’ve got the church booked, I’ve got the rings…now all I need is a bride.” (or words to that effect) See, always optimistic. Winston also had the cool promotional catch phrases and the one that stuck out for me was this gem: ‘Don’t gamble with your septics. Remember, a flush always beats a full house.’ Classic.

MC: What was the biggest lesson you learned from working on Red Green?

JL: To always have fun, even if you screw up. I used to get a bit down on myself when I’d flub a line cause I hate having everything come to a screeching halt for one of my mistakes. Particularly when I had such few lines compared to Harold (Pat McKenna) or Steve. Then I saw what happened when Pat blew a scene. He’d stay in character and play…..sometimes those “outtakes” would go on for minutes at a time. That’s when I realized that I could either have fun with the mistake or suck the energy out of the room by getting down on myself. Pat is such a pro and was always so helpful and generous to me.

MC: Stephanie Beard was also a voice in Sailor Moon (Sailor Mini-Moon/Rini) and was the first woman to be on The Red Green Show. Did the show’s dynamic change much when women were brought in to guest star on the show occasionally?

JL: No, it was quite refreshing actually. We had to clean up the lodge a bit when women guested, but other than that, I was for it.

MC: Do you know what prompted this change to have women visit Possum Lodge?

JL: Just a new dynamic for the show. Remember, the show’s theme was to bring to life men’s shortcomings, who better to do that than women?

MC: What are your favorite kinds of cartoon roles to play, ones for the younger audience or ones for the older audience (like Uncle Joe’s Playhouse)?

JL: They both present challenges, but it’s always fun doing cutting edge, meaty adult comedy.

MC: Which method do you prefer for voice dubbing – the Rhythmoband (which has almost gone the way of the dinosaurs) or the beep method?

JL: I liked Rythmo and got pretty proficient at it. The new digital technology is awesome though. Much easier to make corrections to etc.

MC: In March, I had the opportunity to see Fred Penner live in concert (he was doing a tour of campus bars). He commented that children’s TV now isn’t the same as it used to be and shows are more computer animated rather than using puppets and songs (the “variety” show aspect is almost gone). Having worked on Size Small – a legendary children’s show in its own right with your own family behind it, what are your thoughts on shows for preschoolers and young kids these days? Do you think that these shows need to go back to a time when the technology was “simpler”?

JL: Yes, I agree with Fred. When my Mom (Miss Helen) created Size Small years ago, the goal was simple. Don’t talk down to the toddlers. She never patronized, and sometimes I think that gets lost in technology. She (and Fred) have a very personal approach and I think some new producers of young children’s programming thing they’re only interested in flashy, fast edited shows. It’s my opinion that they’re missing the boat and contributing to short attention spans. Think about it, kids will watch slow paced shows like Size Small over and over again, now ponder what the retention rate is on overly produced, fast paced programming.

MC: You’ve had a radio career all over Canada for over 20 years – are you still on the radio now?

JL: Yes, I still dabble in my first love, radio. And I’m always recording radio commercials, so one way or the other, I’m on the radio.

MC: What were some of your most memorable radio moments and how did you get started in it?

JL: Let’s start with when I got into the radio business. It was the same year I got out of high school and I had no interest in University or College at that point. My folks had worked with a man (Roy Curry) at the TV station in Saskatoon. Roy was opening a radio station at the time and I began taking voice classes from him. Eventually he hired me for the overnight show (Midnight-6 a.m.) The rest, as they say, is hysterical…ah history. I have one memorable moment I’ll share with you….when I first started my Morning Show in Montreal in the late 80’s, I was trying to endear myself to the audience by talking about the cultural experiences I was enjoying. So one night I went out to try a French Canadian staple called Poutine. It’s French Fries topped with Cheese-curd and gravy. (ya, I know!!) The next morning I was all excited to report my findings and said, “last night I had my first Putin!” I guess the pronunciation was a little off, because immediately after I said it, my producer disappeared on the other side of the glass. Apparently he’d fallen off his chair laughing. I said, “what did I say?” He struggled back into the chair and pressed the mic button, “Jeff, you just said that last night, you had your first prostitute!!!” Good times.

MC: Size Small was shot in Saskatoon for many years – how did you survive those “balmy” Saskatchewan winters?

JL: Well, I’m originally from Saskatoon, so it’s all we knew. We survived, “stubble-jumpers” are hearty stock.

MC: Are you in any upcoming productions right now? Where can Moonies find you next?

JL: I’ve been in several animated productions in one-off roles including the upcoming, Cat in the Hat starring Martin Short. A few years ago I played the Dad in Ricky Sprocket, but sadly the show only lasted a season. Right now though I’m very excited to be playing the regular, Charles LaPuck in Skatoony, which premiers on Teletoon in the fall.

