Mapping 14 voices from 13 Sentinels onto the characters in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
（Full spoiler for 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim obviously. So, if you are one of them sensitive spoiler culture type, get out now.)
You all can blame this one on Scavengers Reign: a bande dessinee looking animated science fiction series on Max about a starship crew’s struggle to survive after they got stranded on an alien planet. Critics connected the show to Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki. After all, both have harshly beautiful natural landscapes and “tree hugging” messiah figures.
“A starship crew’s struggle to survive after they got stranded on an alien planet” is basically what 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim all about after its cook-sink sci-fi façade is lifted. Well, the Sentinel pilots’ struggle is not exactly against an alien environment but a Matrix style virtual world allowing Vanillaware to do the “kitchen sink” approach of science fiction. The game’s selling point in Japan is of course an all-star voice cast. And after mapping two late teens video games’ voice cast on Nausicaa, why not a third one? Yours truly had triple dipped (First on PS4, then on Switch, and read the whole thing in chronological order on Switch again.) on 13 Sentinels yet struggled to review the bloody thing. This way I might be able to dive into the character archetypes more easily.
1. Doll-faced stoic
Atsumi Tanezaki as Naussica
Ms. Tanezaki is credited to play “Iori Fuyusaka / Chihiro Morimura / Chihiro Morimura (Child) / Chihiro Morimura (Adult) / Chihiro Morimura (AD 2188)” at third billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
Atsumi Tanezaki is a NieR Automata cast member. Well, she was not in the well received 2017 video game since she would certainly not be usual suspect enough for the snubs at Platinum back then. But she is in the 2023 animated adaption and A-1 Pictures just dropped Nausicaa into the world of NieR Automata with her character named Lily. As the replacement of a happy go lucky do plain Jane named Anemone in the game, this stoic doll-face just screams merchandising opportunity. After good old uncle Pascal being made into butts of more jokes, this android lady is almost made into the symbol of peaceful co-existence in the show. Until Mr. YOKO finds a way to fuck her over in the next season of course.
As you can see from her 13 Sentinels credits, this woman can play someone from cradle to the grave. Nausicaa is such an icon that every female usual suspect in the business can voice her being a young girl. So, the key is also can the actor also voice the Matron in the Valley of the Wind, a character sitting on the threshold between the graphic novel’s plot and the er, shall we say, beheading for that motion picture. The Matron appears when the movie plot ends and explain the merely centuries long cycle that drives the plot for the graphic novel. “Chihiro Morimura (AD 2188)” in 13 Sentinels is a similarly elderly woman and Ms. Tanezaki played the part convincingly, she should have this one in her bag.
2. Point, click and swash-buckle
Daisuke Namikawa as Yupa
Mr. Namikawa is credited to play “Ei Sekigahara / Ei Sekigahara (AD 2188)” at fourth billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
Okay, here is someone who were in both Automata the game and the show. Daisuke Namikawa voiced Machine Life-form named Adam in Automata and the character got a promotion from merely the harbinger of the endgame to the final boss of Route A plus B in the show. Yours truly once imagined Mr. Namikawa as a villain in Naussica for his part in Automata, but Ei Sekigahara in 13 Sentinels is closer to a heroic figure. The graphic adventure game even gave him a “shoot the baddie and save the girl” swashbuckling scene within its very basic point and click adventure mechanics. Plus, Namikawa does gravitas well, so he can certainly play the man, the myth, the legend named Yupa. Only the best swordsman across the wasteland.
3. Warrior Princess
M.A.O (Mao Ichimichi) as Kushana
Ms. Ichimichi is credited to play “Tomi Kisaragi / Tomi Kisaragi (AD 2188) / Miyuki Inaba” at eighth billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
Even in Japanese text, Ms. Mao Ichimichi is usually credited with the letters M, A and O, all caps with period in between. If you look up a picture of hers (Type in “M.A.O voice actress” I would suggest), you might think “Is she bit too pretty to just do voice-over works?” Indeed, she is one of them pop idols who found out that they can speak well enough into a microphone with more than one kind of voice.
Back to 13 Sentinels, Tomi Kisaragi is like that little boy in Pacific Rim. You know the one, following his scavenging father and found the broken Gipsy Danger stranded on a beach with a traumatized pilot crawling out. Except that little Miss Kisaragi was with a taller friend of hers. Miyuki Inaba is a former version of hers who pose as a pop idol. Shame Vanillaware did not let the voice actor sing in this one.
Anyway, yours truly actually have no idea what Ms. Ichimichi’s “radio voice” sounds like. In 2019, the same year I went through Nausicaa graphic novel twice, her filmography was filled with mature female warriors dipped in gravitas, So, voice Kushana she shall.
