We talked and had a grand time with Persona 5 Royal's two new voice actors and SEGA/Atlus’ communications manager
Ahead of Persona 5 Royal’s release in the West, SEGA/Atlus threw an impressive event to hype up the release of the game. While I was there, I had a chance to sit down with Laura Post, who plays Kasumi, and Billy Kametz, who plays Maruki. Fans of THE PROMISED NEVERLAND’s dub will likely recognize Laura Post as Mama, and The Rising of the Shield Hero fans likely recognize Billy as the voice of Naofumi! No need to worry about the game's spoilers; we focused on the start of their voice acting journey and which RPGs are their faves. Read on to get the details, and then afterwards, check out our brief interview with Ari Advincula from SEGA/Atlus!
Hello, and thank you for taking the time to talk with me today! Could you introduce yourselves for our readers?
Laura: I am Laura post, and I am the voice of Kasumi in Persona 5 Royal.
Billy: And I’m Billy Kametz, and I’m voicing Maruki in Persona 5 Royal.
So, Persona 5 Royal is almost here!
(Everyone cheers and rejoices!)
Could you tell us a bit about the characters you both play in Persona 5 Royal?
Laura: Kasumi is a transfer student to Shujin Academy, just like the protagonist, and she comes in right around the same time as the protagonist. She aspires to be a world-class gymnast. She’s really kind, very polite and passionate, and driven!
Billy: Maruki is the new school counselor brought in after the events that took place in Chapter 1 of the game. He’s a big ‘ol lovable goofball! He’s trying to fit in, he doesn’t do the best job all the time, but he just wants to talk about your feelings! (laughs)
Were either of you fans of Persona, or RPGs before working on this game? Do you have any particular favorites?
Laura: I like RPGs in general; Final Fantasy VIII is my favorite RPG of all time! But Persona 5 is a game I started playing before I played the role of Kasumi; it was the first Persona game I’ve played, so it’s by default my favorite. Though I do know a lot about Persona 4, I’ve never actually played it.
Bill: It’s the same for me; I was actually introduced to the Persona series when 5 came out, and I grew to be a fan of that, so it’s also my favorite Persona game. I was a big fan of JRPGs growing up; Final Fantasy X is probably my favorite, and also, I’m a HUGE fan of the Tales games, so Tales of Symphonia is up there for me. Really good stuff! Love me some JPRGs!
All of those games are excellent! Tales of Symphonia? My favorite one; that’s my jam!
Billy: I knew I liked you for a reason!
(laughs) Why, thank you!
Alright, so how did you two get your start in voice acting? What drew you to that profession?
Laura: I have been interested in voice over since I was a kid. I realized that the same actor played Raphael from the Ninja Turtles and Mighty Max! I was sold on that profession for life, but I was so little, so I didn’t pursue voice overs until I was a teenager and I went to my first anime convention; there were a bunch of panels on voice overs and I was like, “That’s what I wanted to do when I was a little kid! I’m gonna go to all the panels, I’m gonna take notes, and I’m gonna try this out!” And right now I’m still trying it out!
Billy: You’re doing a great job!
Laura: Thanks! I’m glad you think so!
Billy: We actually have very similar stories! I’ve been wanting to be a voice actor ever since I was a kid, too. When I was watching Invader Zim, that’s when I realized “OhmyGOD, that’s Daggett Beaver! This is a job?! People are doing this and I wanna do that!” But also, I was a kid living in Pennsylvania, so I was like “okay, I guess I’ll just do theatre, that’s acting; this is doable.” So I did theatre for years, but it wasn’t until I got a job that brought me up to California, and I was like “ohmygosh, I can try to do voice overs now!”, so I started inhaling classes as soon as I got out here. And I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff after all of that!
Both of you have done anime and game roles. Do you find one to be easier than the other?
Laura: Yes, although I think our answers are going to be different here! (laugh) I actually find video games to be easier than anime, because you don’t have to worry about matching lip flaps most of the time. But it’s not a matter of “easier," it’s just a matter of “different.” I can’t say, “Oh, I prefer doing games over anime because it’s easier,” because I also really love doing anime, it’s just about the different experiences. I mean, doing original animation for broadcast is a totally different experience than either games or anime, so all of it is fun!
Billy: Yeah, I find that anime is easier for me; again, neither of them are easier, but with anime, you can hear the music, you can see the picture, you can hear what the Japanese voice actor is doing, and it immediately puts you in character of “okay, this is what I’m gonna do!” You get to practice the line one time through it so you’re right on track. But with video games, it’s a lot more work on your end; you need to make up exactly what’s going on in the scene, and again, you’ll have the director and the clients are there to kinda help you along, but you gotta really do more work of getting pictures in your head of “This is how far away I am from the person,” and “This is the tone that’s going on right now.” So it’s a little bit harder, I think, but it’s super rewarding when you’re done, and you’re like, “Man, I really accomplished something today!”
To wrap this up, I gotta ask: do either of you have a dream character you’d love to lend your voice to?
Billy and Laura: Oooohhhh…!
Laura: I do!
Let’s hear it!
