Amin Abbas Dubai
Lebanese voice actor Khalid Al Syed is best known for being one of the most influential voices in the world of Arabic dub art for his work on classic anime shows such as ‘Ganger’ in Astroganger, Branch in Shin Tetsujin 28, Shirakawa in Igano Kabamaru, Mori Eto in Tokimeki Tonight.
His most recent roles as a voice actor include Spike from Tom & Jerry and Mojo Jojo in The Powerpuff Girls.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News Japan, Al Syed revealed he had been fascinated by voice acting since the 70s.
“I was inspired by the old & classic western cartoons that were being broadcasted on black & white TV’s (i.e. Tom & Jerry, Popeye, Loony Tunes) when I was a child,” he explained. Al Syed said he used to imitate their voices to his friends.
“I got the passion for the voice acting career as it was a unique thing at the time in the Arab world. Step by step, I managed to understand deeply the concept of voice acting and made it part of my acting career,” he added.
Al Syed was among the first people who did voice acting for the Arabic dub of Japanese anime
He said: “I started doing voice acting for old Japanese anime series in the mid 1970’s. I was very happy & excited about it as I have the passion for it as well to reach the minds of the children through these shows.”
“The first project that I worked on for the Arabic dub was Sinbad’s Adventures, then it was followed by Astroganger, Manga Sarutobi Sasuke, Hello! Sandybell, Shin Tetsujin 28 (TV 1980), Igano Kabamaru, The Mysterious Cities of Gold & others,” Al Syed told Arab News Japan.
The Lebanese radio producer said there were many challenges he faced when he first started his career, with the main one being technology.
“There was no technology similar to these days that controls the video footages and audio recordings. We had to record our voices on reel videos and audio tapes at the same time,” he explained. “Other actors and I were all sitting in one room with a big screen similar to cinema screen with multiple microphones and we were recording according to our roles and timing in the scenes.”
Al Syed said if one of them made a mistake, they would have to repeat the process all over again. “It was very difficult & exhausting process, but we had wonderful times & fun doing the voices for those characters in Japanese anime series.”
During the time which Al Syed was working on dubbing anime, Lebanon was facing a civil war and there was a constant fear of commuting under the violence.
“We had to come from different places to reach the recording studio & doing it under the violence, destruction & fear of being hit or killed during those horrifying times. But our passion and commitment for doing the voices of these shows as a duty for us made us feel the importance of finishing them so that it can be remembered by many generations to come,” Al Syed explained.
Speaking on the success of Astroganger in the Arab world, Al Syed said: “I was pleased to do the voice of Ganger and adapted his character with my voice for being strong with a righteous heart as a hero from outer space.”
“I was shocked and amazed by the response of the fan base in the Middle East for my roles in the Japanese anime series especially Ganger (Jongar in Arabic) in Astroganger, which has been broadcasted 45 years ago in Arabic,” he added.
Al Syed was invited to Kuwait Comic Con 2017 to be awarded and to meet fans of Astroganger of different ages.
The reactions he received made the voice actor realize how his role as a voice actor had impacted so many people’s lives.