Home Interview: English Cast of Go! Go! Loser Ranger! on Anime Meets The Boys

Interview: English Cast of Go! Go! Loser Ranger! on Anime Meets The Boys

Go! Go! Loser Ranger! is an incredibly imaginative series (and one of our top picks for Spring 2024) that takes some of the core elements of hero and sentai stories and twists them in the best way. As the English dub of the series continues to air on Hulu and Disney+, we had the opportunity to sit down with five members of the staff and discuss their work on the series.

These members included Paul Castro Jr. (voice of Hibiki Sakurama), Zeno Robinson (voice of Fighter D), Michael Sinterniklaas (Voice Director and voice of Green Keeper), Jonah Scott (voice of Red Keeper), and Stephanie Sheh (Voice Director and voice of Angel Usukubo). Over the course of a riveting conversation, we talked about everything from how they first heard about the show, to how they approach voice acting within Go! Go! Loser Ranger!, to what kinds of Boss Monsters they themselves would create if given the chance.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

Creating the Voices of Go! Go! Loser Ranger!

One thing I was especially curious about from both a direction and a voice acting point of view is how each of them approached the mixture of comedy, seriousness, and character traits on the show. Voice Director Michael Sinterniklaas spent some time explaining how he initially conceptualized things for Go! Go! Loser Ranger!.

“I remember getting started on this thing and thinking that there’s a whole lot of history that the audience doesn’t know but that has to be represented in the characters. I remember in the beginning thinking, ‘What makes a person be like this?’ There’s strong Homelander vibes with Red Keeper and they’re making more apparent even in the new season of The Boys that what motivates Homelander is his insecurities and his age stuff.

Thinking about the history of what these people have endured or what they’ve been privileged with is a prison on either side. The Rangers are holding up a farce but then you’ve got the monsters who have been forced under pain of death to keep this charade alive. I remember working with Zeno on what that frustration leads to and what that presentation is. [ . . . ] For me, it’s always been about the history of the characters and then serving what you see.”

Jonah Scott, voice actor for Red Keeper, expounded upon the parallels between Homelander from The Boys and Red Keeper as well as the key differences with Go! Go! Loser Ranger!.

“[ . . . ] I personally didn’t want Red Keeper to be just a Homelander, right? There’s definitely a lot of parallels, but there are myriad differences as well. And, Homelander isn’t really acting. He’s not acting. He believes he is who he is, right? But for Red Keeper, there is a mask that he has to put on, literally, where [as Red Keeper] this is the hero voice, [continues in normal voice] but when he’s presenting to people privately, even if there’s still a hero persona, he’s bringing it down.” 

“Homelander is a touchstone, right? But there’s a a whole other empire that we can build with this character: different wants, desires, why he’s doing what he is. It’s less about how he views himself and more about how other people view him, right? There’s a line where he’s like, ‘We have to be cool, because if we’re not we’re not superheroes, right? We’re just heroes and are we even that?’ So there’s maintaining that mask and keeping his presentation the way he wants people to view him rather than how he views himself.”

Voice Director Stephanie Sheh explained how the ability to perform both sides of Red Keeper, both the boisterous hero and the confident leader behind closed doors, is part of what set apart Jonah Scott from others who read for the role.

“You have to keep in mind the Japanese sensibilities. Hero in Japanese culture is different than a Western superhero and then also keep in mind the way that Red Keeper is drawn. He’s not drawn to be a Superman-like big, burly guy. He’s kind of slight. So you want the voice to still match the face. I think that a lot of people auditioning for it initially were just (imitates heroic tone of voice). It was all about that kind of thing and we really had to find someone who could balance the heroic act with the guy as he’s drawn.”

For the character of Fighter D, whose goal is to eliminate the Rangers and ultimately dominate the world, the kinds of personas he’s forced to adapt and the masks he has to wear are a bit different. Zeno Robinson explained how he thinks about D’s “three faces,” Michael Sinterniklaas reflected on the existential crisis central to D’s character, while Stephanie Sheh explained why those make him sympathetic.

Zeno Robinson: “When it came to D there’s a lot of layers and nuances. Not only does he shift appearances, but I think he also shifts attitudes a lot. There’s the Fighter D who is a typical villain who sees himself as a monster. [ . . . ] He’s like this young kid forced into this sort of role that he has to take and he believes that he is. So there’s a naivete to that evil villain persona he puts on. But then he’s got this very introspective side, being able to look outside of the situation that he’s in and see things for what they are.

He’s got this rebellious spirit that comes from that meeting of respect and justice for him and his kind. For his human form, the voice is a little more nuanced. His fighter voice is low and growly, and then he’s got this human voice that he puts on to disguise himself, and there’s a very, very subtle difference between between the two. I always see him as having three faces. There’s the monster face, his real face, and the human face.”

