The Boogie Man: Bonus Thoughts
This is a really long, 2-years-overdue thing Uri wrote about The Boogie Man's characters and voice actors. There may be some overlap with the notes I wrote from my experience, but Uri obviously has more to say in detail.
Here, I've written mainly about each of the voice actors and characters. As usual, they're long and rambling paragraphs, so it's best for those who have some time to kill.
Also, there are many spoilers, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't played the game.
About Implementing Voice Acting
TBM was made with the assistance of many voice actors. If you're wondering why I decided to add voice acting, it's because I wanted TBM to be as much like a movie as possible. And after all, the trailer was initially included in TSM like a movie preview. Though when I say "like a movie," I really mean "like a B-movie"... (laughs)
However, I'm hopelessly incapable of speaking English. There was no chance of me compiling a fully English script, and I could scarcely even write out the details for an audition. That's why I tweeted about how full English voice acting would probably be impossible, which is when the ever-helpful vgperson-san made an offer of assistance! Truly, vgperson-san's kindness can race across continents...
And so we began quietly organizing things in the shadows. First, I asked her if there were any suitable sites to recruit voice actors, and she directed me to Voice Acting Alliance. Apparently a place where amateur voice actors could announce themselves, and you could hold casting calls. Okay, let's register there... or so I thought, but I can't! For some reason, new user registration was halted at the time.
So I talked with vgperson-san, and decided that while there would probably be much fewer applicants, I would try inviting people via my own site and Twitter. The audition period was set short at 2 weeks. Because I thought I wouldn't get the people I needed anyway, so I might as well finish it up quick and see the harsh reality.
I set up regular publicity tweets on Twitter, and made an audition page on my site. Surprisingly, I had applicants within the day it was announced. Quite a few, in fact - some who I'd had communication with before, and some I'd never talked to at all. I'd told the former "I'll be recruiting voice actors!", so that I could understand, but how could there be so many of the latter? I marveled at it. Later I realized that vgperson-san had also posted about it on her own Tumblr. For real, vgperson-san's kindness soaks deeply into my internal organs. I received a total of 47 applicants! I was as happy as could be about it.
All the applicants who submitted were really very good, so selection was a difficult process. Keith received the most submissions, and I truly agonized over him. I'll go into the reasons I chose each voice actor and how it turns out later, but here I'll explain in general turns how things came about.
The first thing I paid attention to was if the voice matched my vision for the character. Though I talk about "vision," in the audition post, each character only had a description of about 2 lines - in other words, it was damn useless. Besides "vision," it was also about the types of voices. I wanted everyone to have distinctly different voices, if possible. That's probably most striking with the female cast: I believe I found unique, personality-matching voices for Helena, Shirley, and Sophie.
Another reason I stubbornly insisted they fit my idea of the character is that I'm very susceptible to other people's influence, so if I chose someone who didn't match my vision, I felt it might alter the character's personality in the script as well. Thinking about it now, there are of course characters who changed in a good way from such influence, and it wasn't a negative thing at all. But the point is, at the time of auditions, that's the way I was thinking.
The next thing I paid attention to was how they read the lines - in other words, their performance. Keith has a ruthless feel, David has an honest feel, Lance has a smarmy feel... This also has to do with my "vision" of the characters, but I considered whether their way of speaking fit with the style of the character. For example, with Keith, all of the applicants were very skilled. However, many of them read the lines quite emotionally, which I felt didn't agree with the Keith I was trying to make.
My reasons for choosing each voice actor will be detailed later, but suffice to say everyone performed very well, and I struggled to choose on that front. I even made a chart in Excel and tried to give each person a score... Even looking back at it now, it's apparent how difficult the selection process was.
The last basis for selection was audio quality. Though I've been in a band and messed with effects a bit, I'm a complete novice at sound. And all I have for post-processing is Audacity... There were a fair number of people who met the other standards, yet I had to tearfully remove from the running because of bad audio quality. I continue to regret the fact that some may have been fine if I had just a little more skill with audio.
In summary, selecting voice actors was highly difficult, but also a fun time. Having other people voice the dialogue you thought up is really neat! And I learned that what I'm thinking regarding "I want the character to talk like this!" can't be fully expressed with the lines of dialogue alone. At first, I intended to write the scripts with no notes on dialogue, letting the voice actors read as they liked, but the auditions made me rethink that. The voice actors I chose really did a good job expressing the feelings of their characters!
By the way, this is a secret: as I was about to contact the voice actors after selection was done, I realized I hadn't made a reference for character details, so I tearfully stayed up all night to write one. I mean, I usually don't make one since it's just tedious... stupid reference materials...
Next, I'll write some thoughts about each of the characters and their voice actors.
Keith Baring - Neon-san
First, to summarize what kind of character Keith is, he's a character created and presented in a clearly different way from TCM/TSM.
Let's start with how he's created: he's on the "chasing side." David and Sophie were chased around by strange entities, but Keith's obviously different. I suspect this didn't occur to many people, but whenever the Boogie Man sets up some trap, Keith can quickly figure out what he should do by chasing after him. For the Lance rescue, if you go into the room the Boogie Man escapes into, you can destroy the mechanism. For the Grundler rescue, you have to do something down in the pit the Boogie Man jumps into. For the Shirley rescue, you go into the room the Boogie Man comes out of to find what to do... they all have that structure. For Keith, chasing down his enemy leads to solving the case and uncovering the truth - this is suggested in many places.
