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In the October issue of MANIA we suit up for The LEGO Ninjago Movie, get the lowdown on Captain Underpants and play test Knack 2 the video game. There are freaky pranks and food to gawk at and the greatest skateboarding legends of all time. Enter our competitions to win stacks of prizes including a Razor PowerCore electric scooter!

On The Road Again!

June 5th, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in Movies |

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Greg Heffley is back in the wikkid new film, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul!

When Greg discovers that his video-game idol will be appearing at a gamer convention, he convinces his family to take a road trip to attend his great grandmother’s 90th birthday!

Along with Greg’s best mate Rowley, the family hits the road for one cross-country adventure they won’t ever forget!

Get ready for embarrassing car sing-alongs, a pig that the Heffley’s win at a fair and hi-jinx when Greg’s scheme doesn’t go as planned!

Get ready to LOL when Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul hits Australian theatres June 22nd!

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A REAL (ANI)MANIAC – JESS HARNELL

June 2nd, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

Before he touches down at Supanova, we spoke with the man of a thousand voices, Jess Harnell! Check out our wikkid interview where we chat about Crash Bandicoot, celebrity impressions and how to live like a rockstar!


Q: How did you get into voice acting?
JESS: “It’s funny, sometimes you get shot out of a cannon expecting to land on one trampoline but you land on the one next door. I always thought that I was going to be a rockstar. I grew up thinking that; I was always singing in bands and writing songs. I started being a studio singer, doing jingles and background music for TV shows and some movies. I’d be on the microphone in these sessions and just start throwing out voices. I’d read the script in a funny voice. People dug it, so they started getting me to do the voice-over too. I got called up to do an audition to be one of the voices on Splash Mountain, which is a ride at Disneyland. I thought it’d be cool to hear my voice on a ride at Disneyland, so if you go on that ride I’m basically I’m the only guy you hear! After that I did some Roger Rabbit stuff, and then I auditioned for a show called Animaniacs. 25 years later I’ve been doing this every day, it’s the best job in the world and I wouldn’t change a thing!”

Q: In terms of voices you’re great at nailing impressions. Is there a particular character or celebrity voice you like doing?
J: “I actually get hired to do celebrity voice-acting, which is when a celebrity can’t finish their dialogue for a movie. I come in and pretend to be them. My favourite ones are the ones with the weird voices and affectations. Some of my favourites are William Shatner, Christopher Walken or Adam West. They take the english language and mangle it in such a way that it doesn’t even sound like english anymore!”

Q: You’ve done so many different voices throughout your career. Do you have favourites?
J: “Wakko from Animaniacs, definitely. So many people come up to me at these conventions and say ‘Man, I grew up watching Animaniacs! That show is my childhood.’ When I was a little boy my favourite movie was The Wizard of Oz, and now Cartoon Network are bringing it back as a new series. I’m playing the Cowardly Lion, so it’s like a dream come true! I used to do the voice as a kid!”

Q: Have you ever dropped a voice in public, like when you’re ordering lunch or talking with friends?
J: “They come in handy when you’re doing drive-thru. Sometimes you’ll run into someone wearing a t-shirt with a character you play on it. I’ll have fun with that and drop a voice while standing next to them.”

Q: You voiced Crash Bandicoot in Skylanders and the recent N. Sane Trilogy. What did you do to channel your inner bandicoot?
J: “Crash is pure emotion – there are no words! He’s crazy, he’s nuts. He’s bouncing off walls and having a blast! You’ve got to figure out how speak without actually speaking!”

Q: You’ll be in Australia soon. Have you tried Vegemite before?
J: “I’ve had it before, and I’ve got to be honest with you I’m not a huge fan! This will be my first time in Australia, and I can’t wait to get there. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about your country.”

Q: You also play in a rock’n’roll band – what are your top tips for rocking out and living like a rockstar?
J: “The thing about being a voice-actor is that not a lot of people know what you look like, compared to if you were a TV or movie star. For me, I get the best of both worlds though. I dress like a rockstar, so when I go places people always think I’m in a big rock band and I always get given the best table in restaurants. As for living a rockstar, I always say, ‘Why stand back when you can stand out!’ If everybody else is doing the same thing, do your own thing! Live to the fullest, have a good time, enjoy yourself and never give up!”

Q: You’ve voiced a couple of Transformers throughout the years – if you could transform into any vehicle, what would it be?
J: “A Lamborghini Countach.”


