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Worst Vocal Direction in the series



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Oracle Spockanort

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Re:CoM: Mickey. MAN, I can't stand Mickey's voice in this game. He does something with the vowels in this game, and I don't like it. Makes him sound... dumb.

Wayne Allwine was dying. Please don't criticize a man who was sick and trying to do something he enjoyed doing while he could.
 

Amadeus

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There are a lot of stilted or lackluster performances in the series, but KH3 Riku takes the cake for me. David Gallagher sounds so...dead inside. He was one of the better VAs in previous games; take a listen to him as Repliku in this scene, especially on the line, "As long as you're around, I'll never be more than a shadow!" What makes this performance more impressive is that he was dubbing to the Japanese lip sync. KH3 had an English lip sync, but David gave such a wooden performance. I don't know if he was supposed to give a "mature" or "calm" performance or something, but it wasn't Riku to me. Even MICKEY sounded good next to him sometimes. Honestly, if I was given the power to change only one thing about KH3, it would be Riku's performance, easy.
 

Sign

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There are a lot of stilted or lackluster performances in the series, but KH3 Riku takes the cake for me. David Gallagher sounds so...dead inside. He was one of the better VAs in previous games; take a listen to him as Repliku in this scene, especially on the line, "As long as you're around, I'll never be more than a shadow!" What makes this performance more impressive is that he was dubbing to the Japanese lip sync. KH3 had an English lip sync, but David gave such a wooden performance. I don't know if he was supposed to give a "mature" or "calm" performance or something, but it wasn't Riku to me. Even MICKEY sounded good next to him sometimes. Honestly, if I was given the power to change only one thing about KH3, it would be Riku's performance, easy.

Idk, I feel like if you compare David's readings in KH3 as Riku, Repliku and Repliku-nort, the only one that was noticeably off was Riku himself? I'm also not sure if you're referring to David's performance as a whole or just select excerpts, but most of Riku's lines, especially in the beginning, were used to explain past events for the audience's sake. That's boring af to read, especially when you aren't familiar enough with the material. Taking the example you noted of Repliku in ReCoM, which was one of David's most aggressive lines in the entire series, it doesn't feel quite fair to compare with the bucketloads of exposition Riku had to do in KH3. The circumstances of those scenes are completely different.

That being said, I'm not disagreeing with you. While being "calm" and "more mature" aren't out of character for Riku, it definitely sounded like David was pushed too far into those areas. I'll say it again, SE really needs to revamp their voice directing process, because it's not working as well as they think it is.
 

DarkosOverlord

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Wayne Allwine was dying. Please don't criticize a man who was sick and trying to do something he enjoyed doing while he could.

Well, first time I've ever heard about it.
Why would you even think I was doing that (criticizing a dying man for doing what he loved), considering the thread I think it's pretty fair to assume I was just evaluating VA work.
 

Oracle Spockanort

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Well, first time I've ever heard about it.
Why would you even think I was doing that, considering the thread I think it's pretty fair I was just evaluating VA work.

I apologize. I’m so used to everybody being so callous online lately. I don’t think you personally would, but in general wouldn’t be the first time somebody has spoken ill of Wayne in his last year on this site and it always awakens the need to defend his memory.
 

DarkosOverlord

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I apologize. I’m so used to everybody being so callous online lately. I don’t think you personally would, but in general wouldn’t be the first time somebody has spoken ill of Wayne in his last year on this site and it always awakens the need to defend his memory.

It's okay.
I'm sorry too. Speaking ill of those who aren't among us anymore is heavy to hear even when done unknowingly, and I could've just avoided ranting that way about it just to be on the correct side.

At least now I know and I won't ever talk like that over it. My apologies to Allwine's memory and whoever read my previous post. Won't happen again.
 

DizneyXBirds95

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I dunno I’d say James Horan was okay as Scar when he wasn’t quoting the movie. Like when he was Scar’s Ghost, he sounded good. Not exactly Irons but he was good.
I have to disagree on Scar and his voice actor in KH2 not only was the voice actor no Jeremy Irons but he was way TOO badly animated with 1-2 default expressions, at least the other Disney villains didn't suffer that problem.