However, as Keith himself says in that silly final battle, he just needed to protect the hostages, and wasn't even thinking doing anything with Boogie. As a police officer, saving lives comes first, and the self-blame from losing his own son gives him a powerful obsession with protecting others. Taking down Boogie is secondary to him; all he wants is to ensure the safety of the hostages. So what happens when he does chase down Boogie? Well, as seen in that idiotic last battle, he wins easily.
Also, the act of "chasing" isn't only limited to him versus Boogie. If you get items like the video tapes and voice recorder, Keith can see and hear scenes of his wife being chased by Boogie. I want you to imagine this: If he's chasing after Boogie who's chasing Helena around, isn't he also indirectly chasing Helena? Keith is chasing after Helena, with Boogie in the middle. This very setup is what I was thinking about when I decided to make TBM.
Catching Helena who's running from Boogie is as simple as just capturing Boogie, but because Keith's putting hostage safety first as a detective, he thinks catching Boogie isn't essential. Yet in reality, it's not unneeded at all - Keith needs to do it to get closer to his wife who's trying to run from him. With Boogie in-between, Keith will never be able to reach Helena. He puts up with this, but in truth wants to see her again as soon as possible, and wants her safety most of all.
In TCM, David says he could have become a "crooked man" himself; Keith, too, is on the verge of becoming the Boogie Man, in a sense. He himself states that he and the Boogie Man are similar in that "it's all a lie." The two both paint themselves with a shell of lies to play the part of someone powerful. In this game, I intended to avoid any extraordinary entities like "monsters" or "fairies," and instead go for a consistent portrayal of "monstrous humans." It's like Nietzsche's famous quote: "Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster. For when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
That came out very messy, but simply put, Keith was a person whose feelings and actions wouldn't coincide. Fret or get angry as he would, he couldn't let that show as a protector of the people, and though he wanted to catch his wife as soon as possible, he couldn't even do that. In the last battle, he goes ahead and announces to Boogie the beatdown he's about to administer. His reason for this is simple, he says: Boogie chased after his wife's rump.
Here, he's smiling; he saved all the hostages, and left Helena's rescue to David, so he can finally just do as he pleases. Shedding the mask of "detective," he can return to being a normal man who acts on his desire to get back his dear wife. In his flashback with Tod, he summarizes his true thoughts with "I'm not gonna let anyone mess with you or mom." And when Tod asks if he'll beat up the Boogie Man "because you're a police officer?", he replies "Because I'm dad" - a scene he's able to remember just before the final fight.
Now, regarding how Keith is presented as a character, that's rather apparent. Keith doesn't talk to himself. He doesn't ever go "I wonder if I could use thiiis for something? (glance)" In other words, he doesn't help out the player. Because Keith doesn't vocalize his thoughts, the player doesn't know what he's thinking. Since he doesn't suggest what you should do, it's hard to act. So I imagine some felt distaste and irritation toward Keith. David tries to be a friend both to that uncooperative Keith and the player, but I'll get into that later.
I said earlier that I struggled with choosing Keith's voice actor the most, but Neon-san was the one who stood out among the pack as matching my vision of Keith's character.
Neon-san read the audition sample lines in a slightly angry way. Personally, I'd thought of Keith as a man who truly didn't express any emotion, so I thought that scene should also be read without emotion. But Neon-san's "irritated" reading here was very good, and I realized that voice could also work really well. To be honest, I'd felt that as skillfully as the other applicants performed, none of them stuck as Keith. Yet after hearing Neon-san's performance, I quickly thought "that settles it!" Upon putting his voice in tne game, it fit really well. I even put him in the preview; the call with Dick is still one of my favorite scenes.
Neon-san was really skilled as expressing the occasional slight emotional cracks in the typically-emotionless Keith. He also had no issue acting out his nihilistic and pessimistic sides. Though I was unsure about picking Keith's VA, every time I put Neon-san's voice in the game, I felt his voice aligning with my image of Keith, and was so glad he took part! I still muse over how TBM would probably have never gotten finished if not for him.
As an aside, I was personally really struck by the cute disconnect between main-game Keith's normal speaking and Neon-san's message in the bonus room. Neon-san's bashful voice is really cute, ehehe.
Helena Baring - Serene-san
Helena, like Keith, is a bit of a hard-to-understand character. The player sees Helena from the same perspective as Keith, so due to his shock and confusion after she brings up divorce, the player sort of also becomes unable to gauge her thoughts and actions. Though if you make it to the game's finale, you understand that protecting her husband is what drives all her actions. So I was concerned that people might dislike Helena at first. But I see a lot of people who liked her, so I'm relieved now.
Helena understands that she's a cowardly, weak person. And her husband Keith is obsessed with protecting others out of guilt from losing their son. She always thought to herself that maybe being with Keith just put additional pressure on him. And upon seeing how Keith wasn't having any fun at all even on their long-overdue vacation, she felt her beloved husband was at his limit, and brought up divorce. Because she didn't want to be a burden on him anymore.
She calls herself weak, but she's really not a weak person. She simply understands her weaknesses. In this respect, she's the opposite of Keith, who can't confront his own weakness. Helena learned that as soon as Boogie caught her, he was going to go kill Keith. (On the recorder, Boogie says "It's up to me if he lives or dies.") So she keeps running from Boogie. Running from him is the one thing her "weak" self could do to protect her husband.
