Welcome to a new feature for Anime Dub Reviews! Fantasy dub casting threads pop up all the time on animation community sites/fansites, so I thought it would be a great idea to share some of my own (and hopefully Jon will get involved too). I won't be limiting myself to any particular dubbing studio, and I'll also cast actors who don't do a lot of dubbing but do extensive voicework where I see fit. I'll also, if the first title I'm doing wasn't an indication, occasionally do manga that don't have an anime adaptation yet. With that intro out of the way, let's begin!
Yotsuba&! is a charming, hilarious manga from Kiyohiko Azuma, the creator of Azumanga Daioh, and I'm rather baffled that it hasn't gotten an anime adaptation yet. If it ever did, however, these are who I'd want to play the various characters:
YOTSUBA KOIWAI (Laura Bailey)-I had to think long and hard about this one, going through several choices in my head, but I ultimately decided on Laura. She has a great, youthful sound to her voice in many of her roles, and she can certainly get high-pitched. Combine that with the enthusiasm of, say, Tohru Honda, and you have a perfect match for this ridiculously energetic little girl.
MR. KOIWAI/"DAD" (Steve Blum)-Well, he just looks like a Steve Blum character to begin with. I know that sounds weird, but go look up an image of him and you'll see what I mean. That aside, Blum has a great, naturally casual sound to his normal voice, and this gets brought out in a lot of his best roles (particularly Spike Spiegel). But he can also get crazy and hyper, and that combination fits Yotsuba's adoptive father who's practically a big kid himself like a glove.
TAKASHI TAKEDA/"JUMBO" (Crispin Freeman)-This is another one I thought about for a while, but I ultimately decided on Crispin because I really like hearing him do straight-up comedy. He doesn't get to do it a whole lot, although he's certainly brought deadpan humor to many of his badasses, but when he does the results are always magnificent (see Chobits for a great example). Add the fact that he can make his voice pretty darn deep, and you have a great fit for Koiwai's freakishly tall best friend.
FUUKA AYASE (Wendee Lee)-Yeah, yeah, I know: "She's in everything, FD!" Y'know why? 'Cause she's good. And I have a feeling that she could knock Yotsuba's teenage neighbor who often gets caught up in the little girl's adventures and provides some relative sanity to the proceedings out of the park.
ASAGI AYASE (Grey DeLisle)-Grey is one of my favorite voice actresses, and she's played at least one incredibly memorable "older sister" in the psychotic Azula from Avatar: Ther Last Airbender. However, she's also played more "cool big sis" type characters such as Frankie from Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, and I have a feeling that voice and performance type would work perfectly for the equally cool Asagi.
ENA AYASE (Lara Jill Miller)-Ena is Fuuka and Asagi's younger sister, and she almost immediately hits it off with Yotsuba, exhibiting as much curiosity and wonder about the world as her friend. Lara can do that type of role in her sleep.
MRS. AYASE (Kath Soucie)-What can I say? Kath's really, really good at playing moms. Next!
MR. AYASE (Michael McConnohie)-Considering how often he plays villains or tough guys, Michael is surprisingly adept at playing dads, although they sometimes turn out to be evil as well (Code Geass anyone?). Ergo, he'd be perfect for the laid-back, kindly Ayase patriarch.
MIURA HAYASAKA (Mona Marshall)-OK, part of this is just amusing to myself: Miura often gets mistaken for a boy, and Mona's played a lot of young boys, so to hear her apply her usual young boy voice to a young girl would be pretty amusing in theory. That said, Mona could also act this part really well, especially since Miura is relatively down-to-earth compared to the rest of the cast.
TORAKO (Cricket Leigh)-I decided to pick Leigh, who played Mai in Avatar: The Last Airbender, for this role because I think her deadpan performance in that show, with perhaps a little more comedic energy, would work wonders for Asagi's chain-smoking, "cool" best friend.
YANDA (Vic Mignogna)-The great thing about Vic is that his voice can suit heroes, villains, nice guys and jerks equally well, and Yanda is a pretty big jerk, albeit in a funny way. So I think Vic could be quite a comedic highlight when he pops up.
That's it for now, but be sure to keep an eye out for more entries in this series as well as more dub reviews.