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Disgaea 4 Complete+ - Emizel tells plan to Valvatorez - Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software Disgaea 4 Complete+ - Emizel tells plan to Valvatorez - Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Gaming

Disgaea 4 Complete+ ‘False News’ storyline highly relevant today

Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

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Disgaea 4 Complete+ is a remastered definitive edition of a 2011 released game and yet, its ‘False News’ Chapter 4 storyline has never been more culturally relevant than today.

This article contains spoilers to Chapter 4 of Disgaea 4 Complete+.

Despite being released several years prior to the term ‘Fake News’ becoming ingrained in our society, revisiting Disgaea 4 Complete+’s lead storyline feels surreally modern. One of those rare cases where light hearted art and satire becomes ice cold reality. NIS were clearly miles ahead of their time, lightyears away in fact. As playing Chapter 4 “Death Emizel’s Death” matches the current state of affairs in journalism and media almost beat for beat.   

The character Death Emizel is the son of the President of the Netherworld in Disgaea 4 Complete+, and after being knocked out by aspiring ‘Final Boss’ Desco… A Netherworld newspaper prints out a story that he’d passed on. Emizel had fledged his whole existence and pride on being the aristocratic, royalty-like son of the Netherworld President. The youngster becomes even further mortified that a funeral service occurred with haste. He pledges to go to the Netherworld’s Information Bureau to fix what he believes will be a simple correction. 

However, when Emizel arrives at the Information Bureau, security guards will not believe he is the real Emizel, despite literally standing right in front of them. They cite the newspaper story as truth, and that if he was really alive it would have been reported.

Disgaea 4 Complete+ - Netherworld Information Bureau Security Guards - Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Disgaea 4 Complete+ – Netherworld Information Bureau Security Guards – Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Instead they believe he is bringing shame to the ‘deceased’ Emizel by playing an ‘imposter’ so-to-speak. Their blind faith and loyalty in the word of ink suppresses even their own eyes. Reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984, the word of ‘the corrupternment’ and their newspaper is absolute and unquestioned. Contrarian opinions are to be discarded into the scrap heap, thrown into the dumpster on the side of an alley.

Disgaea 4 Complete+ - Valvatorez - Netherworld Information Bureau Security Guards - Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Disgaea 4 Complete+ – Valvatorez – Netherworld Information Bureau Security Guards – Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Disheartened, Emizel can not reconcile what is happening to his entire identity. He is beside himself at the thought that ‘the corrupternment’ has cast him out as persona non grata. Worse, the fallen son begins to comprehend the idea that facts alone cannot overcome popular belief and dogma. His real physical presence cannot supersede the already printed false news of his reported death.

Disgaea 4 Complete+ - Emizel beside himself - Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Disgaea 4 Complete+ – Emizel beside himself – Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Netherworld False News no accident

Fenrich, a second-in-command to the game’s protagonist Valvatorez, reveals to him that he’d sent a blackmailing video to Emizel’s father… One of Emizel being knocked out and scattering away. Thus, it’s likely it was actually Emizel’s own father, the President of the Netherworld, that ordered the ‘false news’ of his death be published. All in an effort to avoid public embarrassment and scrutiny from the Netherworld at large. Though highly plausible, Emizel cannot accept the scenario of his father’s ultimate abandonment. Other characters like Fuka Kazumatsuri attempt to prod Emizel ever so gently to see the truth but to no avail.

Disgaea 4 Complete+ - Fuka Kazamatsuri hints to Emizel the news spread intentionally - Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Disgaea 4 Complete+ – Fuka Kazamatsuri hints to Emizel the news spread intentionally – Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

The prodigal son feels if he can just talk to the Information Bureau’s Chief, the story will be corrected. That a return to his elite throne of hereditary prestige was still in grasp… Emizel was wrong.

Disgaea 4 Complete+ - Netherworld Information Bureau Chief reveals truth to Emizel - Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Disgaea 4 Complete+ – Netherworld Information Bureau Chief reveals truth to Emizel – Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

The Information Bureau Chief reveals the unsympathetic truth to Emizel, his father had indeed ordered them to run the story. As such that it was the President of the Netherworld’s direct order to print the ‘False News’ story, they cannot withdraw it from the public sphere. Whether Emizel is alive or not is irrelevant to the larger picture of the Netherworld’s corrupternment agenda and image. 

