Cartoon Network has recently been reviving a lot of anime classics and bringing them back to the small screens in India in local dubs, predominantly Hindi. Among them was Digimon Adventure: which started airing in the country on Oct 24, 2022.
Considering how the anime was a hit among the fans in India, Animehunch Team decided to sit down with Agumon’s Hindi voice actor Dev Singhal, talking in depth about his character, favorite anime and working with his well known co-artist Vaibhav Thakkar, who voices Taichi.
What are your thoughts on playing Agumon in Digimon Adventure:?
Voicing for Agumon is always fun and a challenge I enjoy. Agumon is a ‘Digimon’ also known as ‘Digital Monster’ in the series and voicing him requires quite some skills considering the character and nuances. It continues to be a very fascinating and entertaining journey for me.
Fans who have watched the Japanese version before are aware of Chika Sakamoto’s work. Did you take any inspiration from her portrayal of Agumon?
Yes, I took inspiration from the original version and worked with the team at Cartoon Network to bring out the endearing nuances of the character. Chika Sakamoto has an amazing voice, and to match the same level of charm and delight in my voice, especially as a boy, was creatively fulling and challenging at the same time.
Japanese voice actors emphasize more on the emotional aspects of the characters they play. How did you translate those emotions into your dubbing?
That’s most undoubtedly one of the reasons why I love anime. The way Japanese voice actors play their characters helps viewers emotionally connect with them.
The best thing you could do before voicing a character is “get into it” and feel the character you’re playing. For example, when I dub for Agumon, I try to understand the scene and use my imagination. The script and my vision always help me bring out the right emotions for any character I voice.
With Agumon’s evolution his voice also changes. How did you handle this aspect of the character?
It is always challenging and exciting to represent the evolution of the characters we voice. Mostly you go with the script’s guidance and the themes played by the characters.
If not Agumon, which other character would you be interested in playing in Digimon Adventure: and why?
Apart from Agumon, I am also quite fond of Yamato and Koshiro. Yamato has a calming persona and a gentle way of talking, and I would enjoy voicing for the character. Koshiro, on the other hand, is a genius who loves talking – the opposite of me, which would be quite a stimulating task when I would face the mic!
Taichi and Agumon are kinda like best friends, how would you describe your chemistry with Taichi’s voice actor Vaibhav Thakkar?
I first met Vaibhav many years ago and enjoyed interacting with him. He is super talented and a terrific voice actor.
Since Cartoon Network is bringing more anime to India, is there an anime character which you would like to play or a type of character?
It is hard to pick just one character being an anime fan. Grey characters excite me a lot, and I would be inclined to voice slow-talking villains or a character like Meliodas, the protagonist from The Seven Deadly Sins series.
Were there any special moments while dubbing for Digimon Adventure: which you’d like to share with fans?
Every moment while I dub is fun and memorable for me. Dubbing voices that are not unusual and unique is a beautiful feeling. I worked closely with the Cartoon Network team for Agumon’s character and developed a high-pitched, gruff voice.
Once, on a dub sitting, I lost my voice and did not sound like my character. Instead, I sounded like Dev trying to talk in a high-pitched voice, which was weird and hilarious. Instances/incidents like that help the creative process and make us resilient and adapt to different situations.
Are you an anime fan? What are some of your favourite anime?
Absolutely, I am a huge anime fan. However, it wouldn’t be fair for me to name just one. My favourites include, ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ (JJK), ‘Kimetsu No Yaiba’ (Demon Slayer), ‘Nanatsu No Taizai’ (The Seven Deadly Sins), ‘One Piece’, ‘Tokyo Ghoul’, ‘Tokyo Revengers’ and last but not the least, ‘Dragon Ball’.
Do you have any special message for Indian anime fans and fans of Hindi dub?
Firstly, do not take offense if someone calls anime a “cartoon show”- not everyone may understand the unique elements of the two forms of animated content.
Secondly, as much as watching subbed anime could be the absolute way to go, I’d highly recommend watching anime in Hindi and other regional dubs to experience different voices for the same characters. Focusing on the efforts of the voice actors for the characters may change the perspective of how one sees the story.
Lastly, watch anime to enjoy and feel entertained and recommend your friends to watch ‘Digimon Adventure:’ only on Cartoon Network from Monday to Friday at 8 pm. You might just like my portrayal of Agumon and fall in love with the world of anime.
What are your views on Cartoon Network bringing anime to India in regional languages?
I respect Cartoon Network for bringing an amazing content genre to kids and young adults in India in regional languages. Fans earlier only had the option to watch anime on other content platforms or websites, and that too only in English or Japanese.
However, introducing it on television and making it accessible to everyone is a game changer. I’m excited about this opportunity since I, too, might get a chance to dub some of my favourite anime characters, apart from Agumon.