Yakuza: Like a Dragon Cast Shares New Story and Characters Details
Yakuza 7's cast shared their impressions on their characters and the RPG switch, among other things, in video interviews.
Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio published video interviews featuring the currently revealed cast of Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Each video interview revealed interesting tidbits on the game and its characters.
Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio always publishes such interviews with the actors or seiyuu appearing in their games. Similar video interviews were published with SMAP’s Takuya Kimura and the rest of the Judgment cast before the game released in Japan. We translated them back then.
Kazuhiro Nakaya, who voices and acts Yakuza 7‘s protagonist Ichiban Kasuga.
Kazuhiro Nakaya mentioned how he was nearly 100% convinced he wouldn’t get the role at the audition. He was really surprised when Toshihiro Nagoshi announced him he actually did, and even cried about it. Nakaya was also pretty surprised about the RPG switch. He mentioned Yakuza 7 does things Yakuza never did before, but in a good way.
Lastly, Nakaya explains how Ichiban is pretty much the polar opposite of Kiryu. He’s not a legend among the yakuza, has no authority and he’s ultra-poor. And Yakuza 7‘s story is basically about how Ichiban starts from nothing, gathers comrades and manages to reach the top. Nakaya ended by saying you’ll definitely end up loving Ichiban if you play Yakuza 7.
Next, we have Shinichi Tsutsumi, who acts and voices Jo Sawashiro.
Shinichi Tsutsumi mentioned he found the story particularly amazing when reading the script. It gets particularly complex and was fun to enjoy just with the script alone. Tsutsumi also mentioned how he usually does narration voice work, so it was a particular experience to do game-specific sounds. Like doing different types of grunting noises depending on if your character received small or big damage.
Kiichi Nakai, who acts and voices Masumi Arakawa.
Kiichi Nakai mentioned he’s not a gamer but he knows about the Yakuza series quite well, as it often features famous people. So he was pretty happy to be contacted for Yakuza 7. Nakai describes Masumi Arakawa as a man amongst men, the kind of men who are “becoming a rarity in Japan”. Arakawa stands above other yakuza not only in authority but also as a person, so voicing him was really fun.
Nakai also mentioned Yakuza 7‘s story is pretty awesome, having read all the script. It’s also pretty unpredictable, and Nakai believes the scriptwriters should write for TV series too. Kiichi Nakai ended by saying the reason why Arakawa betrayed Ichiban and the Tojo clan is pretty much the story’s key, and you’ll need to play the game to reach “Masumi Arakawa’s truth”.
Sumire Uesaka, who voices Saeko Mukouda.
Uesaka Sumire is into the Yakuza series and especially likes Yakuza 0. She was really hyped about voicing Saeko and how she actually fights and stuff. Uesaka was also pretty surprised reading the script for the first time, realizing they really are changing protagonists and everything, and how cool it is to see Ichiban start from dirt and rise to the top. Also, she’s from Yokohama and Yakuza 7 recreated the city really well. She actually found out new things about her city and its “dark side” through Yakuza 7.
Lastly, Sumire Uesaka spoke about her character, Saeko. Kasuga ends up meeting with her “after a certain person’s death”. The hardest part about voicing Saeko was trying to sound like a villain. Saeko’s the kind of woman you’d think she’s a bad person if you don’t know her. Her behavior and way of speaking often surprise the other characters too. However, she can be emotive at times, like gently encouraging others, or like in that scene in the story trailer where she’s seen crying.
Ken Yasuda, who acts and voices Namba.
Ken Yasuda isn’t really into games, but he still knew about the Yakuza series, and noted is shows how recognized it is. So he was really honored to get the role. Seeing the script for the first time really surprised him with how big it is. And dubbing a game was something new for him. Japanese games’ recording, most of the time, have the seiyuu recording alone. Yasuda is an actor, so that was a pretty different experience than a movie set with everyone together. He learned a lot through this experience.
Lastly, Yasuda spoke about Namba, and how he’s the one giving Kasuga his second chance at life, literally. Yakuza 7′s story has a huge focus on the intense friendship between Kasuga and Namba. And while Namba might seem like a calm and cold person, he has a burning heart.
Lastly, we have Akio Otsuka, who voices and acts Kouichi Adachi.
Akio Otsuka mentioned he really enjoyed the past games with Kiryu. He especially likes how you can play tons of other games inside Yakuza games, and how you can start fights for no reason. About his role as Kouichi, Otsuka said he had to be wary to not make himself sound too cool. Kouichi is the kind of person who is dependable when times call for it, but he also has his faults. Otsuka also mentioned how Adachi initially plans to use Kasuga for his revenge, but their relationship slowly turns into true friendship.
On the change from action to RPG, Otsuka said he finds it particularly interesting. Because, thinking about it, Yakuza games have a deep focus on story, and going even deeper into that like Yakuza 7 does logically leads to the RPG genre. It also accentuates things like the bonds between the characters. So he definitely thinks Yakuza 7 will be a great game. And obviously he’ll play it himself.
After two years under the codename “Shin Yakuza”, Yakuza: Like a Dragon was fully revealed in August 2019. Known as Yakuza 7 in Japan, the game was also heavily featured at Tokyo Game Show 2019. Producers Toshihiro Nagoshi and Masayoshi Yokoyama also expressed themselves multiple times on the game and the changes it brings to the series.
PS4 exclusive Yakuza: Like a Dragon launches on January 16 in Japan and later in 2020 in the west.