Location: Anime NYC 2019
Interview Date: 11/16/2019
Anime Herald: Good to see you again.
Ray Chase: I thought you’d be here, I remember our interview from last year. It was really fun. I hope you have some more ridiculous crazy questions like last time.
Anime Herald: Nope. Just straightforward ones like last year.
Ray Chase: (Laughs) I don’t trust you.
The Interview officially begins:
Anime Herald: Death Stranding has come out. Last year you talked about doing some motion capture work. Is that what you were referring to?
Ray Chase: Ah no. Thanks for remembering. That was for Days Gone. I spent a day on that one. I played around thirty different characters. It was a crazy amount of work. It was a long day but it was really fun. It was me and Laura Bailey. There’s a lot of memories in that game that you uncover. We played a lot of those memories. All sorts of crazy things. Then I was a bunch of soldiers. That was a really hard workout.
Toonami Squad: For many anime fans, there first introduction to the genre was from Toonami. Was that the case for you as well?
Ray Chase: Absolutely, yeah. Dragonball was always my workout thing. We had a TV next to a treadmill. I would train with Goku and Krillin as they would fight their way through the tournaments. Toonami was my first. On the other side of the day was Pokemon. I would get up at five in the morning every single morning befoYre the bus came to get my Pokemon fix in.
Toonami Faithful: You’re currently voicing Bruno Bucciarati on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. You’ve voiced a few minor characters in JoJo before. How does it feel to now be a main cast member in one of the craziest parts in JoJo.
Ray Chase: I think parts four and five stand out in that regard. It means a great deal. I thought that since I had already played a “stand user”? They wouldn’t think about casting me again. I love the show so much. I was really grateful when the auditions came through. I gave three takes for Bruno since I really liked him the most and I’m so glad that they ended up putting me in. It’s a trip to watch a show and then work on a show, because you all the lines.
Too Stupid Gamers: Going back to Pokemon because you said you used to watch it a lot. Were you excited when you got the role to play Marlon in Pokemon Masters?
Ray Chase: I was confused because I didn’t know what the heck this game was. That was a very strangely recorded game. I play Marlon and certain dude #2 and arm wrestler #4 and all that sort of stuff. It was just like one-hundred two-word cues. Very simple utterances because it’s a mobile game and they have to all fit it on that thing. I was more confused than anything. It was a lot of “What is this line for? What does it mean?” and they were just “We have no idea. Just say the words.” We made it work I guess.
Too Stupid Gamers: To follow up do you play Pokemon Masters, and if you do, do you play Marlon to hear yourself speak?
Ray Chase: I played roughly 25 minutes of Pokemon Masters and I said “That’s good enough for me.” Those gacha games I can only do so much. I played a lot of Fire Emblem Heroes. That one I enjoy. With Pokemon Masters I was like “OK, I know where this is going. I don’t need to do it anymore.”
Anime Herald: How does it feel to be part of the George Lucas Universe?
Ray Chase: Are you talking about…
Anime Herald: Yes.
Ray Chase: Block Buster! Yes. That was really fun. Matt Schrader was my resident. I was an RA in college on the cinema floor at USC. He was one of the students who came in freshman year. I was a junior. We had a friendship. He was really cool. He was a good investigative journalist. Then he went out and made the movie Score which was a very good documentary about movie scores. When it was time to do this podcast about George Lucas and Steven Spielberg he said “I know you’re a voice actor. Do you know any voice actors?” I said “Max Mittelman!” “Let’s do this!” So we auditioned and then worked on that podcast. It was super fun, and enlightening because that was a lot of stories I didn’t know about before. Did you listen to it?
Anime Herald: Yes. I prepped for this.
Ray Chase: Thank you very much.
Toonami Squad: Last year the much anticipated FLCL Alternative came out. Did you watch the original FLCL? How do you feel about being part of the newly expanded canon?
