Vic Mignogna Q&A Session, Anime Matsuri 2008

Reporter(s): Drake
Transcriptor(s): K
Photographor(s): Roan Matthews

Victor Joseph Mignogna is an English Voice Actor, who over the years has performed the voices of numerous animes and video games. Born August 27th, 1967 in the city of Greensburg in Pennsylvania, Mignogna is probably best known for his role as Edward Elric inFullmetal Alchemist and Brolly in the Dragon Ball Z video game franchise. Besides voice acting, Vic has also performed musical scores such as Byakuya ~True Light~ from D.N.AngelBrothers from Fullmetal Alchemist and Hikari E from One Piece.

During Anime Matsuri 2008, I was able to attend a Q&A session with Vic. Though due to problems with our recording equipment, I was unable to record the session. However through the graciousness of an adjoining press team, NewsWireHouston, an Associated Press outlet based in Houston, we were allowed to publish the transcripts of the Q&A here. For original article click here.

What’s your favorite show?

What’s my favorite show? Battlestar Galactica. You guys know how much I love that show? No, you don’t. You want to hear my Galactica story? I was doing a convention in New York, and it was a sci-fi convention. Some of you know how big of a sci-fi fan I am, Star WarsStar Trek, things like that. So, I’m at this convention, and one of the other guests is Jamie Bamber, the guy who plays ‘Apollo’ onGalactica. Okay, well, I turn into fanboy, right? And I was like “Control, control, control!” So, I walk up to his table, we’ve both got one. I leave mine to talk to him, and I say, “Hey, Jamie. I’m a guest over here at another table, my name’s Vic Mignogna. It’s a pleasure to meet you, I love Galactica, you guys are awesome.” So, long story short, we hit it off.

Then, I find out he loves to play golf, and I’m like “Dude, do you live in L.A.?”, and he’s like “Yeah, I come out there all the time, let’s play some golf.” So, me and Apollo go and play golf, in Albany, right? And this whole time I’m going, [makes excited gesture], on the inside. On the outside, I’m like, “Yeah, dude, so, anyways…” And, I’m trying not to geek out, right?

And so, then, I see him at another con, and we hang out, and then I went out there, and my girlfriend, and myself, and Jamie and his wife went out to dinner, and all of a sudden, the next thing I know, we’re buddies, right? And I’m thinking, like, “This is really cool!” So then, I get hired to do something in Vancouver, and guess where they shoot Battlestar Galactica.

So, I go to Vancouver, and I call Jamie. I’m like, “Hey, Jamie, I’m in Vancouver”. He’s like, “Well, dude, you’ve got to come by the set!” I’m like, “CHEA!” [cheers and dances excitedly], on the inside, I told him, I go: “I don’t really know if I could make it…”

And he goes, “Well, I’ll leave your name at the front gate, and you can come.” So, I…worked it into my schedule, haha. So, I was there, first thing in the morning, and I’m on the set. And, once you get in, it’s not like you have anybody following you or anything, because you’re allowed to be there once you get through security. So, I’m, like, walking through the set alone. I’m on the C.I. scene, like, in the control center, and then I’m in Adama’s quarters, and then I’m in the hangar bay, where all the Vipers and stuff are, and the best part is I’m yackin’ it up with Katie Sappa, who plays Starba, and, by the end of the day, we’re messing around with each other.

And, I’m mean, all of them were just treating me like buddies, because I wasn’t a fan to them, I was Jamie’s friend, another actor, who’s up there working on something else, you know? Another guy in the business, but, inside I was like [Spasmodically jumps and squeals]. The whole time I’m thinking, “You absolutely cannot be taking pictures with them, because it’ll blow your cover!” So, I have very few pictures of me and Katie. I literally went alone to some of the sets, and set up the timer, ran over…Well, you know, I didn’t have anyone to take pictures of me! 

Well, because I didn’t want them to know, because I want to go back up there! My dream is – you know they’re working on the last season – and I talked to Jamie a couple of weeks ago, and he told me he was going back up to work on it. I told him, “Listen, I may need to come back up to Vancouver again.”

So, I’m going to go back up, and I’m going to go to the set again, and I said, “Dude, it would be a dream come true for me, to, like, put on a costume and just, like be part of the background. Just let me work on something, let me fix a Viper, you know? I just want to be part of it.” So, we’ll see what happens. You guys keep your fingers crossed. Haha, what a long answer to “What’s your favorite show.”

