Over the past couple of years, anime fans have come to realize there isn't much Clarine Harp cannot do. Her name appears on the credits of many FUNimation discs, whether in DVD production or redefining the role of badass in shows like Burst Angel and Speed Grapher. Even at conventions, when talking about her work, she also finds time to knit for charity. We recently asked her a few questions about her work, behind and in-front of the mic.
DubReview (DR): Does Kaede (Negima) remind you of yourself as a student?
Clarine Harp (CH): Although I would have loved to have been a ninja in school, Kaede (Negima) and I were similar in the fact that we both kept to ourselves. Kaede also tends to have a maternal instinct when it comes to her friends, so I would like to think we have that in common as well.
DR: Could you talk about your character in Beck, Kayo.
CH: I think everyone knows at least one person like Kayo. A wild party girl, she avidly attends shows for local bands and proceeds to irresponsibly indulge in whatever vices she chooses at the time. She is also brash and opinionated, totally unlike myself. I have no idea how I got cast in this role.
DR: What's it like to play some real badasses? (Sei and Ginza)
CH: Very gratifying, but tough! The back stories of Sei (Burst Angel) and Ginza (Speed Grapher) are really interesting in that there is a level of depth and purpose to their actions. Sei tends to mask her emotions, while Ginza is ruled by hers. The opportunity to provide their voices has been a wonderful and challenging experience.
DR: What do you think Speed Grapher emphasizes more of: the dual or perverse nature of people?
CH: Out of the two choices, I feel Speed Grapher emphasizes the dual nature of people. This is evidenced by Kagura and her Goddess counterpart, the metamorphosis of humans to Euphorics, and on a larger scale, the people of wealth and privilege frequenting the underground club. Everyone is spotted there from members of the clergy to high-ranking politicians. These people are respected in regular society, so this makes the reality even more disconcerting. Suitengu understands the duality and corruption of human nature and exploits it for his own underlying reasons. The show reminds me a little of Fight Club, in that respect.
DR: Speed Grapher is a show that people turned down auditioning for because of its graphic nature (some of these scenes, of course, come from Ginza's life). Do you or did you have any reservations about voicing her?
CH: From the beginning, I had no reservations providing her voice. As recording progressed, I found only one scene that I felt uncomfortable with. I was relived that the ADR director, Christopher Bevins, was very understanding and allowed me to have a closed session that afternoon. Over all, I am very grateful to have a role like Ginza, since characters like her don’t come around often, if ever.
DR: Do you need to do anything special to get into the mindset to record for certain characters?
CH: It really depends on the depth of the character. For Ginza, Sei and Sanae (Samurai 7), I had to completely clear my mind before entering the booth. Those roles were each difficult in their own way, so I had to pay special attention to their needs.
DR: Could you tell us a little about what your work in DVD production entails?
CH: Here is the abbreviated version: Job duties include heavy scheduling, coordinating translations and subtitles, writing menu instructions, helping plan extra features, proofreading, quality control, gathering elements to author, etc. There is a lot of multi-tasking and planning in advance to ensure we produce a quality product in the timeframe we are provided.
DR: Has knitting always been a part of your life?
CH: Knitting is a relatively new hobby, which I picked up a little over a year ago. I am a craft enthusiast and also enjoy scrap booking, cross-stitching, embroidery and sewing. Knitting is the most portable hobby I have, especially since soft-edged needles are allowed on airplanes. This really comes in handy when I am traveling to conventions. I think more than one person has seen me knitting on panels…
DR: Do you have any last comments for your fans?
CH: I want to say that I really appreciate all of the support I have seen from fans. From several hundred attendees at local anime conventions ten years ago, to thousands today, the industry has grown so much. I am often overwhelmed at the sheer numbers, and I am happy that interest has grown enough for people (like me!) to have jobs they really enjoy. I couldn't think of a better incentive to work hard, so thank you everyone!
We would like to thank Clarine Harp for her time and participation in this interview. Please be sure to check her out in Speed Grapher, Negima, Kiddy Grade, and the upcoming Beck, all available from FUNimation.