MC: And with that, this interview is finally finished! Thanks again very much for doing the interview! We wish you the best of luck in the future!

PGSM Update – July 2010

Sawaii Miyu, who portrayed Usagi/Sailor Moon in the live action series in 2003-2004, has recently been starring in a musical adaption of the classic fairy tale Snow White. The musical production of Snow White began its eight day run on July 16th. Miyu has also been spotted in a Box Corporation program to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary. http://www.sanspo.com/geino/news/100717/gnj1007170501003-n1.htm

Fans of Aya Sugimoto (PGSM Queen Beryl) will definitely want to check out the new feature length Kamen Rider movie “Double Forever: A to Z/The Gaia Memories of Fate”, where she will be appearing as a guest character named Maria S Cranberry. The movie was recorded with 3D technology in mind, making it the first feature length movie of the 3D Kamen Rider series. The movie will hit theaters on August 7, 2010. (http://www.japantoday.com/category/entertainment/view/aya-sugimoto-to-appear-in-3-d-kamen-rider-movie)

Ayaka Komatsu (Minako Aino/Sailor Venus) has been busy lately promoting a new movie called “Neck”. The movie, which was assembled by Shirakawa Professional, is a hybrid of both horror and comedy as it details the twists and turns of a group of junior college students.(http://www.moviecollection.jp/news/detail.html?p=1379)

Rina Koike (Sailor Luna) has also landed a new role as the main heroine in the detective drama production “Akechi Three Generations”. Right now in Japan, Koike can be spotted making some public appearances to support her new acting role, alongside her current co-star Tanabe Seiiti. http://journal.mycom.co.jp/news/2010/06/27/008/?rt=na

Finally, no PGSM news update would be complete without some Keiko Kitagawa sightings. The live action Sailor Mars actress was recently a presenter at the 12th annual Taipei Film Festival, where she was greeted with huge support from her Taiwanese fan base. Keiko admitted to being nervous about the presentation on her blog, and she was relieved to have finished it successfully. Keiko can also be caught starring in a new Fuji TV drama called “Lovers Of The Moon”. http://www.cinematoday.jp/page/N0025561 Apparently the recording schedule for the show was gruelling – Keiko stated on her blog that she was getting as little as 2 hours of sleep at night.

An Inspirational Story About the Power of Yoshihiro Togashi’s Manga!

Making news in some of the smaller news outlets was this tiny story of a blogger who posted a heartfelt “Thank You” to Yoshihiro Togashi on his blog. This blogger is 22 with a younger brother who is 14. A year ago, the younger brother was being pushed around and bullied in school to the point where he attempted suicide. His attempt failed, and he chose to remain at home and not go to school any more. Their mother had to quit her job so she could be at home to watch him all the time. The blogger lent his brother some manga to read, all titles by Togashi – Wicked Cupid, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Hunter X Hunter. He thought that it would not be a good idea for him to read Level E. The night before this entry, he spoke to his brother to see if he was okay and he told him that he didn’t want to die without reading the end of Hunter X Hunter. The blogger then ended the entry thanking Togashi for saving his brother, and told him to have a good rest from his manga.

What should have remained a heartfelt sentiment then became a victim of 2ch. A popular trend on the message board is “Kopipe” (“Copy Paste”), where one of the site’s users copies and pastes the entry, and then mocks it. This entry has created a lot of negative buzz on the board lately – and one blogger on Internet Watch sympathizes with the original blogger and is surprised at how this entry is being used for something other than it was intended to.

In other Togashi news, Oricon ran a poll asking readers who they thought changed the history of manga. Of course, legendary mangaka like Osamu Tezuka, Akira Toriyama, and even Hayao Miyazaki made the list, but it was the opinion of this Slashdot.jp blogger that Togashi was one that would have made his personal list.

BREAKING NEWS: Italian Manga Rights On The Way, But Who Has Them?

Not Star Comics, that’s for sure. Fansite MetalRobot of Italy conducted an interview with representatives of Italy’s Star Comics, and a question was asked about Sailor Moon. Here it is, translated into English:

MR: Italy was the country picked for the foreign relaunch of the series, Sailor Moon, when this happened the rights to the anime were unblocked and it has come back on the air. Also in the news these days are the future release of the rights for the manga series. Is Star Comics going to publish this?

SC: The news of the release of the rights of Sailor Moon is true, but it isn’t Star Comics that will have the rights in Italy. We have no problem admitting that someone else has bought the rights, if it has not been released openly it is because nobody has asked J (NOTE: more on J later). We are certainly not happy with the situation, especially the circumstances that led to the decision to entrust the series to another publisher, even though Star Comics invested a lot in the series in the past. Star Comics was never supported by any ‘parent’, we got where we are thanks to our efforts… but sometimes that is not enough.

