I started by asking her about her character, Ash’s, personality. In the show Ash often seems to be a little hot headed and even rash at times. He could be compulsive and somewhat unrestrained. I asked Veronica if she believed that he was a good role model for younger children who grow up with the show.
“Well, I do think he is in the sense that he is so positive and the fact that he can kind of lose his temper, but then he gets it back. He apologises, he goes for his goals, but he doesn’t have to step on people. He ends up working with everyone else. I think it’s a good way to learn about how to be a friend. And also we talk a lot about,” she said softly, “you know, like the Butterfree episode; how to let go. I mean we all let go of something or someone in our lives, and there’s a beginning of learning about that in Pokémon. I do think it’s helped a lot of people.”
The Butterfree episode in question took place during the first series of the anime and featured a story in which it was Butterfree mating season. Ash’s Butterfree fell in love with another and the new couple left for greener pastures on a journey of their own, leaving their trainers behind. It closes with a montage of Ash’s memories of the good times he had spent with the first pokémon that he’d ever caught. This tear jerker of an episode, originally aired in 1997, is still strong enough to play on the heartstrings of its viewers today.
Being a voice actor gave Veronica the freedom to play other characters within the show alongside her work as Ash. She is also credited as Ash’s Mother (Delia), and as May, the main female lead in show’s Heonn Region based seasons. However, she her work isn’t exclusive to voicing human characters. She has also voiced a number of the pokémon themselves, including Diglett and Sentret. I asked her if she found it difficult to convey emotion and character when acting as pokémon who could effectively only say their own name in different tones.
Although 10 year old Ash Ketchum may be outgoing and loud mouthed in the cartoon, the video game character that he is based on is completely silent. Throughout all the titles within the main series of Pokémon games, the protagonists have always been silent. However, with today’s obsession with remaking games in order to bring franchises in various different directions, this could soon change. I asked Veronica if Pokémon Red Version and Blue Version were to be remade again with voices for all characters, would she resume her role as the baseball cap sporting young boy.
“We were replaced after season eight and we had no choice to go on with the show, but if I could have gone on I would have. If I could do the video game, I would it do it. I love, love playing Ash, and so if there were a chance to do the video game or the show, or whatever, I would do it again.” It was easy to see the love that Veronica had for her character, and her want to voice him once again.
The Pokémon universe is an extraordinary one filled with fantastic creatures that inhabit amazing places. These animals are a huge part of the humans’ lives in the show and the video games, as both species co-operate to achieve their goals and live side by side in perfect harmony. I asked the voice actress if she believed that pokémon would be respected in this way if they existed within the real world.
“Someone asked me that the other day too, interestingly. I think, first of all, in some ways pokémon are so alien, so is it a situation that’s similar to aliens. If we all knew there were aliens walking around, would everyone respect them? But I think that you would have to, because they’re part of our world. I think there would have to be respect for them. Plus, you know, Snorlax is so big, you couldn’t ignore it blocking your drains or whatever.” She said laughing at the idea of another mischievous Snorlax.
Everyone that we cross paths with on www.Hit-Start-Now.com gets asked the same classic question. A question that can be seen as both funny and thought provoking, depending on the person answering it. However, I never thought I’d see the day I’d ask this to the voice behind Ash Ketchum, a person who’s been closer to pokémon than most people could even dream of. In fact, it almost felt like a set-up as I asked Veronica Taylor what her favourite pokémon was.
“Pikachu” she announced merrily, without missing a single beat. “Lapras I like too, because you can float around on it. I live in Los Angeles now, so Charmander; Charizard really because he can fly. Avoid the traffic.”
Veronica’s following panel was as educational as it was entertaining, spanning many topics from the video games and the monsters they contain, to particular episodes from the anime and their true meanings. There was also a lot of information about voice acting as a career choice and what it involves. Her endlessly upbeat personality shone during the entire set as Pokémon fans from all over the country got to shake hands and get their pictures taken with the lady who gave their childhood hero a voice. This brought about a fitting end to Pokécon Ireland 2015, leaving trainers excited to see what how they intend on topping this show next year.