INTERVIEW: Hammers, Nails and Voicing Nobara Kugisaki with Anne Yatco

Reading Time: 3 minutes


MAPPA’s hit anime adaptation of Jujutsu Kaisen is about to hit its second cour, and we were lucky to speak with some of the people helping bring it to life. This time it is Anne Yatco, the English voice of Nobara Kugisaki. The story focuses on high schooler Yuji Itadori, who one chaotic night becomes the vessel for Special Grade curse Sukuna. To survive he must enroll in Jujutsu High, and learn about the hidden world of sorcerers and fighting curses. He meets many eccentric classmates and teachers, but at the heart of the show is the friendship between the main trio of first years: Yuji, Megumi and Nobara.

Nobara Kugisaki is an absolutely fantastic leading lady. Enrolling in Jujutsu High to break out of the country and into the city, she wields a hammer, nails and no-nonsense attitude. She has been an absolute joy to watch grow onscreen, and part of that is credited to Anne Yatco. Yatco has numerous voice acting credits, including Brand New Animal, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Penguin Highway, and Violet Evergarden. Here, she answers a few questions about fighting curses as spunky Nobara.

BUT WHY THO: What is your favorite part about working on Jujutsu Kaisen?

ANNE YATCO: I can’t pick just one! I love love LOVE Nobara, and getting to play her in the English dub is a dream. This is also the first anime I’ve worked on that airs its dub just behind the sub, so it’s been a treat to watch (and read) ahead to see what’s coming for Nobara. And I’ve been having a blast in my recording sessions! Our director, Michael Sorich, and engineers Joey and Eddie are awesome and hilarious, and it’s a joy to work with them. Lastly, getting to share the screen (so to speak) with such talented voice actors as Adam McArthur, Kaiji Tang, Robbie Daymond, and Ray Chase is just really cool.

BWT: As Gojo says, everyone at Jujutsu High has to be “a little crazy.” How do you translate that for Nobara?

ANNE YATCO: I mean, you’d have to be a little crazy to make your occupation fighting deadly curses, right? Nobara comes in like a hurricane—she’s so intense, but she can also be really silly sometimes. Most importantly, she’s driven, and she’ll fight to the very end. Gojo also mentions that sorcerers need to be able to get over their fear or disgust of curses, and Nobara does just that by thinking on her feet and outside the box, and doing whatever it takes to defeat a curse.

BWT: A lot of Nobara’s comedy comes from her being new to the city, but never at her expense, what goes into playing these scenes?

ANNE YATCO: With Nobara, it’s all about expectations vs reality. She’s so self-confident that she expects A LOT from the city, but she was a big fish in a little pond back in the country, and Tokyo is an ocean by comparison. Ultimately, though, she never lets those disappointments stop her or get her down. This girl bounces back fast, you know? But yeah, the comedy definitely comes from Nobara’s high expectations clashing with a harsh reality!

BWT: All of these characters deal with grief in different ways. Nobara is a generally upfront person, how did you approach the episodes where she was dealing with loss?

ANNE YATCO: I think her upfront nature and her refusal to take crap from anyone stems directly from the loss of her friend Saori. Nobara was too young to understand or fight back against that discrimination, so she developed a tough, and at times “bitchy,” armor around herself as a defense mechanism. I think she grew up to be the kind of person who could protect people like Saori. But she doesn’t have time for other people’s crap. And she will let them know that.

BWT: If you could use any cursed technique from the show, which would it be?

ANNE YATCO: Nobara’s cursed technique is really cool—it’s a ranged attack, but it’s versatile so she can attack directly with the hammer and nails or by proxy with the straw dolls. But if I’m being really honest with myself, I’d probably go with Megumi’s shikigami. I’m just a sucker for some good doggos!

Nobara Kugisaki is a spitfire and an absolutely endearing character. Anne Yatco has done a fantastic job bringing her to life in the English dub and will continue to do so this winter as the anime continues. The original manga from Gege Akutami is published in English by VIZ Media, and also available through the Weekly Shonen Jump subscription.

Jujutsu Kaisen‘s English dub airs new episodes Fridays on Crunchyroll.

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