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In the November issue of MANIA, check out our huge Super Mario Odyssey play guide, find out who Ferdinand is and get the lowdown on Sonic's new game, Sonic Forces. As always the mag is stacked with prizes. Enter for the chance to win Sphero Star Wars droids and Ben Thomas Complete Signature scooters.

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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LEGO CITY CODEBREAKER!

February 6th, 2017 by Dom | No Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM, LOLS |

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[Q&A] DOGSTAR: CHRISTMAS IN SPACE!

December 14th, 2016 by Chris Neill | 2 Comments | Leave a comment | Filed in AWSM |

dogstar xmas

It’s just two days before Christmas in the year 2349 when all of the world’s dogs, including the much loved Clark kids’ pet Hobart, suddenly disappear. The Clark kids make a promise to find all the dogs and return them back safely to Earth before Christmas… but not everyone is keen to see them return.

We’re excited to return to the AWSM universe of Dogstar with the new movie Christmas in Space! We spoke with show co-creator Doug MacLeod and the voice behind Glenn Clark, Brandon Burns, to find out what it’s like to be doing more Dogstar and the worst Christmas presents they’ve ever received!


MANIA: What originally inspired Dogstar?
DOUG: “Colin South, the co-founder and Managing Director of Media World Pictures, was very keen to an animated series that was entirely made in Australia. That was pretty rare back then – most people would get their animation done over seas. I had a story I wanted to do, so I got together with a team of writers to make something and we came up with Dogstar. It’s a missing dog story, but on a much larger scale.”

M: What’s it like revisiting Dogstar?
D: “Joy! A lot of fans of the shows will recognise one or two old moments, but it’s mostly new stuff. This movie is also the first time we meet a race of feline-evolved life forms. The animation looks incredible. I think it’s a pretty impressive package, really.” 

M: How does it feel to be voicing Glenn again?
BRANDON: “I’m 32, and I’ve got a pretty low voice, so I was surprised that I could still able to do a higher pitched voiced for a young kid. The most exciting thing is that I have kids who can watch it now. “

M: Do they notice that it’s your voice?
B: Most of the time my son doesn’t, but my younger daughter does.”

01_Hobart back home with the Clark family for Christmas

M: It’s been a while since we’ve seen new Dogstar episodes. What do you think the characters have been up to during this gap?
D: “It’s like The Simpsons. When is Maggie going to stop being the baby? People can come to it fresh if they’ve never seen it, but it’ll please fans as well.”

M: How would you describe Glenn as a character?
B: “He’s well-intentioned, but a tad frustrated by his lack of intelligence compared to his younger brother. But his trust in Planet Man and Plant Man’s advice usually helps him get through at situation! He’s a leader, even if he doesn’t really know it.”

M: Are you a big sci-fi fans?
D: “Everyone on the writing team was. It’s kind of easy when you have nerds who speaks the same language as you. This was when Dr. Who was in hiatus, and we were so desperate for it to come back so we tried to make something with a similar feel. Lots of aliens and all that.”
B: “Not really. I’ve never been a massive Star War fan for example. But I love Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, and he did a bunch of sci-fi movies.”

M: Are you a big animation fans?
D: “I grew up watching Hanna-Barbera and Looney Tunes cartoons. I used to love the Bugs Bunny show. We were lucky that we had such a good character designer on our show, Scott Vanden Bosch.”
B: “I wasn’t a massive cartoon fan. I was more of a movie buff.”

20_Hobart and Glenn play catch

M: Are you a cat person or a dog person?
D: “I like cats.”
B: “Dogs – because I’m allergic to cat hair!”

M: Was there a present you were dying to get for Christmas, but you never got it?
D: “Money!”
B: “A Super Soaker 5000 or a NERF gun.”

M: What is the worst Christmas present you’ve ever received?
D: “My grandma dressed up a bunch of celery as a baby. She put a hat on it, a nappy and stuck on some fake eyes.”
B: “Totem Tennis. The bats broke after a day.”

M: Will we be seeing anymore Dogstar in the future?
D: “I would love to see more Dogstar.”
B: “I’d love to do another season of Dogstar. I think it’s really well written and made. I’d like to see Glenn have his own talk-show with a Planet Man theme.”

Catch Dogstar: Christmas In Space on Friday, December 16th @ 6pm on 9Go!

03_The most feared bounty hunter in the universe Baba Ganoosh

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