Veronica Taylor Talks Pokémon Day, Voice Acting, and More!
Veronica Taylor is the voice behind iconic characters like Pokémon’s Ash Ketchum, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ April O’Neil, and Sailor Moon’s Sailor Pluto, to name a few. And it’s only fitting that we hear from her this week, since Pokémon Day 2023 was February 27.
So we sat down to chat about the significance of Pokémon Day 2023, Ash Ketchum, her favorite Pokémon fan encounters, and even a tease for a future podcast. Check it out below.
Pokémon Day was Monday. What does this day mean to you?
For me, Pokémon Day is a day where everyone in the world can come together to celebrate something that they love so deeply. We’ve been on a journey for, in America, 25 years. In the world since 1996, so 27 years. It’s pretty exciting.
How does it make you feel that many people look up to Ash?
I feel like Ash is every one of us and we can watch the show and go on the journey through him. He is the best of us in that he can try so hard, fail, and then get up and go for it again. I feel like I’ve been lucky to jump into his tennis shoes and provide the voice for him. He’s a bundle of excitement and energy and positivity. It was really one of the greatest joys of my life to voice him.
Do you feel a certain kind of pressure knowing that you inspire so many people?
You know, I feel the opposite, actually. I feel like everyone really inspires me. The fact that I get the great honor of hearing people’s stories and experiences when they ran home from school to watch the show, got up early and watched it before school, watched it with their grandmother, met their best friend or spouse, or even their whole group of friends they found through Pokémon. I find that so inspirational.
I think on the other side of it, it’s a testament to all of us as just regular human beings that you just never know how far your work will reach. It’s like the pebble dropping in the pond and it ripples. The ripples ripple out. The fact that anyone has even seen my work is pretty incredible to me. But yeah, I would say I get inspired by others more so.
You meet so many people at all your conventions. How does it feel being able to have those face-to-face interactions with the fans?
It is such an honor to be a part of people’s lives and families as they are now a part of mine. I’ve heard so many great stories and I’ve been able to just hug people and I’m kind of the bridge from their childhood to their now and their nostalgia. It’s just such an honor to be a part of that and to be in a place where people can come and talk about what they love and know that they’ll find such a welcoming community. It’s been an incredible experience to be invited to comic cons and to have the luxury of speaking to people one-on-one for so many years.
What’s your favorite fan moment?
Every single person I meet is my favorite fan moment. I know so much about people now and in such a wonderful way. I’ve seen some kids when they were ten, and then they’ve come back to see me at different shows when they graduated high school, graduated college, got married, had their first baby, and then I get to meet the baby. And so I think the greatest thing is seeing how people have grown. And I guess that seed began to germinate with Pokémon.
Knowing that Ash Ketchum’s story is coming to an end, do you feel that will change how people think about Ash? Does that change how you feel about Ash?
I think it’s interesting that the story arc ended with him becoming a Pokémon master, and I think in life none of us ever really achieve master status. You may achieve your goals, but then you set a new one, and I think the same will be true for Ash, whether we actually view that or we see his journey continue within our minds and the stories we tell each other. He doesn’t earn a badge and then stop. He doesn’t become a Pokémon master in one tournament and then stop.
I think his journey will continue and our love for him will continue because our journeys continue to become the best that we can be in whatever we choose to be doing and whomever we choose to be. I think his “retiring” will only push us to strive harder and to achieve, to redefine what we find is important, and then really reach to achieve those goals.
Have you ever played the Pokémon Trading Card Game?
I have only opened packs of cards and I’ve looked at them. I’ve never played the trading card game. I think the artwork is so incredible on them. I met an artist recently who sculpts Pokémon and then photographs them and those are made into cards. She’s so incredible. And so the artwork on these cards is beautiful and it has really encouraged imagination for all the people who own the cards. You can just look at them for so long and just imagine stories from them.
Besides Ash Ketchum, what are your other favorite voices that you’ve done?
It’s hard to choose a favorite. I will say Ash is my favorite because his voice is so different from mine and his energy is contagious. And I would say it was great to be April O’Neil in the 2003 to 2006 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. To step into that yellow jumpsuit was really quite an honor. I played Sailor Pluto in Sailor Moon, and that is a very challenging role for me, which I love and being part of that community.
Gosh, I’ve done a lot of anime. I’ve done a lot of video games. I think Manuela in Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a favorite because she’s so extreme and so wonderful. Micaiah in Fire Emblem: Heroes and in Engage. She’s the opposite. She’s so calm but strong. I think all of those are characteristics that we can strive to be better at in our lives. I think the running thread through all of them is that they’re quite compassionate, open-hearted, and really accept others as they are, which I think we all should be doing as well.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up, Pokémon-related or otherwise?
Yeah, I’m always working on something. I do a lot of cartoons, anime, and video games. I narrate a lot of audiobooks. I’m working on some projects with my daughter [Rena Taylor]. She’s been traveling with me to a lot of comic cons and we’re trying to translate the fun and the challenges and the creativity of traveling and being a mother-daughter duo into some projects. One of them is a Pokémon rewatch podcast of the first season of Pokémon that we are launching soon. We have another podcast idea and a couple of TV shows that we’re working on.
Where can people find you on social media?
Facebook: Veronica Taylor
Pokémon Rewatch Podcast – “The Trainers Guide”
Any last things you want to say?
I just wanted to say Happy Pokémon Day to everyone. This has been a long journey that we’ve all been on and I know 25 years have gone past in a blur. And here’s to looking toward the next 25.