And in my unpopular opinion no hard feelings but am I the only one who feels that Shuichi Ikeda was Totally miscast as Marluxia. No offense to him but he sounded way too old for the role and it would feel unnatural if he were to voice his original form (Lauriam) if Union X were to be remade in Unreal Engine 4. Just hearing a 70+ year old man in a teenager or you g adult or whatever Lauriam's real age is would feel awkward. So personally I prefer Marluxia’s English voice actor, Keith Ferguson over the Japanese voice actor
 
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disney233

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I have to disagree on Scar and his voice actor in KH2 not only was the voice actor no Jeremy Irons but he was way TOO badly animated with 1-2 default expressions, at least the other Disney villains didn't suffer that problem.
Unless it's Birth by Sleep. Where just about EVERY character that isn't the main cast suffer from fish-face syndrome. A trait that is gone in 3 and it makes me overjoyed. (idk about gone, but...BARELY noticeable and I like it.)
 

DizneyXBirds95

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Unless it's Birth by Sleep. Where just about EVERY character that isn't the main cast suffer from fish-face syndrome. A trait that is gone in 3 and it makes me overjoyed. (idk about gone, but...BARELY noticeable and I like it.)
Oh no doubt about it, some of the games character models (including the Disney characters) do have moments where it's stuck to the fish-face syndrome, but frankly pretty much the Lion King characters (Minus Simba and Nala, cause they did had moments where they are expressive) in KH2 take the cake with the most fish-face expressions (Mainly Scar and the Hyena Trio).

As for the fish-face problem being gone in KH3 let's say it's at 80-85% gone thanks to the powers of Unreal Engine and it's a good thing you don't see that much fish face expressions on the Disney characters, in particular Donald, Maleficent, Jiminy Cricket and the Hercules and Winnie the Pooh characters. Speaking of the latter two (Hercules and Winnie the Pooh), I really like him much the models feel more expressive and alive they were in KH3 compared to their previous appearances in the KH games The Unreal Engine 4 sure made a massive leap in terms of animation, It makes me wish they also reanimated the models for the other Disney characters from KH and especially KH2 so they wouldn't be showing their constant Fish-face and Default expressions on certain instances.
 

Amadeus

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Idk, I feel like if you compare David's readings in KH3 as Riku, Repliku and Repliku-nort, the only one that was noticeably off was Riku himself?

Ah, sorry, I should have specified. My gripes are 95% with Riku. Replinort has the other 5%, but only for being a little stilted (but still with life in his voice!!) in San Fransokyo; he was fine in the Keyblade Graveyard, especially in that scene where he summoned that big-ass Xehanort shadow, oof. Repliku was definitely David's best performance in KH3, though. He was subtle without being shy or subdued. He hit the "resigned to his fate, with a bit of regret" thing well.

You're right about the aggression. Come to think of it, Riku himself didn't have a lot of angry scenes in KH3.... He might have had some in the KG, but I haven't been able to replay and I don't know if my heart can handle rewatching the endgame cutscenes ^^; In any case, though, he certainly had emotional scenes/lines; some that stand out are "WHAAAT?" and "Sora, you don't believe that. I know you don't." Sounded really flat when it's clear that he's supposed to be really taken aback or hopeful that it's not over.

In the end, though, these are just gripes and me nitpicking my least favorite part of KH3. David at least did a passable job, and considering the seemingly troubled localization (I keep seeing a lot of fan translators saying that SENA took some major liberties with translation), there was bound to be one performer saddled with a rough time and it turned out to be David as Riku this time. At least he's not the character we're playing as for 90% of the game.
 

alexis.anagram

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I don't know about the "worst" but they really fucked with HJO's delivery of Vanitas in KH3 after he did a stellar job with the role in BBS. It honestly sounds like he did a joke-take to warm up his vocal cords and get in character and they were just like stop don't move it's perfect. Now do it again but happier and with your mouth open.