She's really a strong woman: with an understanding of her weaknesses, she vowed to protect her husband in the way she was able. That's sort of a "woman-esque" strength, I suppose. If Keith is an oak tree, Helena is a reed. Rather than being unmoved by the strongest gales, she won't yield to the most intense rapids. Having a married couple as main characters is rare for free horror games, so I wanted to express their separate strengths. Of course, men and women have all different kinds of strength - I wanted to also express that difference with David and Shirley, but I'll go into that later.
It's hard to properly express writing it out formally like this, but I wanted to depict Helena as "a marvel of a woman." She looks weak, but isn't; she's kind and empathetic to others, but has her own will; she seems cowardly, but strikes back at Boogie. From a masculinity-based perspective, a woman with such strengths seems unusual. She's adaptable and multi-faceted. I think Keith might have liked that about Helena, how she's hard to get a handle on. He's an intellectual sort, so a woman who he can't entirely understand is charming to him.
I'm forgetting what I wanted to say here, but Keith doesn't make Helena submit to his manliness or something - it's actually quite the opposite. When he says to Helena in the last scene "Let me get down on my knees," that basically describes the relationship I wanted to depict. I made the relationship between these 100% following my tastes, so I could go on and on and on about them, mweehee.
And as for the voice actress Serene-san, she was the most cooperative in many respects. We talked an incredible amount about Helena's performance. Helena doesn't have much depiction of her thoughts until the latter half, so her feelings up to then had to be expressed via her dialogue and tone. So I always told Serene-san in detail, "I want you to say this like this!"
However, I also made a serious mistake. The way I pictured Helena speaking was Nicole Kidman from Bewitched, so I told Serene-san that I wanted her to perform like that. But, listening to her recordings and the retakes she did, it seemed she was forcing herself a bit to use a higher-pitched voice. When I checked with her, it became clear I had come across as not "picturing" Nicole, but asking her to "do her voice"... My instructions (which I'd given in English) had been faulty. I apologized profusely, and had her do retakes where she didn't strain her voice to be higher. I'm truly sorry...
To give an evaluation, she was excellent at getting across Helena's gracefulness. I honestly think that's amazing enough, but even in scenes where she's crying, scenes where she's softly reprimanding, scenes where she shouts, she kept Helena's distinct softness. Helena is a difficult character, but Serene-san always questioned me right away when she didn't understand or was wondering about something, and with a deep understanding of the character, she performed excellently to the end. I'm really so happy someone with such solid talent and solid attitude took part.
By the way, I've received a few wonderful presents from her! Like for my birthday, and TBM's second anniversary. Though really, I received them not from her, but from a group of the other voice actors and fans, under her leadership. I'm not one to care about birthdays or anniversaries, to the point where I even forget my own birthday, so I was both very surprised and incredibly happy.
The Boogie Man - Daveosity-san
The biggest difference between this and the previous entries in the series is that the villain, Boogie, talks a whole lot. The Crooked Man hardly ever speaks, and while Sandman speaks, you don't know what he's saying. In order to give TBM a B-movie-like story, his character was absolutely essential. He's a character who uses mutual understanding in a backhanded way, leading people by the nose with his words.
From the conception of the story, it was clearly decided in my mind what his personality was like and how he spoke, and I'd even thought up most of his lines. Incidentally, I pictured him sort of like the Joker from Batman. But not The Dark Knight! (That's important.) As such, I wanted to pick a voice actor who'd fit that perfectly. As for why I went with Daveosity-san, see further down.
I think the most notable thing about the character of Boogie is his painted "face." It's usually grinning, but from scene to scene, it'll turn angry or sad. Of course, it's paint, so it's inconceivable it's actually doing that. Thus in the end it's revealed how only Keith could see that, and the other attendees saw something repulsive (the way he looks during the final fight in the good ending). Also, Richard's questioning makes it clear that his speech and behavior were completely different from what Keith and the player saw.
So, why did he look like that to Keith's eyes? Because Boogie is Keith's "enemy." Furthermore, he's not his real "enemy," he's a "fake." In the flashback after David's death, Keith and Dick have this conversation: "I want an enemy." "You've got those all over the place." "They're all fakes. They're all... smiling. I want an enemy. One that, if I can kill them... it'd put an end to all these stupid incidents." Afterward, it shows all the criminals Keith's had to deal with, and he thinks to himself, "it's not you." And the dead criminals' faces are somehow grinning.
The enemy Keith wants is a perfectly immoral, undeniable "evil." He's not necessarily talking about criminals, but some greater evil that can't truly be embodied. Keith's ideal enemy is someone he can defeat to put an end to all crime and sadness. So the individual criminals he finds here and there are "fakes" to him. Fakes who grin and scoff at him. Dick responds to Keith's desire for this ideal "enemy" who can't exist by saying there's no such thing, and if there is, it's only in his head - so it'll die when Keith does.
Now, let's look back on the lines from Boogie's first appearance. "All the evil and sadness in this world... can be blamed on the Boogie! The Boogie Man is the king of evil and terror!" Boogie declares himself to be exactly the ideal enemy Keith wants. Keith comes to the erroneous conclusion that Boogie is really his "enemy" in Bad End 1. He shouts at Boogie, "...My wife... My son... Give back my family!!", even though his son died in an accident unrelated to Boogie. And yet he blames it on Boogie, and demands he give him back. In short, he goes and admits Boogie is his ideal enemy. Like Dick says, what you have to do to kill that ideal enemy is kill yourself. So that's how Bad End 1 concludes.
