Ash Ketchum voice actress explains how Pokémon dubs work, and it's surprisingly tricky

Meowth flaps. 

All it takes is sitting down and recording your lines over an animation, right? Well, it's a little more complicated than that, as a new video showing the process of dubbing Pokémon shows.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Ash Ketchum voice actress Sarah Natochenny explained how she goes about recording a dub for the Pokémon animated series. Aside from the uncomfortably frequent use "mouth flap", the video reveals there's a surprising level of complication to the process. Before the script even reaches a voice actor, for instance, it has to be translated and then altered to fit the animation by an adaptor - which often involves re-writing parts of the script.

As the turnaround is so fast (with scripts sometimes finished the night before recording), voice actors have to do "cold reads" and sync the words in time with these mouth flaps, including all the huffing and puffing you might expect from a character like Ash Ketchum. Although, if there is a slight timing issue, recorded lines can be digitally lengthened to match the animation.

There's a whole bunch more to it than that, but the video is an intriguing window into the dubbing process - and also an impressive display of Natochenny's skill as a voice actress, as she seamlessly moves between multiple characters in one recording. It's probably enough to make Jigglypuff jealous.

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Emma Kent

Emma Kent

Reporter  |  GoneEFK

Emma was Eurogamer's summer intern in 2018 and we liked her so much we decided to keep her. Now a fully-fledged reporter, she loves asking difficult questions, smashing people at DDR and arguing about, well, everything.


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