We were lucky enough to get an exclusive Joshua Seth interview where we find out what he’s up to and an exclusive only for true Digimon fans!
Most of us will know him as the voice of Tai Kamiya in the Englished dubbed Digimon. Now after 10 years of retirement from voice acting, Joshua Seth has returned to reprise his role as the leader of the Digi-Destined in Digimon Adventure Tri: Reunion, releasing on Blu-Ray and DVD May 16th, 2017 from Shout! Factory! Mr. Seth may have retired from the booth, but he has been quite busy touring the world as a mentalist. He performs shows all over, amazing demonstrating the power of the mind. I shared his real above, and it’s as amazing as it seems. We find out about mentalism, his reasons for coming back to Digimon, the secret inspiration of Motimon’s voice, and who of all of Mr. Seth’s numerous characters would win a battle royale in our Joshua Seth Interview. [Bold questions, regular Mr. Seth]
Hi, Joshua! First off I’m a huge fan, I grew up on the original Digimon and Tai was my favorite character on the show. Really excited to talk to you today!
Boo-Ya-Ka-Shaw! Awesome, thank you for that, it’s always nice to hear.
I saw some of the clips on your site about mentalism- is it mentalizing or mentalism?
I’m a Mentalist in the show, and what I do is called Mentalism. Which is sort of like, amazing demonstrations of the power of the mind.
I saw the one where you have the guy’s dream written and cataloged in a case and somehow got everyone to give a piece of the dream. That was amazing.
Yeah! Actually, I did a show this weekend where I closed it with that act. That show was to raise money for families undergoing pediatric care and research, at the National Institute of Health. We raised over a $1 Million in one night, and that’s how I closed that show.
That’s what I do now. I tour around doing live shows.
What inspired you to become a mentalist?
I got tired of being stuck in a sound proof booth all day, never seeing light.
Hahaha. For people who don’t know what mentalism is, how would you explain it?
I think the best explanation is, “amazing demonstrations of the power of the mind.” I’m using a number of psychological techniques to interact with random audience members and demonstrate reading body language, using intuition and influence, persuasion, mathematical techniques, memory techniques, and all that good stuff to create an amazing, and hopefully, inspiring experience in the live show. It was something I was doing out in Los Angeles even when I was recording Digimon. I used to do these shows at like celebrity parties and corporate events at nights and on the weekends and record animation during the day. Eventually, both things got so popular I had to choose one or the other, and I chose to go on tour. And I just never stopped, I never stopped touring.
That sounds amazing. Have you seen the movie Now You See Me?
Yeah. What I do is sort of like what the Woody Harrelson character does in that movie.
Would you say you are better, or more capable that character?
Actually, whoever advised them on that character did a good job. He is accurately representing the types of skills and techniques that I demonstrate in my shows. Even hypnotism, for a long time, the whole show was just hypnotism. Then I started incorporating a lot of other material into it, now I don’t do hypnotism as much. But it’s all part of it.
Oh, wow I kind of want to check that movie out again now. How do you convince the skeptics of mentalism?
I don’t worry about it. If they’re not convinced that a large of part of what I’m doing is real by the end of the show, then there’s no convincing them. It’s like how you can’t argue with a zealot. They have their beliefs that are set in stone and it doesn’t matter what you present them with. Now there is a certain amount of B***S*** in what I do on stage because it’s a show, and it’s supposed to be entertaining. I’m not doing it for lecture purposes. But most of it is exactly what I say; using psychological skill sets to achieve amazing things. Although there may be skeptics going in it, there are very few coming out of it afterward. For instance, with the hypnosis, sure I understand there a lot of people skeptical and there are a lot of fake hypnotists out there. But, hypnosis is simply the inducing of beta brainwaves which allow us to physically experience implanted thoughts in our minds. It’s a real thing, it happens when you’re having a lucid dream. Just that in a hypnosis show, the dreamer is external to yourself. I don’t try to convince skeptics, it should be self-evident from the experience of the show. If it’s not, then it just means their minds are closed.
Do you have a particular favorite moment, demonstration, or act from being a mentalist?
Probably the international television specials I’ve been able to record. I did two of them in Japan and two of them in South Korea using translators. The experience of recording television and having it be for foreign audiences and doing it through translators was so unique amazing that nothing else has even come close to approximating it.
That’s so cool that it’s able to connect to people beyond the language barriers.
That’s right! Plus, now I can legitimately say I’m big in Japan. Millions of people have watched the special.
