Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Austin Tindle's first love was stage acting, but now he spends his days in the sound booth at Funimation, voicing anime characters like Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul. (photo by Jourdan Aldredge)

The Dallas Observer gets a rare look inside one North America's anime distributors.

Funimation’s monolithic beige complex on Lakeside Parkway is entirely devoid of personality from the outside. But the drab building hides one of the most colorful industries in North Texas. Hallways decorated with swag, awards and larger-than-life figures from their most popular series, like Dragon Ball Z, Attack on Titan, Hetalia: Axis Powers, Fairy Tail and One Piece, guide you from department to department — directing, licensing, accounting, acquisitions, legal counsel, marketing, sound mixing, project management and more. 
 Past a pool table — gifted by actress Jamie Lee Curtis after she took a tour of the facility with her son, who’s a big fan of anime — you’ll find sound mixers reworking shows that will appear on Cartoon Network to accommodate Americans’ penchant for big-screen TVs with surround sound. (In Japan, home TV set-ups tend to be more modest, so sound effects, music and background audio are suppressed there to avoid drowning out the dialogue; all of these are brought back up for the American versions.) 
 Marketing is demarcated by a ceiling covered entirely with Japanese lanterns, and it’s not unusual to see purple hair peeking out of the tops of cubicles adorned with Grumpy Cat stuffed animals. When your work is in anime, eccentricity is not just acceptable, it’s encouraged. The trick, as you take it all in, is not to get lost. “It’s like a hedge maze,” our tour guide says. “Just stick your arm out and touch a wall, and eventually you’ll arrive back where you started.”