Disgaea 4 Complete+ - Netherworld Information Bureau Chief explains the reality of the Netherworld - Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Disgaea 4 Complete+ – Netherworld Information Bureau Chief explains the reality of the Netherworld – Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Disillusioned, Emizel decides to give in to Valvatorez’ earlier words about leaving behind the established regime… A regime that once worked tirelessly in his favor. Emizel is convinced to join Valvatorez’ rebellion against the corrupternment now that the system no longer includes him in it. The once noble reduced to civilian life. 

Disgaea 4 Complete+ - Valvatorez gradually convincing Emizel at Netherworld Information Bureau - Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

Disgaea 4 Complete+ – Valvatorez gradually convincing Emizel at Netherworld Information Bureau- Playstation 4 -Screenshot Credit: Nir Regev via NIS America / Nippon Ichi Software

For reference purposes, this article was based on the PlayStation 4 Edition of Disgaea 4 Complete+. Visit Disgaea.us, the official website for the title and watch game trailers.

Disclosure: A review copy of Disgaea 4 Complete+ for the PlayStation 4 was provided to The Natural Aristocrat / Live Game Deals courtesy of NIS America.

Be sure to check out Live Game Deals’ interview with Nippon Ichi Software President Sohei Niikawa on Disgaea!

LiveGameDeals.com is The Natural Aristocrat’s Gaming and Anime dedicated platform.

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Gaming

Lydia, Negan steal show with shades of TLOU’s Ellie and Joel

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Cassady McClincy as Lydia, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Cassady McClincy gave her best acting performance to date on “The Tower” as she and Jeffrey Dean Morgan made a strong play for the roles of Ellie & Joel on HBO’s upcoming adaption of The Last of Us.

This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 15 (“The Tower”) and The Last of Us.

Is it time for Negan to trade in his vintage leather jacket for an olive-green plaid shirt in-between seasons of The Walking Dead? Lydia’s chaotic outburst at the father figure who ironically made her an orphan tonight was magic. A frenzied tearjerker with the same intentionally unrefined edges that once made Rick Grimes’ breakdown ‘snot’ memorable. Vicious, raw screaming at the man who took away both Lydia’s mother and right to self-sacrifice at her hand. Cradled, sheltered, and snatched from fate. Just as Joel did to Ellie at the conclusion of The Last of Us.

The type of father/daughter on-screen chemistry Cassady McClincy and Jeffrey Dean Morgan share is a rare sight. Negan pleading with Lydia to hit him, desiring nothing more than to lean down to present an unguarded mug was one of the show’s more powerful visuals. What do you say to an abused teenager whose mother you just pushed past death row? Lydia, rejected the guilt-filled plea initially. Opting to pierce Negan where it hurts the most… With words of truth. ‘You just wanted to be a hero to them but you’ll never be one!’

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Cassady McClincy as Lydia – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 15 – Photo: Jace Downs/AMC

Though TWD’s audience has seen a youngster losing a parent before with Carl Grimes, it was to an extent, mostly bottled up by Carl postmortem. Here we see the full spectrum of emotions from detachment, disgust and unbridled rage to complete shock, vulnerability and sadness by Lydia. Rockbottom.

The last remnants of Lydia’s innocence, of her childhood, forever gone. No chance of making her mother or father’s heart be filled with pride ever again. Not even the faintest, unrealistic daydreams of her mother’s starry-eyed happy tears at a college graduation or wedding. Every day forward will be spent alone, even when others are there. Instead of being gently guided, Lydia is shoved into the mud of adulthood.

Tonight’s TWD just needed Gustavo Santaolalla’s “All Gone” (No Escape) to complete the moment…

Be sure to read Lydia’s mistreatment proves Second Chances are Fashion Statements and more TWD Season 10 coverage in The Natural Aristocrat’s Walking Dead category section.

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Anime Interviews

Watch: SAO’s Todd Haberkorn calls Cherami Leigh live, records voicemail

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Anime NYC 2019 Interview - Pictured: Sword Art Online's Todd Haberkorn on left, Cherami Leigh on right - Photo Credit: Todd Haberkorn / Paul Smith Photography
Photo Credit: Todd Haberkorn / Paul Smith Photography

Sword Art Online’s Todd Haberkorn went into pseudo Sugou/Oberon mode when he recorded a humorous voicemail live to Asuna voice actor Cherami Leigh during an interview at Anime NYC 2019!