So, how does this change if you go through the game properly for the good ending? Before the last battle, Keith says this to Boogie. "I guess we were pretty similar after all, in the sense that it was all a lie. You and me are just acting. You're no scary monster, and I'm no paragon of justice. You're my enemy? Spare me the sleeptalk." Here, Keith recognizes that Boogie's not the ideal enemy he sought, but another "fake." And he understands that the enemy he desired as he was trying to be ever-composed and dependable was just a delusion.
I think this is an important point Keith had to come to. Once Keith sees through Boogie's face as a fake, his grinning fake face changes to show its true colors, the repulsive appearance Richard talks about. Well, but as repulsive as it could possibly be, he's just another criminal like Keith deals with all the time, so he gives him a beatdown. By the way, when Boogie shows up while you play as Sophie, his face is always dark, hiding his expression, but this Boogie has the face Richard was talking about. That grinning face was only how it looked through Keith's eyes.
I chose Daveosity-san out of numerous auditions for the role of Boogie because he perfectly fit my image of Boogie speaking in a mocking way. I thought it'd be fantastic to have that sense he's always scoffing at someone, whether it's when he's pretending to be angry or when he's pretending to be sad, so I settled on him. Once recording actually began, he fit astonishingly well as Boogie! Speaking in a perfectly fitting way for Boogie's expressions, he added color to many of the game's scenes. Being able to bring out such a mood is another sign of great acting ability. When I play the voiceless version now, I start to really miss Boogie's voice. (laughs) I was so happy to have him lending his wonderful talents to voice Boogie.
David Hoover - Rou-san
In TSM, the position he should have had was stolen away by Lullaby, but he leapt out to have an important role in TBM. Said role is to guide Keith. In his first scene on the boat, seeing Keith trying to work his broken lighter, he offers him a light. This was a metaphor for offering a light to Keith, who's in darkness. Now, let's discuss exactly what kinds of things he does.
First of all, all of the male victims of Boogie are assigned roles as "mirrors" that reflect Keith. Lance is Keith when he was younger, Richard is Keith when he was a father. For example, Lance seriously freaks out when Boogie's about to kill him, and seeing Lance like that reminds emotionless Keith of the "terror" he tasted when he himself almost died as a newbie detective. And Richard, who's so loving toward his daughter and willing to do anything for her, has the "love for family" Keith once had. In that way, the characters are made to resemble aspects Keith has (or had).
So what about David? He's the mirror of Keith as a husband, with the duty of showing "love for his wife." David and Shirley are married, too. David, Lance, and Richard have roles of showing Keith his former selves so he can get back what he's lost, but David is especially important here. Because after Helena brings up divorce with Keith, he knows repairing his relationship with her is urgent. David shows concern for Helena multiple times through the story, and thinks it's absurd Keith is so calm in spite of his missing wife. He attempts to dig back up the concern for his wife Keith won't show others (but is actually just hiding). And when Shirley is missing, David is incredibly worried, and when he finds her captured, he risks his life to save her. And then once he does safely reunite with her, he trusts her enough to leave her behind while he goes to accompany Keith. It's a completely different situation from the Barings, who worry for one another, but as a result, can't trust each other. Keith appears calm, but these actions of David's actually shake him to his core. In short, David repeatedly shows Keith what a husband looks like, a side of himself he lost.
In addition, David has another duty. At first, he's an entity who lights up Keith's darkness, as I wrote. But other than his duty to "reflect Keith as a husband," the places where that's really shown are the conversation in the room with the Saturn Devouring His Son painting, the talk after the flashback to Tod's death, and when you watch the third video tape. In those scenes, David has these lines. "There's a big gap between your ideal and what you really want. It's contradictory... Isn't that painful for you?" "You're clever, so you're trying to fool yourself. But you can't fully deceive yourself. Deep in your heart, you still blame yourself..." "Even if you only protect what you really feel is important... No one will blame you for it."
These are lines only David, the protagonist of TCM, can say. Keith's ideal was to be a strong man unmoved by anything. But in reality, he didn't want that, he just acquired that ideal from blaming himself for failing to protect his son. To put it another way, he's been asleep - averting his eyes from his weakness, unable to accept his son's death. At the start of the game, Eric asks Keith "Are you asleep?", and he replies "I was just thinking." He denies that he's asleep (still held down by his son's death) and is putting on a facade, so that's his response. But after watching the third video tape (the conversation between Boogie and Helena), David asks the same question, "Are you asleep?!", and Keith responds "I'm awake." Here, he recognizes his weakness, can wake up from his slumber, and resolves to beat up the Boogie Man who messed with his precious family.
I think the power of David's words is key in stirring him awake. David, too, was in despair after his dreams fell apart, driven to nearly killing his mother and himself. (As mentioned in the conversation near the Saturn painting, Keith knows about that past of his.) That's why his sincere words are able to move Keith the most. In TBM, David is Keith's senior at recovering from the depths of failure.
I heard many voices in the auditions, but Rou-san's was the one that surprised me most. Personally, I imagined David's voice like Henry's from Silent Hill 4, and wrote as much in the audition post, but honestly didn't really expect to get someone with such a soft and calm voice. So I was seriously shocked when I heard Rou-san's, which was such a shoe-in for the part. I don't think this is just me. Even now, I hear people say "He perfectly fits what I imagined for David's voice!"
Not only is it a fitting voice, his performance was great as well. I think he was able to express various emotions while keeping that unique softness. It's enough to make you think for a second, "was David based on Rou-san?" (laughs) I'm really so grateful to Rou-san!
