Atlus Had Trouble Finding A Suitable Voice For Persona 4: Golden’s Marie

By Sato . May 4, 2013 . 5:30pm

Back in February, Yu Namba from Atlus USA sat down with Famitsu to talk about his involvement in localizing Persona 4: Golden. Finding the right voice actors for each character was a significant task in localizing the game into English, Namba says, but the hardest one was finding a suitable voice actor for Marie’s character.


Famitsu pointed out to Namba that voice acting isn’t quite as recognized of a profession in North America as it is in Japan. To this, Namba replied, “Although it’s not quite as recognized as it is in Japan, it is definitely getting better. I recently went to an event that was host to the English voice actors of Tiger & Bunny, who were signing autographs, and there were so many people. Games and anime aside, there’s been more instances of talented voice actors featured in dramas.”


Many of the voice actors for Persona 4: Golden were part of the original cast from the PlayStation 2 version. The development of Persona 4: Arena provided an extra rehearsal for the Vita game. As Namba said, the only problem was finding a voice actress for the new character, Marie. The localization team couldn’t find a person who had the voice and could act out Marie’s parts as they had imagined.


After a number of interviews and auditions, Namba was introduced to Eden Riegel, who was also responsible for Sherry’s voice in Resident Evil 6 and has also been part of countless other games, movies and television shows.


“She was just perfect for Marie’s role,” Namba said. “I was very surprised. Her acting ability was excellent, and before we knew it, we finished recording all of Marie’s lines.”


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  • Spirit Macardi

    I certainly recognize how little attention voice actors are given here in the west. Especially those who work primarily in anime and game dubs, since it’s some of the lowest-paying voice work out there. Most people who do it primarily are those who legitimately love their work and the medium. And for what it’s worth, they have my appreciation and support.

    • Richard N

      “And for what it’s worth, they have my appreciation and support.”
      I’m with you there brotha, they have one of the coolest and most fun job and they’re so under appreciated, while Robert Downy Jr is making $50 million off one movie. That’s why I’m always kinda ticked off when people write off dubs so fast. Their income is already bad enough as it is, just a small $20 purchase would help!

      • Bobby Jennings

        Hey, hey.Robert is amazing :D

        • Richard N

          No doubt he’s a fine actor and I’m happy for all his success. But he’s not $50 Million good.

          • I heard there were some issues casting him in the second Avengers movie, can anyone confirm this or is it just a wild rumor that isn’t true?

          • M’iau M’iaut

            He has said he wants to move on, but is contracted for one more full appearance as Stark.

          • Ah ok, I thought it was something along the lines of “Gimme more $$$’s, you know u need me”

            I was thinking “Damn son, you already took Edward Nortons share from the first one forcing an alternate (but thankfully and luckily good) Hulk, chill out ><"

    • xXDGFXx

      It tends to be hard for me to care when they can’t be consistent. One example; Saber of Fate/Stay Night. According to MAL, she has had 4 English VAs play her part!

      • MXC

        Here’s a little fun fact related to both the Fate series and VAs. Look on MAL the VA list for the Fate/Stay Night cast and Fate/Zero cast and tell me what you see. :)

        • xXDGFXx

          Same saber, 4 English VAs. Nothing that I don’t know of. The Saber of Fate/Stay Night is the same throughout from Fate/Stay Night to Fate/Zero (or reverse the order cuz timeline and stuff) to Fate/Hollow Axtaria into Carnival Phantasm.

          The most prominent name that I tied to that character is Kawasumi Ayako and no other.

          • MXC

            Actually I was refering to the fact that the transition from Stay Night to Zero caused(VA-wise): Gilgamesh to become Lancer, Kotomine to become Rider, Assassin to become Gilgamesh. Nothing happened to Saber cast-wise.

          • xXDGFXx

            Ohhhh. Huh, that is very weird…

      • Chiupon

        you know all those sabers aren’t the same saber, right?

        • xXDGFXx

          Oh, really? So this Saber that is the same Saber in Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero and Carnival Phantasm is not the same character even though she is?

          It is the same Saber, they are not different. All are King Arthur.

          • Chiupon

            fate/extra saber is nero :V

          • Chiupon

            and she’s voiced by sakura tange.

