Meet the Voice Actress Behind ‘Kena: Bridge of Spirits’

“Sometimes they fall in a vision, and when the Sesuhunan comes, and they dance,” he said. “That was a great time because people could communicate in a more physical form of spirit.”

Learn the ropes

The voice acting is run by Larassanti’s family. Her mother is also one voice actor. Emiko used his skill with coach Larassanti to record lines for Kena – specifically to find a balance between Kena’s emotions. “Sometimes he’s really strong and sometimes he’s very soft, so finding that balance is a challenge,” Larassanti said.

If Larassanti received her dialogue before the recording, she practiced it with her mother – with Emiko trying different emotions for each line. “That really helped in terms of finding the balance of Kena’s voice and getting feedback from someone like my mom, because our parents were always honest with us,” Larassanti said.

He will also look unique Grand Theft Auto videos and studies on how to interact with voice artists. And, ever since Kena: Bridge of Spirits an action-adventure game with combat, he has to record sounds for actions like walking, breathing, and hitting. Watching shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Story of Korra helped a little in this department, he said.

“I’ve also watched clips of video game characters fall, and it’s really cool to hear the techniques of different artists fall and how wild they are,” Larassanti said. He was surprised that even simple actions like falling needed to be more exaggerated with sound.

Larassanti did most of his voice recording in the summer of 2020 when he was out of school. At UCLA, she majored in world arts and culture. He also aspired to be a minor in ethnomusicology, due to his desire to learn about other cultures. His grandfather also completed his undergraduate degree at UCLA, where he also taught gamelan.

“Studying the arts of the world and culture and being immersed in different cultures and religions and studying them really helped open my mind for this role,” he said. It forged his approach to portraying Kena, as a large part of his study consists of giving voices to injured communities through the arts. He looks at the work of art through a different critical lens today in terms of who is represented and whether it is true, accurate, and sufficient. With Kena: Bridge of Spirits, he feels his representation of Southeast Asia within the atmosphere and the environment itself. The characters are all people of color, and there are beautiful relationships explored between them.

The Representative of Kena

Larassanti looked at his role in Kena as an important one because Asian Americans always don’t have much media opportunities compare to their white counterpart, whether in movies, TV shows, or even video games. By actually throwing for Kena, Ember Labs gives Larassanti a chance to share her identity and experiences through the character.

“They were kind and supportive… and so they helped me find the balance in Kena’s voice and what they wanted to do,” Larassanti said of Ember Lab colleagues Mike and Josh Grier. If he doesn’t know Sesuhunan or how to communicate with Bali elders, Kena: Bridge of Spirits there would have been a completely different feeling.

“An actor’s backgrounds and legacy can add a character to a story when given the opportunity,” he said. While Larassanti doesn’t know what he’ll do next, he wants to star in another video game and maybe branch out into animated films. “I think there are a lot of different possibilities,” he said. “It’s fun, but I think it really taught me a lot as a voice actor.”

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