Sophie Grundler - choco.lait-san
I was actually anxious whether Sophie, the protagonist of the previous entry The Sandman, would be accepted by players. As those who played TSM know, her personality changes quite a bit. In the previous game, she was mostly only depicted being all gloomy. Well, but she broke out at the end. In TBM, she carries on with that newfound openness. She doesn't show self-denial and makes her thoughts clear, and her father spoils her a fair bit. In essence, she's become rather childish. That's how she is now after overcoming the last game's story, but I was worried people who liked her in TSM might not be open to it. In fact, I still worry that.
Sophie, like David, is important to the ending branches in this game. Whether she lives or dies connects to the ending because, since her father Richard represents Keith as a father, Richard's daughter Sophie represents Keith's child. That should be apparent from the scene after Sophie vs. the dogs, where Keith scolds her - "Can you even imagine how much you worried your father, you idiot?!" - and that reminds him of the line he said to Tod, "Why don't you do what I tell you?" Sophie symbolizes to Keith the child he loved yet couldn't protect. Whether or not that child survives is huge for him, which is why her well-being determines the path he goes down. David has the same sort of purpose.
When questioned by Dick, Sophie states that she knew Boogie wasn't actually "the Boogie Man," but a human. You might remember if you played TSM, but while hiding in a cupboard to escape the Sandman, she encountered the real Boogie Man. So she can tell that Boogie isn't a monster or anything, just a human. Well, except in truth, none of the tour victims believed Boogie was the actual monster "the Boogie Man." Still, in that chaotic situation, I think many had this fear like "Is he really even human?" In this case, maybe he's more of a "monstrosity" than a "monster"? Richard saw through to part of the truth via Keith's words, but Sophie saw another aspect that Keith couldn't have known. The Grundlers might actually be pretty amazing, huh? (laughs)
Like I said, I was worried about Sophie's personality in TBM, so I was also very uneasy about choosing a voice actor for her. Quite a few submissions came in for Sophie, but most of them were rather mature voices. choco-san's voice fit in the childish category. I ultimately went with choco-san because, in addition to fitting the idea of Sophie being more childish compared to TSM, it kept the voices distinct between her, Helena, and Shirley. The ladies in this game really demonstrate some diverse personalities. So I wanted voices that fit each, and also stood apart from one another.
Those are the reasons I chose choco-san at the time of selection, but once recording began, I found myself consantly moved by their acting ability. I was shocked at how, while always keeping that bright and adorable teenager-ness, they precisely expressed joy, anger, and sadness. And, after the release of THM, I should note that choco-san was also able to perform college-bound Sophie in a different way still from TBM. Compared to TBM, the performance is a bit more emotionally subdued, so some players thought "Isn't this a little monotone?", but I don't think so at all. I feel they voiced Sophie expertly, from childish Sophie to slightly-matured Sophie.
By the way, the post-game bonus scene was quite a hit. I really love choco-san's peeved performance in that scene after being teased by Keith. Though I always felt it in the other scenes as well, I get the sense that only choco-san could play Sophie, and there is where I feel it most strongly. Their participation made all of Sophie's scenes that much more colorful, and I'm deeply grateful for it.
Lance Kanal - Nurvuss-san
Lance was a popular character, with quite a few telling me "I want him in more games!" And indeed, I'm very fond of him as well. His personality can be simply described as "smarmy but cowardly," but he's actually a dedicated justice-seeker too. When Keith tells him about Stevie's death, he angrily asks "You couldn't save him?", and objects to Keith's methods of restraining Richard when he loses it, shaking free of Keith to accompany Richard. In the biography I gave Nurvuss-san, I wrote: "Originally a photographer/journalist, he wrote articles that dug up the truth of criminal cases. But while looking into the case of a girl who was raped and murdered, his info-gathering techniques were called into question by civil liberties organizations, and he retired as a journalist. After that, he started to dislike taking pictures of people, and became a photographer for a landscape-oriented travel magazine."
So yes, he's actually someone who wants justice in his own way and pursues the truth. And yet after he was condemned and driven out of his occupation, that failure turned him contrarian. Perhaps Lance and Keith are similar in the sense of failure changing their lives. Besides that, they're also similarly sarcastic. They appear to not like each other, but maybe that's only because they're reminded of themselves.
As I wrote in David's section, Lance serves as a mirror to reflect Keith when he was young. In the saving Lance event, Keith shows some rare sympathy for the terror Lance felt and consoles him. Because in terrified Lance, he saw his former self. In addition, Lance's most important job is the conversation before the Bad End 4 route's last battle. "Stop sayin' crap about shoulds and shouldn'ts! Listen, I know. Deep down, you think we're just annoyances. Don't really care what happens to us... 'cause ultimately, we're total strangers. And you're sketchy as hell for trying to hide that. Why you gotta hide that? If we're just in your way, say it! Don't go so far protecting us that you'll kill yourself off! If you wanna save your woman right now, then do it!!"
These lines are incredibly direct and impassioned by Lance's standards. He hits Keith with what he really thinks, when usually he's sarcastic and keeps it hidden. Keith can't possibly call Lance and the others "annoyances," but in this situation where he wants to save Helena ASAP, they honestly are. So Lance guesses at that, and on top of that, tells him it's fine. Until then, he thought of Keith as a cold person who tried to control others, but after hearing the truth from him, he reconsiders. Lance was formerly a journalist, so he has a good eye for people. He saw through to the fact that Keith actually thought dearly of his wife and wanted to save her deep down, so albeit crudely, he encouraged Keith with honest words. To repeat, Lance reflects Keith in his youth, so this scene is really designed to be like Keith's younger self encouraging him. Bent out of shape by failure and painful experiences, his course is corrected by his former honest self. In this game, Lance ended up being given the role of firmly encouraging our astray protagonist.
