It's an exciting time for anime fans on the Nintendo Switch with the release of Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles, which we called "a very solid action game, presenting a gripping story and thrilling action combat alongside an art style that almost perfectly matches the popular anime" in our review.
If you're familiar with the series, the video game allows you to relive the story of the anime all the way up to the Mugen Train Arc, as the series' main protagonist and demon slayer, Tanjiro Kamado.
Ahead of the game's release, Nintendo Life was lucky enough to have a little chat with the one and only Zach Aguilar who provided the English voice work for Tanjiro in both the game and anime series — including the movie. Zach has a huge catalogue of anime and video game credits; Nintendo gamers may be most familiar with his voice work from such games as Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Byleth), Persona 5 Strikers (Ango Natsume), and 13 Sentinels (Keitaro Miura).
So, without further ado, read on to learn a little about the behind-the-scenes making of the video game from this talented VA's perspective, and also find out about Zach's own thoughts about Nintendo gaming in general...
Nintendo Life: When working on Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles, how did you approach recording the story, adventure, and fighting components? For example, did you spend several hours performing grunts and battle cries, and then record the cinematic and story dialogue separately?
Zach Aguilar: It all depends on what the studio wants to work on for that day of recording. We receive our instructions that day, and we tackle it head-on right then and there! The whole team’s involvement in the session (including the director, audio engineer, etc.) is important to flowing through the work.
There are many character arcs in the game for the main cast – how did you prepare as your respective character for these pivotal scenes? Do you do anything to get into character?
Having gone through these scenes before in the anime helped a lot. I had more of an idea of what to expect, as well as acting choices that I wanted to try differently, so the scenes felt refreshing. I’ve been voicing Tanjiro for so long that I can imagine my past experiences in my head and get into the mindset pretty quickly.
What character would you play as in the VS Mode of Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles? Would you pick your own character, what other fighter would you team up with?
I would pick Tanjiro! It just feels right haha. And I would love to team up with Inosuke, because he’s a great, funny character. Inosuke’s VA, Bryce Papenbrook, is a good friend of mine too!
What’s it like working as a VA on a game based on such a beloved series? Does it make your job easier or harder to live up to fan expectations?
Because it’s such a loved series, I’ve been met with both pressure and joy. There are many fans that have high expectations of our performances, so of course I try my best to deliver a performance that people will enjoy.
What gets me through the most is knowing that out there, there are fans that meet me and tell me that they liked my work. I think having the thought in my head that at least one person enjoys what I’ve done makes getting through the harder parts easier.
When you’re voicing a character like Tanjiro, do you move your body to match what’s happening on-screen? Does moving around help you convey the character’s emotions as you voice them?
The booths where we record don’t have a ton of room, especially when I’m recording at my own home booth, so there isn’t too much of an opportunity for big movement. But I do use my hands a lot when I talk, so I might slice the air with my hand during a line where I want more emphasis haha. It does help me keep to the timing I need for the scene!
We are very curious about something – since we’re a Nintendo site and seeing as the cast has had various Nintendo credits – what’s your favourite Nintendo game or series?
I’m a big Pokémon fan, it’s a large part of my childhood. I grew up watching the show and playing Emerald, I’ve tried to play every game since! I do also have a new fondness for Fire Emblem, after having the honor of voicing Byleth in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I haven’t gotten the chance to play any of the other games, but I’m hoping to check out past FE games at some point.
Finally, what's your most played game on Nintendo Switch?
Thanks to Zach Aguilar for taking the time out to answer our questions. And keep an eye out for more of Tanjiro's demon slaying adventures in the future.
Demon Slayer is out now on Nintendo Switch. Will you be checking it out? Tell us down below if you're excited for this one.