Was there a role that you wanted that you never really got?

Yeah, I actually wanted to be part of Naruto. You’ll never know how close I got to playing Orochimaru, and that’s why I make fun of the poor show so much. Yeah, both of the directors actually asked me to read for that, and I read for it, and they were like “Spot-on, we love it!”, but they had to turn my audition in to Viz with other auditions, and the Japanese chose, and that’s just the way it goes. Any of you guys who have ever auditioned for a play at school, you know how it goes. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and, especially as popular as Naruto has become, I would have loved to have been a part of it.

What character do you play in Shuffle?

I play Forbase, the King of the Demons.

What inspired you to become a voice actor, and are you a cat or dog person?

Oh, I’m definitely a dog person. When Al says, “Brother, the kitten,” I’m like “You can have it!” Go in peace, my friend, “meow!” Haha, Well, nothing inspired me to be a voice actor. The real question is “What inspired me to be an actor?” Voice acting is just another form of acting, you guys. I’ve been acting since I was very young. I love to perform, and I love creating characters. I’ve been in theatre ever since I was very young, and, so about ten or eleven years ago, I was here in Houston working on a video production. He said, “You have a lot of background in acting, don’t you? You ought to go, and audition for this place called ADV Films, they make, like, Japanese anime stuff, and you should go and audition.” So, I went and auditioned, and I got cast, and the first role I played was Vega, from Street Fighter II. I thought, “Hey! This is fun! It’s like acting, but it’s a lot different from stage acting.” But no voice actors I know set out to be Voice actors, and many of them have huge backgrounds in theatre.

Are you a ninja or a pirate? I have decided that I am a pirate, and the main reason is that pirates have cooler clothes.

You’re obviously a very religious person, so how was it for you to play the role of Edward Elric, who is very anti-religion. 

I love this question. Her question was, “Obviously, I’m very religious: How can I play a character like Edward Elric who is clearly not?”. We’re going to get deep here for a minute. Here we go, number one: I am not a very religious person. I don’t like the word ‘religion’, I don’t use the word. Religion, to me, describes a bunch of man-made buildings and organizations that have nothing to do with God. I love Jesus, I love God, he has blessed and saved me, and that’s all I care about. I don’t call myself an particular religion, I don’t spout a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, all I know is, very simply, I believe the Bible is God’s word, I believe Jesus is who he said he was, and I try to live my life in a way that pleases God.
And, number two: I am an actor. Actors don’t play roles that are themselves; they play characters they may have nothing in common with. That’s why it’s called acting. You know what, you’ve got to play all different roles as an actor, even in church plays. Somebody’s got to play Judas. If you have a ‘Passion’ play at your church, somebody has to play those roles, but that doesn’t mean that that sweet old man that’s been there all those years is Judas.

I do not have the same feeling that Edward Elric does, but, you know, having said that, more than that, let me tell you what I think about Ed. Ed is a bitter, broken, little boy. We’re deep right now. Can you imagine this? Imagine being a nine-year old boy, who’s father abandoned you, who’s mother dies, and you try to bring her back, and you just about kill your only surviving relative, your only little brother, who you should probably be looking after. Can you imagine how that feels? Can you talk about bitterness? How many of you know somebody who lost a loved one, maybe yourselves, what do they do? Shake their fist at God, am I right? At some point, they’re like “Why did you let this happen?!” That’s normal, that’s our humanity, our inability to understand these kinds of things.

That’s Edward Elric. He doesn’t get it, he doesn’t understand this type of loss, this kind of tragedy. So what does he do? [In Edward’s voice] “You better take a look at an Alchemy book, because we’re the closest things to gods there are.” Now, when I recorded that line I was like, “Ooh….[looks skywards apologetically]…that’s not me.” But! Seven or eight episodes later, can we fast forward? Can we go to the episode with Barry the Chopper? [Once again, in Edward’s voice] “Because we’re not gods…we’re just tiny, insignificant little humans who couldn’t even save a little girl.” That’s who he really is inside, you see!

He doesn’t think he’s a God, he’s just full of rage, and bitterness, and loss, and anger, and frustration. I don’t begrudge him for lashing out like that, but that’s part of the process, and that’s one of the reasons why people identify with Full Metal Alchemist, and these characters, because they have all these tragic issues they have to get through. So, I have no problem playing a character like that, that’s not me. I know what my faith is, but I understand that there are people who identify with that. And I have no problem playing a character like that.