Should the Shenmue Anime bring back the original voice actors for Ryo?

Should the Shenmue Anime bring back the original voice actors for Ryo?

  • Yes. Corey and Masaya for life!

    Votes: 35 49.3%
  • They should bring back Corey but replace Masaya.

    Votes: 1 1.4%
  • They should bring back Masaya but replace Corey.

    Votes: 23 32.4%
  • Replace them both. It’s time for some new blood.

    Votes: 12 16.9%

  • Total voters
    71
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Location
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Favourite title
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So after a conversation with my wife (a huge anime fan) about the Shenmue anime last night, I think I’m now leaning towards a brand new voice cast for both dubs.

Masaya: Apparently a lot of anime fans here in Japan choose the anime they watch based on who is voicing the characters. If their favorite actor is in it, they watch it.

Outside of Shenmue, Masaya hasn’t appeared in many major releases which would suggest that the bulk of his fans likely came as a direct result of his performance as Ryo. It’s also quite some time since he played a major role in anything big outside of Shenmue.

Compared to other voice actors his age, Masaya doesn’t have a particularly large following and given that he first performed as Ryo more than 20 years ago it’s quite possible that many of his fans are no longer of an age where they watch anime. Put simply, I don’t think he’s a big enough name to draw in viewers.

Masaya has just over 50,000 followers on Twitter, which compared to some of the more popular anime voice actors like Yuuki Kaji (500,000+), Tomokazu Sugita (1.8m+) and Ryohei Kimura (1m+) seems pretty indicative of his limited appeal.

Corey: Rightly or wrongly, Shenmue’s English dub has always been a source of ridicule. This could be a consequence of poor writing or a lack of direction, but ultimately I feel that bringing Corey back could hurt the series before it has even aired. I know that if I heard that a game with a notoriously bad dub was being adapted into an anime and would be using the same voice actors, I’d probably be expecting more of the same and might give it a miss without bothering to check it out.

The English dub was always one of Shenmue’s biggest weaknesses, but given the plethora of distractions found in the games I found this quite easy to overlook. This won’t be the case with anime and getting a solid dub is very important to keeping viewers engaged.

Both: Given that Ryo is 18 years old and both actors are now around 40, I think the best way to attract new fans to the series would be to bring in a new cast and the huge difference in ages gives producers the justification for doing this. If they can get a big name in Japan and a good young actor for the western dub, I can see the anime being pretty successful.

If push came to shove I think I’d be more likely to bring Corey back than Masaya as I think Corey is a much better actor than he has been able to demonstrate in the games and I don’t think Western fans are as picky about who plays a role providing they do it well - but I’d still have concerns about the reputation of the English dub of the games having a negative impact on the anime.

To be clear here, this isn’t me taking a swipe at either voice actor. I actually think they’re both very talented and have excelled at bringing the character of Ryo to life (which isn’t a particularly easy task given how shallow he is as a character). I just think that a new cast gives the anime the best chance of success.

I’d be interested to hear the opinions of others - although please try to remain respectful of the actors whilst sharing them!
 
OP
OP
tomboz
Joined
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I'm too biased and used to Corey and Masaya as Ryo to want new blood. So I'll go with keep them both.
Yeah. I think it would take a bit of getting used to for people already familiar with the series to hear Ryo speaking in a different voice, but I’m sure this is something we could get past and I doubt there are many fans who straight up wouldn’t watch it simply because of a recast.

For anybody not familiar with the series though this wouldn’t be a factor and as they’ll likely be aiming to draw in a new audience, my vote isn’t really considering existing fans (most of whom I assume will support the anime regardless of who plays Ryo).

I suppose there are two questions here really. ‘Do you want them to keep the original voice actors?’ and ‘Do you think the anime stands a better chance of succeeding with a new cast?’.

If the anime was being made just for fans it would be a very obvious choice, but if they’re targeting a new audience and a successful anime could result in us getting a fourth game, I think a new cast would be best for the anime - and ultimately the Shenmue franchise as a whole.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2018
I would like Masaya back. I love Corey but I'm not as certain what if he has the skill set for an anime. That's not to say Corey can't do it, I just don't have a frame of reference outside of the video games.

However, I want Ren to be voiced by Takumi Hagiwara again but doubt that would happen.

Finally, if Fangmei appears, I feel like it'd be a bit of a crime if they can't secure Ikue Ōtani to voice her again.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
I like Corey as Ryo and ultimately wouldn't mind if he reprised the role, but it seems like a good opportunity to find someone new, who sounds more like a 17 year old.

As for Shenhua, I don't think any of her English VAs have truly hit the mark, including Brianna, so go wild as far as I'm concerned.

