It’s Hero Time! – Yuri Lowenthal on voicing Cecil and Yosuke

By Jeriaska . August 27, 2008 . 7:23pm

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As part of the Shin Megami Tensei panel delivered at the 2008 Anime Expo in Los Angeles, voice actors Karen Strassman and Yuri Lowenthal answered questions on the subject of the challenges and rewards entailed in lending their voices to the Persona game series

 

Yuri can be heard in over 40 animated projects, such as Ben 10, Afro Samurai and Paprika, and has acted in more than 70 games, including titles from the Naruto, Trauma Center and Wild Arms series.  He recently gave voice to Cecil Harvey for the Nintendo DS remake of Final Fantasy IV

 

One of the memorable moments of the Anime Expo panel, of which there were many, was listening to Yuri shout both in his British and Scottish accents "It's hero time!"  It can be found two minutes into the online video of the Q&A session.  We had the chance to hear from him on two of his most recent performances: Final Fantasy IV and his upcoming project due out December 9, Persona 4.

 

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Siliconera:  Cecil has a strong narrative arc, going from aiding tyranny as a Dark Knight to fighting for justice as a Paladin.  Was that transition, which is visually represented by his two costumes, something that you were interested in bringing to the role?

 

Yuri:  I'm just glad I've played a lot of D&D so I knew what you meant when you said, "Paladin"… But honestly, I was very interested in bringing that to the role. It requires it, in fact. The most fun characters to play are the ones that undergo big changes over the course of the story.
 
Siliconera:  Did you have the chance to read a script of the game before voicing your role?

 

Yuri:  I did not have the chance to read the script before beginning work on the game (and I've never played the original FF:IV), but I trusted the director I was working with to help guide me through the story.

 

 
Siliconera:  You provided the voice of Cecil in Final Fantasy IV, and previously voiced Reks in Final Fantasy XII. How familiar are you with the Final Fantasy series as a whole?

 

Yuri:  Not very, actually. That was a ship that somehow sailed without me.

 

Siliconera:  During the recording process for the game's cinema cutscenes, were other cast members there in the booth performing alongside you, or were you provided with recordings of other actors' performances?

 

Yuri:  I was alone in the booth for the entire recording process, as is mostly the case when recording games, but once again, I trusted the director to make sure I was heading in the right direction.

 
Siliconera:  For this game, how much time would you say you spent in recording?

 

Yuri:  I honestly don't remember. I suspect it was probably about 12-16 hours, though.
 
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Siliconera: Which role are you performing in Persona 4 and can you tell us a little about the character?

 

Yuri:  I'm playing Yosuke and it's nice because I don't usually get to play the character who's in charge of comic relief. There are other funny characters in it besides Yosuke, but Yosuke's pretty damn funny. The genius thing is that he takes a very dramatic turn as well, so I got to work a bunch of different acting muscles.

 

Siliconera:  An immense amount of research goes into localizing the Shin Megami Tensei series.  Are there any books or films you have checked out to inform your understanding of this role?

 

Yuri:  Not really. It helped a little to have worked on P3, and it helped a LOT to have played Dungeons & Dragons for years, but when I was playing D&D, I didn't know I was going to be working on Persona, so I guess you couldn't really call that "research."

 

Siliconera:  On the previous title in the series you were required to shout out all the Persona names in turn, which must have entailed at least some familiarity with a lot of obscure mythological references.  Were there any such challenges in the recording studio this time around?

 

Yuri:  Not like last time, but I hear they used my recording of the callouts  from last time as a reference when recording the main character for this game, so I'm honored. As far as challenges, Yosuke, goes through some pretty emotional shit throughout the game, but because the writing was good and we recorded the scenes pretty much sequentially, when the time came it wasn't as hard as it might have otherwise been.

 
Siliconera:  Do you feel the story of Persona 4 departs in significant ways from previous installments in the series?

 

Yuri:  From what I can tell, it's much bigger. I think you'll really get your money's worth with this one.

 

Final Fantasy images courtesy of Square Enix.  Persona images courtesy of Atlus.

 

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  • shion16

    lowenthal rocks!!!
    he made luke fone fabre and haseo

  • Pedro Silva

    indeed, he does. But I wish there was a japanese audio option.

    … and a wii version.

  • Maru

    Okaaay…

    No news on the other voice actors yet?

  • Nika

    shion… whenever I remember Luke I remember him at the beginning of the game, pretty damn annoying.

  • Al

    Yeah but Nika, the great thing about Luke is that he was not a static character. Yes he was annoying at the beginning, but that made his development all the more satisfying. It’s not like you were supposed to adore him right from the start or something.

  • Heero420

    Lol ya a japanese option and a 360 port ^_^…it sucks missing out on persona 3 and 4 since i played the originals like back in 1997 ^_^

  • Sarah

    Heero420.. are you saying you DON’T have a PS2???
    But I hear ya on the japanese VA option, although I’m not complaining ’bout the dub. Persona 3′s rocked, so I’m pretty sure they’ll deliver a quality dub with P4 as well.

  • Pedro Silva

    a 360 version would be bashed due to graphics (and thus expensive to make for such). Atlus can’t compete in that market, they’re not that big of a company, neither do they have much to win there. PS2 and the curent market leader are the way to go, the fact that so many other company’s actually do cross platform between them is a plus to the viability of such.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing atlus using this engine for say, 10 more years; just the lack of 16:9 is sad.

  • cesca

    @ Pedro Silva:

    Pitty about the 16:9, at least the game looks good stretched (as the characters are very thin).

  • Pedro Silva

    yes, but not being 16:9 I rather play it in 4:3, in kinda paranoid on that one.

    But yeah, I’ve gotta say that it still looks better than 95% of the other games when stretched.

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