This month, I’m thrilled to share an interview I was lucky enough to have with another Fire Emblem princess.
Brianna Knickerbocker is a rising, shining star in the video game and anime voice acting community. Last year, she lent her voice to Fire Emblem Fates’ Princess Sakura and Charlotte. This year, she continues her exemplary work in Fire Emblem Heroes, where she reprises her role of Sakura and also voices Ninian and Est.
Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Brianna. In Fire Emblem Fates you got to play two very different characters: the quiet and shy Princess Sakura, who is still learning she has authority as a royal and the flirtatious Charlotte who intentionally hides her immense physical strength and disguises herself as a delicate flower because she desperately wants to marry into the nobility.
We couldn’t locate the Charlotte concept art, but it probably would have had plenty of fan service–even before she could have fans!
Who was your favorite Fire Emblem Fates character to voice? Did you have any favorite lines or scenes to record for either of them? Between Sakura and Charlotte, who did you see the most of yourself within?
My favorite character to voice was Charlotte. She’s so dynamic and was such a joy to voice as an actor because I really got to play around and be sassy. The best memories I have were when I was playing Charlotte. In the booth you can only hear the director and everyone in the other room if the director is pressing a certain button. I was voicing a line of Charlotte’s and it was dead silent in the headphones… I was hoping the director and clients didn’t hate what I was doing entirely, but when I looked through the window to get a clue for why it was dead quiet, I saw them falling off their chairs laughing! I totally cracked up! That happened a few more times. It was amazing.Brianna Knickerbocker
My favorite line to perform that got us sidetracked from the session from all the laughing was, “I love you darling. I’ve always dreamt of this moment! …I did think there would be more golden things around, though…”
It’s important to be upfront in marriage!
I relate mostly to Sakura because we are both Hoshidan princesses (just kidding)! Really, I identify with Sakura because she finds her inner strength in life and embraces that strength!
Can you describe what it was like auditioning for Sakura? Did you have any idea that you would be voicing a character that would be so pivotal to the story?
I actually never auditioned for Sakura. When I did find out I’d be voicing her I had absolutely no idea how pivotal to the story she would be! Now that I know, I feel so lucky to voice her. Brianna Knickerbocker
Sakura and Charlotte don’t really interact within Fire Emblem Fates. Can you imagine what a conversation between the two of them might be like?
Oh my gosh— I’m trying to imagine this! Maybe Charlotte would fish for leads on men from Sakura and Sakura would probably be all too happy to help! Could be a funny sitcom: Sakura being Charlotte’s wingwoman and the hijinks they get into. Brianna Knickerbocker
You don’t want to marry him, Charlotte. He might be rich, but he’s BAD!
Most recently, you lent your voice to Fire Emblem Heroes for the role of Ninian, one of the most important, iconic, and tragic characters of the Fire Emblem series. When did you know you had the role, what information were you provided, and did you do any research for it? Was it daunting to inhabit a role that hasn’t had a voice for almost 15 years?
Voicing Ninian was such an honor. They told me her backstory and other specifics of course. Rather than daunting, I found it thrilling. I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to breathe new life into this character—I only hope I did her justice! Brianna Knickerbocker
Ninian as she appeared in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade in 2003.
How was voicing Ninian different from voicing Sakura or Charlotte for you? Was playing a dragon a difficult feat?
I can absolutely relate to Ninian as a fellow dancer, I used that and her background as half dragon to color her voice and point of view as a character. I look for all those details that truly separate each character to guide what voice I’ll be using and the personality I bring to each one, so in this sense Ninian is completely unique to me as a character. Playing a dragon was seriously awesome! Daenerys from Game of Thrones is the mother of dragons but I got to BE a dragon, so I felt pretty special.Brianna Knickerbocker
You truly have a talent for voicing younger characters. Do you have a specific technique or process in your physical, mental, or emotional acting that allows you to create such youthful voices?
I rely on my imagination to allow me to delve deep mentally and emotionally—no matter the age of the character, but for whatever reason, voicing younger characters is very comfortable for me. Depending on how shy they are or the action in the scene, I’ll definitely use physicality to help me make the voice more dimensional and really come to life.Brianna Knickerbocker
How did you first break into voice acting? When did you realize it was the career for you?
I first got into voice acting professionally through the on camera world. I randomly saw a casting for a voiceover project one day and thought—oh, voiceover, that could be fun! I booked it and continued working on random commercials and such, but when I started to voice video games and anime, I could very clearly feel how much of a calling voice acting was for me…. OK, so full disclosure, when we were in high school, my sister and I would jerry-rig a video camera in front of the TV and play shows like Batman on mute, and make recordings of us voicing all the characters. We spent hours doing this almost every day—this was before I even realized what I was doing was essentially voiceover, so in the end I think it was meant to be.Brianna Knickerbocker
Have you had any experience in theatre or comedy of any kind?
I do some comedic acting in the on camera world, where I act in sketches and webseries here and there. One sketch I recently guest starred in was ridiculously fun. It was with youtuber Lilly Singh aka Superwoman. You can check it out here, my scene starts at 3 minutes in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTFw9BGSCTg I got to improv a ton and she kept it all in the final video which is super cool! Brianna Knickerbocker
Did you like performing as a child? Growing up, which works of art, books, TV shows, games, or movies inspired you? What sorts of things inspire you today?
I loved performing so much! I put on dance and singing shows and plays daily. I was definitely a handful—an entertaining handful, but still, a handful. When I was little I was inspired by cartoons, like Disney, music, like Madonna, and children’s books (I read a ton).
Today, I’m still inspired by cartoons, especially anime, everything related to the dance/ballet world, music like K-pop and EDM, and nature; I live for thunderstorms, winter, snow, and anything cold or gloomy really.Brianna Knickerbocker
What real world causes speak to you? What issues make your blood boil?
I love nature and believe protecting everything on our planet like the rainforests, oceans and all animals/endangered species is so important! Anything with animal abuse boils my blood. I’d like to share this amazing thing I found really quick, it’s called “Click to Donate” on Care2’s website. It’s an easy, quick and free way to make a difference. You click through a list of causes like ‘rainforest’ and ‘oceans’ daily. It’s so cool because your click generates real donations for these causes through their sponsors!Brianna Knickerbocker
Note:We’ve added a button that links you directly to the website in a way to spread awareness and as a thank you to Brianna for allowing us the opportunity to interview her in her already busy schedule.
You have a lively and interactive Twitter presence. What has communicating with your growing fan base been like over the past year or so?
I absolutely love interacting with everyone—my Twitter followers are so funny and smart, I love them all! I have a blast coming up with fun things to post so we can interact more, like the ‘Who’s cuter, Est or Sakura’ thread—everyone posted such hilarious replies I was laughing SO much! Shout out to all my awesome Twitter followers!!!Brianna Knickerbocker
We all know there can only be one!
Are there any upcoming roles you can tell us about?
I wish I could share any of my upcoming role announcements here so badly—I’ve been dying to talk about a few projects that are dream-come-true status for me in particular. As soon as I’m allowed, I’ll post on, you guessed it–Twitter, so keep in touch with me there! @briannanoellekBrianna Knickerbocker