Michelle Ruff On Her Experience Playing Katherine In Catherine

By Ishaan . March 29, 2011 . 3:01pm

As you’ve probably heard by now, Atlus offered the role of Katherine, one of the three central characters in Catherine, to Michelle Ruff, known for her roles as Yukari Takeba in Persona 3 and Crimson Viper in Street Fighter IV.


Once we learnt Ms. Ruff was the voice behind Katherine, we shot over a few quick e-mails to ask her some questions about the recording process, and she graciously answered them. You can read her replies below:


Before I ask you anything too specific, could you tell us what the experience has been like, doing voiceover work for Catherine? Has it been any different from the kind of work you’re used to doing?


Michelle Ruff: Well, yes as a matter of fact!  It was the first project I did with Valerie Arem as the director.  She’s incredible!  This game was really more "real" acting style as opposed to the anime style of acting.  I really used a more natural delivery and a more real life character portrayal.  Also, the animation on this game is so amazing.  It’s really beautiful to look at.


How did you land the role of Katherine, and what was your initial briefing about the game like? Did you have to check out the Japanese performances?


The producers and project directors at Atlus know my work since I’ve worked with them on a lot of other projects.  They offered me the role based on their past experience with me as an actor.  The initial briefing took place on the first recording day.  The producers and Valerie (the director) gave me the basic synopsis of the story and the roles of Vincent, Catherine and my character Katherine. 


I saw a couple scenes to get the vibe of my character and her relationship with Vincent.  I didn’t check out the Japanese performances because I think the animation and Japanese recording were happening simultaneously.  I had to match basic timing on scenes but my Katherine’s mouth was being animated to my performance in some of those scenes.  In some of them, she was animated already and I had to sync my performance.


Once recording began, did you and the rest of the cast record together, or did you perform each of your parts separately?


We recorded separately.


In your eyes, what’s Katherine like? She seems like a mature, level-headed, looking-to-settle-down kind of lady. Are we in for any surprises?


Yes, Katherine is definitely all those things and I think she’s also very vulnerable and strong and courageous.  She’s the character we find ourselves relating to from real life experiences or wanting to relate to.   


You’ve done a very wide range of voice work across different ages, from characters like Etna (Disgaea) to Yukari (Persona 3) to Crimson Viper (Street Fighter IV), and each one sounds like a very different approach. How did you approach Katherine’s voice and bringing out her personality?


I really relied on my own experiences to put myself in her shoes.  I think you’ll find when you listen to her, she’s really close to my own natural voice.  I really tried to be as vulnerable as I could in that booth when we were recording. 


Aside from what you could bring to the character, what kind of directions did you find Atlus giving you? Were you asked to stick to the original Japanese personality or did you take a few creative liberties?


Atlus was great.  They gave me base directions for the scene and then Valerie really helped to direct the emotional aspect of the reads.  We definitely took some creative liberties but kept true to the story.


Catherine deals with the subject of lust, which is something not many games do. Were there any…physically intimate scenes…with Vincent that you found challenging to perform?


Hmmm.  Not that I can think of.  There might be some bloopers Atlus includes in the extras.  I’m not sure though.  All the scenes were pretty tough because Vincent was such a doofus most of the time.  lol.  (sorry Troy [Baker])


Could you ever see yourself falling for someone like Vincent in real life?


I think I already have once or twice.  Therapy, therapy, therapy!!!


Why do you think players should "choose" you (or choose Katherine, rather) over the competition?


Because "Katherine" stands up for herself and what she believes is best for her.   And she kicks butt…And she’s hot.  lol.


A big thanks to Ms. Ruff for answering our questions!

Read more stories about & & & on Siliconera.

  • “And she’s hot”

    I agree, I find K as hot as C!

    • For some dumb reason I amounted hot to Kelvin and Celsius.

      Good god, I need to get home from work…

  • Guest

    Wow, this statement totally floored me.

    “This game was really more ‘real’ acting style as opposed to the anime style of acting. I really used a more natural delivery and a more real life character portrayal.”

    “Real” acting as opposed to terrible anime acting? Really? Does she really mean to say that she has been directed to make catastrophically bad dubs for characters in other games across the board? As part of an “anime” style of acting as opposed to using “real” acting the ENTIRE TIME like she should have been? This totally and completely blows my mind.

    Is this really the philosophy of voice production in the United States for games? If I ever needed a reason to justify enjoying Japanese dubs more than I do English dubs, this would be it. I am also curious now about what her “real” acting sounds like now though, something I suppose I’ll be finding out in due time when reviews start popping up.

    • Anime dubs sound very distinct from dubs of other media. I think that needs to change.

      • Yeah! I always found that strange, since I find Western games to have the most amazing voice acting. Or even Pixar movies. If they could emulate that kind of level of voice acting for anime, or JRPGs, it would be amazing.

        Though, some animes/jrpgs already do a good job.

        • Um, no you can’t have that kind of voice acting in anime.

          This is one of the reasons why anime dubs are compared all the time. Anime is different in every way compared to western cartoons or video games, mainly the way voice actors do their work and how the characters are portrayed.

          Pixar movies like Toy Story are different from Evangelion movies when it comes voice acting and characters. Games like Dragon Age are different from Final Fantasy games for that exact same reason. Do I need to bring up what Keiji Inaufune says about the differences of Western and Japanese games too?

          What people aren’t getting is that anime has characters that have “out of this world” personalities and portrayals that make it difficult for western voice actors to get across and get the voices implemented correctly (especially since they have to lip-sync), unless you have anime that relate to real-life or western portrayals like Cowboy Bebop.

          Sacred Blacksmith dub is the perfect example of this. The main character is no less than any would-be knight that deteriorates into another one of those anime stereotypes and fanservice (she’s wearing a breastplate in a literal sense). In the english version, the character is given an actual knightly voice that westerns can relate to, yet it masks the character’s true nature.

