Jujutsu Kaisen is both a smash hit manga and anime. Blending horror and action, this shonen title follows Yuji Itadori, a boy with tremendous physical strength, though he lives a completely ordinary high school life. That is, until one day, to save a friend who has been attacked by Curses, he eats the finger of the Double-Faced Specter Ryomen Sukuna, taking the Curse into his own soul. From then on, he shares one body with the Sukuna. Guided by the most powerful of sorcerers, Gojo Satoru, Itadori is admitted to the Tokyo Metropolitan Technical High School of Sorcery, an organization that fights the Curses—while living the most powerful one inside of him.
Sukuna is a villain that brings chaos and evil and does so while juxtaposed with best boi Itadori. Voiced by Ray Chase, Sukuna is the attractive baddie that may or may not have eaten a heart or two. We got the chance to talk with Chase about voicing this menacing character and learn a bit about the voice acting process. Having brought to life characters like Bruno Bucciarati in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Helper T Cell in Cells at Work, Ertegun in Carole & Tuesday, and even Noctis in Final Fantasy XV, we dive into what it’s like to make an evil turn with his work on Jujutsu Kaisen.
BUT WHY THO: Saukuna is a very different character than Itadori, but the two share a body. How do you manage to match your voice to Itadori’s visuals while also differentiating it from Adam McArthur’s take on Itadori? Or does it just come naturally?
RAY CHASE: I think the Japanese dub did a pretty good job of differentiating them, and that’s where we take our lead! It also helps that when Itadori talks he’s a fresh-faced teen and when Sukuna takes over he’s all covered in tattoos and eyes. Very scary face deserves a scary voice!
BUT WHY THO: How does recording the voice over for Sukuna work? For fans, we see your voice and McArthur’s bounce between each other seamlessly, but is there a special process when it comes to voicing the character in the same body?
RAY CHASE: We’ve recorded this show entirely at home, directed by Michael Sorich. Michael has a long history of working on anime and he guides us really well when we don’t have anyone to play off of! And of course, as we get to record only one of us at a time, either me or Adam get to hear the other for each episode. Some shows you’re always going last or first, but on this one, the scheduling has worked out that he gets to hear me sometimes and I get to hear him sometimes.
BUT WHY THO: Sakuna is evil, but he’s also chaotic in a way. How do you manage to portray a menacing voice presence while also being a little unruly and to be honest a bit on the attractive side?
RAY CHASE: A bit? I’d say he’s the most attractive character on the show by far. He certainly has the best looks (get it, cause of the eyes?). One thing this show does really well is balance the serious and the comedic, switching between the two on a dime. It’s fun to have lots of asides about how pathetic Itadori is under your breath! I’d say ultimately it falls on the show being well written and paced which makes Sukuna especially fun whenever he shows up.
BUT WHY THO: With so much experience in voice acting, do you prefer playing a hero, a villain, or those characters that land in between and why?
RAY CHASE: In anime being a hero versus a villain is usually so much more clear cut than in other media. You know that if you’re a hero, you’re going to have to scream a lot, which can be a major downside. But then you get a lot of lines and get to inspire others to do good! A villain will usually get to be a lot easier on your voice, and you get to taunt the hero a whole lot which can be fun. But it is harder to get in the mindset of villains – especially ones so cursed like Sukuna!
BUT WHY THO: You’ve also done a lot of work in video games, is there a difference between voice acting for a game versus for a series or film?
RAY CHASE: There are lots of little differences in terms of workflow that I don’t think will interest too many people – but one major difference is you usually have the source material for an anime and you never do with a video game. I was able to watch the sub before dubbing my role which basically gives you all the information you need! And if I was more literate, I could read the manga and really know where things are going…
BUT WHY THO: Do you have a favorite moment that you’ve voiced yet? Or if it’s too spoilery, do you have a favorite element you like bringing out with your voice work for Sukuna?
RAY CHASE: I love that I get to do such a weird and interesting voice for him – it’s not very anime at all, and definitely not one that I’ve used before. He’s got a timelessness to him which helps as he’s a thousand years old, but also with kind of a New York attitude for his more disdainful moments. I love doing his little laughs when he fights!
Well, you read it here, Sukuna is the most attractive character on the show. Full stop. But beyond his attractiveness, getting the chance to see into Chase’s process of voicing such an evil character. Having voiced a long list of heroes before, for Chase’s fans, I’m sure getting to see his villain side is fun, especially with one so terrifying as Sukuna.
Jujutsu Kaisen‘s English dub airs new episodes Fridays on Crunchyroll.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.