Kira Buckland went from being president of her college’s anime club to an established name in the voice acting industry, and I was lucky enough to schedule a quick interview with her for June. Fire Emblem fans will know her as the voice of Princess Eirika Renais in Fire Emblem Heroes. Other notable credits of hers include 2B in NieR: Automata, Julis-Alexia von Riessfeld in The Asterisk War, Bloody Marie in Skullgirl, the Avatar in Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Artemia Venus in Bravely Default and its sequel.
1. Did you have to audition for the role of Eirika? How much did you know about her character going into the voice acting process? Did you know that she was such an iconic heroine within the Fire Emblem Series?
I know I auditioned for several characters, and I honestly can’t remember whether Eirika was one of them or if I auditioned for someone else and then they cast me as Eirika based off of that audition (it was quite some time ago!) I was definitely aware of the Fire Emblem series beforehand so I knew what it was (though for the audition, they kept a lot of it under wraps because the game hadn’t been announced yet.) I had no idea which characters would be launch characters and which ones would be added later, so when the game first came out I was hoping she’d be in it but she wasn’t yet—thankfully, she was added fairly soon after!Kira Buckland
2. Do you relate to Eirika at all? Was there a favorite line or set of lines you got to record for her?
Since there isn’t a whole lot of voiced dialogue in Heroes, I feel like I didn’t get to explore her personality the way I would have in say, a full game, but I really loved playing her so I hope I get the chance to voice her in something with more dialogue in the future! I enjoy the “Now, it’s my turn!” battle line she has, and then her idle lines where she’s just talking about her brother. She seems very likeable overall, like someone you’d want to sit down and have tea with.Kira Buckland
3. What was it like going from a huge fan and connoisseur of anime and video games to an accomplished and successful voice actress? Do you have any advice for fellow superfans who hope to follow in your footsteps?
I still wouldn’t consider myself as “accomplished and successful” as I’d like to be, but a lot of it in my case was perseverance. I first decided I wanted to become a voice actress at age 16, and I’m 29 now, so I’ve been doing this for a long time (starting out as a hobby, of course.) The best advice anyone ever gave me when I was first starting out was “learn to act”, because voice acting is less about how you sound vocally, and more about how well you can embody the character’s personality through the way you perform the lines. I would also recommend doing it as a hobby on various online sites to get the feel for it and see if it’s something you like doing. That’s how a lot of us practiced early on.Kira Buckland
4. Have you ever cosplayed as one of your characters before? If you HAD to go to a con as someone you’ve voiced recently, who would you show up as and why?
I’ve actually cosplayed many of my characters, and in fact, recently went to a gathering at a convention as “2B” from NieR: Automata (Fun fact: Greg Chun, who plays Eirika’s brother Ephraim, also voiced a major character in that game.) Other characters I voiced that I also dressed up as include Umi Sonoda, Hiyoko Saionji, Julis Alexia von Riessfeld, Izumo Kamiki, Honoka from Dead or Alive, etc.Kira Buckland
5. What was it like playing protagonist 2B for NieR: Automata?
Voicing 2B was a very new experience for me since I don’t normally play that character type (I was surprised I even got to audition!) I learned more about the character throughout the course of playing her, and learned even more about her when playing through the game after it came out. I’ve had a lot of fun cosplaying the character and participating in a live stream where Kyle McCarley and I read the English translated version of the concert scripts. I would count 2B as being my “big break” because that was when I finally started to get on anime/JRPG fans’ radar as a voice actress and people started drawing me fanart and asking for autographs, which was such a rare experience for me before! Her more emotional moments were my favorite for me. Her relationship with 9S is both beautiful and heartbreaking and I just want the two of them to be happy. Kira Buckland
6. You voiced Mimete of the Witches 5 for the recent Viz dub of Sailor Moon. Did you ever familiarize yourself with the original English or Japanese iterations of the character? What sorts of insights can you offer us on your take on Sailor Venus’ arch nemesis/pop idol extraordinaire?
I was so excited at getting to voice Mimete because that character type is something I can get into really easily. I love playing “mean girls”, but she had a lot of other facets to her personality, too. I’ve only heard her Japanese voice, actually, and I tried to stay true to that while at the same time adding my own interpretation.Kira Buckland
7. For Bravely Default and its sequel, Bravely Second, you voiced Artemia Venus? Did you find it difficult to inhabit a character with such unique, broken speech patterns (she’s essentially a feral child turned warrior huntress)?
It was definitely different from what I’m used to! But I feel really fortunate that I’ve gotten to play so many different types of characters instead of just getting stuck in the same archetype. I’ve had a lot of roles that really challenged me.Kira Buckland
8. What was it like growing up in Anchorage, Alaska? Living and working in California do you ever find yourself missing home?
I miss Alaska all the time, but thankfully I get to go back and visit several times a year since my parents and best friend still live there. There are things I like and dislike about both places, but I do miss how much more affordable it is to live in Alaska, and the fact that it’s a lot less crowded. But for the most part, you really have to live where the work is if you want to be a voice actor, and most video games are recorded in the Los Angeles area.Kira Buckland
9. What’s the VO community like socially? When and how does everyone get in touch? Does people tend to meet up before or after recordings, or find each other at conventions after completing work?
When we record for games, we go into the booth separately, so we generally don’t see the other actors except for sometimes in the lobby if they happen to be in before or after us. I have a relatively small circle of friends that meet up at my favorite coffee shop on a regular basis. And I became good friends with Alm’s voice actor, Kyle McCarley, after we starred in NieR:Automata together!Kira Buckland
My roommate and I currently have four cats! Shiro (marble tabby), Mina (pocket panther), Sylar (fat tabby & white), and Jareth (fluffy pumpkin). I also work at a kitten nursery at night, so I help take care of orphaned newborns and get them ready to go to foster homes or adoption.Kira Buckland