Ray Chase: That was crazy. FLCL I watched when I was a freshman in college. I went home and a girl gave me this DVD. I thought “I have to watch this.” I went in cold not knowing anything about it, which I think is the best way to watch it, not knowing anything. I had a blast. What a fun show to watch. When these new auditions came out, they were doing two more seasons, I was really glad I got to play a guy who slurped noodles for the entirety of the season (Laughs)
Ray Chase: But I got good at making that sound effect, so it was worth it. That was weird also because that one we worked alongside the Japanese so it wasn’t finished. A lot of the times we were doing the lines before the Japanese, to storyboards. There wasn’t any actual animation. That one was quite a bit different than most anime.
Toonami Faithful: You mentioned Fire Emblem Heroes before. You voiced Roy in that. You also voiced him in Smash Bros. Ultimate. In addition to Noctis in Final Fantasy XV you’ve kind gotten yourself into all of these roles in iconic franchises.
Ray Chase: Yeah, it’s been fun.
Toonami Faithful: Before you got these roles, were you a fan of Smash Bros, Fire Emblem, and Final Fantasy? Or was that something you got into after getting the roles?
Ray Chase: It’s all different for everything. For Final Fantasy it’s a little weird because I grew up playing the wrong ones as a kid. I played Final Fantasy Legend 1, 2, and 3, and Final Fantasy Adventures. I had a Game Boy, and those were all not Final Fantasy games. They’re all “Redacted” Final Fantasy games. I wasn’t familiar with the mainline series whatsoever. I knew Moogles and Chocobos because they were in those games. When I got the role of Noctis I went and played every mainline game in order. That was an unforgettable experience.
Ray Chase: For Fire Emblem I played the GBA one in high school. I was familiar with the stories of Lyn, Eliwood, and Hector. I didn’t play Blinding Blade until last year when it was translated. I was familiar with the Fire Emblem series. Roy specifically for Smash, I played Melee when I was a kid. Dr. Mario and Roy were my two main characters. That was insane to be able to voice him. I played the role of Alphonse in Fire Emblem Heroes because everyone who comes in has to voice three things. They said “Why don’t you give Roy a shot.” I just came up with a voice on the spot. I had five minutes and did all of his lines and hoped for the best. It was a life-changing five minutes.
Too Stupid Gamers: I saw you have a role in Shenmue III. Can you speak about that role?
Ray Chase: If you can’t find information about my role, probably not. I play two characters in Shenmue III, one with a name, and one who is just this dude. It’s full of villagers saying stuff. I put a little Easter egg in there.
Too Stupid Gamers: Did you play the first two games to familiarize yourself with the series?
Ray Chase: No. I was Nintendo only as a kid. Anything Sega or Sony I didn’t play until after college when I got myself a Playstation.
Anime Herald: You mentioned the motion capture stuff in Days Gone. Have you done any additional motion capture work that we’ll see in the future?
Ray Chase: Maybe one thing, but I’m not so sure where the project is going.
Anime Herald: Was it the same level of depth as Days Gone.
Ray Chase: No, not that much. It’ll be a lot simpler.
Toonami Squad: You play the Master of Masters in Kingdom Hearts. How do you take on a character that’s really outgoing yet also pretty mysterious?
Ray Chase: He was interesting because he’s the only character where I use my normal voice. It was a studio I had only worked with once before, Skylark, where I had played Edgar from Final Fantasy Six in World of Final Fantasy. I wasn’t as familiar with the studio, what kind of games they did. When this thing came out, it was just a black cloak. I had never played Kingdom Hearts before. It wasn’t a Nintendo game so I didn’t know anything about it. I saw the lines and thought “He’s kind of sarcastic and fun, I’m just going to do my normal voice, let’s see what the heck happens.” I ended up getting it. That was crazy. I went back and played Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 and sort of familiarized myself with the world but I’m no expert, not by any means.
