[ENTERTAINMENT] 'Future Boy Conan' a Blast From the Past

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[ENTERTAINMENT] 'Future Boy Conan' a Blast From the Past

"Conan, get out through the window! You can do it!"

"Monsley, I'll come back to get you, so don't die on me," responds Sohn Jung-a, the voice actress for the young boy Conan. Her voice suddenly switches from young boy to adult woman, and she says, "No, this doesn't seem right. The voice and lip movements aren't matching. What if I say 'Okay' instead of 'Monsley'?"

It's an early evening at a recording studio in Apgujeong-dong, as voice actors and actresses dub the classic Japanese anime, or animated cartoon, "Future Boy Conan."

"That's a good idea," the producer says from the other side of a window overlooking the studio. With headsets on, half a dozen people are playing their parts with enthusiasm while standing in front of microphones dangling from the ceiling. Their hands gesture in the empty air as they mimic the movements on a screen. Even though they are voice actors, they move around as if they were on-camera.

"Future Boy Conan" was the directorial debut of the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, creator of such seminal films as "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Princess Mononoke." Miyazaki's works have been in the public eye recently. Several of his films were belatedly released on the big screen in Korea, and he even came here in the summer to help promote "My Neighbor Totoro."

With Disney putting its considerable weight behind pushing Miyazaki in the West, it seems likely that the world will be hearing his name increasingly often.

When the 26-episode series first aired in Korea on KBS 1982, 80 minutes from was edited out because of time constraints.

Twenty years later, the original cast is back, except for a new actress playing the role of Monsley. They are redubbing the missing parts for the coming reissue of "Conan" on DVD.

For Korean animation fans who grew up watching animated Japanese TV series, the theme song and voices of "Future Boy Conan" bring back childhood memories.

Reruns of the edited version, which have been airing on JEI cable channel 23 since January, still bring extremely high ratings.

For Sohn, the lead actress, recording for this time around was difficult due to the the many changes in the actors' voices and even the Korean language. "When listening to the reruns of the animation, it almost sounds like the characters have North Korean accents. When recording after all these years, I believe that every piece should be redubbed and not just the part we missed out on. Language is bound to change over the years."

The oldest voice actor among the group is Tak Won-jae, who plays Captain Dyce, the captain of the Industrial Ship Barracuda. Mr. Tak clearly remembers the recording schedule two decades back. "Tuesdays at 6:15 p.m." You might think that for a veteran voice actor like himself, he would go right into recording without rehearsals. However, his script is full of black marks with his dialogue broken into line by line and the rise and fall of the voice pitch clearly marked.

Not everyone was having an easy time with the redubbing of "Future Boy Conan." However, when entering the recording studio, all their worries seem to disappear. It is the scene where Conan and his buddies face the Giganto gun boats that have trespassed into their home island High Harbor. "When bullets land on our island - pow! Everyone will die!" someone yells out. As they look back and forth from their script to the screen, they truly sound as intense as any movie actors and actresses.

by Ki Sun-min

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