Animanga 2019 was held in the first weekend of August at the Pomona Fairplex in Southern California. Lots of anime fans gathered together to share their love for one of their favorite hobbies. They get to meet their favorite cosplayers, voice actors, buy merch, and attend a plethora of engaging panels. Culture of Gaming got a chance to interview video game voice actor Laura Post, who was among this year’s guests.
Laura Post is a Los Angeles based voice actress who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She is best known for numerous roles in both anime and video games such as Ragyō from Kill la Kill, Isabella from The Promised Neverland, Queen Azshara from World of Warcraft, Primrose from Octopath Traveler, Catherine from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and lastly Diana Cavendish from Little Witch Academia. I asked Laura about her start in the voice-over industry and about her various roles.
Chicago to Los Angeles
I interviewed Laura Post at Animanga 2019 on Sunday while she was there promoting Arc System Works‘s latest game, Kill la Kill – IF. I asked her how she became interested in voice acting and how her journey started. Laura told me that when she was little girl, Rob Paulsen inspired her to become a voice actor. He played played iconic roles like Raphael and Donatello from TMNT, Yakko and Pinky from Animaniacs, and more. Her mom supported her dreams by encouraging her to join a community theatre group but otherwise lived a normal childhood.
“Around 18 years old I went to my first anime convention. There I saw all these panels about voice over work, which I wanted to do since I was a kid. I went to every voice-over panel that I could. I [scrolled through] the Internet, did more research, and took classes in voice-over in Chicago. Then I got an agent, finished college, came out to LA, and here I am!”
Laura mentioned she was fortunate that Chicago also had a voice-over industry to help her sharpen her skills before moving to LA. Afterwards, I asked her if she had a preference between anime or video games roles. “I love them both. It really is about the character and the project,” she said.
I asked Laura how someone of her caliber prepares for a role like Primrose when compared to an anime character like Ragyō from Kill la Kill. Sometimes roles require her to be ready to go at any moment and to “hope for the best”. She mentions having a good director makes a huge difference in getting her in the headspace for a character and their place in the story. One example she gives is Primrose, a character for game that was early in development.
“The game wasn’t out so I couldn’t play it to familiarize myself with the story in advance. You depend on the director who has all the information and guides you through the emotional path you’re going to take. Especially in Octopath where there is a bunch of [story details] which aren’t voiced. You really need that extra bit of information to understand what happened since the last time you recorded your lines.”
As for Laura’s anime roles, she said she will watch the anime beforehand if time allows. For The Promise Neverland, she had already watched the anime before she was cast to record the English dub. “With voice over in general, it’s more akin to cold reading,” Laura said. She is rarely given a script before performing and most VO actors have to cold read their performances. Sometimes your performance may open or close opportunities and one example she told us was her audition for Kill la Kill.
Laura was auditioning for Satsuki and got a call back to perform again. She said, “When I did the callback scene, the client said, ‘Oh, you scared me.’ [After that moment,] I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to get Satsuki, but it was okay because Carrie [Keranen] was great at Satsuki.” While she was there, the director also wanted her to try out Ragyō, which is how she got the part of Satsuki’s evil mother. Voice actors will often be asked to try various roles, which is common in video game projects for big and minor roles, as mentioned by Sean and Brianna at Animanga 2019.
Every Rose Has Its VO Actress
Laura is an experienced voice actress who has worked on several Nintendo projects. I was particularly interested in her role as Primrose from Octopath Traveler. While all the stories of each character in Octopath are great and voiced with stellar VO, many consider Primrose a fan-favorite character because her story was among the most tragic and impactful. I asked Laura how she got the role and her experience voicing Primrose. ” I love Primrose,” she said. “[Her] story is beautiful, sad, and cool.” She mentioned the audition for the role was early on because they had to voice the character before the demo, which came out ten months before the full game release.
“I just went for it and they liked the demo [I did]. When I went in to record [it was] really cool because all of her scenes before the end of the first chapter were heartbreaking. I was crying in the booth because it was so sad. I love everything about her “
Netflix has been making strides to improve its anime content with shows like The Seven Deadly Sin, Devilman Crybaby, and Castlevania. One particular favorite of mine is Little Witch Academia. Laura plays the icy but brilliant Diana Cavendish, a likable anime version of Draco Malfoy. I asked Laura how she got the part and what she thought about Netflix‘s anime library.
“I thought it was great that Netflix started to make its own anime content,” she said. “Diana was a special [role] for me because for the series I was asked to direct. It was a cool [experience] for me because I love that series and several of those characters. [I was lucky] a bunch of my friends like Erica Mendez and Rachelle Heger who voiced the character from the movie also were cast for the series.”
Laura mentioned it was a dream project to work on Little Witch Academia because it allowed her to direct and work with her friends. It also allowed her to flesh out Diana Cavendish’s character, which wasn’t fully realized in the movies.
Fire Emblem and Controversy
Recently, Fire Emblem: Three Houses came out on the Nintendo Switch and I knew Laura Post played a role in the game. She had also done previous work in the Fire Emblem franchise as Silvia for Fire Emblem: Heroes on mobile. Laura plays Catherine in the new game so I wanted to know more about her involvement.
“Catherine is [completly] different from Silvia. [Silvia was] a higher-pitched character who is quirky and funny. When I initially got the part [for Silvia] I was so excited to play this cool character. For Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Catherine’s voice is closer to my natural voice but a bit deeper. I love how chill she is about things and doesn’t take things personally especially in her support conversations.”
Laura says Catherine is someone who can switch from passive and aggressive from one moment to the next. Fire Emblem has always been a series that emphasizes story and character interactions on top of its tactical strategy gameplay. It’s great to see voice actors like Laura Post bring these characters to life in a series with almost no previous VO.
I also wanted to know how she felt about the Fire Emblem: Three Houses‘ recent voice actor controversy. Nintendo decided to replace Chris Niosi’s VO work with Zack Aguilar’s because of recent abuse accusations. You can read the entirety of the situation here.
“I don’t know much about [the situation],” Laura said. She mentioned she saw Zack Aguilar tweet about his FE: Three Houses casting. I told her it was a weird situation considering what had surfaced and Nintendo‘s response. Laura said, “It is a very weird situation and I haven’t ever seen something like this happen before.” Chris Niosi’s role was the main male protagonist which meant Nintendo was willing to replace a ton of VO work and patch it out of Three Houses and FE: Heroes. Something like this is almost unheard of, but it also shows digital media’s ability to change a game through patching.
Finally, we ended our interview with Laura telling us what she’s been watching lately. “Just finished watching JoJo’s Golden Wind,” she said. “I’m also watching If It’s For My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat A Demon Lord and Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?”
I hope you enjoyed our interview with Laura Post and her insight into some of her roles. You can follow her on twitter @LauraPostVoice. Check out her performance as Kasumi in Persona 5: The Royal once it comes out next year on PS4.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check out my interview with voice actors Sean Chiplock and Brianna Knickerbocker as well. For more great interviews, reviews, editorials, and news stay tuned to CultureOfGaming.com or check us out on OpenCritic.com.