Toonami Faithful: It’s been announced you’ll be playing Karamatsu in the Mr. Osomatsu dub. Of course that dub has not come out yet. I’m just curious, have you recorded lines yet? What are your thoughts on Karamatsu?
Ray Chase: I love Karamatsu, he’s my favorite. I’ve seen all 52 episodes of that show. I think it’s hilarious. The season finale for season one is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.
You can kind of equate it to Friends where all the friends are kind of bad people, except for Joey, who’s maybe a little bit dumb but just nice. He’d goodhearted. I think Karamatsu is the same way. He may be a little bit full of himself, thinking that he’s so attractive. He actually tries to help, like he does with Ichimatsu when they get mistaken for each other. I’m really glad to be Karamatsu. We have been working on it. I don’t know where it is. I hope it comes out one day.
Too Stupid Gamers: I’m a big fan of Soul Calibur. I’ve been playing it with my family since middle school. One of my favorite characters is Mitsurugi. How was that experience voice acting Mitsurugi?
Ray Chase: He was really fun. I had played Soul Calibur 2 when I was a kid, because it was Nintendo. I was big into Voldo back then, because he was wild.
Did I audition for Mitsurugi? I don’t know if I auditioned for him. Hmm… I don’t remember.
I came in. It was very vocally stressful because there’s a lot of crazy things going on. I had a lot of fun during the skits for the single player quest mode. Mitsurugi is a pretty funny character. You get to see his silly side. I enjoyed that very much. I played it for a night and got really good and beat the computer and then went online and got my ass kicked.
Too Stupid Gamers: As one does.
Ray Chase: Yeah.
Anime Herald: In Bottersnikes & Gumbles you pinched your nose, because that’s how you did it once so that’s how you have to do it 51 more times. Have you had any physically challenging roles like that over the past year where you had to do some extreme work with your voice?
Ray Chase: I think I learned my lesson with that one. It’s been a stress-free year thankfully.
Toonami Squad: How do you feel about stepping into a role like Gendo from Evangelion? Do you have any previous experience with some older dubs?
Ray Chase: With older dubs? Yeah. I watched a lot of them. I watched Evangelion in college. I took a class ‘Japanese Fiction in Film’. The very last things we watched were Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion.
It was wild to go in and get to voice an iconic character like that. Gainax was really in on the process. Every single line was recorded and re-recorded to make sure it was exactly to their liking. At least we knew they were getting exactly what they wanted for that one. We weren’t working in the dark as we are on some other anime.
Toonami Faithful: In One-Punch Man you voice Puri Puri Prisoner. That’s a very different role from some of the other voices you’ve done. I was curious: Was it difficult to get into that voice?
Ray Chase: It’s interesting. You say it’s different from a lot of my other voices, but with Bang Zoom! in particular I play a lot of big gay guys. (Laughs)
I play Duncan in D4 (D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die), I’m Roswaal L Mathers in Re:ZERO (Re:ZERO – Starting Life in Another World), I’m on their list of big gay guys.
Puri Puri I really enjoyed him a lot as a character. I auditioned before auditions were sent out. I made my own thing, wrote down the script, and just gave it to them and said “If you’re ever looking for Puri Puri, I’m your man.” They said “Don’t do that again.” Then I had to re-audition and I ended up getting it. He’s very very fun. I’m glad he got a little bit in season two.
Too Stupid Gamers: You voiced Klaus in Valkyria Chronicles 4. What was your experience working with Sega? Do you have any favorite studios to work with?
Ray Chase: That was Cup of Tea studio. They did Soul Calibur and Fire Emblem. They do Nintendo stuff and that was a Switch title, right?
Too Stupid Gamers: Yes. It was multiplatform.
Ray Chase: Yeah. Klaus was cool. He starts out as a bad guy and ends up being a real softy. I really enjoyed that. It was a pretty straightforward working process. A lot of times, like with Nier Automata, which was also with the same studio, we went back and forth trying to figure out the deeper meanings and ended up re-recording a lot of it. For Valkyria it was a very gentle process. It was nice.
