If you’re an anime fan, chances are you’ve heard Zach Aguilar. In his career as an English dub voice actor, he’s played roles like Genos in One Punch Man, Koichi in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Tanjiro in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
And now? Well, you can hear him as the young protagonist in the latest game in the NieR series, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139….
Thanks to our incredible partners at Square Enix, we had a chance to chat with Zach about his work in anime and gaming, what characters he’d love to voice next and his own experiences moving between mediums.
Between this week’s release of NieR Replicant and Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train, chances are you’ll hear Zach Aguilar soon.
Check out the full interview below!
NieR is a series with deep roots for many RPG fans, coming from the Drakengard series.
What’s it like bringing the role of this young protagonist to life?
Zach: It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m so thankful they entrusted me with the role. Pretty much the biggest thing I feel is gratitude.
Is there anything unique about recording for a video game series compared to other media?
Zach: Yes, personally I’d say recording video games takes more imagination than something like anime dubbing since you rarely see anything from the game while working.
You don’t have to match any mouth flaps, with the exception of timed lines and animation that they already have finished. I think this allows an actor to spread their wings more and make acting choices that feel more varied.
The NieR series often deals with themes of mortality, dystopia and what it means to be human. Did these themes inspire you in your role as the young protagonist?
Zach: The themes of the game absolutely helped set the tone for my performance. We went for a more cinematic style of acting because of the game’s more serious nature.
Are you an avid gamer? What games do you typically like to play?
Zach: I’d consider myself a pretty veteran gamer. First-person shooters and RPGs are my favorite.
I’ve recently been playing a lot of Genshin Impact, Apex Legends, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
What about anime? Any series that have been sparking your interest lately?
Zach: I haven’t been able to keep up with a lot of new shows because of my crazy schedule, but I’ve been watching Jujutsu Kaisen whenever I get a chance.
Speaking of anime, how does working on a video game series like NieR differ from your experiences as Tanjiro in the English dub of the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba anime?
I mentioned this before, but I think video game recording allows more nuance and freedom in performance.
With anime, you have to somewhat mimic the performance of the original actor—that and other details regarding dubbing applied to my work on Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba for sure. There’s a different sort of pressure in both cases.
If you could voice any video game character, who would you want to tackle next?
Zach: I would love to be a party member in a main series FINAL FANTASY game. But I also do a great Toad impression from Mario if they’re ever looking!
Finally, is there anything you hope fans take away from your performance as the young protagonist in NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…?
Zach: This role has given me one of my first opportunities to show a different side to me as an actor, to really branch out from things I’ve done in the past.
I’m ecstatic to be able to share this with the fans, and I hope that I get more chances to do this again in the future.