The Last of Us has been very successful in Japan, successful Enough to top the software charts on its first week on the shelves and reach a total of 164,000 copies sold locally at the moment of this writing. But there’s one man that’s even more more enthusiastic about it than the average Japanese gamer: the legendary voice actor Koichi Yamadera, that lent his voice to extremely popular characters like Ryoga Hibiki from Ranma 1/2, Ryoji Kaji in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop, Heatcliff in Sword Art Online, Shun Akiyama in the Yakuza series, Daigo Kazama in Rival Schools, Kain Highwind in Final Fantasy IV and a metric ton of others.
His latest performance was Joel in The Last of Us, and he did an amazing job with it, as you can see (and hear) in the clip at the bottom of this post. Today he talked about his experience on the game in an interview on Famitsu:
During the audition I was told this: “rather than a game, we want you to play him more like it’s a movie.” So when you see the video, it looks extremely crisp, and if there’s the flavor of an “on the road” movie. There’s actually truth to it being like a movie. I wanted to do it at all costs.
He also described what he felt about Joel’s character:
At first the protagonist seemed to have a strong sense of justice, he was hot [blooded] but also calm, and that’s how I first imagined him. But he’s different now that I actually see him (laughs). Of course I think that he was originally an good man with an ordinary family, and that when the infection occurred he continued to experience many things in the devastated world, simply because good men tend to be always in trouble isn’t it? From my point of view, such a complex part is very worthwhile, and I think it’s interesting.
He also gave us a general overview on what he thinks about the game and about the voice acting job done for it:
It’s a game with considerable tension, but correspondingly has a sense of achievement as well, and I also believe it had very precise voice acting. In this game I think there’s plenty of fun to have. And while thinking to yourself what to do at the end, I’d like you to work hard towards it, because I think this game will definitely go down in history. Those who are curious, by all means please try to play it. I hope you’ll get a deep and sorrowful feeling from it!
It’s quite rare to hear a Japanese actor talk about his work on a western game, and even more so to talk about the game in such positive terms. The Last of Us definitely managed to leave a deep impression in many who played it, even in Japan, and for a western game that’s quite the achievement.