Suzie Yeung is a voice actress for anime and videogames currently best known for taking on the role of Yuffie Kisaragi in Final Fantasy VII Remake. A relative newcomer to the industry with credits dating back to 2019, she can be heard in all sorts of seasonal Funimation projects, Discotek’s new dub of Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Fantasy, and the gacha game sensation Genshin Impact.
Vrai sat down with her at Otakon 2021 to talk about working during the pandemic and her recent roles, including the much-maligned Koito of Wonder Egg Priority.
This interview has been trimmed for clarity and length.
VRAI KAISER: You’ve done a lot in the past two years, could you tell me a little bit about the challenges of doing simuldubbing versus working on an anime that’s completed?
SUZIE YEUNG: Actually, a lot of the stuff that I’m doing is simuldub now; but the very first anime that I did, Kemono Friends, was a DVD show. I would say the challenge is the schedule for sure; ’cause as you know, it gets broadcast on a weekly basis, so you kinda have to be available every single week if your character comes back every week. So that makes traveling a little challenging—you kinda can’t leave or you have to give way-in-advance notice.
I remember I had a trip back to Boston to see my family, and I was telling my agents, and then they’re like, “Well, if you’re two leads in a simuldub show right now, you can’t…” [laughs] So they kind of just packed my schedule with eight hours of recording, trying to get all that in so that they could release the episode.
VK: I know you played Koito in Wonder Egg Priority, and there was kind of a strong reaction to that last episode, I was wondering how you felt about those reveals about her character, not knowing what was coming.
SY: Yeahhhhh. I mean, I heard mixed reactions about it from [ADR director Cris George] as well, and I don’t know. I guess I wasn’t expecting it because throughout the show, she was made out to be this really mysterious figure, we didn’t really know what was going on, but that reveal… I don’t know. It was slightly disappointing? I guess, to me.
VK: Yeah, how do you play a turn like that? I guess she doesn’t have any dialogue for that [episode].
SY: Yeah, I didn’t actually get to see that part because I didn’t have any voice dialogue, but from what I heard, it just… It just made her out to be… I don’t know. It’s okay if she’s not the good guy, but I guess making it… How do I say this? It was very anti-climactic, if that makes sense.
VK: Does it change your feelings on doing the role overall?
SY: No, it doesn’t. Just simply because the way that I portrayed her was based on how I was perceiving her originally, so it didn’t really change—in terms of the performance, I mean. So again, I wasn’t really part of her last scene, so I didn’t really know what was happening leading up to it, so I just played her the way that the story was portraying her at the time.
VK: As sort of this sympathetic—
SY: Exactly, exactly. But I didn’t get to see the ending scene.
VK: So you don’t get the closure on it even.
SY: I know. [laughs]
VK: In the past few years, has there been any advice you’ve gotten in the industry, from other female voice actors in particular, that’s really stuck with you?
SY: I’ve been given so much advice, which I’m so grateful for. Taking care of yourself, I think, is a big one; because in this industry, you tend to sort of overwork yourself and then kind of forget that there’s things outside of voiceover.
VK: Has that been harder with the changes for distanced recording in the wake of the pandemic?
SY: I think so, because everything’s at home, right, so you can basically schedule things back to back. At one point I was like, “Yeah, I can fit this in! I can go one to three, and then three to four, and then four to six!” I just stacked it all together because I was like, “I’m here in my booth, there’s no travel time,” because they were trying to fit in simuldub schedules on top of other things.
So [it’s] just trying to find that boundary, but at the time I was still pretty new, so I was like, “I’ll take all the work, I will do it back to back. Whatever you need.” [Self-deprecating laugh]
VK: Do you think it’ll stay like this going forward?
SY: I think things are slowly opening back up. It’s very up in the air right now with the whole COVID situation, so it could still be home recording or it could go back; it could be a balance of both. It’ll start to even out more, I think, in the future.
VK: You’ve done a lot of recordings of classic stuff for Discotek and such. Is there a project that you would really love to work on, like an older series that doesn’t have a dub or might get a redub?
SY: I don’t know about really classic ones because I personally haven’t watched those myself, but I guess an “older series” might be like Hitman Reborn!
VK: Oh gosh, I guess that is older now.
SY: It’s not considered a classic, but—
VK: It still counts! Is there a character you had your eye on, or you’d just like to be involved with the series?
SY: I would just like to be involved. Maybe Reborn himself. Such a funny character. I love shounen series actually, so it’d be fun.
VK: I know this is the total basic question, but do you have a role so far that’s your favorite?
SY: It’s gotta be Yuffie from Final Fantasy 7 [Remake]. I know it seems predictable, but honestly, she’s one of the most well-rounded, complex characters that I’ve gotten to play. A lot of times, even in anime, even if you’re playing a lead, because they tend to be more of like a blank slate or self-insert… they don’t have as much, I guess, depth that you can really dive into. At least that’s how I feel; whereas with Yuffie, there’s so many dimensions to her character. She’s not just spunky, she’s not just energetic, y’know. There are just so many sides [to her].
VK: Is that a frustration? ‘Cause shounen is so great, but a lot of times for the female roles, it can be a little flat.
SY: I agree, yeah. At the same time, I don’t really like how female characters are written sometimes for shounen. As you said, they tend to just sort of be one-note, be there for the eye candy. But it would be cool to be a part of it, ’cause I like badass female characters who get to fight and stuff. [cheery] If only the personality can go along with it too.
VK: Right, and I’m sure there’s lots of ways that voice actors who do a lot of shounen… you guys must find way to make depth when you’re doing performances. Sorry, I don’t mean to talk for you.
SY: No! Oh my god, I’m on the same page.
VK: Last selfish question then, ’cause I think I’m one of five people who watched it: do you have any good memories of working APPARE-RANMAN? ‘Cause that was such a fun show.
SY: Yeah, I just love the character [of Xialian]. I love her. She’s actually a good example of a badass female who’s got a great personality. I was so grateful to be cast in that also; because it was really well-represented, first of all, in terms of the cast, of the diversity. [ADR Director Caitlin Glass] did such a great job of rounding out this whole cast and making it sound amazing. I really enjoyed Xialian’s arc and [I’m] hoping there’s a season two? I don’t know.
VK: We’re all hoping.
SY: [stage whisper] Crossing fingers!
VK: It seems like Funimation has been working a lot harder in the last couple of years to diversify their casting pool.
SY: Yeah, I think they’re definitely making a concentrated effort and I really applaud them for that because it’s so important, especially in these times.