          So no, you can’t mix western and japanese portrayals together. The exception so far is the Marvel anime Iron Man and Wolverine, where the seiyuu are able to use their natural voices to portray the characters without using “out of this world” voices.

          Does this mean that dubs will always be bad? Of course not. You can (and should) judge a dub by it’s own merit, not compare it to the original source. Otherwise you’re just as bias as Kostaki over here.

          • Okay, it’s true that they’re different in the way that they’re portrayed. I know what you mean by the Sacred Blacksmith too.

            But I’m talking about that “level” of voice acting. Not exactly the type of voice acting, but the quality in it’s flow. I don’t have a problem with “out of this world” voices. That’s why I used Pixar movies as an example, because they use outlandish voices all the time. They’re supposed to be animated. But the problem with some anime/game dubs is that they don’t exactly sound natural.

            For example: generic squeaky anime girls sounds ditzy in the japanese version, and it’s good because it fits their characters. They sound like natural ditzes though, not forced ones. What I’m saying is that english anime dubs sound a little choppy or forced sometimes. This might be because they’re trying to make the lip syncing fit. Or it might be because they’re just focusing on the squeaky ditziness, and not on the character itself.

            Anyway, I do judge dubs by their own merits. But I also think that it would be nice if english dubs of japanese media could have the same flow and quality that they’ve already achieved with their own games and cartoons.

          • Some english voice actors tend to be squeaky when directed too. Some of that is not entirely forced, which is why I thought the Lucky Star dub was good.

            Then you have Stephanie Sheh who plays Orihime. She “has” to sound ditzy and squeaky because that’s how Orihime is expected to be portrayed. You’ve seen the result. It’s not that her voice acting was bad, she was just a victim of how bad Orihime is.

            Then you have Sentai Filmworks with their Clannad dub. When it comes to these anime, the directors usually have a policy to certain voice actresses: if you can’t sound moe, you don’t have to. Sometimes that a good thing because I would rather not have a female character have a voice that bleeds my ears. I’m talking about the difference between Takagi’s JP and ENG voice from High School of the Dead.

          • Caligula

            I think squeaky Japanese girls sound forced. Have you ever met someone who talks like that, Japanese or otherwise? I’ve never. Not even really young kids with high-pitched voices speak like that.

          • gatotsu911

            Well said, though even the voice acting in Cowboy Bebop was a far cry from realistic.

            I’m trying to think of any anime I’ve seen that goes out of its way to have naturalistic acting… and I really can’t. Even grittier or more “realistic” anime (such as, I dunno, Shigurui or Gunslinger Girl) tend to have at least a slightly exaggerated, theatrical bent to them. (Though as I said above, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.)

          • You can always try the Highschool of the Dead dub. I think it’s close to being more “realistic” than even Cowboy Bebop. True to the zombie apocalypse genre (discounting other tidbits of acting that been seen in many exaggerated anime).

          • gatotsu911

            Eh, I have no interest in HSotD. Everything I’ve heard about it makes it sound like a series I wouldn’t much like. Who dubbed it, though?

            Also, probably the most naturalistic acting I’ve heard in an anime dub in recent memory would have to be Summer Wars. That dub was absolutely fantastic, Mike McFarland and the Funimation crew did a truly phenomenal job. A (subbie) friend tells me all of Mamoru Hosoda’s films aim for more realistic acting and dialogue than the anime norm, so now I’m really curious to see more of them.

            A lot of the better dubs from the 90s (e.g. Evangelion, Patlabor 2) had a kind of organic feel to them that made them engrossing enough to overlook their weaknesses.

          • Well, Sentai Filmworks licensed HSotD a long time ago so it’s only natural for it to be dubbed. I understand if you have no interest because of how enigmatic it is.

          • Caligula

            “What people aren’t getting is that anime has characters that have “out of this world” personalities and portrayals that make it difficult for western voice actors to get across and get the voices implemented correctly”

            Um. Don’t mean to be crude, but do you mind humping Japanese voice acting a little less? :S They’re not some kind of superhuman race capable of voice acting feats like no other. Western actors can pull off any voice acting just as well as the Japanese can, and to argue otherwise is pretty ridiculous.

      • mirumu

        That’s definitely a big part of my problem with anime dubs.

        • The core issue you people are ignoring here is that the Japanese versions are EXACTLY the same.

          They are staying true to the original dub by maintaining an exaggerated, over-the-top performance.


          • Guest

            So why not stay true to the original dub with every game instead of just this one? Just sayin, because it isn’t done very often if not. Atlus is taking great care in localizing this, and more power to them. But it doesn’t happen as often as you make it seem.

          • “So why not stay true to the original dub with every game instead of just this one?”

            Look up Aksys Games’ blogs in this site and see if you can ask that same question.

            Bullcrap aside, Atlus has it easy with Catherine because it consists mostly of American characters. Get the picture here?

          • gatotsu911

            Just to add to this, Atlus also has it “easy” (though I’m sure it cost them a pretty penny) with Catherine because they can alter the characters’ lip movements to match the voice actors’ performances, which means that the voice actors can deliver their lines however they like without having to worry about lip-synch. This is a liberty that most anime and video games do not have.

          • I agree with Cucumber. A majority of the time the Japanese dub for an anime is just as “silly” and the American dub.

          • Ummm… Cucumber…

          • “Ummm… Cucumber… ”
            yesh, sweetie?:3

          • mirumu

            You couldn’t really be more wrong primarily because you’re generalising. Some Japanese releases do indeed have over the top voice acting, primarily comedies, but equally many do not. It has to be appropriate for the subject matter and feel of the material. The problem is that virtually all dubs based on Japanese source material are exaggerated and over the top. That’s not “exactly the same” in my book.

            Catherine’s Japanese track itself seems to be a pretty good example of quality non-over the top voice acting based on the conversations potrayed in the demo. Honestly I’m rather impressed to hear Atlus are taking the localization so seriously with Catherine and if it turns out as good as it sounds then I hope it starts a new trend.

