An Incomplete Japanese cast for Mass Effect “Shepard vs. Reapers” Trilogy
Chapter Two Dirty Dozen in SPACE
It is an once-in-a-decade miracle that yours truly, IGN and Giantbomb would agree on which game they consider as the best of the year: 2010’s Mass Effect 2 and 2020’s Hades. Guess that’s why yours truly is hell-bound on doing imaginary Japanese voice cast for those 2 games.
Getting my imported copy of Mass Effect 2 was also an experience that make me go “To hell with console exclusives”. It was a cold January day, a white man claiming to be Ubisoft Shanghai employee entered the game store after me. He had a girl with him but her lack of knowledge did not help the transaction, thus yours truly volunteer to help. The man wanted a PS3 and a copy of Uncharted 2 Among Thieves while the shop runner tried to sell him a copy of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, surprise, surprise. As the transaction completed, yours truly felt rather a shame that even as “gamers” the two of us did not have much to talk about. The act of “to exclusion with exclusive” took roots in my mind that day.
Anyway, enjoy how one show love for their favorite game of all time.
Verse One Three heads of Cerberus, two ladies in power and one beat cop
It’s hard to thinking about Mass Effect Japanese dub without thinking about Psycho-pass. The 2012 to 2013 futuristic crime thriller and late 2012’s Mass Effect Paragon Lost are both made by Production I.G seemingly around the same time. The latter was a direct-to-video movie in the sense that it’s not as good as something one can see in the theatre, but in this case it’s even worse than Psycho-pass on television. That’s the least of Paragon Lost’s problems. I.G clearly put their A team on their “science fiction classic in the making” rather than a “tie-in for foreign games”.
Guess the least one can do is imagining Psycho-pass cast members putting their backs into the better part of the Mass Effect story. Thus 3 out of 6 below are cast members from that show, while the other 3 are Hideo Kojima collaborators in a board sense. Also this will be quite a Legend of Galactic Voices in this installment as 4 of 6 acted in Legend of the Galactic Heroes across two adaptions.
Soft spoken and Hard boiled First Head of Cerberus
Kana Hanazawa as Miranda Lawson
It feels good to start with the first voice one can hear when they boot up Mass Effect 2. Miranda Lawson being a relatively rational fan of Commander Shepard is how this murderous caper flick opens. I head cast Ms. Kana Hanazawa as Agent Lawson mainly because she played this kind rationalizing fan girls in two of those Production I.G’s intended to science fiction classics.
First one is Inspector Akane Tsunamori in Psycho-pass, one young lady went through the arc of from being enchanted by a swashbuckling colleague to being a cop with empathy under a dystopia. The second one is Hilegrad “Hilda” Von Mariendorf in the on-going Legend of the Galactic Heroes New Thesis, a young lady went through the arc of being fascinated by a rising imperial admiral to being his empress and actually handle internal business in his reformed galactic empire.
Both characters above lived through better stories than Mass Effect trilogy, but Ms. Hanazawa is someone not necessarily above harem stuff, she should be among front runners for dubbing foreign games.
Heart of Darkness under the Second and Orange Head of Cerberus
Tomakazu Seki as the Illusive Man
Tomakazu Seki is pretty much Martin Sheen’s Japanese counterpart. It only took a back-to-back viewing of Psycho-pass Extended Edition and Apocalypse Now Final Cut for yours truly to realize that. Both are infamous chain smokers. Both have voices sound younger than they are. At least it’s the humble opinion of someone who never saw a single second of West Wing when they saw Bioware marketing the involvement of Sheen Senior.
Mr. Seki’s part in Psycho-pass is the aforementioned “swashbuckling colleague” Shinya Kogami, someone who looked into the heart of darkness like Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now. Illusive Man is pretty much the version of the same archetype who chose to embrace that heart of darkness. Maybe it’s time for still playing teenagers along upper commers Mr. Seki to play someone closer to his age.
If all else fail, Mr. Seki played the brother to titular heroine of Cardcaptor Sakura, a show famous for an orange Cerberus among other things. Surely it’s similar to how Cerberus in Mass Effect series went for the whole paint everything in black and orange thing.