4. The Mustache Twirling Goof
Jun Fukuyama as Kurozawa
Mr. Fukuyama is credited to play “Renya Gouto” at fifth billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
First impression is important, there is no 2 ways about it. Even after spending more than 100 hours (36 hours with Persona 5 Tatica and 88 hours with Royal) imagining Jun Fukuyama’s voice coming out of a swashbuckling phantom thief code named Joker, Mr. Fukuyama would always sound like Johnny shit pants in Guns of Patriots to me. It does not help that the man’s radio voice is much closer to the ones he pulled for butts of jokes.
Renya Gouto in 13 Sentinels is not comedy relief per se since the game is pretty serious from top to bottom, but he is barely a character. His story would not really begin until one read through eighty percent of all 12 other points of view, and then he would come out, pull his notes out and go “We are all in the Matrix, baby!” He is a total goof with a façade of being formidable just like Kurozawa in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
5. Cooler Queen
Sario Hayami as Rastel
Ms. Hayami is credited to play “Ryoko Shinome / Ryoko Shinome (AD 2188)”at sixth billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
This one is more about someone going back to her old ways in new genre rather than first impression. In her early 20s, Sario Hayami’s voice acting career is littered with Fridged ones in science fiction flicks, namely Gundam Age and that one guild chick in the very early stage of Sword Art Online. A decade later, it just so happened that Ms. Hayami voiced 2 Fridged ones in fantasy. First there is trope extravaganza Butareba: The Story of a Man Who Turned into a Pig, implied horrible violent death, part of her still powers her avenger’s weapon and not only there is younger woman who looks like her, there is also a girl almost sounds like her, this piece of shit has it all. Then there is slightly less offensive Delicious In Dungeon, a successful rescue mission where Ms. Hayami’s character is kept alive on ice for the most part. Guess no more doubt for this one to play a Fridged one in a classic.
Rastel in Nausicaa and Ryoko Shinome (AD 2188) have just one thing in common: both pulled people into the plots. Rastel spent her dying breath telling Naucicaa things to set up a plot both the graphic novel and motion picture use. Ryoko Shinome (AD 2188) is the reason why 13 Sentinels’ Matrix world has any stakes, she started a malice cycle for loathing a man, and by the game’s current day, that cycle would damage life support forever so everyone got to fight their way out. Oh well, I already had typed way more words than this character would say in the whole graphic novel (Only 85 words in the Viz translation, 2 of which are repeats to show how weakened she is.), moving on.
6. May Hayao Miyazaki be proud of him
Kaito Ishikawa as Asbel
Mr. Ishikawa is credited to play “Keitaro Miura / BJ / Keitaro Miura (AD 2188)” at eleventh billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
Ah, Keitaro Miura, how might Hayao Miyazaki himself be proud of you! Had Ghibli made an ET knockoff with Mr. Miyazaki in the director chair, it might not look too different from 13 Sentinels’ Miura and Minami storylines. Minami being the kid made first contact with the alien, just gender bent from Elliot to Ellie or Ellen, and Miura would be a typical well meaning Miyazaki boy who offered help. It might not have the plot twist of alien known as BJ somehow being future Miura, but just the double casting would already be a Miyazaki touch.
In Kaito Ishikawa, yours truly got a lap with Fire Emblem Three Houses. Mr. Ishikawa played the edge lord dark fantasy hero named Dimitri there, so he can play an edge lord dark fantasy villain according to that performance, He played a Miyazaki boy in 13 Sentinels, so no pressure playing the very first Miyazaki boy in cinema history.
7. May Hayao Miyazaki be proud of her
Kaoru Sakura as Ceraine
Ms. Sakura is credited to play “Natsuno Minami / Natsuno Minami (AD 2188)” at seventh billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
There is “tree hugging” messiah figure, then there are just tree huggers. Ceraine is one among the latter called People of the Forest in Nausicaa graphic novel who offered a helping hand to the titular “tree hugging” messiah figure after the latter almost gave up. I know nothing about Ms. Sakura’s voice acting beyond her “Ellie or Ellen” role in 13 Sentinels, but the role is more than ready to offer helping hand, so she should be fitting for Ceraine’s very small part.
Hiro Shimono as Miralupa
Mr. Shimono is credited to play “Juro Kurabe / Juro Izumi” at top billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
Mr. Hiro Shimono getting top billing in this game is injustice! He did not even voice the older selves of his character. As someone who got tired of hearing queer folks complaining about hereto-normalcy in media, the poster boy and girl who did not express their talent to full extents in this game getting top billings certainly feels like hereto-normalcy horseshit to me: man being man, woman being woman, always in front of our minds.
While Juro is your typical goody two shoe protagonist on the more vanilla side, the voice behind him is quite cable of voicing villains, who in the usual suspect club cannot? But it’s hard to find a mastermind kind in Mr. Shimono’s filmography, so the powerful henchman who really raised the stake in Nausicaa he shall voice.
