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Anime NYC

Anime NYC 2019: Ray Chase talks Noctis Lucis Caelum (Interview)

Photo and Art Credit: Ray Chase / Square Enix

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Final Fantasy XV’s Ray Chase, who voiced fan favorite lead Noctis Lucis Caelum, spoke to The Natural Aristocrat at Anime NYC 2019 about Square Enix’ development process and the ebb and flow of the voice acting industry.

During an Anime NYC 2019 interview, Ray Chase described what built up the foundations of his vocal range, the difference between working in the Gaming and Anime industry, and the fear of losing a role. In fact, fans will be surprised to hear that Chase temporarily lost the role of Noctis Lucis Caelum for sounding too much like Gladio in the Final Fantasy XV demo. However, he received a rare opportunity in the industry to reaudition and won it back. In part because fellow FFXV voice actor Keythe Farley “went to bat for him.” For that, Ray Chase is forever grateful.

The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: A lot of fans have described you as a voice chameleon. How you’re able to jump from voices like Noctis Lucis Caelum to Piccolo effortlessly and that kind of thing. What does it take to bring that kind of range out of you? Is it something you always practiced when you were younger?

Ray Chase: Absolutely. I did something called Forensics back in high school which was Competitive Speech and Debate. There was an event in that called Humorous Interpretation / Dramatic Interpretation, where you take a script and you play all the parts yourselves. You’d have to switch back and forth in-between each character and just do do an entire play like that. In order to be successful in that, you had to have a lot of range to differentiate the characters, since you’d be playing twenty people at a time.

So that’s something I’ve been doing since high school, trying to disguise my voice in a lot of different ways. I’m glad the casting directors allow me to. Not everyone always gets that…

Is there a lot of difference between doing dubbing for a Video Game studio as opposed to an Anime studio? How different is that day-to-day process? Let’s say at Square Enix for example.

It’s very different depending on who you’re working for even within different business divisions of Square Enix. Kingdom Hearts’ recording process is way different than Final Fantasy’s recording process. Which is way different from Deus Ex’ recording process.

The basic change is that with Anime, you’re looking at the finished product. You see what the finished product looks like. You can do your performance to the lip flaps and make it work. Whereas with video games you have usually have no idea what the finished product looks like. You’re just kind of shooting in the dark, hoping that it’s the correct line, in the correct place.

For Final Fantasy XV, they did an amazing job of really honing in on the English Adaptation. Making sure that we had all the tools we need because in previous Final Fantasy titles they didn’t always have that. They didn’t know what the ending was going to be or they didn’t know certain things within the world of the game. But we had the Head Writer, Dan Inoue, there for every single session!

It was amazing to be able to work on something from beginning to end like that, with all the information there. It’s usually not how it works. Usually you just have a spreadsheet and you’re just picking and choosing figuring out where lines play, hither and thither. So yeah Final Fantasy XV was really interesting in that regard.

Can you ad lib at all?

Can’t ad lib when it’s dubbed to Japanese unfortunately. There is a couple of instances where we were able to have a creative reign, like we had something in Japanese… Takka asks Noctis to pick up beans and it’s some line like, ‘Ah, I don’t like beans very much.’ But it didn’t work. We had 2.3 seconds and just could not figure out something that would work. And so I said what if he just says “Beaaaannnns…” And that was it! That ended up working!

How do you protect your voice? Especially with screams and those kind of things. I mean over the years repeatedly doing that has gotta do some kind of damage. Do you have any rituals you practice?

Yeah, I had my tonsils removed which ended up being a really big thing. I didn’t realize how much that was holding me back… But man it’s really painful when you’re an adult. I was out for a good ten days. Just pain, that was rough. Then I ate a pineapple which is really dumb. I found out my dad also ate a pineapple when his tonsils were removed. So it runs in the family! That was really bad pain.

Things to do to help… Try to find out if the session you’re going in for is vocally stressful and then try to schedule that on a Friday. That’s like the only thing you can really do. If you start out on a Monday where your voice is shredded and then get through a whole week of sessions it’s going to do a lot. It’s going to compound the damage. If you do it on a Friday and then you have the weekend off, then that’s one way of sort of isolating the hard part.

Have you ever lost your voice during a recording session?

All the time, yeah! All the time! It’s just… It is what the job is and it’s understandable. For video games, they need a lot of different instances of dying and getting on fire, (laughs) and stuff like that. It can be really rough.

What was your first major voice acting addition like? Were you nervous?