As for the actual worst...Jasmine was awful in KH2. Aerith was bad but Mena Suvari knows how to act, it seems more like she was just being told how to... not. But I can't be entirely sure that Jasmine's VA was altogether aware that she was in a booth being recorded. That's the one that has always stuck with me.
 

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One of my biggest issues is Aqua's voice acting throughout the entire series. She's probably my favorite character, but her voice sounds so tragic all the time. I don't even know how to describe it, and I feel like it would come as no surprise to me if one of the characters asked her: "why do you talk like that?"

Honestly, after playing Nier: Automata 4 times, I'm whole heartedly convinced the game has one of the best voice acting I've ever heard even though it was on a budget. Whatever Square did there should be carried over to Kingdom Hearts. It was one of those rare times where the English VA was almost on par with the japanese.

Voice adds a lot of depth to a character, and delivering flat lines just isn't going to cut it. The sound direction for most characters in this franchise seems to be too focused on conveying gentleness and kindness. And don't get me started on the dialogue.

In contrast, you listen to the villains and they sound full of life and personality. Larxene, Malificent, Xigbar, the MoM, even Pete.
 

Twilight Lumiair

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I don't know about the "worst" but they really fucked with HJO's delivery of Vanitas in KH3 after he did a stellar job with the role in BBS. It honestly sounds like he did a joke-take to warm up his vocal cords and get in character and they were just like stop don't move it's perfect. Now do it again but happier and with your mouth open.
Oh this 1000%. Listening to to that weird, over-the-top voice was sooo grating, and I couldn't take even a single scene with the character seriously at all (especially when he turned into a gremlin upon his death, making that whole sequence even MORE cringey and hard to understand since the tone of the voice gives me zero insight into what more the character might potentially be thinking as he spouts the vaguest shit I've ever heard coming from his mouth). I'm still genuinely baffled why the voice directors/the VA himself would want to change up his direction when his voice acting for Vanitas in BBS was so praised and on point. I saw a few people trying to hand wave it by saying "oh Vanitas always sounded like that", but... He really didn't. At all. During BBS, his voice came off as cold, angry, and closed off, with a tinge of arrogance and disdain in his voice. Perfect for what we know about the character, and even made the intention/subtext of certain lines more layered and clear. Adding a subtle amount of nuance and complexity to the character that had ample potential to be explored and expanded on in his future appearences if he had any (since he seemingly merged back with Ventus at the end of BBS, which should've been the completion of Ventus' arc in that game, but eh, who cares about pay off I guess), but like so many other things, KH3 completely ignored all that potential anyway. In the end, he came off as this confusing, silly, stereotypical baddie that just likes causing trouble. That kind of delivery for the character only validates what all of Vanitas' haters who refuse to acknowledge the nuance he demonstrated from BBS, or any of the potential that might come from it, and it's dissapointing as hell. Poor Vanitas man. If there's ONE antagonist that genuinely deserved a better ending in KH3, it was this guy. And poor Ventus too. I officially have no idea what his arc in BBS was even supposed to be about anymore.
 
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WhinyAcademic

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Aerith’s voice sounded really pretty in KH2, but yeah, the actual acting was pretty bad.

Aqua, Eraqus, and Terra had some truly atrocious dialogue in BBS which helped generate some bad voice acting. Eraqus in particular is offensive since it’s the great Mark Hamill being forced to spew shit and having nothing to work with. “But you must exist no more!” Yikes.

Of course we had the infamous Richard Epcar being directed to outham Billy Zane in KH2. Once they gave him some breathing room, he got to shine and make the role his own, though.

A lot of times the goofier Disney characters like the main trio struggle with the serious lines they’re given. Bill Farmer has said he prefers the more jokes, the better, and it’s just odd to hear him say “they struck each other down” which is an already awkward way to say Ven and Vanitas took each other out. Wayne Allwine did fine, but Bret Iwan has the struggle of being his own Mickey and still saying dead serious KH lore and stuff. He just sounds off, and the dubbing doesn’t help either.

