When Breath of the Wild launched last year, it broke a long-running, established custom in the Zelda franchise by letting its characters speak. Prior to the landmark title, there had been no voiced dialogue in the entire canonical series of games. To claim that mainline Zelda games had never used voice actors in their 30-year history preceding Breath of the Wild would not be accurate, however.
While the majority of speech in Zelda games is presented as text, there are still many gasps, grunts, laughs and screams uttered vocally by characters during conversations and cutscenes, helping provide some tone and context to the characters’ expressions. I hardly need to remind fans of Navi’s frequent use of “Hey”, or Beedle’s delightful exclamation of “Thank you!”.
I say it’s time to recognize and celebrate the actors behind these subtle sounds, and I’ll start with a returning contributor to the Zelda series: Ayumi Fujimura.
For many players, Fi’s presence in Skyward Sword isn’t a welcome one, overexerting her role as Link’s adviser by incessantly bombarding the player with obvious instructions. Still, I’ll argue that there is one redeeming aspect to gain from her constant rambling: You get to hear her adorably robotic-yet-graceful voice.
We have the aforementioned Fujimura to thank for the voice of Fi in Skyward Sword, who also reprised the role again a few years later in Hyrule Warriors.
Her offerings to the series don’t end there, however, as between the releases of Skyward Sword and Hyrule Warriors, she also played Princess Zelda in A Link Between Worlds.
Please note, before watching the following video, that it features the ending of A Link Between Worlds, so of course it contains heavy spoilers (the spoilers won’t be discussed in this article, however, so you can safely skip over it and continue). With that out of the way, you can hear Zelda’s voice at the 6:21, 9:52 and 15:20 marks.
Were it not for the endlessly beneficial invention of the internet — considering the difference in both Fi’s and Zelda’s personalities and vocal tones — I would never have guessed they were voiced by the same person! And yet, sure enough, Fujimura’s name appears in the credits of Skyward Sword, A Link Between Worlds and Hyrule Warriors.
There you have it: Three Zelda titles, two central characters, and one very talented actress.
Ayumi Fujimura has also provided her voice to many other video games, including another recent Nintendo title, Arms. She has voiced characters in a number of major fighting game series, such as Street Fighter, King of Fighters and BlazBlue. She is also a keen contributor to anime, with roles in Squid Girl, Kill la Kill, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and many more.