Anime Herald: Following up his question about Puri Puri Prisoner, are you worried about being typecast as a big gay guy?
Ray Chase: I already am. I’m leaning into it. Roswell was really fun. He’s in Re:ZERO. He’s very insane and very naked. Then they did Isekai Quartet at Funimation. I’m a bigger part in that show than I am in his own show.
(Ray Chase notices what I’m looking at on my phone: Bloom County.)
Ray Chase: This was a big deal, Berkely Breathed, he was a big influence on me back in the day. We had a book in our house, “Happy Trails” which was the end of his comic run. I read that book so many times, so yeah, I’m very familiar with his work.
Toonami Squad: Have you ever auditioned for a character in a show and ended up landing somebody else?
Ray Chase: Everyday, all the time. I’d say most of the time, 95% of the time, you get nobody. 1% of the time you get the person you auditioned for. The other 4%, for example Mass Effect: Andromeda, there’s 300 characters, they’re not going to send auditions for each one. You audition for the leads and then they remember who they liked from the lead characters who didn’t get the lead characters, and then they give you other characters. I got to play a character Evfra De Tershaav because of my not getting one of the other parts. That’s a constant thing. Anime is the same thing. They audition for the leads and then from that they pick their entire cast based on who didn’t get the main characters.
Toonami Faithful: Is there any specific franchise be it video games or anime that you want to get a role in that you haven’t yet?
Ray Chase: It used to be JoJo. Honestly, that was a big one for me.
It’s kind of weird. Me and Eric Mendez were talking about this. There are only so many franchises, and then when you’re in them all you need to figure out something else. I’m kind of in that thing right now. I’m in all of them. I’m trying to think of one that I’m not in. A franchise that I’m not a part of. Maybe Pokemon. I guess more anime. I’m not in a lot of anime. I’m definitely in more video games than I am anime. I have a lot of smaller roles in a lot of these franchises, like Gundam. In Sailor Moon I have a line. Demon Slayer I guess. That’s in Los Angeles. I’d like to be a part of that one. My Hero I got to be in. That was one where I was like “I’d love to be in that one” and then the movie came along and I got to play David Shield. I’m very lucky in that respect.
Too Stupid Gamers: I see you voiced Bucky Barnes in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. Was that a character you tried to audition for? Was he one of your favorite comic book characters?
Ray Chase: No. I happened to get that part because I knew Jamie Mortellaro. He works on a lot of Japanese games over at a place called Rocket Sound where they recorded Final Fantasy XV. He and I are friends. They brought me in for it. I don’t know much about it and I don’t know much about Superheroes unfortunately. They just directed me and I hope it worked and I hope it was good.
Anime Herald: The way you described it, there’s about a 5% hit rate. 1% of the time you get the role you applied for and 4%…
Ray Chase: See, I have to be careful with you. You remember things. That’s dangerous. The actual hit rate, what would it be…
We audition maybe 30 times a week, so 120 times a month. I book maybe two things a month.
Anime Herald: So then my question would be: How do you steel yourself to apply 120 times a month? How do you get yourself up for that?
Ray Chase: You forget about it. You try to forget. There’s definitely a lot of close calls. There was a really cool back that I had that I didn’t get that I had to fly myself out for. The work of an actor is auditioning. The reward is getting to be in something. Every day you’re just auditioning. There was one Friday where I had 11 auditions before 11:00 AM. It’s what the game is.
Toonami Squad: Out of the three seasons of FLCL, what are some of your favorite episodes from the original, Progressive, or Alternative?
Ray Chase: I liked the baseball episode from the first season. I think it’s episode four. I think it tells a cool story, all encapsulated. It’s a fun motif as it goes through. It’s an episode that I like a lot.
(Editor’s note: He’s correct, it is episode four)
Toonami Faithful: You voice Gendo in the Netflix redub of Evangelion. That’s a very iconic role.