Honestly, once I heard Nurvuss-san's sample in auditions, I chose him immediately. (laughs) He's really good at that smarmy way of speaking. I imagine his message in the post-game bonus surprised people; his voice when he's not acting is entirely different from Lance's. I can tell just how well he understood Lance's character and how to portray it. Not to mention, while this matters to no one but me, the voice recordings he gave me were really clean, which was a huge help. I couldn't name a single problem in voice, performance, and quality. Incidentally, he also did an interview after release, and I was happy to have a fun chat with him.
Shirley Webber - Adox-san
I wrote how David was important for reflecting Keith as a husband, and Shirley has a somewhat similar role. Or rather, perhaps I should say David and Shirley together show Keith how a married couple should be.
First, to describe Shirley in a word, she's strong. She calls herself "a dunce" for having been kidnapped and nearly killed by Boogie, and sees her husband off to help Keith while holding an axe over her shoulder. The complete opposite of the seemingly-weak Helena, the two also have completely different relationships with their husbands. The Barings' style is to protect each other from whatever harm might come to the other, while David and Shirley fight with their backs to one another. This relationship of theirs is most important to show "trusting your partner." They can go back-to-back because they trust one another, and they can cover their partner's weaknesses. Their relationship shows trust much more strongly than the Barings, who try to protect each other so much that they've lost it.
Personally, I think the most notable scene of hers is the end of Bad End 4. Always tough during the incident, here Shirley becomes sullen and talks about when she temporarily broke up with David. This also connects to THM a bit, but Shirley got along well with David's mother, and heard about how depressed she was when her husband divorced her. As a result, and having been abandoned as a baby, she was very anxious about becoming part of someone else's family.
In the materials sent to the voice actors, I wrote this, which sums it up: "She was a "dumped baby" unwanted by her parents, so she had a sense of distrust for family. With no relatives, she had to do everything by herself to live, and she was scared to join anyone's family or depend on anyone. Everyone around her sees her as a strong woman who can do everything by herself, but she's really just scared of getting too deeply connected to anyone else. She found it too hard to bear David's kindness and tried to run away, but ended up coming back to him. Then, she vowed that she wouldn't just have him protect her, but live protecting him as well." Though I said she's a strong woman, she does have such weaknesses as well. And it's her awareness of those weaknesses that resulted in that vow. All that considered, she's definitely a strong, independent woman.
Usually tough, but sooometimes showing weakness - Adox-san performed that character of Shirley splendidly. In auditions, I felt her clear speaking and acting were perfect for Shirley and chose her. But even in scenes like the aforementioned where she shows some weakness (there's also the conversation after David's death), she was skillful at doing a very different performance that showed Shirley's sadness and unease. I was surprised to hear in her post-game message that Adox-san did have prior voice acting experience, but mostly only in young boy roles. After all, she gave such a solid performance of a mature woman with a strong side and a weak side in TBM. I was certain it had to be something she'd handled many times before. Personally, I'd like to see TBM lead to her trying more such roles in the future.
Richard Grundler - Winter-san
The thing I was most worried about before starting auditions was "would there be any applicants for Richard...?" After all, he's age 45, and I described him as "a timid old man who dotes over his daughter." I was ready to admit defeat, thinking I probably wouldn't get submissions for that kind of voice acting role in a free game. So I was shocked to hear Winter-san's voice and performance. He just fit so well! To be honest, I heard his sample and implemented it immediately. (laughs)
What kind of character is Richard? Players of TSM might know a little, but he's diligent and a bit weak for his daughter. Until the end of TSM, he gives a slightly cold impression as someone who immerses himself in work without caring about his daughter. But in the end, he speaks out about his true feelings, and even asks "Will you forgive me?" for neglecting her all this time. TSM ends with him finally showing that sweet side, so it was fun getting to actually dig deeper into his personality in TBM. He's actually timid, but works hard at his job in finance, and has a clever side. He's the oldest character, so I suppose his ability to see through people and things is advanced as well. That's why he's able to see the case calmly from his own perspective, as he reveals in the ending.
As stated before, Richard reflects Keith the way he used to be as a father. Seeing him worrying over his daughter, and getting upset and crying, Keith is reminded of his former self. Before going to search for Sophie, when Richard clings onto him, supposedly-emotionless Keith shows some clear disgust, right? But after pushing him away without thinking, he returns to his senses and apologizes. Some have supposed this is because Keith doesn't like having a guy clinging to him, but naturally, that's not it. At that moment, Keith sees Richard echoing his past self, "a father who's powerless to protect his child," and so he unconsciously thrusts him away. Also, when you do the Sophie-dying route and Keith has to restrain Richard from going out and killing Boogie, Keith shows a rare pained expression and apologizes to him. He knows the pain of losing a child, so he feels deeply guilty for making Richard experience it too. That's a weakpoint Keith would've never wanted someone to attack back when he was a father. In that sense, maybe Richard is the one who shakes up Keith the most.
I told Winter-san I wanted him to speak gently, but when it was about Sophie's safety, to give an almost excessively out-of-sorts performance. And he knocked it out of the park. I believe he understood and expressed Richard's feelings so well, I could come away thinking "maybe I didn't even have to give specific instructions?" Also, he played the doctor who appears in Keith's flashback, who speaks totally differently from Richard. I was shocked at the breadth of his talent. I won't just say he was a perfect voice for Richard; Winter-san surprised me in many ways on the performance side. I'm truly happy he took part in the project.