SAO English Dub voice actor Todd Haberkorn subtly channeled Sugou Nobuyuki / Oberon when he recorded a live voicemail to Asuna herself, Cherami Leigh, inviting her to dinner. Haberkorn joked, “Deal? If it’s a deal, say nothing… Perfect!” drawing laughs from everyone in the room at Anime NYC 2019. One remarked, “I’m going to use that!”

The moment arrived during The Natural Aristocrat’s full interview with Todd Haberkorn when asked if he recorded his Sword Art Online scenes in the studio with Cherami there. Haberkorn mentioned that Anime/Dub voice actors rarely have that partner to play off of for a variety of reasons. Then in the spur of the moment, Haberkorn decided to ring up Cherami in classic fashion!

Todd Haberkorn comments on SAO co-star Cherami Leigh:

“Unfortunately, I don’t get to see Cherami (Leigh) as much as people think we hang out. Even though we are kind of neighbors, like we don’t live that far from each other. Actually, you know what? Thank you for bringing that up. I’m actually going to send her a Marco Polo right now. [takes out cellphone, dials on speaker phone to leave voicemail]

Hey Cherami, we’re sitting here and I’m hanging out with some folks and doing a lot of interview action. We were just talking about you, how amazing you are, how fantastic you are behind the mic, and how that we don’t get to hang out very much even though we kind of live next to each other… So, let’s do this! December, we have to get together and have dinner. Deal? If it’s a deal, say nothing… Perfect! Okay. December. So, she’ll get that message and she’ll let me see know what she thinks.”

Todd Haberkorn on Social Media:

Follow Todd Haberkorn on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and his official website. A complete listing of his roles is available on BehindtheVoiceActors.com and IMDB.

Be sure to keep up to date with featured guests at next year’s Anime NYC at AnimeNYC.com, tickets for Anime NYC 2020 are on sale now!

Check out The Natural Aristocrat’s recent coverage of singer Eir Aoi’s Zepp Osaka Bayside gig, the voice of some of SAO’s most recognizable opening and closing themes.

More Anime coverage is available in The Natural Aristocrat’s Anime Category section and over on Live Game Deals’ Anime Category Section.

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Anime Interviews

Anime NYC 2019: Todd Haberkorn talks Sword Art Online (Interview)

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Todd Haberkorn - Anime NYC 2019 Interview - Pictured: Todd Haberkorn on left, Sword Art Online's Sugou Nobuyuki / Fairy King Oberon on right - Photo and Art Credit: Todd Haberkorn / Aniplex
Photo and Art Credit: Todd Haberkorn / Aniplex

Todd Haberkorn spoke to The Natural Aristocrat at Anime NYC 2019 about Sword Art Online’s villain Sugou Nobuyuki/Oberon, Asuna voice actor Cherami Leigh, ad-libbing, and the business of voice acting.

During an interview at Anime NYC 2019, SAO voice actor Todd Haberkorn went in-depth on the balance act in Anime between business and art. Haberkorn reflected on playing some of the cruelest villains in recent history between Sword Art Online’s chilling Sugou Nobuyuki/Fairy King Oberon suggesting taking sexual liberties with Asuna Yuuki to Re:Zero’s Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti. The SAO English Dub actor went the extra mile and made an on-the-spot, humorous phone call to co-star Cherami Leigh! Leaving a dinner request in Leigh’s voicemail in classic Sugou to Asuna fashion if you get the drift…

Haberkorn noticeably has a good sense of humor about the entertainment industry at large and its wild west style chaos. Hope and Fear come from the same place so he doesn’t live with exceptions for roles or success, a zen-like state of mind. You never know what’s going to happen in the business but life does imitate art. As Haberkorn gets to play up to his naturally comedic instincts in shows like Dragon Ball Super where he plays Galactic Patrol’s Jaco.

Watch the full interview with Todd Haberkorn above or read the transcript below:

The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: What was it like voicing such a massive villain in Sword Art Online where your character Sugou Nobuyuki/Fairy King Oberon was teasing sexual assault with Asuna?

Todd Haberkorn: Yeah, that character is probably not a CEO anywhere today! You know, with a role like that and every role, you have to find something that you can latch onto so that you can be that character’s champion. When it’s a character like that, for me, I strip away the actual actions of what he’s doing and ask, “What at the core does he want?” And so then I try to get behind that and rally behind that, and that helps give me the fuel to move forward.