Ray Chase: Absolutely.
Toonami Faithful: Was it intimidating to go in as the new voice of that character?
Ray Chase: Yeah. Like I said before, we had our hands held the whole way, so we knew exactly what we were doing and what this character was going to sound like. It wasn’t too far off from the audition I sent either. It was awesome. It was also cool working on an anime from the 90’s and how different things were. Anime could be a lot more serious back then and I miss that. We’re in Isekai city right now and it’s a little dulling after a while.
Toonami Faithful: Everyone has to be in another world.
Ray Chase: Yeah. I liked it when anime could be scary. That show is scary and it makes you think.
Too Stupid Gamers: I saw you took over the role of Rhys in Borderlands 3, taking over the role from another actor. How was that, trying to fill in another actor’s shoes?
Ray Chase: Gearbox was really nice. They’re a really cool company to work with. They send me a copy of Tales From The Borderlands so I got to familiarize myself with the role. It was really fun. They flew us out to Texas. In that one, unlike a lot of the Japanese stuff where you dub it and it has to be exactly the right length, so there’s not a lot of improvisation, any time I had something silly to say they said “Great! Add it. Whatever.” That was very freeing so I really like working with Gearbox. They treated us really really well. And I got a mug! It says “Hot cup of talent.” (Laughs)
Anime Herald: What would you tell an aspiring high school actor or actress who wants to be a voice actor?
Ray Chase: Right now there’s so much work out there. Especially online. There’s a site called castingcall.club that wasn’t around when I was first starting. There you can get a lot of roles from Youtubers, animators who are a making stuff who just need people. It’s a great way to get started making connections which is the most important thing. I started with Voice 123 which is still around, but you got to pay money for that so I understand that it would be prohibitive for some. That one was $200 when I joined and it took me six months to book my first thing, which paid me $100. But then I was able to form a career based on that.
Toonami Squad: Going back to FLCL, the Pillows did the soundtracks for all three seasons. Do you have a favorite track from them?
Ray Chase: Oh man, I don’t know the tracks, you just know them when you hear them. The ending track is so good. I love that one. There’s just something so nostalgic about it. I love The Pillows for sure.
Toonami Faithful: When you’re not doing voice work, what do you like to do in your down time?
Ray Chase: I love playing video games. Hanging out with my dogs. I’ve been playing piano for 20 some odd years, so that’s always a fun thing.
Too Stupid Gamers: How familiar were you with the Tekken games before they brought Noctis into Tekken?
Ray Chase: Not familiar at all ‘cause I’m not a fighting game guy. There’s so much memorization involved with that. It’s very sad. It’s just in Japanese so I never got a chance to be in that one. I wish I could. Maybe I should just do the lines and someone would mod it in?
Too Stupid Gamers: Very likely, yeah.
Anime Herald: You’ve played piano for 20+ years. Have you ever tried to play piano on a game or anime? Get your piano work into your professional career?
Ray Chase: No, it hasn’t happened. Yeah, that’s a pretty… I don’t know how it would happen unfortunately. Music and sound are so separate…
Anime Herald: You wouldn’t think there would be such a wall between them.
Ray Chase: Yeah, totally different. We never work with musicians or composers or anything like that. That would be fun one day. I’ve written quite a bit of music in the past.
Anime Herald: Is any of it up on YouTube?
Ray Chase: No. It was up on a site called “The 61” which I don’t think is around anymore, and then on “Sibelius”, in the “Sibelius” forums. I guess it’s somewhere, but that’s long gone. This was fifteen years ago.
Toonami Squad: You said you watched Toonami on it’s original run. Now you’re in Toonami. What’s it like hearing your voice in “The Block”?
Ray Chase: It’s kind of weird because Toonami now is super late, right?
Toonami Squad: Yeah.
Ray Chase: Whereas back in my day you’d get home from school and be able to watch Dragon Ball. I can’t watch it now, I don’t have a TV so I haven’t been able to see it. I just know it’s out there. Every Saturday people tweet me and say “This happened in Boruto” and I go “OK, cool.”