Tatushisa Suzuki as Namulith
Mr. Suzuki is credited to play “Shu Amiguchi / Tetsuya Ida / Tetsuya Ida (Youth) / Tetsuya Ida (AD 2188)” at tenth billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
For our final NieR Automata cast member, I present to you Tastushisa Suzuki, who voiced Eve there. Woe to Eve for he got demoted from the final boss as far as the show is considered to the Fridged harbinger of endgame in the animated adaption. Either way, that’s a performance fitting for the henchman Miralupa. But Tetsuya Ida is depictable mastermind type in 13 Sentinels much like Namulith, Miralupa’s brother who always wanted to kill each other.
The pov character Shu Amiguchi being a dashing womanizer is archetype modern media struggle with, so it’s easier to assume Mr. Suzuki had more fun playing the mustache Twirling Ida. So why not let him play the role that Miyazaki killed off just before a movie about pig headed men flying planes went into full production.
10. Destined to have a man
Maaya Uchida as Ketcha
Ms. Uchida is credited to play “Megumi Yakushiji” at second billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
Ah, the “dad” to her friend Tomi and the “mom” to her future hubby Juro, Megumi Yakushiji is quite the Yamato Nateshiko, a model of femininity in Japanese culture. Of course the role got second top billing in this game.
Back to the cast, Ms. Uchida is quite a talent who flourished in both voice acting and J-pop. Megumi Yakushiji is definitely not her most memorable role in her filmography, but she was the one introduced player or reader to the real world in the game. Bit like Ketcha’s final panel in Nausicaa where she embraced a boy, Megumi’s happy ending in 13 Sentinel is about fully embracing the gender role. Quite a match.
11. A life-keeper’s way or the highway
Takayuki Ishiii as Selm
Mr. Ishii is credited to play “Takatoshi Hijiyama / Takatoshi Hijiyama (AD 2188)” at twelfth billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
Takatoshi Hijiyama in 13 Sentinels is a cop. Well-meaning maybe, but a cop nonetheless. I know nothing about the voice behind this one beyond 13 Sentinels, but the seemingly well -meaning one with firm belief seem fitting for Selm, the man who leads the People of the Forest. After all, it takes a well-meaning cop to shout down the penultimate evil and fend off the ultimate evil of a story.
Mutsumi Tamura as Chikuku
Ms. Tamura is credited to play “Tsukasa Okino / Kiriko Douji / Tsukasa Okino (AD 2188)” at fourteenth billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
This blog piece had been floating in my mind since March, 2023 yet the time of writing is much later. I am glad, for the delay actually gives me a better way to frame the whole thing and this one in particular. Mutusmi Tamura voiced the “white haired adult who looks like a child” archetype in Fate/Samurai Remnant just like NieR cast member Mai Katowaki did in Fate/Stay Night. Ms. Tamura has the advantage of gravitas, given that Chikuku is a prince of a fallen dynasty in Nausicaa graphic novel, would not hurt if the performer behind him can bring out the quality of august.
13. Gender flair, like water
Ami Koshimizu as Master of the Garden
Ms. Koshimizu is credited to play “Yuki Takamiya / Yuki Takamiya (AD 2188)” at ninth billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
Yuki Takamiya is an homage to Ryoko in Kill La Kill obviously, or they would not have designed this one just with longer skirt and cast the same voice actor. Strangely, in a game that does not shame away from up-skirt shots, this one is quite preserved, for the character’s masculine mannerism I would presume.
Well, Ms. Koshimizu does have “water” in her name and her voice does have a gender flair quality. A quality fitting for the man-made Master of the Garden, who does have a gender in Nausicaa graphic novel.
14. The self-proclaimed Champion of Light
Tomokazu Seki as Master of the Tomb
Mr. Seki is credited to play “Nenji Ogata / Nenji Ogata (AD 2188)” at thirteenth billing in 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim
Or “the sole light that remains in the darkness” who calls the titular heroic figure of that book “child of darkness” according to the Viz translation. Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. Listening to Herald of Darkness can make one think about the light being evil while the darkness being good bit in Nausicaa.
Anyway, Mr. Seki getting bottom billing among the point-of-view characters is rather justified. Nenji is an idiot, the kind one can put into a time loops if one wants that loop to go for more than a couple of times. For the facade of mystery box of course. Even his 2188 counterpart is only about “You lot promised my dad eternal life, now where is it?” I think he is drawn up simply as a visual homage to Jusuke Higashikata, the JoJo in Part 4 JeffJeff podcast would soon meet as the time of writing.
Speak of JoJo, Mr. Seki played the villain in Part 6 of this new and intended-to-be-complete animated adaption, a self-righteous asshat called Father Pooch. Aforementioned Ms. Atsumi Tanesaki played the heroic figure (Not the titular JoJo of Part 6 though) who told him to go to hell before sent him there with a recently acquired powerful weapon, just like Nausicaa did to the Master of the Tomb. Thus, bringing this horseshit in full circle in a better way than I excepted.