Laura: I would love to play Barbara Gordon, whether she’s Batgirl, Oracle, or just the commissioner’s daughter, I don’t care, I just really want to play her just once! I know Kasumi’s a redhead, but Barbara Gordon is also my favorite redhead. I love her! I wanna play her just once!
What about you, Billy?
Billy: ...Anyone who ends up in Super Smash Bros.! (laughs) I just want to be a playable Smash character! (laughs)
An admirable goal! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today! Do you have a message for our readers before we wrap up?
Billy: I’m super excited for everyone to check out Persona 5 Royal on March 31st, and I hope you all like the new characters. Really proud of this, and we hope you enjoy it.
Laura: Yes, I agree, I hope Kasumi is everybody’s new best girl! (laughs)
After finishing my chat with Laura and Billy, I got a chance to sit down with Ari Advincula, the communications manager for SEGA/Atlus. We were both pretty excited from trying out the playable demo of the game and all of the other activities going on at the event, so we focused on all the new goodies to come from Persona 5 Royal, and I even got to ask her the most challenging question ever right at the end!
Could you detail a bit about what players can expect from Persona 5 Royal?
So Persona 5 Royal is a whole new Persona experience. It’s a whole new “heist”, as the Phantom Thieves would say! And I think what’s been really fun about working on this game and everyone else who’s been working on the game is how much everyone's like, “I love the original Persona 5, but I love Persona 5 Royal even MORE!” And for me, personally, when I went through Persona 5, Akechi was definitely one of my favorites, and to see that character be fleshed out to the point that I wanted to see as a fan in Persona 5 Royal. I mean, besides that, there’s so many situations that you’re gonna see all the original cast be in that gives you even more about their story and their journey as Phantom Thieves. I know there was one criticism that was like “there wasn’t enough screen time for some of the characters,” but now there’s even more content, and there’s even more time to spend with this awesome cast of characters. I mean, who doesn’t want to go back to the metaverse and conquer all those palaces again?! I just think it’s such a great window for people who are new to Persona 5 and for people who have already loved and played Persona 5 before, like the Sega team working on it!
Definitely! I’ve always found it interesting that ever since Persona 3, there’s been a Persona 3 FES, and then Persona 4 to Persona 4 Golden; I really like this concept of going back and revisiting the game’s world, but with way more added into it.
Right! And Persona 3 also had P3P! What it is, especially for Hashino-san, the director behind Persona 5, this is the extended vision, the truly “golden vision” for Persona 5, as we like to say. It’s the perfect time to become a Phantom Thief and relive that world, and also get the full extent of that world, and there’s even MORE to come! I mean, there’s a GRAPPLING HOOK, that allows you to be more Phantom Thieve-y! If you’ve ever played any of the Sly Cooper games, you’ll be all “This is my jam! This is so awesome!” It really gives it that “thief” feeling to it. Along with that, there’s a new palace, there are new characters, Kasumi and Maruki, who fit right into the Persona world, almost like they were there to begin with, because they were introduced right from the start, it’s a very fluid character development that we got.
It sounds like everything a Persona 5 fan would love wrapped in a nice package for them to open!
Yeah, for sure! It’s incredible for Persona fans all over.
SEGA/Atlus have really been knocking it out the park lately with Persona, Yakuza, the SEGA AGES releases, and several others. Many of these have strong fan support; do you think that plays into why they’ve been received so well lately?
I 150% think so! It’s all thanks to the fans all the time. That’s even the reason why we’re doing this event; for this media event we have fan sites and community members! The way I look at it, the small little Ari who was playing Persona 3 on a PS2, that same person is the person that is here today. I can say the same for people here today who have played Persona since the first game! So it’s always because of the community, and the developers and everyone who’s worked on the games feel that way. I can’t thank everyone enough; it’s been such a joy to work on this game just because of that, too, and compared to any other community that I’ve worked with, the Persona fans are the best!
They’re one of the most passionate fans, for sure!
Let’s finish up with a fun question: If you had a Persona, which one would it be?
Oh my gosh... (laughs) It’s really tough for me, because with each Persona game, I start to stick with one main Persona and use that one as I go on throughout the game. I have to be really corny and say Jack Frost, just because he’s super cute.
YES!! He’s adorable!!
He’s SO adorable! I remember at AX 2017 being the first one to line up at Atlus’ booth to buy the Jack Frost plushie because he’s so cute and that’s my jam! He’s Hee-Ho man! And only because it’s so iconic, I always make sure to fuse him in every Persona game, even in the Shin Megami Tensei games, if I can come across him.
The SEGA/Atlus team were a total blast to talk to; I really appreciated the time that Ari, Laura, and Billy gave me to talk about Persona 5 Royal and lots of other topics. If you’re curious about whether you should pick up Persona 5 Royal, check out Carlos’ review here, and prepare your heart to get stolen once again when the game releases later this month!
What would YOUR Persona be? Have you ever considered becoming a voice actor? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Nicole is a frequent wordsmith for Crunchyroll. Known for punching dudes in Yakuza games on her Twitch channel while professing her love for Majima. She also has a blog, Figuratively Speaking. Follow her on Twitter: @ellyberries
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