Okay, I’m a fan of the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series, and I’m proud of it. P3 wrung the tears outta my eyes, and P4 made me laugh my ass off and helped me aspire to be a better human altogether. So when Persona 4: The Animation was announced, I was very excited to say the least. Then came this.
Saw it coming from a mile away, but didn’t care; the fact that it’s being dubbed makes it awesome because it then becomes more accessible to other audiences. But why in the hell would I post a link to another post that is worried about whether the original voice cast will be featured and the fact that it’s Sentai Filmworks doing the localization? Well, that’s kinda the point. Hoping to be a writer and all, I kinda find it disappointing that people are worried and panicked about all of this.
I didn’t really find myself negatively affected by this news. As a matter of fact, I’m actually think it a little exciting if the cast is different from the game. Having a different cast in the adaption isn’t always a bad thing, even if those good moments are rather rare as far as I know. By far, the best example that I can possibly think of is:
Assuming you’re too lazy to discover that the picture is a link to the game’s page on Wikipedia, the game was titled World Destruction: Guided Wills in the original Japanese. And just in case you’re curious, the game isn’t too bad if you’re into cliché shounen save-the-world storylines and an unfortunately dumbed down challenge. Gonna warn you, though, the puzzles take forever, so if you’re just there for the story, I recommend the anime or finding the manga online. Or not, because the manga and the anime both veer off from the original game storyline, but they keep the main save-the-world premise so it doesn’t exactly matter, really. But what annoyed me the most the game’s grating voice acting. Need details? Fine, but I’ll keep it short.
The 17 year-old protagonist. And yes, he’s smiling because in personality, he is what he looks like; a childish, ditzy, peace-loving bishie. The VA for the English release, however, really, really, really broke that to pieces. When I said that the game’s voice acting was grating, I meant it literally. Kyrie’s VA for the English, Evan Wood, has a voice that seems more fitting for the geekish upperclassman or annoying best friend character with how young yet rough his voice sounds. So when the anime came around for the dubbing, Todd Haberkorn landed with the task of playing Kyrie. If you know Todd Haberkorn, then you know that seems to be fitting into the bishie with a berserk button or bizarrely insane mold these days. We also know Todd for his rather youthful and smooth voice and having his own action figure. This made him a lot more bearable since most of time, Kyrie is a bit a wimp in a cute sense, and the way Wood’s voice keeps cracking into a whine when Kyrie begs made it annoying rather than endearing.
And so Kyrie meets:
… Yeah, her name is “Morte” for a reason (If you seriously can’t figure it out, Morte is a Latin word meaning Death). Despite being 16, and having a rather attractive look about her (and, predictably, being the love interest), she kicks more canon ass than any other character (save Taupy), will not hesitate to kill, and is a bonafide psycho (though nowhere near the level of Yuno Gasai). Unfortunately, Deborah Eliazer has a lot a room to cover before she can pull this off and it showed in the English release. The best way I can describe her voice is that if she was on a comedy sitcom, she’d conquer the fucking audience. Her voice is the kind that’d do best if it was constantly cracking jokes about sex, alcohol, and her trip to New Orleans, rather than try and imitate an ax crazy 16 year-old girl with a sword the size of the Titanic.
Buuuuut thankfully, in the anime, her Morte’s voice was filled in by Luci Christian, who is easily better suited to teenage/young adult action girl character’s. Though Morte’s insanity was toned down greatly, hearing Morte actually sound like teenager was music to my ears after having to listen to what sounded like Phoebe Buffay pretending to be Lisa Kudrow pretending to be an ax crazy Phoebe Buffay.
Now you’re probably asking yourselves, “Why is a nihilist fan of anime not worried about the chance that Persona 4: The Animation won’t get the same vocal cast as the game?” Well, it’s because I’m nihilistic that I’m not worried. As far as I’m concerned, it really doesn’t matter if original cast is brought back. What about the dubbing being done by Sentai? Well, chances are, no one notice that Sentai actually does a pretty damn good job with their localizations. It’s mostly because Sentai doesn’t get as much attention as, say, Funimation or Bandai, which, chances are, are the first companies that come to mind when there is an anime localization project. Sentai? Well, sure, they’re not as famous, but how many times do you get to crack a Sarah Palin joke in a dub?!