Oh, and despite being a goddamn legend, Corey Burton sounded pretty bad as DiZ in the Days remaster, especially in some lines where he dubbed Christopher Lee.

I also feel like, again, the bad dialogue was rampant in Back Cover and the Foretellers had that awkward, overly hammy dialogue with nothing to work with.
 

Tempo

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so are we not gonna talk about joshua
bc good golly goshua joshua
in fact the whole twewy gang wasn't too terrific
and across the series, you definitely get a sense that they just didn't care as much about making the voice work as quality as it could be in any of the games that weren't 1 2 or 3 and i think it shows the most in DDD and re:com especially given they just lipsynced and never bothered to re-render the cutscenes. re:com's voice work could have been so much better without that one little restriction
 

Alpha Baymax

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Obligatory strained "Come Kingdom Hearts." I got used to Rutger really quickly but that line made me realize why a lot of people don't like his voice delivery.

Why they didn't do another take for that line baffles me. I liked Rutger's performance before he delivered that line, it genuinely made me cringe.
 
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I think perhaps a premise should be made: I'm not familiar with the English voices of a lot of Disney characters, being italian and all.
So, even if some voices of some iconic characters clash or don't feel right for some of them compared to the iconic ones (I do know some people have a bit of an issue with "Homer Simpson Genie" in KH1), I wouldn't know.

KH1: probably Aerith. It's hard for me to forget Kairi's Left4Dead Witch laugh at the beginning, but it's an isolated case.

Re:CoM: Mickey. MAN, I can't stand Mickey's voice in this game. He does something with the vowels in this game, and I don't like it. Makes him sound... dumb.

KH II: Aerith, hands down.

BbS: despite never being part of the Willa Holland hate bandwagon and I do recognize the progress she made, in the first game Aqua had some lines hard to listen to.

DDD: yeah, I think Sora. This was HJO's "please don't make me voice a 14 year old anymore" lowest.

Back Cover: Luxu didn't really sound alright, unless his sort of demure attitude was intended.

KH III: Donald.

Mandy Moore as Aerith was great in KH1, idk what you’re listening to lol.

Mickey in Re:CoM sounded strange because I think that’s when Wayne Alwine was sick and it showed in his voice, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Yes. Aerith in KH2 was garbage.

Both Willa and Jason were terrible in BBS, but both of them had never done voice acting before, so I understand it. They improved so much in the later games. Especially Willa.

Ehh I don’t think HJO sounded that bad in DDD. He was absolutely horrible in 0.2 though.

Aced is the one that sounded off to me in BC more than anyone else tbh.
 
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This might not be a vocal DIRECTION problem, but having Corey Burton voice so many characters using the same exact voice is so irritating to me. I swear in DDD, Yen Sid, Frollo, and Ansem were the same exact person if you closed your eyes lol. I wish Disney hadn’t have been cheap and hired a new actor for Ansem after Christoper Lee passed on Re:CoM and after he died.

EDIT: oh darn!! Double posted. My bad.
 

Kirankrt

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This might not be a vocal DIRECTION problem, but having Corey Burton voice so many characters using the same exact voice is so irritating to me. I swear in DDD, Yen Sid, Frollo, and Ansem were the same exact person if you closed your eyes lol. I wish Disney hadn’t have been cheap and hired a new actor for Ansem after Christoper Lee passed on Re:CoM and after he died.

EDIT: oh darn!! Double posted. My bad.
Personally I think Roger l Jackson would have been a better choice for Ansem after Christopher Lee passed.
 

DarkosOverlord

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Mandy Moore as Aerith was great in KH1, idk what you’re listening to lol.

I definitely listened to a bunch of deadpan lines and weird inflections/small pauses.

"Yes, those are my THOUGHTS[...] exactly."
"No matter where we are, our HEARTS[...] will bring us together again."


Overall she was just way too quiet and emotionless, also considering Aerith was originally a pretty lively and cheerful girl.
 
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