Wahlgren at the 2017 WonderCon
|Born||July 13, 1977|
Hoisington, Kansas, U.S.
|Other names||Kay Jensen, Jennifer Jean|
|Education||University of Kansas|
|Occupation||Voice actress, actress|
Kari Wahlgren (born July 13, 1977) is an American voice actress who has provided English-language voices for animated movies, TV series, and video games. She got her start in anime voice-overs as Haruko Haruhara in FLCL, and would later land major roles in a number of shows and films: Robin Sena in Witch Hunter Robin, Lavie Head in Last Exile, Fuu in Samurai Champloo, Scarlett in Steamboy, Pacifica Casull in the Scrapped Princess, Saya Otonashi in Blood+, Kagami Hiiragi in Lucky Star, Saber in Fate/zero, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works and Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel, and Celty Sturluson in the Durarara!! series.
In American animation, she has provided voices for a number of series including Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!, Fish Hooks, Phineas and Ferb, Ben 10, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Winx Club, Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters, Rick and Morty, Bunnicula, The Fairly OddParents, Bunsen Is a Beast, and Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. In video games, she voiced lead characters Ashe in Final Fantasy XII and Shelke in Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII.
Early life and career
Wahlgren was born and raised in Hoisington, Kansas. She was inspired as a child by the Disney Princesses and other voices in animation. Her parents were teachers, which encouraged her to support charities and organizations that promote reading and education later in her career. On her eleventh birthday, when she and her family were in California and toured the building for Focus on the Family, she was asked to do a bit role in their radio drama Adventures in Odyssey, as an eleven-year-old character named Gloria McCoy.[a]
Wahlgren graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater in 1999.[b] She lived in Kansas City, Missouri where she did some radio spots, then moved to Los Angeles in 2000 to work on her acting career. In an interview in Lawrence Journal-World, she said that she was not getting much on-camera work, so she shifted her energies towards voice-over work, and that her experience with dialogue and Shakespeare classes helped a lot towards landing roles that involved various characters, some of which had accents or were from certain time periods.
Wahlgren's debut anime role was Haruko Haruhara in a six-episode OVA series called FLCL. In an interview with Anime Tourist, she said that Haruko was the only character she got to audition for. She depicted her as close to the original dub but with some American interpretation to appeal to the audience, and depending on how she was drawn, she changed her voice range from cartoon and childlike to realistic. In a later review of the series, Bryce Coulter of Mania.com was impressed by her character work: "she definitely gives Haruko that twenty-something, sarcastic and almost punkish persona." In 2018, she voiced in the new FLCL seasons, including as main character Haruha Raharu in FLCL: Progressive and reprising Haruko in FLCL: Alternative.
Wahlgren's next major anime dub role was in Witch Hunter Robin, where she played the title character Robin Sena, a soft-spoken girl who joins a group of witch hunters, but harbors some magic abilities of her own. Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network said she was "pleasant, subtle and perfect for the role" and wished the supporting voice cast would demonstrate such subtleties. She voiced lead character Lavie Head in the steampunk fantasy series Last Exile. Allen Divers of Anime News Network grouped her with the "better known names of the California voice-acting scene". She voiced title character Sakura Kinomoto in Bang Zoom!'s dubbing of Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card, which Divers praised that "the voice actors did a great job of matching the emotions of the original Japanese voices, including Sakura's trademark expression 'Hoe!'", something that was missing in previous English adaptations. In live-action works, she starred as Tinkerbell in an indie Peter Pan film rendition called Neverland, released in 2003. Her character was described as a "sullen sidekick" and "drugged-out".
In 2004, she voiced a starring role in the animated feature film Steamboy, among actors Anna Paquin, Patrick Stewart and Alfred Molina. She played Scarlett, a teenage granddaughter of the corporation's chairman, described as spoiled and cruel, and generally annoying. Peter Sanderson of IGN called Scarlett one of the most obnoxious characters he has ever encountered, and hardly stands up to her movie equivalent. She voiced Chika Minazuki in Ai Yori Aoshi, a little cousin character. Way Jeng of Mania.com described her performance as energetic, yet innocent and simple, but contrasting to Wendee Lee's voicing of Tina Foster. In 2005, she voiced the female lead character Fuu Kasumi in Samurai Champloo. Carlo Santos of Anime News Network thought the characters sounded "well-suited to their personalities", but was concerned that Fuu "falls into the habit of sounding like every other ditzy anime girl out there." In Scrapped Princess, she voices the title character Pacifica Casull, who is hunted down because of a prophecy where she would cause the destruction of the world if she lives to see her 16th birthday. Theron Martin called her acting of "Pacifica's brattiness and deep sensitivity solidly pegged", although it is different from her Japanese counterpart as it "lacks some of the poutiness", and takes some time to get used to.