I would love it if Lan Di sounded closer to his original English VA -- deep, slow, menacing -- as his voice in Shenmue III was a bit too "smart cartoon villain", like an Albert Wesker impression.

The most important character to nail...Goro. Man, an anime Goro has so much potential :D
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Keep in mind I don't watch anime, but from what I've heard of anime, the bar for voice acting is extremely fucking low and abysmal. I've seen people praise the woman who did Shenhua in S3, and I thought she was laughably and embarrassingly bad. If that's a "pro" then the bar is indeed pathetically low.

Now this is going to seem very rude but please understand this isn't an attack against you, tc, but that idea of Japanese fans following content based on who does the voice work just seems incredibly ignorant. The content is less important than the actors? That's weird. That's like forcing oneself to play shitty games because I'm a super fan of Nolan North, lol. Nolan's good but only when he's in a good role in a fun game. Again, I know nothing of anime so maybe this is true, maybe it's not, but it seems really pathetic to me and I became enraged reading the op, lol.

I've never listened to the Japanese v/a so I don't know how well he does. I say keep him. And keep Corey too. We're 21 years in and we've all survived the barren hopelessness of 2003-2015 so I don't see any reason to change it now.

I think Corey's good. He does a good job voicing Ryo, and there's a lot of lines in S1 and S2 where he nails it perfectly and I don't think anyone could have done a better job at it, but he's limited by a primitive dialogue system in a game from 1999. The dialogue system itself is the issue, not Corey or any of the other actors. Cut the man some slack. I think it's quite possible that the way the game incorporates dialogue and conversation may have restricted his career in some way? I don't know, it doesn't appear like he does a lot of v/a outside of Shenmue. I don't know if that's by choice or not....

I've listened to some Corey Marshall interviews as well and I like the way he sounds. I think with some better direction and better dialogue that he can do a much better job.

Fuck it. I'm with Corey 'til the end. And fuck the haters too. Corey never deserved the shit he got for the past 20 years. His twitter feed sucks tho, lol.
 
OP
OP
tomboz
Joined
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Now this is going to seem very rude but please understand this isn't an attack against you, tc, but that idea of Japanese fans following content based on who does the voice work just seems incredibly ignorant. The content is less important than the actors? That's weird. That's like forcing oneself to play shitty games because I'm a super fan of Nolan North, lol. Nolan's good but only when he's in a good role in a fun game. Again, I know nothing of anime so maybe this is true, maybe it's not, but it seems really pathetic to me and I became enraged reading the op, lol.
It wasn’t my intention to generalize, but given that my wife is a member of numerous anime fan clubs, has a lot of friends who are also very much into their anime and used to attend a lot of the events and meet and greets, I’m inclined to take her word for it.

Fandom is very different over here in Japan than it is in the west to the point where people are willing to travel half way across the country, spend hundreds of dollars and wait in line for hours just to shake a voice actor’s hand for 5 seconds and get a picture with them. There are hundreds of events and conventions every year dedicated entirely to voice acting and countless webpages and fan groups too.

I’ve lived over here for more than three years now and it still blows my mind how even minor voice-actors are worshipped by their fans.

The content is less important than the actors? That’s weird.
When you’re consuming a medium that endlessly recycles the same tired tropes and storylines, I could actually see how the show having an actor that you really like might help set it apart.
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2018
Corey Marshall till the end. I desperately want him to get a chance to redeem himself after the bad voice overs he had to endure with how the games are designed. Masaya also needs to be there as well as his voice as Ryo is just as iconic.


The real question is are we going to get Eric Kelso and Lisle Wilkerson back to reprise their roles. Ren is my favorite character in the series so I hope they don't botch his VA
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
I wasn't offended by what you said, I don't necessarily doubt it. It just sounds dumb as hell.

When you’re consuming a medium that endlessly recycles the same tired tropes and storylines, I could actually see how the show having an actor that you really like might help set it apart.
When you say it like that it sounds like they need a new medium.

Would hate to see the originals skipped over because they "aren't popular enough".
 
Joined
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Now this is going to seem very rude but please understand this isn't an attack against you, tc, but that idea of Japanese fans following content based on who does the voice work just seems incredibly ignorant. The content is less important than the actors? That's weird. That's like forcing oneself to play shitty games because I'm a super fan of Nolan North, lol. Nolan's good but only when he's in a good role in a fun game. Again, I know nothing of anime so maybe this is true, maybe it's not, but it seems really pathetic to me and I became enraged reading the op, lol.

