It's been a Long Time, Brothers and Sisters! Interview with Lost Ark V… 2021-02-04
"Light the furnace, take out your hammer!"
Any Lost Ark explorer is bound to remember the name, "Bahuntur." In Season 1, Bahuntur made you feel joyful or frustrated as the training NPC. In Season 2, he provided lots of rewards through event quizzes. Such a "love and hate" kind of character, searches of "Bahuntur" on the Lost Ark online communities result in comments like "I just got educated by Bahuntur," "I can't believe I'm seeing Bahuntur again," or "He's kind of growing on me." In particular, the song, "Romantic Weapon," that Bahuntur sings is considered one of the best songs in Lost Ark's in-game soundtrack, on the level with film OSTs.
Behind this beloved character is the effort of voice actor Jangwon Lee. Nicknamed "God Jangwon," this 24-year veteran voice actor also has a unique popularity in the voice acting industry. In Lost Ark, he has come to you with various characters and OSTs, from Bahuntur to the sweet-voiced Berbero, the artisan Ururu, and the un-named commentator from the heavens. I met with Jangwon Lee, who has had a long relationship with and special love for Lost Ark not only as a voice actor, but also as an actual player.
[Interview] Armed with Effort. Interview with Lost Ark Voice Actor Jangwon Lee
Q1. Please introduce yourself briefly.
Hello. I am Jangwon Lee, working hard in two fields, voice acting and acting. After studying theater and film at Chung-Ang University, I passed the 26th KBS bond voice acting exam in 1997 and began my career as a voice actor. In Lost Ark, I did the voices of Bahuntur, Berbero, the un-named commentator from the heavens, and artisan Ururu.
Q2. You studied theater and film, but why did you decide to go into voice acting?
Actually, there was no voice acting in my life. After graduation, I continued theater, and by coincidence I got to do a theater production with some voice actors. One day after I performed in a film-related program, I saw my voice actor friends from the theater production in the broadcasting station lobby handing out applications. Before I knew it, one of these friends put an application form in my hand and I took it home.
My dad would usually never come into my room, but as luck would have it, my dad saw my voice acting application form on my desk that day. And he dragged me to the exam. (Laughs) Of course, I tried my best because it's a test, and I ended up passing it. It was hard getting used to voice acting at first, but I approached it as a form of acting. Pronunciation is also important, but basically, I discovered some similarities when playing the characters with my voice.
Q3. You started by coincidence, but now you're a 24-year veteran. What motivates you, and what are some unique secrets behind your long voice acting career?
I learned how to steal, you know, to make money. (Laughs) I'm kidding. Voice acting gives me this strange sense of "accomplishment." When I finish a project. The sense of accomplishment when a voice I've been practicing for a long time is the exact fit for a character, and the sense of satisfaction when people recognize me for it, I think, became my motivation for trying hard to get better and have an easier time in voice acting.
For the secret to working this long... Looking at the veterans around me who've been in voice acting for a while, I notice they all have their own unique weapons. In my case, luckily... most voice actors have handsome voices. But my voice isn't handsome or dignified. I actually do a lot more scratch, raspy voices. I think I'm being acknowledged because these kinds of voices are rare. So I'm thankful for the rookies with handsome voices. (Laughs)
Q4. On the other hand, what are some difficulties you faced in your voice acting career?
I've tried films and plays, but I think voice acting is the most sensitive. In voice acting, you have to convey the character's emotions through the voice only, without the face or body. For example, if a line says "glaring with angry eyes," I have to express this emotion with the tone of my voice, my breathing, inflexion, and other things. I have to express everything through speech, so the details are important. When I began voice acting, I had a lot of trouble with this.
One time during a preview*, I acted out a character but the dialogue did not match the movement of the character's mouth in the video. I practiced so hard and got so familiar with the lines that later, the dialogue came out faster than the character's mouth. Actually, I sometimes have to go through lines with other voice actors in the studio and there are lots of factors, but I think I practiced too much by myself. Now I'm more relaxed because I have all this experience, but it wasn't easy getting to this point.