Video game voice-overs
Wahlgren has been involved in a number of video games. Her first voice-over role in video games was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds where she played Willow Rosenberg. In the James Bond video game From Russia with Love, released in 2005, she voiced a Bond girl that was paired with Sean Connery's original voice. In 2006, she landed leading roles of Ashe in Final Fantasy XII and Shelke in Dirge of Cerberus – Final Fantasy VII. In an interview conducted by UFFSite and RPGSite, she recounts how she received notice of the roles on two consecutive days, and said that the franchise was like "the holy grail of video game acting". She portrayed Ashe with a bit of a regal tone, after the director encouraged her to do so following a class where she was doing Shakespeare. She describes her character as someone a girl would look up to as "intelligent, diplomatic, and can kick ass and look good doing it". In contrast, Shelkie was desired to be portrayed as very cold and emotionless, which she describes as "cold, but sympathetic." In 2007, she voiced the playable title character in the strategy-RPG Jeanne d'Arc.
Wahlgren's involvement in animation voice-over took off in 2004 when she was cast in a lead role in the Disney/Jetix ensemble action superhero show Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! where she voiced Nova. The show ran for four seasons from 2004 to 2006. She would also pick up recurring villain roles such as Samantha Paine aka Magness in A.T.O.M. and Charmcaster in Ben 10, the latter of which would return in the show's sequels and related video games. In 2007, she voiced Tak's friend Jeera in Nickelodeon's computer graphics-animated series Tak and the Power of Juju. She voiced little sister character Suzy Johnson in Disney’s hit series Phineas and Ferb, and participated in the second season of the animated comedy Lil' Bush where she voiced Lil' Hillary and Lil' Condi.
Wahlgren became a regular cast member for Fish Hooks, which premiered in 2010, where she voiced Shellsea and many supporting and guest characters. She landed the role of Tigress in the television adaptation Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness; the series premiered in 2011 and has run over four seasons. In 2012, she had the lead role of Allie Underhill in the action series Kaijudo, which spanned 52 episodes, and picked up roles in other cartoon shows such as Gravity Falls, Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja, and Winx Club. She voiced Meg, the starring love interest in the Disney short film Paperman which screened before Wreck-It Ralph in the theaters in 2012. In an interview with her school's alumni association, she said that she was asked to do the role because of her previous involvements in Bolt and Tangled. Recording for the film took about 30 minutes, mostly of vocal sounds. The short went on to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
In 2015, she joined the cast of Fairy OddParents as a starring character Chloe Carmichael in its show's tenth season. She continued to voice Jessica and other characters for Rick and Morty which has concluded its third season, and voiced Amanda in the Butch Hartman-produced series Bunsen Is a Beast which aired on Nickelodeon in February 2017. In July 2017, she voiced Dorothy Gale in the animated television series Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz broadcast on Boomerang.
Some of her work has garnered recognition, awards and nominations from websites that review anime and animation. Mania.com wrote that Wahlgren's performance as the straight-man character Kagami Hiiragi in Lucky Star was absolute sarcastic perfection, and named her the Best Overlooked Actress for 2008 in their annual Anime Dubbies Awards. Theron Martin liked Celty Sturluson, a headless dullahan character in Durarara!! who uses mostly body language and typed words. In his year-end awards for 2011, he selected Wahlgren the Best English Dub Performance – Female.
