From zero to hero: 'Ejen Ali' voice actress talks about character growth and unexpected fans

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Local animated series Ejen Ali has become much beloved since it began airing in April 2016.

From a strong fanbase at home, it has also grown an international following as the series continues to win awards - the most recent one being the Best 3D Animated Series at the 27th Asian Television Awards held in Singapore last December.

The animated series produced by Wau Animation and Primeworks Studios, is now in the midst of its third season where Ali and his friends are reunited for a secret Ejen competition at the M.A.T.A Arena following the events from Ejen Ali The Movie.

Ali once again has to prove himself as he has to compete without his supercomputer I.R.I.S alongside highly-skilled international Ejens to uncover an evil secret plot in the futuristic city of Cyberaya.

In an Interview with Malay Mail, the voice actress behind Ali, Ida Rahayu Yusoff, shared that it has been an amazing journey for her in voicing the young Ejen.

Ali’s journey really is from zero to hero kind of journey.

“He amazes me for a 12-year-old boy, he has been through a lot of stuff, adult stuff like betrayal and backstabbing, but what makes me love him even more is that he never gives up.

“I love his zero to hero journey, from nobody to someone who’s now more mature,” she said.

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Ida started voice-acting in 2006, previously voicing multiple characters including for another local animated hit series, Upin and Ipin as well as Disney’s ZOMBIES as Eliza character for its Bahasa-dubbed version.

She was initially in charge of auditions for the character before the showrunners decided to offer the role to her, where she discovered that she shared a lot more in common with Ali.

“Just like Ali, how he discovered the I.R.I.S in the first place, he was not supposed to be an Ejen but at the same time, he was meant to be.

“I think there’s a lot of similarities between me and Ali. At school, I was not a high achiever, I liked to play games just like Ali, I like to read comics, just like Ali.

“And right now, I have this mentality of not giving up and trying new things, and that’s how I relate to Ali,” Ida said.

The award-winning local animated series is a wholesome family entertainment favourite. — Picture courtesy of Twitter/Ejen Ali.
The award-winning local animated series is a wholesome family entertainment favourite. — Picture courtesy of Twitter/Ejen Ali.

The award-winning local animated series is a wholesome family entertainment favourite. — Picture courtesy of Twitter/Ejen Ali.

She shared it was unexpected that Ejen Ali didn’t just have a young following, but was also a hit with adults as well.

This is after she discovered local Youtubers doing reviews on the animated series and even sharing speculations on each episode.

“There’s this one YouTube channel who discusses these Ejen Ali episodes for like three hours straight in a session, just to cover the plot and share their speculation.

“These YouTubers mention that most of them are fathers and they are more excited for the show than their kids and I think that’s amazing!

"When you mention cartoons or anything like that, people would almost instantly think of young kids and children and that adults wouldn't be invested in the series but that’s definitely not the case with these YouTubers,” Ida said.

She hopes that the Ali character will be a good role model for the younger generations adding that they had also received messages from fans around the world including India, Vietnam, Japan as well as the United Kingdom.

“I think we owe all this success to the whole team, for giving their best in making this animated series.

“And I really want to thank is the fans. We wouldn't have had this success if it were not for them, so thank you all.”

Ejen Ali is currently continuing their part two of their third season run which debuted last December with new episodes premiering every Saturday.

All episodes of Ejen Ali Seasons 1 and 2, Ejen Ali the Movie, as well as the short film Ejen Ali: Misi Juang are available now on Disney+ Hotstar.