Interview: The Great Ace Attorney’s voice actors for Ryunosuke, Susato
The Fantastic Ace Lawyer Chronicles reveals primary characters Ryunosuke Naruhodo and Susato Mikotoba leaving at a train station in London. Rina Takasaki, the voice behind Susato in the video game’s English voice track, states that she might connect to her character’s journey through that minute. “I was also a teenager when I landed in Britain for the first time, full of ambition, determination, and admiration for the foreign culture,” she remembers to me over e-mail.
Takasaki still strongly keeps in mind the minute she got here in the UK, though for her it was through Heathrow Airport instead of Victorian-era King’s Cross Station. After entering into her glossy black taxi sensation delighted, she saw the huge capital as she was driven around the city, similar to how Susato rode a horse-drawn car towards the Whitehall Supreme Court in the video game.
“I instantly loved the music and the pictures that have a 19th century feel that portray a beautiful collaboration of Japanese and Western worlds of the era,” Takasaki states of The Fantastic Ace Lawyer Chronicles. She was delighted when she was used the part; she states she might nearly smell the fumes of the steamship, the leatherlike odor of old furnishings, and the burning candle lights.
Mark Takeshi Ota, Ryunosuke’s English voice star, associates with his character through being an immigrant. Ota is Japanese-German, and he has actually resided in Fantastic Britain for the previous 9 years. He states to me in an e-mail, “Before coming to the UK, I lived for one year in the US, six years in the Netherlands, and one year in Japan.” Likewise to Ryunosuke’s character, Ota believes that there is a great deal of enjoyment in finding brand-new things and satisfying various individuals. He keeps in mind feeling that method whenever he relocated to a brand-new location.
“Every little thing is just exciting, because it’s so different from what you’re used to,” he states. “There’s a certain innocence to that, which I guess leaves you after a while, but I suppose I had a chance to rediscover it a bit through Ryunosuke.”
Both voice stars were brand-new to the Ace Lawyer series. Ota played a number of the video games in the series to get a concept what sort of video game it was. He likewise saw The Fantastic Ace Lawyer’s Japanese cutscenes prior to taping, so he had the ability to listen to his Japanese voice track equivalent, Hiro Shimono. Considered that the 2 video games in Chronicles have actually been out in Japan on Nintendo 3DS for a couple of years now, he had the ability to research study Ryunosuke’s character to assist with representing him.
“He’s a bit younger than me, a bit more insecure in the beginning,” states Ota. “He goes on a bit of a journey throughout the game to become more confident in what he does, especially also having just come to a new country.” Ota has actually resided in 5 various nations, and through his experiences, he quickly linked to Ryunosuke.
Takasaki, on the other hand, never ever played any of the video games in the series, however learnt about the franchise and how popular it was. After scheduling her function as Susato, she searched for the Japanese variation of the video game. She attempted not to search for excessive info about Susato; she wished to enter into recording with a fresh mind, to get instructions and generate a little her own character.
Both stars shared resemblances with their characters. Besides both living in England, they share Japanese heritage and language that they, publisher Capcom, and audio services business SIDE UK felt was necessary to give the English voices of the video game’s primary characters.
“I think it was a deliberate choice to cast and record the game in London given its setting,” explains SIDE UK casting director Martin Vaughan over email. He believes Capcom wanted the game’s London to feel as authentic as possible, so it made sense to record the English voiceover in London too.
Takasaki had already worked with SIDE several times for other productions. She was actually recording something else for the business when she received a phone call from her agent about The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. “When I was putting options together to present to Capcom, along with my assistant Jessica, I knew I wanted Rina to be in the mix,” Vaughan says. He previously cast Takasaki as a character named Noda in the first-person shooter video game Warface. When he saw the description for Susato, he thought of Takasaki straight away.
“To be able to understand [Susato’s] personality and the thought process, it is very helpful that I fully understand Japanese language and culture,” Takasaki says. She was born and raised in Japan, so not only does she understand the language, but she also knows a lot about Japanese culture, mannerisms, and ways of speaking that let her bring nuance to her role.