My first time… I didn’t do shows first, I did a lot of video games, and for Final Fantasy XV, that was nuts to work on the demo. I was super nervous and the writer Dan Inoue was like, “Oh, I saw your YouTube channel…” I had this YouTube Channel with like 100 dumb videos. He was like, “It was very interesting to go see your history,” and I was like, “Oh s***!” I deleted all of it that night. They’re gone! They’re somewhere in a vault all locked up.

I was very scared about losing the part and I did lose the part after the demo came out. The feedback was that he sounded too much like Gladio, and I had to reaudition for the role of Noctis. Thankfully, I got it. You don’t always get those opportunities to r audition for roles. Most of the time, game comes out and you just find out that you’ve been recast. Your part’s been cut… But Keythe Farley went to bat for me and for that I’m forever grateful.

You mentioned before the fear of being cut from a project. Has that ever happened to you for something that you went all the way through? Spent hours, days, months, maybe years on a title… Only for the role to be cut or recast?

Absolutely! For Fallout 4, I was a big character and the character was removed from the game. That was sad because I’m a big, big Fallout fan but I got to be in Fallout 76, so it’s all good. They actually still credited me in Fallout 4 which they didn’t have to do. There were a few other instances not as notable as that.

At the Fallout cast party, I actually talked with Matt King and Matt Mercer. We were in conversation and they told me their story was being recast. Matt Yang King was the villain in Far Cry 4 and then was just recast. And so for him, that was crushing but then you realize all the other successes that he’s had. So it happens. It’s kind of goes around, comes around sort of thing.

Was Noctis Lucis Caelum your favorite character to play ever?

For sure Noctis, and Roy means a lot too. Because I played him when I was a kid. It’s a big deal to be someone you’ve always wanted to be!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Visit Ray Chase’s official website RayChase.com and follow him on Twitter and YouTube.

Be sure to check out AnimeNYC.com for the latest on the annual Anime convention at New York City’s Javits Center. Ray Chase has now been a featured guest at Anime NYC two years in a row, so there’s a good chance he’ll be back at Anime NYC 2020.

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Anime Interviews

Todd Haberkorn: “Fear and Hope come from the same place”

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Photo Credit: Todd Haberkorn
Photo Credit: Todd Haberkorn

Seasoned voice actor Todd Haberkorn discussed Fear and Hope coming from the same place at heart because they deal with worry for that which hasn’t happened yet.

Voice acting veteran Todd Haberkorn [SAO/Dragon Ball Super] reflected on how he doesn’t hope for roles or expectations in the entertainment industry during an Anime NYC 2019 interview. That at its core, hope is not all that different from fear, they both deal with the unknown of the future and cause stress.

Similar to The Natural Aristocrat’s interview with actor Rodrigo Santoro who commented, “You know I try not to raise expectations in anything because I think that leads to frustration. We idealize things and then you know… I just try to do the best I can in my work and my life in general,” Haberkorn has a similar outlook on the voice acting industry. “I would like it but I’m not going to hope for it. So that when I get it, it’s an awesome surprise.”

Todd Haberkorn comments on Fear and Hope:

“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.”

Full Interview Details

Be sure to check out The Natural Aristocrat’s complete Anime NYC 2019 interview with Todd Haberkorn where he goes in-depth about the balance between art and the business of voice acting, Sword Art Online, D.Gray-man, Dragon Ball Super, the entertainment industry as the wild west, and much more!

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.

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

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

Todd Haberkorn: ‘D.Gray-man bet led to getting my ears pierced’

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

D.Gray-man’s Todd Haberkorn, voice of Allen Walker, told an entertaining story at Anime NYC 2019 about how the show’s return led to him making good on a bet to get his ears pierced.

D.Gray-man’s English Dub voice actor Todd Haberkorn (Allen Walker/Millennium Earl) reflected on how he was so certain D.Gray-man wouldn’t return after ten years he made a public bet. If the series returned, he’d get his ears pierced… Two months later after that bet was made during a convention panel Q & A, Haberkorn received a Tweet congratulating him about D.Gray-man! As such, Haberkorn proved to be a man of his word and made good on his bet. Actually getting his ears pierced. Just goes to show, you never know what’ll happen in the Entertainment Industry.

Be sure to check out The Natural Aristocrat’s full Anime NYC 2019 interview with Todd Haberkorn where he goes in-depth about the balance between art and the business of voice acting, Sword Art Online, and much more!

Todd Haberkorn comments on D.Gray-man Bet:

“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.

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.”

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!

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

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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