Rock out with Jess Harnell at Sydney Supanova (June 16-18) and Perth Supanova (June 24-25)!

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HALE TO THE QUEEN – JENNIFER HALE

June 2nd, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

You’ve probably heard Jennifer Hale‘s voice before. After all, she does hold the Guinness World Record for “The Most Prolific Videogame Voice Actor (Female).” Check out our interview with her below!


Q: How did you get into voice-acting?
JENNIFER: “I tripped over a microphone on the sidewalk and found myself in a new career. Just kidding! I went to a fine arts high-school where I studied acting and theatre. I studied the craft a bit and got a job at a production house where I did a voiceover because I had the training for it. From there I just kept on auditioning for and performing more and more roles.”

Q: You hold the world record for being “The Most Prolific Videogame Female Voice Actor” – how does that feel?
J: “It’s crazy! I always joke I did a lot of games because I wanted to buy a house, so I said yes to whatever work came my way. Videogame sessions are really different. An animation session involves a script that’s about 30, 32 pages long. A videogame script is like a stack of telephone books. With a TV show, you’re taking turns with people saying their lines at different times. With videogames it’s a one person show. It”ll just be you performing non-stop for four hours – except for bathroom breaks! I was happy and excited to work, so I said yes to everything!”

Q: Who was the most challenging character to voice?
J: “I used to sing in rock’n’roll bands when I was 15 and I didn’t want to lose my voice so I went got classical singing training. I wasn’t going to be an opera singer, but I wanted the vocal skills. That’s supported me to this day. I very rarely lose my voice when I’m working.

When Ellen DeGeneres is too busy to voice Dory, I substitute in for her. That’s challenging because she does such an incredible job that I have to live up to.”

Q: You’ve been a part of so many big series – is there a series you haven’t been a part of that you’d like to be a part of?
J: “Anything and everything! I love singing and riding horses, so anything where I get to do that!”

Q: Do you prefer being the hero or the villain?
J: “I like them both. Villains don’t think of themselves as villains. In their head they think they’re doing the right thing, and everyone else is on the wrong page. I do love being a bit more extreme and out-of-the-box with villain’s voices.”

Q: Do you have a favourite role?
J: “It’s sooo hard to pick a favourite. I think my favourite thing is the sheer variety I’ve had. I’ve done cartoony, wacky stuff, I’ve done classic stuff like Cinderella, and I’ve done intense dramatic action stuff.”

Q: If you could hang out with any of the characters you’ve voiced, who would it be?
J: “I’d hang out with all the other voice-actors I’ve worked with! They’re way more crazy!”

Q: Have you ever slipped into a character’s voice while in public?
J: “No, I’m quite shy.”

Q: People geek out over you, is there anything you geek out about?
J: “Science! Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye; people who do amazing things for the world. People who are changing the world for the better.”

Q: What do you think it takes to be a voice-actor?
J: “Tenacity. A really strong work ethic. The ability to manage money because sometimes you won’t be making much. The ability to make good relationships with people. Training, practice. A good ear. Imagination. And the willingness to look like a big dork!”


Don’t miss Jennifer Hale at Sydney Supanova (June 16-18) and Perth Supanova (June 24-25)!

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MIGHTY MORPHIN’ JOHNNY YONG BOSCH

May 31st, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

We caught up with longtime voice actor and legacy Power Ranger Johnny Yong Bosch for a quick chat! Check out our interview below and find out what it takes to be a Power Ranger, YAKs!


Q: You’re the 3rd longest serving Power Ranger – what do you think it takes to be a Power Ranger?
JOHNNY: “Originally you needed to be a teenager with attitude. Excellent martial arts, dance or gymnastic skills would be a plus. A willingness and desire to help people.”

Q: Do you have a favourite Megazord?
J: “Even though I acted like I didn’t like it, the Black Frog Ninjazord would be my favourite.”

Q: How did you make the leap from acting to voice-acting?
J: “The Japanese stunt team who were doing Power Rangers wanted to make an action film, so they hired me as the lead role because I was a martial artist and I could do my stunts. They had a Japanese camera, but the sound equipment wasn’t Japanese so it didn’t record properly. I had to go back and dub over myself. When I was in their dubbing myself the director and producer heard my voice. He thought I had a decent hero voice, so he hired me to do some anime voice-overs.”

Q: You play Nate in Yo-Kai Watch. Do you have a favourite Yo-Kai?
J: “I definitely like Whisper and Jibanyan. I also like Poofessor and Hovernyan.”