          • He’s not as wrong as you make him. Japanese dubs actually are in most cases over the top, just watch some of their dramas it’s not very different there. Naturally there are cases where it goes more realistic, like if they are talking about some serious topics(Yakuza is a good example here), but they turn very over the top if it’s possible.

          • mirumu

            Japanese dramas don’t really have a lot in common with what the west considers drama though. Many are more akin to western soap-operas and those have plenty of over the top voice acting as well. I hardly think they represent most dubs.

            A lot of the more serious Japanese works just aren’t seen so often outside of film festivals and the like, and in anime terms they don’t tend to be ones with big disc sales.

            When it comes down to it if the dubs fitted the content so well then there wouldn’t be so many people that dislike them. It’s an old argument that just doesn’t fly, and frankly never has.

          • gatotsu911

            Not all Japanese anime voice acting (or Japanese acting in general) is as blatantly over-the-top as it is in comedies, but pretty much all of it, even in serious productions, is theatrical and exaggerated. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is still a fact that it is stylistically distinct from realistic/naturalistic acting, which is much more popular in the West and America in particular. The fact of the matter is the Japanese don’t much care for naturalistic acting, and I’ve rarely if ever seen them seriously attempt it.

          • Sorry but i always put out cucumbers from my hamburgers xD, i cant seem to like them haha

          • Same here, they just take the flavor of the meat, and I like my meat! xD


          • That is, if they can win againts cockroaches >8D, anyway o.o what you said about 2 nerds getting close to miyamoto thing interested me o-o i’ve never heard of that, care to take the wool out of the sheep? (lol what)

          • Joanna

            Yeah I have to agree with you. All recent anime dubs are on par with their Japanese counterparts. Garyuu brought up Orihime’s english voice, but I honestly thought she sounded exactly like her Japanese counterpart. Ichigo’s VA also sounded a lot like his Japanese counterpart. The only one that was off was Rukia and it was only in the deepness of the voice (Orikasa’s Rukia is a lot deeper than Ruff’s Rukia). In their portrayal, there were pretty much the same.

      • Other media as in western dubs of western media? Impossible.

    • She never said it was terrible. You’re pushing your own opinion of dubs on what she said and twisting words. I don’t know what exactly she meant on anime acting vs real acting (I have my theories but they’re irrelevant), but don’t assume what she meant by taking words and meanings that weren’t even remotely mentioned.

      Plus, she’s a veteran voice actor whose career has partly depended on “anime style of acting”, of which she’s done a fine job, or she wouldn’t have kept getting hired for major roles. She’s not going to say anything demeaning regarding anime acting.

      • Guest

        I’m not twisting anything. She distinctively separated “real” and “anime” into two separate styles on her own. This indicates that she knows the difference, and through whatever direction she is given delivers what many have all come to know and hate as “stiff” performances when voicing most anime-related things that come out of Japan.

        Why make excuses for this?

        • Because Like, I have said before, Japanese games and anime are exaggareted and over-the-top.

          Therefore, when dubbed, dubbing companies maintain that feel.

        • Guest

          Maybe by “real” she meant “realistic situations” rather than the more outlandish stuff seen in most anime? Or maybe she meant “real” as in “more like screen acting”, which is distinctly different from both stage and voice over work. There’s a million different things she could’ve meant. You’re the one who’s putting words into her mouth and projecting your biases onto what she said.

          • Guest

            Conversation about a temptress that seduces men into a world of nightmares where they become sheep and have to dodge and move past blocks and traps is a realistic situation? Or a realistic situation as if you were actually conversing with another person, which happens all the time in anime as well as in game cutscenes and movies? It doesn’t matter what she implied, the fact is she divided the two styles when she should always be using a realistic style for conversations and an over the top style for when situations call for it.

            In short, using both styles as necessary for one production rather than using one separate style for an entire production. She goes as far as to clearly say she used one style over the other entirely for this.

          • Guest

            No, she didn’t. All of that is stuff you’re inferring based on your own pre-conceived biases. You’re taking a single sentence and acting as though you’ve uncovered some vast conspiracy.

            You clearly have no understanding of how acting works. There is not just one style of acting that you use for conversations. If the story is a serious drama, a conversation about what to have for dinner will be performed very differently than if the same conversation were performed in a slapstick comedy.

          • Guest

            I never said anything about a vast conspiracy, I’m simply stating what is already known. You are absolutely right in that the tone should change throughout a story, but it should always flow as if it were a real conversation. This is even true in comedy. It simply does not in most cases.

          • keriaku

            I took her statement as being about the different kinds of emphasis ‘anime’ style fiction has versus ‘realistic’ style fiction. For example, anime usually has much more exaggerated reactions and exclamations that aren’t emphasized in other mediums. It’s not a negative, just a different style of approach, which is exactly what she said.

        • So basically you expected these voice actors to be more like how the Japanese act in anime-related things. :P

      • Dimentionalist

        THANK YOU, Andrew.

    • Zero_Destiny

      *Sigh* Please don’t put words into other people’s mouths. :( I love anime but the atmosphere of most anime is extreme and different from real life. Even animes that are slice of life are taken to another level. That’s why we have so many tropes and stuff for anime. I mean come on do you really scream and faint every time something stupid happens. When you get angry does your face really go Super Deformed as you scream? The acting is just different here. Nothing to scoff at and whether or not your Japanese or some other heritage it doesn’t make a difference. There’s a difference from acting for anime than there is for acting for say Shakespeare (even if the Shakespeare is animated). She probably just meant that the Katherine dub is more down to earth acting. Less screaming. Less taking actions to the extreme. Less cutesy anime girl voice. It’s by no means meant as an insult.

