Rock & Roll, Games, Cosplay, and More: Voice Actor Kira Buckland Interview
Kira Buckland is a veteran voice actor renowned for her performance as 2B in NieR: Automata. She’s also done voice work for popular series such as Soulcalibur, Danganronpa, Re:Zero: Starting Life in Another World, Dead or Alive, and Fire Emblem. She was recently a guest at Animanga 2019 where she participated in several panels, including a Re:ZERO reunion panel with her cast mates. CFG had the opportunity to speak with Kira about her career, cosplay, music, and more!
So what inspired you to get into voice acting?
Mostly playing video games, watching shows, and realizing that there were people doing the voices.
Was there a specific anime or series that inspired you?
I can’t think of an anime in specific that really pushed me into wanting to do this, but I know for games, Soulcalibur II was one of them. So then later when I got to do voices in Soulcalibur VI, that was really special.
What was your reaction when you found that 2B was going to be in Soulcalibur VI?
I was so excited and I had already recorded for Talim at that point. I already knew that I was going to be in the game, but when I found out 2B was coming that was a really cool surprise.
You’ve also been a cosplayer for quite a while. What made you want to start cosplaying?
I was into the anime and nerd culture scene around the same time that I decided that I wanted to be a voice actor. It just went hand in hand with that. I think because I like acting, I also like portraying characters in different forms, whether it’s vocally or visually.
What’s your favorite cosplay that you’ve done and what’s your dream cosplay?
Well I think my favorite cosplay is probably Jolyne from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure because I’ve done so many variations of her. I’ve also done a lot of variations of David Bowie because he’s my favorite musician. For dream cosplay, it’s mostly Jolyne. So maybe some day I’ll do every variation of her.
If you had a stand, what would it be?
So my stand is called insomniac and it has the power to transform the molecular structure of any liquid substance into that of caffeine. I can turn stuff into any type of coffee so I can turn my enemies’ blood into coffee. If you go somewhere and there’s like really nasty water, you could turn it into a delicious coffee drink.
As the voice of Eirika in Fire Emblem Heroes, how familiar were you with the series before you took on the role?
I wasn’t super familiar with it to be honest. I think a lot of people got introduced to the Fire Emblem franchise through Smash Bros, so that’s definitely how I found out about it. But when I went in to record for her, it definitely seemed like she was a very loved character based on what they told me and so I wanted to make sure that I did her justice.
What’s difference between doing voices for an anime versus a game?
The biggest differences that for an anime you are timing everything to picture so you have to match what’s already there. Sometimes you have to do that for games. Like if there’s a cut scene in a game, sometimes you might have to dub to picture, but a lot of times in games you won’t have to, but you will have timing restrictions. So they’ll say, okay, the Japanese voice is like this long so you can’t go that much over under. So a lot of times we are still working with timing restrictions but it’s not as restrictive as when doing anime.
Do you have a preference?
I love doing both, but I think games are my favorite. Not only just because you get a little more freedom with how you performed the character, but also just because I like to play games. I think interactive media is something people get really emotionally involved in, especially something like Nier where there’s a lot of really heavy emotional parts to the story. Just getting to be a part of something like that. I think it impacts people.
What are you some of your favorite games?
I love the Guilty Gear franchise cause I play a lot of fighting games. I also like Zelda games, Ace Attorney. I’d say mostly fighting games. Aside from Guilty Gear, I like Soulcalibur, obviously. I like Melty Blood Undernight In-Birth. Street Fighter. I started playing BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle after I did a voice for it.
What’s the craziest line you’ve ever had to say in a role?
It’s kind of a spoiler, so I’ll be vague about it, but there’s this really, really sad line in Nier. It’s the final message and when you find the flight unit.
When you took the role, did you have any idea how intense the game would be?
I had no idea when I got cast in Nier that it was something so popular. I’d heard of a few of Yoko Taro’s works before, but I hadn’t really played them, so I didn’t know how weird in a good way the stories tend to get. There was definitely a lot of surprises when I played it. I was just so impressed at how everything came together.
What’s the funniest interaction that you’ve had with a fan?
I don’t think it’s weird. I just think it’s really cool. Sometimes people have been drawing fan of my cats. I have four cats and I post a lot about them on social media. Like on Instagram, I probably post my cats more than anything else.
Huniepop is a crazy blend of like match three game play and erotic visual novel. How did you get involved with the game? What was it like playing Lola?
That was definitely fun. I’m pretty open about kind of content that I’ll work on. So for me as an actor, if it’s just my voice and you’re playing a role, you can’t really have any reservations because you just have to like go all out and commit to the character. So it was weird when some of my real life friends said they played it because they’re like, “Oh, this is awkward.”
My favorite of all time is Star. Second favorite is Little Wonder. Third favorite is probably Rock and Roll Suicide. So hard to choose fourth and fifth. Maybe just Station to Station, like the title track. So hard to decide because I love them all so much. (laughs). Sound and Vision.
So the Voice Acting Club started because there just wasn’t really a good central place for aspiring actors to find information and resources to audition for indie online projects. That kind of got my start voice acting just doing a ton of stuff online. So I wanted to give other people that same opportunity. But a lot of the sites that I grew up with, a lot of these online voice acting sites, they aren’t in existence anymore. So there was a need to create something that would fulfill that market. There’s a lot of great sites and resources out there that help you to start a career in it.
But a lot of times you’re not ready to start a career if you don’t have any experience yet. So I think, maybe treat it like, “Hey, try this out as a hobby.” Help out small time, low budget content creators, get some experience. Learn how to kind of record your voice at home, see if this is something you want to do. That is really valuable for people. And also to just have a community where they can ask questions and find other people who are at same level as them. Or maybe a higher level who can mentor them.
Are there any voice actors or ADRs you admire?
Oh, there’s so many. I admire my friends all the time. I’m probably going to embarrass them, but my roommate, Casey Mongillo is just such an amazing actor and an amazing person. They play the new Shinji in Netflix’s Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s such an amazing job and I’m just so proud.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I play a lot of Pokemon Go, so I take Poke walks and raid and catch Pokemon. I play like a lot of mobile gacha games to be honest. I admin for the Voice Acting Club, go to the gym. Listen to classic rock, read Jojo. Take care of my cats.
Do you play Fire Emblem Heroes?
I used to play Fire Emblem Heroes all the time. I just had like so many games that I was keeping up with that I choose whatever I’m addicted to at the moment. I picked up Shadowverse so then that took a lot of my time.
If could you go back and give your younger self advice, what would you tell yourself?
I would definitely tell myself to just be more career and business minded. I think when you’re younger and you’re excited about being an actor, you think about your personal goals and not necessarily the goals for your career. So this year I finally started my own business and I’m really focused on managing my finances and just doing like all the adult stuff I should’ve been doing a really long time ago. So I guess I just wished that I had focused less on wanting to build a social media following and more like I need to build something concrete for my future.