Suzie Yeung Is Ready For More Chainsaw Man
Suzie Yeung, the voice of Chainsaw Man’s Makima, breaks down her biggest role, her wide range of characters, and her love for the magical girl genre.
Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Chainsaw Man has torn through its competition as one of 2023’s most popular anime obsessions and its English dub has met just as much acclaim as the original. Makima is a mysterious and occasionally malevolent force of nature who works as well as she does because of Suzie Yeung’s committed performance as the devious devil hunter. Makima is one of Yeung’s biggest roles, but she’s hardly a newcomer. At this year’s Anime Milwaukee, Suzie Yeung reflected to Den of Geek upon her eclectic career and opened up on the whirlwind experience of playing Chainsaw Man’s Makima, the type of characters that get her the most excited, and what her anime Holy Grail dream role would be.
DEN OF GEEK: You’ve covered a diverse range of characters in your career, but is there a specific type of personality that you get especially excited to play, whether it’s more emotional and grounded individuals or more intense action characters?
SUZIE YEUNG: I like playing all sorts of characters. It’s like getting to explore different facets of your personality. I think it’s really fun when I get to play spunky characters that are even a little bratty and like to troll people. That’s always fun. Yuffie [from Final Fantasy 7 Remake] is a big example of that. She’s very snarky and likes to poke fun at people. I always have a blast doing those sorts of roles.
Alternatively, is there a type of character that you’ve yet to play that you’d love to get a chance to explore in the future?
I think I’m very lucky to have explored a wide range of characters at this point. But I would love to play more villain characters. I’ve played some, but more would be awesome.
You play Makima in Chainsaw Man, which has truly become one of the biggest series of the year. Were you aware of that series’ popularity before you got involved? Were you a fan yourself?
SY: I knew it was really big–like I had seen it online everywhere. I’ve seen fan art and cosplays, especially of Makima and Power, so I knew about it but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. So it wasn’t until I got the audition for it that I was like, “Oh! That’s the thing that they’re talking about everywhere!” Then I looked more into it and after I got cast in the role I actually binged the entire manga in like a few days before I started recording so I could be prepared.
Makima is such a complicated character, especially when it comes to her relationship with Denji. She’s aware of her own shortcomings and even views herself as a “necessary evil,” so to speak. What’s your interpretation of Makima?
I think it’s interesting that you say “necessary evil” because she actually identifies herself that way in the anime. She talks about how a necessary evil needs to be held on a tight leash, essentially, which is a very interesting way for her to interpret that sentiment. And I do agree! She is part of something bigger, but I can’t really say too much more beyond that.
Kind of along those lines, what are you most excited to explore with Makima if and when Chainsaw Man returns for a second season?
Well she’s extremely mysterious so we already don’t know a whole lot about her. So I would love to just explore more sides of her that she’s yet to reveal in the anime series.
You also voice one of the leads in Josee, The Tiger and the Fish, which was one of my favorite anime movies of last year and it just broke me. I feel like that movie has flown under the radar a little, but what was that experience like?
I was so honored to be cast in that because it was my first time playing a lead in an anime movie, but also to just be a part of something that’s so beautiful. It was really heartwarming to be able to be a part of that. The person who plays my opposite in the movie [Howard Wang] is actually a really good friend of mine so we got to experience that together. It was just so lovely and I had a great time recording it.
Another really emotional series you’ve been involved with is Wonder Egg Priority, playing Koito. That show really seems to have inspired its audience and helped them get through difficult issues. What’s it like when you’re part of a show that has that kind of healing, cathartic effect on its audience?
Koito plays a big part in that show, but unfortunately it’s more in the background, you know? So I wasn’t as involved as the main cast, but it’s still phenomenal to get to be involved with a special show like that.
You’re also the voice of Yuri, one of the leads in High-Rise Invasion, and you were involved in Housing Complex C, both of which really dig into psychological horror. Are you a horror fan yourself and is it fun to play around in that more heightened space?
So, to be honest, I’m a huge scaredy cat. Horror shows make me so scared, but if they cast me I can’t really do anything about it! I actually didn’t know too much about High-Rise Invasion when I first got the role so when I started recording it and there was a scene where they’re cutting off people’s fingers I was just like, “Woah! What show am I on right now!?” I do tend to get quite squeamish. I don’t want to say that I’ve gotten more accustomed to it, but with Makima doing her thing, and Housing Complex C, you just kind of get more okay with it.
It’s like immersion therapy!
You’ve also had the luxury of voicing both female and male characters. Do you have a preference there and is it fun to have that opportunity and experiment like that?
Yeah, the cool thing about being a voice actor is getting the opportunity to explore your range. I personally really love playing young boy characters since they tend to be scrappier and snarkier, which is just my favorite archetype to explore. I don’t get to play them too often, but when I do it’s always a really fun time.
Pop Team Epic is one of the most ridiculous shows I’ve ever seen and I was so happy to see that chaotic energy carry over to the English dub’s production. Was that a wild experience to be a part of?
Yeah! I was actually kind of just thrown into it. They were like, “You’re going to be in this episode!” And I had no idea what to expect. When we were recording they told me to just do whatever I was feeling and that there are no rules with this show. It was an interesting experience, yeah.
You’re the voice of Yuffie Kisaragi in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, who is such a beloved character and she even gets her own showcase in the “Episode INTERmission.” Is it intimidating to take on a character like that who audiences have such a long-standing relationship towards? Do you try to tune all of that out?
I actually didn’t pay much attention to that aspect. For one, Yuffie is very beloved, but she didn’t have too many appearances beforehand, like Cloud, Tifa, and Aerith, who are more established. Yuffie kind of cameoed in things like Kingdom Hearts and Advent Children. So she had less of a main role, but I didn’t let those previous iterations influence me much because Remake in itself is a whole new project. So, you try to respect the original character’s essence, but I also just put my own spin on it. That’s how I approached the audition. I forgot about everything else and I tried to do my interpretation of Yuffie.
Finally Suzie, you’ve been a part of some huge franchises like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Demon Slayer, but do you have a “Holy Grail” series that you’d love to voice in?
Hmmm, Holy Grail…I would say more of a genre than a show. I would love to be part of some magical girl show because where are they now!? I haven’t seen one in so many years! I grew up in that environment, so it would be a dream to get to voice such a character. Fingers crossed.