The English cast of the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 anime film talks about their approach to voice acting and how to portray really big anime villains.
The movie Jujutsu Kaisen 0 continues to rake in theaters around the world, following its $100 million in Japanese box office earnings.
While the screenplay, animation style, and soundtrack deserve plaudits, it’s the performances of the voice cast that cement Jujutsu Kaisen 0’s place as the all-time great anime film.
At a press event for the film, we had the opportunity to interview some of the English actors from Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and ask them about their approaches to playing larger than life anime characters.
What makes a great anime villain?
Anime villains come in all shapes and sizes, and every anime fan has their own personal list of fantastic villains. While the big scary fantasy monsters and demons are obviously intimidating, it’s the sleek, suave villains that really give the creeps; think of Aizen from Bleach or Muzan from Demon Slayer for example.
In the new film, the main villain is Suguru Geto, an alumnus of Jujutsu High who has turned his life purpose to establishing a new hierarchy within the larger global structure of Jujutsu wizards. However, Lex Lang, Suguru Geto’s voice actor, explained that his goal in bringing Suguru to life was not to create a villainous aura.
Lang revealed how “as an actor, I want to commit to what the character wants; who is the character and what does he want to do; how does he live his life in this story arc and what i realized about Suguru is that he is very idealistic.
“His motives are entirely based on his own ideology. So whether it’s good or bad, he’s 100%. This movie uncovers different motivations he had throughout his life and you can see where the course of his life changes a bit. Lex Lang, Suguru Geto.
“I don’t go into the booth thinking ‘oh, I have to be the bad guy,’ I go into the booth thinking what the character relationships are, how I feel about the characters I’m talking to,” Lex said. By adding that it is a question of asking oneself “What do I think of the subject in question?
“Then I just give 100% or 150%: if it comes across as a scary character, it’s really because of the truth that the character speaks resonates with the viewer and it becomes ‘ooh wow, this guy is scary’ or ‘ooh this guy is passionate’ or whatever. – Lex Lang, Suguru.
An annoying villain to send shivers down your spine
One of the most intoxicating features of Suguru Geto as the big bad villain of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is his voice; calm, composed and unnerving. As a reporter pointed out at the press event, we’d be “ready to follow Suguru to the ends of the earth for the sultry tones” of Lex Lang.
Interestingly, Lex detailed his approach as the voice and specifically for Jujutsu Kaisen 0, how he was able to maintain the voice quality throughout the film.
“Instead of trying to maintain a consistent vocal cord quality throughout a performance, it’s more about embodying what the character desires and its emotional content. And if I can do that, in everything I say, as long as I’m connected to that character state, it’s going to engage the viewer. – Lex Lang, Suguru.
However, the nature of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 being almost halfway between the mainstream action and horror anime genres also lends itself to voice actors portraying these larger than life characters.
Kaiji Tang, the voice of Gojo, then revealed how the merging of the two genres was an added bonus for him.
“I love the horror genre and often run out of horror movies to watch with my wife, so I’m really deeply into the horror genre. At the same time, I love Shonen fight shows – so when I discovered the show, it was the perfect mix. – Kaiji Tang, Gojo.
Tang then noted how Yuta reminded him of the “Ring Girl” while pointing out how beautiful it is that the design of the world’s power system “incorporates that kind of Yokai Japanese horror element.”
Play darker, more psychological roles
One of the things that came up repeatedly during the press event for Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was the fun the entire voice cast had while taking on the challenge of bringing these characters to life.
Still, with Jujutsu Kaisen 0 having a darker, more mature, and psychological tone than much of the TV series, it was one aspect of the role that appealed to Anairis Quinones, the voice of young Rika.
“For me as a general anime fan, how I like psychological things. One of my favorite series is Fullmetal Alchemist but I also love Madoka Magica and those other really deep psychological things so playing in that is really exciting for me. – Anairis Quinones.
Age is another important aspect of this, which benefits Anairis, with Rika being such a young character: “I don’t think I’ve ever played a character as young as Rika before, which was exciting for me because it plays with my upper range. .”
“Playing with the fact that she has this alter-ego, this cursed side that is so out there. And I play a lot of characters who keep things close to their chest. So playing a character so much more explosive and expressive was a fun challenge. I really enjoyed doing it and now I want to do more, like crazy more! It’s awesome. – Anaïris Quinones, Rika
By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]
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