Q: If you were a Yo-kai, what would your ability be?
J: “To make people fall asleep instantly.”

Q: Do you prefer playing the good guy or the bad guy?
J: “It depends on the role. Sometimes the good guy can be a lot of fun to play, but sometimes they’re very stale and monotone. In most cases the villain is much more interesting, so I might lean a bit more to the villain side.

Q: Do you have a favourite character you’ve voiced?
J: “It’s so hard to choose! I’d have to say Nero from Devil May Cry 4. I got to Japan for the first time to do the motion-capture for the character.”

Q: Do you watch the shows or play the games you act in?
J: “I try to catch some of the shows, but game-wise I’m not very good at videogames! I’m just terrible at them, haha!”

Q: Is there a character you haven’t voiced that you’d like to?
J: “I’ve done some Marvel stuff, but I’d love to get more Marvel stuff and DC as well. That classic superhero stuff that I grew up on. Spider-Man would be awesome. If there was a Nightwing series I’d love to do that.”

Q: Have you ever used one of your voices in public?
J: “Half of my characters are my natural voice, haha. But no, I don’t. If they don’t know the voice they’ll probably think I’m a weirdo, and I’d feel like I’m showing off.”

Q: People geek out about you, is there anything you geek about?
J: “Old school kung-fu films. I have a band and I love talking and reading about recording gear.”

Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of acting?
J: “Apart from martial arts and music, that’s it! I don’t time for another hobby!”


Power up with Johnny Yong Bosch at Sydney Supanova (June 16-18) and Perth Supanova (June 24-25)!

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On The Map!

May 8th, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in Reads |

Quinn is back in the newest volume of A.L. Tait’s AWSM book series, The Mapmaker Chronicles: Beyond the Edge of the Map!

Now that the race to map the world is over, Quinn is living a quiet life on the family farm – until he discovers that the King’s enemies want to capture him. He’s is forced to go on the run, and take to to the high seas once more. Can he survive when he is double-crossed and left for dead?

Join Quinn on a fantastic new journey, filled with old faces, new faces and some totally unexpected faces!

The Mapmaker Chronicles: Beyond the Edge of the Map is out now wherever AWSM books are sold!

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Timmy Failure: The Cat Stole My Pants!

May 8th, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in Reads, Uncategorized |

Don’t you just hate it when a six-toed cat steals your pants?

In the sixth book of Stephan Pastis’s hilarious Timmy Failure series, Timmy is in Key West, Florida, for the honeymoon of his mother and Doorman Dave. Unfortunately for Timmy, crime doesn’t take a vacation. And because Total the Polar Bear has fled to Cuba seeking political asylum, Timmy must rely on a new partner for help: Doorman Dave’s nephew Emilio.

Can Timmy and Emilio solve the mystery — and possibly save his life?!

Timmy Failure: The Cat Stole My Pants is out now!

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YO, YOSHI!

May 8th, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in Games |

yoshi's woolly world

We’ve been tangled up in the AWSM fun that is Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World!

Join everyone’s fave green dino on a brand new woolly adventure! Gobble up enemies! Use your yarn to snag items and hit platforms! And let your pal Poochy help you pass through a ton of fun stages!

There’s also a ton of cool featues to unlock! Be on the look out for Wonder Wool, which will let you re-knit Yoshi’s friends and let you play as them! There are also some LOL-filled stop-motion videos starring Yoshi and Poochy!

Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World out now, only on Nintendo 3DS! We wish we had our own pet Poochy to play with!

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Louise Park: The Write Stuff!

April 11th, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

We spoke with Louise Park, the author behind amazing book series such as Zac Power: Test Drive and Spy Recruit series, Star Girl, and Boy vs Beast (to name a few) – and BIC Australia’s Bright Futures Are Written By Hand ambassador!

Louise let us take a look at what goes on behind the pages of her books and how she puts them together!


MANIA: How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
LOUISE: “I think I knew when I was seven. I wrote my first story then and I’ve been writing ever since.”

M: What was that story about?
L: “I had the chicken pox and my mum took me into Sydney to have lunch at a restaurant that was on the water. The man who owned the restaurant showed me a trapdoor that led to the ocean. He told me that in the olden days they used to chute barrels through it, they’d bob out to sea and then pirates would pick them up. So I went home and wrote a story about how I hid in a barrel, went down the tunnel, bobbed out at sea and got picked up by a pirates ship, and went on an adventure!”

