Dave Wittenberg Interview

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Included with the release of Shonen Jump's "Naruto Collector", were interviews with the (English) voice actors for: Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and Kakashi. Several weeks earlier to promote the book Shonen Jump released an additional question not included in the interview. This interview (including the bonus question) for Dave Wittenberg (voice of Kakashi), can be found below:

Microphone Masters
We interview the voice actors behind the Naruto anime!

How is the anime different from the manga? That isn’t a riddle to test your psyche, nor is it a trivia question to earn you a copy of the box sets of uncut Naruto DVDs. There are many differences, key among them: sound! And we got a chance to talk with four individuals who have a lot to do with making the anime come alive: the voice actors who portray Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and their mentor, Kakashi. We asked them about how they relate to their characters – and for career advice, in case any Naruto Collector readers wanna become voice actors themselves one day.

Dave Wittenberg
The voice of Kakashi

1. How are you most like the character you portray?

We both are very even-tempered. I usually only have one eye open at a time. And I am equally dangerous if someone distracts me while I’m reading.

2. If we met you for the first time, what would surprise us most about you, given our preconceptions based on the character you portray?

My lack of hair?

3. What have you learned about the character you play, the deeper you’ve gotten into the role?

Just how much he really loves the people he’s working with, his young charges.

4. In Japan, the voice actors record together. In America, the voice actors record their lines separately – what do you think of the contrasting formats?

There are pluses and minuses. The plus in having everyone record it separately is that you can lay down a road map for how a scene is gonna go when you record the first character. You can also spend a lot of time massaging the performance of each line to fit the Japanese intention for an English audience. The down side is that you’re painted into a corner, so that if the next actor comes in and has a really good idea for a way to make this scene even better, you’re stuck. The other problem, of course, is that it takes a lot more skill to imagine the other half of the conversation when you record alone.

5. Is the voice you use in the anime your “real” voice, or is it very different from how you’d sound if you just called a friend to say hi?

I don’t think it’s very different, but it’s definitely different, ‘cause it’s that breathy low register thing. I wouldn’t necessarily call my friends that way, unless they’d stolen my dog.

6. If one of your readers wants to pursue voice acting, what recommendations would you have for them?

First and foremost would be to know what you’re getting into – by that I mean know as much as you can about what the job actually entails, and understand how often you’re going to fail. But know that when you succeed it’s worth it. Beyond that, in terms of anime voice acting specifically, the number one thing would be learn how to repeat the same performance over and over again. Sometimes you’ll do 15 takes of the line, and they’ll love the first reading, but they have had a technical problem, so you’ll need to be able to do it again perfectly.


The voice actors who perform the roles of Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and Kakashi in the Naruto anime bring everything they’ve got to the task. When you hear Naruto say “Believe it” you know it’s Maile Flanagan playing ninja. We asked those four actors who they’d play if they could be any other characters in the anime. For more insight, read the full interview in the Naruto Collector, on sale May 16.

Dave Wittenberg, the voice of Kakashi: “I like the idea of Sasuke, and by that I mean I love the fact that he’s sort of a younger version of Kakashi – he has all the potential to be Kakashi when he grows up, but he still has the crazy temper of a teenager.”

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