While the first Western release enjoyed a loving vocal translation, due to its poor reception meant the sequel ‘only’ received subtitles. This was no bad thing as Sega pulled out all the stops in their recruiting of top tier Japanese vocal talent.
Yakuza 3 is no exception. Though my knowledge of their names is limited all but three of the twelve cast members at the Sega event were immediately familiar. Disturbingly the three unfamiliar member of the cast were the hostess’s voices who even in the article were described merely as ‘talent’ (at least in the sections of the article I was able to read).
The names of those present would mean little too many. Voice actor Takaya Kuroda and veteran actor Tetsuya Watari both reprise their earlier roles in the series (Kazuma Kiryu and Shintaro Fuma respectively). Tatsuya Fujiwara would perhaps be the most recognisable present at the event to a western audience. He is a young actor, who stared in both the Battle Royal and Death Note movies.The other surprise to see in the crowd was Ayana Tsubaki, who appears as a masseuse. Ayana is famous for being beautiful, and a transsexual. Her proliferation of TV talk shows would be enough exposure to be picked up by any pop-culture product by the fad prone Japanese media. If this game is successful enough to convince Sega to try for a western release her presence may prove controversial. Alternate lifestyles in Japan are usually greeted more with curiosity than bigotry. In the current immature gaming environment my worry is that people react negatively to her past.
The game looks fantastic. Hopefully the game will be successful enough for Sega to consider a western release, ideally a subtitled one.