I am hell, born this mortal shell.
Erich Hau: How do you like playing big villains like Dr. Hell? Is there something that draws you to playing the big bad of a series?
Mike Pollock: It’s very cathartic. If there’s any recent stress in my life, getting it all out through a bad guy’s rage brings a great sense of relief at the end of a recording session. And I’m sure my wife and kids appreciate that tremendously. Of course, the rage can come right back, like when we gathered around the TV to watch the Blu-Ray disc of MAZINGER Z: INFINITY only to discover the batteries in the long-forgotten Blu-Ray remote had leaked, leaving us with a Blu-Ray player with no useful onboard control buttons. After the yelling subsided, we decided the best thing to do was upgrade the player, and within the two days it took to arrive, my son managed to misplace the disc itself. In the interest of time, we purchased an emergency streaming version, made possible by the features of the brand new player, and had an enjoyable viewing, with all the anger staying safely on the other side of the screen.
I love playing whatever directors and producers want me to be, but I’m flattered that they think my villainous voices are worth sharing with the world.
Were there any scenes while recording that was challenging for you to do? Any notable production stories?
Controlling Dr. Hell’s temper was a great acting challenge. So often I’m asked to ramp up the range immediately, but Dr. Hell’s first few scenes feature a quiet intensity of which I’m rather proud. And lots of screaming can always be challenging, but fortunately, Dr. Hell’s stayed well within my comfort zone.
Since dubs are usually recorded one actor at a time, I’m used to focusing on the scenes I’m in, and don’t get to see the finished product until it’s all done. That means, depending on who has or hasn’t recorded by the time I get there, I may or may not know who else in it. Finding out I got to share screen time with Dan Green and Wayne Grayson brought back some warm memories of our early days of dubbing.
On that same note, were there any emotional moments in the story that stuck with you?
No spoilers, but Koji and Sayaka’s tender, romantic moments added a wonderful, heartfelt dimension that many anime productions seem to fear to explore. It’s good to remember that behind the action-packed battles, at least some of the participants are actual humans.
Between Dr. Hell and koji, whose hairstyle is the wildest?
Oh, that’s apples and oranges. Koji obviously puts effort into his hair, with styling, and product, and frequent visits to the salon. Dr. Hell, on the other hand, just can’t be bothered. He’s too busy worrying about destruction to notices he’s overdue for a grooming appointment.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Questions By: Erich Hau
Article By: John Schwarz