Fanart Friday returns, broadcasting live from the Crunchyroll offices in San Francisco, California! Well, sorta. Last week, we went through a very bare-bones look at love triangles for Valentine's Day, but this week we're back to normal, commentary and all! With this installment, we're starting a new semi-regular thing here on Fanart Friday focusing on voice actors, and starting with one of the most (if not the most) prolific English-language voice actor in anime: STEVEN "STEVE" JAY BLUM!
In addition to his many, many roles in anime and cartoons, Steve Blum holds the Guinness Record for Most Prolific Voice Actor in Video Games, with a grand total of 261 roles (as of May 10, 2012... you know that number's higher now)--of course, many of those are "Additional Voices," which means he lends his distinct voice to background characters. Thing is, it doesn't matter if they're nobodies--you'll always recognize his voice. Now, get your DWAAARVEN CRAAAFTS and let's get started!
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I'll get to the first time I heard Steve Blum in a second--I had no idea he provided the dub voice of the Red Comet, Char Aznable! I guess I need to watch more Gundam dubs!
Anyway, I'm not sure about the rest of you, but the first time I heard that familiar voice, it was watching Cowboy Bebop, where his role as Spike Spiegel was originally listed as "David Lucas"--I'm not sure how many different roles he used that name for, but it's been more or less phased out in favor of his real name.
Of course, it's not just Japanese animation or games--Blum does a lot of voices in Western animation, too, including the part-machine/part-man/all-weird Techmo from Regular Show.
Personally, I think Steve Blum hit the jackpot when he was given the role of Wolverine in just about, uh... everything Marvel-related that was either animated or a game. From Marvel animated films to the current Ultimate Spider-Man to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the Deadpool game, you can always count on Steve Blum to give life to the ol' Canucklehead.
Wait... he was Ken Masters, too? Yes! This flowchart-fighting dirtbag (okay, not every Ken is a Flowchart Ken) was voiced by Blum in the Street Fighter Alpha OAV!
As easy as it is to make every entry "yeah, Steve Blum totally voiced this guy too," I'm gonna try hard not to do that. So I'm gonna talk about how my friend James wants to build a toilet that you flush by going BIG O! SHOOOOOOWTIIIIIIME! and pulling the levers exactly like Roger Smith does. I want them installed in my house and the Crunchyroll office, in every bathroom.
And then no work would get done, ever.
Vincent Valentine is--sorry to say--one of my least favorite party members in Final Fantasy VII. Aside from having to put up with his not-always-useful Limit Break, I was kind of stuck with him throughout all of Dirge of Cerberus, which was kinda clunky. By the way, did you know that Steve Blum played Goku in a role once?
Well, yes... Midnight Eye Goku, which is an awesome (if kinda weird) OAV that is older than some of you who are reading this column. Wait, he also played that Goku, too?
Why, yes! In Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, Steve Blum played the adult version of Son Goku!
Personally, one of my favorite recent roles that Steve Blum has taken is Starscream, in Transformers Prime. You can tell it's him to some extent, but he does such a great job channelling Chris Latta's very, uh... memorable sound and bringing a little of his own style to the character.
I don't know about the rest of you, but Urdnot Grunt was one of my favorite parts of the Mass Effect trilogy. Originally, I was disappointed that I was getting some random new Krogan instead of good ol' Wrex, but Grunt proved to not only be an awesome asset in battle, but one of the best friends/subordinates/attack dogs ever! How could you not love a gun-toting psychic T-rex who regularly buys action figures?
Here's another role I had no idea about since I always watch Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still in Japanese--Steve Blum played Tetsugyu, the team's dumb muscle!
.hack//'s charismatic and not-exactly-what-he-seems Wiseman goes to show that you can never trust what anybody says they are online. Case in point, I've been lying to you this whole time: I'm not a 31-year-old man, I'm actually a 19-year-old girl. ;D
Also, let's pretend I never, ever made that joke.
Along with Cowboy Bebop, I tend to recommend Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex to people looking to get started with anime, in part because of their out-and-out excellent English dubs. Blum lent his voice to the enigmatic Laughing Man, a hacker who was the focus of the more interesting stories in the series.
