Final Fantasy VII Remake: Takahiro Sakurai On Voicing Cloud
Dengeki Online published an interview with veteran seiyuu Takahiro Sakurai, the voice of Cloud in Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Dengeki Online published an interview with Takahiro Sakurai, the Japanese voice of Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy VII Remake. I assume most people who clicked on this article are weebs and already know Takahiro Sakurai. If you don’t, I guess I should first explain the term seiyuu refers to Japanese voice actresses and actors, and Takahiro Sakurai is one of the most popular seiyuu there is. He has so many roles you’ve definitely heard his voice at least once if you’ve experienced any anime or Japanese games this last decade. The latest and most popular anime he appeared in was Kimetsu no Yaiba, he was voicing Giyū Tomioka.
As the interview points out, Takahiro Sakurai has been voicing Cloud for nearly two decades now. Sakurai first voiced Cloud in Kingdom Hearts in 2002. He later voiced Cloud on many other occasions such as Final Fantasy VII Advent Children and Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII. Dengeki Online first asked Takahiro Sakurai about what did he keep in mind when voicing Cloud in Final Fantasy 7 Remake:
Takahiro Sakurai: “When the original FFVII released, I was a simple fan who played through the game many times, and I never imagined to be involved in the series one day. There are two images of Cloud in my mind. The first one is the image of Cloud I have as a fan, and the other one is my image of Cloud as his voice. And they are completely different. One is about how much I enjoyed the original game, and the other is an objective viewpoint. But both are very important.”
Takahiro Sakurai: “There are many different players who enjoyed the original game and experienced the works of the FFVII series, so we had to keep a lot of subtleties in mind when voicing the Remake. Each scene had me comparing my opinion as to how the scene should be voiced as a fan, and how it should be when considering Cloud’s temperament and feelings. Many thoughts like this intertwined within my mind when voicing the Remake. Thanks to the Sound Director’s guidance, I managed to understand Cloud and meticulously voice his words. We did many retakes and we took our time, paying great attention to every single line… This made me realize once again how incredible this game is, and how this kind of quality is what defines Final Fantasy. Many lines felt refreshing, and there might be lines that will surprise the fans. I often found myself thinking “Cloud says stuff like that too!”. You should definitely look forward to it.”
In the interview, Dengeki Online also asked Takahiro Sakurai what kind of Cloud does he expects to voice in the future:
Takahiro Sakurai: “The first Cloud I voiced was the one in Kingdom Hearts. I couldn’t believe it and was so overwhelmed by the role back then that my acting heavily relied on the directing and instructions I got. Nowadays I think I’m closer to Cloud’s feelings. At the same time, I recently started thinking there are still sides of Cloud even I don’t know. Cloud is a huge existence in my mind, and it feels like I’m always chasing behind him. I hope I can get even a little bit closer to him.”
As a French otaku, English isn’t my first language, so I’ve always been into Japanese dubs and seiyuu, and this interview is quite interesting for multiple reasons. Veteran seiyuu like Takahiro Sakurai are incredibly talented and usually don’t take that much time and retakes to voice something. This means Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s dubbing was really meticulous and intense compared to usual standards. One thing I always think about when remakes, sequels and the like of a popular work happens is how a seiyuu’s performance could get influenced by the image the fans have of the character. Meaning you could end up with a slightly different voice than in the past, which could be disappointing. If you’re also into seiyuu, you should get what I mean, and Takahiro Sakurai’s words are quite reassuring in this aspect. Final Fantasy VII Remake is even more interesting in that aspect as the original game wasn’t voiced, and I’m looking forward to it even more now. I can’t wait to hear the performance of the other seiyuu in the game too.
Final Fantasy VII Remake launches on April 10 on PlayStation 4. It’s a PS4 exclusive until April 2021. Check out the latest trailer, gameplay, and the opening cutscene. New artwork was recently revealed as well, as well as new screenshots. Storage space requirements have seemingly leaked as well. Some of our other writers are pretty hyped for the game too. Final Fantasy VII Remake also has its own café, and upcoming concerts, and was featured in the guest artists’ Dissidia Final Fantasy artwork gallery.
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