Now, we have some shocking news to share with you. We can’t name the companies involved (please don’t ask us, we have to respect everyone involved), but in late June we learned that the international manga rights were in limbo. We got an email on a Monday along with a request for the manga report, we reworked the report and sent it off late Thursday night, and on Friday afternoon we learned that the rights had in fact just been resolved (after months of issues) as of that morning. This more than explained why there was nothing happening with the manga release in Italy to coincide with the broadcast on Hiro, and we all expect to hear some good news from there any time now. Up until that day, no company has had any rights for the international release of the Sailor Moon manga. Nanoda of Italy has also published that the rights were just recently resolved.

We certainly weren’t given any indication about the rights being in limbo in February when we sent off the manga report. From the tone of the representative’s voice over the phone, we all assumed that everything was in place. Fans, do not worry about your efforts going down in vain! All of your comments were forwarded in this updated report with a note to excuse the references and to continue read the comments sent in by fans (all of the other companies we have sent copies of the report to have enjoyed reading what you all have to say). We feel for Star Comics though since they put in a lot of effort into the manga (which by all accounts that we have read was a very successful release), and they will not be allowed to continue their legacy for a future release. In the future though, we may post a short section that we included in this updated manga report that showed a few examples where the Tokyopop translations got sluggish.

As far as “J” goes? No one knows who they are referring to, not even us. ComicsBlog.it has a few theories, but we wonder if the J actually means “Japan” and is meant to be something vague. We can tell you that it is most definitely not the case of anyone not asking to license the manga. We deal mostly with the English side of things although we try to cater to as much international news as we possibly can, and during that week in June there was every indication that there were a lot of companies interested in a license for the updated manga. We don’t know of any companies in Italy that start with the letter “J” that have anything to do with manga or comic releases, but we would not be surprised if Giochi Preziosi were to acquire the license, since they have been at each licensing meeting etc. since the beginning. This would have given them an advantage in bidding for the manga since they have already been working with Toei Animation and PNP/Naoko Takeuchi on the Sailor Moon revival.

Also: We know that the series is returning to Eastern Europe, but we have been asked by a representative of Plus Licens to wait for a different release. The ones that are being posted around the internet were meant for corporate readers only. What we can tell you is that Plus Licens has the rights to manage the series licenses for broadcast, merchandise, etc. to different companies, but they will not be releasing the series themselves. Think of it as Toei Animation and PNP/Naoko Takeuchi as being the “Grandparents”, Plus Licens as being the “Parents” and the children that are going to “play” with Sailor Moon are the ones that will be getting licenses for actual releases. Make sense? Again, we understand that these are exciting times to be a Sailor Moon fan, but with this excitement comes some waiting!

*** And a personal note from me, Sailordees: I apologize for the lack of updates in the last little while – believe me, I wish for nothing more than to have time to work on these blogs, but on June 28th, I got some great news in my personal life that has forced me to prepare for some big changes. I can’t share much more, except for the fact that these big changes are requiring a lot of my time. I will probably not be able to return full time to either Moon Chase or We Got the Solution until September, but rest assured our staff members will do their very best to keep you guys updated as much as they possibly can. Thanks to all for your continued support and patience!

In response to the latest rumors

Hey Moonies, we’ve been hearing a lot of talk (as we always do) about the latest round of Sailor Moon licensing rumors.

The fact of the matter is, NO COMPANY HAS THE RIGHTS TO SAILOR MOON IN NORTH AMERICA AT THIS TIME. We want the show to come back as much as anyone else does, but starting rumors is not helping anyone. We have been told over and over again by reps from several different companies that rumors like this make it more difficult for everyone involved. The future of the series in North America is in the very early planning stages and while this is a potentially exciting time, fans need to be patient and wait for an official press release.

Just because one person says that they got a DMCA notice from FUNImation because of a couple of Sailor Moon related videos does NOT mean that FUNImation has the rights to the series. Do a quick search for Sailor Moon on youtube and you will find hundreds of thousands of videos. If those videos were disappearing en masse, then that would be something to talk about. A handful of videos out of dozens made by a single person is not news, it’s not a sign, it’s not even a rumor.

When there is news to report, there will be an official press release, and we (along with other members of the press) will be there to pass the official word onto the fans!

If you’re reading this and you run a Sailor Moon fansite, please do your part for the fandom and do not post unsubstantiated rumors. Doing so only hurts Sailor Moon. 🙁