(*Preview: This refers to the process of watching a video to synchronize with the movement of a character's mouth or analyzing the character before recording the audio.)
Q5. What do you feel are the differences between recording/dubbing for game characters and animation?
Either for animation or games, the characters are developed by lots of consultation with the entire production crew. Even in Lost Ark's case, we started recording after we thoroughly discussed the characters' backgrounds, personalities, and styles. I can't do it by myself, and it must be done through cooperation.
A difference would be that games need to record not only the dialogue but also sound effects. Characters need to make many different sounds with different intensities, and I need to do a variety of breathing sounds and acting, such as dying sounds and yelling sounds, so it takes more energy. Also, I sometimes have to work with other people's recordings, so I have to have the sense to quickly understand and apply the kind of acting that the production crew wants in the recording time given to me.
Q6. What are some memorable events while recording for Lost Ark?
Most game recording methods are similar. But Lost Ark is a real pain. (Laughs) I think compared to other games, I think the people in charge are more passionate about getting what they want. Should I say, they're good at using me? I think they have that ability. I think that's why I have a closer relationship with the people in charge.
Another would be that they keep making me sing? In Lost Ark, of course there's voice acting, but I keep having to sing. (Laughs) Like the song "Do Your Remember?" that Berbero sings, it's in a different tone than what I'm used to and especially because the lyrics are in Papunika, it took a long time for me to memorize it. I listened it countless times in the car and memorized it, but I kept on making little mistakes here and there with the lyrics while recording it. Still, music is an important part of the game for Lost Ark, so I did my best.
Q7. What Lost Ark character are you particularly fond of among the characters you've played?
<Bahuntur in the "Legendary Secret Tavern" event>
The popular and notorious Bahuntur! I played Lost Ark, too, and I remember the people around me looked at me and said, "Let's see if you can get through the training." I also read a lot of user comments about Bahuntur. Most Lost Ark characters are beautiful and handsome, but Bahuntur messes around and has a strong personality, so I think he's the most memorable to me and to the users as well.
When it comes to the un-named commentator from the heavens, I remember it well because I had an especially difficult time recording it. Because it's a festival commentator, I had to keep yelling my lines. It made me regret the tone I set in the beginning. (Laughs) I had to keep yelling at a high tone, so it gave me headaches and I came out of the recording studio covered in sweat.
Q8. Your performance at LOA ON in December was amazing. The users' reactions were also warm. I'm sure as a voice actor, you don't get many opportunities to get on stage as musical actor/singer, but how was it?
<LOA ON - Performance of Romantic Weapon (Musical Ver.)>
With cameras moving around like those music shows on broadcast TV and recording two songs at once, it was a little strange and awkward. But whatever I do, I want to have fun doing it. I think being nervous can mess up even the easiest things. I tried to have a good time working with the recording staff, so the atmosphere in the studio was friendly and good that day.
<LOA ON - Performance of Do You Remember?>
For <Do Your Remember?>, I was directed to play a ukulele as I sang it, so that was actually shocking. It was my first time playing the ukulele, and I wanted to give off Berbero's skillful and leisurely vibe as I played the instrument. Because it's different from voice acting, I spent more time practicing. Talking about it is easy (laughs), but it took a lot of time for me to reach that level.
Q8. What are some last words you want to say to users who enjoy Lost Ark?
"Brothers and sisters! Please show love to Guardian Conquest noobs!"
When I get a voice acting part for a game character, I tend to play the game. I've played a variety of games because I've gotten parts in several games, but I'm particularly attached to Lost Ark. Even as a user, I think Lost Ark is a game that keeps developing. Because they keep communicating with the users and presenting their vision. They don't get a title like "Steel Light" for nothing. They keep adding content, and though it's hard for an old man like me to enjoy everything (laughs),
but I want to say something to the users as voice actor for some characters and an explorer of the Lost Ark world at the same time. To my veteran brothers and sisters! I know it's frustrating, but please embrace the noobs in Guardian Conquest. They tell me to watch videos of Guardian Conquest and I watch them closely, but things don't turn out like I hope. Please show new users and older users like me some love so we can relax and have some fun!