It’s pretty surreal. I’m unable to participate unfortunately.
Toonami Faithful: You’re in the one Bang Zoom! dub of Dragon Ball Super.
Ray Chase: The weird-ass Indian dub. Yeah, it’s crazy.
Toonami Faithful: How was that, considering there was already an established dub for that existing?
Ray Chase: That was very strange. We were all very confused, but we did it, and it exists somewhere. To people in India I am Piccolo and Oolong and Tien Shinhan. I cannot take credit for those characters in any way.
Too Stupid Gamers: Do you prefer voice acting for video games or anime? Do you have a different approach for them?
Ray Chase: They’re both different in the sense that with anime you have a finished product so you can see exactly what it looks like, except for FLCL, which was an anomaly. You usually know the character. You can watch the sub and know what’s going on and know everything about the show. Whereas for video games they’re made piecemeal and in different states and you’re usually getting new scripts every couple of days and they’re still figuring stuff out and translating. It’s a different beast. They’re both fun, depending on what studio you’re working for. I mentioned Cup of Tea. They’re one of the best studios to work for. It’s run by two sisters who are just awesome. They really love games and are really good at taking care of actors. Any time we have to go to Cup of Tea I’m like “Yes!”
Anime Herald: Anime consumption in America and worldwide has exploded due to streaming. Has that affected you personally or professionally at all? The roles that you take?
Ray Chase: What do you mean, like piracy?
Anime Herald: Well, there is piracy, but also from legal streaming services like Crunchyroll and everything else. Do you find that you get recognized more? Do you find that in the office the job has changed, the equipment is better or anything else?
Ray Chase: (Laughs) No.
With recognizability I feel like there is a culture within anime of knowing the voice actors. There isn’t so much that culture with Western animation. Usually you take for granted who Spongebob is. People don’t look up who played Spongebob and Patrick or Homer Simpson, but in anime everybody knows everybody’s roles. I think that culture has become the norm in the younger generation, which is nice.
Ray Chase: As for things changing, Netflix is kind of the king right now. There now all union which is really good. It makes things a lot easier for us as actors. That’s kind of changed who our bosses are. Netflix is really easy to work for. Everything is just very streamlined and simple with them. They’re kind of the main client in town these days.
Toonami Squad: What has been your most challenging role?
Ray Chase: I’d say Eve from Nier Automata was really hard, because we didn’t know a lot about him going in. We kind of figured it out as we went along. He’s a very vocally stressful character, a lot of screaming. That was a painful four hours for me. I lost my voice for a week after that guy. He was tough.
(Editor’s Note: That’s thirty missed auditions for those of you scoring at home.)
Toonami Faithful: Out of all the characters you’ve played, which one do you feel defines your acting career?
Ray Chase: I guess Noctis. He tells a whole complete story in one game. You get to emote. You get to see all three dimensions of him, whereas for some characters you get to see little bits and pieces of their life, so I’d say Noctis.
Too Stupid Gamers: What role are you most excited for in the future?
Ray Chase: There’s one role I’m very excited for that maybe we can talk about in March. I get to play the lead in a very cool game, that may have already been announced. I’m very proud of it. Coming soon.
Too Stupid Gamers: Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan, it was hard to find which characters you voiced.
Ray Chase: I’m a bunch of soldiers, but I am the director guy. The creepy child molester director guy. He’s not a child molester but he does touch young girls for a living
Too Stupid Gamers: He’s the one who makes the suits, right?
Ray Chase: Exactly. I played that dude and a bunch of soldiers. Whenever there was a soldier saying something, I’m one of those dudes. That was a strange show to work on, but not as strange as Backstreet Girls, which was the same studio. That was also very very weird. I play the manager in that one too.
Special thanks to Ray Chase for speaking with us, and to Anime NYC for making the inverview possible.