          • xXDGFXx

            Red Saber is not Saber… Saber.

            … fuck, after repeating saber multiple times, the word has begun to look weird…

          • RichyGaming

            Actually, Red Saber is saber. Saber is a class in the series. But her name is (SPOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIIIILEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRS) Nero. As for the well-known Blue Saber, her name is (SPOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRSSS) Arthur, or Altria, or Alturia (I think?) but i’m pretty sure Arthur is better known.

          • Chiupon

            ^ pretty much. The role and design of saber has been used many times within the nasuverse. There’s moar than one heroic spirit attached to the class. That’s why it’s a class.

          • RichyGaming

            Yep, but you can’t really blame anyone for calling her Saber anyways. To be honest when she told her name it was still hard for me to stop calling her Saber in any show/novel/game/manga in general haha. But it’s not good to forget it altogether. By the way what’s the nasuverse? :o

    • Luis Edgar Flores Gutierrez

      “In the West” pal? Maybe you mean the U.S. and Canada. Other countries has many voice actors that are as recognized as the Japanese ones, like the Mexican, Italian and Spaniard ones.

      • M’iau M’iaut

        Recognition and attention among the common audience. Are VAs in the countries mentioned as known as folks in the smallest of TV productions are? How much crossover between live and animation do they do? Johnny Yong Bosch is still far better known as a Power Ranger than a significant English voice actor.

        It is also worth noting that the Japanese VAs we love so dearly are not always household names in broader Japanese society. Few seiyuu get the chance for live acting, outside of things related to their shows.

        • Luis Edgar Flores Gutierrez

          Well, at least in Mexico (my homeland) many voice actors has also worked in live-action stuff, like Mexican comedian Jorge Arvizu, Eugenio Derbez, the singer Kalimba and many others. In Spain they have the (already retired) Constantino Romero plus others.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            And the rest of us learn something new. Thanks. Some of the Canadian VAs from Ocean do Canadian TV, but in America — not so much. American VAs probably do most of their work in theater between anime and game gigs. When you read some of their bios, there is also a lot of actor instruction, too.

            As Spirit Macardi noted, folks who act for the love of the job first.

    • Romancer Ecclesia

      I despise english dubs a lot in anime. But I’ve not swapped out English voices for the original Japanese in recently localized games… Persona series and Fire Emblem in particular. I admit I’m quite biased towards Japanese voice acting due to the common fear of emotions getting lost in translation, which is a big issue since I play for the storyline. Yet I was convinced by the quality of the English VAs in the above games and… wow. I didn’t expect to get convinced. I sincerely hope the industry gets more recognition!

  • AuraGuyChris

    Isn’t voice acting in Japan a little ridiculous? I think I heard somewhere that Japanese VAs have a lot of control over anime.

    • gold163

      More like, their agents have a lot of control over anime. The way Japanese corporate structure is set up, anime voice actors/actresses are basically exploited by their agencies. They don’t get paid a lot, and that’s the reason why they have to resort to other work besides doing just voice acting (like singing or becoming idols/television personalities).

    • KuchikiSentou

      I’m not sure about control over anime, But voice actors are generally well respected, celebrated even – in Japan.
      For the creatives, the actor has to be just right for the role and from what I understand, can be quite lucrative.

      Again, unlike the West.

      • gold163

        Japan’s entertainment industry is large, but also interconnected. A lot of voice talent isn’t confined to any one part of the industry; in order to make it big you need to branch out and do more than just voice acting.

        The reasons why this isn’t prevalent in the west are because:

        1) Western animation isn’t a thriving, multimedia megaindustry like it is in Japan, and western animators can just as easily employ regular, non-voice-specific talent such as Hollywood stars

        2) Video games, which you would think hold the potential to cultivate such an industry, are pretty much dominated by huge corporations that are highly management-centric and oppress individuality, instead preferring to give credit to the company at large — much like any other western creative industry. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not good either.

        On the other hand, you could argue that we have the same kinds of personalities over here in the west — multimedia personalities such as pop singers who also perform in movies and on television or write books. They just aren’t as involved in animation because, again, the west doesn’t have an animation or video games culture like Japan does.

