This past June, Disney premiered the first ever English adaptation of the iconic Japanese animated series, "Doraemon.” The series follows the adventures of robotic cat Doraemon, his owner Noby, and his friends, as they learn about important life values, like respect and honesty, on adventures that push the boundaries of time and space. One of the series’ main characters, Big G, is a local bully who may act mean, but is always there to help Noby and his friends in a pinch. On June 16, Dennis sat down with Big G’s voice actor, Kaiji Tang, to talk about working on the series.
Dennis: Tell us a little bit about “Doraemon”
Kaiji: "Doraemon" is a crazy, worldwide cultural icon that started up in 1969! It's a story about a robotic cat from the future, aptly named Doraemon, sent back in time to take care of a young boy named Nobita (Noby in the US version). It's Doraemon's job to make sure Noby's life improves. He does this via crazy future gadgets that he pulls from his fourth dimensional pocket! He hangs out with Shizuka (Sue) whom he has a crush on and is constantly bullied by Suneo (Sneech) and Gian (Big G). Though the latter two often serve as the series' antagonists, they are quick to rally to Noby's side when there's trouble!
Dennis: You play Gian or “Big G” as he is known in the English version of the series. Can you tell us a little bit about him and his character?
Kaiji: Big G is the biggest, baddest bully in the neighborhood! He often takes stuff from his friends without asking, picks on them and generally has a pretty high opinion of himself. Though he claims his singing and cooking is top notch, they are in reality only a few steps from being biohazard sources. Even though he's the main "bad guy" in the show, he's often shown to have a heart of gold, as he will totally take Noby's side when he's in real danger. Aside from that, he's an avid baseball player, helps around his family's store and is terrified of his mom.
Dennis: What is your favorite thing about playing Big G?
Kaiji: I love when I have to record him singing. Usually when voice actors record, they avoid gunky food and drinks that clog up their throats (milk, chocolate, cookies, etc.). However for Big G the opposite is true when it comes time to sing! I've had the Japanese clients reject a take because it wasn't "Bad Enough". So I went out, stuffed my mouth full of cookies and chocolate and came back in for another take! Junk food and singing terribly, I know I'm living the dream.
Dennis: This is the first time that "Doraemon" has been dubbed in English. How do you feel about being one of the very first actors to portray a character in this staple in Japanese animation?
Kaiji: Beyond honored. I remember reading "Doraemon" when I was a little kid...in China no less! It's amazing that "Doraemon" hasn't hit the States until now. It was my version of Mickey Mouse! And many others as well! So when I got the email that I was chosen to play the role, it was unbelievable. Literally. I almost didn't believe it. The entire experience has definitely been one huge bucket list event.
Dennis: If you could have Doraemon for one day, what kind of adventures would you have with him?
Kaiji: Well if I could have Doraemon hang out with me for today at least, I'd have him pull out one of his weather controlling gadgets and give California some much-needed rainfall! I know that might sound boring, but I have a vested interest in being able to shower in about a year or so! So yeah. I would have Doraemon help me end the drought in California!
Dennis: Even though the series is targeted towards little children, is there stuff that older viewers will enjoy?
Kaiji: Oh absolutely! The show's writing is very clever and has a ton of humor that adults will enjoy along with kids!
Dennis: What will make people want to tune in to “Doraemon?”
Kaiji: Aside from Big G's singing and how handsome he is, "Doraemon" is an amazingly smart and charming show that's loaded with positive messages for kids of all ages. It's been well known for decades all over the world and it's finally here! I earnestly suggest anyone and everyone to give this show a shot! Robots, time travel, comedy, drama..."Doraemon" has a little something for everyone.
You can catch Kaiji as Big G in "Doraemon," which airs weekdays at 12:30PM EST on Disney XD.