The Role Of Albuquerque’s Homelands In “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” Anime

A scene from the anime movie “Jujutsu Kaisen 0”. Albuquerque native Matthew David Rudd voices Panda, center. (Courtesy of Crunchyroll)

There are plenty of voices in Matthew David Rudd’s arsenal.

Although the Albuquerque native can’t be seen on camera, moviegoers can hear his voice in the movie “Jujutsu Kaisen 0.” The animated film is currently showing in theaters and Rudd provides the voice of Panda.

“Yes, a panda,” Rudd laughs. “This role is going to be important. This is one of the most fortuitous moments of my career.”

“Jujutsu Kaisen 0” follows Yuta Okkotsu, a nervous high school student, who enrolls in the mysterious Tokyo Jujutsu High School under the guidance of Satoru Gojo after being haunted by the curse of his childhood friend.

The film is based on “Jujutsu Kaisen 0”, a manga prequel to the hit supernatural adventure series “Jujutsu Kaisen” by Gege Akutami.

life02 jd 03apr 2rudd
New Mexico native voice actor Matthew David Rudd.

Rudd has been a voice actor for over a decade. He has been involved in projects of all sizes.

“I was super lucky to ride in this one,” he says.

The recording of the film was done during the pandemic. It was then that Rudd put more work into his home recording studio. He divides his time between Dallas and Los Angeles.

“It was scary during lockdown because nothing was happening on the registration fronts,” he says. “We wondered if finding new jobs was in the cards. Because we could record from home, the industry wasn’t affected too much.

Rudd found many commonalities between himself and Panda.

“It’s not really too much to play against him,” he said. “I add grain to his voice. The show is quite heavy and Panda is the comedic element. Panda is there for emotional support. He makes people laugh. Oh, and it’s a talking panda. It is the only large talking animal in the series.

Rudd says that Panda is also a cursed corpse spirit.

“That’s the only information they give you about his past,” he said. “They show something in this film that they hadn’t mentioned about its history. There’s a big fight scene and how he takes damage. You see it and it leads to more questions.

Growing up in New Mexico, Rudd was exposed to and influenced by Native American and Mexican culture.

After graduating from Sandia Prep High School, he went to Florida to attend Ringling College of Art and Design.

It was there that he explored cinema and worked with audio recording.

“I started auditioning for audio roles and was lucky enough to get a few video games,” he says. “I’m a huge fan of animation and the way things are recorded. It’s always fascinating to me. I have a 7 year old son and he loves the shows I’m on and we watch them together.

Rudd still returns to Albuquerque to visit his father, Tim, a few times a year.

“New Mexico will always have an impact on me,” he says. “I grew up in the art world.”