Third head of Cerberus like a third wheel on a bicycle
Kenjiro Tsuda as Jacob Taylor
Thing downside about dragging my feet to write those wishful thinking piece is that some of those who yours truly wanted to put on this list had past in the time between, like Kenji Fujiwara aka the twice black voice to Hideo Kojima for the token black squad member. Mr. Fujiwara fortunately checked out of this world in 2020. Guess I would settle for the likely to twice Kojima collaborator Kenjiro Tsuda.
Mr. Tsuda is the voice of Sam Porter Bridges and as the time of writing was not confirmed to return to Death Stranding but it’s safe to bet that Kojima Productions would announce that by TGS 2023. He also played two different bit player villains in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, one was already covered by Giantbomb’s watch along podcast whole another is far in their future.
Mr. Tsuda was cast as a joke in expense of black man, he played a likely African American mercenary who nick named “Omo Shiro”(literally means “face white”, usually means “funny” or “interesting”) by his Japanese colleagues in Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 2045. All those problematic things aside, it would at least be nice to hear Tsuda’s smooth voice as one of the more boring squad mate of Mass Effect 2.
Trinity Before the Matrix
Moya Koyama as Aria T’Loak
Moya Koyama is quite the science fiction aficionado since the 1980s. She played tragically short lived Jessica Edwards in the old adaption of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. She can be considered as a Hideo Kojima collaborator with the part as Metal Gear Mk.II in Snatcher, a game Kojima wrote but didn’t direct. But for the part of Omega’s Crime Queenpin, Ms. Koyama’s part in a movie and a game count.
Kei in Akira can almost be seen as an inspiration for Trinity in the Matrix, so I think having her dubbing Carrie-Anne Moss is only reasonable, Not to mention that she is Lady Francis Drake in the Type-Moon RPG Fate Extra, so it’s just from one pirate queen on the earth to a space pirate queen.
Yoshiko Sakakibara as Shala’Raan vas Tonbay
By 2012, Yoshiko Sakakibara had been almost typecast in genre pieces as “lady with gravitas”. She is the police chief in Psycho-pass, the titular Lady von Hellsing in Hellsing Ultimate and back in the days Hamman “Queen of space” Khan in Zeta plus Double Zeta Gundam. Though it’s not always the case, as her part in Legend of the Galactic Heroes OVA, Frederra Greenhill is just the humble Lieutenant and later wife of that reluctant saver of the republic. No surprise for Legend of the Galactic Heroes plotting though, this lady ended up being august as all gets out since she basically became the first president of a new interstellar republic.
Hamman Khan is the key here. As Ms. Sakakibara started that role around the time the aforementioned Ai Kayano was born. So when the qurian admiral Shala’Raan sweet talks to Tali about how she was there when the younger one was born, the moment can be taken as a inside joke.
Policenaut in alienation
Hideyuki Tanaka as Armand-owen Bailey
I suppose you can half jokingly call Hideyuki Tanaka “Hideo Kojima’s first boyfriend”, with the aforementioned Otsuka and Tsuda above being the second and third respectively. The snake oil salesman pretending to be video game authuer always has a first time collaborator as the male lead for his new brands, almost like a man changes new lovers.
Okay, jokes aside, Mr. Tanaka was the lead of the first ever “Game by Hideo Kojima”, Policenauts, as out of time detective Jonathan “What’s his name”. He then returned in Metal Gear Solid series as 2 generations of terrible Emmerich men, even though Kojima insists that Junior is a heroic figure. I guess Tanaka decides he was too old for Kojima shtick by Death Stranding or maybe it’s the other way around. Before all that, Mr. Tanaka had a bit player part only in the first episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
Back to Mass Effect, Michael Hogan was cast as Armand-owen Bailey, the highest ranking human C-Sec officer we see in the games, definite for his part in the new Battlestar Galatica. The much put on executive officer in the show got that bit-cop not entirely comfortable in place vibe. Then I guess only the out-of-time policenaut himself can match such vibe.
（To be continued in The not entirely human crew of Normandy SR-2）