Squid Game's meteoric rise to success has unleashed an intense debate over subs vs dubs, with even director Taika Waititi chiming in. While this debate has no clear answer, the voice actors for Squid Game have done a commendable job at accurately portraying the emotions shown on screen.
Director Hwang Dong-hyuk's magnum opus, Squid Game, which had been in the works since 2008, has revolutionized the world of entertainment. Having been subtitled in 31 languages and dubbed in over 10, the dystopic survival game reached Netflix's No. 1 spot in over 90 countries.
Edward Hong, who voiced the pastor, Player 244, said in an interview,
“Korean actors, even if not fluent, can call out something if it’s not right. The way Korean religious people, especially pastors, talk is a very specific way of talking. That’s something I knew all too well from being stuck in those Korean church services as a kid.”
Meet Squid Game's talented English-dubbing cast
1) Seong Gi-hun- Greg Chun
The fan-favourite protagonist of Squid Game, Gi-hun, has been voiced by veteran voice-over artist Greg Chun. Apart from Squid Game, Chun has played a pivotal role in several other productions, including the iconic Takayuki Yagami, in the 2018 film Judgment. According to several critics, Chun, of Korean descent, made a more memorable performance than Takuya Kimura.
Greg Chun also voiced Ryōji Kaji in the Neon Genesis Evangelion series. Chun has also long been a collaborator with The Lonely Island.
2) Cho Sang-woo- Stephen Fu
The morally ambiguous Sang-woo's English dubbing was done with aplomb by Stephen Fu. The voice-over artist has dubbed over 50 animes in English, including Black Clover and Attack on Titan. Fu has also dubbed several K-Dramas like Love Alarm and the critically acclaimed military drama D.P.
Many viewers of the show have praised how Stephen Fu's voice-over accurately portrayed the complicated character.
3) Jang Deok-su- Paul Nakauchi
Known for voicing Hanzo Shimada in Overwatch, Paul Nakauchi lent his voice to the gangster Deok-su in Squid Game.
Nakauchi, apart from being a voice artist, has also made appearances in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and ER. Apart from television and cinema, Nakauchi has also voiced several video games, including Diablo III, Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.
4) Oh Il-Nam- Hideo Kimura
The old man, who was hiding a devastating secret, was voiced by Hideo Kimura in the English dub. Kimura is known for his work in 47 Ronin, Deadpool 2 and the 2017 film Ghost in the Shell, which starred Scarlett Johanson. Kimura's portrayal of Oh Il-nam, according to most viewers of Squid Game, was perfect, preserving the authenticity of the role even in translation.
5) Kang Sae-Byeok- Vivian Lu
Everyone's favourite North Korean defector was voiced by Vivian Lu, who is known for her work in the video game Genshin Impact. The voice actor currently works for Bang Zoom! Entertainment. A relatively new face, or voice, in the industry, Lu has lent her voice to Love Alarm and Nowhere Man.
6) Abdul Ali- Rama Vallury
Arguably, one of the most heartbreaking endings in the Squid Game was that of the Pakistani immigrant, Abdul Ali. LA actor Rama Vallury provided the English voice-over for this character. A man of many talents, Vallury is a part of the music and comedy duo Vallery and Butler.
Having been active in the voice-over scene since 2011, Rama Vallury's most notable gigs, other than Squid Game, include Baby Shark's Big Show and Mira: Royal Detective. His longest job was as Caillou in AOK. Vallury is a talented voice artist, and as his Instagram proves, he can imitate several accents, from Midwest US to India.
7) Frontman- Tom Choi
The mysterious masked figure of the Front Man has been voiced in English by Tom Choi. The Korean-American actor is best known for his role as Ken Yukimura in the hit show Teen Wolf. Choi has also done voice work for the Mortal Kombat video games.
Besides voice acting, Tom Choi is also a director, writer and producer, having written and starred in the award-winning short: Lone Hunter.
8) Ji-Yeong- Yuuki Luna
The much loved Ji-Yeong was voiced by Yuuki Luna, who, apart from being a voice actor, has also made multiple appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! The young artist portrayed the role of Widow in the 2021 film Black Widow. Luna also made an appearance on the TV show WandaVision.
Despite the dubbing naysayers, the Squid Games' English voice-over team boasts an impressive cast, almost all of them of Korean or Asian descent. The presence of native and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islanders) members on the team ensured that the translations remained authentic to the Korean experience.