Brendon Dumont - Tobby-san
Honestly, Brendon is a character I don't really want to explain, even to those who have beaten the game. Of course, I have thought about the details of his thought process and such, but those things are fine being known only by me, and I don't want to tell them to players. He's a "monstrous human," so explaining how "in this part, due to this reason, as the villain, he did this"... it kind of puts a damper on things, right? Well, and to be frank, he has no real "motive" that I can explain with words. It's because he did those things with no motive that he's a monstrous human. So for those confusing reasons of mine, I won't write any considerations on his character. I won't... but I will provide this excerpt about his past from the document I sent the voice actors.
He was born into the family that owned the castle, and hated to live in such a musty old place, so he went to film school. There he learned special makeup and filming techniques, and went to Hollywood to work at a small movie company. But he grew sick of living unnoticed behind the scenes, and with his born cruel disposition, he decided to conduct a game of murder, like a villain in a movie, and make himself known to the world as someone to be feared. He then graduated and returned home to the castle, killed his parents, and received an enormous inheritance. (In-game, it's said they died in a traffic accident, but it was actually murder.) Afterward, he proposes a tour of the castle to his travel agent to promote it as a place for sightseeing, and searches for attendees. Once they're decided, he uses detective agencies and the like to investigate their histories.
The "weariness with life" described above, odd as it is for me to say, doesn't constitute a true "motive," I think. This part was really hard to describe, so I wrote it as "his born cruel disposition," but long story short, it can all be summarized in those words. That is to say, the reason he caused this incident was "because he's that kind of person." To change subjects, there's a manga I like called Soil. In this scene where the detective questions the culprit, the culprit responds: "This ecstasy has no true form. Search as you may, you won't get an answer. Because this is not a mystery meant to be solved." I'd like to give the same answer about Brendon's motive. If you try to ask "why did the culprit do this?", the questions spread to everything from birth, to environment, to thoughts, and you only get one new mystery after another.
Though Brendon is an illogical character as I've explained, the personality he shows to the world is "a bright and diligent young man." That's what I told Tobby-san, asking him to always be smiling and speaking in a chipper way. And indeed, Tobby-san performed Brendon as a cheerful youth very well. Actually, the conversation between Brendon and the servants before you enter the castle was a late addition, but I was impressed how he made it sound like a natural friendly conversation. Also, I felt he was quite ambitious and inquisitive, endeavoring to better his performance.
Listening to it now, he expressed Brendon with such bottomless cheerfulness, it sways you into thinking "ah, he's that kind of character," but when you go back after beating it, you can think "huh, so he's putting it on" - it's a strange power of his performance. I imagine it's not easy nailing that two-faced nature, but Tobby-san did it well. I think it's really wonderful.
Dick Anderson - Manly-san
For the auditions, I declared that I would select applicants irrelevant of whether I already knew them or not. At any rate, I wanted to prioritize the voice actors who best suited the characters. However, Manly-san is the one person I did know who I chose to voice act. That said, there wasn't any communication between us, it was just me knowing of him. Previously, an English fan shared their thoughts and told me "I watched a Mermaid Swamp LP! It was neat!" And since the image of Japanese mermaids clearly differs from what they're like elsewhere, I wondered, how did foreigners respond to that? So I watched the videos out of simple curiosity - which were by Manly-san.
In his videos, Manly-san actually gave explanations about Japanese mermaid mythology. Hearing those gave me the impression he was good at explaining things in a very conscientious way. And when I heard his sample in the auditions, I recognized how he could clearly distinguish between when he was talking in a mature and calm tone, and when he was mocking or admonishing someone.
I wrote this in Dick's biography, sent to Manly-san: "In The Crooked Man terms, Dick is in the same position as Paul, but he doesn't go as far as Paul does to help his friend. Knowing Keith so well, he also knows how Keith hates people poking their noses into his business, so he can only watch over him. Dick is also good friends with Helena, and always worries if things are going well between her and Keith. He's the one who knows the most about the situation of the Baring couple." Dick has a good understanding of Keith and Helena. That's why I wanted to pick someone who could calmly admonish him. Manly-san easily brought across his droll joking nature.
Besides being someone who understands the protagonist, Dick has another very important role: providing explanations to the player. Up until the end, the player can only follow the story from the perspective of its protagonist Keith. In other words, they can only see the truth of the case through the eyes of a third party. But at the end of the game, we go to Dick questioning the victims as a detective, trying to unravel the details of the case. For the first time, the player can learns what this case was really like, and the truth of everything.
Dick's explanations don't end with the case, either; it also extends to Helena's inner thoughts. He asks Helena about her feelings, and - since he's also a detective, a father, and a husband - suggests what Keith's inner thoughts that she was incapable of knowing might be. Here's where the player can finally understand Helena's feelings (why did she want to divorce Keith in the first place?). I definitely wanted this explanation for the player - or recap of the game, perhaps - to be given calmly and exactly. For these reasons, I considered Manly-san very fitting for the role.
So that's how Dick is a rather important character, despite not showing up very much. I really counted myself lucky to get someone so familiar with speaking like Manly-san. Besides a faultless performance, his audio quality was phenomenal, and all I needed to do was adjust volume and the space between lines. (laughs) Thank you for helping in so many ways! Those are my thoughts on Manly-san.