Michael Sinterniklaas: “[ . . . ] And it’s funny because all that ‘Grr I’ve got to do this thing because I believe in what I’m supposed to do; I was manifested by a boss to serve the boss’s wishes’ turns into a ‘I need to maintain my identity.'”

Stephanie Sheh: “D says some really horrible things […] it would have been very easy to just play him like a straight villain, but one of the things that we definitely try to work on is to make him sympathetic to the audience, right? You’d be like ‘I’m rooting for this villain. Why am I rooting for him to kill innocent people?’ right? It only works if it’s grounded in his abuse and pain of being up in that fortress for so long and being completely overlooked and basically expected to suffer.”

Next up for discussion was Hibiki, who Paul Castro Jr. explained is a lot more nuanced than he seems on the surface. Hibiki’s demeanor, attitude, and expressions make him seem like a walking stereotypical anime protagonist, but he’s a bit more than that.

“Something Michael said really early on to me when we were working kind of summed him up: he is like a religious zealot in the way he believes he can save both the people and the heroes. He wants to change everything from within and he doesn’t want to do it the way it’s been done [ . . .] He’s not this caricature of a tropey anime boy. He’s really trying to save people and that’s that was really helpful for me starting out and then going on with the series.”

Trading Places

One of the more unique characteristics of Go! Go! Loser Ranger! is the fact that protagonist D is capable of shifting his appearance to mimic other characters. In context, this leads to scenes where someone needs to voice their character as D is imitating them, creating unique voice acting combinations as the different actors need to voice D pretending to be someone else. The voices of the three characters this happens between, D, Red Keeper, and Hibiki, talked about their experience handling this unique situation.

Paul Castro Jr.: “I’m playing somebody else who’s pretending to be the character that I play, so I can’t play it the way that Hibiki would play it. I have to do it how D would pretend to be Hibiki at times. It’s a bit of a balancing act figuring out when that is and also moments when I’m playing Hibiki as D where he slips through and he’s actually just being D at that moment. It is crazy at moments, but I pull a lot too—obviously we have the Japanese reference, but I also try to keep in mind how Zeno is playing it because I think that’s most important. Because they’re doing their thing, and we’re doing our thing. I’m subtly at moments just trying to pick up times when I hear the way Zeno does things so I can try and incorporate that as much as possible.”

Zeno Robinson: “And yeah, I hear it when you do it. It’s so fascinating to listen to, like ‘Wow, you read that kind of like I would read that, that’s so cool!’

Jonah Scott: “It was some of the most fun I had. There was one line in particular where the earpiece is like ‘So, where are you at?’ I’m just like, ‘I see uhhh…stairs’ In Red Keeper’s voice but with the Zeno personality layered on top of it.”

Michael Sinterniklaas: I just want to say, I’m so grateful for this cast; everyone has something so innate about them. And it’s a real testament to Stephanie’s ability to cast really really well. Zeno we had to make sympathetic even though he’s a monster who wants to kill humans — and the audience is primarily humans. I think that Zeno has a natural charm and charisma. And Jonah you’ve got all the testosterone but also all the grace. [ . . . ] and Paul, we cast you in this sort of role before because you’re able to be so earnest and it’s not corny.

A Particularly Smart Show

Go! Go! Loser Ranger! does a lot of showing instead of telling and keeps its plot well structured. This pays dividends; finer details and mysteries aren’t flat out revealed constantly and instead information comes through via the characters’ actions as opposed to raw information dumping. The staff explained how the show justifies itself, crafts its plot, and structures reveals well, especially in the context of how strong different characters are.

Stephanie Sheh: “Sometimes you watch enough anime, and you get a sense—I’m not saying it’s predictable, but you get a sense of a few options or some clues. And you know that they’ve charted the story out because once you know what the reveal is and you go back you watch it. You’re like, ‘Oh, look it’s obvious.’ I think you lean on those things and you try not to put your thumb too much on one thing in case you’re wrong in this type of show.

Michael Sinterniklaas: Yeah, I think the show is particularly smart too. That’s why when I first saw it I was like, ‘I don’t think it’s as straightforward as people think it is.’

Jonah Scott: I’m a huge fan of power level reveals in an anime and the power level hierarchies and things like that and getting them explained […]. Every battle shonen has this hierarchy of who can beat who and people love to theory craft that stuff. But one thing I really like about Go! Go! Loser Ranger! and to some extent The Boys and other superhero shows is that we don’t know how crazy Homelander can get. We don’t know how crazy Red Keeper can get…until he does it. So when he uses his ultimate on just a noob or something like that, you’re just like, ‘Okay, so there’s a display of power there and that’s something he can do.’ But we don’t know if it can go even higher right? He’s Red Keeper, we don’t know how crazy he can get. We don’t know how crazy Green Keeper can get; we don’t know what sort of dragon he’s hiding.
We don’t know what sort of dragon Blue Keeper is hiding [ . . . ] So I’m a huge fan of the power level discrepancies and stuff. Let’s see how Fighter D does.”