      • Guest

        Nobody is putting words into other people’s mouths. For immersion, you would want your conversation to flow as freely and to seem as “real” as possible. It is more a production fault if anything, but that quote exposes that particular fault completely since a less immersive style has branched out from what normally free-flows.

        It is less about the context of the delivery and more about the flow and style. Two anime characters having a conversation with each other should not be radically different in flow than Katherine and Vincent having a conversation. The context and tone may be different because they are romantically involved, but the conversation should always freely flow. This doesn’t happen in anime for whatever reason, and is the root cause for most terrible English dubs. She recognizes this here, and that is all I’m pointing out.

        • Nonsense. Again you’re projecting your silly biases onto her statement.

          An anime dude sounds like he’s constantly constipated, in Japanese or English, a real person sounds like a real person.

          That’s all she probably meant.

          You clearly do not speak Japanese.

          • Guest

            I’m sure you’d like to believe that, but you are gravely mistaken. The next time you watch any form of media and berate the performance, remember those words. “A real person sounds like a real person.”

            I’m not trying to discredt Michelle Ruff in any sense, she does what she is asked and is passionate about her work. But at the same time if you feel turning a blind eye to the decreasing quality of English dubs is your particular position on how to improve them, then you are part of the problem.

          • No. I am not gravely mistaken. I am right.

            You do not speak Japanese.

            If you did you’d be laughing at your self right about now if you ever heard a word of non-anime Japanese.

            If you ever think of picking up the language, please don’t embarrass yourself by talking like an anime character. People will laugh at you in your face.

          • Guest

            Nope, you’re clearly wrong. Nobody is speaking like an anime character either, because your opinion is inflated by the fact that you are associating horrendous English dubs with their Japanese counterparts. They are not, as you choose to poorly believe, delivered the same.

            Please feel free to compare an excerpt of any news media related to the current happenings in Japan with a conversation out of say Persona 3 in Japanese. Provided the tone is the same, you will find them strikingly similar. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Period.

          • FireCouch

            “decreasing quality of English dubs”


          • Guest

            Arc Rise Fantasia would like a word with you, among others.

          • ahahahahha

            please record yourself speaking anime japanese to a real japanese person.

            Would be good for a laugh or two.

          • While it’s true that anime characters talk like anime characters in japanese, I also think it’s quite possible for anime characters to talk like real people. I’m sure there are some scenes in anime where that has happened.

            There’s just a difference in style. If it’s a wackjob comedy type, or a typical adventure shonen type, then they’re voiced like anime characters. But there are some more serious animes where they have to sound more “real”. I’m sure this applies to both japanese and english dubs. It’s just interpreted differently.

          • While FireCouch is away, Resonance of Fate would like to have a word with you too.

          • Yes, because Arc Rise Fantasia is representative of the state of English VA work. Every other game that has an English localization aspires to reach those heights, I am sure.

            That’d be like saying “Look at Terminator: Salvation!” as an example of how all Western-developed movies are awful.

          • tr1gun1212

            I am not sure what anime we are talking about here to say that its dialogue or delivery is not “real”, but there are plenty that are very “real”-sounding in Japanese. Maybe I am just not watching certain ones that are overly dramatic, but watch any episode of Gundam or Eva or many others. Recently I have only been watching Madoka, but that is all “real” Japanese, and not over-acted. Last season, Ore no Imouto was “real” Japanese.

            It’s wrong to group it all together, just as it may be wrong to group all the English dubs together as bad, though they do seem to be a bit over-acted to me. And I think the point here stands – that Michelle Ruff thinks that the acting in English dubbing of anime is not “real”.

          • I really, really hope this guy records himself speaking to a japanese person with japanese learned from anime.

            It’ll be like that time those two nerds approached Miyamoto from Nintendo and made internet history by embarrasing themselves with anime Japanese.

          • I can’t tell you how much the Japanese dislike it when you jump out at them, give a thumbs up, and yell, “YATTA!”

            Especially, while trying to drag around a sword that weighs about 200 lbs. and is bigger than I am.

          • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

            I think realism is often mistaken for believability, which are two totally different things.

          • Or has the ability to understand english paragraphs to some extent, what he said never went through my head until i read what he said…..

          • gatotsu911

            @Cucumber: I want a video of that Miyamoto incident. That sounds freaking hilarious.

            @Charles Lupula: “I can’t tell you how much the Japanese dislike it when you jump out at them, give a thumbs up, and yell, “YATTA!”
            The mere mental image of this made me keel over with laughter.

          • Yeah, that was like the worst vacation ever. None of those salarymen seemed to appreciate me trying to embrace their culture. Worse, everybody kept lying to me and telling me that Kamurocho wasn’t a real place. Probably all just afraid of the Majima clan.

            BUT for my next trip to Japan, I’ve been studying Japanese live-action culture, so I’m picking up my vinyl short shorts, cap, and vest next week, and practicing my gyrating while saying, “Sei, sei, sei!” I’m sure that will go over better.

          • gatotsu911

            There’s a whole series’ worth of ideas in this, I swear. “2011: A [W-word] Odyssey”.

    • Thiefofhearts

      “anime style of acting”, of what I can gather, is more about having to match your words to the sync of the lip flaps. It sometimes comes out weird or disjointed if you don’t accept it as just a price of dubbing cel animation.

      Her “real” acting is her just taking the dialog at her pace where she’d find it natural to say these lines.

    • I had a response to this, but, instead, I’ll just loudly sigh and roll my eyes at you.

      • Me too haha.. when i was reading i was like “wtf” in my mind, when i was about to get ready to answer, i scrolled down and saw all the answers… it seems everybody else is doing a terrific work in our stead xD

    • Real acting: Mellow. Relatively relaxed.
      Anime acting: Wound up. Over the top. Extreme. Tighter than a banjo string.

      Really, there is something wrong with you to not be able to tell the obvious difference between the distinct form of acting cartoons have when compared to other mediums.

      And cue the backlash for calling anime cartoons.

