The Third: The Girl With the Blue Eye

By the Nozomi Entertainment Production Team, 2008

In 1999, Ryou Hoshino penned a story called The Third… and the adventures of Honoka, together with her trusty sand tank Bogie, have been capturing the hearts of thousands ever since. When our group here at Nozomi was chosen to bring the anime version of Ryou’s story, The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye, to the US, we knew one thing for sure – a series this epic needed a world-class dub. So we gave the project to director Joe DiGiorgi of Headline Studios, and together with co-directors Sam Regal and Liam O’Brien, he brought the English version of The Third into being.

Ever wonder about the nitty-gritty of making the dub for a show like The Third? Well, we rounded up some questions from inquiring anime fans, and Mr. DiGiorgi was kind enough to take a break in between mixes to dish out some answers. The results are here for you to see!

The Third: The Girl With the Blue EyeWas it a challenge recording in two locations?

Somewhat. We’ve done this now on three titles (Boys Be, To Heart, and now The Third), so we’ve adjusted to some of the oddness. Moving the tracks across the country isn’t much of a problem because of highcapacity FTP. But the uniformity and flow of performance can be a challenge. The entire English-speaking cast of The Third was made up of very experienced actors, and they understood the idea of how to make “room” for the story to unfold into a track not yet recorded. Plus, we had a pre-approved script adaptation (thank you Sam & Liam), so we got the arc. I usually recorded in NY afterward, so I was able to adjust some dialog and inflection in NY to fit with what I got from LA. Plus, we recorded alternate tracks in case there was an issue with inflection. If we needed to pick up a line or two, we would do so after the first mix version. Yes, it was complex, and a bit more costly. But we got a really good mix of actors and voices this way.

Did the chief director travel to LA to oversee the recording there as well, or leave it to his co-directors to manage things there?

Well, I had planned to travel there a few times, but we had a tight deadline scenario. Sam and Liam and I all worked together in NY on Shingu and other titles, so we had a lot of experience interacting with each other on a production already. I trust them to do great work. We all worked together with Nozomi on the casting, had a few calls out, and ended up with the folks you hear. Once we got past Volume One, we were set in our concept. So at that point, I was just fine having Sam & Liam manage the West Wing, so to speak.

How did you guys end up getting Troy Baker to work on this?

Liam sent me a demo clip and a strong recommendation. I had asked for the most evil, threatening voice he could find. Leon is an important character since, as the story develops, we are introduced to stronger antagonists – and this one is the most dangerous to appear at that point. I was very happy when I heard his voice and performance in NY!

The Third: The Girl With the Blue EyeIs it easier to do a voice for a character like Bogie, or a character like Honoka? With a character like Bogie there are no facial expressions or physical actions… so is it a benefit, or does it bring different problems with trying to make him more convincing?

From my standpoint as director, a lot of the weight was on Honoka. Anna Morrow had a big gig; everyone in the show plays off Honoka or informs her of situations. The character is very complex, and there are elements of the Japanese character that are hard to cross over. We kind of focused on the “tough young girl” aspect of her, surviving in the desert and leading a solitary life. Having said that, some of my favorite Honoka moments were the sensitive ones. She is a character of immense compassion, and I think we got it to come across in English.

Bogie was done out West, but I can say that to get across the level of “brotherhood” that he & Honoka share was not so simple. Yes, “different problems” would be a good way of putting it. He really does have to put movement into those still shots. It’s true that not having lip sync really opens things up, but these actors are really good at syncing to picture. As are Sam & Liam at making dialog fit in those mouth movements. So it all comes down to the actor’s talents and their ability to project character and story. I think they all were incredible. Iam grateful to them.

For the rest of the characters, does having them already on screen limit what you’d like to do, or is it flexible enough that you could make improvements or possibly get a different feel for a scene?

If you are talking about the “pre-drawn” aspect of anime, it is always the largest limitation. We must fit the picture, no matter what. We can tweak lines, play with delivery, and try to get the story across. But if the picture doesn’t let us, we have to acknowledge that and flow with the image.

What was your first impression of the series?

I got preview DVDs of this show and was hooked. This was a magical one for me, and I tried hard to get that magical feeling to come across. The story is very compelling, and has extremely good form as it continues forward. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The characters develop in a very careful and hypnotic way. And the music is rich and varied, supporting the various moods so very well. But most of all, I like the message (or messages) it seems to espouse. To approach your life, no matter what hardships encountered or misfortunes inherited, as a job with which one must follow through. Joy and happiness will appear at points along the way, as will beauty. Yet the larger challenge is to simply go on. It can get lonely between battles.