Eric Simpson - cyanroll-san
Eric is a character packed with qualities you don't want in a subordinate: frivolous, cheeky, and lazy. He was originally a detective in a different division, but he acted way too rudely, so to get him properly reprimanded, he was assigned to work under Dick and Keith, infamously "scary" even among the police. (laughs) But he quickly adapted to Keith, and doesn't seem to get punished. He does treat Keith with an arrogant attitude, but Keith doesn't chastise him for it. Keith believes in meritocracy, so he probably doesn't concern himself with hierarchy. Also, considering how Keith works with Eric without really raising complaints, maybe he actually thinks Eric has potential and wants to train him. Well, though Eric does make a certain screw-up in THM... but that aside.
By the way, he was the detective who questioned David when he was detained for trying to kill his mother. Eric had a sick grandmother at the time, so he sympathized with David and wished for his quick release. So I imagine if he met him again in TBM, he'd be surprised, but happy to see he's managed to be doing pretty well now. I say that because I did intend to include a conversation between Eric and David. But it was just too short, so I cut it.
cyanroll-san was great at performing Eric's cheekiness. In the very first scene, and the phone call with Keith, I think his performance made things a little more comedic. Without Eric, those scenes would have just been gloomy through and through, but I think Eric's presence and cyanroll-san's acting gave those scenes a more realistic depth. He did a really great job as TBM's comedic relief.
By the way, cyanroll-san is really good at drawing. After TBM was finished, he drew a cute illustration for me! It's wonderful. I was glad for the present on top of him contributing as a voice actor.
Stevie Small - Jesse-san
Stevie may get killed off pretty quickly, giving him little time to shine, but he's actually pretty important for the development of the story. He's the first one you contact to get on the boat, and he indicates that you're going to have meals at the castle. Most important of all is that he's killed by Boogie as the "tutorial" for his murder show. Stevie exists to inform Keith that if he doesn't hurry up and catch Boogie, the other tour attendees are going to end up like him. In that way, he sets the scene for what's going to happen next. He's the guide for the tour, but you might also say he serves as a guide for the story as well...?
Stevie is 33, of the same generation as Lance. That's why he can be seen having a friendly chat with Lance after eating. And so Lance is very shaken to hear that he's been killed. His personality is never properly depicted in the game, but personally, I picture him a someone who can diligently carry out his work. There's the part where he asks Keith about meals, and generally, I think such a question would be asked by the castle servants. The servants (chefs) make the food, after all. So why is it Stevie asking? Simply because this tour was a "test run" before the castle is opened as a tourist spot, so he knows the people in the castle are inexperienced with handling guests, and takes on the duties himself. He knows exactly what needs to be done, and gets right to doing it.
Since I had that image of Stevie, I thought a voice actor who could speak clearly would be good. Jesse-san gave me an impression of speaking calmly without faltering in the audition, and upon recording, I found he fit my idea well. His usual smooth speaking is good, but I especially like when he talks to Keith about his wife playfully, showing a bit of his true self. Stevie's personality couldn't be shown off in a big way in the game, but Jesse-san added a sense of humanity to him. Though not a major part, I really appreciated his help.
Tod Baring - Jiyeon-san
Tod's part is an important one, to showcase Keith when he was a father. Until the flashback with Tod, the player likely only sees Keith as a truly cold and emotionless perfectionist. But in his memories of Tod, he's shown to accidentally use bad words in front of his son, and get nervous when he imitates them... in general, a charming father. Also, he's able to remember that he should beat up Boogie not because of his duty as police, but because "dad's not gonna let anyone mess with you or mom," thanks to that conversation with Tod.
In all honestly, I wasn't too concerned about the voice of Tod. It's like I didn't find it necessary to be, since simply being a toddler makes him very different from everyone else. Still, I picked Jiyeon-san out of the various applicants for Tod because she could skillfully perform both being downhearted and playing around happily. Those were my reasons during selection, at least, but after hearing the "Who taught you bad words like that?" "You did, dad." exchange, I was really into her slight bluntness. (laughs) Also, in the flashback before the last battle, the performances of being scared and worried were surprisingly fitting for Tod. Maybe I owe it to her performance for solidifying my rather ambiguous idea of Tod's character. I'm deeply grateful for her performance of Tod in various ranges. I'm still really glad she could play the role.
I'm terribly sorry this is so absurdly long... Even still, I'm also sorry I kept you waiting for this bonus content so long after TBM's release. I knew it would end up extremely long and rambling, so I had a hard time making progress on it.
Also, I want to close by apologizing to the voice actors at the top of my lungs. Namely, for being so damn slow writing the script. My process was start making the game -> do auditions and choose voice actors -> write script while making the game, so whenever production slowed, I couldn't write more of the script. As a result, the voice actors had to stick with me the whole time I was making the game... I'm so grateful they took the time out of their schedules to assist. It was my first time creating with so much assistance from others, but having the voice actors there always encouraged me when I felt discouraged.
TBM's creation was roughly half hardship and half enjoyment. Mostly hardship during the process of making it, but after release, all those who call themselves fans have really made up for that. Though there are some ways in which I really behaved improperly, as someone who always quietly worked alone up to that point... (laughs) Well, I'm grateful, anyway. Personally, I think what I'm most glad about may be that I didn't burn out on TBM, and went on to release THM as well.
Well then, it's been long, but that's all! I've written at length about my thoughts here, but I'm sure there are mysteries still not made clear in spite of that. I hope you'll come up with your own thoughts on those. So long! (・ω・)ノシ