        • Auvers

          Japanese TV and Movie actors tend to do just about everything thing. They do voice acting, singing, modeling, commercial advertising for just about anything and even working between TV and movies on average which just isn’t something that happens at all in the west. In the west doing commercial endorsements for just anything, or going from movies to TV, etc is just seen as lesser work.

    • DesmaX

      I know there are people that buys animes (and other stuff) just because it have that Voice Actor they like

      • I’ll watch anything with Norio Wakamoto myself…he is hilarious

        • DesmaX

          I gotta agree with that. His voice is something else

        • Marcelo Gouvea

          “Anything”, you say?


          He voiced a major character in the Japanese dub of The Human Centipede.

          Good luck.

          • I already seen the human centipede, guess I’ll find a japanese copy and watch it again then

          • That actually sounds downright hilarious XD

        • Raze

          That mean….Hentai too huh?
          But gotta agree…His voice is good…

          • MrSirFeatherFang

            You have no idea how hyped I was when he was going to be in a certain hentai… unfortunately he didn’t appear until near the end or very little.

          • Raze

            Haha…But his voice is too manly for Hentai…
            I remember Sharin no Kuni…Wow…He really is superior in that game…I’m glad too He’s not some sick bastard so He doesn’t have to voiced h-scene…

          • Niyari

            mothafuckin Houzuki. he’s so convincing as that guy that it’s scary

          • ShadowDivz

            I have a feeling i know which one your talking about. Did you review an H anime on myanimelist?
            And i hope you weren’t fapping to his voice or looking forward to fapping to it. Fandom taken too far.

          • MrSirFeatherFang

            lol no I did not make a review. I’m not a huge fan of him, but his voice is very cool. And yes you probably do know which h anime I’m talking about

          • Chris Yuen

   does his Giga Drill Br**ker count? Wakamoto voiced Wooden Cubes in the anime Nichijou as well, and not forgetting Wakamotorcycle. Truly a man above all legends.

        • MrTyrant

          Funny he also voice eroge novels. One of them is Kazoku Keikaku (Family Project) or the black guy from Koihime Musou (lolol)

    • MrTyrant

      M…M…Midorikawa said once that Bampresto should add Demonbane in the SRW franchine…maybe it was a signal D:

      • Exkaiser

        Midorikawa is technically an “advisor” for the series… I believe they pay him in bagels or some such thing.

        • LynxAmali

          They pay him in early copies of the games and he returns the favor with free lines.

          He’s definitely an advisor though for games that have him involved. I’d say Obari too.

    • $1484028

      then you’ve heard wrong.

      the studio marketing departments have control over anime. they hire who they think are currently popular.

      the only “control” VAs have is leveraging their current popularity.

      if you’re one of the “it” VAs atm, you can demand more money, like in any profession. and the “it” actors will start showing up in 4-5 shows every season. which of course means even more money.

      to say they have “control” outside of leveraging their demand is pretty far off. THAT (**points above**) is about it for “control” VAs have.

      and it doesn’t take much for them to be disposable and get throw aside.

      one need only look at the career of Hirano Aya.

      once the untouchable golden girl of the VA industry. a slowly built bad reputation (producers had claimed she would come late, she had an attitutde, etc etc) has since led to her not having a major role in… a year or 2? outside of her recurring lead in Fairy Tail (at one point literally her only role in an entire season), which she scored before her fall from grace.

      and by “slowly” do note we’re only talking like 2-3 years, so “slowly” relatively speaking. but in more realistic terms, it didn’t take long for casting directors to move on (the arrival of the K-on juggernaut making 4 brand new unknowns VA stars didn’t help)

      • Chester Cunningham

        There’s no such thing as VA dubbers leveraging for more money. Actors who dub anime all get the same low pay per hour w/ no residuals on non union jobs. Union anime dubbing is the same, but you get something like $20 extra for each different episode worked in the same work period. The exception would be a dubbed theatrical release, of which there are very few.

  • komiko12

    Need more Voice Actors. I always hear the same voices when it comes to localized Japanese media.

    • SunOatBoatMatadorQuattro

      .hack and Persona share a lot of guys.