Would you say being a mentalist has influenced your voice acting performances or vice versa?
I think it goes both directions. All my time on the mic in recording studios, voicing characters helps me on stage because I am able to demonstrate good mic technique and use my voice in a way that moves the audience in a live situation as well. But also, doing all these lives shows has made me a better performer and more flexible entertainer now that I’m back in recording studios because I have thousands of hours of live performing experience to draw on.
Awesome, thank you! I’m going to bring it back to Digimon before I ask too many questions about mentalism. What was your favorite part of coming back to Tai and the world of Digimon?
My favorite part was keeping the integrity of the character intact. It would have wrong, to me, to let anyone else voice Tai. He’s a big part of my life, and he’s really the reason that I had a voice over career in the first place because of the popularity of Digimon and that character. Also, it’s the only character that I ever voiced that was really my own voice. It’s just pitched up a little bit. The most amazing part is the opportunity to keep doing it after all these years.
It almost didn’t happen?
Yeah! It’s only because of the fans, and social media told me it was happening that I even knew to reach out to the production studio in the first place and say, “Hey, let’s get in contact and see if we can work together.” Nobody had reached out to me. It was only through fan involvement that my participation in Digimon Adventure Tri happened in the first place.
That’s surprising because your performance as Tai is iconic to the character. At least in America.
Certainly, but I don’t think it’s surprising that nobody reached out to me because I said I was retiring from voice acting and moved out of Los Angeles 10 years ago. And no one heard from me since. So, probably nobody thought I’d say yes. But, Digimon is special to all of us. Also, I have kids now too and I want to keep that legacy intact and alive… For them! For the kids!
Do you have a favorite Digimon… (pause because I realized how obvious the question is)…and if so which one?
In the context of the show, of course, it’s Agumon because of the friendship and bond with Tai and Agumon is very special. But in terms of me as a voice actor, I’m partial to Motimon because I voiced Motimon at the beginning of the Digimon series as well and I always like that voice. He didn’t appear very often, but he sounded like this “Motimon!” That was fun for me personally. “I am Motimon!”
Is Motimon due for a comeback in the new series? Am I allowed to ask about the other movies?
Nobody has seen Motimon since like the beginning of the Digimon series. But I remember what I was doing when I voiced him. I was referencing in my mind a character from an old cartoon called Shmoo from The New Shmoo Show. It was kind of an inside joke, known to me alone, that [Motimon’s] voice was Shmoo. Which is a cartoon that nobody’s heard of, seen, or thought about in a very long time?
Is that S-H-M-U?
Maybe? I have no idea. I just thought that was a funny voice and it was an opportunity to do it, so I did. And I still think it’s funny. “The Shmoo show! – And Motimon sound like this!“ It was a show I remember seeing when I was a kid. I thought it was funny.
I’ll look that up and put up an image with the interview.
That’s a very inside baseball reference there. For only true fans of Digimon. I never even mentioned that to anybody before. So, you got a scoop! A Digimon scoop!
I got a scoop! If you could only share one episode of the show to represent what the show is, which episode would that be?
Definitely season one episode one, when they’re at summer camp and fall into the digital world. It establishes the characters and it establishes their quest quite well. Just like a real series. Don’t forget back then when this was recorded, most Anime didn’t approach the episodes as if they were going to be a story arch or character arch. But Digimon did from the very beginning; the very first episode set everything in motion.
Out of all the characters you’ve voiced and portrayed, who would win in a battle royale?
I would say Tetsuou from Akira. Because all he would need to do is scream and he could create an explosion powerful enough to consume Neo-Tokyo.
One more question for you. After Digimon Adventure Tri films have finished, do you hope that the series continues kind of the same way Dragon Ball Super has after its films released?
Yeah! I’m hoping that with the fan support demonstrated for Digimon now will be able to continue it and create new evolutions of the series. Whether that takes the form of movies, or more TV shows, or apps, or video games, or something different I don’t know. But, anything is possible because the fans have continued to stick by it.
Joshua Seth tours quite a bit as a mentalist, so fans will have a lot of chances to catch him perform!
He may be doing a college show or a comic convention near you! And SoCal, If we reach out enough, we may be able to get him out to a show out here, but East Coast you’ll likely be able to catch him in your area this summer.
Digimon Adventure Tri: Reunion releases May 16, 2017, from Shout! Factor. You can pre-order your copy here.