I thought that was kind of the craziest, creepiest character I ever played but there’s a character in Re:Zero (Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti) who is nuts and he’s basically like Anime Joker in a weird sadistic way. He’s the worst! When I played him, I remember turning to Chris Cason who directed it and I’m like, “This is the one. This is the weirdest, creepiest role I’ve ever done. Ever!” I knew it right there. So Oberon could take a few villain lessons from him I guess. But yeah it was weird. (laughs)

Sword Art Online villain Sugou Nobuyuki – played by English Dub Voice Actor Todd Haberkorn – Photo Credit: Aniplex

Do you believe that it’s more freeing to play a villain as an actor?

I think definitely, villains do have more fun in the sense that they don’t subscribe to rules. The hero does! The hero is always gonna have a really not strict but pretty set structure of how they’re going to proceed through the story. Whereas a villain just makes up the rules as they go along. So it is in a way pretty freeing. I mean I like playing both. I think playing a hero is better because the villain usually dies! (laughs)

Sword Art Online’s ‘ALfheim Online’ (ALO) villain Fairy King Oberon – played by English Dub Voice Actor Todd Haberkorn – Photo Credit: Aniplex

Did you get to go into the recording booth and play off other actors like Cherami Leigh (Asuna Yuuki) in Sword Art Online?

To do Anime or any kind of dubbing, no, we record it separately. When I work on shows like Scooby-Doo (Aiden, David) or Ben 10 (Grey Matter), we’re recording together and it’s great. It’s always great to to work off other people for sure. But it’s kind of an isolated existence for dubbing, with good reason. I mean with each line, the engineer has to take it and make sure it fits in the exact pre-existing animation. And with Anime of course, there’s moments where it’s like, ‘Little, Big, Small, Crying, Sad, Nosebleed, Happy, Eating Food!’ You know all in a moment. So, it would be difficult to do with more than one person at once.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to see Cherami (Leigh) as much as people think we hang out. Even though we are kind of neighbors, like we don’t live that far from each other. Actually, you know what? Thank you for bringing that up. I’m actually going to send her a Marco Polo right now. [takes out cellphone, dials on speaker phone to leave voicemail]

Hey Cherami, we’re sitting here and I’m hanging out with some folks and doing a lot of interview action. We were just talking about you, how amazing you are, how fantastic you are behind the mic, and how that we don’t get to hang out very much even though we kind of live next to each other… So, let’s do this! December, we have to get together and have dinner. Deal? If it’s a deal, say nothing. Perfect! Okay. December. So, she’ll get that message and she’ll let me see know what she thinks.

Anime NYC 2019 Interview – Pictured: Sword Art Online’s Todd Haberkorn on left, Cherami Leigh on right – Photo Credit: Todd Haberkorn / Paul Smith Photography

Do you have rituals that you practice before each voice acting session? How many takes do you generally get to do?

I mean, for me it’s like one or two takes but I’m grateful for those situations. But sometimes I work with actors where it’s a few more than that, it just depends on the on the situation. There’s a lot of different extenuating circumstances that could lead to more takes. Maybe for the engineer, something happened with Pro Tools and stopped recording or maybe there’s a loud bang in the other room. Maybe I was off mic or someone was off mic or somebody hit the mic. There’s a variety of reasons but luckily it’s about one or two takes and then they get what they need. Which might mean the Director is not paying attention at all. But it makes me feel good! (laughs)

On ad-libbing:

I typically don’t. For Sgt. Frog (Keroro/Kululu) I improved a lot and lots of it stayed in. But typically I won’t improv because I have a weird reason why I don’t. It revolves around the fact that, essentially if you start improving and they keep something in there you’ve now become a writer on the show. But are you getting credit for that? Noooo. The writer gets credit for that! And if there’s a cool line you come up with that is yours and maybe it becomes your catchphrase… Who gets credit for that? The writer. I’m cool with it if they’re like Todd co-wrote ‘blah blah blah’ in this episode but it doesn’t ever go down that way.

So, I’m really kind of resistant to improv like that behind the mic because it happens a lot. I’ll get Directors that are like, “Go ahead and feel free to give us one take as written but if you want to give us another take improv,” all I do is I go, “Okay.” And I don’t do it! (laughs)

Have you ever spoken beforehand about getting some kind of writing credit?