Truth be told, when I heard Naruto was getting an English dub, I thought Steve Blum was going to play Kakashi. That didn't happen (and Dave Wittenberg does a great job), but Blum has played not one, but two villains in the series, starting with Momochi Zabuza, a villain who always comes back to haunt the series' heroes in one way or another.
And as many of you know, he's continued with the series to this day as the totally-not-creepy-at-all Orochimaru.
But if you're gonna go with JUMP villains, one of my favorite Steve Blum performances happened in Rurouni Kenshin, with his awesome Shishio Makoto. If you can, check out the dub's outtakes, they're comic gold. IT'S SOYLENT GREEN!
I didn't mind the fact that Initial D changed a lot of the names to "Americanize" it and make it more palatable to the growing street racing/auto-tuning scene in the early 2000s. My problem was that the names sounded kinda dumb--Takumi became "Tak" (sounds like a caveman) and Keisuke Takahashi became KT. I'll let you make your own jokes about that, because I've always had a thing for KT Tunstall.
Wait, Durarara!! has a dub? Oh right, it was on Adult Swim! Anyway, Steve Blum doesn't quite take a front-row seat in this series, taking a supporting role as Kadota Kyouhei.
So, to be completely honest, I really liked Megas XLR (where Blum played Jamie). The show came at that point where I stopped turning my nose up at every American-made animated series, and just got a kick out of a couple of rednecks who found ridiculously powerful alien technology. Good stuff!
Remember how I was talking about the dub outtakes in Rurouni Kenshin? TokyoPop's Great Teacher Onizuka DVDs also had a bunch of great outtakes. Fun fact: I think voice actor Richard Epcar's sole weakness is long Japanese names. Blum (under the name David Lucas) voiced both Onizuka and dopey student Fujiyoshi, and... there's a guy named Dick Smallberries in the credits.
Scryed is a show that I really need to watch again, because I remember loving it a lot back when I first watched it. Blum got to get all hot-blooded and insane with hard-punching hero Kazuma!
Samurai Champloo drew a lot of understandable parallels to Cowboy Bebop, and it was a nice bit of symmetry having Steve Blum voice rough-and-tumble swordsman Mugen. He's not exactly Spike, but he kinda looks the part, so hey... close enough, right?
BlackWarGreyMon is not the only Digimon character Blum has voiced--CR reader BlackRaiden pointed out last week that Steve Blum has also voiced Gallantmon/Dukemon and Flamedramon/Raidramon/Magnamon. The man's not quite Frank Welker, but not bad!
You have no idea how hard I disagree with people who think that Bulletstorm was a waste of Steve Blum and Jennifer Hale's voice-acting talents. Everything from the Waggleton P. Tallylicker song to the "I'll kill your dick" exchange to that really out-of-place serious ending was great! Well, okay, maybe not the ending, but still!
So there you have it--a small selection of Steve Blum's many, many roles in anime, games, and cartoons. I didn't even include the 7-11 commercials! So what do you remember Steve Blum from? Swearing he'll destroy Megatron? Very Canadian growling and snarling? The maniacal laughter of the Green Goblin? That final, heartbreaking "bang" in Cowboy Bebop?
Well, I know for sure that an entire generation will remember him as the voice that introduced them to some of the greatest action animation ever, and told them to stay gold. It's good to have Tom back.
And that's everything for this week! There's no way I could have included every one of Steve Blum's roles--what's your favorite? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
As always, your art is welcome on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just PM me a link to your work, and I'll be sure to include it in a future installment! Here are the next three themes for Fanart Friday:
-Next week, on FEBRUARY 28th, we take a look at another voice actor: this time, it's TOMOKAZU SUGITA! He's in a handful of shows here on Crunchyroll, so many of you might know his voice--among his many roles, what are your favorites? THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!
-Then, on MARCH 7th, this battle has only begun--we're challenging the strongest foes with our favorite POWERED-UP FORMS! From Super Saiyans to Sage Modes to Bossun's lameass "Concentration" power-up, we'll use whatever it takes to win!
-On MARCH 14th, get your brain bleach ready, because this won't be pleasant. We're finding fanart of famous MIND SCREW titles that don't hesitate to hurt the people who watch or read them!
Thanks again for dropping by to check out Fanart Friday--I hope you have a great weekend, and that you drop by next week!