      • gatotsu911

        I think it’s important to emphasize that anime acting is not inherently BAD. Plenty of anime voice actors, both Japanese and American, are great at what they do, and make their larger-than-life characters vibrant and believable in ways no one else could. Naturalistic acting would do no favors for, say, Gurren Lagann; alternately, the exaggerated acting in a character-driven drama like Evangelion helps give its fascinating and complex characters personalities and presences that leap off the screen and impress themselves upon the minds and hearts of audiences.

        All that said, the notion that anime voice acting is stylistically indistinct from “real” acting is ignorant and absurd. You would have to either be tone-deaf, utterly unfamiliar with the Japanese language, or completely blind in your worship of animu to honestly believe that.

    • gatotsu911

      I’m sorry, what? If you think anime voice acting is realistic even in Japanese, you’ve clearly never heard an actual Japanese person talk in your life.

    • exhume

      Dude…she’s probably just referring to the fact that she used her “natural” voice for this role rather than a “character” voice. It’s unlikely she’s a teenager, so for example, she’d have to put on a teenager’s voice to play Yukari. Do all film actors use their “natural” personalities on screen? No, that’s why they’re called actors.

  • “Because “Katherine” stands up for herself and what she believes is best for her. And she kicks butt…And she’s hot. lol.”

    Gotta love gals who say that they are hawt(or in this case the characters they are playing)! :D
    I wholeheartedly agree too, she IS damn hawt! xD

    “All the scenes were pretty tough because Vincent was such a doofus most of the time. lol. (sorry Troy [Baker])”

    And lol at this, she did mean Vincent the character and not Troy Baker right? xD

    • Zero_Destiny

      I guess you would love Hayden Pannetiere (the actress for Kairi). <3

      • The Cheerleader?! What?!

      • “I want her body”
        Well, I can’t disagree I want Kairis body too…hrr~ xD
        And awesome interview, that’s totally what I mean. xD

        • Zero_Destiny

          I know right :)

  • LastFootnote

    If narrative video games want to be taken seriously as an art form, they need to start recording conversations with all the voice actors together. There are a lot of games where I’ve been really put off by the unnatural way conversations sound because of separate voice recording. The characters don’t sound like they’re talking to each other and the parts of sentences they choose to emphasize are often very strange.

    I’m surprised that more people don’t mind this. Maybe we’re just used to conversations where two people talk at each other instead of listening?

    • I do wish they did it together. Its what I think made movies that have VA’s and even some games (Uncharted) sound so believable and memorable. Then again if the special production media of anime is to be believed then I think they do have mutliple va’s in the room at a time (Bleach).

    • I think it really depends on the director and how they coordinate the separate actors.

      Most music is recorded one instrument at a time and then the producer is the one that makes it sound coherent, I assume a VA director plays a similar role.

    • Guest

      That’s ridiculous. Even in film, there are plenty of times where two characters will appear to have a conversation but the actors actually performed separately (with a stand-in present for the other person or whatever.) Unless actors are ad-libbing, there’s actually very little need for them to have another person there to bounce off of when they give a performance. That’s a common misconception most people have.

      • LastFootnote

        Man, a huge amount of communication is body language, including tone of voice. It’s not so bad with longer lines, but with short ones it can get really unnatural-sounding, especially if the context isn’t explained to the actor.

        I guess you’re just really lucky that all the games you’ve played haven’t had this problem. I’d hardly call something I’ve experienced directly a ‘common misconception’.

        • Pichi

          We know its common in animation like The Simpsons. They aren’t in the same room when they record lines, but sound nature on screen and such. Its possible to sound completely natural like that. Its like others say, voice direction, mouth flaps, good actors, etc.

      • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

        Dunno about that. If you mean shot-reverse-shot then yes sometimes you have to shoot the two (or more) actors separately. But having stand-ins or shooting two actors having a conversation at two completely different times and places is usually less than ideal. The actors, director, and later the editors might have more difficulty leveling the emotion of the scene. Having two actors in a scene to work off each other regardless of who is on camera or mic’d up often helps them get more immersed in their roles, bring out the best in both, and keeps the takes more consistent in tone.

        I don’t know about sound-recording for animated stuff, but for I film I wouldn’t say it’s a common misconception either. Directing workshop 101.

        EDIT: Now if you’re strictly referring to get clean audio for certain lines, yes that happens. But more often then not to get the best from each they do multiple takes with both actors and set the camera on different actors each time.

  • Zero_Destiny

    “I really relied on my own experiences to put myself in her shoes. I think you’ll find when you listen to her, she’s really close to my own natural voice. I really tried to be as vulnerable as I could in that booth when we were recording. “
    “Atlus was great. They gave me base directions for the scene and then Valerie really helped to direct the emotional aspect of the reads. We definitely took some creative liberties but kept true to the story.”

    Those two statements made me really happy. I’m not worried in the least about this dub and it seems like that I was right not to worry. Everything is sounding like it’ll be a great dub. Seems like everyone knows what their doing and doing it well. :)

    • Pichi

      Exactly, this is what I want more for VA in animation and games. The people letting the actors know more about the characters and getting comfortable with their roles. Lip-sync is also a welcome change to help make things feel natural.

      I remember reading that some VA were given scripts that looked like it still in coding and not given the chance to see the settings of the characters and such. That really needs to change if we want to improve on video game VA. And that just doesn’t go for dubbing, as original VA can have these problems too. If we can’t have the actors record together, at least give them enough information to try to get the feel as much as possible.

      Kudos for those who are able to do well under such conditions.

  • I Guess thats nice to have a relationship with the company already established. I guess the companies dont do casting calls to get new people in?

    But wow…that discussion is interesting to read…

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      Aren’t you glad you’re not involved in the heated clusterf**k that is in here? ^_^’

  • Glad to hear this.

  • I’ve been looking forward to this dub for a while. Can’t wait to hear it.

