Sarah Natochenny Told Us Her Favorite Thing About Voicing Characters Like Ash From Pokemon, And Honestly, I Totally Agree

 Ash, Pikachu and Darkrai in Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai.
Ash, Pikachu and Darkrai in Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai.
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For anyone who knows me, I like anime. Whether it's the best anime of 2023 or watching Studio Ghibli films, I've always enjoyed the medium, and my love of it has grown even more with age. With any anime, there's one thing that always makes or breaks it, aside from the beautiful hand-drawn animation: the voice acting. One English dub voice actor that I'm sure many people know about is Sarah Natochenny, who voiced Ash Ketchum for nearly two decades in Pokémon.

She's also done other voice acting roles, such as Yuzuha from Tokyo Revengers, Aura in Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V and even Caterpie in Pokémon Horizons. Natochenny has her reasons for why she loves voice acting so much. It's because she gets the chance to play multiple different characters at a clip at some points, and that her performance is always "instinctual" due to reading the lines in front of her. Her passion for this craft is truly inspiring, with her saying to CinemaBlend:

I love the fact that in one day I can play five different characters. I love that you don't have to memorize anything, that the performance you give is the most instinctual performance you can give because it's a cold read. You get the scripts usually the same day at the session. So, I quickly read it and then I just instinctively perform it. And then I never have to look at it again, which is great.

Look, we can have a whole conversation about whether sub is better than dub or vice versa, but either way, it takes a great voice actor to make an anime awesome in either the original language of Japanese, English or any other language. I agree that getting the chance to play several different characters during one session is always a great time.

While I Love Diamond And Pearl, Pokémon's Sarah Natochenny Says XY And XYZ Is Her Favorite Generation Of Pokémon For One Reason – And I Totally Get Why

Dawn, Ash and Brock in Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl.
Dawn, Ash and Brock in Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl.

Sarah Natochenny told us her favorite arc from Pokémon and honestly, I can see why.

Natochenny also remarked during my interview with her that voice acting is "fast-paced." While she loves acting in person, voice acting gives her the freedom to move as quickly as possible because she's not working with other actors at the "same time."

However, Natochenny says she likes all forms of acting, whether on stage, in film or in the booth. The unique aspects of voice-acting are truly intriguing. In her words:

It's very fast-paced. And it's not like this camaraderie of actors who are all going for the same goal at the same time and depend on each other to fulfill that goal, as we do in theater, as we do in film. That kind of partnership and support system doesn't really exist so much in voice acting. So, I love all of it. Like I said, sometimes you work with people that you don't love that much and you're like, "Man, I love voice acting. I don't have to think about anybody else. It's great." But acting is a very, it's a team sport which is so yeah, I like it all.

Natochenny has been attached to voice acting since she began her career in the early 2000s when she took over voicing Ash Ketchum, and her name has been synonymous with her job for years on end. She even talked with us about her last days in the booth as Ash when he finally won the Pokémon League. Talk about an emotional moment!

However, she is still acting in both the booth and on stage, as she just had her L.A. stage debut in March 2024. Voice acting is an art, but it's awesome to see her spread her talents to her other passions as well – at least before we hear her again in our favorite anime.