On the Behind the Voice Actors website, she was selected by the staff as the Voice Actress of the Year in 2012, and was nominated for 2011 and 2013. She received nominations in other categories: Best Female Lead Vocal Performer in an Anime Title for Celty in Durarara!! in 2011, Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series – Action / Drama for Allie Underhill in Kaijudo in 2012, Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series – Comedy / Musical for Tigress in Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness in 2012, Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in an Anime Television Series/OVA for Saber in Fate/zero, Best Female Supporting Vocal Performance in an Anime Movie/Special for Karina Lyle/Blue Rose in Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning in 2013, Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Guest Role – Action/Drama for Letta Turmond in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Best Female Vocal Performance in a Video Game in a Supporting Role for Courtney Collins in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
- Neverland (2003)
- Steamboy (2004)
- Shrek the Third (2007)
- Bolt (2008)
- Aliens in the Attic (2009)
- Paperman (2012)
- Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014)
- Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (2014)
- The Laws of the Universe Part 0 (2015)
- The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (2017)
- Adventures in Odyssey radio drama – Gloria McCoy (episode "Camp What-A-Nut", 1988, first-ever voice role) and Maria (episode 676: "An Agreeable Nanny", 2010)
- Wahlgren later returned to guest voice an episode of Adventures in Odyssey in 2010.
- Wahlgren supported a small theatre scholarship for University of Kansas undergrads.
- Kari Wahlgren (June 10, 2012). "Kari Wahlgren - Voice Acting Superstar". Anime Ate My Brain Magazine (Interview). Interviewed by Michael Meade. Retrieved May 7, 2020 – via Tastes Like Rock.
- "Kari Wahlgren & Mike Pollock guests at Animenext 2006". Anime Next. February 17, 2006. Archived from the original on February 18, 2006.
- "Hibiya and Kotoko Chat". Chobits. Episode 24.5. 23 minutes in.
- Niccum, Jon (April 21, 2006). "Voices Kari – KU Grad becomes the go-to voice for animation and video games". Lawrence Journal-World.
- Kari Wahlgren [@KariWahlgren] (July 13, 2013). "Wow—waking up to these birthday tweets is pretty wonderful....thanks, everybody!!" (Tweet). Retrieved March 17, 2015 – via Twitter.
- "Kari Wahlgren Theatre Scholarship | Department of Theatre". Theatre.ku.edu. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- "Hoisington Community Fact Sheet". Great Bend, Kansas: Visitgreatbend.com. Fact sheet is available as a PDF download. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- "Features :: Kari Wahlgren". Joe-Mammy.com. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Ciccarelli, Stephanie (July 4, 2006). "Kari Wahlgren, voice actor, Chats with Voices.com". Vox Daily. Voices.com. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Miller, Greg (July 29, 2007). "SDCC 07: The Voice of Jeanne d'Arc Speaks". IGN. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- "Happy Valentine's Day". KU Alumni Association. Kualumni.org. February 13, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Ciccarelli, Stephanie (December 10, 2010). "Kari Wahlgren Returns to Adventures in Odyssey". Vox Daily. Voices.com. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Square Haven News / Not Afraid To Be Strong: A Conversation with Kari Wahlgren". Squarehaven.com. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- "Anime Tourist Interview: Behind the Scenes of FLCL". Anime Tourist. 2002. Archived from the original on March 28, 2002.- conducted in January 2002
- "Anime Tourist Interview: Behind the Scenes of FLCL". Anime Tourist. 2002. Archived from the original on April 2, 2002.- conducted in January 2002
- Coulter, Bryce (January 29, 2007). "FLCL: The UItimate Edition". Mania.com. Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Barsanti, Sam. "New seasons of FLCL are coming to Adult Swim in June and September". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- Beveridge, Chris (March 26, 2018). "'FLCL: Alternative' and 'FLCL: Progressive' Anime Dub Casts Confirmed". The Fandom Post. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- Bertschy, Zac (October 25, 2003). "Witch Hunter Robin DVD 1 – Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Divers, Allen (February 5, 2004). "Last Exile DVD 1 – Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Divers, Allen (December 10, 2003). "Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card Special Edition DVD". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
- Laeno, Dominic. "Card Captor Sakura the Movie 2: The Sealed Card – Review". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- Rooney, David (June 13, 2003). "Neverland". Variety. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Elder, Robert K. (December 29, 2007). "Review for Steamboy". Colorado Springs Gazette.
- Martel, Ned (March 18, 2005). "Movie Review – Steamboy". The New York Times.
- Hunter, Stephen (March 25, 2005). "'Steamboy': Anime Powered By Hot Air". The Washington Post. p. C01. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Sanderson, Peter (March 25, 2005). "Comics in Context #77: Gone with the Steam". IGN. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Jeng, Way (September 14, 2004). "Being a Brief Discussion of Anime Dubs: Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi, Volume Two". Mania. Demand Media. Archived from the original on November 5, 2014.