M: Are there any books or authors that inspire you?
L: “Millions! I was an addict for the Nancy Drew mysteries, Trixie Belden, Roald Dahl. I loved anything mystery or action. So it’s no surprises I ended up writing about a boy spy, magic portals and beasts in other worlds.”

M: How do you come up with your ideas?
L: “I think about what’s going on in the world, and then I ask: ‘What if?’ With the Star Girl series I wanted to do a series that looked at all the environmental issues down here on Earth, but to make it kid-friendly I set it on a boarding school in space. These students at this boarding school have to go rescue aliens that are in danger. The environmental issues mirror Earth’s, but it’s these grand-adventures with Year Three-Four students.”

M: Do you hand-write or type your work?
L: “I hand-write a lot. I don’t ever go to the computer until I’m ready to do a full first draft, which means I know everything chapter by chapter. I write on a board, and I then I fill books and books.”

M: Words of advice for wannabe writers?
L: “Write, write, write! And read, read, read! For any writing or brainstorming, always do it by hand. Areas of your brain that ignite your imagination are used there. While you’re brainstorming use a pencil, a pen, a texta and write in a book or on a whiteboard. Don’t go to a computer until you’re really ready to start writing.

M: Is that the most important aspect of hand-writing?
L: “For creative writing it’s all about sparking that area of the brain that’s all about imagination and letting ideas flow. Writing by hand does that. Once you go to the computer that shuts down and other areas start up.

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LEGO CITY POLICE COMIC!

April 10th, 2017 by Dom | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM, LOLS |

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POWER UP WITH STEPHANIE NADOLNY

April 3rd, 2017 by Chris Neill | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in Anime, AWSM |

We caught up with voice-actress Stephanie Nadolny, who you might now better as the voice of Kid Goku and Kid Gohan from Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT! We also learn a bit about the upcoming Cartoon Network show OK K.O! Check out our AWSM interview below!

MANIA: How did you get into voice acting?
STEPH: “I used to record voices on a tape-recorder when I was a child. I didn’t even know voice-acting was a career! I was really into music and watched a lot of cartoons. I would mimic the characters I would hear. I’d use the voices to make my friends laugh.

“As I got older I got more into theatre and singing. I went to college for drama because I wanted to be a serious actor. What ended up happening is that I worked on an album project called The Cookies with Carl Finch, who is from an award winning polka band called Brave Combo. We made an album that was never released, but I met Barry Watson who was recording voices for the English-dub of Dragon Ball Z. He called me in to audition and I was cast as Kid Gohan!”

M: Are people surprised when they realise you voiced kid Goku and Gohan?
S: “I do from time to time. When I first started appearing at conventions no one knew who what I looked like, so I had to prove to people that I was young Gohan! The reactions were priceless! They’d be like, ‘No way!!!'”

M: Who do you like more: Goku or Gohan?
S: “Love’em both, but I think I’m fond of Goku. He has such a precious innocence. He’s hilarious!”

M: You’re voicing the lead in an upcoming Cartoon Network show, OK K.O. Can you tell Are you voicing him in the same way?
S: “The show’s creator, Ian Jones-Quartey, was a big Dragon Ball fan while growing up! He put the show together and had Kid Goku in mind, so he reached out to me to be a voice. Originally it was called Lakewood Plaza Turbo and then made some shorts.”

M: Do you think KO is similar to Goku?
S: “They’re very similar. He’s a quirky off-shot of what the show’s creator likes about Goku. It’s been a lot of fun. When I voice KO, I can’t help but feel he’s a distant cousin of Goku!”

M: A lot of people geek out over you – is there anything you really geek out about?
S: “Of course! Usually it’s the other guests I’m appearing with at conventions. In 2012, I was on the same guest list as Christopher Lloyd and I was freaking out! He’s so talent and funny! Growing up I loved disco music and my idol was Donna Summer, and I got to meet her! Anyone who does amazing characters voices as well!”

M: You’ve been to Australia a couple of times, so have you tried Vegemite before?
S: “Yes; it was good! It was very salty and different. It reminds me of hummus. I’m looking forward to trying it again. I’m hoping I get to see some kangaroos and koalas too!”

M: Do you have a favourite movie?
S: “Grease and The Sound of Music!”

M: Do you have a favourite snack?
S: “Oh, that’s a tough one! Cheese! Nachos! And I know it sounds crazy, but broccoli!”


Catch Stephanie at Gold Coast Supanova (April 21st–23rd) and Melbourne Supanova (April 28th–30th)!

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