Zeno Robinson: “Very similar to Jonah. Like, I love power levels and seeing how they evolve and I just love the way this world justifies the power levels in that there’s still this sort of mystery about where the Divine Artifacts come from and why they’re specifically tailored to destroy these previously known to be undestroyable creatures. As we get to later episodes we get to see like the different utilities of the divine artifacts […] and I think it’s a really cool detail in the world of the Rangers to sort of justify how they fight the Boss Monsters. And it’s also very interesting as, during the Sunday Showdown, it’s very typical sentai and the weapons look kind of like toys, right? But then you can see the real ones [Divine Artifacts] and they look mystical and it’s really really fascinating. I love that about the show and I think the mystery is what’s gonna keep fans like intrigued and guessing.”

Paul Castro Jr.: “Yeah, there’s also points in the show where D is so proud because he fights one of these Rangers who’s not a Keeper and they’re constantly checking, like, ‘What?!? you beat someone who’s this level?’ and they’re constantly referencing who is stronger because of where they are ranked and people constantly are trying to to climb to the top. It is a little bit of poking fun at the sentai tropes as well as creating some real brackets, which is really fun to see as fighter D gets stronger […] because his goal ultimately is to defeat the Rangers. […] And it’s kind of like, okay, how is he gonna kill all of these insanely strong guys? So that keeps it exciting for someone like me who likes the power levels as well as the whole mystery of it.”

Jonah Scott: “I think it’s a really fun deviation from normal shonen tropes or like something in My Hero Academia where everybody’s abilities are on public display. There’s a record right? [ . . . ] But it’s fun as an audience member to kind of be left in the dark for a little bit even while the the general public in the show is completely informed almost to a fault. I thought that was fun.”

Some Fun Questions

To wrap things up, I first asked the staff who their favorite Go! Go! Loser Ranger! characters were other than the characters they voice. Everyone was happy to chime in with their personal favorite character or group, but the Fighters in general were a common favorite.

Jonah Scott: “Yumeko [Yumeko Suzukiri] is pretty fun as a character. I enjoy her journey and what she decides to do.”

Michael Sinterniklaas: “I like all the fighters that we never see again. [ . . . ] All the banter with all those guys ended up becoming this really fun weird sibling mess of just a bunch of 13 year olds left on their own. These were toddlers left to become 13 year old tweens. Now there’s no parental supervision and some of them are trying to adult and it’s sad, but I love their journey for that I want to see more of them all being a damn mess.”

Zeno Robinson: “I also think the Fighters are hilarious, but also Hekiru [Aran Hekiru]? Ben Diskin as Hekiru is so freaking hilarious and I think he was such a great pick for that character. That character is so unhinged. I have a particular soft spot for Ben’s character which I think is just so funny. He’s kind of got this weird hero syndrome thing going where it makes fun of the ‘my friends are my power’ trope that happens in anime.”

For the final question, I asked everyone what kind of Boss Monster they would come up with if given the chance to do what the Fighters do in Go! Go! Loser Ranger!.

Michael Sinterniklaas: “I feel like if I was a dumb Fighter, I’d be like ‘We’re gonna be a boss monster by being the humans boss! I’m your boss and I tell you to show up on time and I’m gonna fire you if you don’t and then you have to do everything I say cuz I’m your boss.’ So that’s a meta approach, but I would be your boss. Sorry (laughs).”

Zeno Robinson: “I like that, kind of like a monster in a suit? That’s my answer, I’d be a giant red person in a suit.”

Paul Castro Jr.: “The thing that I think would be hysterical—we’ve seen many shows things do cats as monsters. But nobody—I have four cats. And from personal experience, the potency and power of cat urine, it is unmatched. And I feel like there’s some really unused material to be seen with a super cat boss monster that uses its urine to disintegrate people and infect their nostrils and destroy them with the smell that is never able to be gotten rid of. It is really my kryptonite at this point.”

Jonah Scott: “I think it’s crazy that they haven’t utilized the body swap mechanic even more in the past […] an entire episode where every monster picks a Ranger and is just like ‘Yeah let’s just swap and try to confuse them.’ Like ‘Say something only the real Red Keeper would,’ you know? That kind of thing.”

We’d like to thank the English dub cast and staff members from Go! Go! Loser Ranger! for taking the time to speak with us and having such a fantastic conversation. The English dub of Go! Go! Loser Ranger! is currently streaming on Hulu and Disney+. New episodes of the series dub air weekly.

A second season was confirmed for the anime right after the Japanese broadcast of the first season’s finale.

© Negi Haruba, Kodansha / “Sentai Daishikkaku” Production Committee

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