A Talk With Niki Yang, ADVENTURE TIME’S BMO
By Amy Ratcliffe on February 26, 2014
What time is it? Adventure Time! The popular cartoon has been entertaining kids and adults with math, heroics, and all-around wackiness for just about four years, following Finn the human and Jake the dog as they roam all over the Land of Ooo and beyond to defeat villains and save the day. The heroes have plenty of friends and strange allies who help them out along the way, and one of the most adorable characters in the series is Finn and Jake’s living game console, BMO, a/k/a Beemo. The little console on legs has multiple talents; BMO has served as a flashlight, a toaster, and a camera, among other items. He’s handy to have around and has so many human-like qualities, you forget he’s a battery operated device. He’s made endearing, in part, by the voice actor who brings him to life, Niki Yang, also the voice of Lady Rainicorn and a storyboard artist and writer.
To mark the release of the third season of Adventure Time on Blu-ray and DVD on February 25th, we exchanged emails with Niki to get some insight on what it’s like to be part of the series.
Nerdist: You not only voice BMO but also Lady Rainicorn. What are the different challenges for voicing each character?
Niki Yang: Switching between two characters – especially if they are in the same episode – is a challenge. Especially, for BMO, I have to put myself into a child-like mentality. Sometimes, I can’t snap out of it to do the other role. I hear the voice director comment, “that sounds like too much like BMO!”
N: Has the popularity of Adventure Time taken you by surprise? I see t-shirts and hats everywhere on a regular basis – and worn by all ages!
NY: Yes! It is a thrill to be a part of such a great show! I am getting many messages from fans that say how much they love the show. It’s rewarding and encouraging!
N: Since BMO is an object and not a human or animal, how do you give the character human-like traits?
NY: Even though he is a computer, we see him as a little boy. I believe that’s the charm of BMO.
N: What is it like not only voicing characters on an animated series but also creating storyboards? Does the storyboarding experience affect your acting or vice versa?
NY: Very much! Part of a board artist’s job is to constantly pitch in front of a crowd. You have to act out to sell the storyboard that you created. I guess that experience gave me a little taste of being an actor.
N: How did you make the transition from storyboard artist to voice actor?
NY: More and more storyboard artists do the voices these days. We get to work closely with creators, and sometimes they like the tone or read when we pitch to them. That opens to the door to be a voice actor. But everyone’s journey is different!
N: Who influenced you as an artist?
NY: So many! From Yuri Norstein to Miyazaki.
N: What’s been the most enjoyable part about voicing characters on Adventure Time?
NY: I get to record with such great voice actors. it’s inspiring! That experience I can’t get anywhere else!
Keep up with all the latest Adventure Time news and watch full episodes at Cartoon Network.