    It’s nice to know that some of the animations are being synched to the performance of the voice actor, and not vice versa as usual.

  • Kostaki is the reason I hate autistic posters.

    • puchinri

      I don’t think people with autisism need to be put down if we want to talk about other posters saying something ridiculous or unagreeable.

    • Guest

      … and you’re the reason I hate ignorant posters. Instead of making things better, choose to settle and or make them worse. Bravo.

  • darkfox1

    im in love with Michelle Ruff now

  • hahahaha this made me laugh xD, great

  • puchinri

    Hehe, I do agree with Michelle and love what she said. Though no matter how good the voice work on the dub is, I will be terribly disappointed if there’s no dual audio. That’s a lot of spectacular voices I love and one I even grew up with to miss out on…

  • Yesshua

    Hey Siliconera! You know what? This is a pretty cool piece here. It’s one part behind the scenes industry talk, one part preview of the game, and all parts exclusive. You guys really seem to go out of your way to score these interviews, and they keep me coming back.

    Now not to be greedy or anything, but have you guys tried getting a hold of the other two principal voice actors for similar interviews? The only thing more fascinating than this interview would be to compare/contrast it with the other actors’ impressions of the game.

    • I’m seconding this, I really wanna see more, especially for hearing Troy Baker’s input.

  • This is great. I love her candidness.

    All the scenes were pretty tough because Vincent was such a doofus most of the time.

    pffft hahahaa. Now I wish we could get an interview with Troy Baker…

    • Aoshi00

      One thing I find it a pity though is American VAs always record their lines separately, instead of all the actors being in the same recording booth like how Jpn does it.. Not saying it’s necessarily better or worse, they’re bouncing off each other’s lines via recordings anyway.. but I think it would be cooler and more intimate if the actors are physically together, acting at the same time face to face, of course due to their busy schedule and many other reasons it’s almost impossible.. like Tim Allen might never have seen Tom Hanks even after voicing the whole Toy Story 3 movie.. their acting is great though..

      • Actually, technically, they dont always. There are numerous examples where different properties have recored all their lines together. I thnk the example of Uncharted was given, and other games that utilized combinations of motion capture and voicing the lines, movies too, like Kung Fu Panda. and Look, in Toy Story 3 they do meet sometimes face to face in recording scenes with multiple characters…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TToB4sBnDHs&feature=related

        • Aoshi00

          Right, I know sometimes they act together, especially when they need to do motion capture and physically act out the sequences for references of the games’ cut scenes, like Uncharted, Enslaved, etc, but those are rare instances. And sometimes the people who do mo-cap are not the actual voice actors.

          But for dubbing anime, or cartoon shows like the Simpsons, it could be years before Hank Azaria meets Nancy Cartwright even though we hear them in the same episode every week. For Jpn seiyuu, it’s normal practice to show up to work together in the same recording booth, while the American recording schedule is more flexible w/ the staff working w/ each actor individually 99% of the time.

        • mikanko

          I think that probably makes a good case for it since Uncharted’s voice acting is far above average, and no offense to Atlus, but far more natural sounding than any localized game dubb I’ve come in contact with.

  • Aoshi00

    I think people from both sides are generalizing quite a bit.. there are “real” and “more anime-ish” acting done by either Jpn seiyuu or American VAs… and there are many kinds of acting, warranted by different contents or media, depending on what kind of story a game/anime/movie is trying to tell.. like say Ethan Hawke acts differently in movies than in the more independent stage plays.. or say Christian Bale, he acts differently in his many movies, in American Psycho/Batman/Equilibrium he’s a bit over the top, in other movies he’s more realistic.. voicing Howl’s Moving Castle w/ his voice, he also used a different method. In Catherine’s case, the Jpn acting/conversation is rather “real” because the story is more of a drama that deals w/ real life issues (of course there’s the more surreal nightmare side, just like Nightmare on Elm Street), it’s also a mystery/thriller as well, “real” like a movie. But basically, the char/Jpn seiyuu spoke rather naturally for their parts.A lot of those seiyuu frequently dub Hollywood movies in Jpn too, Yamadera Koichi (Vincent) is one of the seiyuu who dubbed Tom Cruise (the other person who dubbed Tom Cruise was Suzuki Hirotaka like in Mission Impossible), and Hirata Hiroaki (Orlando) has dubbed Brad Pitt in Interview w/ the Vampire. They sound different and more natural when they dub real people in live action movies than in anime. But say, Evangelion, Kaji (Vincent) and Misato (Catherine) sounded very real as well as they spoke like adults w/ problems.. say compared to other more over-the-top anime roles like Ryoga in Ranma 1/2 or Sailormoon. It all depends on the situation. A skilled and experienced seiyuu/VA can act differently in different media under specific direction.And Finally, I think a lot of people stereotyped either Jpn or Eng voice acting. I think one at least needs to understand the language a bit before judging whether a dub is good or not. If you let a Jpn person listen to Eng dub but he doesn’t understand English, there would be no way for him to tell if the Eng. acting is up to par or lot. Just like here I assume not many people here are fluent in Jpn…

    • Right, but Catherine is the exception, not the norm.

      For most videogames and popular anime aimed at younger audiences(which usually gets localized as opposed to other kinds of anime), VA tends to be very exaggerated. When people say “anime-style” voice acting, that is the type of VA work that people refer to.

      Its also what Ms Ruff was highly likely referencing to.

      For that matter, cartoons aimed at younger audiences tend to be highly exaggerated as well(in a different way, though). The ones with restrained voice acting are the minority there just like with anime. Its not necessarily a bad thing, you know.

