Todd Haberkorn – Educating a Korn Panel at MCM Birmingham Comic Con

Todd Haberkorn Panel (4)

“When you hear me talking, is this a weird thing?” asked Todd Haberkorn to the audience at his panel at the MCM Birmingham Comic Con, wondering if they found his voice a little strange. “You tell me? It’s a little weird, isn’t it? When you hear it, do you think (puts on British accent) ‘He’s not too bright that one. Not much going on upstairs.’”

Voice actor Todd Haberkorn is known for having worked on numerous anime such as D.Gray-man, Soul Eater, Sgt. Frog and Black Butler, as well as video games such as Super Street Fighter IV and Tales of Xillia. He was at the NEC for his panel titled Educating a Korn. “This panel is more about me learning from you guys,” he said. “I have a couple of questions for you.” In reality this appeared to be more of a shared education as not only did Todd ask questions to his audience, but they also had the opportunity to question him. Todd did not stay confined to his seat behind the table either, as he was given a microphone and approached attendees so that he (and everyone else) could hear what they had to say.

When introducing himself he revealed that he hadn’t been in the UK for almost six years, but he enjoys being here. “I forgot how great breakfast was,” said Todd. “I was like, ‘Oh, the beans, the tomatoes and the mushrooms! Yes, yeesssss!”

He also mentioned that the British accent was his favourite and that “you’re instantly 75% smarter” with one. “If I could have any accent in the world, it would be the accent you guys hear every single day.” Todd revealed how he did an experiment when he arrived in the UK by putting on a British accent when ordering in a restaurant. He felt that he received much better service because of this. Talking to the audience in his British accent he said, “They took very good care of me, they came back very quickly, I got a very hot meal and it was very good! But when I talk to them (reverts back to his regular voice) like this, it takes them forever. They’re gone.”

It was only six minutes into his panel when a small group of people got up and started to leave, which Todd noticed. “Don’t leave me,” he pleaded. “Where are you going?” There was no response. “Feel bad,” he said, pointing at them. At this point one person decided to stay and walked back to their seat. “YES,” screamed Todd. “Ha ha. GUILT!”

Todd Haberkorn Panel (C)Todd’s first question to his audience was, “What’s a waifu?”

“It’s basically slang for a wife,” came the answer from one attendee.

“Like a wifey,” said Todd.

The attendee then pointed to the person sat next to him and said, “She is my waifu.”

“So what’s the other side of it,” said Todd. “Husband-fu?”

“Husbando,” came the response.

His next question was, “Who is your least favourite American voice actor?”

“Vic Mignogna,” screamed one attendee.

“Aww, he’s a teddy bear,” said Todd. “He’s awesome!” He then asked who their favourites were, with answers ranging from Peter Cullen, Kyle Hebert and someone also showing support for Vic Mignogna. Todd revealed that his favourites were Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, notable for their work on Batman: The Animated Series, and Dan Castellaneta, known for voicing Homer on The Simpsons.

Todd then asked, “What was the first anime you ever watched?” Answers included Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, and Naruto, with some of the oldest being Dragon Ball Z, Robotech and Sailor Moon. “A lot of people ask us if we watch a lot of anime in our spare time,” said Todd. “It’s kind of like, if you work at a restaurant, waiting a table and then you come home to wait more tables. It’s your work and you kind of want to take a break from it. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate anime, it’s just that when you’re recording it all day, I watch it differently. I’m watching it for flaps, ‘who did that voice, why did they make that choice to say it that way?’ Things like that.”

His next question had him asking, “What is the worst ending to an anime ever?” This was slightly dangerous territory given that Todd asked some attendees to explain why, which resulted in one person shouting out “spoiler alert!” However, it was anime such as Vampire Knight, Shaman King and Durarara!! that got mentioned for having some of the worst conclusions. “Thank you guys for helping me,” said Todd. “You’ve enlightened me about shows that I should be watching that I’m not watching.”

When taking questions from the audience he was asked if he ever reads the manga of the shows he’s recording on. “It depends on the show,” said Todd. “If it’s a show where I’m doing a significant role, like Natsu in Fairy Tail, then I defiantly will take a look at it.” He then mentioned that what he relies on more than anything is the director.

He was then asked who he felt was the best character he’s played. He listed three characters – Natsu from Fairy Tail, Keroro from Sgt. Frog and Allen from D.Gray-man. “Those are my favourites.”

An unusual question had Todd being asked if he were to ever write his own manga, what would it be about? “I thought of this really horrible lame super hero,” said Todd. “I would want it to be about a guy that wakes up and he has a super power, and his super power is he can turn anything into soup. Think about it. So he goes up to a bank vault and he’s trying to get in and then (stretches arm out) ‘SOUP’. And then the door melts into this cream of mushroom stuff and he walks through and gets the money. So there you go, Soup-Man.”

Todd was then asked what it’s like voicing Viscount Druitt from Black Butler, to which he said he really enjoyed it. “It’s very cool to be able to do it, because I don’t get to do a lot of lower registered voices.” However, one of the side effects of voicing such a character was unusual requests at conventions. “When I go to conventions, an 11 or 12 year old girl will want me to behave in a Druitt fashion to her, and you can just see security on the side casually going for their gun. I get a lot of marriage proposals and requests to ask someone to marry me. That’s not comfortable. That’s a weird situation.” 

Asked what the best catchphrase he has from all the characters he’s voiced, he picked one from Sgt. Frog. “The cool thing about that show is that we got to improv a lot of stuff that actually stayed into the show. I did this thing where every time my character Keroro jumps or leaps off something, he goes, ‘Ali-umpa’. I really liked that because when I was in college that was an inside joke between one of my buddies. So I was able to get it in there and when I did it enough the director had to keep it, so that was cool.”

Todd Haberkorn Panel (2)Before the panel came to an end Todd talked about his work with Vic Mignogna on the web series Star Trek Continues and those tribute videos they keep making for each other. “Vic and I, we did this tribute war with each other. We would make videos, going back and forth, kind of making fun of each other a little bit. It was very reverent but also at the same time it was a little bit of fun. But it kept getting bigger and more out of control. The first video was a minute long. Then [the next video] became five minutes long, ten minutes long… forty minutes long! Now Vic and I have joined forces and we made a web series called Star Trek Continues.”

Todd plays Spock in the series, with Vic playing Captain Kirk. The first episode went online earlier this year in May. “We just had a Kickstarter where we raised $126,000 to shoot the [next three episodes],” said Todd. “Our second episode we just finished. We’re gonna film our third episode in March.” Todd also revealed that their guest star in the second episode is the former Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno.

The final question put towards Todd had him being asked who the weirdest character was that he voiced. He responded with Keroro in Sgt. Frog and Apos in RIN: Daughters of Mnemosyne. He then described Apos to the audience as “a guy that also is a girl… and he has wings… and he tortures people for eternity.” Following on from weirdness, he then ended his panel by describing a situation that has probably happened to many viewers of anime in some form. “How many people have been watching anime and your friends or your parents walk in at that horribly uncomfortable moment? And they’re like, ‘Wow. Why is their skin so shiny in that area?’ You know what I’m talking about? Weird stuff like that?”

“It is an honour to be here with you guys and talking with you,” said Todd. “Thank you very much for your graciousness and for being here.”

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