      • Raze

        And Zero Escape….

        • benhofb

          RIGHT?! Like ALL of the characters in VLR were from Persona 3 or 4.

    • Spirit Macardi

      That can be attributed to the lower than normal wages for dub work. Also that dubbing is almost always non-union work, which means the vast majority of mainstream cartoon actors are unavailable (provided they’d have any interest in it to begin with).

      At the same time though, we are getting some new talent. People like Cristina Vee and Marianne Miller are still pretty new to the scene, and I honestly think it’s only a matter of time before more of the online voice actors out there go professional.

      Also, to be fair, Japan reuses select actors quite frequently as well. And really that makes sense, since if some people prove themselves quite talented then it’s more likely they’ll be hired again.

      • Marcelo Gouvea

        Also, time constraints, depending on the production. When a cartoon is being produced, the creative team has a pretty decent amount of time to hunt actors, hold auditions, contact agencies, etc; because the cartoon is still being produced. When it comes to Japanese media, it’s licensing announcement -> voice recording, as soon as possible. Since there’s not enough time to find new blood, directors (and, at times, the original companies themselves) tend to go with those they’re already familiar, who are readily accessible, and so on.

        Of course, as you said, that might change thanks to internet culture. It might not be a recent example, but I was surprised when I saw that Kira Buckland has a nice resumé herself, even though she started doing mostly fan-voicing and so.

        • Spirit Macardi

          Yeah, Kira is a great example of someone who started online and has since gone pro. There’s also Christopher “Kirbopher” Niosi.

          There’s also the vast difference in the way acting is done between dubs and domestic productions. In typical cartoon acting, the whole cast is together in a studio where they can hear each other and respond in a more realistic manner. There’s also the opportunity for improvisation, further adding to the natural feeling.

          Meanwhile dubbing is done via ADR, where it’s just a single actor in a room alone with a mic and a TV screen. They don’t even get to see the lines they have to read until the day of. The TV plays the original footage and audio of the scene they’re voicing for, and that person then needs to replicate it in English as best as possible. Looking at that, it’s sort of a miracle that dubs can be produced at all, let alone truly good ones.

      • Chester Cunningham

        $75. an hour. No residuals. You might work four hours; you might work two. During that time you may do a handful of different episodes. You could voice a character in a whole 26 episode series and make very little money. Taxes. Gas. Do the math.

        • F*ck me… even Chef Ramsey couldn’t sell this… had no idea it was this bad >.<

          Once again, I /bow to our hard working NA VA's for their hard work.

        • Spirit Macardi

          Exactly, I wasn’t claiming otherwise.

          A popular actor can live off one paycheck for months. A popular voice actor can… maybe buy a week’s worth of groceries with one of theirs.

    • You mean like how Troy Baker and Michelle Ruff are in everything?

      • komiko12

        Exactly :D
        They are really great and all, but I can’t imagine so many characters having the same voice.

      • At least it’s not Lowenthall as much anymore. He’s good, but either his range is never used/requested or he has little. Like either Laura Bailey or JYB. Make no mistake, I like most of the different voices they each do. The exception being the almost every single high-strung teenage girl voice…

        • Isaac Newton

          Exception with this LOLs

          Gasp the Enemy!
          There are five enemies
          Four enemies left
          Three enemies left
          Just two enemies
          Only one enemies left
          Ken-kun is not thinking straight

          • DeadLineDance

            Oh, how I love CrombieTheZombie’s Persona remixes.

        • I finally figured out the japanese fanboy-ism there is on voice actors once i started getting used to Laura Baileys voice, I can hear her all day ^ ^

          But on a serious note, remember the time when Vic Mignogna used to be in everything? WEll, he kinda is still, but yeah, you see where I’m going with this.

          And let’s not forget how Greg Ayres became Sentai’s poster child as of late; i mean they cast his ass in everything they grab (I fear for the SAO dub…)

          Knnowing it’s not his fault after attending so many cons and hearing the same reason from every dubber out there: “We take what we’re given since the work can be stretched real thin sometimes.” SO again, I know it’s not his fault, but some of his roles REALLY don’t suit him and the person handing them to him clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.

