This is post 2 (of 8) in a series of translation posts taken from an interview regarding the music and SFX of Melee, taken from Melee’s Japanese website. In addition to Sakurai, the participants are Shogo Sakai and Hirokazu Ando (both involved in music), and Tadashi Ikegami (the SFX guy). This post deals with recording the characters’ voices (particularly the Star Fox team and Mewtwo), and was originally posted on 11 April 2001.
Ikegami: When it came time for the voice actors’ first recording session, it was actually Sakurai who came late.
Sakurai: I’m sorry about that. The first session was for the VAs of the Star Fox crew, excluding Slippy. Unfortunately, my train was delayed due to snow*, and I couldn’t make it to the recording studio in Tokyo in time…
*Train was delayed due to snow: Making the trip from Yamanashi, location of HAL Labs, to Tokyo, is a common commute. A one-way trip takes about 2 hours.
Sakai: When was that?
Ikegami: It was February, wasn’t it?
Sakurai: But seriously, there were so many different voice actors there.
Ikegami: Yes, there were.
Sakurai: Naturally, for the veterans the process went very smoothly. Things moved along quickly.
Ando: I wish I could have seen Mewtwo’s recording session.*
*I wish I could have seen Mewtwo’s recording session: Only Sakurai and Ikegami were present for the recording sessions.
Sakurai: Oh yeah, he had so much energy!
Ikegami: He was amazing! After Mewtwo’s recording session, Sakurai said that our energy levels were nothing compared to his. That was a good experience.
Sakurai: Yeah. He had a certain vitality to him.
Sakai: What kind of person is he?
Ikegami: His name is Masachika Ichimura, and he used to be with the Shiki Theatrical Company. I don’t know if it was his vitality, or his aura, but he just exerted a lot of power.
Sakurai: Let’s say that both he and I were rechargeable batteries. It was clear that one was a much higher quality than the other. It was like he was radiating this glow.
Ikegami: Even after I gave the OK, he wasn’t satisfied and would keep going and going.
Sakurai: “Muahahahahaha! That’s not right. Mua-ha-hahaha! That’s not it, either.” Like that.
When he walked out of the sound booth, Mewtwo was complete. Mr. Ichimura went home as Mewtwo that day. People like him can teach you a lot. Even though he didn’t talk to me and teach me directly, I learned a lot.
Ikegami: Sakurai has a ton of energy too. He’s always himself no matter where he goes. And he says whatever he wants, no matter where he is (laughs).
Sakurai: That being said, the Pokémon other than Mewtwo were difficult. Normally, I direct the voice actors myself, but for the Pokémon, the sound director for the anime, Masafumi Mima, basically acted as the middleman between me and the voice actors. I would give my directions to Mr. Mima, and then Mr. Mima would relay my directions to the actors. But indirect communication makes things harder. I think that Pokémon have their own rules for how they can talk in the anime, and I can’t just override those rules, so Mr. Mima was a valuable presence.
Ikegami: But the character dubbing went smoothly overall, right?
Sakurai: Yes, things went smoothly. So smoothly that it was almost creepy (laughs). Well, that was true for the last game too. By the way, which character’s voice do you like the most?
Ikegami: For me, it’s Falco.
Sakurai: Ah, me too.
Ikegami: That’s the session that you were late for.
Sakurai: I’m sorry about that…But the Star Fox team, they have their image down well. In 64, we readjusted their lines a bit, going for a comedic vibe. And they were going to say the same lines as they did in 64. But even though this was taking place years after the recording for 64, they still knew their lines.
Ikegami: We didn’t even need the samples we had with us. I’m glad we didn’t have to cut the Star Fox team’s routine.*
*Star Fox Team’s routine: This is a special conversation between Fox or Falco and the team. To trigger it, play as Fox or Falco on the Corneria stage, and hold down on the control pad for the duration of one frame (1/60th of a second).
Star Fox Team, Convo 1 (308 KB)
Star Fox Team Convo 2 (336 KB)
Sakurai: Yeah, that was great.
Andou: How many different dialogues are there in total?
Sakurai: Between Fox and Falco, I think 5 or 6, and then a couple more in single-player.
Andou: During debugging, there was this one line I really liked, and I wanted to hear it again so I kept repeating the conversations, but I could never get it. Is the order random?
Sakurai: It’s random.
Stay tuned for part 3, which will be about the orchestra and chorus!
By the way, this is my first solo post on the site. I’m honored to be part of the SG translation team!