In the game, Susato is an extremely polite, humble, and well-educated Japanese woman. She has a strong posture and makes sure to show respect to others by adding certain words, such as the “-sama” suffix, which is the Japanese equivalent for “sir” or “madam”.
Additionally, Susato wears traditional Japanese clothing in the game, which Takasaki says she loves doing for work and real-life occasions. She feels like she is representing the culture when she does so, and the same goes for when the character Takasaki is portraying wears traditional clothing.
“In fact, I’m fond of all the traditional outfits in the world. I think they are all beautiful in a special way. It corrects my posture whenever I put on traditional Japanese clothing,” she says.
During lockdown last year, Ota hosted a Zoom meeting where he answered questions about how to get into motion capture work. Through that, he came in contact with Chris Hopkins, a producer at SIDE UK. A few months later, Hopkins asked him to submit a voice sample for a job that, at that time, only had a codename.
The job was specifically looking for voice actors of Japanese heritage. Vaughan explains, “Even though we hadn’t worked with [Ota] before, his voice sounded like such a natural fit for Ryunosuke that, again, it was clear he would be a great option to suggest to Capcom.”
Watching the Japanese versions of The Great Ace Attorney’s scenes was helpful in giving Ota an idea of the game’s mood and what kind of character Ryunosuke was. Ota says that you can learn a lot by just listening to the audio of another voice actor, even if you don’t speak the same language. In his case, it certainly didn’t hurt that he spoke Japanese, which meant he was confident discussing the pronunciation of Japanese names with localization director Janet Hsu and voice director Matthew Delemere.
“When I speak English, I automatically slightly anglicize my Japanese middle and surname,” Ota explains. He and Hsu agreed that the same approach of anglicizing the characters’ names would be appropriate for the game. Instead of pronouncing “Ryunosuke Naruhodo” or other names with a Japanese accent, he enunciated them how a primarily English speaker would.
Ota adds, “I was also actually quite keen on not necessarily ‘putting on’ a strong Japanese accent for [Ryunosuke], and I was really happy that this wasn’t expected of me here.” He says that there’s often the expectation that people whose second language is English will speak with a thick accent. Sometimes that’s true, and sometimes it isn’t. Neither is right nor wrong; it’s just that people are different.
“[Ryunosuke] came to London and wanted to be able to speak ‘proper’ English and be able to speak it very well to be regarded as an equal. At least that’s how I approached it,” says Ota. Upon reflection, he loves that his natural accent reflects all of the places he’s been, with a bit of German here, an Americanism there, and a flavor of Dutch along with a hint of Japanese. Now, there’s also a chunk of British, because of where he lives currently.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is one of the notable projects that both Ota and Takasaki have been involved in. “It was an honour to play the role of Susato. I’ve been very fortunate to have been given opportunities to play tough female characters, which I particularly enjoy doing,” says Takasaki. While Susato may not seem tough given her sweet and feminine look, she’s an incredibly independent, determined woman. Susato is definitely one of Takasaki’s favorite characters to voice so far.
“I’ve done hundreds of auditions in the past, and I fully understand how tough it is to land a job, so I felt incredibly grateful and appreciative,” she continues. “I have always enjoyed working with SIDE very much, so I couldn’t be happier that I was able to collaborate with them again!”
Ota was unlucky enough to have torn his meniscus the same day he was asked to submit his sample for the game. The following day, he recorded his sample lying in bed under his duvet, unable to walk. Due to his injury, he had to turn down motion capture work but was ecstatic when he received the email that he had booked the voice of Ryunosuke.
“The timing was just right, though, as I was able to walk fairly well by the time the recording took place,” Ota says. “I’d like to think that I had a bit of good karma coming my way because I offered to help people with that initial Zoom and ended up getting work that way, even though it wasn’t something I expected out of it.”
Ota says it’s great that Capcom tried to find Japanese actors for the primary characters in The Fantastic Ace Lawyer Chronicles’ English dub. Vaughan states, “Games have moved forward a great deal in this respect in the past few years, and it’s so great to give opportunities to talent like Rina and Mark when characters like this present themselves. Each of them brings something special to their roles that I think wouldn’t be there had we not cast the roles authentically.”
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.