      • Aoshi00

        By definition, anime/cartoons/manga are definitely more dramatic, since the story and chars are most likely more out of the ordinary. You don’t watch or read people’s mundane life, like get out of bed, go to work, go home, the routine repeating. But that does not mean anime always have “over acting”. Say Evangelion, it’s rather hard for me to watch it in English. I don’t need to either as I understand the exceptional original Jpn acting (the voices Vincent and Catherine used remind me of Kaji and Misato, but of course those chars and relationship are totally different, but they’re on the more mature level), but most of the time I do listen to dub in other languages as I’m curious. Catherine is certainly a more “mature” game on many levels, I’m not sure if the younger audience are pressed by the issue of commitment/marriage/cheating/infidelity, etc.

        One of the criteria for being an anime seiyuu is you at least need to have a unique/distinct voice, that’s what makes Furuya Tohru different than Ikeda Shuuichi (their voices are so special they are like one in a million). If not, you would just sound like the other millions of others and boring and don’t stand out. Like my voice is not special, I don’t think I would sound good doing any voice work.

        I’m just saying most people here are more exposed to seiyuu’s voices thru their anime work. But if you watch some Hollywood movies dubbed in Jpn (I doubt many people would have reason to or would be interested), many seiyuu could do natural “real people” voices too, like Kaida Yuuki or Koyama Rikiya, they dubs a lot of movies.. Of course they are a lot of more mature and down to earth anime/manga as well, but most people are more interested in/exposed to the shounen/shoujo stuff primarily.

        I’ve actually been a fan of voice actors all my life (Japanese, or Hong Kong, they voice Jpn anime/drama or hollywood movies), so I listen to them in all kinds of work in all the chance I could get as I enjoy their performance and like recognizing in different works, portraying different types of chars. I’m curious to listen to things dubbed in English as well, but I’m not very familiar w/ American voice actors for the most part as I’m the least exposed to them, other than in some games.

        • I thought you reside in America. How do you not listen to stuff in American?

          • Aoshi00

            I have not always lived in the US all my life, and English is not the only language I speak. I watch American movies in English and Jpn anime in Japanese mostly. I would listen to things dubbed in other languages just out of curiosity.

      • mirumu

        I agree with you in regard to popular anime, and yes, that’s likely what Ms Ruff meant. If someone’s reference is the likes of Naruto, Bleach, K-On!, Haruhi, Lucky Star, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Full Metal Alchemist, Inuyasha, etc, etc then yes. They are all very exaggerated and over the top. I can understand people thinking that all anime is like this because it’s shows like these that most people come into contact with.

        To a degree though that is a bit like judging all western movies by restricting yourself to those that hit #1 at the box office. Personally I find a most of the popular titles that come out of Hollywood are rather poorly acted too, but it’s not all of them by any means. I wouldn’t like to see The Godfather or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest get a carless dub because Star Wars, Pulp Fiction and the Matrix were exaggerated and over the top.

        • Persona, specifically, falls under that type of exaggerated VA work as well I feel. Atlus JP and USA do as well going by the way they directed those voices.There’s nothing wrong with exaggerated VA if it fits the feel of the work being voiced. Like an example you mentioned, One Piece SHOULD be “overacted”. Ordinary, boring people, just don’t fit in a universe where a guy is made of rubber on a merry adventure with talking skeletons and anthropomorphic reindeers.

          With Catherine, however, its the opposite. The characters are a lot more down-to-earth and inter-human relationships are the focus here — real life, adult problems(ignoring sheep block puzzles for a second!) are the conflict. Ordinary VA work is appreciated.

          Thankfully, Atlus seems to understand this going by this interview.

          • Aoshi00

            Also you have to take into account VAs/seiyuu need to be more “over the top” and sound more unique in general because they could only perform w/ their voices asthey are not seen on screen. While in life action movies of any kind, actors perform via their facial expression, body motion/gesture, in addition to reading the script. In anime, all the acting is done by the voice and voice alone. If you sound monotone, that would give a very flat and uninteresting performance that’s not engaging to the audience at all. That’s the problem w/ many of the Miyazaki movies, using actors w/ no voice acting experience who are not used to emoting by solely their voice. It might be his taste to choose “normal sounding” people, but mostly they sound sub-par and like reading out loud the words on the paper w/o much emotion.

          • mirumu

            That’s interesting what you’re saying about Ghibli. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Miyazaki’s films, with some exceptions, but the voice work in them is something I do enjoy. It’s more in line with some of the classic Japanese movies from the 60s to 80s I have fond memories of. Personal taste I guess.

            That’s a good point you make about the seiyuu needing to be unique. Certainly a number of them are very easy to recognize within seconds of them starting to speak.

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      Thank you Aoshi! Thank you for knocking some sense back into me. I came in here late looking for some and found myself rolling down a long flight of heated generalizations. It’s easy to get so caught up in it all… @[email protected]

      Some people made some good points though, I must say.

      I think I’m going to go sit in my little corner and read a book now… >_>

      • Aoshi00

        I know.. whenever there’s a Catherine casting post, I know what those 70+ posts are about before I even have a chance to comment :)

        It’s always sub vs dub.. people liking dub hating sub, liking sub hating dub, this fits better that fits better, Japanese sounds childish, Eng sounds awful, blah blah blah… would be nice if people see and try to understand things from all angles.. instead of being stubborn and think only they’re “right”.. always the same unnecessary argument back and forth..