          Comedy? As in the role he had in Baka & Test? Fkkn GOLD, a damn near perfect fit.

          But damn it Deadman Wonderland? Angel Beats? CLANNAD!?

          Sorry but no, automatic fail when the serious moments crop up, eng dub purchase wasn’t worth the facepalms and /groans his voice forced on me when i previewed clips of those respective shows online.

    • AnimusVox

      Yeah, I agree. I wish Fire Emblem: Awakening had more spoken dialogue with the side characters that weren’t the confessions. Or maybe more voice actors like those of ‘Last Story’.

  • Tien Ron

    i think voice actors need to be reconsigned more too, hell i couldn’t even tell you the ones that voice all our Disney movies.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      For the most part, Disney and all the major American animation studios use recognized live-action actors for their main and secondary roles. Names English-dubbed anime fans would recognize can be found, but only as background characters. Crispin Freeman has noted one of his most exciting roles was the two lines he had right at the end of Howl’s.

  • This is all find and dandy but where’s my persona 5 teaser

    • who marked me down?

      • M’iau M’iaut

        Sadly Disqus will never tell. All I can say is smile and move on like we’ve all had to learn to do.

  • Raze

    I don’t really know if She’s perfect…
    But I can say she’s not bad as Marie…
    “The poem” and that “fasttalkwithoutspace”
    And one thing I like again is when she says
    “I’m tired of moving! Enough with getting up! Good thing there’s someone even I can hug!”

  • Marcelo Gouvea

    And just as a piece of harmless trivia: Eden Riegel is sister of Sam Riegel, who voices Teddie in P4G and P4A.

    And thus I start to build my headcanon.

    • Metalsnakezero

      I just found that out. Talk about connections.

      • Mr_SP

        “A wish? I don’t have any. I do… but it’s beary early to share.”

  • glenngunnerzero

    It’s just Hollywood American Culture. Let’s be honest, They practically run TV and News the Western world over, but once you get out of that and sports you start getting into subcultures in America that less than 1% of the general public knows about. Everybody knows Will Smith the actor, but how many know Will Smith from Tested? How many people who played Metal Gear Solid series could even tell you who directed it, or even who made Mario for all the copies in the series of games out there.

    For us who grew up with it, involved ourselves with it, or spent countless hours playing these games, Fuck yeah we celebrate it and the people involved. It’s still niche to a lot of people who just see their Brothers, Sisters, Sons, Daughters, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends play them or buy them and don’t really bother to watch or play them longer than a round or two out of boredom. People playing games is starting to branch out, but recognizing credits and production staff hasn’t quite yet.

    • Isaac Newton

      Can you simplify things please….

  • Go2hell66

    I think they had even more trouble finding a suitable voice for chie. I think she would have been a way better VA for an episode of dexter’s lab :/

    • Poor Chie, she had such a great VA in the PS2 version and then Atlus cheaped out and got a generic bad-anime-dub VA for P4G instead.

  • Zero Shift

    Marie’s voice is sexy as hell.

  • Arizato

    I liked Marie’s voice actor alot. Every moment I spent with her felt genuine.

  • Isaac Newton

    I think Marie’s voice on the english ver. is good I’m really FFFgood(Try to pronouce it!).
    I always think that Marie is the main focus on P4G…. XD
    Atlus I wish you always bring good voice actor.
    Persona 3 and 4 wake me up about American Voice actors and appreciate Eng ver. of animes(Before I always pick Jap ver. on Animes)…

  • Wait, this was an interview in Famitsu about the English localization? That sounds… really fascinating, actually. Is there a full translation somewhere out there?

  • I want japanese voices with english subtitles. I won’t buy the game without this feature.

    • Oh no! Does ATLUS know? Did you email them to let them know? Someone should tell them! This is a disaster.

  • Oltheros

    It’s nice that Atlus puts effort/thought into the English VA. I still wish they would put some budget towards the original VA though.

  • Strid

    They didn’t have a problem hiring unsuitable voices for all the other characters, why the discrepancy for Marie?

  • 七死

    Persona 4 Golden could’ve been better, IF I HAD THE OPTION TO CHANGE THE VOICES TO JAPANESE

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