- Santos, Carlo (May 13, 2005). "Samurai Champloo DVD 2 – Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Martin, Theron (May 26, 2005). "Scrapped Princess DVD 1 – Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Martin, Theron (February 20, 2006). "Scrapped Princess DVD 6 – Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Hatfield, Daemon (June 20, 2006). "Giving Voice to Games". IGN. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- "Kari Wahlgren (Ashe) Interview". UFF Site. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- "Daddy's Little Girl". A.T.O.M.. Season 1. Episode 19. – closing credits
- "Kari Wahlgren". Behind The Voice Actors. Event occurs at Check mark indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
- "Tak and the Power of Juju". Nick Press (Press release). Nick.com. Archived from the original on September 8, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
- Perlmutter, David (March 2014). America Toons In: A History of Television Animation. McFarland. p. 360. ISBN 9780786476503.
- "Anime Expo® Announces Kari Wahlgren as an Official 2009 American Guest of Honor". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Ramin Zahed (June 22, 2012). "Disney TV Animation Announces Comic-Con Plans". Animation Magazine. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- "Megahit Martial Arts Panda is Back as Nickelodeon and Dreamworks Animation Premiere Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, New CG-Animated Series, Monday, Nov. 7, at 5:30 P.M. (ET/PT)". PRNewswire. October 25, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
- Frederick, Brittany (December 15, 2012). "Kari Wahlgren on the 'Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters' Season Finale". Starpulse.com. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- "Oscar darling". KU Alumni Association. Kualumni.org. February 24, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- "'The Fairly OddParents': Meet Spunky Chloe Carmichael In This First Look Clip". mtv.com. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
- Rose (August 13, 2016). "Interview: Kari Wahlgren on Voice Acting, Caffeine, and Rick & Morty – Exclusive". popcitylife.com. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
- Glennon, Christopher (February 24, 2017). "Toonzone Interviews Butch Hartman on "Bunsen is a Beast"". ToonZone. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
The easiest one to cast was the villain, Amanda. We cast Kari Wahlgren, who I had just hired to be Chloe on the Fairly OddParents. The new character of Chloe, she was just great, and I said, “I’m doing this new show Bunsen, would do you just do me a favor and read this part real quick?” She just did it and was hilarious and the character drawing had braces so she kind of did a ::talks through teeth: braces like she was spitting a lot and it was very funny, and so we just kept that.
- Hogerty, Danielle. "Voice Actor Kari Wahlgren Returns To Her Kansas Roots With 'Dorothy And The Wizard Of Oz'". kcur.org. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- "2008 Anime Dubbies Award". Mania.com. March 20, 2009. Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Martin, Theron (January 5, 2012). "Anime in America: The Best (and Most Notable) of 2011". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "BTVA Voice Acting Awards – 2012 – General". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "1st Annual BTVA Voice Acting Awards – 2011 – General". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "BTVA Voice Acting Awards – 2013 – General". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "1st Annual BTVA Voice Acting Awards – 2011 – Anime". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "2nd Annual BTVA Voice Acting Awards – 2012 – Television". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "2nd Annual BTVA Anime Dub Awards – 2013 – Television". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "2nd Annual BTVA Anime Dub Awards – 2013 – Movies". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "3rd Annual BTVA Voice Acting Awards – 2013 – Television". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "3rd Annual BTVA Voice Acting Awards – 2013 – Video Games". Behind The Voice Actors. Archived from the original on November 9, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Actress Kari Wahlgren starred in "Camp What-a-Nut" and now returns for "An Agreeable Nanny"". Adventures in Odyssey Podcast. Focus on the Family. December 1, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Sidman, Ray (August 2007). "Portrait of a Voiceover Actress [interview]". Comics Buyer's Guide. No. 1631. pp. 36–38.
- Terrace, Vincent (2008). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2d ed.). McFarland. ISBN 9780786486410.
- Hischak, Thomas S. (2011). Disney Voice Actors: A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland. pp. 172–173. ISBN 9780786486946.
- G4TV "Will Work for Games" Interview with Kari Wahlgren (June 27, 2008)
- Kari Wahlgren Interview (September 7, 2008) at Voiceacting.co.uk
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