I've never listened to the Japanese v/a so I don't know how well he does. I say keep him. And keep Corey too. We're 21 years in and we've all survived the barren hopelessness of 2003-2015 so I don't see any reason to change it now.
Japanese VA are a completely different breed. They go through years of training and understudy. It's treated as almost as much of a trade as an artform. It's a level of dedication I'd be surprised if many Western VA could manage.

Following VA isn't really a lot different from following a favorite soundtrack composer, or editor. If you tend to like their work in some things, there's a good chance you'll like their work in other things, and it's not crazy to like certain people's contributions to a work independently of the work as a whole.


It wasn’t my intention to generalize, but given that my wife is a member of numerous anime fan clubs, has a lot of friends who are also very much into their anime and used to attend a lot of the events and meet and greets, I’m inclined to take her word for it.

Fandom is very different over here in Japan than it is in the west to the point where people are willing to travel half way across the country, spend hundreds of dollars and wait in line for hours just to shake a voice actor’s hand for 5 seconds and get a picture with them. There are hundreds of events and conventions every year dedicated entirely to voice acting and countless webpages and fan groups too.

I’ve lived over here for more than three years now and it still blows my mind how even minor voice-actors are worshipped by their fans.
Yeah, just to back this up, this was years ago, but I had a thing with a Japanese girl who was a closeted otaku, and nuts about VA, The main reason she bought and played Basara was because one of the main characters was voiced by her favorite VA, who she would constantly swoon over during his lines with, "Hoshi-sama! :love:" In a lot of ways she cared more about the VA, and the character he played, than she did about the actual game/anime/drama disc/etc. Her VA-mania was actually the aspect of her geekery she felt less stigmatized by, compared to her love of cosplay. It was like a religious thing. I've never been as passionate about anything in my entire life the way she was about these characters and their voices (not even the actual actors, basically just their voices).

I watch a fair amount of Japanese video game streamers, and one of the BINGO card items could easily be, 'What a magnificent VA cast!'
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Masaya definitely, Corey I don't care. It's OK if they keep him, OK if they replace him.

My main concern is really Lan Di who was absolutely atrocious in S3. We need Paul Lucas or at least someone with a masculine, threatening-sounding voice. If Lan Di was going to sound like some poncy weirdo in the English dub of the Anime, I'd have to watch it in Japanese.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2018
I wasn't offended by what you said, I don't necessarily doubt it. It just sounds dumb as hell.

Eh that's a bit shortsighted to reduce it as "dumb as hell". I don't follow VAs like that myself, but I can totally get it if you like a certain actor it elevates the material. That's like being attracted to a film if say one was a Robert DeNiro or Tom Hardy fan.
 

spud1897

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It's a genuinely difficult question. Both Corey and Masaya are clearly big fans of the series and I think would do a good job. Plus it provides continuity between the anime and the games.

Change the actors do you then have to change the voices in a Shenmue 4? I know it's a divisive topic but, for example, I thought the English VA for Ren (Greg Chun?) did a decent job in 3 so not all change is a bad thing.

Tough call really given Corey and Masaya have done alot for the series. If it's going to appeal to more in Japan because they follow a certain actor then I'd be inclined to go that way, even though I don't understand it. More eyes on the project.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Masaya is ok, so I don't mind him being kept on. That said, I think they need to get some people who can actually act... so that's Corey out. I don't mind Corey being kept on in the games, but I feel like the anime needs some new blood and needs to be its own thing.
 
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My answer is yes to both. They clearly have a lot of VA merit, and both of them citing their work on Shenmue as their favorite makes most of us more than happy to see their shot at the anime.
 

bcdcdude

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I'm inclined to say keep the original VA's.

I would also love Eric Kelso and Lisle (sorry I can't remember her surname) back for the very same reason. When Corey did a Shenmue Zoom chat back in April and it's clear that he and his felllow actors love Shenmue as a passion project as opposed to a means for a quick pay check and you can't buy that level of sincerity.

I've said it a few times, but they pretty much confirmed they took a pay cut to what they would normally do in order to play the role. One of them has some pretty significant VA roles too (I think one of them did Shinji for the Netflix dub of Neon Genesis Evangelion, although please correct me if i'm wrong).

My only outside wish for this is to get the original voice actor for Nozomi for the English dub. I thought she had a perfect balance of cute and concerned. My heart sank a little when I heard the new voice actor in Shenmue III. It really threw me off a little!
 

Real1

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I just don't know if Corey would fit an anime. He fits in the games but an anime is different...
 
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Nah. Do it all 100% professionally, get the best people for the job. Adult Swim has a history of good English dubs, so I'm very hopeful they'll get it right.
 
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