        I’m watching “127 hours” now.. and will read the “Borrowers” later before watching the latest Ghibli flick based on the book :)

        • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

          It’s good to be in the company of a like-minded fellow. ^__^ Though clearly your temperament is much more stable than mine. I need need to take a step back sometimes. XD

          So did you read Between a Rock and a Hard Place in preparation for 127 hrs? (I’m kidding. Though I heard it’s a painfully personal and detailed account.) I haven’t seen it though. Is it good? As for me, aside from finally watching Tangled (which was so much fun save the over-conservative last 1/3), I watched Beast Cops, a 1998 HK cop drama/action film. Wow what a gritty but oddly humorous take on jaded cop-life. I recommend it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beast_Cops

          Ah yes, the Borrowers. I need to watch that too. The last time I prepared for a Ghibli film with the source material was Tales from Earthsea. I read the Earthsea Trilogy, found it captivating, then was super-disappointed with the movie. I did that for Howl’s Moving Castle too, but again, the movie couldn’t compare in my view. So maybe I’ll refrain from reading the Borrowers. >_O

          To bring us back on topic, are you going to watch it dubbed? :3

          • Aoshi00

            The constant same stubborn viewpoints/bickering regarding sub and dub bother me too, but neither side likes to listen to one another, so it’s just not worth it.. and not to sound condescending or anything, I feel a lot of people don’t understand Jpn enough to comment on the nature and quality of Jpn dub anyway.. like I don’t speak French at all, there’s no way I could tell if a French dub is good or not.. I think a person who speaks French is at a better position to judge if a French dub/acting is good or not. But I would listen to anything in the original language it was made in given the choice.

            I watched half and saved half for tmw night, Danny Boyle uses colorful imagery again as usual :) It’s pretty good, but I was more scared watching Ryan Reynold’s “Buried”, felt really claustrophobic w/ him being 6 feet under (total one man show).. I watched Tangled in the theater and bought the blu-ray, loved it even though I’m usually not a fan of musicals :) Beast Cops.. I’ll give it a watch if I have a chance, I actually don’t watch that many HK movies :)…

            I haven’t read Earthsea, but I know a 2hr movie usually can’t do the original novel justice.. I just started reading Howl’s Moving Castle now (I ordered together w/ the Borrowers).. every time I know a movie based on a book comes out like Harry Potter I would tell myself to read the book first, but I’m always too lazy to finish it in time.. I hope I could do that w/ Borrowers, it’s more fun to see how a novel is adapted, but the bad thing is it might set your expectation high when you compare them. I’m going to be watching it in Jpn first, I pre-ordered the Jpn blu-ray, it has quite a few languages like French and Cantonese, but no English dub… guess I would get the US blu-ray later on too… the only Miyazaki movie I’ve ever seen on the big screen was Howl in Jpn.

          • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

            Yup. Honestly the reasoning that “it’s the original language” is good enough for me across most situations.

            You should watch more Hong Kong movies! They’re exist in such a special world of their own. :) Though I just thought of a more lighthearted Japanese movie I also watched recently you might like. It’s called Chonmage Purin.

            It’s true I shouldn’t even expect the movie to compare with the book, but yea it’s mentally impossible for me not to compare once I’ve read it. >_< Also, you just reminded me I need to get me some Ghibli movies on blu-ray.

          • Aoshi00

            Thanks for the recommendation.. Chonmage + Purin, that’s weird title.. Wonder what it could be about (past and present?).. I’ll remember that and Beast Cops.. I dunno.. I never really liked HK movies a lot growing up.. even Canton-pop.. but I liked most of the silly comedies, sometimes I think the jokes are too vulgar :)

            Not many Ghibli movies are on blu-ray yet.. Now only Ponyo.. and Nausicaa will be out on blu-ray soon (Jpn has Laputa).. I’ll definitely upgrade my DVDs later when they remaster the movies on blu-rays..

          • mirumu

            From memory The Borrowers had quite a British feel which I suspect will be lost in Ghibli’s version, but on the whole I think it’s a good fit for the Ghibli style of story telling. I’m optimistic it’ll be a good adaption.

          • Aoshi00

            I knew nothing of the Borrowers until I just stumbled upon the Jpn blu-ray release… then I looked it up “oh, it’s another Ghibli movie based on an Eng novel, cool.” I think the Ghibli rendition/imagery would still be interesting though, faithful to the original work or not, this is the first time Joe Hisaishi is not the composer, they have a French composer doing the score..

            I’m actually interested in Shida Mirai lol (I’ve seen her in several dramas).. even though I’m against using actors dubbing anime.. hopefully I could finish the book before watching the movie… I would read Howl’s moving castle and then watch the movie again, not sure why I haven’t done so sooner… actually one of my favorite Ghibli movies is “I Can Hear the Sea”, really loved that one.. the teenage drama :)..

            Oh, I forgot to mention.. speaking of anime based on famous stories, I thought the “Daddy Long Legs” series was really good, it was one of my favorite anime when I was young.. it was very emotional..


            And there was a Wizard of Oz anime series too which I also liked, but I was too young to remember…

          • mirumu

            I Can Hear the Sea is one of the few Ghibli movies I don’t have. Definitely have to pick it up hearing how much you enjoyed it.

            I’ve only ever seen short clips of My Daddy Long Legs, but it’s an interesting premise. Never seen a copy for sale locally unfortunately. That was around the same era as Legend of the Galactic Heroes that I really enjoyed myself. I do still enjoy some of the anime being made today, but I think the tendency to make shorter series with only 11-13 episodes is holding them back to some extent. I mean The Wizard of Oz was a fairly short book, but they still managed to fill 52 episodes.

          • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

            Hope so. But I’m trying very hard not to go read the book now…

  • Phoenix_Apollo

    “…And she’s hot. lol.”

    SO TRUE.

  • PrinceHeir

    “Could you ever see yourself falling for someone like Vincent in real life?

    I think I already have once or twice. Therapy, therapy, therapy!!!”

    ohhhhhyour into that huh? LOL XD

    awesome work Miss Ruff, hope Laura Bailey step it up with Catherine’s voice :)

    i can’t wait for this, i haven’t been excited for a Dub in a long time(well except for MGS and RE and Uncharted)

  • Aiddon

    good times, Atlus’ localizations are great.

  • I love Michelle! I liked her especially as Yukari(Persona 3). So I was really excited when I heard she was gonna play Katherine in this game.

  • Great interview! Some really good questions in there and great responses.

  • So can we call on Ms. Ruff to follow-up on her “real” vs “anime” idea? Maybe kill some ridiculous, embarrassing discussions found below? Thanks.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos