Megumi, Nobara, and Yuji from Jujutsu Kaisen Season 1 going shopping before meeting with Gojo Satoru.

Adam McArthur and Anne Yatco ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ Interview: ‘We Just Really Miss Nanami’

(We miss Nanami, too).

**This interview contains spoilers for the Jujutsu Kaisen manga and anime.**

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At Anime Central 2024 voice actors Adam McArthur and Anne Yatco looked back on their careers in entertainment, reflected on their relationship with Jujutsu Kaisen, and made note of their ongoing voice work in other series.

The pair has been celebrated for their performances as Yuji Itadori and Nobara Kugisaki in Jujutsu Kaisen. McArthur said that there wasn’t someone who pushed him to become a voice actor, but his early years of watching cartoons and television guided him toward voice work. He said he begged his parents for acting lessons and started taking performance classes at age 16. “I don’t think I idolized anyone,” McArthur said. “I never looked to someone else. I just wanted to voice act.”

Yatco saw Mulan at the age of five or six, and immediately was drawn to voice acting. She said she’s always wanted to be the voice of a Disney Princess and still expresses hopes that Disney will recruit her. One of Yatco’s heroes—voice actress Lea Salonga—has “amazed” her. With a love of performing from a young age, Yatco originally wanted to become a singer, but later in life, she realized she wanted to pursue acting. After exploring the different niches of acting, Yatco knew she ultimately was to become a voice actor.

Both began acting at young ages and have been asked to adapt as the entertainment scene has taken new shapes across their career paths. “There was a project really early on called The LeBrons that was one of the first animated series I had worked on,” McArthur said, “But the director, the producers, they couldn’t all agree on what they wanted the show’s vision to be. It was a weird place to be as an actor. Outside of that, all of our jobs present a challenge in the newness of them: new characters, studios, and directors. The longer you work, the more adaptable you become,” he said. “It’s why when you watch an animated series from the beginning, the characters all sound slightly different from when they’ve been solidified.”

Yatco said she started her career off by working on indie video games before branching out into English dubbing. “The first dubbing job I got was for a live-action series called Violetta, a Disney Channel show from Argentina.” She went on to explain that she was featured in every episode and that it was her first time dubbing for international content. “I had never taken voice acting classes,” Yatco said, “So I had to learn how to dub while we were recording. Realizing that I had a knack for voice acting early on while learning the technical aspects of English dubbing was a ‘trial by fire.’”

When thinking to the unexplored scopes of their careers, Yatco was insistent on becoming a Disney Princess: “I want to be a Disney Princess but I don’t want to take on a legacy role. I want to be a new Disney Princess.”

McArthur said that he’d like to take on a legacy character: “If I just look at what I’ve done in my career and just the ‘fun’ boxes to check, I think a legacy character would be fun—such as Daffy Duck.”

Whether they’re looking forward to landing a legacy role or reflecting on how far they’ve come, both McArthur and Yatco have become more comfortable in the recording studio when moving from project to project. “I don’t overthink voice acting anymore,” Yatco said. “The more comfortable you get with being a working actor, the more comfortable you are with the unknown. You have to be ready to take in information quickly, and then act.”

McArthur added that “they’re just going to work.”

Yuji Itadori and Nobara Kugisaki have become standout roles for McArthur and Yatco following the ever-growing success of Jujutsu Kaisen. “Nobara sounds a lot like me,” Yatco admitted when detailing how Kugisaki’s voice came to be. “Our characters don’t sound too far away from how we naturally sound, but I think it’s about translating their personality from the Japanese version and then adding a bit of your imagination. How am I going to sound like when I emulate this character?”

Nobara is known for striking the balance between toughness and femininity, which Yatco resonates with. “I see some of Nobara in who I am, and then I aspire to be the rest of her,” she admits. “She has the energy I want to be putting into the world more than I tend to.”

McArthur said that when navigating Yuji’s arc, he embraces each of his character’s struggles as they arise. “I feel like my job [when working on Jujutsu Kaisen] is to service the story. I have to pay attention, I need to be aware. I read the manga and studied the source material. My cast and I, we watch the sub and we’re making sure that we’re aware of where things are headed so that we can pepper in things that are important to pepper in when we need to. At the same time, I stay in the moment and experience the hardships that Yuji experiences. I’m not coping with his trauma; I’m using my voice as a vehicle to live as this guy.

Despite what Yuji has gone through throughout the extent of Jujutsu Kaisen, McArthur says that the show hasn’t influenced his worldview: “I share a lot of qualities of Yuji, so he hasn’t changed my personality or how I live. With that said, I do think voicing Yuji has changed my life.”

Both didn’t know they were joining the Jujutsu Kaisen voice cast until they were informed about the roles. “I got to watch the first three episodes of the sub before auditioning,” Yatco said, “So for me, I was into the story and the cinematography, but when this girl was on screen … this girl is cool. She’s like, everything. I want this character—I want this character so badly.”

McArthur said that the booking-to-audition ratio is small, and he’s cautioned himself not to become attached to any of his projects. When the Jujutsu Kaisen audition came along, he was well aware of the series’ popularity. “This would be really cool,” McArthur said when reflecting on his initial reaction to the audition, “But if [I don’t get it], life goes on. I got really lucky.” He then said that once he found out that landed the role of Yuji, he “got pumped.”

“I was in the middle of an audition for something else when I happened to see the email pop up,” Yatco said.

McArthur said that he received this call while on a road trip: “I got the call and everyone in the car was sleeping except for the driver, so I was whisper-screaming ‘Yes! That’s so cool, thank you!’”

Throughout the first two seasons and the Jujutsu Kaisen movie, Yatco said that “Nanami’s death was the most devastating” for her.

McArthur agreed that the Nanami death scene was also personally upsetting for him, and then added that Nobara’s death was deeply upsetting. “On the contrary, one scene I was really excited to work through, though, was the ‘I Am You’ scene,” McArthur said that the Mahito-Yuji relationship felt personal by the end of Season 2 because he as an actor was sharing emotions with Yuji. “It felt good to have a moment where I could face off with Mahito.” 

Yatco first watched Nobara’s death scene with subtitles in the Japanese version to prep for her recording session: “I was holding to together throughout the episode, like, ‘that was a really good episode.’ Then the credits start rolling and I just started bawling. My husband walks in, and I look at him to say ‘She had so much to live for.”

Thinking about both characters and their arcs, McArthur is “100%” satisfied with how Yuji’s story has been told so far. “This story is so cool. We haven’t seen anything like it; it’s flipping common tropes, and I’m very excited to see where things go next.” He’s well aware that there are criticisms online about Yuji not being the “main character” of Jujutsu Kaisen, though insists that fans should let the story breathe and give it time. Yatco agrees and encourages fans to “trust the process” of Gege Akutami’s storytelling.

“I think Yuji’s arc has been amazing,” McArthur said. “I think it will be tragic, but beautifully so.” Yatco noted that Yuji’s growth has been “tremendous,” and she often finds herself cheering for him.

As for Nobara, Yatco feels that her character is due for some form of return. She also would like to see some character growth or development upon her hypothetical revival. “I feel like there’s gotta be something that Nobara has been doing this entire time. If Yuji’s been training, if everyone’s been training, she must have been as well.”

McArthur tossed in his own contribution of how Nobara’s unconfirmed return could play out, nodding back to a lighthearted scene in the anime: “What if … what if at the end of the anime, if Yuji defeats Sukuna, Kenjaku comes back and is killed off … Megumi is separated from Sukuna … Yuji wheels in a cart and Nobara pops out of it, and just says ‘oppappi!’ Then things end; that’s it. That’s my dream ending.” 

Yatco insists that she wants Nobara to have a domain expansion. “You know her Cursed Technique? I want something that relates to Nobara’s Straw Doll, like a growth of trees and a one-hit kill.”

If they were to recast themselves in Jujustu Kaisen, McArthur claims that there’s “nobody else he’d want be, but it would be Todo. I personally really like Todo, but I wouldn’t want to be him.” Yatco said that she could see herself as Maki Zenin, but wouldn’t recast her current voice actor. 

Yatco can be heard in Undead Unluck on Hulu, and McArthur can heard in Kaiju No. 8., which can be simulcast on X.

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Annie Banks
Annie Banks is a professional entertainment journalist from Chicago, Illinois. She holds degrees in journalism and marketing, and has been incredibly fortunate to watch her career path collide with her passions. Throughout her six years of entertainment journalism experience, Annie has fervently written about movies, television shows, anime, manga, K-Pop, comics and video games. To this day, she still proudly retains her title as a Rotten Tomatoes-approved Tomatometer critic.