Yeah, not specifically for improv but when I was directing Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, I rewrote those scripts extensively. And I asked for a writing credit on it because it wasn’t like one line here, two lines here. Entire scripts I rewrote throughout the twenty-six episodes.

There’s another show, not sure if people have heard of it, Crow’s Blood. It’s a show where they took a girl pop band and they made a series with them. Like you know, how sometimes they take a big band and say, “Let’s capitalize on your popularity and let’s make a show!” They did that with Crow’s Blood, it’s an interesting show, like on purpose, cool B-Movie Horror. But with those scripts I rewrote every one of them. So, I asked for credit for that.

On the Entertainment Industry:

Not knowing, especially in the Entertainment Industry when things can change like that [snaps finger]! When you have a movie like Terminator: Dark Fate bomb at the box office and then Tim Miller who directed it, has his Kitty Pryde movie gets canned. You know, you’re like, “Oh was that… Did that happen because of that?” I mean Chewbacca mom comes out on YouTube out of nowhere and then it was like, “Oh my God, millions of viewers let’s get her to a con!” And then she goes to a convention… Doesn’t work.

The Entertainment Industry is sooooo weird. It’s like who would have thought, let’s put all the Beverly Hills Housewives together, and let’s make a show about that. How do you come up with that? So, you can’t really gauge what’s going to happen.

Another example is D.Gray-man. Sh*t, I didn’t know that 10 years later we would come back to that show. I thought for surrrre we wouldn’t. That’s why I made the bet about piercing my ears cause I’m like I guarantee you we’re not doing D.Gray-man. Earlier in that day I’d seen a guy with pierced ears that looked cool, and so it stuck in my head. And so when someone asked about D.Gray-man and I was like that show comes back I’ll pierce my ears because I thought she’d been 10 years.

Anime NYC 2019 Interview – Pictured: Todd Haberkorn on left, D.Gray-man’s Allen Walker on right – Photo and Art Credit: Todd Haberkorn / Funimation

Two months later! I get a tweet from a fan, he’s like congratulations on D.Gray-man. And I’m like, “Wait a minute….” I went and got my ears pierced, and I made good on the bet. But so who knows? I have no idea what’s going to happen but I hope for the best.

As a book that I’m reading says, Fear and Hope come from the same place. Think about it. Fear and Hope are dealing with things that haven’t happened yet in the future. They both are just a source of stress. So I try to be like, “Okay, I don’t want stress, so I’m not going to hope for it. I would like it but I’m not going to hope for it. So that when I get it, it’s an awesome surprise. And if I don’t get it, I’m like “Oh, okay.”

On Jaco in Dragon Ball Super:

Jaco’s a lot of fun. I like being the, legitimate, on purpose comic relief as opposed to things just being funny in the show. Like, “Oh, that’s a funny moment”

You mentioned Terminator: Dark Fate before. Would you ever reject a character based on the fact that you think it won’t succeed and might hurt your career?

Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I try to be very selective about stuff like that, especially if it’s a character that that I felt went out on a high note. If it’s like a cash grab that isn’t solidified in quality. I wouldn’t do it.

Do you read Fan Comments often?

I’ll pop down there if I’m feeling particularly arrogant some days, if I need to bust myself down and get humble. I’ll go down there and read it! It’s like, “Why would you say that about my Mom?!” It’s so funny, they’re so funny in those comment sections! I do occasionally. [laughs]

Fun Trivia Fact: Both Sword Art Online’s Sugou Nobuyuki and Re:Zero’s Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti both debuted on the 15th episode of their respective Anime adaptions.

Todd Haberkorn on Social Media:

Follow Todd Haberkorn on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and his official website. A complete listing of Todd Haberkorn’s roles is available on BehindtheVoiceActors.com and IMDB.

Be sure to keep up to date with featured guests at next year’s Anime NYC at AnimeNYC.com, tickets for Anime NYC 2020 are on sale now!

Check out The Natural Aristocrat’s recent coverage of singer Eir Aoi’s Zepp Osaka Bayside gig, the voice of some of SAO’s most recognizable opening and closing themes.

More Anime coverage is available in The Natural Aristocrat’s Anime Category section and over on Live Game Deals’ Anime Category Section.

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